Teaser Tuesday: Jan 8

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly book meme originally featured at Should Be Reading. To participate, just open the book you are currently reading to a random page, and choose two ‘teaser’ sentences from somewhere on that page. (no spoilers!)

This is a book that I received from my Secret Santa from work last year, and have been meaning to get through for a little while, reading bits here an there as I’ve had time. I’ve heard this book was a little different in writing style and genre (historical fiction vibes) then I have read recently, and in the last year, so I thought I would give it a go.

So far it’s an intriguing read, but does require a bit of attentiveness, not really an adventure book that you can just blitz through. So far, I am enjoying it so look out for the review of this one soon!

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” ‘I thank you for your advice,’ said Fritz. ‘I think, indeed, that women have a better grasp on the whole business of life than we men have. We are morally better than they are, but they can reach perfection, we can’t. And that is in spite of the fact that they particularise, we generalise.’ ” (126)

Book Review: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

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Published: 2011

I must say that his novel got a lot of a positive reviews on both Goodreads and general rankings I saw on multiple book reviewers here on wordpress. I was really intrigued, as the plot sounded really interesting. Taking on the Trojan war through a completely new perspective? Yes!

But I must say I was very uninspired. For a long time I tried to determine why I felt like this because in theory I should really like it. The history seemed very well re-searched (found out that Miller actually did her BA and MA in Latin and Ancient Greek), and it was a well planned out storyline during a fascinating time(took her 8 years to write this novel!).

So why on earth did I not love this book as well?

Then I realized that I felt nothing towards the narrator, Patroclus. He was extremely weak, his entire life was just consumed with loving, looking at and following Achilles around like a lost puppy. It was literally unbearable. I just found him really unlikeable. It did ger a little better in the second half where he actually spent a few hours not stalking Achilles, found a hobby (healing wounded soldiers) and actually found other friends (don’t get too excited it was really just one friend; Briseis). Understandably, the author wanted to re-write the famous tale of Troy through a new perspective, not one of other powerful figures but someone a bit more “average”. Sadly, the narrator was below average and didn’t possess any likeable feature in my opinion.

The writing style also suffered. The one word that I would probably used to describe it is uninspiring. Miller spent too much time repeating herself and going on and on about how obsessed Patroclus was with Achilles. Scenes of him marveling at Achilles probably make up about ¾ of the book, easily. I don’t really want to read the same thing over and over again, especially when nothing new is added to the repetitions.

Maybe I am missing something…

Verdict: Still confused why this book had so much hype, failed to be inspiring, I would read if you like ancient history and obsessive lovers.

Have you read this book? I would love to hear your interpretations, and maybe shed some light so I could grow to like this book!

Review: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

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Published: 2012

I am pleasantly surprised with this read. A co-worker, who isn’t a huge literature junkie and herself admitted that few books capture her attention, recommended this book. She spoke very highly of it, and urged me to read it. Being a mere £3.50 on Amazon, I couldn’t say no. Plus I was just genuinely interested in finding out her literary style.

Like most books, I had not read any synapsis or reviews of the book. Only the two pages in the front of the book contained snippets of quotes from different newspapers all praising it as a “beautifully written” novel. Suspiciously, the front cover, the positive hype at the beginning, and the summary at the back reminded me of the dreadful The House We Grew Up In, so, I am not going to lie, I was very weary and cautious.

The book opens up with Louisa, a woman living in a small town in the UK with her parents, losing her job of six years and struggling to find a replacement. She’s always had her position at the café, and she had really enjoyed it. Her choices are limited as it’s during the height of a recession and she doesn’t have any qualifications beyond high school. Until she stumbles upon a less than ideal job, which in a mere 6 months manages to rattle everything she knows as life.

It took me at least 50 pages to get into the novel, to be able to relate to some of the characters and to get wrapped up in their world. Once I got passed that I couldn’t put it down. It’s not a revolutionary plot twist; it is very predictable. Rather, I enjoyed learning and growing with the main character. Life as she knows it is completely turned on it’s hind legs when she starts working as a carer for a quadriplegic named Will Traynor.

The book deals with powerful themes of life, disability, depression, suicide, love, family and adventure. It’s premise is sounds simple but is quite daunting; how do you convince a man set to leave the earth that life is worth living?

“ ‘But you’re…you’re going to take him to that place where people commit suicide. Dignitas.’

‘No. I am going to do everything I can to ensure he doesn’t do that…you must know by now that if Will decides to make himself unreachable, there is little anyone can do about it.’ ” (154)

It’s a crazy coincidence, because just a few days back I came across this video addressing the same theme:

What a powerful question to try and solve.

 

Verdict: Most definitely a hard warming read, that just puts a small smile on your face before the tears start falling. Really great message about life and love that will leave you inspired.

 

Have a read a book similar to this one? What was the message of that tale?

Saturday is reserved for Bookporn

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I’ve had the opportunity to traverse many European countries and their cities. From the countryside, to the train station all the way to the heart of cities; I always try and get a very general exposure to the city. Nonetheless, I think everyone has a favourite aspect of the city. My friend Lucy has confessed she loves the town’s parliament buildings, my cousin loves churches with all it’s grandeur and decor meanwhile my guy friends love the pubs and sampling the cuisine along with a pint of local beer. Whatever their preferences are, it’s something that is close to their hearts and what is often the highlight of their trips.

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For me it’s probably bookshelves and libraries. Whether it be an ancient castle or beautifully up-kept estate, I can’t help but admire the building’s often grand libraries, with walls completely lined with ancient and priceless books. I love the idea of having an entire room dedicate to literature and the works of my favourite authors. Complete with a cozy couch and a hot cup of Earl Grey tea of course.

So imagine my surprise when I stumbled across this:

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I couldn’t believe my eyes!

It was heaven on earth!

So naturally I dedicated a mere 2 hours of my life. Time well spent I believe!