31 May 2012

Nam Le "The Boat"

'The Boat' has been on my 'want to buy' list for a number of months and I was delighted my local library had a copy. I started it yesterday and gave up this morning on page 97. I read the first two stories, started on the third and tried out a little of the last.

The beginning of the first story had me hooked, I was drawn into the characters life and the imagery was incredible, but the ending left me feeling very unsatisfied. I know a number of readers would love to say that this is a strong connection to the disappointments experienced in real life, but not me. I prefer a story that completes all major aspects and doesn't leave the reader hanging. Again, I acknowledge that a large number of readers appreciate a story that makes them think and leaves them with scenarios to ponder and figure out for themselves. I can appreciate this more in a longer story and not in a book of short stories when I want to go on to read the other stories.

I also feel as though the stories were trying too hard. It seemed like jumps between descriptions rather than  smooth flow of information and body.

I appreciate that a number of people like 'The Boat', but I will simply end by saying it is not for me.

28 May 2012

I have recently rediscovered the joy that is free books handed to you at the library and have carted home two books I have been tempted to buy for a long while and another I have heard about but never investigate, until now...

I just finished reading 'The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society' and I am wishing I still had hundreds of pages remaining.

I love reading a good book, but there is that dreaded time when you read one that is so good there are few that can capture your attention and emotions for awhile after reading. I fear this may be one of those books.

I enjoy reading books presented as a series of letters, and this one especially so. I was fearful of becoming confused with the characters at first, but found the information at the start of each letter was enough to know who was who. There were a few times while reading I was sorely tempted to skip a few pages to see what was going to happen, but I didn't; okay, maybe just once.

I loved the snippets of information being included in letters to different people. I feel it kept it fresh and interesting, being included in with different tales and leading me to try to piece together who knew which secrets and what was left out, away from readers' eyes. I felt that staring into the distance remembering who had been told what and who had presented which theory helped create relationship with the characters and cement who fitted where and meant what to each other.

It became easy to forget the story was based upon survivors of a war an become carried away in the social twinnings and twistings. Events thrown in jolted the reality back causing what I can only assume a jolt such as would be the case for one attempting to forget it had happened. I am so very grateful to be one of  a much more peaceful generation and also that my culture recognises wars and those that allowed our peace.

The relationships were predictable but delightfully so, as it added to the suspense, waiting for what you knew was coming to eventuate and blossom. There were many 'Austen' moments and I was pleased at her mentions and recommendation to a male member of the society. The first mention of Jane brought a smile to my face and served only to intensify my love for this novel.

I give this book 5 potato peel pies out of 5 and am sorely tempted to order a copy for myself and gift one to my expecting cousin. I shall see how long I win against this temptation.

27 May 2012

In 2006 I completed the HSC and was no longer a high school student. I set myself a list of goals I wished to complete in the following year of freedom from academia... without any practical thought or calculation.

The list has since been mostly destroyed in account of what I have recently learned to be me making my reality state match my desired state, fancy words for covering my failure to eliminate feelings of failure or incompetence. There were a number of things on the list that I may not have the means to achieve in my life time, let alone in a mere 52 weeks, yet young industrious me could see my breezy success. Current, older me admires my faith in myself and the progress I have made.

The one goal I have not let go of was to read 100 books, enter comprehension on the unrealistic goal setting. It is going on 6 years later and I am close to finishing my 91st book. I am satisfied in my average of 15 books a year and am excited at the prospect of having a list of almost 100 books I have read.

I remember a paper list with ice-cream cones blu-tacked to my wall in primary school where I recorded the books I read and wish it was still floating around with some paintings of trees and cats, alas, I believe it to be lost in the dust of times gone by. I shall content myself with my new list of books and set my goal up a notch each time I reach another count of 100. My mind boggles at what number it may reach in my life's maturity.
I have had a bookmark that I have not looked at seriously for the last 8 months or so and I have finally opened it in order of procrastination and am dedicating the remainder of this post to it's subject matter; a list of 1001 books one should read before ones dies. Challenge accepted. With the right to choose to skip a few, 99, 100, of course! The list is on a number of different sites and I have not taken the time to determine it's origin, but I am happy to link to Listology.

I now plan to make this a mammoth post with my friends; cut and paste in order to present those of the list I have read.

Here begins a brand new internet blog journey. I am dedicating this site to my biggest and life-long passion; books.

I really need to tidy up my bookcase
I plan to share thoughts, reviews, progress and possibly gripes on the things I read and why I love them or why I would like to send them on their way with a warning for others to not bother with them.