**spoiler alert** I added this book to my to-read list after seeing some good reviews for it on GoodReads. Then I joined a YA book club on the site an**spoiler alert** I added this book to my to-read list after seeing some good reviews for it on GoodReads. Then I joined a YA book club on the site and they chose this as their book to read for April.
It is a story of a girl (Liesel) who is sent to live with foster parents after her own parents were taken away to a concentration camp in Nazi Germany. The story follows her progress with this new family, through school and in new friendships. The story is somewhat unique in that it is narrated by Death. This proves very effective and adds a new layer to the book. This is categorized as a YA book, but personally if I’d read this as a 13 year old I don’t think I’d have appreciated it as much as I did reading it now.
Certain parts of the book (and the relationships in it) really spoke to me. The relationship between Liesel and Hans Hubermann is wonderful. He treats her and nurtures her as if she was his own child, and the love between the two is something really special. This touched a place in my heart as the man who brought me up was not my biological father, but was the only person I will ever call dad. Sadly he died 4 years ago. This meant that I was able to understand Liesel’s pain at losing Papa at the end of the book. Also her relationship with Max, the Jew that the Hubermanns took in and looked after, was really touching. It seemed to me that she saw Max as a replacement for her brother who died on the way to Himmel Street. Max and Liesel grew closer as the book went on, and it was wonderful to see this relationship develop.
The book really brought home the suffering and torture that the Jews were subjected to during Hitler’s regime. I found this really harrowing and difficult to read about. It made me realise how lucky I am to have what I do, and to live in a free country.
The narration by Death was an interesting twist, and I enjoyed the format in which Deaths observations were added into the book. I also liked the clues that he gave along the way as to what was going to happen later on in the book. There was a sentence of the book that struck me ‘She had her whole death ahead of her’. This was said casually in a way that one might say ‘she has her whole life ahead of her’. This is there to suggest that there is life after death, and that death is a whole new journey. I really like this idea. Also the way Death handles peoples’ souls is written very well, and the difference in the way that he handles the souls of the people who have been good, and the people that have been not so good.
All in all, this book was an excellent read, and I have the feeling I will read this again and again. For me it lived up to the hype and beyond. I would definitely recommend this to others. ...more
I guess this novel would fall into the mystery/thriller/crime category, but it's so much more than that. Many books that fall into this category are mI guess this novel would fall into the mystery/thriller/crime category, but it's so much more than that. Many books that fall into this category are mass market paperbacks that make good reading but don't contain anything of substance. The same can definitely NOT be said about this book.
I went into this book knowing the basics from the blurb on the back of the book and with a warning that the book didn't leave much to the imagination and didn't leave anything hidden. Well that was true - this is definitely gritty and not for those easily disturbed. I'm glad that I'm not easily disturbed though, because I found this to be one of the best books I've read in recent years. I devoured it and read 4/5ths of it in one sitting.
Camille is a reporter for the 4th biggest newspaper in Chicago, estranged from her Mother, Stepfather and half-sister who still live in her hometown of Windy Gap, MO. When two girls are murdered in Windy Gap, her boss thinks she's the perfect person to cover the story and she sets off to face her biggest story yet, along with her worst memories and unresolved issues...
I liked the mystery aspect of the story and thought I had it figured out about half way through the book. I was along the right lines but didn't get it quite right... I liked that it kept me guessing.
The writing is superior to that which I would expect from a debut novelist. It's dark, disturbing... and incredibly absorbing. Most of the characters are flawed, some more than others, and this makes for interesting reading as their 'hidden skeletons' are revealed. Camille is probably the most flawed character of all, but this just made me love her even more. I also liked how my feelings towards a few of the characters, Amma in particular, changed many times throughout the book. I really appreciate a book that can make me think and can make me question my thoughts and feelings. This book certainly made me do this.
I don't know why I waited so long to read this. For some reason I thought that the fact that it's a classic would make it a 'difficult' read, as thisI don't know why I waited so long to read this. For some reason I thought that the fact that it's a classic would make it a 'difficult' read, as this has been my experience in the past. I wish I hadn't waited, because I adored this book.
I'm sure most people know the plot by now but for those that don't, it tells the story of Scout Finch and her brother Jem, who are growing up in the Deep South in the 1930s, in a time when black people are second class citizens. They learn the hard way just how harsh many people's attitudes are when their father, Atticus, is asked to defend a black man accused of raping a white girl.
I can see why this book has stood the test of time. It's still as powerful today as it was the day it was first published. The messages still hold strong and, although we've come a long way since the book was written, there are still lessons that society can learn from this story. I find it difficult to read about race issues, or in fact any kind of abuse/prejudice - it makes me very emotional and I find it very hard to comprehend where people get their ideas and motivations from. Because of this, I found this book to be a pretty emotional read, but I still ultimately enjoyed it.
I loved the characters in this book. Scout was very cute and funny and I loved that in some ways she was very grown up for her age, but in others she still had that childish naivete. I especially liked the relationship between her and Jem - it was how brother/sister relationships should be, they looked out for one-another and got into mischief together! I loved Atticus most of all. He was the perfect gentleman and, if I didn't have such a great Dad, I'd want him to be mine. I really liked his parenting style and the way he treated his children with respect and treated them as adults, rather than belittling them and trying to hide everything from them just because they were young. I really cared about these three characters, but I also connected with the peripheral characters and this is rare in a novel.
The plot, and the subplot about the reclusive Boo Radley, was intriguing, well paced and full of drama. There weren't any parts that I considered to be slow and I was torn between wanting to rush through to find out what happened and wanting to savour the writing. I kind of wish that it was required reading at school because although I enjoyed it plenty enough reading it on my own, I'd be interested to see what else I could gain from it by reading it with a teacher and discussing it as a class.
I can definitely see myself re-reading this again and again in the future. I need to go watch the movie now....more
This book is definitely a grower. The beginning makes for a difficult read because of the lack of punctuation and grammar. I actually had to make myseThis book is definitely a grower. The beginning makes for a difficult read because of the lack of punctuation and grammar. I actually had to make myself keep reading at the beginning... I didn't like this book. Further in however, this ceases to be a problem and you realise that it all makes sense and is the best way to present the book.
The writing is beautiful in its minimalism. The characters don't have names, the scenery isn't described in much detail and we don't know anything about the catastrophe that preceded this story. This is because none of it matters. The book is a laid bare story of human survival, the overwhelming feelings of love and protection of a parent towards their child, and the unconditional love of a child towards its parent.
The Road is a harrowing, emotional read. I found myself wondering if I could make it in their situation, and I have to say I don't think I could. Then again, the book shows that a humans basic instinct is survival - even if there is nothing to survive for. It would be so much easier for them to admit defeat, yet something keeps them going.
The relationship between the father and son was very well written. There were parts of this book that brought tears to my eyes. The fact that the father still had hope for his son, even though the present was bleak, was heartwarming. Regardless of the small disagreements between the two throughout the novel, their bond was unbreakable.
This was a truly haunting novel, and is one that will stay with me for a long time....more
I'd heard about this book through many channels and it's been on my to read list for some time. I finally managed to find a copy in my local bookstoreI'd heard about this book through many channels and it's been on my to read list for some time. I finally managed to find a copy in my local bookstore and I'm really glad I picked it up.
I've always been fascinated by the mind and the subjects of psychology and psychiatry and so when I heard about this book it sounded like something I'd love. I wasn't disappointed.
Sacks has pulled together some of his most bizarre cases to make this fascinating collection of essays on the complexity of the human mind and the disorders of the right and left brain. Shocking and intriguing, sometimes I found it hard to believe that these disorders actually exist. I just cannot imagine how it would feel to have one of these disorders and have a profound respect for those people who live with them every day of their lives.
I found that the writing sometimes got a little technical and I guess this is because first and foremost Sacks is a doctor. It didn't have too much of an effect on my enjoyment of the book though. It definitely kept my interest throughout and I will be picking up his other works....more
I read this book after seeing the movie - usually not a good idea as it ruins the book, however in this case I think seeing the movie helped, althoughI read this book after seeing the movie - usually not a good idea as it ruins the book, however in this case I think seeing the movie helped, although I have no idea how.
It would be hard to summarise the plot without giving anything away and so I'll just say that it tells the story of the hidden dysfunction in a seemingly normal family, the Wheelers, in 1950s New York.
I was swept up in the story from the very start and hated putting this book down. The description was vivid and the characters were very well built. The author clearly spent time planning his characters and it shows in the detail. I felt like I knew each one of them, how they would react to situations, what made them tick and what made them angry. The third person narration works really well here too - the fact that it jumps around between characters means we can get inside their heads and it really helps with the story.
The plot doesn't really have any mysteries, cliffhangers or suchlike, however the author skillfully manages to make you want to keep reading. I found there were no slow parts and this is rare for me.
I think the appeal of the plot for me was that it showed that you never really know what goes on 'behind closed doors'. I like that it showed that even a family that looks normal might not be when you delve deeper.
It took me a few days after putting this down to review it. It has such an impact that it really had me thinking. I still don't really know what to saIt took me a few days after putting this down to review it. It has such an impact that it really had me thinking. I still don't really know what to say.
The book packs an emotional punch. It was a slow start but once I got into it I couldn't put it down. The writing is beautiful and heartfelt. The prose is, at times, breathtaking. Beloved is a story of love, but rather than being the happy kind, it's the tragic, heart-wrenching kind. Its not an easy read - far from it, it's a painful read - a book about slavery is always going to be a painful read. Morrison, however, does a wonderful job of exploring the emotional impact slavery had on the protagonist, Sethe.
This would have been a 5* from me, except for the fact that there is some jumping around between characters, which got confusing at times....more
I enjoyed this one. It was a light read and I loved the really short chapters - it made me want to read 'just one more' and kept my interest. I likedI enjoyed this one. It was a light read and I loved the really short chapters - it made me want to read 'just one more' and kept my interest. I liked that there was more than one main character and that the book flitted about between them and didn't dwell on any one for too long - it kept it fresh.
I'll definitely be reading the rest of the series....more
This book was brilliant. I couldn’t put it down. The action was there right from the beginning and didn’t let up throughout the whole story. The plotThis book was brilliant. I couldn’t put it down. The action was there right from the beginning and didn’t let up throughout the whole story. The plot was fast paced, which made it a real page turner. The main character is one of those people that you can’t help but like, despite the fact that he’s a killer. The characterisation of Reacher is in-depth and gives the book real integrity. Having read Killing Floor - which introduced Jack Reacher - but nothing in between, I liked how the character has developed between the two books.
I liked the length of the chapters. They were relatively short, which meant that each part of the book could be digested in smaller chunks and it made it easier to come back to after a break. There were a couple of twists in the book that kept my interest, and I thought they added to the plot – sometimes twists can seem contrived, but not in this case. I liked the plot subject - I can't actually say anything about it, as that would give away details, but suffice to say it's very relevant and I liked Child's take on it.
A great book, definitely one I’d recommend to fans of fast-paced thrillers. I’ve only read one other Lee Child book (and enjoyed that one too as it happens), but I’ll definitely be reading the previous books in this series. ...more
This book follows George, a retired father and husband who finds a lesion on his hip and, despite what his doctor tells him, is convinced that it is cThis book follows George, a retired father and husband who finds a lesion on his hip and, despite what his doctor tells him, is convinced that it is cancer. The story develops as George slowly begins to lose his mind. Meanwhile, the rest of the family are preparing for daughter Katie's wedding to Ray, a man they don't like very much.
I loved this book; it was very funny and felt slightly voyeuristic. It was kind of like a car crash - you feel that you shouldn't be looking (or in this case reading) yet you can't help but watch as the drama unfolds. There's nothing quite like reading about mental decline to make you realise how lucky you are to be sane!
The characterisation of George was great; the nature of the book allowed for an in-depth look at his thoughts and so I really got to know him. I also liked the way the book was written from different viewpoints - it allowed for exploration of the other characters, which wouldn't have been as easy had the book been just George's view.
I could relate to the family drama. I think that Haddon did a great job of capturing the dynamics of a family unit - the fact that you can't live with them and can't live without them. He showed that they may not get on with each other 100% of the time, however they pull together when the going gets tough.
This isn't really a book about mental illness, certainly not in the serious sense of the term. This is more about looking at what happens when you blow something hugely out of proportion. It is light-hearted and very witty novel and I loved it.
I'm looking forward to reading more from this author. ...more
I had wanted to read this for a while and so when I came across it in the library it seemed like the perfect time to read it. I'm be coming a big fanI had wanted to read this for a while and so when I came across it in the library it seemed like the perfect time to read it. I'm be coming a big fan of graphic novels and this one is another to add to the list of the ones I've loved. This book is just brilliant!
I'd heard great things about this book from a few people and I was not disappointed. The author takes a sensitive subject and manages to tell the story with humour, compassion and, most important of all, she makes it interesting. I found the author's portrayal of her father to be sympathetic, yet it was obvious how hurt she was with the things that he did and said and with the fact that she really didn't get to know the true person behind the façade before he died.
The artwork and writing work perfectly together and neither overshadows the other. The writing was great and the artwork was so detailed that I felt myself lingering over each frame because I didn't want to miss any bit of the detail!
I was sad when this book ended as I could have easily read more. I will definitely be looking out for her collection of cartoon strips - Dykes To Watch Out For....more
The narration in this book was brilliant. It really allowed me to get into the mind of the protagonist... and what a mind that is. The book is told frThe narration in this book was brilliant. It really allowed me to get into the mind of the protagonist... and what a mind that is. The book is told from the perspective of Christopher Boone, a 15 year old boy with Asperger's Syndrome. Having known a person who has Asperger's, I was able to see how well the author portrays the mindset and 'quirk's' of someone with this complex condition. Christopher, whilst out for a walk in the middle of the night, discovers that his neighbour's dog has been murdered with a pitch-fork. The story follows him as he attempts to find out whodunnit.
The story made me laugh and feel sad in equal amounts. I can't say too much, as it would give the story away, but at parts I really felt for him and wanted him to be able to connect to other characters in the way that a child without Asperger's can. In other parts, I was really rooting for him and actually cheered at one point (making myself look like a fool in the process).
Anyway, I found that this was a superbly written book and Haddon's characterisation was fantastic. I could have easily read many more pages. Some of the phrases used were a little annoying at times, however given that this is told in Christopher's words, I realise these phrases were integral to the story. Also, being fairly mathmatically-minded, I really enjoyed the maths side of the book too. Straight into my ever-expanding list of favourites....more