Tag: Books: Commentary

Review: Never Let Me Go

Posted 15 January, 2014 by Lianne in Books / 4 Comments

Never Let Me Go
By: Kazuo Ishiguro
Format/Source: Paperback; my copy

As children Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy were students at Hailsham, an exclusive boarding school secluded in the English countryside. It was a place of mercurial cliques and mysterious rules where teachers were constantly reminding their charges of how special they were.

Now, years later, Kathy is a young woman. Ruth and Tommy have reentered her life. And for the first time she is beginning to look back at their shared past and understand just what it is that makes them special–and how that gift will shape the rest of their time together.

This is actually more of a commentary post than a review post since I never typed out a review post the first time I read this book…so yeah, story time: I found out about this novel because of the movie adaptation they made several years ago staring Keira Knightley and Carey Mulligan. As always I wanted to read the book first but at the time I got a copy of the book, I ended up going on my semester exchange so it had to wait until I got back. Either way, it’s been a long time since I’ve read the book. So just a heads up, major spoilers if you haven’t read the book as I will be talking about some of the themes and events that happened throughout 🙂

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

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Commentary: Ensemble C’est Tout

Posted 10 November, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Hunting and Gathering (Ensemble C’est Tout)
By: Anna Gavalda
Format/Source: Trade paperback; my purchase

Gavalda explores the twists of fate that connect four people in Paris. Comprised of a starving artist, her shy, aristocratic neighbor, his obnoxious but talented roommate, and a neglected grandmother, this curious, damaged quartet may be hopeless apart, but together, they may just be able to face the world.

I read this novel for the first time a few years ago (you can read my review over here) after having watched the movie with Audrey Tautou and Guillaume Canet. It was a delightful movie and I was curious about the novel . It quickly became an all-time favourite of mine (in fact, I own two copies of this novel: the English edition under the title Hunting and Gathering, and the French edition whose cover is featured here). For the past year or two I had been meaning to re-visit the book again, maybe write down a few of my favourite quotes to put into my quotes journal, but I never found the time until I decided to participate in the Books in France reading challenge this year. And here we are 🙂

This book is part of the Books on France Reading Challenge 2013 that I am participating in.

Contains spoilers ahead!

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Commentary: The Virgin Suicides

Posted 23 October, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 4 Comments

The Virgin Suicides
By: Jeffrey Eugenides
Format/Source: Trade paperback; my purchase

The shocking thing about the girls was how nearly normal they seemed when their mother let them out for the one and only date of their lives. Twenty years on, their enigmatic personalities are embalmed in the memories of the boys who worshipped them and who now recall their shared adolescence: the brassiere draped over a crucifix belonging to the promiscuous Lux; the sisters’ breathtaking appearance on the night of the dance; and the sultry, sleepy street across which they watched a family disintegrate and fragile lives disappear.

I first read this novel three years ago. I had always heard of The Virgin Suicides, knew it was adapted into a film by Sofia Coppola (with an awesome soundtrack), but I never got around to either. I remember feeling totally absorbed with the novel; couldn’t put it down, the story just haunted me afterwards. I recently got around to getting a copy of the novel for myself (Vintage Canada released this awesome selection of titles in a colour-coded scheme; I wish this title was in a different colour, but it fits the tone of the story) and decided to re-read it given my reading slump at the moment. Contains spoilers ahead!

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Commentary: Wizard’s First Rule

Posted 7 August, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

Wizard’s First Rule (Sword of Truth #1)
By: Terry Goodkind
Format/Source: Mass bound paperback; my copy

In the aftermath of the brutal murder of his father, a mysterious woman, Kahlan Amnell, appears in Richard Cypher’s forest sanctuary seeking help . . . and more. His world, his very beliefs, are shattered when ancient debts come due with thundering violence.

In a dark age it takes courage to live, and more than mere courage to challenge those who hold dominion, Richard and Kahlan must take up that challenge or become the next victims. Beyond awaits a bewitching land where even the best of their hearts could betray them. Yet, Richard fears nothing so much as what secrets his sword might reveal about his own soul. Falling in love would destroy them–for reasons Richard can’t imagine and Kahlan dare not say.
In their darkest hour, hunted relentlessly, tormented by treachery and loss, Kahlan calls upon Richard to reach beyond his sword–to invoke within himself something more noble. Neither knows that the rules of battle have just changed . . . or that their time has run out.

This is the beginning. One book. One Rule. Witness the birth of a legend.

Wizard’s First Rule is the first in Terry Goodkind’s fantasy series The Sword of Truth. As it’s spanning some 12 – 13 books, I just have no time to read it all but i was curious to check out the first book a few years ago, especially as I enjoyed the television adaptation Legend of the Seeker. I decided to re-visit the book a bit recently as I found myself rewatching some old episodes and book was sort of staring at me when I was re-organising my shelves some time ago. Contains some spoilers ahead if you haven’t read the book! (or at least seen the television series?)

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Review: A Very Long Engagement

Posted 14 July, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 6 Comments

A Very Long Engagement
By: Sebastien Japrisot
Format/Source: Paperback; my copy

During the First World War five French soldiers, accused of a cowardly attempt to evade duty, are bundled into no-man’s land and certain death. Five bodies are later recovered, the families are notified that the men died in the line of duty and the whole, distasteful incident appears closed. After the war the fiancee of one of the men receives a letter which hints at what might have happened. Mathilde Donnay determines to discover the fate of her beloved amid the carnage of battle.

I must’ve mentioned the story on how I got my hands on this book a few times but suffice to say it took a while, lol. I loved the movie adaptation of this novel starring Audrey Tautou, Marion Cotillard and Gaspard Ulliel (loved it, by the way), it had many elements that I enjoyed in a novel/film: set during a war period somewhere in Europe, an engaging mystery, a scathing look at the hypocrisy and ridiculousness of bureaucracy, a love story overcoming many challenges. If I didn’t love the movie enough, it’s also one of my favourite novels.

I never wrote a review for this novel the first time around but decided to re-read it as part of the Books on France Reading Challenge 2013 that I am participating in. Figured it was a good time to re-visit this novel ^_~

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