An age-old story…reading Eragon by Christopher Paolini.

Eragon coverIt has been several weeks now since I finished reading Eragon, but sadly it has taken me this long to sit down and compose a post about it.

I must confess that I found Eragon a little hard-going at first and was somewhat frustrated by what I conceived to be a rather simplistic and naive style of narration. It wasn’t until I idly found myself googling Eragon’s author, Christopher Paolini, that I came to understand that he was just a teenager when Eragon was published. With this in mind, I felt a my feelings soften towards the book’s narration.

As it is, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Eragon and found its plot very engaging. You can’t help but root for Eragon and Saphira – their story is the age-old one of good striving against seemingly unconquerable evil. I must confess I find it hard to analyse and critique Eragon as I have with other books, it is well plotted, but aside from this its narration, characterisation and structure are extremely straightforward. Although, I am loath to level any criticism at a young writer’s triumph, I do find Eragon’s unsophisticated style a little unsatisfying. Continue reading

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Filed under 21st century, Christopher Paolini, Fantasy, Fiction

New job. New book. New mantra…

Firsty, for those of you looking in for a review of Elizabeth Gaskell’s Wives and Daughters as promised at the end of my last post, well, there has been a change of plan. Rather than a review, this post is more of an update about what’s been going on with my reading life over the past few weeks.

commuter readA little over a month ago I began a new job and happily anticipated poring over the pages of Wives and Daughters during my new rather heftier commute. My intentions were good. After the first couple of weeks of work, it became abundantly clear to me that Wives and Daughters  was not a book I was going to especially enjoy reading. Within two chapters I was forced to acknowledge to myself that I was, well…bored. Never mind, I thought, I’ll soldier on, I’ve done it before with other books. Then my attitude began to shift. This, I think, is where I began to draw a distinction between reading at home in my armchair, and reading at bus stops and on buses. Continue reading

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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.

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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.

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Filed under 21st century, Books, Fiction, Novel