Showing posts from July, 2014

2 A.M. at The Cat's Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino

I received this book in exchange for an honest review through Blogging for Books.
Summary: Madeleine Altimari's mother is dead, and the world is a tough place for the brash nine-year-old kid, who is an aspiring jazz singer. Bravely facing down mean-spirited classmates and rejection at school, Madeleine doggedly searches for Philadelphia's legendary jazz club The Cat's Pajamas, where she's determined to make her on-stage debut. On the same day, her fifth grade teacher Sarina Greene, who's just moved back to Philly after a divorce, is nervously looking forward to a dinner party that will reunite her with an old high school crush, Ben Allen, afraid to hope that sparks might fly again. And across town at The Cat's Pajamas, club owner Lorca discovers that his beloved haunt may have to close forever.
My thoughts: Philadelphia, if I'd known the setting of the novel, lived there and recognized the street names, and the mood, this book would have been something else.…

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra

I received this book in exchange for an honest review through Blogging For Books.

Summary: In a small rural village in Chechnya, eight-year-old Havaa watches from the woods as Russian soldiers abduct her father in the middle of the night and then set fire to her home. When their lifelong neighbor Akhmed finds Havaa hiding in the forest with a strange blue suitcase, he makes a decision that will forever change their lives. He will seek refuge at the abandoned hospital where the sole remaining doctor, Sonja Rabina, treats the wounded.  For Sonja, still haunted by the disappearance of her sister Natasha, the arrival of Akhmed and Havaa is an unwelcome surprise. Weary and overburdened, she has no desire to take on additional risk and responsibility. But over the course of five extraordinary days, Sonja’s world will shift on its axis and reveal the intricate pattern of connections that weaves together the pasts of these three unlikely companions and unexpectedly decides their fate.
My thoug…

Why I end up liking everything J.K. Rowling writes

A few days ago I came across a bookstore, fed my incessant book greed and bought these two. Then I spent a day wondering whom I'd rather start with from my two favourite writers.  When I read The Casual Vacancy, I commented that we could never really know an author and their works aren't everything there is to say about them. No Harry Potter book could have made me think that was coming, and I enjoyed that new way of looking at an author I was so convinced I knew
The Silkworm has made me realize something about J.K. Rowling and my intense love for all her writing - no, I'm not a Harry Potter fan claiming I like everything she writes just because. It's how involved she is in all her works. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is probably not a story to her, but a whole world happening inside her head, into which she allows us selective peeks. That would explain the gossipy Rita Skeeter article about the Quidditch World Cup I was told she published recently. The critic…

Top Ten Favourite Completed TV Shows

For this week's Top Ten Tuesday, the topic is favourite stories that are not books. There's no point, I think, in including shows that are still ongoing, because you never how they'll turn out (and my favourite movies are too many to list.) So this is a list of TV series that I diligently watched and loved till the end. 
1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
2. Gilmore Girls
3. The Wire
4. Friends
5. ER
6. The Tudors
7. Fringe
8. 30 Rock
9. Charmed
10. Firefly (not exactly completed, was it?)
Did you watch these? Which are your favourite TV shows, ongoing and completed?
(Update: I just read the comments; I'd always assumed few people loved Buffy, because no one I know really does - but I'm so glad to be proven wrong.)

London's Book Shaped Benches - Why am I not there?!?

The title says it all. I don't think I've ever wished harder I lived in London. Books About Town is a project launched by the National Literacy Trust where 50 literary themed benches illustrated by local artists have been strewn across the city for summer, to be auctioned later in the autumn. These are my favourites:

Aren't they delightful? I borrowed these pictures from the official Books about Townwebsite, where you'll find the pictures of all the benches. Of course, there are these pictures submitted by people who stumbled across the benches throughout the city, which are way more fun as long as you can keep yourself from turning green. 
It gets more fun: Guardian lets you vote for the book to feature on the next bench, the 51st. The choices range from the 101 Dalmatians to Adrian Mole, and Harry Potter, who needless to say is in the lead - you can change that with your vote, though I will have you know, I didn't! Anyway, are you thinking what I'm thinking?…

Not A Penny More, Not A Penny Less by Jeffrey Archer

Warning: This review contains spoilers, but so does the prologue, and the back cover blurb. You might enjoy it if you don't read either of the two, but then again, you might not - the book is not very good. Honestly, a combination of the prologue and the cover blurb summary would have, with minor edits, worked as a short story, a deeply plotted flash fiction. But that's about it.
I don't know what I was thinking when I decided to give Jeffrey Archer another old college try. It might have been how just about everyone I know repeatedly refers to him as a genius storyteller and what not. But you know what, there are too many well written books in this world to waste time on this. Okay, I'll take you through the story and make you agree.
First we are served an enlightening prologue: a man named Harvey Metcalfe pulls some important sounding strings, a stock crashes and four men abruptly become penniless. For future reference, I'm going to call this E.W.A.K, short for, …

Ransom by David Malouf

Reminiscent of: Till We Have Faces by C. S. Lewis

Summary: The Iliad begins with Achilles, the Greeks' greatest strength, refusing to fight for them, for Agamemnon, who insulted him. But he is the only one who can defeat the Trojan prince Hector. One of the greatest stories of The Iliad is Achilles' final vengeful slaughter of Hector, his darkest moments that follow, and King Priam's daring un-kingly attempt to ransom his son's body from the cruel Achilles. The unlikely meeting, of the aged father and the murderer of his son, in the middle of a Greek camp, at the centre of an unending war, makes a beautiful story of loss.
"If the last thing that happens to me is to be hunted down in the heart of my citadel, and dragged out by the feet, and shamelessly stripped and humiliated, so be it. But I do not want that to be the one sad image of me that endures in the minds of men. The image I mean to leave is a living one. Of something so new and unheard of that when men spea…