Tag: Books: Commentary

Commentary: Jane Eyre

Posted 18 February, 2015 by Lianne in Books / 4 Comments

Jane Eyre
By: Charlotte Bronte
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

Passionate, poetic and revolutionary, Jane Eyre is a novel of naked emotional power. Its story of a defiant, fiercely intelligent woman who refuses to accept her appointed place in society – and instead finds love on her own terms – has become famous as one of the greatest romances ever written, but it is also a brooding Gothic mystery, a profound depiction of character and a transformative work of the imagination.

I read this book years and years ago when I started reading a lot more classic novels (thank you, Jane Austen). I actually reviewed it in the early days of my blog (review; yikes at my early reviews 😛 ) but for the longest time I had been meaning to re-visit it, discuss it a bit more. Pages Unbound‘s Charlotte Bronte week and discussion about the adaptations on Twitter last month finally prompted me to re-visit it indeed 🙂

Read More

Review: Dune

Posted 23 June, 2014 by Lianne in Books / 6 Comments

Dune (Dune #1)
By: Frank Herbert
Format/Source: Mass paperback copy; my purchase

Here is the novel that will be forever considered a triumph of the imagination. Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, who would become the mysterious man known as Muad’Dib. He would avenge the traitorous plot against his noble family–and would bring to fruition humankind’s most ancient and unattainable dream.

I first read this book in high school, having found out about it after watching the 2000 TV miniseries starring John Hurt and Alec Newman. I really enjoyed the miniseries–it was far different from any sci-fi I had watched up to that point–and decided to check out the book (which thankfully my high school library had). I really enjoyed the book, bought a paperback copy of my own and to this day continues to be my favourite sci-fi novel of all time. I decided to re-visit it because I hadn’t read it since…for a long time 😛

This book is part of the A Year in Re-Reading: a 2014 Reading Challenge that I am participating in.

Read More

Commentary: The Way of Kings

Posted 5 March, 2014 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1)
By: Brandon Sanderson
Format/Source: Mass bound paperback; my copy

Roshar is a world of stone and storms. Uncanny tempests of incredible power sweep across the rocky terrain so frequently that they have shaped ecology and civilization alike. Animals hide in shells, trees pull in branches, and grass retracts into the soiless ground. Cities are built only where the topography offers shelter.

It has been centuries since the fall of the ten consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armor that transform ordinary men into near-invincible warriors. Men trade kingdoms for Shardblades. Wars were fought for them, and won by them.

One such war rages on a ruined landscape called the Shattered Plains. There, Kaladin, who traded his medical apprenticeship for a spear to protect his little brother, has been reduced to slavery. In a war that makes no sense, where ten armies fight separately against a single foe, he struggles to save his men and to fathom the leaders who consider them expendable.

I first read this book in 2012 (review. Of all of Brandon Sanderson’s books that I had read to date, it was actually my least favourite. It still contained everything I loved about his writing and his storytelling but it felt dense, bogged down and stretched out at times that compared to his other novels, I actually zoned out at times. I thought maybe a re-read would change my opinion of the book; maybe there was something I was missing, maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for a sprawling epic at the time. Anya then gave me the heads up late last year that she and another blogger were planning a Way of Kings read-along and thought now would be a good time to re-read the book, especially with the second volume in the series coming out shortly. And here we are 🙂 Spoilers ahead if you haven’t read the book!

This book is part of the A Year in Re-Reading: a 2014 Reading Challenge that I am participating in.

Read More

Commentary: Revolutionary Road

Posted 3 March, 2014 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Revolutionary Road
By: Richard Yates
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

In the hopeful 1950s, Frank and April Wheeler appear to be a model couple: bright, beautiful, talented, with two young children and a starter home in the suburbs. Perhaps they married too young and started a family too early. Maybe Frank’s job is dull. And April never saw herself as a housewife. Yet they have always lived on the assumption that greatness is only just around the corner. But now that certainty is about to crumble. With heartbreaking compassion and remorseless clarity, Richard Yates shows how Frank and April mortgage their spiritual birthright, betraying not only each other, but their best selves.

So it was the year that Kate Winslet had two movies coming out, The Reader and Revolutionary Road. I wanted to read the former but in the search for it, my mum picked up the latter for me. For reasons that I will touch on in greater detail after the cut, I didn’t really enjoy this novel the first time around; it left me really, really, REALLY angry/frustrated/whathaveyou with the characters involved. But despite of it, the story stuck in my mind and years later, I decided to revisit it to see if time has given me a different perspective to this novel.

This book is part of the A Year in Re-Reading: a 2014 Reading Challenge that I am participating in.

After the cut contains major spoilers!

Read More

Commentary: The Bishop Goes to the University

Posted 26 February, 2014 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Bishop Goes to the University: A Bishop Blackie Ryan Novel
By: Andrew M. Greeley
Format/Source: Mass bound paperback; my copy

The irrepressible Bishop Blackwood Ryan returns as his Cardinal dispatches Blackie to The University on the South Side of Chicago to investigate a baffling locked-room mystery. Someone has assassinated a Russian Orthodox monk in his office at the Divinity School-despite the fact that the door of his office was bolted shut from the inside and no killer was found within.

Who shot Brother Semyon Ivanivich Popov? There were only four professors in the building on the night of the shooting: a feminist theologian, a distinguished scripture scholar, an expert on the Talmud, and a young tenure-seeking professor whom Blackie compares to a silverback gorilla.

It turns out that the mystery of the locked room is simple compared to the international intrigue that swiftly develops around the case. Intelligence agents from diverse nations seem to be involved, as well as both the Sicilian and Russian mobs. Blackie soon finds himself the target of threats and actual bullets as he seeks to unravel the deepening mystery surrounding the murdered monk-whose murky secrets may stretch all the way to the Vatican itself!

Murder is more than academic in yet another delightful whodunit by one of America’s most popular storytellers.

I honestly don’t remember how I first came by this book and this series. Maybe it was a newspaper article or a website but I was intrigued at the idea of a Catholic priest sleuthing. This particular title especially caught my attention because it involved university insitutions and Russian Orthodoxy. I remember enjoying it the first time around; it’s a slim volume but it’s jam-packed with story and characterisation. I decided to re-visit it after my mum bought a whole slew of his novels following the author’s passing last year.

This book is part of the A Year in Re-Reading: a 2014 Reading Challenge that I am participating in.

Read More