Tag: Books: Literary

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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Review: The Painted Veil

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

The Painted Veil
By: W. Somerset Maugham
Format/Source: Paperback; received as a birthday gift

Kitty Fane is the beautiful but shallow wife of Walter, a bacteriologist stationed in Hong Kong. Unsatisfied by her marriage, she starts an affair with charming, attractive and exciting Charles Townsend. But when Walter discovers her deception, he exacts a strange and terrible vengeance: Kitty must accompany him to his new posting in remote mainland China, where a cholera epidemic rages. First published to a storm of protest, The Painted Veil is a classic story of a woman’s spiritual awakening.

This book has been on my want-to-read list for a very long time, since I’ve seen the 2006 adaptation with Naomi Watts and Edward Norton (<3 that movie). I knew that the novel had a somewhat different tone compared to the movie, which is perhaps one of the reasons why I kept putting it off; needed to be in the mood to read it, you know. Anyway, I received a copy of this book from Rory, thus bumping this book up the priority list 😉 Contains massive spoilers ahead!

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Review: Stoner

Posted 4 December, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

By: John Edward Williams
Format/Source: Paperback; my own copy

William Stoner enters the University of Missouri at nineteen to study agriculture. A seminar on English literature changes his life, and he never returns to work on his father’s farm. Stoner becomes a teacher. He marries the wrong woman. His life is quiet, and after his death his colleagues remember him rarely.

Yet with truthfulness, compassion and intense power, this novel uncovers a story of universal value. Stoner tells of the conflicts, defeats and victories of the human race that pass unrecorded by history, and reclaims the significance of an individual life. A reading experience like no other, itself a paean to the power of literature, it is a novel to be savoured.

I first discovered this novel through Twitter; Vintage Classics was retweeting people’s reactions to receiving a copy of this edition of the novel and I was curious. It sounded like something I should be reading. So I got around to picking up a copy for myself recently =) May contain spoilers ahead!

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Review: The Dinner

Posted 29 November, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Dinner
By: Herman Koch
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

It’s a summer’s evening in Amsterdam, and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant for dinner. Between mouthfuls of food and over the polite scrapings of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of polite discourse — the banality of work, the triviality of the holidays. But behind the empty words, terrible things need to be said, and with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened.

Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son. The two boys are united by their accountability for a single horrific act; an act that has triggered a police investigation and shattered the comfortable, insulated worlds of their families. As the dinner reaches its culinary climax, the conversation finally touches on their children. As civility and friendship disintegrate, each couple show just how far they are prepared to go to protect those they love.

I had heard of this novel in passing earlier this year but it wasn’t until someone had featured it for one of the Top Ten Tuesday lists that it actually entered my radar, lol. Chapters Indigo recently had this awesome sale on some of the best books from this year and this book was on that list so yeah, I got it earlier this week in the post. And then I read through it, perhaps a little quicker than I expected, lol. May contain a minor spoiler ahead (not plot-related though)!

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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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