Tag: Books: Literary


Review: The Bookshop

Posted 22 May, 2020 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

The Bookshop
By: Penelope Fitzgerald
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

From the Booker Prize-winning author of Offshore, The Blue Flower and Innocence comes this Booker Prize-shortlisted story of books and busybodies in East Anglia.

This, Penelope Fitzgerald’s second novel, was her first to be shortlisted for the Booker Prize. It is set in a small East Anglian coastal town, where Florence Green decides, against polite but ruthless local opposition, to open a bookshop. ‘She had a kind heart, but that is not much use when it comes to the matter of self-preservation.’

Hardborough becomes a battleground, as small towns so easily do. Florence has tried to change the way things have always been done, and as a result, she has to take on not only the people who have made themselves important, but natural and even supernatural forces too. This is a story for anyone who knows that life has treated them with less than justice.

Please bear with me in this review, I thought I had written notes down when I had finished reading it but I guess not. This book had been cropping up in my radar for some time and it sounded interesting so I decided to pick it up (also, in the event I ever get around to watching the movie).

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Review: Warlight

Posted 18 May, 2020 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Warlight
By: Michael Ondaatje
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

In a narrative as beguiling and mysterious as memory itself, shadowed and luminous at once: we read the story of fourteen-year-old Nathaniel, and his older sister, Rachel. In 1945, just after World War II, they stay behind in London when their parents move to Singapore, leaving them in the care of a mysterious figure named The Moth. They suspect he might be a criminal, and they grow both more convinced and less concerned as they come to know his eccentric crew of friends: men and women joined by a shared history of unspecified service during the war, all of whom seem, in some way, determined now to protect, and educate (in rather unusual ways) Rachel and Nathaniel.

But are they really what and who they claim to be? And what does it mean when the siblings’ mother returns after months of silence without their father, explaining nothing, excusing nothing?

A dozen years later, Nathaniel begins to uncover all that he didn’t know and understand in that time, and it is this journey–through facts, recollection, and imagination–that he narrates in this masterwork from one of the great writers of our time.

I’ve been eyeing this book since it was first released and then longlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2018: aside from its rather mysterious book covers, the premise sounded interesting and promised to be unique. I finally picked it up a while ago for my Kobo and read it rather recently.

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Review: Cloud Atlas

Posted 22 April, 2020 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Cloud Atlas
By: David Mitchell
Format/Source: Hardback; my purchase

Souls cross ages like clouds cross skies . . .

Six interlocking lives – one amazing adventure. In a narrative that circles the globe and reaches from the 19th century to a post-apocalyptic future, Cloud Atlas erases the boundaries of time, genre and language to offer an enthralling vision of humanity’s will to power, and where it will lead us.

So I watched the movie first before I read the book (posted my thoughts on the movie last week) but the book has long been on my wish-to-read list. Watching the movie prompted me to finally pick up the book so here we are 🙂

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Review: Normal People

Posted 9 October, 2019 by Lianne in Books / 4 Comments

Normal People
By: Sally Rooney
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

Connell Waldron is one of the most popular boys in his small-town high school–he is a star of the football team and an excellent student, and he is never wanting for attention from girls. The one thing he doesn’t have is money. Marianne Sheridan, a classmate of Connell’s, has the opposite problem. Marianne is plain-looking, odd, and stubborn, and while her family is quite well off, she has no friends to speak of. There is, however, a deep and undeniable connection between the two teenagers, one that develops into a secret relationship.

Everything changes when both Connell and Marianne are accepted to Trinity College. Suddenly Marianne is well liked and elegant, holding court with her intellectual friends, while Connell hangs at the sidelines, not quite as fluent in the language of the elite. Throughout their years at university, Marianne and Connell circle each other, falling in and out of romance but never straying far from where they started. And as Marianne experiments with an increasingly dangerous string of boyfriends, Connell must decide how far he is willing to go to save his oldest friend.

Sally Rooney brings her brilliant psychological acuity and perfectly spare prose to a novel that explores the subtleties of class, the electricity of first love, and the inescapable challenges of family and friendships. Normal People is a book that you will read in one sitting, and then immediately jump up to share with your friends.

I’ve been eyeing this book for a while now, ever since it hit the circuit and everyone was raving about it. Almost picked it up on a few occasions but for whatever reason never went through with it until it went on sale over the summer on Kobo. Seemed to be on the short end so I decided to read it for a change of pace (I was reading a lot of economics towards the end of summer). Contains some minor spoilers ahead!

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Review: The Interestings

Posted 9 August, 2019 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Interestings
By: Meg Wolitzer
Format/Source: Hardback; my purchase

The summer that Nixon resigns, six teenagers at a summer camp for the arts become inseparable. Decades later the bond remains powerful, but so much else has changed. In The Interestings, Wolitzer follows these characters from the height of youth through middle age, as their talents, fortunes, and degrees of satisfaction diverge.

The kind of creativity that is rewarded at age fifteen is not always enough to propel someone through life at age thirty; not everyone can sustain, in adulthood, what seemed so special in adolescence. Jules Jacobson, an aspiring comic actress, eventually resigns herself to a more practical occupation and lifestyle. Her friend Jonah, a gifted musician, stops playing the guitar and becomes an engineer. But Ethan and Ash, Jules’s now-married best friends, become shockingly successful—true to their initial artistic dreams, with the wealth and access that allow those dreams to keep expanding. The friendships endure and even prosper, but also underscore the differences in their fates, in what their talents have become and the shapes their lives have taken.

Wide in scope, ambitious, and populated by complex characters who come together and apart in a changing New York City, The Interestings explores the meaning of talent; the nature of envy; the roles of class, art, money, and power; and how all of it can shift and tilt precipitously over the course of a friendship and a life.

Another book that’s been sitting on my wish-to-read, and then my TBR, queue for ages. I had been meaning to read it for the last few summers now but never got around to it until now; this year I was eyeing it on my stack and thinking, Yes, I’m going to read you this year. And here we are, I finally read it *happy tears*

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