Tag: Rating: 4 stars


Review: Ocean Sea

Posted 6 September, 2008 by Li in Books / 0 Comments

It’s been a while since I’ve done a review…with school starting again, my reviews will becoming sporadic again with everything that’s going on but I’ll try to post whenever I can. I might also start posting reviews and random comments on manga and anime series and stuff as I’ve been reading a ton lately xD Anyways, moving along now…

Ocean Sea
By: Alessandro Baricco

I’ve been waiting forever to get my hands on this book (had to put some money aside for this book as the price was a bit of a turnoff for some time (given the length of this book)). Anyways, Alessandro Baricco is the author of Silk (which was adapted into a movie starring Michael Pitt and Keira Knightley); as that book is probably his most well-known here in North America, you think I’d pick that book up first. But nope, it was Ocean Sea that caught my attention (and not just because it has the title conjures up endless sea and the cover was rather intriguing). Its premise is an interesting one: five different individuals all end up checking into a remote hotel facing the sea as a way to solve their troubles. For me, Ocean Sea is deeply rooted in the post-modern tradition of the novel (think stream of consciousness; book II is a clear example of this) so it was a different experience for me altogether (I hardly read post-modern books from the 20th century as I’m still going through the classics ;)); you had to really read each word and look beyond the the surface to really understand the psychological implications of what’s going on. Additionally, you have to suspend your sense of reality when you read this book as there are some mysterious elements that come into the story as you read along. But the events leading up to the end of the novel makes complete sense, including some twists that I didn’t figure. The journey that each of the characters make is compelling, like they’re all a metaphor on certain aspects of life. Even after I finished the novel, I was contemplating at exactly what the sea was supposed to represent: life? heaven? freedom? Another thing I liked about the book was the prose; I’m sure some meanings were lost in the translation from Italian to English but overall, it’s absolutely beautiful, another reason why you should read every single word in this novella. Overall, it’s an interesting novel that really gets you thinking about the deeper elements in life.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Learn more about Alessandro Baricco here || Order this book from the Book Depository

Review: The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen

Posted 18 April, 2008 by Li in Books / 0 Comments

The Lord Memoirs of Jane Austen
By: Syrie James

Being a massive Jane Austen fan, I had to go and pick up this book (well, actually I was staring at this book for how many weeks before I picked it up). There’s always been speculation as to whether Jane Austen had a great love story in her life that inspired the greatest love stories in her novels; you can see it in the various biographies available at bookstores on her life, there was the movies Becoming Jane and Miss Austen Regrets. The premise of this novel fits in with the speculation; James writes from the point of view of Jane Austen herself, transcribing her relationship with a well-off gentleman by the name of Mr. Ashford. This relationship was set between her teenage years and the time that Sense and Sensibility came out. It’s a sweet novel, drawing in incidents that would’ve influenced certain scenes later in her six novels. It’s a great read, James captures the period that Jane lived in quite nicely, although she could have expanded the ending a bit longer, it seemed a bit abrupt (though, thinking upon it further, it made sense since it would’ve been a painful memory to Jane). I strangely found myself drawing parallels with the movie Becoming Jane, but that could just be a coincidence since I had also seen the movie shortly before reading the book. I highly recommend this book if you enjoy Jane Austen’s works.

Rating: ★★★★☆

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

Review: The Gun Seller

Posted 25 January, 2008 by Li in Books / 0 Comments

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here…the following posts I’m making are long overdue, lol.

The Gun Seller
By: Hugh Laurie

Everyone knows Hugh Laurie from shows like House MD and Jeeves and Wooster, he’s a talented muscian who can play a number of instruments and he’s a writer. The Gun Seller is his first novel (the second one, The Paper Soldier, coming out either late this year or next year), following a man named Thomas Lang, a hired man who gets caught up in international intrigues, double dealings and conspiracies of all sorts. But like Thomas (and the back of the book) says, he’s really a nice guy: he’s just caught up in the plot. It’s everything you need in a spy novel/thriller: a series of unique characters, some of whom you don’t know where their allegiances truly lie, a few “close call” cases, a few chases, mysterious meetings in obscure places, a number of revelations and a main character who’s got attitude and a mouth. Thomas is a wise guy, which makes the plot even more entertaining. What was particularly interesting about this novel is the way Hugh Laurie crafted the dialogue; it’s like you’re having a conversation with Thomas Lang. Thomas Lang himself has a very interesting way of observing what’s going on around him and the analogies he draws in relation are purely hilarious, which reflects just what a talented man Hugh Laurie is. The humour is quirky and witty and the pace never slows down in the book, which is great. I definitely recommend this book if you’re into the spy genre with a twist.

Rating: ★★★★☆

For more information about Hugh Laurie, check out HughLaurie.net || Order the book from the Book Depository

Review: Stardust

Posted 24 August, 2007 by Li in Books / 0 Comments

Stardust
By: Neil Gaiman

With the movie out in theatres, I decided to check out the novel. My first reaction was on how thin the novel was; fantasy novels these days seem to come in what is called “door stoppers”. I mean, they’re normally huge. So you can imagine the surprise I felt upon picking up Stardust. It’s only ten chapters long and you can pretty much finish it in one evening (I did). Because of how short it is, there’s not much intricate detail into the environment of the Faerie lands. This isn’t a bad thing or anything; Gaiman gives you enough detail to paint an image in your head as to where Tristan and the star are going and the situations they encounter. The story is pretty straightforward and quite to the point but lovely all at the same time; Tristan’s adventure to find the star and bring it back across the wall is fantastical. Gaiman doesn’t go into every single battle he’s fought and every single one of the situations they come across on the road, but you get a sense that they’ve done a lot before reaching back to the Wall. And it’s enough, in my opinion, because the core of the story is very much there. There’s not a lot of books like this out there, so it’s a nice change. Definitely check this out if you’re looking for a quick but interesting read.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Visit Neil Gaiman’s official website || Order the book from the Book Depository