The Paris Wife
By: Paula McLain
No twentieth-century American writer has captured the popular imagination as much as Ernest Hemingway. This novel tells his story from a unique point of view – that of his first wife, Hadley. Through her eyes and voice, we experience Paris of the Lost Generation and meet fascinating characters such as Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and Gerald and Sara Murphy. The city and its inhabitants provide a vivid backdrop to this engrossing and wrenching story of love and betrayal that is made all the more poignant knowing that, in the end, Hemingway would write of his first wife, “I wish I had died before I loved anyone but her.”
I was quite thrilled when I learned that I won an advanced reading copy of The Paris Wife on GoodReads. The story intrigued me despite knowing almost nothing about Ernest Hemingway (save for the biographical bits here and there from the 1996 movie In Love and War with Sandra Bullock and Chris O’Donnell) and having read nothing by him (though to be fair I haven’t really read very many books by authors from this era). So this book was really a nice introduction to the life and figure of Ernest Hemingway but also a pleasant reading experience. Some Spoilers Ahead!
The Graveyard Book
By: Neil Gaiman
It takes a graveyard to raise a child.
Nobody Owens, known as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a graveyard, being raised by ghosts, with a guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor the dead. There are adventures in the graveyard for a boy: an ancient Indigo Man, a gateway to the abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible Sleer. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, he will be in danger from the man Jackâ€”who has already killed Bod’s family.
This book has pretty much been in my radar since I first heard that it was being released a few years ago. I’ve already read a few of Gaiman’s books and it’s always guaranteed to be interesting and unique. For some reason it took over two years before this book came out in the small, $9 paperback, and when it did it took a bit longer before I got around to picking it up. But I finally have and here we are. Some Spoilers Ahead!
By: David Nicholls
It’s 1988 and Dexter Mayhew and Emma Morley have only just met. But after only one day together, they cannot stop thinking about one another. Over twenty years, snapshots of that relationship are revealed on the same day-July 15th-of each year. Dex and Em face squabbles and fights, hopes and missed opportunities, laughter and tears. And as the true meaning of this one crucial day is revealed, they must come to grips with the nature of love and life itself.
I forgot what list I read but this book showed up as one of the best for the year. The premise intrigued me (especially the fact that every chapter focused on July 15th year after year) and I was in need of a good book that would keep my mind off the stress that is my thesis. Some spoilers ahead!
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
By: Susanna Clarke
The year is 1806, England is beleaguered by the long war with Napoleon, and centuries have passed since practical magicians faded into the nation’s past. But scholars of this glorious history discover that one remains, the reclusive Mr Norrell, whose displays of magic send a thrill through the country. Proceeding to London, he raises a beautiful woman from the dead and summons an army of ghostly ships to terrify the French. Yet the cautious, fussy Norrell is challenged by the emergence of another magician: the brilliant novice Jonathan Strange. Young, handsome and daring, Strange is the very antithesis of Norrel. So begins a dangerous battle between these two great men which overwhelms that between England and France. And their own obsessions and secret dabblings with the dark arts are going to cause more trouble than they can imagine.
So this novel has been sitting on my bookshelf waiting to be read since last Christmas. Been meaning to get around to it sooner but I had all these other books to get through and to be honest, its size was rather daunting, lol (despite having read longer books before; books this size definitely need considerable attention). When I left to Italy for my semester exchange, I decided to take this book with me. That was in September; I didn’t get around to actually reading it until the end of November when I had a long train ride from Trento to Wien. Anyways, I only finished it yesterday when I got back from my exchange altogether (having read the remaining 300 pages on the plane ride back) and the following things really stuck out for me from the book…
Apologies in advance if this entry is a bit meh; I had started this entry days ago but got busy with offline stuff and plus I’m recovering from my wisdom teeth surgery (got my remaining two removed yesterday) so the mind might be a bit la-la at the moment, lmao xD
By: Charles Dickens
Amy Dorrit’s father is not very good with money. She was born in the Marshalsea debtors’ prison and has lived there with her family for all of her 22 years, only leaving during the day to work as a seamstress for the forbidding Mrs. Clennam. But Amy’s fortunes are about to change—the arrival of Mrs. Clennam’s son Arthur, back from working in China, heralds the beginning of stunning revelations not just about Amy but also about Arthur himself.
I learned about Charles Dickens’s Little Dorrit after watching the 2008 BBC adaptation starring Matthew MacFadyen and Claire Foy (which I greatly enjoyed). I received both the DVD and the book last Christmas as a present but didn’t get around to reading it until recently. I’m surprised that this novel doesn’t get more love, it was highly enjoyable! Spoilers ahead!