April 5, 2011 § 1 Comment
Some books are like sculptures; in that their beauty can be admired from afar, or, they can be cornered, inspected, appreciated, intimately. They can be touched. By this, I mean that they are well received and appreciated both in the moment, and long after the moment has passed. One can live amongst the characters, or one can glance back at the world she has left behind – and smile.
Other books are approached as gargantuan masterpieces. Get up close to a painting that covers the wall of a gallery, and you get a face full of purple. Step to the right – advance forward through the book – and right there is, perhaps, a shade of blue. Step away from the picture, and not only are you afforded the sight of those colours, which stood admirably alone, but a pallete, in which they blend and mix beautifully as one. It is the type of books which, while it is a pleasure to read, one doesn’t quite realise how much solace, the type of home she found in it, until she has made her way out, and closed the door behind her. I call this book, amongst other names, the ‘Shower Novel’. It is also the ‘Pillow Novel’, the ‘Breakfast Novel, the ‘Bus Stop Novel’, and the ‘Waiting Room Novel’. It is the ‘Daydream Novel’. It’s the type of story that your mind wanders back to, time and time again, because once finished in its entirety, the indiviudual components mean that little bit more.
March 27, 2011 § Leave a comment
Pay day was Friday so I just ordered four new books!
Last night, I decided it was high-time I attempted a fantasy novel, so, all geared and ready to go, I purchased Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys and Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights, just for a little bit of inspiration. I need to finish reading Catch-22, which I’ve been reading for about two and a half weeks now. I’m not sure why exactly I keep stalling, it’s a fantastic read.
The third book was Danielle Steele’s Big Girl, which I got for a lovely discount on Waterstones.com, BUT forgot to put in my doornumber when typing in my address…
The fourth was Steven King’s On writing which was THE impulse buys of impulse buys. Goodreads.com has convinced me that it looks promising, so I’m excited.
This brings this week’s book purchase to a grand total of 6 books. It’s funny how I never really realise how much money I’ve spent on books until I sit to think about what to read next.
Anyway, Below, are the other two.
I LOVE Ben ‘Yahtzee’ Croshaw. For those who are not familiar with him, he is the man behind the weekly video game review, videos, on Zeropunctuation.com. His humorously cynical approach to gaming is laugh-out-loud hilarious, and I can’t wait to indulge in a whole novel’s worth of his satirical tongue. I’d also like to get started on either Nicole Krauss’ Great House, or Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, have to collect John Green’s An Abundance of Catherines, from my mum’s house and I have about 5 philosophical works and Professor Richard Wiseman’s Paranormailty on the go. Bookmarks galore. Oh, and that’s not even to mention the 10+ backlogged copies of The Economist I need to plough through. It’s difficult because by rule, I have one fiction and one non-fiction book on the go at any given time. I can’t imagine reading two fictional books at once, I think I’d get the stories crossed. I’m literally spoilt for choice.
So you see, all is well on the book front, and yet I yearn for more. A reader’s thirst will never truly be satiated.
As I write this, I spy my guitar, staring up at me, out the corner of my eye. Every day it serves as a reminder that I have a lot to do and a lot to learn. I started playing when I was about 9, but got sidetracked with things I deemed more exciting at the time. I’d like to learn again, because I love acoustics and I love a bit of country music. I tell myself that as soon as I’m done with university in about a month’s time, summer will afford me all of the free time I could EVER imagine, and that in this free time, I’ll have so much done. I’ll achieve a lot. I hope I’m not kidding myself.
Anyway, I’m off to read. No doubt that I’ll be back soon with more books to blog about!
Love Kayla xxx
Ps. Oh, and I also ‘purchased’ my ticket for the London Book Fair 2011 🙂 Student freeness FTW
February 22, 2011 § Leave a comment
Author: John Green
Genre: Young Adult/Fiction
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile; First Edition, First Printing edition (March 3, 2005)
Page Count 256
Having literally just put this book down after having LITERALLY picked it up to start it about six hours ago, despite the fact that I’ve been shying away from reviews as of late, I just COULD not leave this title reviewless.
A breath of fresh air that lingers close to the reader’s lips a little too long through fear of a far too emotional fare-well, ‘Looking For Alaska’ is most the bitter sweet of chillingly tragic tales. Miles Halter (aka Pudge) moves away to boarding school where he encounters the Colonel, Alaska and a small host of other friends. After forming a close bond with them both, an inexeplicably life-changing event catpults Colonel and Pudge into a hunt for why things happened the way they did, which later turns into a semi-philosophical ‘how the human civilazation deals with the world as it is’.
Refreshingly, full of a cast of well-developed characters, ones I could connect with and care about, ‘Looking For Alaska’ adequately and quite accurately addresses the transition stage from child to young adult, and all of the trials and tribulations that come with it. Humerous at times and unapologetically truthful at others, this title reminds us of the growth period many of us left in somewhere distant but still frighteningly close in the the past, behind us. The title is spilt into two parts, a ‘before’ and an ‘after’, which, understandly draws the reader near to the event and then takes then on a journey away from it, as the remaining characters try to understand and then forget.
It is John Greene’s conncoction of both page-turning story-telling and heart-wrenching tragedy that exploited my emotional repetoire to the lengths of firstly, progressing thorough a significant portion of the book eyes, brimming with tears ready to over flow; and then secondly, beyond, in as much as after tucking the book neatly back in it’s place on my bookshelf and settling down to type this review, premature teardrops remain stagnant in my eyes. His intertwining of fiction and philosophy, make Colonel and Pudge’s plight much more than just a heartbreaking novel, but instead, a heartbreakingly truthful reminder of what is inevitable and what cannot be escaped.
January 18, 2011 § 1 Comment
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Genre: Teen Fiction/Fantasy
Publisher: ATOM (4 Aug 2008)
Page Count: 768
The most vivid colour in the box of crayons, ‘Breaking Dawn’ is the gem of the Twilight Saga. Although all equally good in their own rights, I couldn’t help but feel that ‘Breaking Dawn’ encapsulated Drama, Fantasy and Romance, the way a good novel should.
The fourth and final title in the series, Breaking Dawn is truly a modern fairytale. The story of mortal Bella and vampire Edward’s marriage and family life. Picking up from where ‘Eclipse’ left off, Bella and Edward rush into their dream wedding and fly away for an immediate honeymoon, returning with a lot more luggage than they’d arrived with and bargained for.
Stephenie Meyer writes on and describes fantastically, a young adult’s idea of uncondtional, truly ever lasting love. One thing I loved about this book in particular, was the length of it. It gave her the time and word count to adequately encapsulate me. With her lengthy descriptions and elaborate dialogue sequences, she did an excellent job of setting the scene and drawing me in. I felt like I was watching every bit of the action first hand and front row. Every one of her scenic and character descriptions, I felt I could reach out and touch.
Unlike its predecessors, a portion of Breaking Dawn is told from the perspective of Bella’s best friend and werewolf, Jacob, as well as the default first-person of Bella, the protagonist. I found this worked incredibly well, as whilst reading the previous three titles, I’d often wondered was was running through the minds of the other main characters. Half-way through Jacob’s few chapters, however, the novelty wore off and I was keen to be replaced back with Bella, where i felt it was only right that I belonged. Assuming you’ve read the previous three in the series, Breaking Dawn is likely to destroy any preconcptions you’ve formed of each and every one of the characters. I would have liked to have seen more involvement from Bella’s old friends and some of the Cullens, who seem to remain safely from view for much of the novel.
Having thoroughly enjoyed the Twilight Saga, I was utterly heartbroken to be finally parting with the Cullens. Twilight, New, Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn will forever remain close to my heart, because thorought each and every book, in places, I felt like I was reading a piece of my own history. A series that everyone can relate to and a cast of characters that everyone can identify at least a portion themselves in, Breaking Dawn is that final note that ends an incredibly sweet symphony.
Buy it here on Amazon.
January 16, 2011 § 2 Comments
Author: Vladimir Nabokov
Genre: Literary Fiction/ Drama
Publisher: : Penguin; Film & TV Tie-in Ed edition (30 April 1998)
Page Count: 320
‘Lolita’ is the tale of a middle-aged Humbert Humbert, who has found himself alive in the wake of quite a controversial predicament. He is attracted to little girls.
A novel about his relationship with his newly acquired twelve year-old stepdaughter, ‘Lolita’ is a bleakly depressing, somewhat shocking, however, grimly humerous account of Humbert’s journey through hiding his and his victim’s ‘incestual love affair’ from the rest of the world.
Vladimir Nabokov’s protagonist Humbert recalls his version of events in the first person, which feels much like a casual retelling of his story in front of his fire place. ‘Lolita’ is filled with dramatics, but is never really ACTUALLY dramatic. It is instead quite shallow and empty, and at times, it feels that nothing is really happening at all. It is as if Humbert is quite literally telling his shocking story, as if it’s a totally normal, everyday occurance. As if he is the sane and the reader, the insane.
Despite the protagonist’s matter-of-factness in revealing his troubled life and mind, ‘Lolita’ is filled with stunning prose. It absolutely littered with metaphors of a deeply poetic nature. Humbert often addresses the reader directly, and for someone who by decree of society should be deeply ashamed of the evil roots of one’s character, is quite confident in his own. His image of his self, both physically and spirtiually almost borders blind arrogance and as one would expect from someone of his nature, is full of excuses for his being the way he is. Humbert Humbert is a comedian, a chilling one nevertheless.
At times, Lolita felt as if it was littered with, although exasperatingly beautiful, redundant accounts of absolutely nothing. For pages and pages, Nabokov will toy with the English language whilst leaving the plot itself, out to evaporate into nothingness. In his note at the end, Nabokov explains that the first time he’d documented the inital ‘Lolita’, it were to be a short story that started much the same as Lolita did, but ended abrubtly and in a very different manner. Funnily enough, his description and length of the would-have been ‘Lolita’, sat well with me. I can’t for the life of me imagie why he’d want to elongate the damned thing into virtually obscurity.
An intriguing journey into the depth of a ‘monster’s’ mind, ‘Lolita’ is a shockingly emotional tale of the predator’s side of the story. One the reader rarely acknowledges and one so easily taken for granted.
January 6, 2011 § 1 Comment
Author: David Nicholls
Genre: General Fiction
Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks (4 Feb 2010)
Page Count: 448
Now, I’m trying to get this whole review thing properly formulated. Jotting down notes so as not to let them slip and disappear by the time I get to the end of the book, but doing it in a way that doesn’t make the whole process feellike GCSE coursework. I want to enjoy this. I want to have fun.
David Nicholls’ One Day is a carefully constructed tale of two people, Emma Morley and Dexter Mahew, who meet upon graduating from University and continue their lives both together and apart. An ambitious plot that is handled fantastically well, each chapter represents and is written about the events that take place leading up to and on a single day, every 15th of July, over the course of twenty years.
Emma and Dexter are opposites. Two extremes and they seem to be progressing through life, starting at polar opposites, different ends of the spectrum, advancing towards each other and then slowly creeping past each other to progress, again, in opposite directions as the book itself progresses. It feels like everything that could possibly happen to a man and everything that could possibly happen over the course of the life of a woman is squished into this one book. At times where their lives are heading in a direction that seems almost surreal, David Nicholls slams his foot on the brakes and Emma and Dexter crash back down into reality. An ironic slap in the face, an ‘i-told you so’ in the form of fiction, One Day never lets itself lose sight of what’s real, what everybody fears, yet inevitably falls victim to -life.
I found that One Day got off to a somewhat slow start, nothing out the ordinary and nothing too original, but it was a read that I slowly, but surely warmed to. A read that became increasingly complusive. As I read on, I began to get the idea that David Nicholls is quite fond of the word ‘ostenatious’ but, it’s perfectly okay, because I am too.
One Day, stalks you, chases you, corners you and keeps you there, putting on a show I found it hard to tire of, no matter how much I initially thought I would. Littered with sub-plots that appeared, at first, average and predicatble, David Nicholls has a way of turning these upside-down at the very last minute, just as pace picks up and hairs start to raise, and darting in a compltetely unanticipated direction, leaving you jolted and exasperated.
A heart warming, somewhat nostaligic title, this was an excellent read that I wouldn’t mind picking up to warm to and be in the company of Emma and Dexter all over again; One Day.
Buy it here on Amazon
January 1, 2011 § Leave a comment
So here we have in no particular order (because I suck at particular orders), the books I managed to complete in 2010. I’m slightly appalled that they’re lacking in number, but hey, it was a busy year. I’ve tried my best to remember all of them, I know some are bound to be missing (because I also suck with remembering)so please don’t be mad. I know you won’t.
The lovely Bones Alice Sebold
Eat Pray Love Elizabeth Gilbert
New Moon Stephenie Meyer
Eclipse Stephenie Meyer
Essays and Aphorisms Schopenhauer
A Nietzsche Reader Friedrich Nietzche
Human, All Too Human Friedrich Nietzsche
Starting Over Tony Parsons
This Book Will Save You Life A.M Homes
A Million Little Pieces James Frey
Animal Farm Georger Orwell
Can a Robot Be Human Peter Cave
Singling Out The Couples Stella Duffy
59 Seconds Richard Wiseman