Tag: Books: Review


Review: On Writing

Posted 20 September, 2018 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
By: Stephen King
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

“Long live the King” hailed Entertainment Weekly upon publication of Stephen King’s On Writing. Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported, near-fatal accident in 1999–and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, On Writing will empower and entertain everyone who reads it–fans, writers, and anyone who loves a great story well told.

I haven’t read much of Stephen King’s works although his stories are well known and I’m aware of many that he’s written. I’ve often seen On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft in many lists about the craft of writing so it’s long been on my list of books to check out. I suppose after experiencing a bit of a frustrating drought on writing recently I decided to pick this book up to spur my creativity onward.

What can I say about this book? He does a wonderful job of weaving lessons on writing with his own experiences and journeys as a writer, providing examples, and giving sage advice that he had learned over the years. I didn’t know much about Stephen King’s life and how long he had been writing, so I learned quite a bit there as well. For fans and readers of his book, this book is quite the treat in that he gives a behind-the-scenes insight to his novels, where he got some inspiration from for some of his novels, and so forth (I’m always a bit fan of reading the behind-the-scenes stuff). From a writer’s perspective though this book is quite comforting: he’s straight-up about his advice, but at the same time he reminds the writer that you’re writing to write, you’re writing for yourself, that you make the rules because it’s you putting down those words.

All in all, I really enjoyed reading On Writing. Part memoir, part writing advice, an excellent read all around.

Rating: ★★★★★

Visit the author’s official website || Order this book from the Book Depository

Review: Mikhail and Margarita

Posted 14 September, 2018 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Mikhail and Margarita
By: Julie Kestrom Himes
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

It is 1933 and Mikhail Bulgakov’s enviable career is on the brink of being dismantled. His friend and mentor, the poet Osip Mandelstam, has been arrested, tortured, and sent into exile. Meanwhile, a mysterious agent of the secret police has developed a growing obsession with exposing Bulgakov as an enemy of the state. To make matters worse, Bulgakov has fallen in love with the dangerously candid Margarita. Facing imminent arrest, and infatuated with Margarita, he is inspired to write his masterpiece, The Master and Margarita, a scathing novel critical of both power and the powerful.

The Master and Margarita was never my favourite Soviet novel; I had read it twice and it just never struck me one way or the other. I do however appreciate why it was seen as a sharp appraisal of the Soviet regime and its lackeys and I was curious to read this book because it was looking at the author behind the book and the people he associated with.

Read More

Review: The Unwomanly Face of War

Posted 10 September, 2018 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Unwomanly Face of War
By: Svetlana Alexievich, Richard Pevear (Translator), Larissa Volokhonsky (Translator)
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

The unforgettable oral history of Soviet women’s experiences in the Second World War from the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature

Bringing together dozens of voices in her distinctive style, The Unwomanly Face of War is Svetlana Alexievich’s collection of stories from Soviet women who lived through the Second World War: on the front lines, on the home front, and in occupied territories. As Alexievich gives voice to women who are absent from official narratives – captains, sergeants, nurses, snipers, pilots – she shows us a new version of the war we’re so familiar with, creating an extraordinary
alternative history from their private stories.

Published in 1985 in Russia, The Unwomanly Face of War was Alexievich’s first book and a huge bestseller in the Soviet Union, establishing her as a brilliantly revolutionary writer.

Svetlana Alexievich has been on my wish-to-read list ever since I heard she had won the Nobel Prize in Literature. Her specialisation is oral history in major Soviet events, and I was quite intrigued when I heard that this particular book was published in English a few years ago.

Read More

Review: The Ludwig Conspiracy

Posted 29 August, 2018 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Ludwig Conspiracy
By: Oliver Pötzsch
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

In 1886, Ludwig II, the fairytale king of Bavaria, was deposed after being declared insane by doctors who had never met him. He died mysteriously soon thereafter, his eccentric and beautiful castles his only legacy.

When an encoded diary by one of Ludwig’s confidants falls into the hands of rare book dealer Steven Lukas, he soon realizes that the diary may bring him more misery than money. Others want the diary as well—and they will kill to get it. Believing the diary to contain the secret truth behind Ludwig’s death, Steven and the detective Sara Lengfeld go on the run, investigating each of Ludwig’s three famous castles for clues. Just what in the diary could be so explosive that Ludwig’s deranged modern-day followers will do whatever it takes to keep it hidden?

I’ve been meaning to read something by Oliver Pötzsch for ages. I ended up picking up this book partly because it was on sale but also because it was a standalone and I wasn’t in the mood to pick up a series at the time.

Read More

Review: The Passage

Posted 27 August, 2018 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Passage (The Passage #1)
By: Justin Cronin
Format/Source: Mass market paperback; my purchase

An epic and gripping tale of catastrophe and survival, The Passage is the story of Amy—abandoned by her mother at the age of six, pursued and then imprisoned by the shadowy figures behind a government experiment of apocalyptic proportions. But Special Agent Brad Wolgast, the lawman sent to track her down, is disarmed by the curiously quiet girl and risks everything to save her. As the experiment goes nightmarishly wrong, Wolgast secures her escape—but he can’t stop society’s collapse. And as Amy walks alone, across miles and decades, into a future dark with violence and despair, she is filled with the mysterious and terrifying knowledge that only she has the power to save the ruined world.

I’ve seen this book around since it was first released, thought to pick it up at some point but of course other books came first to my hands. Anyway, what finally prompted me to pick up the book was seeing the trailer to the television adaptation and a number of friends all reading it around the same time 😛

Read More