May 30, 2012
So this is another post about Jodi Picoult, as promised, this time about the novel- ‘My Sister’s Keeper’.
Goodreads Synopsis: Written with grace, wisdom, and sensitivity, this novel is about a teen who was conceived as a bone marrow match for her sister Kate, and what happens when she begins to question who she really is.
When I wrote about The Pact recently, the other book I’ve read by Picoult, I stated that Picoult had a habit of making the extrodinary ordinary. My Sister’s Keeper is definitely the better book, possibly because it deals with something which, sadly, is prevalent in our world- cancer, and is thus much easier to relate to. The book is deeply moving- it honestly makes you cry. It looks deeply into the effect of cancer and into the nature of right and wrong. When faced with unusual circumstances and life and death choices. What is actually the ‘right’ thing to do- as a parent, as a sister, as a a friend. This is life at it’s extreme- and reading it is beyond excellent.
Reading Picoult is a bit like watching Opra- a guilty pleasure you can’t quite seem to tear your eyes from, because the people’s stories make you re-examine your judgements of other’s decisions and make you realize just how easy your life is. And also because it’s kinda like a soap opera. And now it’s a film. Enjoy.
May 27, 2012
Mostly so that I can shock some of my poor readers, who seem to falsely believe that I’m actually quite well read, I felt the need to share some books of shame. Book lovers seem to be in a silent, unwritten war to be the better read- not only in the number of books consumed but also in the quality of them. So here are some OMG you haven’t read that moments that have ocurred recently.
1. The Bell Jar
– This classic is number one on my list simply because there is a movie adaptation coming out soon and, as you should always read the book before the movie, I need to read this. Also because a friend of mine swears by this book and if I don’t read it he may murder me.
2. 1984– As this book is one that is constantly being quoted by everyone on the planet, and is supposedly
3. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
– Everyone I speak to is raving about this book, so maybe I should read it too! It’s not really up my street, but with so many people raving about it, I should make the effort.
4. Catch- 22
– A fellow blogging friend- wantoncreation
– says that this is undoubtedly his favorite book, which means that I really should read it at some point. But I simply haven’t. Just not gotten round to it.
5. Charles Dickens
– It’s not that I haven’t read him, more that I have never managed to actually finish him. Ever. I bow to his literary prowess, but I can’t seem to really get into his stories. Then again, it’s been just under a decade since I tried, so maybe it’s time to try again.
Anyone have any books that they are slightly ashamed of having not read?
May 25, 2012
Because books and art are amazing.
May 23, 2012
I feel that I should dedicate a little time to the lovely Jodi Picoult, so the next couple of posts will be about her. This first one is about the first book I read by her- The Pact.
Goodreads Synopsis: For eighteen years the Hartes and the Golds have lived next door to each other, sharing everything from Chinese food to chicken pox to carpool duty– they’ve grown so close it seems they have always been a part of each other’s lives. Parents and children alike have been best friends, so it’s no surprise that in high school Chris and Emily’s friendship blossoms into something more. They’ve been soul mates since they were born. So when midnight calls from the hospital come in, no one is ready for the appalling truth: Emily is dead at seventeen from a gunshot wound to the head. There’s a single unspent bullet in the gun that Chris took from his father’s cabinet– a bullet that Chris tells police he intended for himself.
You may notice a pattern in my reviews in that I tend to review and write about books that I expect nothing from to start out with. The Pact was a bit like that. Even though I was recommended the book by a friend, I was dubious. It didn’t really seem like something that would be up my street. But the more I got into it, the better it was. Picoult keeps you guessing all the way until the end and even when you’re a little infuriated with the story dragging on for so long, you remain completely glued to the page, you need to know what really happened, you need to hear every last detail even if Picoult’s writing isn’t anything special.
The reason I’ve chosen to write about Picoult, and this book in particular, is that she looks at really serious issues from a completely different perspective. She makes the extraordinary ordinary, and gets into the heads of people who do things which shock and appall society and show how that person can be driven to that extreme. So it’s enjoyable in the way that reading a mass murderer’s diary is- you are so compelled by the madness of it that you can’t help but keep reading.
May 18, 2012
Because we all know it’s true 🙂
May 16, 2012
Goodreads Synopsis: Salazar has just risen to power, and with an iron fist imposes order in the country. Government accounts arebalanced, Beatriz Costa animates the Parque Mayer, the PVED are a constant and silent threat. Louis is an idealistic student who begins to date the honey-eyed Amelia. The love between the two will, however, be severely tested by the objection of the girl’s mother, an unexpected murder and civil war in Spain. Through a story of a passion that defies the traditional values of conservative Portugal, this fascinating novel takes us to through the fire of the years in which the Estado Novo was forged. (apologies for my translation)
This book took me quite a while to get in to, but once it got going it was thoroughly entertaining. Firstly, I loved Santos’ ability to make the character’s voices come alive- you can hear their accents, imagine their movements and see them perfectly in your mind’s eye. Secondly the characters were realistic. They were not heroes- not much of what they do is noble or noteworthy, but it is real. Some of the characters are downright distasteful, but they are also completely human- and that is something quite unique to this book. Finally this book is excellent because of Santos’ portrayal of the fervor of youth mellowing into the reality of adulthood and the bitterness of the choices that life forces us to make. It’s a realistic Romeo and Juliet- a star-crossed lovers story with a large dose of reality and history to round it nicely off. All in all a great read.
Once again I feel a little guilty reviewing a book that doesn’t have an English translation, but it counts towards my challenge, so I hope you’ve enjoyed my review anyway.
May 11, 2012
C.S. Lewis- awesome man..
May 9, 2012
There are two things that prompted me to write about Judy Blume. The first was finding her book ‘Forever’ on my bookshelf from what felt like eons ago. The second was visiting the town where I spent my early teenage years for the first time in about a decade. ‘Forever’, a tiny little book with an orange cover, has never featured in my top books of all time list or anything of the like. But it did, along with other Judy Blume novels, remain memorable nonetheless.
Blume is well known for being one of the first teen authors to deal with issues such as sex, racism and religion in a way that young teens (in particular of the female variety) can easily relate to. The books have been banned in schools due to controversy on their subject matter and having read an article (which was actually from around 2005) about ‘Forever’ being banned in certain schools, I felt the need to throw in my two pennies.
It’s easy to forget, as we grow up, how difficult being a teenager really was. Teenagers are struggling with physical, emotional and spiritual changes, and probably the most difficult feeling is that of loneliness and isolation. Teenagers feel that they are the only ones going through these problems. Judy Blume’s books may not be testaments to excellent literary specimens, and they can even be seen as controversial. But they are also honest, insightful, and written as though Blume has never forgotten the struggles of a young girl. If there is one thing reading Blume will do it is make you feel just a little less alone (and by you I mean teenage you- when you’re past 17 Blume becomes irrelevant). So whilst I was reading about Blume’s books being banned and one parent describing her books as making them feel ‘uncomfortable’, I couldn’t help but feel just a little sad for those young ladies unable to partake in Blume’s work. Because Blume may not change your life, but she will deal with issues that every 15 year old needs to know are not ‘weird’ problems.