Archive for Books

Trudi Canavan’s “The Magician’s Apprentice”

Posted in Books, Trudi Canavan with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 12 May, 2009 by Nicola

I do like a bit of escapist fantasy, and when I want to read a good fantasy book, I know that turning to Trudi Canavan is a good idea.  Her narrative is not perfect, and her habit of italicising characters thoughts is actually very grating and something I am still not used to.  But who cares?  Canavan is creative and knows how to tell a story.

The Black Magician trilogy is the only story other than Harry Potter to make me cry at the loss of a character.  This is not a ‘boo-hoo-character-died-closed-book-and-forgot-about-it’ type cry.  No.  It is a loss that puts a nasty unsettling feeling at the pit of your stomach that could go on for as long as three days.  Sad, isn’t it?  Yes, it is, but do you know how satisfying it is to become attached to a character in such a way?  It is what makes a good read into a great read and only the most talented writers that specialise in characterisation that can acheive such a feat. Continue reading

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Reading List for February and March

Posted in Books, Diary, Lists, Personal Musings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 9 February, 2009 by Nicola

I swear I think of a new book to read with every passing day.  In an attempt to keep track, I am going to write them down here.  Once they are under the watchful eye of my readers (because it seems that I have some, apparently) I will be sure to get through them.  Maybe.

I will try to read in this order, then:

The Gunslinger by Stephen King
I have never tried Stephen King.  Well, he is American, so it is not like I am going to pick him out on my own.  No, a colleague at work, who’s judgement I happen to trust, recommended The Dark Tower series to me.  Since I see her everyday, I better deal with her recommendation first.  I have taken out books two and three from the series, anticipating that I will want to continue (as the first book is yet to arrive), so here’s hoping.

Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang
This book was recommended by somebody who reads my blog (that is a nice thing to do in the first place).  Sometimes I will take recommendations seriously, others I will not.  I decided to take this one seriously because I am ignorant of all things China.  I do not like ignorance.  I must remedy it where I can.  Not that this one book will make me an expert, but I would like to know at least something about the country, even if it just the lives or three women that lived there.

The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
I watched the film yesterday evening and I loved every frame.  I am very curious about its source material and it is with a heavy heart that it is shoved to third place on my list. Continue reading

A Bit Of This And That

Posted in Diary, Katherine Jenkins, Music, Personal Musings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 19 December, 2008 by Nicola

The title is for Emilie Autumn.  Ha!

The truth of the matter is, I can barely bring myself to write anything today.  My head is splitting and I am tired, as I spent the day at work.  I just want to say a few bits and bobs:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my mother, who is 48 today.  BLESS HER.

My Ma is 48 today.  Don't tell anybody.

My Ma is 48 today. Don't tell anybody.

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Current and Near Future Endeavors

Posted in Diary, Personal Musings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 5 December, 2008 by Nicola

Here is a list with what I am currently engaged with, so expect a review soon, and what I am expecting to read, watch or listen to in the future.  In order.

BOOKS

Currently reading:

  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Future reads:

  • Shirley by Charlotte Bronte
  • The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo
  • The Life and Death on Anne Boleyn by E. W. Ives

MUSIC

Awaiting reviews:

  • A Winter Symphony by Sarah Brightman
  • Spirit by Leona Lewis
  • Funhouse by P!nk

Future listens:

  • Bittersweet Symphony by Jade Valerie
  • V for Vendetta Film Score by Dario Marianelli
  • Tenor at the Movies by Jonathan Ansell

FILMS

Awaiting reviews:

  • Twilight (2008)
  • Howl’s Moving Castle (2005)

Future viewing:

  • The Edge of Love (2008)
  • The Duchess (2008)

I will try to get all of these done, so if you are interested in any, keep an eye out.  If anyone spots anything in my future endeavors that should be avoided at all costs, make sure to warn me!

Jean Rhys “Wide Sargasso Sea”

Posted in Books, Charlotte Bronte, Jean Rhys with tags , , , , , , , , , on 2 December, 2008 by Nicola

Jane Eyre is probably one of my favourite novels of all time, and when a family member lent me this prequel, I was quick to devour it.

My expectations were not high, however. I was excited about the Jane Eyre BBC adaptation, and when it turned out to be outstanding and very loyal to its source material, I was keen to watch the prequel that they advertised afterwards. I was not as impressed. I found it dull and could not really connect with Bertha.

As it turns out, after reading this novella, the BBC adaptation was as loyal as the Jane Eyre’adaptation. It was sexy, colourful, brooding, exotic and menacing, and whilst I did not appreciate this at the time, I do after reading this. Unfortunately, this loyalty means the shortcomings of the TV adaptation are also true of this novella. It is quite difficult to feel for the heroine, like we are clearly supposed to, and the author opts to make Rochester (who, interestingly, is never named) out to be a villain, and her madness is entirely his fault. Continue reading

Philippa Gregory’s “The Other Boleyn Girl”

Posted in Books, Philippa Gregory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 1 December, 2008 by Nicola

As a big fan of historical fiction, and also a big fan of Tudor history, particularly Anne Boleyn, I was quite excited to pick up this novel that focused on the forgotten tale of Mary Boleyn.  It makes a good, light read, as long as it is not taken seriously.  It is enjoyable for perhaps a reader that is ignorant of the tale of Anne Boleyn, but if they are unfamiliar, they are going to go away with a very dark picture of Henry VIII‘s most famous wife.
The research surrounding the everyday lives of the courtiers is thorough and convincing, as are the details of the buildings, landscape and costumes.  The main problem with this novel is that Gregory is clutching at straws to come up with a story for Mary and fleshing her out as a character, and as such, sacrifices Anne’s character as a two-dimensional super bitch.  Mary is characterised as her opposite, but is problematically modernised for the modern reader.  Many of Mary’s reactions to situations are completely out of context.  Gregory would have done a better job to have made her a woman of her time and made us understand her in her own contemporary society, that way; we would have truly been drawn into their world.
Continue reading