Tag Archives: Book

‘Fangirl’ by Rainbow Rowell

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

I’m glad I didn’t give up on Rainbow Rowell. But I still think it’s a stupid name. Some of you may remember my absolute horror at reading ‘Landline’ earlier this year. This was Rowell’s first attempt (and I use that word with heavy sarcasm) at writing adult fiction. It won Goodreads book of 2014. I read only good reviews. I read it. Hated it. Boring, adulty, nonsense. GOD ADULTS ARE BORING. And I am one myself. Mostly.

Then I read ‘Fangirl’, and the Rainbow Rowell fanclub made a lot more sense. Rowell has captured the epic reader’s life in 460 pages. In my version of the book anyway. In a nutshell: life is just something that happens around books. Sometimes it can appear to be dull and grey and frankly messy. But life in your perfect little book is just that. Perfect. I have never related to a character so perfectly as I did with Cather and Wren. The utter obsession with a book, the desire to live in it’s pages, the disdain for people who like the Great Outside.

Our protagonist Cather, is an antisocial fanfic writer. She’s a nobody in the real world, but online? Bitch is famous. I can’t imagine the pressure of having thousands of people read your posts every day. When I make a spelling mistake, chances are no one mean enough to point out my spelling mistake is going to tell me before I get the chance to fix it myself. And even I sweat it out seeing the little “beep beep boop” that says your post is live. Still isn’t enough to make me read over what I’ve written before I post it though. Such effort am I right?

I stopped reading for about a month and sunk into the depressive state of: real job – five days a week, eat, sleep, bang head against a wall, repeat. It happens often. It happens when I stop reading. Then, on an accidental burst of internet through my crappy phone, I discovered I was two whole weeks behind schedule of my 50 books a year goal. And I had read in advance just in case! Enter the panicked Amy reading five books in two weeks. I read and I read and I didn’t blog because INTERNET, also because CBF M8.

I wandered aimlessly around Dymocks trying to catch a title that would pique my interest. It’s sort of hard when you have no internet and no subsequent internet friends to rely on for reviews. Current-boyfriend-Peychaud was no help with advice – handing me ‘One Direction’ colouring books and Japanese phrase books. Then I thought: I’m just going to have to read Fangirl and be fucking done with it aren’t I. If it doesn’t work out, at least I have Japanese for Dummies to fall back on.

Thank god. Because Fangirl did what the other books (even some seriously great ones) couldn’t. It spurred me to write again. Mostly out of the necessity to reassure Rainbow that she wasn’t a total waste of space. I know it’s been keeping her up at night.

Despite your stupid name…Rainbow, I think you’re alright. Now go and get some rest. Four months of thinking some nameless internet-hoe (that’s me) doesn’t like you, has got to be exhausting. And I’ll post this as soon as I get even a fraction of internet. I promise.

So thanks to all the internet-humans out there for making me read Fangirl. I guess I’ll give Eleanor and Park a go now.

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

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‘Night Circus’ by Erin Morgenstern

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Night Circus

Photo by Peychaud (still a code name)

If there is one recommendation I always ignore, it is those of the Guardian, or The Times; the ones that make it to the book covers. A load of one word wonders that never actually seem to capture the true nature of the book. Even on the front cover on Night Circus, the words ‘dazzling’ and ‘enchanting’ really don’t do it justice. I’ve seen your empty praise on countless books, how is this one to dazzle me over any other book? But Night Circus is just that – dazzling and enchanting. It has a dark dream-like quality that appears to follow around the subject of illusionists. It is almost jarring to read.  The first chapter is written entirely in second person, which can really grate on you. But it completely sets the scene for the rest of the book. From the first paragraph on, you think that this book will be something else. You would be correct.

Maybe it’s not even the first paragraph. I’m a firm believer in strong beginning sentences. It is the easiest thing in the whole book to get right – so if the first one is shit you can pretty much put the book down right then and there, because this author is terrible.

‘The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices on downtown posts and billboards, no mentions or advertisements in local newspapers. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.’

Isn’t that something you can just picture Morgan Freeman saying? Minus the ‘picture’.

I found so many interesting relationships in this book. Strangely enough I wasn’t at all interested in the main relationship between what’s-his-face and what’s-her-name.  Eugh I really can’t think of their names right now… Anyway the most interesting one to me was that of the Burgess sisters. Lainie and Tara – the sort of siblings who, if they were one person, would make the perfect human. Tara actually had the perfect explanation but I’ve been searching for the passage for ten minutes now and short of re-reading the whole book, I’ll never find it. Anyway it went something along the lines of catching each other’s short comings. And Tara being the one who saw in details while Lainie saw in scope – which was SPOILER the crux of their terrible little tragedy. Moving along.

Be warned, despite my ravings, this book is not for everyone. The plot isn’t a strong factor. A lot rides on imagery and dialogue, and a slightly warped time frame. Actually I’m still not sure I understand the time frame. There is probably a reason for that – a metaphor for the Narnia-like aspect of the circus. A place in its own world, with it’s own laws of physics. Mostly I just felt a bit sad abut everything. Everything ends, every storyline, ever relationship, in a bittersweet conclusion. Yeah they are happy – but you feel like the really shouldn’t be. I guess if you aren’t aging and get to drink mulled cider every working night of your life, you really wouldn’t have to feign happiness.

‘Heir of Fire’ by Sarah J. Maas

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

This series has finally taken a turn I can cope with. I don’t feel like throwing up frilly dresses and pinkHeir of Fire sparkles again. That’s really all I can think of when it comes to the plot of Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight.  I don’t know if it was the hard core training in a forest, or a halfway decent love interest that doesn’t make my bathroom wall look sexy. And my bathroom wall is not even slightly sexy. That is how dull I found Chaol. Eugh. God I hope she doesn’t go back to him. I might have to drown myself in boredom tears.

I’m not sure if the sudden excellence of this book was due to the lack of shopping, the lack of Celaena and Chaol scenes, or the fact that I can now call Celaena, Aelin (much easy to mentally pronounce). And Rowan! What a hateful, vowels-in-proper-places, not-putting-up-with-yo-shit lad.

The changes in Celaena’s personality are definitely due to this foresty environment. The list of the things that irritated me about Celaena are as follows; her excessive vanity, materialistic values, and lack of actual killing. The simple addition of a forest means no reflective surfaces, no shopping malls, and everything wants to kill you so you have to kill them first. It’s like Sarah realised that she created Cinderella and forgot to get her the personality of an assassin when she changed her job title. Bam! Enter the forest. Breaking necks and taking cheques.

Sarah also introduced the witches storyline. I started off being a bit grossed out by the whole cannibalism aspect, but hey, fish gotta swim.

Okay I have nothing else to say about this. I’m out.

‘Cloud Atlas’ by David Mitchell

★★★★

Image

(Sonmi~451 and pals from the movie: Cloud Atlas)

Just this past week I finished Cloud Atlas (Now a major motion picture).  Someone prescribed it to me upon hearing I liked to read and pegged it as the greatest piece of literature on twelve legs. The author, David Mitchell, is clearly an unsung genius.  Many successful authors find their voice and their niche and work on becoming the master of that domain. I have never read anything else by David Mitchel, but I can comfortably say he has mastered many.

Cloud Atlas follows six different lives, each character affecting the next, though they are decades, or maybe even centuries apart. The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing, from what I can gather, is a terrible adventurer and should probably have more trust issues than he does. No spoilers of course. Though I didn’t much care for his story, Mitchel certainly does put previous exploration novels, yes you ‘Gulliver’s Travels of Boredom’, to shame. Though it does give one the same feeling of wanting to take the protagonist by the shoulders and give him a good brain-rattling shake.

Anyway, this Pacific Journal is read by a young music prodigy Zedelgm. He writes to his lover/friend, Sixsmith about his rock and roll lifestyle. Minus the drugs. Also Minus the rock and roll – he is a classical pianist. I do feel all musicians lead similar lives, governed by their art and emotion. This story was probably my favourite, Zedelgm has such a dark witty sense of humour that I want to keep him around. As a pet or something. When his chapter came around again, in silent exaltation, I would devour it in minutes.

As did a certain, seventies journalist: Luisa Rey, the third protagonist. I honestly pictured her in corduroy flair jeans, and I don’t even know if that was a thing. She got a hold of these letters to Sixsmith, a man whose death she was investigating. This was your average 70’s cover-up with dramatic car chase; feisty and fearless, female lead; and emotionally deprived assassins (I think all assassins are, now that I say that. I think it was in the job description the last time I checked SEEK).

Timothy Cavendish, a publisher, read about ‘The Luisa Rey Mystery’ in a novel: Half Lives. Cavendish’s ordeal was a confusing read, mostly because I wasn’t sure if old mate was crazy or there was some evil conspirer against him. At the end of his segments, I mostly felt repulsed at the fact that I was going to age as well, and that this ordeal would become my future. Cue moment of truth and pause reading for a life reflection. Quick google search on how to become a robot who stays young and hot forever. Good distraction, can now get back to reading with lighter soul.

The movie of his ghastly ordeal was watched by clone: Sonmi~451. The greatest couple of chapter’s I could ever possibly read. Sonmi~451 is a clone working at a restaurant franchise, with other clones, bread for the sole purpose of waitressing. Been there Sonmi. The cloning theme is exceptional, and introduces a whole new layer of sub-human ethics. Lately I have been a tad obsessed about DNA manhandling, probably due to my anti-aging research thanks to Cavendish and watching Orphan Black at two AM. So this may be the whole reason I became so fascinated. Also I think I learnt, like five new words every time Sonmi opened her mouth. She was clever without being tacky, in your face obvious clever. If Zedelgm is going to be my pet, Sonmi is totally going to be in my book club. Or maybe a neighbour whom I have tea with every Tuesday.

Sonmi then becomes a god to the post-apocalyptic cave men. Zachry is the protagonist of: Sloosh’s crossin’ an’ ev’rythin’ after. Otherwise known as: the boy who never pro’lly never finished a word. Nothing is more irritating to read than an accent who insists on representing itself on paper. Fair enough if it is Hagrid or something – he’s not in every scene. But this son-of-a-bitch was the narrator for the longest segment in the world and that’s all I have to say about that. I give you, Cloud Atlas, four stars. Taking one away for having to read Zachry’s nonsense. Definitely worth a read though.

★★★★