Brooklyn

Brooklyn

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!

3 star

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Shakespearean Insults

 

I Love this, I keep discovering new insults!chartwell_shakespearean_NEW_large_016be32b-1836-497e-991c-5514ef085ef0

Always,” said Snape.

“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 important that we leave each other and the comfort of it, and circle away

It’s important that we leave each other and the comfort of it, and circle away, even though it’s hard sometimes, so that we can come back and swap information about what we’ve learnt even if what we do changes us
― Robyn Davidson, Tracks

Daughter

Daughter

Daughter by Jane Shemilt

It has taken me a while to type thoughts to blog. This is a hard hitting book and I think to provide a review half heartedly would somehow dishonor the story.  Plus, when a book leaves a lingering feeling of emptiness, how can one find the words to put into a review?

The book is centred around a missing girl and the subsequent deteriation of her whole family. It infuses past and present narrative to create a seamless flow of thoughts and memories, all from the mothers perspective.  When I bought this book, I didn’t realise the strength of the story I was about to unfold, it opens the door to an otherwise locked life, that of a parent with a missing child.  The way in which each character intereacts with each other is chilling, shocking, yet so real.

I could never have guessed the ending, but the way in which I got there was predictable. But not in a negative way. It was more Shemilt luring out my understanding of grief. We all know, have all seen tears on the TV news, in films and we all think we know what goes through peoples’ minds.  But to read it in such a raw and obvious way makes you realise that you know nothing. That you pray to God this will never happen to you.

In terms of the pace of the story, it is slow.  But you don’t need it to go any faster as the perfectly dovetails that of the trauma, fast in the beginning, slow and agonising in the middle, then normal and reluctant towards the end.

This book has a 3.6 on Goodreads. I think the problem lies in the fact that there isn’t a whole lot of action, just memories and anguish. People also don’t recognise the book as belonging to a typical genre, something Shemilt exaplins so well:

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

Psychological suspense, (thriller/drama) is the nearest that I can get to placing the book, not a very  meaningful label  as so many books within this capacious scope are completely different from each other. My background is medical, I’m an ex- GP, my husband is a neurosurgeon. It was helpful to use this known world to create the back drop to both books, and some issues from that world become important. In Daughter: the dangers of labelling, of short cuts, doctors playing God.  But Daughter isn’t a medical drama; it’s a story about a missing girl and the themes of grief, loss, harmful secrets, betrayal and fear do resonate with others in this genre.

An extract from her website.

I am giving this book 5 stars because I think it is brilliantly written, it demonstrates a real talent from Shemilt and I can’t believe this is only her debut.

5 star

BOOK SMART; THE UNEXPECTED HEALTH BENEFITS OF BEING AN AVID READER

BOOK SMART; THE UNEXPECTED HEALTH BENEFITS OF BEING AN AVID READER

A Stylist article

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.

I read a book and think I am the people in the book.

book quotes

New Header, New Home

header image

 

Today is moving day, and all of these precious items are being packed away and not seen again for another week.

Since I will have a new home, I figured, why not update the header image on my blog! Hope you enjoy!

See you on the other side!

Oh yes, I love to read

matilda

 

Reminds me of myself when I was a child.

…protect each other

Mockingjay quote

Starting Over

Starting over

 

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Starting Over by Evan Grace

The book opens with a cutesy just turned 18 year old girl named Bellamy, dressing herself in preparation for losing her virginity with the guy she has been in love with like forever *yawn*. On reading the first couple of pages I did not have high expectations, especially after being introduced to other characters such as  ‘Lola’.  Just another trashy book that has somehow managed to claw itself onto the kindle most downloaded list.

In every sense I was correct, always follow your instincts. It was rubbish, a terrible story line which produced so many more questions than it could answer, but I was addicted and couldn’t put the book down! Yeah it was a trashy love story which could be predicted from the outset and yeah the names were terrible and the discourse appalling……but my god it’s addictive.

I would also like to mention that the book digresses on several occasions into a more intimate scenario. Perhaps not a book for the pure?

Four stars simply for being addictive

4 star

Why readers, scientifically, are the best people to fall in love with

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My other half sent me this, makes for an interesting read;
click here to read the article

“I have stolen ideas from every book I have ever read.”

“I have stolen ideas from every book I have ever read.”
― Philip Pullman, The Amber Spyglass

The Fault in our Stars

The fault in our stars

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The Fault in our Stars by John Green

Bought this on a whim somewhat foolishly after seeing that it was doing well in the charts and although I read it to the conclusion, I was disappointed.

The book follows two pretentious teenagers that seem to take great pleasure in the fact that they are so intelligent. The way that the characters interact with each other and the world merely stands to make them thoroughly unbelievable as characters as they simply do not behave like real life people do. It makes it seem as if the author is trying to show off how intelligent and brilliant he is by throwing in these deep meaningful and analytical conversations between the two main characters.

The book also deliberately throws in these ‘heart breaking’ occurrences that merely irritate the reader as oppose to cause them to well up with sadness. It actually eventually made me dislike both parties by the end of the novel. What was the most ‘throw up in your mouth’ cringeworthy was the sex scene where the author appears to have neglected to acknowledge that a string of chemo and radiotherapy is likely to have rendered both characters infertile and mentions ‘awkward condomy moments’ which feels like he is trying to keep parents happy as he promotes safe sex. It again, completely detracted from any realism with this book. The fact that she attempts to use the word ‘condomy’ is completely at odds with her usual poetic self.

My advice is to see that this book is aimed at a mainly female young teen audience and to avoid it if you do not fit into that category.

Ben

2 star

I like big books and I cannot lie

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My sister just sent this to me and I love it. Now I have to find it….

The End of the Affair

The end of the affair

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The End of the Affair by Graham Greene

This book was bugging me. Well not the book but my boyfriend, constantly telling me I should read it.  I asked him why? He couldn’t say, but assured me it was a great read. So thanks to his clear hidden talent for sales I downloaded it (Ha, there used to be a time one would buy or borrow a book).

I was blown away, Greene is no author. He is an artist! The story seamlessly flitters between the present and various stages in the past.  It is really hard to review this book without revealing anything about the plot, it also has a bizarre ending that leaves so much to the reader to attain closure.

I know it may seem like a strange review, with no substance. But this book blew me away with it’s sheer brilliance. Talent.

5 star

Unchartered by Tracey Garvis Graves

unchartered

 

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Uncharted by Tracey Garvis Graves

Read here about how I absolutely LOVED On the Island. I found this book about 2 days ago and as with her first I could not put it down. Tracey is a wizard when it comes to making her characters addictive, desirable, relate-able.  I was gripped to her every word and needed to keep reading.

The story behind the skeleton ‘Owen Sparks’ found in a cave whilst T.J and Anna were On the Island. Simply yet amazingly entwined within the first book’s events, a happy ending overall.

I only award 4 stars as there clearly was not enough!!

4 star

 

A good book should…..

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I love books so much!!!!!

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