Category Archives: Novel

A beautiful mess…a review of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

QuestionsSometimes when I sit down to write my blog posts, my book reviews, I find it really tricky to begin…to know where it is that I should start – today is one of those days. I’ve spent the last twenty minutes faffing around googling quotations from The Book Thief (which I’m supposed to be reviewing). It’s helped in a way, the spirit of the book which I finished a couple of weeks ago now has returned to me somewhat. It has also hindered, for it has confirmed to me the enormity of the task I’m trying to complete. I think it’s far, far easier to review a book which you dislike, a book which angers you or a book which you consider poor. To review a book you rate and esteem, that’s a weightier task altogether. And so it is that I find myself struggling for an adequate beginning, an opening if you like. Where to begin?

“Even death has a heart.”  cover

As you may have already gleaned, I was very impressed by Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief, it’s one of those books that you know will stay with you all your life. Aptly, it will haunt you. I say ‘aptly’ because this book is a story about death, and consequently life. It is narrated by the most omnipotent of all narrators, death himself. It opens,

“HERE IS A SMALL FACT

You are going to die.” and then,

“…does this worry you?” Continue reading

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under 21st century, Books, Fiction, Markus Zusak, Novel, Reading

Refreshingly pithy…a review of The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith.

The SilkwormAs more regular readers will know, I reviewed The Cuckoo’s Calling (the first in Galbraith’s Cormoron Strike novels) back in April last year and thoroughly enjoyed it; so, when I heard that a second book was coming out I knew that it had to go on my ‘to read’ list. Sometimes when you read a good book and then hear about a sequel you can feel a little apprehensive – unsure whether the author will be able to work the same magic a second time, or wondering if the premise of the story will stretch to a second novel – not so with Galbraith (or should I say J. K. Rowling as she was unmasked as its author shortly after the publication of the first book).

I never had concerns about The Silkworm, feeling that with Rowling I was undoubtedly in safe hands. I wasn’t disappointed. Just like A Cuckoo’s Calling, I was totally gripped by The Silkworm and tore through its pages at an alarming rate. Rowling’s writing, whatever her subject, has the smoothest flow to it, it’s never clunky or overly wordy. Rather like the strikesmooth pints of ale her hero likes to consume, her prose streams cooly from the page to your brain with very little effort on your part and leaves you feeling refreshed. I think, for me, ‘refreshing’ very much hits the nail on the head for how I would describe Rowling’s writing. It is such an uninterrupted easy read; and I have found this to be true with every book of hers I’ve ever read – from Harry Potter to The Casual Vacancy, each book is imbued with her beautifully flowing, concise style.  Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under 21st century, Books, Fiction, J.K. Rowling, Novel, Robert Galbraith

Still sitting on the fence…a review of Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen.

S&SWell, I’ve finished reading Sense and Sensibility – it’s been an interesting read this one. As I mentioned at the end of my last post I hadn’t read Sense and Sensibility since I was a teenager and back then I wasn’t especially keen on the book. Confusingly, over ten years later, I still find myself sitting on the fence with regards to this book. While I most definitely enjoyed reading it more this time around, I can’t say that it’s ever going to be a book I love. It seems to me that Sense and Sensibility is something of a solid, middle-of-the-road kind of classic novel. It’s well written and plotted and its characters are well-developed, and yet, for me, there is still something a little lacking. There is far less humour to be found in Sense and Sensibility compared to some of Austen’s other works and her satirisation of characters is not as cleverly done as in some of her other writing.

s&s badge copyDon’t get me wrong, though. I’m not saying that I found reading Sense and Sensibility unenjoyable, far from it.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under 19th century, Books, Fiction, Jane Austen, Novel, Re-reading, Reading

A powerful past…a review of The Debutante by Kathleen Tessaro.

debutante dressThe Debutante by Kathleen Tessaro proved to be a really engaging read. As I mentioned in my last post, it’s been a while since I’ve indulged myself in the world of chick lit and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this latest foray. I chose The Debutante having read a couple of Tessaro’s books in the past – it had some mixed reviews on Amazon, so I was a little nervous. The Debutante is certainly a little different to Tessaro’s earlier books, but I found it to be a very rewarding read.

The two inter-locking stories in The Debutante are told from the perspective of 21st century amateur historian Cate and 1930s debutante and society girl Diana Blythe, affectionately known as Baby. Cate happens upon some belongings as she and a colleague prepare items from an old house for auction and the story unravels from there. The juxtaposition of Cate’s narrative alongside letters written by Baby in the 1930s is a clever one, allowing the reader a slight head start on the somewhat detective-like Cate as she tries to discover the truth behind Baby Blythe’s mysterious disappearance.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under 21st century, Books, Fiction, Novel