Atonement

 

Atonement

Published: 2001

Author: Ian McEwan

This book has been on my radar since the film release in 2007, but I never felt an overwhelming urge to read it so although I had it on my kindle it wasn’t until I bought the hard copy a few weeks ago that I decided now would be as good a time as any.

For those of you living under a rock, the story goes that a young girl commits a crime that allegedly has disastrous consequences for her sister and their long term family friend; it sees lovers torn apart and a family in turmoil. The film trailer and even the book synopsis created this illusion that I was about to read something terrible, awful. This young girl unwittingly commits a crime and the whole world turns upside down because of it. The problem I had with this book is that the crime wasn’t drastic enough for me; the lives after the said crime were not substantially decimated.

Setting the scene for this lie was the most interesting part of the book; it was most of the book in fact! Everything after just seemed to fall out of the authors mouth like word vomit. I didn’t think enough emphasis went on any character so how a reader can feel that lives have been turned upside down is beyond me. Example, the elder sister stops speaking to her family (apologies for a reveal), but how did this impact her or the family? It doesn’t say.

It might seem that I am being harsh and I suppose I have my own high expectations to contend with, I did enjoy the book. Maybe it is because I like period literature, or maybe it is because I have a black heart and wanted to read about the ruining of lives!

On that note, there was one poignant scene in the book, set on the beaches of Dunkirk in WWII after the retreat had been ordered; it saw a fight ensue between army soldiers and a weak member of the RAF. This spat tore at my heart strings, and I thought McEwan successfully captured the absolute carnage of human mentality and body on those beaches over 70 years ago.

 Although my review has the pretence of snubbing the literary efforts of McEwan, I would recommend the book.  I would always recommend the book over a film.  The setting of the scene was beautifully done, and the descriptiveness of the war efforts were also very good.

 

4 star

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

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

anne frank

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

I couldn’t remember if I had read this as a child or not, but felt that regardless this book deserved a second, more mature read and now as an adult I can fully appreciate this beautiful diary.

It is a marvel to read, listening to a young girl’s thoughts and feelings, watching her not only grow up but also fall simultaneously, deep into a sense of loneliness and despair.  But her story is not a tragic one, but a voice given to the millions of people who suffered during the second world war. Her face has now become synonymous with freedom and it was the afterward of her diary that brought tears to my eyes. Anne Frank wanted to be a writer, she wanted to be remembered after her death, and now, as one of the most famous faces (and names) of the 20th Century she has outlived history and has become a symbol of hope and learning.

Many of us have read this book at school as children or young adults, I really urge you to re-read it because as life brings us knowledge and empathy I felt  during this second reading that I understood why this book is a piece of art in a terrible slice of history.

And now, I feel must pilgrimage to Amsterdam so that I can visit The Secret Annex, walk the same corridors and stand in her room, contemplate the fate of those unfortunate, innocent 8 people. Because in reading her diary you feel that you are with her and that as the diary comes to an abrupt end you too have suffered a loss.  But she has surpassed even her own dreams and become timeless, forever a young, hopeful girl WRITER!.

5 star

The best discovery since my Kindle…..History in an hour!

Historyinanhour

 

I have made a fantastic discovery, an e-book series called History in an Hour.

With a boyfriend in the military it is becoming increasingly difficult for me to avoid the war jargon and historical references he comes out with, the reason for avoidance is I do not understand what he is saying!! Or more specifically, I cannot contribute to the conversation. So I decided to brush up on my military history and I stumbled upon History in an Hour and ended up downloading several at once. In 1 week I have read 5 of the 25 books in the series, finishing a book in a day (using the daily commute as my reading time). With the tag line “History for busy people”, I could not ignore them.

history in an hour

To be honest I was fairly knowledgeable of the chain of events that sparked both the first and the second world wars but with the direct and concise approach to the books I learnt facts that made me say “huh..?” (with a nod).  The other book topics I know next to nothing about but have since been reciting many factoids…proudly.

There are so many books in the series, ranging from Tudor history to current world changing events. I have also found a series called Philosophy in an Hour (I think by the same publishers) and since I have always wanted to read Aristotle, but considered his works rather daunting to say the least, I have excitedly downloaded Aristotle: Philosophy in an Hour.

Download these books now! For next to nothing cost wise….what’s stopping you!?

5 star