Tag Archives: literary fiction

Life of Pi – Yann Martel

5 Mar

Started – 16/2/13

Finished – 4/3/13

Format – Paperback Book

 

Challenges – Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge

1001 Books You Must Read

Ultimate Teen Book Guide Reading Challenge

501 Must Read Books

World Book Night Reading Challenge

 

Synopsis – One boy, one boat, one tiger …After the tragic sinking of a cargo ship, a solitary lifeboat remains bobbing on the wild, blue Pacific. The only survivors from the wreck are a sixteen year-old boy named Pi, a hyena, a zebra (with a broken leg), a female orang-utan and a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger. The scene is set for one of the most extraordinary and best-loved works of fiction in recent years.

 

My Thoughts – I brought this book back in 2010 way before the movie was out and I wanted to read this as it was such a high profile book. Now I did really enjoy the story especially the ending part where Pi spoke to the officals and the whole story became clear.

This book is about Pi Patel who lives in a zoo in India. I really enjoyed his descriptions of the zoo and the animals especially. His family decide to move away to Canada and sell the zoo and some of the animals. The ship that they are travelling on sinks and Pi is a survivor along with a few animals who are injured, this includes the Begal Tiger, Richard Parker.

He is adrift from everyone for months and lives with the tiger in a small space. The only part i didnt really understand was when they found an island, i didnt really understand the significance of that.

This book is quite religious too, three different religions howevr i didnt find that this was too heavy or forced upon the reader.

I do want to see the film but I’m not sure if this will live up to such a good book. I really enjoyed the story and i can see why its on so many reading challenge lists.

Rating – 4/5

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The Tenderness of Wolves – Stef Penney

15 Jan

Started – 7/1/13

Finished – 13/1/13

Format – Paperback Book

 

Synopsis – 1867, Canada: as winter tightens its grip on the isolated settlement of Dove River, a man is brutally murdered and a 17-year old boy disappears. Tracks leaving the dead man’s cabin head north towards the forest and the tundra beyond. In the wake of such violence, people are drawn to the township – journalists, Hudson’s Bay Company men, trappers, traders – but do they want to solve the crime or exploit it? One-by-one the assembled searchers set out from Dove River, pursuing the tracks across a desolate landscape home only to wild animals, madmen and fugitives, variously seeking a murderer, a son, two sisters missing for 17 years, a Native American culture, and a fortune in stolen furs before the snows settle and cover the tracks of the past for good. In an astonishingly assured debut Stef Penney deftly weaves adventure, suspense, revelation and humour into a story that is both panoramic historical romance and exhilarating thriller. Now reissued in an attractive new livery, The Tenderness of Wolves is one of the most widely liked and admired novels of the previous decade.

 

My Thoughts – I read this book as part of the January Reading Circle. I really liked the sound of this book especially as it has some Native American Culture in as this does fascinate me however i really did not enjoy this book.

 

This tells the story of Francis a young man who goes missing after a murder happens. People in the town are quick to point the finger at him due to his absence however his mother believes his innocence and sets off on a treck across snow covered wildness in search of her son and in search of the truth.

 

There are many simular characters in this book and i had great difficultly in remembering who was who and what was going on. There are also lots of sub plots that i really found difficult to understand and i also thought that these confused the plot a fair bit.

 

As the synopsis says ‘The Tenderness of Wolves is one of the most widely liked and admired novels of the previous decade.’ I think there must be something in my reading that doesnt appeal to the most liked books as i really couldnt get into this book which is a shame.

 

Rating – 2/5

Chocolat – Joanne Harris

7 Jan

Started – December 2012

Finished – 7th January 2013

Format – Paperback Book

Challenges – Ultimate Teen Book Guide Challenge.

World Book Night 2012 Longlist

Synopsis – When an exotic stranger, Vianne Rocher, arrives in the French village of Lansquenet and opens a chocolate boutique directly opposite the church, Father Reynaud denounces her as a serious moral danger to his flock – especially as it is the beginning of Lent, the traditional season of self-denial.

As passions flare and the conflict escalates, the whole community takes sides. Can the solemnity of the Church compare with the sinful pleasure of a chocolate truffle?

My Thoughts – I brought this book a couple of years back as its one of those books thats always talked about but id never read. This book is about Vianne Rocher and her daughter who move to a small village in France and set up a chocolate shop there. To start with she is met with some hardness from the locals but ends up really getting on with most of them. There is also Father Reynaud who is the local vicar who it transpires is not all that nice a person and is quite stuck in his ways.. Roux is a traveller, who in the film version of this book is played by Johnny Depp so i think i’ll have to have a look out for that now!

I really liked this book as it was told from two different perspectives, Vianne and Father Reynaud and they both have different views on the events that have happened. There is more to the story than just two people with different outlooks, for example good against evil, light against dark and magic against the church. I really liked the different themes in the book.

I also liked how you found out more about the characters as the book went on. It wasnt set in chronological order and i really liked how the information became more apparent as the book went on.

I really enjoyed this book and ive just found out its the first in a trilogy so im going to get the next book to put on my shelf soon.

Rating – 4/5

The Vanishing Act – Mette Jakobsen

14 Dec

Started – 5/12/12

Finished 11/12/12

Format – Paperback book

 

SynopsisThis is a story about a snow-covered island you won’t find on any map.

 

It’s the story of a girl, Minou. A year ago, her mother walked out into the rain and never came back.

 

It’s about a magician and a priest and a dog called No Name. It’s about a father’s endless hunt for the truth.

 

It’s about a dead boy who listens, and Minou’s search for her mother’s voice.

 

It’s a story of how even the most isolated places have their own secrets.

 

It’s a story you will never forget.

 

My Thoughts – This book was picked for the December reading circle and although i hadnt heard of it before i ended up really enjoying it.

 

This book is about a girl called Minou who lives on a tiny little island in the middle of nowhere. Hardly anyone knows of the island and they never get visitors. Minou lives with her father, who is mourning the loss of his wife that walked out on him one day.

 

One morning the body of a boy washes up on the beach and this changes the whole perpective of everyone that lives on the island. There is also Magician and Priest that live on the island and a dog called No Name. Its a very lonely place the island and i can understand why Minou’s mother wanted to leave and why she wasnt happy with her life.

 

The book is written quite poetically and it really drew me in with the writing style. I really liked the chaacter of Minou probably because she was the only character in the book with a proper name. I read the majority of this book in one sitting as i wanted to know what was going to happen and what all the answers were going to be.

 

This book is an enjoyable read, highly recommended.

 

Rating – 4/5

I Capture the Castle – Dodie Smith

8 May

Started – 26/4/12

Finished – 7/5/12

Format – Paperback Book

Challenges – BCF May Reading Circle

BBC Top 200 Books

1001 Childrens Books You Must Read

Ultimate Teen Book Guide Challenge

World Book Night 2012 Longlist Challenge

Synopsis – ‘I write this sitting in the kitchen sink’ is the first line of this timeless, witty and enchanting novel about growing up. Cassandra Mortmain lives with her bohemian and impoverished family in a crumbling castle in the middle of nowhere. Her journal records her life with her beautiful, bored sister, Rose, her fadingly glamorous stepmother, Topaz, her little brother Thomas and her eccentric novelist father who suffers from a financially crippling writer’s block. However, all their lives are turned upside down when the American heirs to the castle arrive and Cassandra finds herself falling in love for the first time…

My Thoughts – This book was the choice for the May reading circle on the BCF. This book was on my list of books that I’ve always wanted to read but never got around to. I’m so glad that i have finally read this book.

This book is about a seventeen year old girl called Cassandra who lives in a castle with her father, step-mother, brother and sister. Also Stephen lives their too, the son of their former maid. Her father once wrote a novel that was very well known and because of this they were quite rich, but sadly he has not been able to write anything else since. Her step mother Topaz used to be a model in London, but stays in the castle now that hard times have fallen. Her Brother Thomas is a typical boy, still in school. Her sister Rose is a typical older sister, but all she wants to do is find a rich man and fall in love, and in that order too. Now Stephen. He is hopelessly in love with Cassandra, but sadly the feeling is not reciprocated.

The castle that they live in is owned by two American brothers, who visit the castle unexpectedly one night, and this visit paves the way for life changing events. The rich brothers want to help the family in as many ways as possible.

I found Roses attitude towards love quite difficult to get around. All she wanted to do was find a rich man to marry, and while this could have been considered normal at the time the book is set, nowadays it does seem a bit silly. I didnt see what would end up happening to her in the end coming and i really thought that this made the book.

I also enjoyed the fathers struggle with trying to find the words to write a second book. At times, he seems to be loosing his mind, but in the end Cassandra and Thomas manage to hatch a plan to force him to write a book again.

I did find the parts with Stephen in it so upsetting in times. He was totally and utterly in love with Cassandra and it seemed that he would never love anyone else like that. Also, when he left the castle to go to London and said he would never come back. I just found that so sad.

Now Cassandra. I loved her. I loved her innocence, but at the same time i loved how grown up she was. I loved seeing the world through her eyes.

This book is fantastic, and I’m not just saying that. Its one of my favourite books of all time now and i will be definitaly be revisiting this book.

Rating – 5/5

The Fifth Child – Doris Lessing

24 Apr

Started – 10/4/12

Finished – 17/4/12

Format – Paperback

 

Challenges – BCF April Reading Circle

 

Synopsis –  A classic tale from Doris Lessing, Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature 2007, of a family torn apart by the arrival of Ben, their feral fifth child.

‘Listening to the laughter, the sounds of children playing, Harriet and David would reach for each other’s hand, and smile, and breathe happiness.’

Four children, a beautiful old house, the love of relatives and friends, Harriet and David Lovatt’s life is a glorious hymn to domestic bliss and old-fashioned family values. But when their fifth child is born, a sickly and implacable shadow is cast over this tender idyll. Large and ugly, violent and uncontrollable, the infant Ben, ‘full of cold dislike’, tears at Harriet’s breast. Struggling to care for her new-born child, faced with a darkness and a strange defiance she has never known before, Harriet is deeply afraid of what, exactly, she has brought into the world…


My Thoughts – I read this book as part of the April reading circle on the BCF. I had a few reservations about this as it is classed as a horror book, and horror is not my genre. However, this book is not at all a horror book in my opinion.

 

This book starts with a couple, Harriet and David who meet at a party and fall in love. They get married and buy a huge house, more than they can afford. Davids family help them out and give them money, several times throughout the book. They get married and start having children. Between them they have ‘The Dream’, to have as many children as possible. Now i agree with this in a way, if a couple want to have a lot of children then its fine, as long as they can afford it. In this book the couple cannot. They have four children, everything is fine and then Harriet falls pregnant again. From the start they know something is different with the baby, she cannot cope through the pregnancy and just wants the baby out.

 

So Ben is born.

 

Once Ben is born the family start to unravel. They cannot cope with him and other people in the family start to suffer. Now i wasnt sure if there was something physically wrong with him, or wheather he had a condition. Whatever was wrong with Ben, it wasnt his fault, he never asked for anything like that.

 

I thought that everything surrounding baby Amy was very difficult to read. She was born with Downs Syndrome and she was hidden away in parts of the book so not to distress others. I thought this was so wrong, i just didnt understand how this could happen.

 

I didnt like Bens parents attitude towards him. His dad didnt want him and his mother was almost obsessive with him. I think they needed to find a happy medium with it all.

 

I did enjoy this book, it was one continous prose and once i had got into this style of writing i enjoyed it a lot. There is a sequel to this book and i will definitaly be picking this up. i will also be looking up more books by this author. This is a short book, but there is so much crammed into the pages, its great.

 

Rating – 4/5

Emotional Geology – Linda Gillard

13 Mar

Started – 15/2/12

Finished – 7/3/12

Format – paperback

 

Synopsis – Rose Leonard is on the run from her life. Taking refuge in a remote island community, she cocoons herself in work, silence and solitude in a house by the sea. But she is haunted by her past, by memories and desires she’d hoped were long dead. Rose must decide whether she has in fact chosen a new life or just a different kind of death. Life and love are offered by new friends, her lonely daughter, and most of all Calum, a fragile younger man who has his own demons to exorcise. But does Rose, with her tenuous hold on life and sanity, have the courage to say yes to life and put her past behind her?

 

My Thoughts – I won a competion on the BCF back in 2010 and this book was one of the prizes, yes it does take me that long to reach the end of my TBR pile.

 

This book centres on Rose who moves to a small island community. Here she meets Calum who on the surface seems like a normal guy, as Rose seems like a normal woman. However, they both have hidden demons, serious ones. It is a story of whether the two of them can overcome their demons and live not only their own lives, but maybe even a life together, and i felt like the two of them could only have got over their demons together.

 

Rose’s daughter. Megan, makes an appearance during the book and their is a lot of mystery as to why she and her mother dont see eye to eye. When this was revealed in the book i was seriously shoocked to the reason, and it really shocked me as to how a daughter could have done that to her mother, but i think it was the ‘spell’ she was put under by somebody. I dont want to say what incase it spoils it for anyone who hasnt yet read the book.

 

the character of Gavin was a very complex one. I even felt like he was actually present, when he couldnt really be. I felt that he was quite a horrible person for what he did too.

 

This book was so poetic and beautiful, if at sometimes haunting. I took my time reading this book some parts over and over again. It is a beautiful story that i was so sorry that it ended. The relationship between Rose and Calum was so complex,but also so simple, i really enjoyed reading the stages of it develop.

 

This is my first experience with this author and it will most definitaly not be my last. I cant wait to read more by this author, I’m going to put these up to the top of my wishlist

 

Rating – 5/5