2011

Jan. 26th, 2012 10:31 pm
selene_13: (Labyrinth)
The last time I posted was October... I really haven't been inspired to blog/comment/write anything much. I'm just going to add a little overview of 2011, way too late but whatevs.

Books read in 2011: 54, met my yearly 1 book a week challenge!

Best 5 books (in no order):
Hunger Games Trilogy (wonderful, can't wait for the movie, Rowling can learn from this epilogue)
Tiffany Aching Discworld novels (Pratchett rocks)
The God Delusion (If anything I love a rational argument)
The Help (great atmosphere)
The Year of the Flood (great imagination)
Honorouble mentions: The Graveyard Book; The Millenium Books; The Passion

Worst 5 books (in no order):
The Finkler Question (why should I care about any of these awful characters?)
Let The Great World Spin (if only it would ennndd)
The Partner (Grisham at his worst)
The Gathering (short and boring)
Stuff White People Like (sort of funny, but mostly rather offensive)

Booker prize winners read this year (towards my goal of reading all Booker prize winners): The Gathering, The Finkler Question, Remains of the Day, History of the Kelly Gang, The Famished Road.

Countries travelled: USA (Cleveland and Detroit), Sri Lanka (all over), United Arab Emirates (Dubai), Spain (Barcelona), UK (London), France (Paris), Germany (Dresden), Australia (Melbourne), Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur), China (Shanghai, Beijing, Xi'an, Yangshou, Hong Kong)

Slowly but steadily I am progressing to what I promosed my mother during her last Christmas, when she gave me a beautiful globe: that I would go everywhere and see everything. Luckily I have a job that makes this possible.

In line for this year: Germany, Western Canada, Estonia, Russia. And if I can swing it, South Africa (my dream but might be out of reach this year), Canary Islands, Iceland and New Orleans.

I lost interest in Supernatural and as a consequence in reading its fic (it was the awful writing in Season 5 that did it, with a final punch the finale. Season six has so far not reawakened any passion, but who knows). I'm reading lots of Glee now. I'm watching Dexter, True Blood, Criminal Minds, Glee, and starting Sherlock tonight.

Well, there it is. My fandom dance and non-participation and non-investment in anything will make this post as invisible as those first, but that's ok. I'm happy whenever my fingers move over the keys, for whichever reason. I need this journal to read fic, and reading fic is still a great passion and pleasure in my life.
selene_13: (Bibliophile)
So I come back from a week's holiday on the wonderful warm Greek Isles, to a stormy, rain-soaked, cold and wintery home. Way to go, Holland, you fickle bastard.

I read two good books the past week (lounging on the beach, listening to the surf, basking in the heat... sigh), both about a period of time in English history that I find fascinating: "The Suspicions of Mr Whicher or the Murder at Road Hill House" by Kate Summerscale, which managed to put forth an atmospheric casefile of one of 19th Century England's most illustrous murders, very Gothic in its subject but factually dealt with; and the great "Wolf Hall" by Hilary Mantel, which details the rise (and rise) of Thomas Cromwell during the reign of Henry VIII.

Especially "Wolf Hall" was an excellent read; I cannot wait to get the sequel in hand whenever it finishes. She makes Cromwell's story in a time of great change and turmoil a fascinating read and his character is extremely sympathetic. I had to refresh my memory as to how the story will end and who fit exactly where (it almost felt like I was "spoiling" myself by refreshing myself to the data - how can you spoil yourself to history?! - but marks that the story was compelling. As an English grad I should be ashamed by what I've forgotten by the way).

This lead to me getting on Wikipedia and surfing through the pages, from Cromwell to Thomas More, to Hans Holbein, to Henry's six wives, to the reformation, to the royal line, to wondering about "what is this sweating sickness?", to Hantavirus, to cell pathology, to reading the details of Ebola virus. Yay Wiki dissemination. How I love thee.
selene_13: (Bibliophile)
I haven’t done one of these in a while: 4 book reviews (cut for length, not for spoilers)!

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, by Jonathan Safran Foer )

The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak )

Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoevsky )

On Beauty, by Zadie Smith )
selene_13: (Bibliophile)
I wrote up some more book reviews. Mostly for my own pleasure, I’m sure! I talk about the books, but there are no real spoilers in here that you wouldn’t learn from the blurb.

The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie )

A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini and Everything is Illuminated, by Jonathan Safran Foer )

The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold )

Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro )
selene_13: (Default)
Book Revies. No more spoilers that you'd see on a book's cover, but cut for length.

The History of Love, by Nicole Krauss )

Guards! Guards!, by Terry Prachett )

The Sea, by John Banville )

The Bonesetter´s Daughter, Amy Tan )
selene_13: (Default)
I have just finished reading The Shadow of The Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, and because I'm putting off housecleaning (my least favourite job evah), I'm rambling a bit about it.

First, I enjoyed it. It reads as a modern day version (though not too modern) of a classic Gothic novel in the style of Ann Radcliffe or Maturin. It's setting in exotic southern cityscapes helps this (Barcelona, 1900-1955 in this case), as does the language and Spanish titles and names interspersing the English translation. The story of a mysterious character with a burned face, covered by a mask, who is intent to destroy all remaining copies of novels written by a lost author Julian Carax, is very reminisent of the figure of the Gothic villain who haunts the main hero/heroine. Add a wide variety of simpering, colourful characters, very melodramatic language, dilapitated mansions and cellars, the inquisition, grand and doomed love stories, and a huge set of coincidences, and you have a tale comparable to any Gothic tale. The similarity was half the fun for me, in any event.

I'd recommend it for summer reading. Just go with it, enjoy the fun the author clearly has with some of these characters and settings, figure out the mystery and try to not get annoyed with those aforementioned coincidences. Go with it, and you'll enjoy it. It surely is something different from what else is on the shelve.

I've listed some points and thoughts about the book and it's ending under the cut (which isn't all positive.)

Spoilers )

I worry about Rowling's "last chapter" which will probably list the future of every mentionable character in her books. It will read, summarised: "And they all got married and had lots of babies and lived oh so happily ever after." Rather, just end the story with Harry freed from his destiny and the future bright before him (with Ginny if must), and leave it at that. This way, we can all fill in our own future as we would like to see it for our favourite characters. I hate closing the book at the end, but I especially hate having to close the story because the author wants to map out the entire possible future of everything to do with it so no one, not even one's imagination, can ever touch it again. I like a good conlusion ("tomorrow is another day" is hard to swallow when the tangle isn't resolved), but I hate a brick wall at the end.

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January 2012

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