Monthly Archives: November 2013

Website: November Updates

Posted 29 November, 2013 by Lianne in Website / 0 Comments

Wow, last Friday of the month. It seemed like yesterday we were bidding October adieu and I was all thrilled about Sci-Fi Month–now we’re at the end! *tear*

Not my gif (as always); this may or may not be my expression when I’m on the computer

  1. It feels like I haven’t read a lot this month but in fact I have: Herman Koch’s The Dinner (review), Jonathan Smith’s Summer in February (review), David Logan’s Half-Sick of Shadows (review), Jennie Rooney’s Red Joan (review). You can check out all the books I’ve reviewed recently in the book review tag.
  2. I’ve also ready a number of ARCs this month including Alison Weir’s Elizabeth of York (review), P.S. Duffy’s The Cartographer of No Man’s Land (review) and Lynn Austin’s Pilgrimage: My Journey to a Deeper Faith in the Land Where Jesus Walked (review). You can read all of the reviews of the ARCs I’ve read in this tag.
  3. I’ve participated in two book blog tours this month, one for Susan Conley’s Paris Was the Place (post) and one for M.K. Tod’s Unravelled (post).
  4. So Sci-Fi Month hosted by Rinn Reads is coming to an end. It’s been a lovely month filled with all things science fiction. I’m still going through comments but in the meantime if you haven’t tuned in, feel free to browse through the tags to see what I’ve posted. A wrap-up post will be posted tomorrow
  5. Actually got around to a bit of movie-reviewing this month, all of them from Studio Ghibli, lol: Tales from Earthsea (review), Spirited Away (review) and tomorrow my review for My Neighbour Totoro should be up *fingers crossed* Slowly making my way through the Miyazaki movies! 🙂
  6. Please tune in next month as it’s going to be a busy one: lots of end-of-the-year lists, especially with books (always good fun) as well as sign-up posts for some reading challenges I’ll be hosting next year. It’ll be grand!
  7. On a final note, don’t be surprised if the layout changes next week here on the blog and some of my recent posts mess up spectacularly; Advent is coming and this current theme I’m using is taking up a lot of break html code =P

And that’s about it for me. I may or may not have a post about NaNoWriMo sometime this weekend, updating you all on exactly what I did during the month of November 😉 In the meantime, hope you all have a wonderful weekend (if you’re venturing out and shopping this weekend with those sales, stay safe) and here’s a bit of Doctor Eight for you all:

Not my gif but sums up the charm of Doctor Eight quite nicely <3

Review: The Dinner

Posted 29 November, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Dinner
By: Herman Koch
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

It’s a summer’s evening in Amsterdam, and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant for dinner. Between mouthfuls of food and over the polite scrapings of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of polite discourse — the banality of work, the triviality of the holidays. But behind the empty words, terrible things need to be said, and with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened.

Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son. The two boys are united by their accountability for a single horrific act; an act that has triggered a police investigation and shattered the comfortable, insulated worlds of their families. As the dinner reaches its culinary climax, the conversation finally touches on their children. As civility and friendship disintegrate, each couple show just how far they are prepared to go to protect those they love.

I had heard of this novel in passing earlier this year but it wasn’t until someone had featured it for one of the Top Ten Tuesday lists that it actually entered my radar, lol. Chapters Indigo recently had this awesome sale on some of the best books from this year and this book was on that list so yeah, I got it earlier this week in the post. And then I read through it, perhaps a little quicker than I expected, lol. May contain a minor spoiler ahead (not plot-related though)!

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Meme: Friday Book Memes

Posted 29 November, 2013 by Lianne in Meme / 4 Comments

Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name.

Rose City Reader

Here’s a book I started reading:

The Man Who Walked Away
By: Maud Casey

In a trance-like state, Albert walks—from Bordeaux to Poitiers, from Chaumont to Macon, and farther afield to Turkey, Austria, Russia—all over Europe. When he walks, he is called a vagrant, a mad man. He is chased out of towns and villages, ridiculed and imprisoned. When the reverie of his walking ends, he’s left wondering where he is, with no memory of how he got there. His past exists only in fleeting images.

Loosely based on the case history of Albert Dadas, a psychiatric patient in the hospital of St. André in Bordeaux in the nineteenth century, The Man Who Walked Away imagines Albert’s wanderings and the anguish that caused him to seek treatment with a doctor who would create a diagnosis for him, a narrative for his pain.

In a time when mental health diagnosis is still as much art as science, Maud Casey takes us back to its tentative beginnings and offers us an intimate relationship between one doctor and his patient as, together, they attempt to reassemble a lost life. Through Albert she gives us a portrait of a man untethered from place and time who, in spite of himself, kept setting out, again and again, in search of wonder and astonishment.

Here’s the first lines of the book:

It was as though he had always been there, haunting the landscape, if only you were paying attention.

– p. 3 (electronic ARC)

I quite like that opening sentence, very mysterious (I like the idea of “haunting the landscape”). Why would it be easy to miss him?

This book is actually not going to be released until March next year but because I was recently approved a copy on NetGalley and it will be archived in about a week, I had to download it now and read it. The premise is quite interesting, stretching through far off European locations, and I love the cover (another impetus to click the “Request” button, lol). I’ve only read the first page or so but I’m intrigued so far 🙂


Flashback Fridays

Flashback Friday is hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies, a little weekly tradition in which she picks a book from her reading past to highlight. If you’d like to join in, here are the Flashback Friday book selection guidelines:

  • Has to be something you’ve read yourself
  • Has to still be available, preferably still in print
  • Must have been originally published 5 or more years ago

Other than that, the sky’s the limit! Join me, please, and let us all know: what are the books you’ve read that you always rave about? What books from your past do you wish EVERYONE would read? Pick something from five years ago, or go all the way back to the Canterbury Tales if you want. It’s Flashback Friday time!

For this week’s FF, I chose a novel that was published in 1998:

By: Ian McEwan
My review of the novel

On a chilly February day two old friends meet in the throng outside a crematorium to pay their last respects to Molly Lane. Both Clive Linley and Vernon Halliday had been Molly’s lovers in the days before they reached their current eminence — Clive as Britain’s most successful modern composer, Vernon as editor of the broadsheet The Judge. But gorgeous, feisty Molly had other lovers too, notably Julian Garmony, the Foreign Secretary, a notorious right-winger poised to be the next prime minister. What happens in the aftermath of her funeral has a profound and shocking effect on all her lovers’ lives, and erupts in the most purely enjoyable fiction Ian McEwan has ever written.

from Goodreads

I was inspired to choose this novel for this week’s Flashback Friday because I will be posting up my review shortly of Herman Koch’s The Dinner which I just finished reading yesterday while in transit.

Anyways, this novel won the Man Booker in 1998. Personally Atonement (review) is my favourite novel by Ian McEwan but I can see why this novel won. For such a slim volume–and McEwan I think is quite known for doing this–it is crammed full of themes and ideas and feelings just self-contained in this singular story and the relationship between these two men: companionship/friendship, death, euthanasia, politics, creativity and the productivity and contribution of one’s life to the world. The main characters, Vernon and Clive, were very interesting characters but even the secondary characters–from Molly’s husband to the recently-deceased Molly herself–all play a role in this tale and are fascinating in their own right.

And, of course, the prose is wonderfully McEwan; I find he always knows exactly the right word to use at the right moment and his narratives are just astounding. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned it time and again that I wish I wrote as concise and as beautifully as he does 🙂

As an aside, I think the time in which I read this novel might’ve marked the start of me reading a lot more literary titles (not necessarily Man Booker nominees or winners–though I do try that). I feel like I might be a wee bit spoiled by having read a number of McEwan’s titles because his stories for the most part manages to leave me rather affected or contemplative, depending; there’s been one novel by him that left me rather indifferent but otherwise his books are fantastic! Can’t wait to read Sweet Tooth (which is sitting on my shelf, waiting to be read…)

If you’re participating in this meme, be sure to link up over at Bookshelf Fantasies!


What books are you reading this Friday? Wishing a wonderful weekend–happy reading! 🙂