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.
A 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
Well, 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.
Don’t get me wrong, though. I’m not saying that I found reading Sense and Sensibility unenjoyable, far from it.
The 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.
**Please note, there are no spoilers in this post.**
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.”
George R. R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons.
I know I’ve been away a while, but in all fairness I have spent my time well. I have read five books in seven volumes (a bit confusing I know, simplified that’s seven pretty big books). I am now up to date with George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire books and am left waiting, like the rest of the world, as he pens the next in the series.
Like a great many others, I was inspired to read A Song of Ice and Fire after watching HBO’s television series Game of Thrones. Naturally, having loved the TV series, I had pretty high expectations. In fact, it has been said to me by other fans of the show that they were wary of reading the books in case they didn’t live up to their television twin. I can firmly say that those people’s fears are unfounded. I absolutely loved George R. R. Martin’s books and was gripped with every chapter. The characters on the page are just as compelling as those on-screen and the plot-lines are even richer and more developed.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I began reading the books, I couldn’t imagine what narrative voice would be used to encompass so very many characters and worlds. I needn’t have been worried, Martin has an ingenious solution. Each chapter in his series of books is narrated by a different character (some characters having more chapters than others) and the events of that chapter take place from their perspective and show the events transpiring wherever they are in the story-world’s ‘seven kingdoms’. This narrative device ensures that you never feel like one character is more important than another, you also get a snapshot into the mind and thinking processes of each of the story’s principal characters. It makes for a very unbiased narration. Continue reading