The Book of Tomorrow

January 31, 2010

Title: The Book Of Tomorrow
Author : Cecelia Ahern
ISBN : 978-0007233700
Rating : 8/10
Great for : believing in a bit of magic now and again

I have read all of Cecelia’s books and like her as an author.  Once again though, I finish a book with a strange feeling about it.  It was a slow starter, but then I just couldn’t put it down for the last 200 pages.  It’s one of those though where you feel the ending is rushed and loose ends are tied up properly, or if they are, they are done in a wierd way.  Do you know what I mean?

Anyway, a brief synopsis.  Tamara Goodwin has always got everything she’s ever wanted. Born into a family of wealth, she grew up in a mansion with its own private beach, a wardrobe full of designer clothes and all that a girl could ever wish for. She’s always lived in the here and now, never giving a second thought to tomorrow. But then suddenly her dad is gone and life for Tamara and her mother changes forever. Left with a mountain of debt, they have no choice but to sell everything they own and move to the country. Nestled next to Kilsaney Castle, their gatehouse is a world away from Tamara’s childhood. With her mother shut away with grief, and her aunt busy tending to her, Tamara is lonely and bored and longs to return to Dublin. When a travelling library passes through Kilsaney Demesne, Tamara is intrigued. Her eyes rest on a mysterious large leather bound tome locked with a gold clasp and padlock. What she discovers within the pages takes her breath away and shakes her world to its’ core.

I found reading the diaries entires quite boring and thought the book would be full of them, but strangely there were only about 6.

A few hints and clues are dropped throughout the book and the ending isn’t a total surprise.  However I do like Cecelia’s style of writing and I love the touch of magic that is present in her books.

Anyone else a Cecelia fan / read the books?

The film adaptation of Alice Sebold’s best-selling novel The Lovely Bones will soon be hitting cinemas near you.

If I’m being honest, I was a bit put off when I first read that the film was to be directed by Peter Jackson. I mean, the Lord of the Rings films were amazing (in my childish, gung-ho, love a good battle scene kinda way) but will Peter Jackson be as sensitive as this painfully tragic story requires?

I’m also still stinging from the Time Traveler’s Wife adaptation fiasco, and I’m not sure I want another much-loved book trampled on again.

What about you? Have you read The Lovely Bones? Will you be watching the film?

You Better Not Cry

January 24, 2010

Title: You Better Not Cry
Author : Augusten Burroughs
ISBN : 978-1848872462
Rating : 8/10
Great for : seeing Santa in a whole new light

My love affair with Augusten still continues strong.  A set of short stories detailing some of the events of Augusten’s very peculiar life.

The one in particular had me laughing out loud.  Seeing though the eyes of a small boy, the confusion between, Santa, Jesus, God and Adam and whether they were in fact all the same person was funny.

Holly – put this one on your ‘must read’ list!

Review : Family Matters

January 23, 2010

Title: Family Matters
Author : Rohinton Mistry
ISBN : 978-0-571-23055-6
Rating : 6/10
Great for : reflecting on how your family interacts!

Family Matters is set in Mumbai and focusses on one extended family struggling to look after Nariman, an aging patriarch who is beginning to suffer from Parkinsons.   It’s a funny book, but it’s a sad book too.  Nariman is beset by nostalgia as he slowly falls into the clutches of his disease, and, his barriers broken down, the reader is slowly fed little bits and pieces of his tragic love story.

This book was shortlisted for the Booker ( I’m not sure which year).  And yeah, well, I started off loving it.  The characters are so true to life you could swear you’ve met them all, the way Rohinton Mistry describes how families interact with each other is also so spot on it makes you want to applaud.  And the first half of the book is really exceptional. Really. I don’t often say that.  Then…well…I got bored.  A plotline dealing with not much more than family interaction is all very well and good for a shorter novel, but at 500 pages it did get a bit samey.

Kx

Title: The Little Stranger
Author : Sarah Waters
ISBN : Dunno, mine t’was an audiobook
Rating : 8/10
Great for : freaking yourself out slightly!

Read as part of my Booker 2009 challenge.

Booker 2009 shortlister, The Little Stranger, was a first for me.  Having received an iTunes voucher for my birthday and with a long-haul flight coming up I thought I’d download it as my first ever foray into audio bookery*.  I was a bit hesitant, I must admit, that my eyes would feel very lazy or that I wouldn’t get along with listening to a story.

Thankfully, I didn’t really have any major problems at all.  Maybe a large part of that is due to the fact that The Little Stranger is a good book.  Atmospheric, claustrophobic, haunting – it had all the major components of a classy ghost story. What do I mean about a classy ghost story? One that doesn’t rely simply on gruesome imagery or shock tactics.   It reminded me a bit of Susan Hill’s Woman in Black which, if you’ve ever seen the stage production (I’ve never read the book) is one of the most terrifying things you’ll ever see despite there being a lack of gore or things suddenly lurching out at you**.  It’s all about a slow build up of tension, an accummulation of the horrors you’ve built up in your own mind.  The novel is set in the 1940s, in a vast and slowly decaying Hundreds Hall, a very good “haunted house” indeed.  The author has crafted Hundreds beautifully, so it’s practically a main character of the story, and the perfect backdrop for your own imagination to run wild.

Downsides to the book? For one, the ending.  I felt that after investing a lot of time in the story, the ending was rather unsatisfactory.  I had to Google discussion about the novel to find out what was what.   I hate that.  Also, I have a feeling that it was overly long but then I wonder if that’s more to do with the fact that it was an audiobook – it definitely took MUCH longer to listen to than it would have done to read it myself.  I must confess I think I may have enjoyed it more to read, though I suppose there was something delightful in being told a ghost story.  The narrator certainly had the perfect husky, tuneful voice for it.

The Little Stranger was well on the way to getting a 9/10, but it fell at the last hurdle.  I didn’t like the last, say, fifth of the book and so I’ve deducted a point.  Worth a read though. Just not when you’re sitting alone in the dark….bwaahahahaha…

Kx

*I know bookery is not an actual word.  🙂

** I went to see The Woman in Black with, amongst others, a 6 foot 4 rugby player who screamed like a little girl throughout. Har har.

What’s in your bags and by your beds?  In your bathrooms and on those book piles?

What are your noses stuck into this week?

Bed Rest

January 19, 2010

Title : Bed Rest
Author : Sarah Bilston
ISBN : 978-0751538335
Rating : 1/10
Great for : nothing

I like to put a lot of effort into these reviews, you know present a fair assessment of the book and hopefully encourage you to read the ones we love and maybe give your forewarning of a rubbish book, but I have to say I refuse to waste any brain power on this one.

Don’t bother.

Title : The Ex-Wife’s Survival Guide
Author : Debby Holt
ISBN : 978-1416502463
Rating : 3/10
Great for : hmmm, let me think about it

I nearly didn’t do this review as the book was a bit of a nothingness, but then book reviews are all about the good and the not so good.

So enter stage left – Sarah, mother of two, painter, housewife.  Husband leaves for much younger model.  Sarah is distraught, but that so does not come across in the book apart from her consistent eating of chocolate digestives.  Sarah decides to take part in an AM-Dram play to win husband back.  She also goes abroad with her friend, beds her crush from school, paints a lot of sexy fruit and then… well.. it would be a shame to ruin the end for you in case you do actually decide to read the book.

ps tells her husband where to go when he wants her back and falls in love with the leading man in the play.  Ahhhh, we love a happy ending.

*tosses book onto return to library pile*

The TV Book Club

January 14, 2010

No, team KAPOW won’t be hitting the small screen (alas) but More4/Channel 4 are tickling our brain cells this January with the TV Book Club.  The chat is that it comes from the creators of the Richard & Judy Book Club and the show is presented by a team of celebrity reviewers.  The TV Book Club will be featuring 10 new books starting with my current read (or listen, as it’s an audio book) The Little Stranger (which I’m thoroughly enjoying!).

The first episode is on More4 at 7.30pm, 17th January or on Channel 4 at 12.05pm, 18th January.

Enjoy!

Kx

As I wrote yesterday’s post, I got thinking about the power of a book to reduce me to tears (which happens a little too often)

For me, Marley and Me was a huge tear enducer, as was that fave of mine I roll out in every list – The Five People You Meet In Heaven.

So come on out there, what books have had you reaching for the tissues, snivelling under the bed sheets and bawling in the bath?