Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín
Originally published: April 29, 2009 (my birthday)
I was at a train station, serious delays in every direction and I would not be leaving anytime soon. To top off my bad luck, my kindle had run out of battery. It was time to purchase a real, paper book.
I perused the bestsellers in WHSmiths and found Brooklyn. I had seen the film advertised and as always I prefer to read the book before watching the motion picture. The blurb on the back wasn’t exactly captivating, but it had won the Costa novel award in 2009 and had been short and long listed for a few other awards since. It seemed like an easy read that would help me pass the time.
It is set in 1950’s Ireland and is the story of a young girl, Ellis, who has grown up in a small rural town with her mum and sister (and a few brothers who have since moved away). She has no real prospects until an Irish priest from Brooklyn offers to sponsor her in New York where she will be able to live, work and study for a better future.
She travels to New York by ship, and has a bumpy ride. She finds a lodging with some other similar minded women, a job in a department store, an evening course and eventually love. But, as with all soppy stories there is also another man, this one all the way back in Ireland.
It is basically the story of Ellis growing up and having to choose between two boys. I would say it is half interesting and a very tame read. There was one dramatic plot twist which I didn’t see coming and actually upset me a little. But I soon go over it and realized I was back in the monotony of this read. This book is exactly the reason why I tend to avoid the WHSmiths bestsellers.
If you want an easy holiday read about young love, dances and courting then please…be my guest!
“Dumbledore watched her fly away, and as her silvery glow faded he turned back to Snape, and his eyes were full of tears.
“After all this time?”
“Always,” said Snape.”
— J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7))
“It’s impossible to make your eyes twinkle if you aren’t feeling twinkly yourself.” – Danny says to his father
Danny the Champion of the World, Roald Dahl
BOOK SMART; THE UNEXPECTED HEALTH BENEFITS OF BEING AN AVID READER
I loved seeing this article pop up on my facebook newsfeed, it literaly felt like my insides were shining with the confirmation that reading is good for one’s health!
Reading, it transpires, has a profound effect on mental agility, the memory and our aptitude for imagination and compassion…..It can also help to alleviate stress and aid sleep.
Personally, I read because I crave the feeling of submersion, the feeling of flying away and the ability to completely cut out the real world. I allow each word to engulf me, transforming each into a visual picture, a movie inside my head.
“By losing yourself in a thoroughly engrossing book you can escape from the worries and stresses of the everyday world and spend a while exploring the domain of the author’s imagination,” says cognitive neuropsychologist Dr David Lewis, leading the survey.
At the end of the article is a survey:
WHAT’S THE THING YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT READING?
1. It helps me to unwind and relax
2. The potential for escapism
3. The fact that it challenges me
4. The ability to gain a new perspective
Answer the question and you can see the percentage of readers who voted for each answer. I obviously chose number 2, and in all honesty the results surprised me!
If you want to read the full article, click here.
My year in books: 2014
Not my best year for reading, but I did get engaged and married so I am not going to be too hard on myself. A total of 23 successfully finished, and additionally some half read books I could not bear to finish; one being The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton (Sorry Georgie!).
Just a few awards to dish out, obviously my opinions are my own so please do not start abusing me for my choices…
Best book of 2014
Tracks by Robyn Davidson. The true story of Robyn’s trek from the centre of Australia to the West coast, a truly remarkable account. It was funny, sad and exciting and left me wishing I was there, nay, her! I simply could not get enough of this book and I feel it has made me a better person for having read it. Maybe I appreciate people’s dreams or something, not quite sure how I ameliorated myself but I feel it, and that is what counts.
The End of the Affair by Graham Greene. This book I think deserves to be on everyone’s reading list. It is a love story, written from a sad and distant perspective, and it is beautiful in every way. This is no story, it is a piece of literary art. It pains me to say, but unfortunately a story with this depth and skill is apparently no contender for the modern day dribble that we see on the Kindle best sellers, people need to wake up and smell the well written books!
Worst book of 2014:
This is a no brain-er. It has to be Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. What killed the ambience of this hollywood read was the terrible writing, shallow characters and the poor quality of the kindle version, to boot! I admit, the story had me turning the pages, but compared to a real thriller (John Grisham is a fantastic thriller writer) it was a wet flannel.
January – 😦
February – 12 Years a Slave
March – A Respectable Trade
May – The End of the Affair
July – Insurgent, Allegiant, Tracks
September – Bite, Sycamore Row
November – Birdsong, Philomena,
December – Dear Daughter
Having the books in list form has reminded me of many an unfinished review. Please bear with me…