28 Feb 2011

Oscar Night! As in Oscar Wilde...

I will go ahead and admit it, I love checking out all the amazing frocks that the stars wear on Oscar Night! And I do find it really interesting to see who will who the prize for best film, best actor, best actress and so on. However, in my dream world there would be another Oscar night. Named after Oscar Wilde, it would be a celebration of books where the best books of a given year would be awarded a statuette and lots of attention.

Categories would be many and varied:
- Author of the year
- Best new author of the year
- Best cover of the year
- Non-fiction book of the year
- Literary book of the year
- Historical book of the year
- Romance book of the year
- YA book of the year
- Children's book of the year
You name it :-)

Can you imagine the authors flocking to the Kodak theatre? All of them dressed up and ready to celebrate? Oh how I wish that books and writing got the same attention as cinema and films!

23 Feb 2011

Review: "Betrayed", "Chosen", "Untamed"

Sometimes when I have encountered the same book often enough, I end up reading it just to have done it. Because when I keep seeing it again and again, I keep wondering what I am missing out on... Something good? Something great? Or something boring? I guess I suffer from book curiosity - I have to know what is inside the book, on those pages.
So after having seen the House of Night series by Kristin and P.C. Cast just about a hundred times, I though "Okay, I will give it a go then...". And as so often when reading a book that is part of a series, I really hate having to not read the entire series. I have already review "Marked", the first in the series, and here I will write about "Betrayed", "Chosen" and "Untamed" - number two, three and four in the series.

To be honest, I have read these quite fast after each other and I the plotlines have blurred quite a bit - I can't remember what happens in which books. A lot happens though! There is a lot of action in these books!! I won't go into details with the plot and I will try to avoid spoilers. Too much happens for me to sum it up anyway...
And that is actually one of the complaints I have about these books. Too much happen in too little time. It seems unbelievable to me that after being at House of Night for two months, Zoey has managed to go through three almost-boyfriends, made a best-friend-for-life-and-beyond, made a frenemy for life and managed to become the established leader of the student society. I mean, she does have to sleep as well even though she is a vampyre. I am not saying it is impossible but I am saying that I would have found it more believable had this taken place over the course of a year... Also Zoey doesn't really mature in the books, she is quite stagnant when you think about what she goes through and I wish that she would mature more and reflect more on all that she experiences.

There are a lot of good things about the books as well. First of all good and evil is not all black and white as in some paranormal romances and at times it is quite difficult to suss out who are the goodies and who are the baddies. And I love that! Another thing that is really great is that Zoey does lots of stupid, teenage things - especially where boys are concerned! I love that. Speaking vampire-lingo she is definitely more Sookie than Bella which is so great!
I celebrate cool chicks in paranormal fiction and though there are lots of things about the House of Night series that I find trivial and unoriginal and down-right annoying (the magic would be so cool if it was more cherokee and a little less witchy), I generally like the series. It is entertaining and I have a bit of a crush on Aphrodite for being such a wonderful b-tch.
To give you an idea of exactly how entertaining these books are: they keep me going for ten extra minutes on the bike in the gym!

21 Feb 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: The best movie adaptions ever!

If you don't know the Top Ten Tuesday concept you must visit The Broke and the Bookish at http://www.brokeandbookish.blogspot.com/ It is a fantastic blog and they do this wonderful weekly meme called Top Ten Tuesday. This week we are counting down from tent to one of the best book-to-movie adaptions ever.
What a great theme!

10) Romeo + Juliet with Leonardo diCaprio and Clarie Danes. A fantastic modern adaption of the Shakespeare classic! It is adaptions such as this one that will make teenagers flock to read the masters.

9) Les Liasons Dangereuses/Dangerous Liaisons with Glenn Close, John Malkovitch and Michelle Pheiffer is an apation of the epistolary novel by Chloderlos de Laclos and it has the same sense of danger and flirtation as the book.

8) Shawshank Redemption is a classic – both the story by Stephen King and the movie is spectacular in their description of a man imprisoned on false charges.

7) The Talented Mr. Ripley starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law and Matt Damon is a bit of a feast. Not only is it visually delicious with beautiful scenes filmed in Italy but it also haves the same thrill and excitement as the book.

6) Sense and Sensibility won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay and it was well-deserved! Emma Thompson and Kate Winslett make Elinor and Marianne come to life and the film does the book justice.

5) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire managed to convey the sense of magic and boarding school drama that made the book so special. My favourite parts of the movie are the Yule Ball (especially when Hermione comes down the stairs) and

4) Trainspotting. One of the coolest movies from the 90’s, an absolute classic! The language and tone of the film is very close to the book.

3) Fight Club starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton. With a cast like that it could hardly go wrong and it is a spectacularly cool movie! It has the same hard edge as the book and gave me the same kind of chills!

2) Towelhead. This adaption perfectly captures the fragility and sensitivity of the main charater, teenage girl Jasira while dealing with a string of difficult topics with a sense of humour but in a respectful way very much like the novel by Alice Erian.

1) Pride and Prejudice, the BBC mini-series featuring man-of-my-teenage-dreams Colin Firth. The scene with the lake and the clinging shirt. The scene with Mr. Collins' proposals. The opening scene with Mrs. Bennett. Fantastic! I rest my case.

Which ones are your favourite book-to-film adaptions?

Review: "The Chosen One" - Chosen without a choice

Do you know that feeling of reading a YA book and wishing that you had read it when you were actually a young adult (and not like me, nearing 30)? I had that feeling yesterday when I put down "The Chosen One" by Carol Lynch Williams. It is definitely a YA book that would have been a favourite if I had read it when I was 13 or 14 (except that it wasn't published then).

Kyra is a 13-year-old girl who is part of the sect The Chosen Ones. They are a polygamous sect living in the desert somewhere in the USA, secluded from the surrounding world and ruled by self-proclaimd prophet. Kyra is living with her family - her father, her several mothers and many siblings - and being quite happy until the day her 60-something uncle Hyrum proclaims that he has chosen her. He is one of the powerful men in the sect and though Kyra's father has tried to intervene, there is nothing to be done. Kyra, no more than a child, will marry a man who could be her grandfather and who already has wives.
Kyra, however, is a resourceful young lady with a few secrets. She is falling in love with her friend Joshua who wants to choose her and together they read - something which is forbidden. This is her safe space but as the marriage with Hyrum draws closer, Kyra has to decide if she will follow the prophet's will or try to break free. It is a choice that will not only affect her but also her family.

What I love about this book, is Kyra's voice. As the pages go by she becomes more and more desperate and the better she (and the reader) get to know Hyrum, the more she realizes that she can never be his wife. This was an easy-read for me, short and well-written but definitely a tween/teen book. But it was also very emotional because Kyra is so alive as a character. I wanted to shelter her and give her a new and better life, away from violence and men that force women and children to adhere to ridiculous rules. It reminded me of "The 19th Wife" by David Ebershoff which deals with very much the same subject but in adult fiction and they are great to read together as a package because they describe a way of life that is so difficult to understand for an outsider.
If you need a resent for a 12-14 year old girl who likes reading, I definitely recommend going for "The Chosen One".

For other reviews of "The Chosen One" visit:
My Friend Amy's Blog: http://www.myfriendamysblog.com/2009/05/review-chosen-one-by-carol-lynch.html'

I Was A Teenage Book Geek: http://www.iwasateenagebookgeek.blogspot.com/2010/07/review-chosen-one-carol-lynch-williams.html

S. Krishna's Books: http://www.skrishnasbooks.com/2009/06/chosen-one-carol-lynch-williams.html

18 Feb 2011

Traveling to Tranquebar

Today I went to Tranquebar with my family just to browse for a bit. My parents and my sister are bibliophiles as well so I had to introduce them to this little piece of exotic heaven right in the middle of cold, February-freezing Copenhagen. Tranqubar is quite a big independent book store slash café slash shop specializing in books about traveling and about the world around us. It is wonderful. Inside it smells like green tea and warm coffee and all over the shop, there are books. And then in the middle there are tables and chairs and you can sit down and chat with your friends. It is absolutely wonderful.

What is even better is the selection of books. Everything from Lonely Planet books about South American countries to small books about the best walking routes in the Scottish highlands from independent published. New books, second-hand books, antique books. Books about food - "Around the World in 80 Bites" for example, books about explorer, poetry, photography books. Everything! I could spend hours in there.

The pictures are from the Tranquebar website and if you are ever in Copenhagen, do visit Tranquebar!

Review: "Rape: A Love Story" - Paradoxical

How can you call a book "Rape: a Love Story"? That was what I wondered when I first read about the book by Joyce Carol Oates and I knew that I had to get it. I needed to read it, needed to know what this what about.
When the book arrived, it was so much shorter than I expected but having read it, I can say that it contains a lot of plot and a lot of emotions. I was actually thankful that it was not longer because it was an emotional thing to read it.

The story is about Bethie and her mother Teena. Teena is a bit a of a wild women, she likes to party and she has boyfriends and she is beautiful. However, what happens that night can never be blamed on Teena. As she and her 12-year-old daugther is walking home from a 4th of July party, they take a shortcut through the park and their lives are changed forever. A group of drunken, high louts assault Teena, gangrape her while her young daughter is hiding, trying to block out the world.
Teena and Bethie survive but their spirits are chaged. Teena is no longer a happy woman who lives, she is a depressed ghost, constantly scared that the men will attack her again.
Then Officer Dromoor comes into their lives. Repulsed and horrified by what has been done to these two women and by the way society is turning on them - she brought it on herself! - he steps in to protect them. As a guardian angel, forever at the outskirt of their lives, he protects them and for Bethie he comes to embody the knight in shining armour. The saviour, the man who will protect them.

It is a heartwrenching book. It hurts to read it. What is so difficult about this book is that in one hour, a bunch of drunken idiots take away Bethie's childhood, her innocence and her mother. From that moment on she is no longer a child, she has been forced to face the ugliest side of adulthood and the mother she knows has disappeared.
This is a book that would be a great read for teenagers from 15 and up because it is so emotional and raw without being explicit. It is a well-written story about a topic that is almost impossible to approach - but Joyce Carol Oates does it to perfection.

15 Feb 2011

Willa Wants to Read... Books about books!

We all do it sometimes - read books about books. Because when you are addicted to reading and addicted to fiction, it is so inspiring to read about books and get ideas for new adventures into unchartered territory.

Here are a couple of books about books that I really want to read. Can we call it meta-reading, I wonder?

Faulks on Fiction by Sebastian Faulks,
From guardian.co.uk:
"Faulks on Fiction romps through novels, providing plot summaries based on chosen characters. Avoiding anxiety about what a "character" is or about treating literary fictions as real (and rather modern) human beings, Faulks categorises into heroes, villains, snobs and lovers. These he calls "living people created in the minds of others"; he will, as it were, act as a midwife to them, for us."
Sounds delicious doesn't it? I had read the books from which most of these characters are taken, so reading this one will be more about revisiting happy memories of the characters than about getting inspired to do new reading. Nonetheless, this one is on my TBR and I predict it will land in my mailbox soon.

At Home with Books: How Booklovers Live with and Care for Their Libraries by Estelle Ellis
One of the things I dream about having when I get a house of my own is a library. I love being surrounded by books, looking lovingly at the spines, dusting them. Taking one down and reading a few passages. Putting it back again. Picking out an old favourite. Sounds like heaven, doesn't it?

Ruined by Reading by Lynne Sharon Schwartz
From amazon.co.uk:
"Novelist Schwartz (Disturbances in the Field) learned to read at the age of three, encouraged by parents whom she describes as "people of the book." As a seven-year-old, she was reading every book in her Brooklyn home and remembers being captivated by classics from the Little Leather Library such as "The Little Mermaid," from Andersen's fairy tales; Edward Everett Hale's The Man Without a Country; and The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. In this thought-provoking essay, Schwartz links her sense of self to what she has read over a lifetime. Although she acknowledges that literature has not transformed her life or taught her how to live, reading, to Schwartz, is a pure activity that has made her receptive to the ideas of authors who have enlarged her vision of the world. So intimate is the connection between Schwartz and books that have made an impact upon her emotionally that she cannot bear to see the film version, for example, of A Little Princess, because she does not want to see the author's words transformed visually. Author tour."
Sounds fun I think though I haven't heard about this author before. I absolutely looooove the title!

So have you read any books about books that you can recommend?

14 Feb 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: The Greatest Love Stories

Honestly people, I love Tuesdays. First of all because they are not Mondays, secondly because it means that it is time for Top Ten Tuesday! Once again, let me mention where this wonderful meme started - with the ladies at The Broke and the Bookish at www.brokeandbookish.blogspot.com/

This week the theme is the greatest love stories in fiction and what a great theme it is. My boyfriend and I don't celebrate Valentine's Day but I will celebrate it with this little list. I'm mixing and matching love stories here from older and more recent fiction because if I only went for the really great ones Shakespeare and the other greats would take up all the space :-)

10) Sophie von Kuhn and Novalis from "The Blue Flower" by Penelope Fitzgerald. This love is so strange in a way because it is hard to understand why intelligent, academic Fritz/Novalis falls for the silly Sophie. However, his love is so strong that one cannot but be moved.

9) Tristran and Yvaine from "Stardust" by Neil Gaiman. While Tristran pines for the cruel Victoria, he somehow manages not to notice that he is falling for a fallen star. A love story that you will read with a smile.

8) Ariel and Irrylath from Meredith Ann Pierce's Darkangel trilogy. Hands down one of the best love stories in fantasy and a very heart-wrenching story about unrequited love.

7) Emma and Knightley from "Emma" by Jane Austen. As Emma spends all her time planning for others to fall in love and marry, Knightley silently loves her and tries to guide her away from her worst ideas.

6) Anne and Gilbert from the Anne of Green Gables series. From school sweet hearts to doting parents, this is true love.

5) Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler. "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." as said by Rhett is one of my favourite quotes - Scarlett, however, often manages to make me really annoyed. They do light a fire in the romance department though!

4) Cassandra and her first love. I will not reveal more here, read Dodie Smith's masterpiece "I Capture the Castle" and be captivated by the sensitive narrator as she stumbles into her first love.

3) Romeo and Juliet have to be on the list - Shakespeare set the standard for the tragic love story when he wrote this play. They are an iconic couple and I love reading Shakespeare's play for the beautiful words! I know some people may not agree but I loved the Romeo + Juliet film with Claire Danes and Leonardo Dicaprio.

2) Jane Eyre and Rochester from "Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Bronte have to be on this list because their love story shows how love can hurt but also how love will overcome even the greatest challenges. If you haven't read this classic, do so now.

1) Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy are the couple that come out on top on my list. No matter how often I read "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen, I will always have a knot of worry in stomach that those two will not realize that they are made for each other. If I could be the leading female in any literary love story, it would be this one!

13 Feb 2011

Review: "Novice" - This sure ain't Hogwarts

Some days ago I reviewed "Magician's Guild" by Trudi Canavan and now the time has come to review "Novice", the sequel to "Magician's Guild". "Novice" begins more or less where Book One of The Black Magician Trilogy left off.
Sonea, a slum girl with great magic powers, has consented to stay at the University for magicians to explore her potential. However, the other students at the University all come from rich and powerful families - the Houses - and Sonea is the odd one out. Having grown up in the slum dwellings among thieves and beggars, she now has to do her best to fit in and leave her past behind her. The other students do not willingly accept her and one of them, the charismatic Regin is determined to make Sonea's life a nightmare.
This is not Sonea's only worry though - Imardin, the capital of Kyralia, where she lives, is a dark city full of power struggles. In the streets of the city people are dying - being murdered - but the police cannot find the murderer or find a motive. At the University, the High Lord Akkarin, the most powerful magician in Kyralia, is hiding a dark secret and to make sure that this secret stays safe, he takes Sonea as hostage in a chilling intrigue for power.
The book also follows Sonea's friend, the magician Dannyl, who travels to the coutry Elyne as an ambassador but who is unknowingly on the hunt for information about the High Lord's past. It is a dangerous game and Sonea's friends are all involved, playing for high stakes.

As one of you wrote in the commentary to my review of "Magician's Guild", "Novice" is better! It is a really great book that had me completely enchanted. The story is dark and full of dangers but there is also room for some well-placed romance and humour. As a reader I came closer and closer to the magicians and to the world of the magical University. Believe me, this place is no Hogwarts. The teachers and students are not particularly friendly to Sonea - with a few exceptions - and most of them are envious of her power. Regin, Sonea's class mate is not only a bully. He is a mean, vicious bully who is not afraid to use violence against his victim and Sonea has to literally fight for peace.
Sonea works great as a main character. She is cool, determined girl who deals with her worries and troubles. Due to things in her past, she finds it hard to trust and make friends but she is easy for the reader to warm to.

I really enjoyed this book. The magic is much darker and more grown-up than in many of the other fantasy books out there on the market. This is far from paranormal romance and all about the way power corrupts the human soul.

8 Feb 2011

Review: "Magician's Guild" - Talent and training

Have you read David Eddings? Or Tamora Pierce? Then this review will probably interest you.
"Magician's Guild" is the first book in a trilogy about the girl Sonea who has an impressive magical talent. It is one of those books that I have come across again and again and again until I finally thought "oh well, let's give it a chance". I am happy to report that it was worth it.

Sonea is one of the many people living in poverty in Imardin, the capital of Kyralia. She lives in the slum and is on her way to meet her uncle and aunt when she gets involved in a street riot between a gang of youths who used to be her friends and powerful magicians whose job it is to clean the streets of beggars and criminals. In anger and frustration Sonea throws a stone at the magicians and thereby release a powerful magic nestling in her mind. Not wanting a rogue magician loose in the streets of Imardin, the magician's guild starts a search for Sonea using everything from wandering the streets, knocking on doors and using magic. However, Sonea has good friends in the underworld of Imardin and now they do their very best to protect her from the magicians who are known for their haughty, arrogant attitude to the poor. Sonea and her close friend Cery team up with the Thieves, the organised criminals in control of the Imardin black market, who are very eager to protect Sonea in return for her magical abilities.
It will take more than a pack of skilled criminals, however, to tame the magic that has been released in Sonea and as time passes, she finds it more and more difficult to control her magical power.

I have to say that I found the first part of this book rather long-winded. The hide and seek element between the magicians and Sonea was not my main interest. However, I found that the book picked up pace when Sonea and the magicians finally make contact. The things begin happening and the book became unputdownable. The last 50-60 pages flew by. I loved the ending. It was so good. Luckily for me I already have the sequel - "Novice" - at home and ready to be read as soon as I have time. Looking forward to diving back into Sonea's magical universe.

Top Ten Tuesday: Who would you name your child after?

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at one of my favourite blogs: The Broke and the Bookish - http://www.brokeandbookish.blogspot.com.

This week’s topic is fantastic – Top Ten fiction/literary characters that you would name your child after. Fantastic! When I was a tween, I was determined to name my daughter Laura after Laura from The Little House on the Prairie. Since then I have been through many many books and my future children have been named various names depending on my fancy at the time.
Here is my current Top Ten:

10) Cassandra after the main character of Dodie Smith’s “I Capture the Castle” because she is a sensitive dreamer with a beautiful soul.

9) Jonathan after Prince Jonathan from Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness Series. Because I had a huge crush on him when I was 12-13 years old and still think the name is cute though I’ve recovered from my crush ;-)

8) Wilhelm after the two Wilhelms in Margit Söderholm’s Hellesta series because they embody the gallant Scandinavian man.

7) Viola after the lady in Shakespeare’s “The Twelfth Night”.

6) Penelope after the wife of Odysseus.

5) Elizabeth after one of my all-time favourite heroines Ms. Elizabeth Bennett from “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen.

4) Georgiana after Georgiana Darcy from “Pride and Prejudice”. Who wouldn’t want to name their daughter after such a truly accomplished young lady?

3) Cedric. As in Harry Potter’s Cedric Diggory because he is the archetypical high school hero.

2) Eryka after a character that appears briefly in “A Gathering of Gargoyles” by Meredith Ann Pierce. I love the sound of the name and what the character stands for in the book.

1)Lucia after the main character from the Mapp and Lucia books by E.F. Benson. Her real name is actually Emmeline and though she can be pretentious and really annoying at times, mostly she is a caring, loving woman with a great imagination and a resourceful way of handling all the skirmishes she has with Mapp. I love the name!

This was a tough one! Which names do you like? And why?

6 Feb 2011

The non-fiction challenge!

At The Broke and The Bookish - one of my favourite book blogs - they have devised a really great challenge that I just had to sign up for! The Non-fiction Challenge. Surprise surprise, this one is all about reading non-fiction to broaden your horizons and I really think that is a great idea. No harm in learning something new.

The rules are pretty easy:
- The challenge runs from January 17th to December 31st 2011.
- Anyone who links a review up is eligible to be entered to win a book of their choice (under $15). How many reviews you link up determines how many entries you get. Additional prizes may be added once I organize this more and depending on how many people sign up. (International readers welcome if Book Depository ships to you).
- Anyone can join. If you don't have a blog, you can link reviews on Goodreads or Amazon or wherever you have your reviews.
- You can join the challenge at any point throughout the year.

These are the categories:
Culture: Non-fiction books about different cultures, religions and foreign lands; memoirs & biographies count.

Art: Non-fiction books about anything art related (painters, music, architecture, photography, dance, literature, film, etc.). Memoirs/biographies of any people related to the arts count.

Food: Food memoirs, anything related to food industry, food lifestyles

Medical: anything related to the medical field--industry memoirs, memoirs about illnesses (mental included) /diseases, etc.

Travel: travelogues, industry memoirs, travel guides, etc.

Memoir/Biography: Self explanatory

Money: Anything related to finances, economics, history of money, financial improvement etc.

Science/Nature: Anything related to any scientific field, memoirs count.

History: Anything history related-- events, biographies of historic figures, etc.

These are the different levels:

1-3 books from different categories: Master of Trivial Pursuit
4-6 books from different categories: Apply For Who Wants to Be A Millionaire
7-9 books from different categories: Future Jeopardy Champion

I will start out aiming for the Master of TP level and then we will see how it goes. For now this is my challenge plan:

Money: "Cityboy: Beer and Loathing in the Square Mile" by Geraint Anderson

Science: "The Political Brain" by Drew Westen

Memoir/biography: "The Temptress: The Scandalous LIfe of Alice, Countess De Janzen" by Paul Spicer

Art: "Blow by Blow" by Dermot Blow

So are you also signing up?

5 Feb 2011

Review: "Marked" - Another brand of vampires

Since reading Twilight a couple of years ago, I have gone for a bit of exploration down the paranormal and paranormal romance road. As you all know there is a lot of different themes and topics in the genre but vampires seem to be the paranormals featured most often - I guess they have been around in YA fiction and YA culture for years in different forms - like Buffy the Vampire Slayer who was a big hit when I was a teen.
Having seen "Marked" by Kristin and P.C. Cast featured on a lot of blogs and paranormal fiction sites, I decided to give it a go. To be honest after my recent disappointment with "Need", I was a bit hesitant but as they say you need to get back up on the horse, so I did and I actually quite liked the book.
The vampires in "Marked" are different - bascially vampirism is a recognised part of normal society as it is a phenomenon that hits some teenagers. They become marked which means that they have to go to the boarding school The House of Night to become apprentice vampires, fledglings, and if they survive until adulthood they will become real vampires. Zoey Redbird is a normal girl until the day she gets marked and has a strange experience where she meets Nyx the Vampire Goddess. She has to go to the House of Night where she very very fast makes enemies with one of the leading girls, Aphrodite, and friends with a gang of fledglings who introduce her to the life as an almost-vampire.

I enojoyed the book. In the beginning the very very teenagey dialogue and the use of slang annoyed me - I generally don't like that too much - but I got used to it and as the plot unfolded it didn't really matter. The vampire world in the House of Night series is a sort of cross between "normal" vampire lore and witchcraft. There is a lot of magic and spells - and not of the cute Harry Potter kind, something all together darker. I don't particularly like witchcraft in YA novels, for some reason I find it a bit 90s. However, apart from that this was an enjoyable read. Zoey is cool and I loved her grandmother, an Indian wise woman, and her roommate who has real charm and personality. Not to mention the boy in her gang whose parents are alright with him being a vampire but very uncomfortable with his homosexuality. That had me laughing. I wish that more time had been spent on the (bad) relationship between Zoey and her mother as there are a lot of tension there that could have been really interesting. However, as this is a series maybe it will follow in one of the later books. For now, I am looking forward to reading the sequel - and to see what happens with Zoey and Aphrodite, the ultimate cheerleader-vampire!

3 Feb 2011

Teaser from "The Rachel Papers"

I am almost done reading "The Rachel Papers" by Martin Amis and I really really like it! During my reading I stumbled over a cool quote that defines the book for me and that I want to share with you as a teaser:

"One of the troubles with being over-articulate, with having a vocabulary more refined han your emotions, is that every turn in the conversation, every switch of posture, opens up an state of vernal avenues with a myriad side-turnings and cul-de-sacs - and there are no signposts but your own sincerety and good taste, and I've never had much of either."

Page 154, "The Rachel Papers" by Martin Amis

2 Feb 2011

Review: "Female Chauvinist Pig" - Miss Piggy

No doubt you have seen them, the ladettes, the chav girls - if not in real life, then at least the pictures. They are the girls that give the rest of us a bad name as they stagger around the centre of the city, drunk and clad in the smallest garments possible with too much make-up and to little dignity. They are the women who want to be one of the men and there is nothing wrong with that but in the process they seem to lose their dignity.

These are some of the girls that Ariel Levy write about in her brilliant and entertaining book "Female Chauvinist Pig: The Rise of Raunch". "Female Chauvinist Pig" is a short but very well put together book about the tendency of some women to want to be one of the men. It features chapters about Playboy and Hugh Hefner, about Girls Gone Wild (never heard of it before but what a nasty concept), Paris Hilton, CAKE parties and many many more phenomenons that seem to have sprung out of the feminist movement in the 60s and 70s.

Levy wants to confront the raunch culture and questions if it really is - as many of its participants say - a part of the liberation of women. Levy seems to think not, she finds it degrading and chauvinist - and she somewhat berates us women for misusing the privileges our mothers won for us.

Personally I found this book a bit too judgmental. I consider myself one of the boys but I don't think I am part of a raunch culture and I would never dress like Paris Hilton on a night out. Ever. However, I liked the book because it introduced me to new concepts and phenomenons and made me think about feminism and ask myself questions. A really great book and one that would make a great present for any girl or woman in the ages 17 to 35.

1 Feb 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Dazzling Debuts

Right so after a few intense working weeks with lots of traveling and on the homefront lots of ilness (why do those things happen at the same time? Flying with a migraine is very very unpleasant...)
Things seem to be going better now and what better way to celebrate that than to participate in today's Top Ten Tuesday?
This fantastic meme was created at The Broke and The Bookish - http://www.brokeandbookish.blogspot.com/ - a blog that you must visit!

This weeks subject is Favourite debut novels (from any author, any year). I have not included one-hit-wonders because that just didn't feel fair...
Here we go:

10) Evelyn Waugh: Decline and Fall
Satirical and extremely funny, making a fool of almost every character in the book, Waugh somehow manages to make this more than a comedy. A great reminder of all the trouble, naivety, pretentioness, laziness and greed can get you into.

9) Tamora Pierce: Alanna: The First Adventure
Pierce demonstrated from this first novel about Alanna and the kingdom of Tortall that she has a gift for making fantasy worlds come to life. From this book onwards the world of Alanna, her friends and family become better and better.

8) Alan Warner: Movern Callar
I think cool is the word to describe this novel about Morvern, a Scottish girl who steals her dead boyfriends unpublished novel and goes on a lifechanging journey.

7)Martin Amis: The Rachel Papers
Have just read this one and will review it this week. A really good novel about a teenage guy who falls in love or becomes infatuated with the slightly older and infintely more sophisticated Racel.

6) Dodie Smith: I Capture the Castle
A magical coming-of-age tale about Cassandra and her bohemian family. Smith later wrote "101 Dalmatians" and I still feel cheated that she did not write more.

5) F Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby
More of a literary institution than a novel really. This book came to define an age and I think almost everyone who have taken a literature class has heard about it.

4) Michel Faber: Under the Skin
A seriously scary and uncomfortable read that nonetheless is fascinating and hard to put down. My stomach still turns when I think about it...

3) Karen Blixen: Seven Gothic Tales
Originally published under the name Isak Dinesen to disguise the gender of the author, this collection of short stories is a masterpiece from one of the greatest storytellers ever!

2) J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
From the very first HP novel, Rowling had her Hogwarts universe created down to the very last hair on Dumbledore's head. The magic began in this book which certainly did not seem like the work of a beginner!

1) Jane Austen: Sense and Sensibility
This one is defitnitely one of the best debut novels ever. Full of emotions with enchanting, real characters and a great plot. The strength of this novel is the characters and many authors can only dream of bringing to life characters with as much skill and charm as Austen does in this her debut novel.

So which ones are your favourite debut novels of all times?