Tag: Books: Commentary


Commentary: The Children of Hurin

Posted 26 December, 2012 by Lianne in Books / 1 Comment

The Children of Hurin
By: J.R.R. Tolkien

Morgoth, the first Dark Lord, dwells in the vast fortress of Angband in the North; and within the shadow of the fear of Angband, and the war waged by Morgoth against the Elves, the fates of Túrin and his sister Niënor will be tragically entwined.

Their brief and passionate lives are dominated by the elemental hatred that Morgoth bears them as the children of Húrin, the man who dared to defy him to his face. Against them Morgoth sends his most formidible servant, Glaurung, a powerful spirit in the form of a huge wingless dragon of fire, in an attempt to fulfil the curse of Morgoth and destroy the children of Húrin.

This was actually the first book I reviewed when I started keeping a book blog (review). It’s been years since I’ve read it so I decided, with my head filled with Middle Earth recently, that I should re-visit it. Contains some spoilers ahead!

Read More

Commentary: Wolf Hall

Posted 15 December, 2012 by Lianne in Books / 4 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.

I read the book for the first time two years ago and I was honestly left feeling underwhelmed. I think this was because this book was not what I expected it to be and my expectations for it were too high, which was a pity because it really felt well-researched. Hilary Mantel went on to win her second Man Booker prize for its follow-up, Bring Up the Bodies so I decided it was time to re-visit the first novel. It’s funny what re-reads can do, really. Contains some spoilers ahead!

Read More

Commentary: Northanger Abbey

Posted 2 December, 2012 by Lianne in Books / 4 Comments

Northanger Abbey
By: Jane Austen

While enjoying a six weeks’ stay in fashionable Bath, the young and callow Catherine Morland is introduced to the delights of high society. Thanks to a new literary diet of the sensational and the macabre, Catherine travels to Northanger Abbey fully expecting to become embroiled in a Gothic adventure of intrigue and suspense and, once there, soon begins to form the most gruesome and improbable theories about the exploits of its occupants.

Northanger Abbey is Jane Austen’s earlier works that was published posthumously. It’s quite different from her later works and sometimes gets written off for not being as polished or witty as Pride and Prejudice (commentary) or Emma but to me the novel is just as enjoyable as her other works and just as sparkly (and makes for a light, quick read).

Like some of my other re-reads, the following entry is not a review of the novel but rather a commentary of things that I picked up on this time around. Contains some spoilers ahead!

Read More

Commentary: Ocean Sea

Posted 2 December, 2012 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

Ocean Sea
By: Alessandro Baricco

In Ocean Sea, Alessandro Baricco presents a hypnotizing postmodern fable of human malady–psychological, existential, erotic–and the sea as a means of deliverance. At the Almayer Inn, a remote shoreline hotel, an artist dips his brush in a cup of ocean water to paint a portrait of the sea. A scientist pens love letters to a woman he has yet to meet. An adulteress searches for relief from her proclivity to fall in love. And a sixteen-year-old girl seeks a cure from a mysterious condition which science has failed to remedy. When these people meet, their fates begin to interact as if by design. Enter a mighty tempest and a ghostly mariner with a thirst for vengeance, and the Inn becomes a place where destiny and desire battle for the upper hand.

I actually reviewed this novel four years ago (ohmigosh it’s been four years ago? O_o) and decided to re-read it as part of the I Love Italy Reading Challenge. Contains some spoilers ahead!

Read More

Commentary: The Thirteenth Tale

Posted 29 October, 2012 by Lianne in Books / 4 Comments

The Thirteenth Tale
By: Diane Setterfield

Reclusive author Vida Winter, famous for her collection of twelve enchanting stories, has spent the past six decades penning a series of alternate lives for herself. Now old and ailing, she is ready to reveal the truth about her extraordinary existence and the violent and tragic past she has kept secret for so long.

Calling on Margaret Lea, a young biographer troubled by her own painful history, Vida disinters the life she meant to bury for good. Margaret is mesmerized by the author’s tale of gothic strangeness—featuring the beautiful and willful Isabelle, the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline, a ghost, a governess, a topiary garden and a devastating fire.

Together, Margaret and Vida confront the ghosts that have haunted them while becoming, finally, transformed by the truth themselves.

I used to re-read a lot growing up. I didn’t frequent to the bookstore like I do these days and I enjoyed revisiting novels that I’ve read, enjoyed and loved. I read The Thirteenth Tale around 2009 when I was looking for other books similar to Zafon’s The Shadow of the Wind (commentary) and I remember enjoying it. I decided to revisit it recently since it’s been a while and I didn’t remember too much about the details but here’s a funny thing about the re-read: I absolutely remembered nothing about the book. I guess that was the result of having read too many novels in the past few years, the details of some just completely escape me. But it was thrilling to re-read this book and not fully remember the twist and turns that were coming (I knew they were coming, but I forgot what they were =P). May contain some spoilers ahead!

Read More