Tag: Books: Classics


Two Book Reviews

Posted 16 July, 2018 by Lianne in Books / 1 Comment

The following are two reviews (sort of) that didn’t warrant a post of their own. Unfortunately this post is a bit of a downer, but I also didn’t want to pass them off and not post about them, if that makes any sense lol.

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Love in a Cold Climate
By: Nancy Mitford
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

Polly Hampton has long been groomed for the perfect marriage by her mother, the fearsome and ambitious Lady Montdore. But Polly, with her stunning good looks and impeccable connections, is bored by the monotony of her glittering debut season in London. Having just come from India, where her father served as Viceroy, she claims to have hoped that society in a colder climate would be less obsessed with love affairs. The apparently aloof and indifferent Polly has a long-held secret, however, one that leads to the shattering of her mother’s dreams and her own disinheritance. When an elderly duke begins pursuing the disgraced Polly and a callow potential heir curries favor with her parents, nothing goes as expected, but in the end all find happiness in their own unconventional ways.

This book has long been on my wishlist so it was nice to finally pick up the book and read it. Unfortunately I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would, which might be a culmination of having started it before going on vacation and then picking up and finishing it when I got back. But maybe it was my mood too as before I left I wasn’t terribly invested in the story already. There were some witty dialogue here and there, but otherwise I was just bored by the story, a lot of it was hearsay (heh, isn’t life a lot about stories we hear from other people?) which I guess it also part of the society that Polly and Fanny live in. So yeha, it should’ve been a story that should’ve interested me a lot more, and there’s a lot going on in their story, but yeah, in the end I just didn’t really care for it 🙁

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Learn more about the author on Wikipedia || Order this book from The Book Depository

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Holding on to Normal
By: Alana Somerville
Format/Source: ARC courtesy of Simon & Schuster CA

A compelling memoir about trying to live meaningfully with illness and triumph beyond it, by breast cancer survivor Alana Somerville, a teacher and mother of two young children.

I looked at all the sick people around me. Was I going to be like them? Was that already me? Did I suddenly have a time stamp on my life? Would I make it out of this alive?

Alana Somerville—wife, teacher and mother of two small children—was thirty-three years old when she was diagnosed with stage-two, triple-negative breast cancer. The diagnosis changed her world and the relationships she had with everyone around her. Suddenly she was faced with endless medical appointments, multiple surgeries and procedures, the challenges of chemotherapy, and all the decisions involved in her treatment. She also had to deal with the trauma of realizing that her support network—sometimes even her closest friends—could struggle with how to help or even how to react to her anymore.

Throughout the course of her illness, Alana learned to maneuver through the medical system, to advocate for herself, and to build a truly supportive network. She also discovered how to keep her positive spirit intact while undergoing a double mastectomy and ongoing treatment. She is now living cancer-free—a survivor and an advocate.

Alana’s story is not unique. It’s a story that will resonate with anyone who has suffered illness and found themselves navigating a whole new world upon diagnosis. This is an “everywoman’s” journey through the experience of cancer, tracing the emotional, physical and psychological steps that are common to all. In the end, this memoir will offer hope that one can live a healthy, fulfilling and happy life beyond diagnosis. Holding on to Normal is for anyone who is suffering—or knows someone who is suffering from—a setback in life, and who is looking for inspiration on how to navigate their own journey.

I tried to start this book a few times since receiving it from Simon & Schuster CA (unsolicited, but anyway, I give unsolicited books a chance should they pop up in my mailbox) but I just could not. It’s not to say this book is not worth checking out or whatever, it’s just that given my job in healthcare and working with patients who are living with a cancer diagnosis (though they shouldn’t be at my hospital as my hospital is a rehab/continuing care facility) and moreso patients having had a history of cancer, it’s just not something I’d read about on my spare time. I might go back to it at some point but for not I’m nowhere inclined to read it.

Rating: DNF

Visit the author’s official website || Order this book from the Book Depository

Review: Murder on the Orient Express

Posted 15 May, 2018 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Murder on the Orient Express (Hercule Poroit #10)
By: Agatha Christie
Format/Source: Mass market paperback; my purchase

What more can a mystery addict desire than a much-loathed murder victim found aboard the luxurious Orient Express with multiple stab wounds, thirteen likely suspects, an incomparably brilliant detective in Hercule Poirot, and the most ingenious crime ever conceived?

How is it that I’ve never read a Hercule Poroit novel before? Been meaning to for the longest time–and indeed I only got around to reading a book by Agatha Christie maybe a year or two ago–but yeah, it wasn’t until previews for the 2017 adaptation were playing that I decided to finally check out the book (which by the way I still haven’t seen the movie. If I do check out an adaptation it will likely be the David Suchet one as my family’s told me his Poroit is on point *thumbs up*).

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Books: A Batch of Mini-Reviews

Posted 3 May, 2018 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

Hallo everyone! This is my first review here on the blog in quite a while, and suffice to say I’m starting off small because I read a small bit in the last few weeks but unfortunately didn’t jot down enough notes to remember them all in-depth. So here we are instead 😛 Included in this batch are:


Drafts, Fragments, and Poems: The Complete Poetry
By: Joan Murray
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

The first appearance of this award-winning writer’s work since the 1940s, this collection, which includes an introduction by John Ashbery, restores Joan Murray’s striking poetry to its originally intended form.

Though John Ashbery hailed Joan Murray as a key influence on his work, Murray’s sole collection, Poems, published after her death at the early age of twenty-four and selected by W. H. Auden for inclusion in the Yale Series of Younger Poets, has been almost entirely unavailable for the better part of half a century. Poems was put together by Grant Code, a close friend of Murray’s mother, and when Murray’s papers, long thought to be lost, reappeared in 2013, it became clear that Code had exercised a heavy editorial hand. This new collection, edited by Farnoosh Fathi from Murray’s original manuscripts, restores Murray’s raw lyricism and visionary lines, while also including a good deal of previously unpublished work, as well as a selection of her exuberant letters.

Okay, I never heard of Joan Murray until I saw the Instagram account for NYRB post about this upcoming collection and posted a few snippets of her poetry. I was intrigued–read a lot of high praise about her work–so I decided to check her work out. Admittedly I read this book a few months ago and did not write any notes anywhere so my memory of my reaction to this book is a bit hazy but I remember enjoying it, the imagery choice she uses was quite intriguing. But the impression that was left in my mind first and foremost was that reminder that poetry can be whatever you make it to be, however you want to express yourself using the words at your disposal, arranged by way your mind, perspective, and creativity makes of it.

So yeah, if you’re looking for new poets from the early twentieth century to check out, definitely look in to this book! It’s great that NYRB is showcasing so many different poets from different periods, I’m finding out about lots of new poets this way 🙂

Rating: ★★★★☆

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Review: Collected Poetry (John Donne)

Posted 2 October, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Collected Poetry
By: John Donne
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

Regarded by many as the greatest of the Metaphysical poets, John Donne (1572-1631) was also among the most intriguing figures of the Elizabethan age. A sensualist who composed erotic and playful love poetry in his youth, he was raised a Catholic but later became one of the most admired Protestant preachers of his time. The Collected Poetry reflects this wide diversity, and includes his youthful songs and sonnets, epigrams, elegies, letters, satires, and the profoundly moving Divine Poems composed towards the end of his life.

From joyful poems such as ‘The Flea’, which transforms the image of a louse into something marvellous, to the intimate and intense Holy Sonnets, Donne breathed new vigour into poetry by drawing lucid and often startling metaphors from the world in which he lived. His poems remain among the most passionate, profound and spiritual in the English language.

Slowly making my way through classic poets, as per usual 🙂 I forgot who said somewhere that John Donne had some of the most romantic poetry in English literature so that kind of sold me to pick up his works a wee bit sooner than it would’ve taken 😛

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Review: Catch-22

Posted 2 August, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 4 Comments

Catch-22
By: Joseph Heller
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

At the heart of Catch-22 resides the incomparable, malingering bombardier, Yossarian, a hero endlessly inventive in his schemes to save his skin from the horrible chances of war.

His problem is Colonel Cathcart, who keeps raising the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. Yet if Yossarian makes any attempts to excuse himself from the perilous missions that he’s committed to flying, he’s trapped by the Great Loyalty Oath Crusade, the bureaucratic rule from which the book takes its title: a man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions, but if he makes the necessary formal request to be relieved of such missions, the very act of making the request proves that he’s sane and therefore, ineligible to be relieved.

I first read this book in 2009 but never got around to reviewing it here on the blog (ahh, them early days). For the past few years I had been meaning to revisit the novel just to see if my impressions had changed since. Well, I finally did get around to re-reading it earlier this year; sort of took a while because I started reading it before I went on vacation and then continued reading it when I got back, haha, but anyhow…

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