Review: Wolf Hall

Posted 3 May, 2010 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Wolf Hall
By: Hilary Mantel

England, the 1520s. Henry VIII is on the throne, but has no heir. Cardinal Wolsey is his chief advisor, charged with securing the divorce the pope refuses to grant. Into this atmosphere of distrust and need comes Thomas Cromwell, first as Wolsey’s clerk, and later his successor. Cromwell is a wholly original man: the son of a brutal blacksmith, a political genius, a briber, a charmer, a bully, a man with a delicate and deadly expertise in manipulating people and events. Ruthless in pursuit of his own interests, he is as ambitious in his wider politics as he is for himself. His reforming agenda is carried out in the grip of a self-interested parliament and a king who fluctuates between romantic passions and murderous rages. From one of our finest living writers, Wolf Hall is that very rare thing: a truly great English novel, one that explores the intersection of individual psychology and wider politics. With a vast array of characters, and richly overflowing with incident, it peels back history to show us Tudor England as a half-made society, moulding itself with great passion and suffering and courage.

Despite being an avid reader, I haven’t been so much into the award/shortlist stuff. The list of books that were shortlisted for the 2009 Man Booker award intrigued me and when I heard the premise of Wolf Hall, I figured to give it a try at some point. Chapters Indigo was selling it online shortly after it won for a very sweet price so I snatched it up right away but only got around to reading it now. Spoilers ahoy!

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Meme: Teaser Tuesdays

Posted 26 April, 2010 by Lianne in Meme / 6 Comments

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
– Grab your current read
– Open to a random page
– Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
– Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Should Be Reading

My teaser for this week: “He [Thomas Cromwell] is a man of strong build, not tall. Various expressions are available to his face, and one is readable: an expression of stifled amusement.” – p. 31, Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel.

This book has been sitting on my TBR list since last fall (along with a few others) and I’m so happy that I finally have the time to crack at 2009’s Man Booker winner. The synopsis sounds interesting and I’m looking forward to reading it. I’m not far in but from what I’ve read thus far it’s promising. My only (small) issue with it at the moment is the tense; I think this is the historian in me coming out but I find it a bit odd that the prose is written in present tense. But again, it’s just a minor kafuffle on my part, lol. Should be good! =D

Review: Amsterdam

Posted 26 April, 2010 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Amsterdam
By: Ian McEwan

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.

This book has been on my want-to-read list for a very long time, probably around the time that I finished reading his book Atonement (which I absolutely loved to pieces; you can read my highly spoilerish review over here). I finally got my hands on it last week and read it last night; it’s a slim volume and I decided not to try updating my website layout so I just delved into the novel in one go. Spoilers ahoy!

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Meme: Musing Mondays

Posted 25 April, 2010 by Lianne in Meme / 1 Comment

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about the war books

With yesterday being Anzac Day, I thought I’d ask a theme question this week. Are you a reader of war books? And if so, do you have any favourites?

Just One More Page

I’ve noted this before to friends and colleagues but a lot of the novels I read tend to gravitate towards the 1930s/1940s/WWII period. I guess there’s something about the time and the setting that allows certain stories to be told and for certain human emotions and acts of courage (and acts alone) to be shown. Some of my favourite novels are set in this period: Ian McEwan’s Atonement, C.J. Samson’s Winter in Madrid, Daniel Silva’s The Unlikely Spy, David Benioff’s City of Thieves, Louis de Bernieres’s Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief but I’ve plenty of others as well (Galloway’s The Cellist of Sarajevo, Paternak’s Doctor Zhivago, Tolstoy’s War and Peace, Nichol’s Transgression, etc.) So yeah, I guess I am an avid reader of novels set in a war period of sorts. xD

Review: Possession

Posted 20 April, 2010 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

This book has been sitting on my shelf since last autumn; didn’t get around to reading it because I was up in Ottawa for the fall semester so when I got back this past weekend, I figured it be one of the first books to tackle in my TBR list xD

Possession
By: A.S. Byatt

The only thing Maud Bailey and Roland Michell have in common is a love of Victorian poets. They’ve dedicated their lives to finding out as much as they can about two obscure poets when their paths unexpectedly cross. Their independent research reveals that their respective subjects once shared a passionate love affair. At first they’re upset that this information will change all their past research, but soon they become consumed by the romance of long-ago and work feverishly together to unearth every detail.

I heard of this book last year on GoodReads; a lot of the book groups I was a member of had read this book in their monthly reads and I heard praises of this book from people in my flist. So I decided to check it out. Have been trying to finish my final draft of my proposal but in the process I couldn’t put this book down, lol. Although I used it as my book for this week’s Teaser Tuesday, I ended up finishing it last night xD Spoilers ahoy!

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