Posts Tagged ‘sad!’

15th July
2011
written by Steph
We each of us have a Harry Potter story. Now when the franchise faces another ending, this time with the films, it seems only fitting to take some time to look back on my relationship with the boy who lived.

Getting enthusiastic for Harry during the midnight launch of the final book, Deathly Hallows

I am not one of those fans who can say I grew up with Harry, because I didn't. Not really. When Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was first published, I was 14, but it wasn't until the age of 18 that Harry and I finally met. I was in my final year of high school, and my schedule at the time allowed for plenty of "spare" periods which I tended to spend in the library (big surprise) where I'd study and complete homework. More often than not, I'd find myself browsing in the fiction section of our school library, especially when I was meant to be completing my Algebra & Geometry homework. I was a good student, but AlGeo was my Achilles' heel and so I often spent my time reading instead of toiling away when it came up in my work pile. As I stared off into space wondering about imaginary numbers, vectors, and polar space, a paperback version of Philosopher's Stone caught my eye on one of the fiction spinners. By this time there was enough buzz about the series that I had actually heard of it and knew it was supposed to be really good. So I decided that I would give it a try and see what all the fuss was about. (more…)
30th June
2011
written by Steph

By this point everyone on the planet has read One Day, so once again, I am late to the party. But hopefully that means I don’t have to bring the gift of exposition! Well, ok, for those of you who have been living in the land of Classics or non-fiction or whatever, here is a brief idea of what the book is about: On the eve of graduating from university, Dexter & Emma spend one night together and kick off a friendship that, through ups and downs, will last them a lifetime. One Day follows Dex & Em on the anniversary of their meeting each and every year, and in so doing, readers spend both something close to 20 years and just 20 days with the duo. In many ways, One Day appears to be your conventional chick lit novel, the unique premise not withstanding. I’m not sure I would have been drawn to it when I first saw it over in the ARC shelves at BookPage if not for the premise, so while it may seem gimmicky, you’ve got to admire Nicholls for doing something different to set his book apart. I don’t read tons of chick lit anymore, but so much of it is formulaic, that in many ways I feel like the overwhelming popularity of One Day can be attributed to it being a breath of fresh air. That said, it took a trip to Naples, Florida where I knew I’d be lazing by the pool and on the beach for many hours to finally decide that I should see what this sensation was all about. (more…)
13th June
2011
written by Steph

Maggie O’Farrell is one of those authors who I feel is sadly overlooked by readers and bloggers alike. I guess I can’t fully fault those of you who have yet to discover her since I myself am rather late to the party, only having discovered O’Farrell last year when I had the great fortune to review The Hand That First Held Mine for BookPage. I completely admit that I picked the ARC in part because the cover was SO pretty, and when I started to read it, well, it turned out the writing was ALSO pretty. Win, win, win! One thing I feel like a lot of authors seem to do nowadays is play with interleaved narratives and storylines, taking seemingly disparate characters only to ultimately have their stories/lives intersect in some way. Another popular device of late has been the nonlinear storyline, in which readers are thrust back and forth in time, which has the great risk of being befuddling and confusing if not well done. I enjoy both of these devices, but I’ve seen enough of each to know that neither is a guarantee for a novel’s success as both can be employed rather shabbily. Of course, a novel that manages to incorporate both devices effectively has the high probability of lying in my literary sweet spot and being something I will love vociferously. I like books that some might term “head-scratchers”, and so I tend to enjoy books that make the gears of my mind turn as I read and attempt to piece everything together. The Hand That First Held Mine was a great example of the non-linear and dual narrative joining to produce literary bliss, so I immediately flagged O’Farrell as an author whose back catalogue I should read in its entirety. (more…)
14th December
2009
written by Steph
I know, I know, the wretched movie tie-in cover... but it's the copy I read (because it was cheap)!

I know, I know, the wretched movie tie-in cover... but it's the copy I read (because it was cheap)!

Due to a dismal turn-out at my real-life book club last month, I was selected as “She Who Will Choose Next Month’s Book”.  I always agonize over potential choices when it comes my time to choose, because few people in my book club are as voracious readers as I am.  I worry that many of my picks will be too challenging for many of them (not that they aren’t all smart ladies, just that I’m not entirely certain what many of them tend to pick on the “reading to relax” front) or too long (for a while we had a “no books longer than 300 pages” rule, which I thought was foolish).  I wanted to pick books that the rest of my group would be excited about but that would also promote good discussion; in the past I’ve picked Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro and The Road by Cormac McCarthy.   This time I decided to shake things up and pick books that have been turned into movies, hoping that the prospect of getting to watch a film at our round-up would entice more people to actually read the book and attend the meeting!  I pitched three options and everyone voted, and in the end, Revolutionary Road nearly unanimously beat out In Cold Blood by Truman Capote and The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Euginides. I went into the novel not knowing much about it, but I doubt many of you are in the same boat – this book has found a good deal of prominence in the book blogosphere, so it’s actually quite remarkable I went in as unspoiled as I did.  I pretty much just though it would be about a young couple’s marriage that was somehow sad/depressing, but that’s it!  Come to think of it, that’s actually a pretty good synopsis… 😉  For those of you looking for a bit more, the basic narrative thrust behind the novel is that the Wheelers, Frank & April, are a young married couple who had kids seven-years too early and have consequently moved to the suburbs in an attempt to embody the good old-fashioned American family.  Both Frank & April find suburbia rather oppressive and deadening, and the strain of the mundane is beginning to fracture their marriage that gets unhappier by the day.  Frank & April need to do something quickly in order to save their marriage and possibly reclaim a little joie de vivre as well.  Whether their best laid plans actually come to fruition, well, you’ll just have to read the book to find out! (more…)