Saturday, 31 March 2007

D a-z challenge: Dickens - Nicholas Nickleby.

The first book from my A-Z challenge completed!
This book has been being read very slowly over the last month. Sometimes it has been a struggle and at other moments I have loved it - but at all points I was determined to get it finished.

Friday, 30 March 2007

Top 5 reads of 2006

The Children's War, Stroyar: A mamouth novel based in a fantasy world in which the nazi's won WW2 and control the West. The reader follows the journey of one man and the problems he faces as a British person, sometimes simply trying to survive and at others trying to beat the enemy.
The Crimson Petal and the White, Faber: Follow the trials of a Victorian prostitute around Victorian London, the reader is taken with her on her journey from destitution upwards.
The History of Love, Krauss: A novel which explores the power of love from the eyes of an old man and a journey through a young girls life after the death of her father.
How I Live Now, Meg Rosoff: Written for teenagers, this book is set in war torn modern England and explores the life of an American teenager and her British cousins. Sounds corny but is an amazing read.
A Million Little Pieces, Frey: Autobiography or part fiction? Who cares? An amazing read about a journey out of addiction, gritty, truthful and hardhitting.

Favorite Books

This is not a definitive list and is certainly not in any preferance order but here are some of my all time fav reads:
Jane Eyre, Bronte
The Bone People, Hulme
The Children's War, Stroyar
The History of Love,
The Time Travellers Wife, Niffenger
The Handmaids Tale, Atwood
One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest, Kesey
Middlesex, Eugendies
Passion, Morgan

Saturday, 24 March 2007

A Fine Balance, Rohinton Mistry

Synopsis: In 1975, in an unidentified Indian city, Mrs Dina Dalal, a financially pressed Parsi widow in her early 40s sets up a sweatshop of sorts in her ramshackle apartment. Determined to remain financially independent and to avoid a second marriage, she takes in a boarder and two Hindu tailors to sew dresses for an export company. As the four share their stories, then meals, then living space, human kinship prevails and the four become a kind of family, despite the lines of caste, class and religion. When tragedy strikes, their cherished, newfound stability is threatened, and each character must face a difficult choice in trying to salvage their relationships. Set in mid-1970s India, a subtle and compelling narrative about four unlikely characters who come together in circumstances no one could have foreseen soon after the government declares a 'State of Internal Emergency'. It is a breathtaking achievement: panoramic yet humane, intensely political yet rich with local delight.

This is a definite must read, at 600 pages it is a bulky read yet every page is well worth it. Unlike The Inheritance of Loss, which I read recently, the book is able to comment on the Indian political situation in detail without the reader needing immense prior knowledge of the situation. The book follows the lives of 4 characters and their aquaintances, their is not one character, central or marginal whom I wasn't interested in. The book builds the characters worlds and their past, their religions and castes, bad habits and good points.

Thoroughly enjoyable and thought provoking. Definatley recommended.

If you have read this book feel free to comment or leave a link to your own review.

Best book read in 2006

This was by far my best read in 2006. Unpublished in England I ordered it to be delivered, and had to wait an excrutiating 4 weeks for delivery while everyone on BookGroupOnline kept raving about it.

The Amazon synopsis: Living in a modern-day Europe under Nazi domination, Peter becomes caught up in the deadly reign of terror controlling his world when he is arrested for bearing a false identity, escapes an Nazi prison camp, and joins the Underground Home Army, a revolt against the evil of the Nazi political machine.

Doesn't do this book anywhere near the justice that i deserves. The books creates a different world, completely recognisable as the one we see around us but warped by a different type of political control. You love and hate various characters, wince and want to hide from some of the violence and cheer when things go well. And despite the fact that your arms feel like they are going to fall off with the weight of the book you are too caught up in the book to put it down.

An excellent read.

If you have read this book feel free to comment or leave a link to your own review.

Thursday, 22 March 2007

Challenge Number 3!

I saw this on 3m challenges page and decided to have a go. Here's my list to have tackled by December 31st 2007:
2001: The History of the Kelly Gang, Carey
1991: Regeneration, Barker - Read
1981: A Good Man In Africa, Boyd
1971: In A Free State, Naipaul
1961: Breakfast at Tiffany's, Truffaid
1951: The Day of the Triffids, Wyndham
1941: Frenchman's Creek, du Maurier
1931: Rumour at Nightfall, Greene
1921: Women In Love, Lawrence
1911: Eathan Frome, Wharton
1901: Kim, Kipling
1891: Blind Love, Wilkie Collins
1881: Washington Square, James
1871: Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Saw, Carroll
1861: Silas Marner, Elliot

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

The Inheritance of Loss

Currently reading this for the Bookawards group.
I'm around 70 pages in and really enjoying it so far. The scenery and settings are perfectly depicted so the reader can really imagine them. My biggest problem is that I am yet to discover much about the characters.

22/03/07 Update:
Not getting a whole lot further with this book, something about it is bothering me and I kind of want to give up but I'm reading it for a book group so I will continue ploughing through it.
24/03/07 Update:
It's getting good again, only another hundred pages till it's finished. I think I lose interest when it gets too political.
24/03/07 (later in the day) Update: Finished this book off this evening. Such a strange book, at times I enjoyed it and in other places I hated then there were the moments I just wasn't bothered.

Synopsis: At the foot of Mount Kanchenjunga in the Himalayas, lives an embittered old judge who wants nothing more than to retire in peace. But with the arrival of his orphaned granddaughter, Sai, and his cook's son trying to stay a step ahead of US immigration services, this is far from easy. When a Nepalese insurgency threatens Sai's blossoming romance with her handsome tutor they are forced to consider their colliding interests. The judge must revisit his past, his own journey and his role in this grasping world of conflicting desires every moment holding out the possibility for hope or betrayal.

More reviews on this novel can be found at The Complete Booker page

If you have read this book feel free to comment or leave a link to your own review.

Spring Reading Thing

I am also participating in this Challenge as my TBR is stepping over the 170 book mark and needs takling. I'm planning to read these 6 books before 21st June:
Love in the Time of Cholera
This Thing of Darkness
The Elephant Vanishes - Read

Monday, 19 March 2007

Banned Book Challenge

I'm going to participate in the Banned Book Challenge

I am challenging myself to read 5 books off this list by June 21st. They are:
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelo
Moll Flanders
Silas Marner, Elliot -Read
Flower's for Algernon, Keyes - Read
Love in the Time of Cholera