Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Book Review: Stay Where You Are & Then Leave by John Boyne

            After the wonderful and heartbreaking “The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas” John Boyne has a massively amazing novel to try to match. Unfortunately, quite frankly, he doesn’t match it with this new novel, which is published in late September. “The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas” is so fantastic, honestly it might one of the most amazing books I have found in my book career. So the fact that this new novel doesn’t quite match it, doesn’t disappoint me because it is still really good!
            Its about a little boy, whose father goes to war when WWI breaks out on the 5th birthday of out protagonist little boy. Soon the father goes missing and the little boy creates his own adventure to find him.
            This really does tug at heart-strings so be warned, but Boyne has an absolutely endearing writing style that perfectly narrates the story with a sense of naivety. If you enjoyed “The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas” then you will like this but try not to compare them as much as I did! Enjoy.

Papa Blurb:

            “This is a story about a boy.
            It’s a story about his father.
            It’s a story about a shoe-shine a train journey, a white feather
            And it’s a story about a secret.”

Book Review: Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

         This is such a great debut from a new young author. It is based on real events that happened in Iceland in the early Nineteenth Century and Kent has put her own twist on things. And she does a great job of it too. It has had some really good reviews from some of the top newspapers and I would really like you to read it!
            So the story is two men are murdered and the farm they are on is burned to the ground. Then a man and two women are arrested for the crime and sentenced to execution. One of the women, Agnes, is sent to live on a farm with a family until her execution date, and here she is treated as a criminal and eventually her side of the story is told.
The novel shows real maturity for a debut, and I think it has a brilliant and important message to say. The difference between what we hear and believe and what is told directly to us is very significant and it is an issue that is relevant all the time and throughout history.
            I thoroughly enjoyed Kent’s writing style here, and the plotline had me constantly wanting to know more and so I cheesily say, I couldn’t put it down.

Blurbial Rites:

            “In northern Iceland, 1829, Agnes Magnusdottir is condemned to death for her part in the brutal murder of her lover.
            Agnes is sent to wait out her final months on the farm of district officer Jon Jonsson, his wife and their two daughters. Horrified to have a convicted murderer in their midst, the family avoid contact with Agnes. Only Toti, the young assistant priest appointed Agnes’s spiritual guardian, is compelled to try to understand her. As the year progresses and the hardships of rural life force the household to work side by side, Agnes’s story begins to emerge – and with it the family’s terrible realization that all is not as they assumed…
            Based on actual events, Burial Rites is an astonishing and moving novel about the truths we claim to know and the ways in which we interpret what we’re told. In beautiful, cut-glass prose, Hannah Kent portrays Iceland’s formidable landscape, in which every day is a battle for survival, and asks, how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?”

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Book Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

            To be an absolute cliché about it, this book is such a page-turner. Once you immerse yourself in the world, the plot has so many twits and turns that it keeps you flicking those pages all the way till the end.
            So there’s a couple on their wedding anniversary and when the husband wakes up, the girl is gone. What follows is the fall-out from this event, and as I said before there’s twists and turns galore. Nothing is as it seems and this really paves the way for interesting, gripping and intense reading. You constantly flick your opinion of people back and forth and it really is a book you can’t put down!
            Things do take a completely bonkers route at the end, which having spoken to customers and colleagues about, some people find unbelievable and slightly too bonkers. Personally I think the ending fits for how each character story arc culminates. Gone Girl has been number 1 in our chart for ages now and it’s not slowing down either. It is definitely one I recommend for people who just want to read something a bit lighter, that’s fun and an easy read. Perfect for beaches and sun loungers and just as good tucked up in bed.


            “Just how well can you ever know the person you love? This is the question that Nick Dunne must ask himself on the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, when his wife Amy suddenly disappears. The police immediately suspect Nick. Amy’s friends reveal that’s she was afraid of him, that she kept secrets from him. He swears it isn’t true. A police examination of his computer shows strange searches. He says they aren’t his. And then there are the persistent calls on his mobile phone. So what really did happen to Nick’s beautiful wife?
            In this novel, marriage truly is the art of war…”

Reading Is Fundamental

Book Review: The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

            This won the Booker Prize in 2011 and to be completely honest I’m not 100% sure why. Don’t get me wrong this is technically a very good book.
            There were really interesting elements to this book which I really enjoyed. I think Barnes is a talented writer and the crux of the plotline takes the story in an intriguing direction. However, that had nothing to do with the main character, who narrates the book. He is whiny and egotistical and extremely annoying. In a way, this just shows off Barnes’ talented writing skills - because essentially it is this character and the way he is that moves the story along - so in that sense Barnes is incredibly successful in his characterisation.
I felt like this was the only downside to a book that I actually quite enjoyed. This would be very good for a book club because I think it would spark some interesting talk. If anything it is one to read so you can make your own mind up…(!)

Back blurb-blurb-blurb:

            “Tony Webster and his clique first met Adrian Finn at school. Sex-hungry and book-hungry they would navigate the girl-less sixth from together, trading in affectations, in-jokes, rumour and wit. Maybe Adrian was a little more serious than the others, certainly more intelligent, but they all swore to stay friends for life.
            Now Tony is retired. He’s had a career and a single marriage, a calm divorce. He’s certainly never tried to hurt anybody. Memory, though, is imperfect. It can always throw up surprises, as a lawyer’s letter is about to prove.
            The Sense of an Ending is the story of one man coming to terms with the mutable past. Laced with trademark precision and insight, it is the work of one of the world’s most distinguished writers.”