KimN ~ The Pillars of the Earth

23 01 2010

The Pillars of the Earth ~ Ken Follett

I’m not really sure what prompted me to start reading another 900+ page book… but I’m already 300 pages in to The Pillars of the Earth and am thoroughly enjoying it so far.

Jan. 9 ~ 500 pages in and I am loving this book.  Thanks to Jamie’s friend Casey for recommending it to me!  Its always a good thing when you still really, really want to pick up a book when you still have 500 pages to go!

Jan. 23 ~ 70-ish pages to go!  I’m hoping to finish this book tonight… and I still love it!

Jan. 25 ~ My hopes were not in vain – I finished this book on Saturday night.  I REALLY liked this book, like probably one of my top 10 reads this last year (we really need to do a yearly recap, now that this blog is 1 year old… so stay tuned for that).

Follett wove a story full of rich characters that really drew you in – they made you want to fight for them when they were in a bind, cry with them when they experienced sorrow, and smile with them when they experienced pure bliss.

There were so many facets to this novel – so many different layers that kept it interesting all the way through its 983 pages.  Set in the 12th century, the novel explores the Middle Ages in all its glory and disgrace.  Something about this historical time period just captures my attention.  I remember being fascinated when learning about it in elementary and high school, and I’m excited to continue to learn more as I use reading as a medium to absorb more and more information!

I’m not sure what else to say, you should read this book… I hope you will love it too!

Follett has written 19 novels and I can’t wait to pick up the next one!

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Nic ~ Under the Dome

12 01 2010

Under the Dome – Stephen King

This book has it’s own TRAILER for crying out loud!  An official trailer nonetheless.  I guess King goes big or goes home eh?

Disclaimer: this is the first Stephen King novel I have ever read.  I am by no means a horror fan.  I scare easy and remember the scary stuff for too long.  But I also knew the King was not solely a horror writer, and was willing to give him a go.  I’d been hearing buzz about this story, and it’s technically Sci Fi, and I am more than technically a Sci Fi fan, so off to the races I went.

Here’s the short dealio : A small town America community is suddenly, and without any seeming reason, cut off from the rest of the world, caught underneath a massive dome.  Military actions ensue, but it’s to no avail.  No one gets in, no one gets out.  Now the townspeople can rely on no one else, but it’s not just friends stuck in there…bad people and enemies are milling about all over the place, trying to keep resources for themselves.  Will they get out?  Will the find out why they are there, and who did it?

I hope it’s Kujo who’s trapped them all in there.

This book is giant sized, over 1000 pages…so maybe in a few weeks I will have all these answers for you!





Nic ~ The Great Gatsby

11 01 2010

The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great American Novel says what?

chicken butt.

why?

chicken thigh.

Maybe it’s because I read this book full of expectations, maybe because I whisked through it because it looked little, maybe because I didn’t put enough effort into it….Maybe it’s because I am not American.

But I don’t get it.  I think that I am going to read it again.  Slowly, and with focus, and intention.

I suppose that I can see why this would be considered a great literary work…the story itself is interesting, characters on the whole are rich and seemingly dimensional.  Touching upon the “Jazz Age”, prohibition, organized crime, love, jealousy,  the relationship between the pride of being priviledgde and the fall of the materialistic.  It was a piece of literature, that actually upon it’s first arrival to publication, did very poorly, but over time garnered a huge success and following.  And I am able to see the attributes that would gain it this following, but I am feeling far to high minded about it to myself be a respectful fan.

I just think Nick is a take me for a ride pansy, Daisy is a quasi tempting poison, and that Gatsby is a wiener.

I seriously will read this again soon and write a more apt review.





Nic ~ The Twisted Heart

11 01 2010

The Twisted Heart ~ Rebecca Gowers

As you can probably read on the picture of the cover, this book has an interesting little premise that beckoned me to read it.

Kit, a work obsessed literary student, is obsessed with death.  Not all death, just that of prostitutes in the 1900s.  I says pardon?  Kit has spent her time becoming an expert on Dickens, and is searching for clues as to how a real life murder coinciding with the writing of Olive Twist may have been tied to it.  Pouring over documentation in her single room flat, or at the local library leaves little time for a love life.  But when she forces herself to engage in the outdoor world via a dancing class, she finds herself being chased by danger as well…the danger of love (bazinga!).  As her relationship with Joe, as well as both their families and friend further, Joe brings new insight into her hunt for finding out how a real life crime affected not only the writing, but the life, and ultimate demise of one of the worlds greatest literary voices.

As a side note, supposedly the information about Dickens and the murder mystery cases entanglement are in fact, actually new details, that are providing new insight to scholars as to how Dickens concocted his tales.

I was more interested in finding out the details of Dickens and the gruesome real life murder than the romance myself, but an interesting read for a true literary lady.  At times, I found it to be a little bit sluggish in pace, but still, not bad in the end.





Nic ~ On Chesil Beach

11 01 2010

On Chesil Beach – Ian McEwan

I previously really enjoyed Ian McEwan’s work, Atonement.  So, I decided that I would take a crack at another one of his works.

Focusing on the wedding night of a newly married couple, it takes us along on the tormented ride as they try to navigate through the expectations of one another as a spouse, and their perceived duties to one another.

The book is a short read, but nonetheless, chock full of emotion.  Moving from trepidation and confusion, to determined and vigilant, to joy and then to pain and bitterness, McEwan certainly does a good job in catching all the fleeting human emotions that pass through one.  As the short story deepens, you begin to learn about the husband and wife’s lives before one another, and beginning to understand the delicate balance in which they exist, you begin to see the heavily weighted string upon which everything is dangling for these two.

I found this story to be very interesting and powerful.  It reflects on different times, when men and women alike were quiet about sex, kept in the dark, and refrained from discussing it in any way (although a note here, interestingly enough, this book spares no details, some of which I found to be unnecessary, but I can be a bit of a prude sometimes.  I can see how the author would deem them necessary to tell the story as he wanted to).  Now a days, the very opposite seems to be true.  From a young age, boys and girls alike know things that worry me to think about, things that young minds cannot at all fully comprehend, let alone deal with emotionally.  This book pushes that idea forward, dealing with how different experiences change people, making me think that neither that period of time, nor the current one have gone about it in the best of ways.  An answer to repression is often to be liberated.  I took away that in life, neither approach really seems to win over a situation.

An interesting read, but possibly not for all.





Nic ~ How To Buy A Love of Reading

11 01 2010

How to Buy A Love of Reading – Tanya Egan Gibson

I stumbled upon this book long ago on a Chapters shelve.  It was pretty, and it sounded interesting, but was only in a very expensive hardcover.  I checked it out every time I went, and then low and behold, months later, there was a buy 2 get one sale…and I got it….

And in the end, I was kind of disappointed.

The premise of this book is briefly as follows: privileged young woman is doing poorly in English, so her parents concoct the perfect plan.  BUY her an author to write her her own story.  As she she tries to work with her gift, the author, she is also trying her best to navigate through her own career as an adolescent high school-er, along with a best friend who seems to be losing himself into a shady world he has no control over.

Pretty much, long story short, this book seemed to turn into F. Scott Fitzgerald in the midst of a Gossip Girl episode.  Or so I will assume, seeing as I respect myself too much to have ever watched an episode of it (I do like their clothes though…).  We have a born into privilege  bad boy who used to be a good boy, but just cannot stop doing the bad things…Drama, drama, drama.  Then some more drama.  Then some underage drinking, then some illicit drug use, them some cheating, then some blah blah blah.  Boring, and pretentious, and not even the fun kind of pretentiousness.  I could tell you what happens to our Golden Boy in the end, but you’re going to see it coming from about the 100th page anyways.

This books one ONE saving grace, was that the structure of this book was brilliant.  Seeing as how this book is about writing a book, each subsection of the story itself coincides with what is being written in the fake book….confusing? let me explain quickly:  when our main character and her author begin focusing on the say, theme of the book, the theme of the book you are actually reading is being unfolded at the same time.  Ahhhh…master trickery.  This part of the book is mainly why I kept on going…and I wanted to see what would happen with the main character and her author would do once the best friend went off and did whatever predictable thing he may or may not have done.





Nic ~ Her Fearful Symmetry

11 01 2010

Her Fearful Symmetry – Audrey Niffenegger

I was not sure what to expect when reading this book.  I think that I expected to be amazed, and to have achieved that by means of well written, yet flawed as they should be characters and a plot that would make me think.

What that plot would entail, I was questioning.  Although there is a synopsis printed on the books insert, it still left a lot to the imagination.  I got this much: twin sisters, whose own mother is a twin, move to their deceased aunts apartment in London where they begin to wreck havoc, disrupting the lives of those around them….which could mean anything!

And indeed, not to give it all away, but this book took a unexpected turn that begins to focus on the afterlife.  As the girls begin to unravel more of the mystery of their mother and their aunt, they begin to unravel more and more mysteries surrounding their dead aunts current where abouts.

I myself am not sure what I thought about the plot of this book.  The characters, as with The Time Travelers Wife, are rich, intricate, yet broken.  That alone, I would read this book for.  Niffenegger spins richly woven tales of mystery that keep you wanting more.  But when I reached the end of this one, I was split on my decision about it.

I’m waiting for Kim or some of my other friends to read this, so I can see what others think about this book, and if they share my thoughts and opinions.  If you’ve read it, let me know what you think!