Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale (5)

When Dashti, a maid, and Lady Saren, her mistress, are shut in a tower for seven years for Saren’s refusal to marry a man she despises, the two prepare for a very long and dark imprisonment. As food runs low and the days go from broiling hot to freezing cold, it is all Dashti can do to keep them fed and comfortable. But the arrival outside the tower of Saren’s two suitors—one welcome, and the other decidedly less so—brings both hope and great danger, and Dashti must make the desperate choices of a girl whose life is worth more than she knows. With Shannon Hale’s lyrical language, this forgotten but classic fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm is reimagined and reset on the central Asian steppes; it is a completely unique retelling filled with adventure and romance, drama and disguise.

I was so excited to find this book the other day and couldn't wait to read it .... It took me all of 2 days ... Mainly because I had to stop reading to look after my family ... :) lol .....

This is a great wee book I absolutely loved it and cannot wait to dive in with the Princess Academy which I will be reading next ... I think I have discovered a new favourite author ...

Dashti is a wonderful character and the book is written in a journal form from Dashti's perspective .... Which is interesting .... You go through the different emotions with her whether it is saddest, joy or humorous ... She just writes down her want she is thinking which is refreshing to read .... I have to say that she has the patience of a saint when it comes to her Lady Saren I think I would have strangled her after day 10 never mind day 932 ....

This is a wonderful book for Young Girls to read and I thoroughly enjoyed it from the beginning to end ... I love how Shannon has mingled drawings throughout and you really feel a close bond to Dashti ...

This is a gorgeous book of Adventure and Romance and it will have you swooning ... No matter how old you are !!! .... I will definitely be giving this book to my daughter to read .....

I rate this book 5*****

It is nice to think to that she is LDS and she says “I say a prayer before I begin my writing time each day. By no means do I think that my books are ‘inspired,’ but I believe the Lord does give us a lift and aids us in completing our righteous endeavors when we seek His help.”

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Teaser Tuesday

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
Grab your current read.
Let the book fall open to a random page.
Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
Please avoid spoilers

"On a night very like this, many years ago, his whole life had changed. It might have been the age of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, but there were also people around at the time in search of unknown forces, forces they didn't even believe in. They made use of magical powers, all the while thinking that they were stronger than the powers themselves, convinced that they'd be able to leave the Tradition as soon as boredom set in"

Pg 168 of Brida by Paulo Coelho

Brida by Paulo Coelho

"But how will I know who my Soulmate is?" "By taking risks," she said to Brida. "By risking failure, disappointment, disillusion, but never ceasing in your search for Love. As long as you keep looking, you will triumph in the end." This is the story of Brida, a beautiful young Irish girl, and her quest for knowledge. On her journey she meets a wise man who teaches her about overcoming her fears, and a woman who teaches her how to dance to the hidden music of the world. They see in her a gift, but must let her make her own voyage of discovery. As Brida seeks her destiny, she struggles to find a balance between her relationships and her desire to transform herself. A moving tale of love, passion, mystery and spirituality from the master storyteller and author of The Alchemist. "Coelho is a novelist who writes in a universal language." New York Times

I got drawn by this book mainly because I had read and really loved the Alchemist and the story line is also set in my beloved Ireland .... So I think I had really high hopes for this novel ...

There is throughout the novel certain thought provoking sentences which do make you think but I sort of got lost when it went down the road of witchcraft etc .... And not that I am a prude about matters like that because I have read and enjoyed a number of books with that subject ... But because I found myself feeling abit uncomfortable with some of the spiritual views expressed ... I was looking for the same enlightenment and delight which I received when I read the Alchemist which was missing in this novel ...

Brida the main character is a likable character and you do relate to her search for a Sole mate ... Isn't that what everyone wishes to be able to find their other half ... The special someone who you feel completes you ...

And I do agree with going on a personal journey to find yourself before you can let someone else in ... The wise man Magus is a lovely character and he can see the potential in Brida but has got to let her make her own discoveries while watching in the sidelines ... And there is a real sense when reading the novel to be more aware of the world around you ..

This is a quick and easy read and dotted throughout are bits of magic !!!

Unfortunately not in the same class as The Alchemist which still remains one of my favourite books ...

I rate this book 2 **

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Victorian Challenge for 09

Victorian Challenge Rules:

1. The challenge starts the 1st January 2009 and ends the 30th June 2009.
2. This challenge is open to everyone who wishes to participate.
3. You can choose the number of books you want to read by selecting one of the reading levels proposed.

books wrote during the Victorian Era

books set during that period

books about that period or biographies

Reading Levels:
A drink at Whitechapel: 3 books

1) Possession by A S Byatt



Discussion Questions for Possession by A S Byatt

Ok if your doing this Vintage Book in your Book Club here are some Discussion Questions for you : But be warned they are quite involved !!!

1. What is the significance of the novel's title? Do you think it has more than one meaning? What does the concept of "possession" mean to the novel's various characters, both modern and Victorian? How can possession be seen as the theme of the book?

2. Ash is nicknamed "the Great Ventriloquist" but this sobriquet could as easily be applied to Byatt herself. Why does Byatt use poetry to give away so many clues to the story? Are the poems a necessary and integral part of the novel or would it have worked just as well without them? Do you find that the poems in the novel succeed in their own right as poetry?

3. All the characters' names are carefully chosen and layered with meaning. What is the significance behind the following names: Roland Michell, Beatrice Nest, Sir George Bailey, Randolph Ash, Maud Bailey, Christabel LaMotte, Fergus Wolff? (Clues to the last three may be found in the poetry by Tennyson, Yeats, and Coleridge cited below.) Do any other names in the novel seem to you to have special meanings? How do the names help define, or confuse, the relationships between the characters?

4. The scholars in the novel see R. H. Ash as a specifically masculine, Christabel LaMotte as a specifically feminine, type of poet, just as Robert Browning and Christina Rossetti, the poets on whose work Ash's and LaMotte's are loosely based, were considered to be extreme examples of the masculine and feminine in literature. Do you feel that such a classification is valid? What is there about Ash's and LaMotte's diction and subject matter that fulfills our ideas of "masculine" and "feminine"? Do the poets themselves consciously enact masculine and feminine roles? Do you find that Christabel's poetry is presented as being secondary to Ash's? Or that the work of the two poets is complementary?

5. Ellen Ash wrote her journal as a "defence against, and a bait for, the gathering of ghouls and vultures" [p. 501]. Mortimer Cropper is literally presented as a ghoul, robbing the poet's grave. Beatrice Nest, on the other hand, wishes to preserve Christabel's final letter to Randolph unread. What is the fine line, if any, between a ghoulish intrusion upon the privacy of the dead, and the legitimate claims of scholarship and history? As much as the scholars have discovered, one secret is kept from them at the end and revealed only to the reader. What is that secret and what difference does it make to Roland's future?

6. Freedom and autonomy are highly valued both by Christabel and Maud. What does autonomy mean to each of these characters? In Christabel's day, it was difficult for women to attain such autonomy; is it still difficult, in Maud's? What does autonomy mean to Roland? Why does mutual solitude and even celibacy assume a special importance in his relationship with Maud?

7. The moment of crisis in the poets' lives, 1859, was a significant year, as it saw the publication of Charles Darwin's Origin of Species. The theory of natural selection delivered a terrible blow to the Victorians' religious faith and created a climate of uncertainty: "Doubt," says Christabel, "doubt is endemic to our life in this world at this time" [p. 182]. How does Byatt compare this spiritual crisis with that which has befallen Roland and Maud's generation, who are taught to believe that the "self" is illusory [p. 459]?

8. The fluffy Beatrice Nest is scorned by the feminist scholars who crave access to Ellen Ash's journal. Yet in her way Beatrice is as much a victim of "patriarchy" as any of the Victorian women they study. What is the double standard at work among these politically minded young people? Can Beatrice be seen as a "superfluous woman," like Blanche and Val? What, if anything, do these three women have in common?

9. Ash writes "Swammerdam" with a particular reader, Christabel LaMotte, in mind. Is Christabel's influence on Ash evident in the poem, and if so, how and where? How, in the poem, does Ash address his society's preoccupation with science and religion? How does he address his and Christabel's conflicting religious ideas? How does Christabel herself present these ideas in Mélusine?

10. Why is Christabel so affected by Gode's tale of the miller's daughter? What are its parallels with her own life?

11. The fairy Mélusine has, as Christabel points out, "two aspects--an Unnatural Monster--and a most proud and loving and handy woman" [p. 191]. How does Christabel make Mélusine's situation a metaphor for that of the woman poet? Does Christabel herself successfully defy society's strictures against women artists, or does her awareness of the problem cripple her, either professionally or emotionally? At the end of her life she wonders whether she might have been a great poet, as she believes Ash was, if she had kept to her "closed castle" [p. 545]. What do you think?

12. Roland and Maud believe they are taking part in a quest. This is a classic element of medieval and nineteenth-century Romance, of which they are well aware. Aside from the quest, what other elements of Romance can be found in Maud and Roland's story? In Christabel and Randolph's? What other genres are exploited in the novel?

13. When he returns to his flat at the end of the novel, Roland decides there is "no reason why he should not go out into the garden" [p. 514]. What is the emotional significance of his finally entering the garden? Poems that will enrich your understanding of Possession Robert Browning, "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came," "My Last Duchess," "Porphyria's Lover," "Caliban Upon Setebos," "Bishop Blougram's Apology," "Mr. Sludge, the 'Medium'," "Andrea del Sarto," and "Fra Lippo Lippi"; Samuel Taylor Coleridge, "Christabel"; Andrew Marvell, "To His Coy Mistress," "The Garden"; Petrarch, Rime Sparse; Christina Rossetti, Poetical Works; Alfred, Lord Tennyson, "Merlin and Vivien" from Idylls of the King, In Memoriam, "Maud," "Mariana," "The Lady of Shallott"; W.B. Yeats, The Rose.
Here's a link to a summary of the book which you may find helpful ...

Possession by A S Byatt (3 1/2)

Roland Michell and Maud Bailey, two rather unfulfilled young literary scholars, unexpectedly become figures of romance as they discover a surprising link between the two poets on whom they are authorities. Byatt deftly plays with literary genres--Romantic quest, campus satire, detective story, myth, fairy tale--as Maud and Roland become deeply involved in the unfolding story of a secret relationship between the Victorian poets Randolph Henry Ash and Christabel LaMotte. The young people's quest inevitably attracts the jealous attention of the competitive academic world, and all too soon the quest becomes a chase. Byatt's staggering technical ambition and her powerful romantic vision are tributes to the great Victorian age, which the novel brings to life. "For the Victorians, everything was part of one thing: science, religion, philosophy, economics, politics, women, fiction, poetry," Byatt says. "They didn't compartmentalize--they thought BIG"

''The book,'' Ms. Byatt writes, ''was thick and black and covered with dust. Its boards were bowed and creaking; it had been maltreated in its own time. Its spine was missing, or, rather, protruded from amongst the leaves like a bulky marker. It was bandaged about and about with dirty white tape, tied in a neat bow.''

I have to say I have been dying to dive into this book for a while and although it did take me a little bit to get into it I really enjoyed it .... I have to say that it is not for the faint hearted as the language sometimes is difficult but if you take your time with the novel it is really well written ...

The Title of the novel is POSSESSION and it is really adeptly named ... As throughout the book you can see how people wish to Possess either other people or possessions as their own .... And feel that they have a rightful claim .........

If you are a lover of Poetry then you will adorn this book as it is littered with short and long verses ... And it is very cleverly written with the poems of the so called Victorian Poets Ash and LaMotte ......

It does beg the question of the things we write down and record mainly journals and letters can give a get insight into the person ... And the novel is like one big jigsaw puzzle which Roland and Maud both scholars in their own right race to piece it all together ...

It is a romance story and how because of a two unfinished letters written by Ash suddenly open up a whole new world ...... And because of these letters your assumption of Ash changes and you then view his poetry with a different eye !!! It is a love story between two Poets who for a brief moment find each other but can never let that secret become public knowledge ...

I have a few favourite quotes ...

"I have called you my Muse, and so you are, or might be, a messenger from some urgent place of the spirit where essential poetry sings and sings. I could call you, with even greater truth - my Love - there, it is said - for I most certainly love you and in all ways possible to man and most fiercely. It is a love for which there is no place in this world - a love my diminished reason tells me can and will do neither of us any good, a love I tried to hide cunningly from, to protect you from, with all the ingenuity at my command" Pg 193
I must tell you - ever since that first meeting, I have known you were my fate, however from time to time I may have disguised that knowledge from myself" Pg 192

"All creation rushed round us out there - earth, air, fire, water, and there we were, I beg you to remember, warm and human and safe, in the circle of the trees, in each other's arms, under the arch of the sky."

"They say that woman change: 'tis so: but you
Are ever-constant in your changefulness.
Like that still thread of falling river, one
From source to last embrace in the still pool
Ever-renewing and ever-moving on
From First to last a myriad water-drops
And you - I love you for it - are the force
That moves and holds the form.
R H Ash, Ask to Embla, XIII "

I feel that this is a book to be enjoyed slowly and to be discussed but I did enjoy it ...

I rate this book 3 1/2 Stars

Here's the movie trailer to the book ... As with Hollywood they have spiced it up .... In the book it eludes to their relationship but doesn't need to go into details left to your imagination .....

Well here is my review for the book to movie challenge as I just finished watching the movie ..... And to be honest it did make me want to read the book again :) ..... So that is a good sign .... As with alot of movies the books are just far, far better ....... There are so much in the book that doesn't get mentioned in the movie ....... Although to be fair it is a big book and so you would need about 5 to 6 hours of footage just to cover it ..... But I enjoyed the movie but please do read the book .......

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Are You A Book Snob ???

When I got a phone call from a fellow book club member asking if I would like to accompany her to a book store .... I thought for a WHOLE second ..... And said LOVE TO ........

So with a short list of books that I would like we headed on down .... We excitedly headed on down to the Young Adult Section to locate Shannon Hale and Susanne Collins books ... To find to our horror that there is only one HARD BACK version available and we would have to order them in .... The shop assistant asked if we needed any help which we gratefully answered YES PLEASE and began to run through the books that we require ...

Up on the screen is the book titles but with different covers ...... OK what is it with the different covers .... The book covers in the store where terrible so we asked if we could order a different cover ... YES she replied but it will be dearer and we would have to get it shipped in for you ( OK - No surprise there ) ... The books appeared on the screen in paper-back and I asked her to scroll down until she came to the HARDBACK version ... To which she replied "That will be more expensive" and to which my reply is "YES I KNOW BUT I AM ABIT OF A BOOK SNOB - I LOVE MY PRETTY COVERS AND ADORE HARDBACKED BOOKS IF POSSIBLE " I glanced over at my friend who was nodding and smiling at me ........

Which begs the question then .... Am I there only one out there who is a sucker for a nice cover and would buy a book which you already have IF there was a prettier cover :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Teaser Tuesday

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
Grab your current read.
Let the book fall open to a random page.
Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
Please avoid spoilers

"Here is a Riddle, Sir, an old Riddle, an easy Riddle - hardly worth your thinking about - a fragile Riddle, in white and Gold with life in the middle of it. There is a gold, soft cushion, whose gloss you may only paradoxically imagine with your eyes closed tight - see it feelingly, let it slip through your mind's fingers. And this gold cushion is enclosed in its own crystalline casket, a casket translucent and endless in its circularity, for there are no sharp corners to it, no protrusions, only milky moonstone clarity that deceives"

Pg 137 of Possession by A S Byatt

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 09

Ok this is a quickie challenge but just because I just love this type of book I had to give it a go ... And lets face it who doesn't want to swoon every now and then !!!

So this is how it's going to work:

Read 3 historical fiction books in 3 months from 1st Jan 09 - 30st March 09.

Historical fiction will be counted as anything set or written prior to World War II. This will include classic novels, time travel novels or anything you feel fits the genre.

For an extra bit of fun, you can choose to participate in one of the following themes:

The Royal Twist - Read 3 based on or inspired by 3 different royals. Emporers, Queens, Kings whatever inspires you!

The Twilight Twist - Read a selection of 3 of the classic novels that inspired the Twilight Saga. There's Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte or A Midsummer Night's Dream by Shakespeare.

Well this is my three books:

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Books vs Movie Challenge 09

The rules are simple:

In 2009 read a minimum of 6 books that have been made into movies and then watch the movie.
Write a review on the Book vs the Movie and be honest about whether or not you think the film-maker was successful in translating the book to film. Please keep in mind that it is impossible to convey everything. You must both read the book and watch the movie within 2009. All genres are acceptable and it doesn't matter when the movie was made.

So here are my 6 choices and I may choose more depending on how I get on:

3) The Chronicles of Spiderwick: The Field Guide by Toni Terlizzi and Holly Black

4) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

5) Dead Until Dawn by Charlaine Harris


The Tales of Beedle The Bard by J K Rowling (5)

"You've never heard of The Tales of Beedle the Bard?' said Ron incredulously. You're kidding, right?"

(Taken from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows)

The Tales of Beedle the Bard played a crucial role in assisting Harry, aided by his friends Ron and Hermione, to finally defeat Lord Voldemort. Here, fans have the opportunity to read the tales in full.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard is without doubt an exciting addition to the canon of Harry Potter. They also reveal the wonderful versatility of the author, as she tackles with relish the structure and varying tones of a classic fairy tale. There are five tales included in the book: 'The Tale of the Three Brothers', which is recounted in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows; plus four more - 'The Fountain of Fair Fortune', 'The Warlock's Hairy Heart', 'The Wizard and the Hopping Pot', and 'Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump'. Each tale has its own magical character and will variously bring delight, laughter and the thrill of mortal peril.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard, translated from the original runes by Hermione Granger, is introduced and illustrated by J. K. Rowling. Also included are notes on the stories by Professor Albus Dumbledore, which appear by generous permission of the Hogwarts Headmasters' Archive.
The Tales of Beedle the Bard is a book of children's stories by British author J. K. Rowling. It is a storybook of the same name mentioned in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the last book of the Harry Potter series.
The book was originally produced in a limited edition of only seven copies, each handwritten and illustrated by J. K. Rowling. One of them was offered for auction in late 2007 and was expected to sell for £50,000 ..... ultimately it was bought for £1.95 million by making the selling price the highest achieved at auction for a modern literary manuscript. ... The money earned at the auction of the book was donated to The Children's Voice charity campaign.

The book was published for the general public on 4 December 2008, with the proceeds going to the Children's High Level Group.

OK if you are a Harry Potter Fan which I am a huge Fan of you are going to love this book ... And if you are not and you like fantasy or Fairy Tales you are going to love it as well ...

My hubby got the book for me and Santa brought the book for my 11 year old daughter which she devoured in the space of an hour ...

It is a collection of 5 stories and each one has a special meaning ... I have to say I loved the first and second stories ... "The Wizard and the Hopping Pot" and "The Fountain of Fair Fortune" After each story you have Professor Dumbledore give his insight on what he thinks the story means ...

I absolutely loved this book and it is in hard back as well ... Bonus .... It will be one that I will re-read again and again ....

J K Rowling is a wonderful writer and I am excited to see her next projects ...

I rate this book 5*****

Below is a video of J K Rowling reading from the book and talking to the kids in Edinburgh, Scotland where it was launched ... Enjoy ....

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Teaser Tuesday

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
Grab your current read.
Let the book fall open to a random page.
Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
Please avoid spoilers

"A simple and heart-warming fable, one might think - in which case, one would reveal oneself to be an innocent nincompoop. A pro-Muggle story showing a Muggle-Loving father as superior in magic to a Muggle-hating son?"

Pg 12 of The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J K Rowling

Monday, January 12, 2009

Red Dress Walking by S A Jones (1)

The dress haunts my steps. Flashes of red on the street mesmerise me. I am alive to red cars, red shoes and the red of Suella's lipstick. It is silken laudanum that has thrown a distorting film over everything. The dress flutters through my dream life like a taunting red banner. Dreams innocuous and surreal are sure to be punctuated by a crimson flash. Sometimes there is just the barest hint of it so I am not even certain that it flared at all.This is the story of an intimate circle of friends and one couple, Will and Emily, who are very much in love with each other. But one day Will gives Emily a stunning, deeply sexy red dress, and somehow everything changes. A thought-provoking novel of beauty, books, love and desire, Red Dress Walking is a playful, clever and sexy novel about men and women, breakdowns and break-ups, the fierce friendships that women have, and what certain books mean to us.

Ok the cover is lovely but the story is lacking .....

I think I will start with what I didn't like about this book then finish with something abit more positive ...

I have to admit that I skipped alot of the last few pages mainly because I really couldn't be bothered to read it ... There is alot of bad language and I lost count how many times the F word was mentioned ... There are a few graphic sex scenes as well ... I did have a few high hopes with this novel but I was sadly disappointed ... Not to give to much away but one of the main characters has a break down about half way through the book but it doesn't really portray why? And you are sort of left with feeling is she really having illusions as a form of escape or is she just suffering some sort of mental breakdown ...

OK now for what I liked about the book there where a couple of things ... Firstly the book is divided equally between two characters Emily and Will ... This is very cleverly done and you do received a different insight into both the Male and Female prospective ... A classic example is when Emily received the RED DRESS and puts it on she feels fat, short and unattractive while at the same time Will thinks she is the most beautiful creature he has seen ...

The other bit that I liked was the mention of reading books in the novel ... As avid book readers they would never scribble in the margins and pages turned down at the edge was a big "no no" In the words of the author " Were the stuff of nausea" and stating that "the real book lover will sever long and abiding friendships over the sacrilege of books not returned or returned with dog-eared pages and scuffed spines" .....I can completely relate to that ...

For me I picked the book for the cover and the back entreated me but it is a book that has a few moments that are good but it is overshadowed by bad language and crudeness ... Which is a shame ...

I rate this book 1*

A Cup of Light by Nicole Mones (3)

When a young porcelain expert flies to China to evaluate a collection of artwork up for international sale, she lands in circumstances vastly different from what she expected. Lia Frank finds greed, deception, and political turbulence instead of clarity when she tries to learn the origin of a huge collection of priceless porcelains. From the slightly shady Hollywood Road antique district in Hong Kong, to the professional underworld smugglers who move art illegally out of the mainland; from the rich Western art lovers who don’t ask questions, to the Chinese museum officials who want to bring back every piece taken out by Western marauders, each player in the game carries his own secret. It’s Lia’s job to find the truth. As she sorts out the puzzle and uncovers the true history of the collection, she also yearns to have a relationship with more than an inanimate work of art. As the story unfolds, she gets her chance.

I was drawn to this book mainly for the cover it was so inviting and pretty .... I have to say that it is quite an easy read and interesting ....

It is amazing how a small porcelain cup could fetch over 3.5 million in an auction and more amazing that someone would pay that even on the black market and let it have a pride of place in their home but not let anyone know that it was there ... I would be itching to show it to people ... But that would be me !!!

The detail in the book about the porcelain pieces is lovely and fascinating and it is nice to see an author who really does alot of research ... And it shows ...

The story is basically about a woman Lai who is goes to china to authenticate porcelain pieces to see whether they where from The Forbidden City and once belonged to the Emperor ...

Even though I liked the book and it was an easy read I did find that there was something missing ... I just cannot put my finger on it I think that I was expecting something more to happen in the storyline which never happened !!! There where some story lines that where mentioned but never developed ... And at the end of the book I was abit disappointed as I felt it sort of just ended ....

But all in all it was a nice easy read and I would be interested in reading some more of her books in the future !!

I rate this book 3***

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner is set in Afghanistan and tells of a friendship between two boys, Amir and Hassan.

Amir is the son of a wealthy business man. He wants for nothing, except the praise and acceptance from his father; and Hassan is the son of Amir's servant. He is a Hazara (a shunned ethnic minority) and wants for nothing but the friendship between Amir and himself.

Amir witnesses an event during the local Kite Runner tournament that changes his life forever and the life of his friend, Hassan.

During the Soviet's invasion of Afghanistan Amir and his father flee the country they love and start a new life in the USA. In his new life Amir feels that he has escaped the sins of the past but still his mind cannot forget Hassan.

One day Amir receives a phone call from his past that convinces him to return to his homeland where he goes about trying to correct the sins of his past.

This novel deserves it's place on the Top 100 books to read. While it deals with, at times, upsetting topics it is ultimately about friendship, betrayal, loyalty, sacrifice, redemption and the relationship between father and son.

I'm giving this book 4 1/2 stars

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Teaser Tuesday

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
Grab your current read.
Let the book fall open to a random page.
Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
Please avoid spoilers

"And these pieces were the true pieces. They were some of the tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of pots smashed because they were not perfect"

Pg 210 of A Cup of Light by Nicole Mones

Monday, January 5, 2009

Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

If someone controlled every aspect of your life: what you did, what you ate, whom you could talk to and how you could talk to them, or even the facial expressions you made, what would you do? You would become machine like, without any emotions, except what was accepted, and without any thoughts that were not already given to you. Oceania's society and the Inner party's position in Gorge Orwell's book, "1984", is sustained by controlling the Outer party's personal freedoms, their memories and past, and their ability to express emotions/individuality.

Well I have to say I quite enjoyed this book although the material in the book is abit disturbing ... But it is really beautifully written ...

Tells the story of a man named Winston who has doubts of what he see's and hear's and starts to question everything around him .... The scary thing about this book is that in some way we are all abit like Winston we go through life believing what we see and hear on the news and in newspapers ... Is what they are telling the exact truth or something that they wish us to believe so that we will react ???

History in itself is a record of the victors so is that an accurate account of events?? If records where changed would that effect how we live our lives today??

There was a very interesting statement on pg 279 which asks "How does one man assert his power over another?" ..... The answer given "By making him suffer .... Power is in inflicting pain and humiliation. Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing"

Wow I thought that was quite powerful ... (Excuse the pun) It is disturbing to think that man could exercise so much hatred towards others and get so much pleasure in seeing their work !!! We would live in a world where there is no free agency ... We couldn't act, speak or live the way we wanted ... We would all be the same and become like mindless robots !! ... Gosh does that plan sound Familiar !!! ...

George Orwell really has a way with words and although we may not wish to see divides in classes and races it is there .... But the real question is are we trying to break down divides or just ignore them ... Do we seek to grow or remain stagnate and blind to things around us ???

If anything this book taught me to rely on my feeling and things I know .... And to be so thankful for FREE AGENCY that we have to right to CHOOSE ....

Is Big Brother really watching ??? Would you change how you act if you knew you where being watched ???

I will probably not read this book again for some time but I am going to give it 4 stars mainly because it is really well written and fascinating even though the concept is disturbing .... I would recommend you read this book at least once !!!

I rate this book 4 ****

If you are doing this book for your book club below is some study notes and also discussion questions ....

A clip from the movie of the book ... But I hasten to say that the book is always ten times better than the movie ... and if you just want to listen to the story being read to you click below:

Friday, January 2, 2009

Bring on 2009

I am actually really excited that it is 2009 ... Hurray !!

I have been looking at my list of books to read and have been dying to dive in ... I have to say that I have struggled a wee bit on the 1% challenge partly my own fault for signing alot later than I should have done and then finding that the books that I choose are quite heavy going ... Lesson learnt for this year ... lol ...

I feel it is going to be a great year this year for reading and looking forward to getting together as a book club again !!!

I had a couple of favourite books for 2008 that really stood out for me that I loved ...

Dark Heavens Series by Kylie Chan

I have a few more that I really liked but the above books just had that something extra ...

Anyway .... Happy Reading everyone .... And look forward to loads of reviews ..........
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