Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Angelfield House stands abandoned and forgotten. It was once home to the March family - fascinating, manipulative Isabelle, brutal, dangerous Charlie, and the wild, untamed twins, Emmeline and Adeline. But Angelfield House hides a chilling secret which strikes at the very heart of each of them, tearing their lives apart... Now Margaret Lea is investigating Angelfield's past - and the mystery of the March family starts to unravel. What has Angelfield been hiding? What is its connection with the enigmatic writer Vida Winter? And what is the secret that strikes at the heart of Margaret's own, troubled life? As Margaret digs deeper, two parallel stories unfold, and the tale she uncovers sheds a disturbing light on her own life...

Funny how one month I choose books I think I'd like to read and then read neither, but this month I read both books because I really couldn't decide which I wanted to read!
This was recommended by Janet for our book of the month after she read it she told me that she was pretty sure I would like it and it to give it a chance. I'm glad I did. I feel like it pays homage to some classic stories. Ones that are actually recommended as further reading in the back of the book. The Bronte sisters and Henry James to name a few.
Tell me the truth....
This book was a little slow at first I had other things on my mind and it wasn't engaging enough at first to hold my attention over the other thoughts in my head. Once I started on the 2nd or 3rd chapter I was hooked. The book has many mysteries and one thing I liked is that the mystery's weren't all solved at the end; they were solved as the story went along. Some I thought to myself "I knew that!" but with all mysteries you don't really know it until the author says.
I think the story is just engaging because it deals with love and loss...usually they go hand in hand. Who hasn't had to deal with those two things at some point in their lives? Some of the relationships might not be something one could relate too, but you'd understand all the same.
The main character is called on to write someone else's story, but of course she's got her own story that echos the one she is writing. There was a part about that that sort of annoyed me, but I don't want to go into too much detail as I don't want to give anything away. So, if you've read it and are curious to know what bothered me leave a message in the comment area and we'll discuss it! ;0) I also believe that some of the characters behavior to be a little OTT (over-the-top) and very dramatic.
Other then that a very entertaining read which I would recommend!! As long as you take it as that. If you are a lover of the classics then you might want to be wary. But as I just said as long as you don't expect anything amazing you'll have no reason to be disappointed!

PS In the UK it tells us where she went to high school and it is where my husband went!! Not at the same time as she was born in the late 40's early 50's where my husband was born in the 80's! :0) click here for her biography!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami Book Review/Recommendation

Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
Kafka on the Shore follows the fortunes of two remarkable characters. Kafka Tamura runs away from home at fifteen, under the shadow of his father's dark prophesy. The aging Nakata, tracker of lost cats, who never recovered from a bizarre childhood affliction, finds his pleasantly simplified life suddenly turned upside down. Their parallel odysseys are enriched throughout by vivid accomplices and mesmerising dramas. Cats converse with people; fish tumble from the sky; a ghostlike pimp deploys a Hegel-spouting girl of the night; a forest harbours soldiers apparently un-aged since WWII. There is a savage killing, but the identity of both victim and killer is a riddle. Murakami's novel is at once a classic quest, but it is also a bold exploration of mythic and contemporary taboos, of patricide, of mother-love, of sister-love. Above all it is an entertainment of a very high order.

This was an amazing read. I think it was meant to sit on my shelf for a year for a reason. I think it was waiting for me to finish watching Lost and take an interest in philosophy before reading it. It was full of philosophical thinking and metaphors. Haruki has said that it is a book you will need to read a few times to unravel all the puzzles. Although I don't feel I need to read it again, I really want too! After I read a book I like to go on to Amazon and read all the reviews good and bad to see what other people thought. One reviewer who gave it a 1 star said that he/she believed that no one understood this book and that they just said they did to sound smart and/or superior. Now there is some strange stuff in this book not all of it making straight forward sense, but as for the story...the story makes sense. Not like After Dark (same author) where I couldn't make heads or tails of it. Maybe it needs another re-read. I just had a quick look back and I never reviewed that book...probably because I wasn't sure what to make of it! ha anyway back to Kafka on the Shore.
As it says above the book follows two different people who never actually meet in the story but who's lives sort of depend on each other. I love stories like that. It just makes you wonder who's life is important or integral to yours...that is if they exist. I think if you like crazy stories this is one for you. I wish I could read Japanese to read it in it's original language I was wonder what is lost in translation. Not sure what else to say but after I reread it I will write another review saying what it was I found!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Whatcha' Reading?

I want to know what everyone is reading so far this summer? I am currently reading KaFka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami. I have had it on my to-read-list (and on my shelf) for well over a year! I am kicking myself for waiting so long! I am about half way through and am in love...might have to re-think my top ten list! Of course I have to wait until the end as the end could ruin it!
Will write a review soon!

Anyone see a movie recently that they have also read the book? Let us know which you would recommend!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith:   This is the journal of Cassandra Mortmain; an extraordinary account of life with her extraordinary family. First, there is her eccentric father. Then there is her sister, Rose - beautiful, vain and bored - and her stepmother, Topaz, an artist's model who likes to commune with nature. Finally, there is Stephen, dazzlingly handsome and hopelessly in love with Cassandra.
In the cold and crumbling castle which is their home, Cassandra records events with characteristic honesty, as she tries to come to terms with her own feelings. The result is both marvellously funny and genuinely moving.
Dorothy Gladys 'Dodie' Smith was born in 1896 in Lancashire and she was one of the most successful female dramatists of her generation. Her first novel, I Capture the Castle, was written when she lived in America during the 1940's and marked her crossover debut from playwright to novelist. The novel became an immediate success and was produced as a play in 1954. She has written numerous other novels but is best known today for The Hundred and One Dalmatians, a story for younger readers.
This is a coming of age story that made me feel 17 again. Thank goodness I'm not 17 anymore, but sometimes it's nice to remember what it was like: to remember the events that changed our view of the world. Cassandra is a lovely character and you can't help but relate to her. Her relationship with her sister and being the middle child are only two of the reasons I felt I could relate. I also remember what it is like to have someone in love with you, but try as you might you do not love them back in the same way.
I am very much in love with this book and am already wanting to reread it. Part of me wonders if I like this book so much because in the introduction, Valeria Grove, tells us that she was an English woman living in America who missed England terribly. I just know what that feels like. In the novel you can tell how much Smith is in love with England. I Capture the Castle is so beautifully written that even if you've never been to England, you will definitely think you have.
I would recommend it to anyone and everyone. I wish I had read this when I was a teenager. Definitely one I will be encouraging my daughters to read when they are teenagers, that is if they enjoy reading as much as I do!! I don't know what else to say of this book then to read it.
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