Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Book 5. Emma by Jane Austen

Finished 25th January.

This is the second 'Austen' book that I have read. My first being 'Pride and Prejudice' a few years ago. Not usually the kind of book I would read but it was actually a welcome change. This book is a very old book and was written nearly 200 years ago !

First of all I have to say how beautifully presented this Penguin book is. I adore the cover artwork and it feels and looks like a proper book.

It isn't the easiest book to read because it is written in a style and language that is essentially old fashioned. It did take me a few chapters to get into and the old fashioned style did trip me up occasionally and once or twice I had to back step and on more than one occasion I had to work out who on earth was talking and what they were talking about. But we can't blame Jane for this, it's not her fault she wrote it such a long time ago !

However at the end of the day this is a charming light hearted book that does keep its interest going and in a modern world such as ours, reading a book like this is probably as much an escape as reading a science fiction novel.

The book is essentially about a young, rich, spoiled women and her one sided take on her life and the people around her. She unsuccessfully attempts to match-make for her new friend 'Harriet' and then a new man arrives into her life, Frank Churchill and her old nemesis ' Jane Fairfax' who both turn her little society upside down. And then we have her neurotic father who absolutely loathes the idea of marriage and pities anyone who goes down that path and the hilariously talkative Miss Bates.

On the whole this isn't the kind of book that I would normally read but it is neither a bad book nor an average book. It is much more than that. It is a good book.
Just one that doesn't rock my world. Will I read another Austen ? Probably. I prefer this to 'Pride and Prejudice'.


Sunday, 16 January 2011

Book Number 4 The Runes Workbook by Leon D Wild

Finished 16/01/11

This is the first non fiction that I had read during this challenge and therefore it is not easy to rate because I probably can't rate it on the same scale as fiction. However there are probably other non fictions books that will be better and a lot more interesting in the future.

Ok first the negatives. A lot of this book is bullshit ! I found myself reading about ancient Gods and beliefs that just seem plain ridiculous in 2011. And I had to ask myself seriously what I was doing even reading it at times and I had no interest in actually using the book as a workbook. I want to read 52 books in a year, not spend months workbooking !

Now to the positives. I am a Tarot reader and am hoping to build up my tarot reading business and so my new found knowledge of the Runes will hopefully be very useful. It is another string on my bow and hopefully now I can make rune reading a part of my business. The book is extremely well illustrated, in fact the works contained within are exemplary, from the beautiful front cover onwards. I will have to remember the illustrator, her name is Corroe Cunningham. Maybe I can find her on Facebook !

This is the first book in a good while that I have read that does not contain any printing or spelling mistakes which is amazing considering that it is not a bestseller or written by a particularly famous author. I did find it interesting and useful for my business and it could be a great help in years to come. However that interest and usefulness have to be balanced with the fact that it contains alot of new age bollocks.


Thursday, 13 January 2011

Portrait of the artist as a young dog - Dylan Thomas

Finished 13/01/11

As an 'on and off' poet myself and having visited Laugharne once, the place where he spent so much time, it was with interest that I finally read this book. Poetry is something that I have been interested in since childhood but I generally shy away from all the snobbery and stuck up attitude that comes with it.Probably the main reason that I haven't written more poetry.

Portrait of the artist as a young dog has a photograph of Dylan tangled up in a tree on the front cover. I guess his life was pretty tangled because of his poetry and his addiction to drink. This book is an autobiography written as a collection of short stories or 'memories'.

To be honest while it isn't the best and most exciting thing I have ever read it isn't the worst either. It isn't wonderful and it isn't boring. It is a bit like drinking water. It quenches your thirst but doesn't do much else ! The stories are charming and easy to read and are packed with emotion, as I would expect from a poet. But sadly this book never really goes anywhere.

It has a certain charm and it never gets boring. However it is a bit like reading one of those stories in a women's magazine. It is something to read while you are on a bus or waiting at the Doctor's. But that's about it really.

Most of the stories are short and relatively bland. The last story entitled ' One warm saturday' kind of saves the day. In this story we are taken on a drunk fuelled escapade and we see Dylan's poetry and emotion in the raw. And I ended up feeling extremely sorry for him at the end, something I guess we can all relate to.


Monday, 10 January 2011

The Time Traveller's Wife

Finished 9th January 2011

This book came with quite a reputation and was a really big best seller and I wasn't disappointed when I came to reading it. Basically it is an old fashioned love story with a science fiction twist, it was easy to read and kept my interest all the way. The big thing about this book is it's originality. It is such an original idea but also written in an original style. The fact that the story was written from the two viewpoints of the two main characters actually worked well. This book didn't have any really big plot or storyline. No murders and no bad guy plotting to take over the world or assassinate the president, it was just a simple plot that didn't need anything bigger. A simple plot that revolves around the main character's ( Henry's) attempt to live a normal life ( and to have a normal relationship) even though he keeps on disappearing into the past and the future without wearing any clothes !
Evenntualy this lifestyle catches up with him and he ends up becoming a victim of his time travelling lifestyle. There were points during the book when I thought it would get boring but then it bounced back again and never got to the point of ' boring'.
If I had to find a negative to this book it would be that it's not really a blokes book ! It's kind of more of a woman's book and if it didn't have that sci fi twist I probably wouldn't have loved it so much. It also gets a little art farty in parts , sometimes lapsing into German and the intricities of paper making and opera.
Also, because I have no experience of Chigago, at times it is pretty hard to picture some of the locations.

However those are just small negatives that don't stop this from being one of the best books I have ever read. The thing about this book is that it feels special. It is one of those rare books that you ' live'. One of those books that you can't stop thinking about when you are at work or in bed at night. You kind of ' live' this kind of book, if that makes any sense ? But another great thing about The Time Traveller's Wife is the way it is written. Niffenegger certainly has a great way with words and has an entertaining and quirky style that lends itself well to the story.