What I’m Reading Wednesday – 1st November.

Lately I’ve been a little uninspired with blogging, so I’ve decided to do a What I’m Reading series. This is a brief update on me as a reader, and I’d love if you guys answered it with me.

1: What have you finished reading.

2: What are you currently reading.

3: What will you read next.


1: What have you finished reading?

The Book of Dust by Philip Pullman – review coming soon!

The Good People by Hannah Kent – review also coming soon!

2: What are you currently reading?

Burial Rights by Hannah Kent

81ll9ankowl

Currently really enjoying it. I’ve never read a book set in Iceland before, and I’m loving finding out about different cultures and worlds.

3: What will you read next?

Anno Dracula – One Thousand Monsters by Kim Newman. (One of my favourite series and I can’t wait to read this on holiday)

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow (I’m seeing Hamilton in April next year, so I want to clue myself up as much as I can before then)

 

Happy Hump Day everyone ♥

-Alice

 

Book Fangirling Book Award

So, the lovely Lexi nominated me for a blog award! I’m so excited to have this Book Fangirling Book Award, and I highly suggest you go and check out Lexi @ DriftingLexi, as I always snoop on her blog to get good reading and reviewing tips.

So, the rules:

  1. Create a post to accept your award.book-fangirling-blog-award11
  2. Add the blog award button into your post and put it on the side of your blog as a widget. Visit fangirling for the award button.
  3. Answer the questions I have below.
  4. Nominate between 5-10 book bloggers who you think also deserve this award.
  5. Come up with your own 5 questions for your nominees.

The Questions:

Pick one – Harry Potter or Percy Jackson.

Having never read Percy Jackson, it’s going to have to be Harry Potter. Truthfully, you could probably put up anything, and I would still pick Potter.

Who’s your favourite Lisa Kleypas and Jane Austen hero/ heroine?

I’ve never heard of Lisa Kleypas, but I do love me some Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice, or the eponymous character of Lady Susan from Lady Susan.

Who’s your book soul mate?

A difficult one. If we’re going for classic literature, I hold a soft spot for Heathcliff, because I do love the ‘mad, bad, dangerous’ ones. But if we’re going for more modern fiction, then it might have to be Luke from The Shopaholic series.

Who’s your latest book crush?

Ooh, latest book crush… It might have to be Boris from Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch. He’s Russian, he’s slightly mental and he’s so interesting.

Book whose ending you disliked the most?

I haven’t hated an ending in a very long time actually, but I did dislike the ending of Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle, as it didn’t seem to be the most dramatic ending for such a promising series.

Nominees!

My questions:

1: What’s your next book on your TBR pile?

2: Favourite cover art that you own?

3: Which book surprised you the most?

4: Have you read any book series, and if so, what series?

5: Favourite genre of book to buy?

So, there are my answers and my new questions! Thanks for reading.

 

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt – Book Review

Title: The Goldfinch

Author: Donna Tartt

Rating: 5/5

Genre: Bildungsroman, Fiction, Adult Fiction, Crime Novel, Epic Fiction


“You can look at a picture for a week and never think of it again. You can also look at a picture for a second and think of it all your life”

As I’ve mentioned before, Donna Tartt is one of my favourite authors. She not only crafts intriguing plots, characters and situations, but she never seems to disappoint with the endings to her novels. You, as a reader, feel very satisfied when you close that book, but it never seems to leave you. You find yourself going off into daydreams about the themes and the tartt_thegoldfinch
characters. And that, to me, is the mark of a good author. To leave you wanting more.

Now, interestingly enough, The Goldfinch was my first introduction to Tartt’s work, but has been the last one I’ve read. I found a review and an excerpt of the story long before I bought any of the books, and I loved the writing style so much, I immediately took myself off to Waterstones and purchased everything together. But after reading and loving The Secret History and The Little Friend, I took it upon myself to read it over the festive period. And at nearly 800 pages, it certainly took up my time. But what a story. Within the pages, I found myself sucked into the world of art thievery, bildungsroman plot devices, furniture crafting, museum tours, strolls through Las Vegas and Amsterdam, desired love, guilty consciousness and lasting friendships.

After a tragic accident and subequent death of his devoted mother, the reader meets Theo Decker as he stands abandoned in New York. His father has deserted him, the wealthy family who takes him in are concerned for his wellbeing, and his classmates have no idea how to speak or comfort him. Isolated within himself, Theo draws comfort and warmth from the only thing he has left of his mother’s memory and self – a tiny, priceless and exquisite painting that he stole from the gallery. The reader follows Theo as he is moved from the bustling New York to the loud and garish lights of Las Vegas and we observe as Theo develops and experiments with drugs, alcohol and love for the first time; each one proving to be as addictive and intoxicating as the last.

However, beyond this, the criminal underground beckons, and the audience watches Theo has to conquer the demons which he has held on for so long, along with the web of wild goose chases and false ends in which Theo has become entangled in.

As you can see, this novel follows Theo as he matures from a scrawny and not very worldly child into a complex and hardened adult. We see how he interacts with characters of different ages and different walks of life, along with the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ sides of humanity.

I read somewhere, on more than one occasion, that The Goldfinch has been compared to a Dickensian novel, and I can definitely see why from reading it now as the novel follows one individual’s lifespan, and how his actions as a youth impacts on his later life. He also comes against conflict, love, deception and crime and also experiences what it is like to be at the 8fdb0378-7a0a-44e0-a19c-5cfc2c71ddf5_het-puttertje-van-carel-fabritiusbottom of the ladder as well as the top. He proves a calming and familiar presence against others, and his point-of-view is never far away. This is a novel of grandeur, and just the immense scale of the book itself gives this away. We do get transported to different parts of the world, and the detail that Tartt has included is something to be marveled at. When Theo walks down dusty streets with the sun beating off his brow, we feel that heat on ourself. When Theo is experiencing his first acid high, we ourselves can feel delirious.

It really is a sensory overload.

I have always marvelled at the ways in which Tartt creates characters. Like with The Secret History’s Richard, it is always the supporting characters which provide the more interesting reading, and the main character is something they can react against.

The Secret History had Henry, this novel has Boris. Boris is simply a mixture of chaos, alcohol and strong principles. He is certainly the most fun character to read in the entire novel, and his and Theo’s relationship is something that is born of equal circumstance and the term of ‘Fuck it’.
Against Boris’s absolute insanity, the darling Hobie is another one which you cannot help but love. He’s distant when he needs to be, but so passionate and light, he is the perfect tonic against Boris’s special brand of darkness.
Also, the dynamic between Theo and the main female character of Pippa is one to be envied. It is something that cannot be written without the experience of having those particular feelings yourself. It’s love, compassion, companionship and adoration.

All-in-all, this book is a gem. Brilliantly crafted and expertly written, this book is a slow-burning literary giant.With this story, we as readers are lucky enough to experience two stories – the complete disintergration of Theo’s life after his mothers death, alongside the intricate and dangerous world of art thievery and crime. And as this book won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, it clearly isn’t just this book blogger who thinks this book is something to be marvelled at.

Links:

To buy this book – Waterstones/Amazon

 

 

 

The Silent History by Eli Horowitz, Matthew Derby and Kevin Moffett – Book Review

Title: The Silent History

Authors: Eli Horowitz, Matthew Derby and Kevin Moffett.

Rating: 3.5/5

Genre: Fiction, Sci-Fi, Dystopia, Adult Literature, Contemporary Fiction, Social Media Literature.


“Let the unknown be unknown. The things we need will reveal themselves in time.”

Thanks to the lovely people at Nudge-book.com, I was sent this book as a gift, alongside my main review text (link to that right here). And when I read the blurb and little insider summary of the book’s history, I was instantly intrigued.

The Silent History was originally published and serialised through an award-winning app, and released little by little as field studies and testimonals. It focuses on the tale of a generation of children born without speech, without language and without any obvious means of communication with the outside world. These are called ‘The Silents’. So instantly, the children are labelled under various terms31b3rhddlpl-_sy344_bo1204203200_
– a blessing, an epidemic, a freakshow, a scientific miracle, or just outcasts. The story is told through 120 individual testimonals, ranging from parents of ‘silent’ children, to doctors, friends, leaders and random observers, and it narrates how the children were first diagnosed, and how, through the years of 2011-44, these children grew into a world that saw the ‘silents’ change from being freaks of nature and into something far more powerful.

Now, I had my copy sent to me in a paperback book format. So I cannot review this as how it was originally published, as I didn’t have, or was even aware of the app. So, I apologise in that sense. But, after reading it, I can see how amazing this would have been as a novel-by-the-way-of-an-app. I have gathered through my research that there are even parts of the book that I haven’t been able to access, due to the user interaction that only the app can provide, which adds another level of this story completely.

Whilst I was reading it, I noticed there are definite touches of Sci-Fi, fantasy and even end-of-the-world in this book. With the ‘silents’ being diagnosed, humiliated and labelled an epidemic and then basically marginalised by the rest of society, there is a real sense of isolation and tension throughout the stories. With the use of first-hand and oral recordings of the silents history, it felt very World War Z, and the scenes of the motely groups of silents banding together was highly reminiscent of the zombie genre (think countless scenes in The Walking Dead) so I thought that the whole idea of discrimination was done really well.

With the people of the narrative, I also thought these were written extremely well. The authors could definitely explain human emotions, especially when said humans were at their limits. There are sections, like Theo (the manic, overprotective father) and his silent daughter, Flora, which does show postivity and family bonds, but not traditional sense at all. The most amusing character was either the straightforward Francine or the manic, cultish Patti, as they brought humour and a sense of realness to the crazy world they ipadiphone-33203a116f049163aa165def8aeb2a65lived in.

So yes, I found the premise and the writing was of a very high level. The original writers of the app and stories had clearly thought this out. But for me, the real problem was the translation of app-to-book. Like I said, I can definitely see how this would have worked as an app. It would have been so interesting, as the characters and stories would have been slowly given out, so the story would have been kept fresh and intriguing. But that doesn’t really work on paper. I was interested for 3/4 of the way through, but then it started to lose its focus and the ending wasn’t satisfying enough. Some characters just seemed to disappear without any proper farewells, and I did have to push myself to actually finish. Maybe due to how it was written or delivered, there were some parts were the narration felt slow and the big climax was disappointing to say the least.

But honestly, I think that is due to how it was changed from app to book. It does go to show that how stories are told originally really makes all the difference!

So unfortunately, I cannot give this a 4/5. The premise was fantastic, as was the writing. But it just didn’t work as a book. Not to this reviewer anyway.

But let me know! Have you ever read or used The Silent History app/book? How does it compare?

Once again, huge thank you to Nudge for sending me this.

Links:

To buy the book – Waterstones/Amazon

Website – Click Here