December 23rd, 2008

  • devi42

It found its rightful owner...

Two weeks ago, I intended a holiday party where the price of admission was a $10 gift for a secret Santa exchange.

Though I knew it was a bit of a risk, I wanted to buy a book. Books, after all, are gifts which stay with the recipient after the moment has past.

I went to my go-to book, the book which I always fall back on come gift giving time: Good Omens.

Two days ago, my boyfriend ran into a fellow attendee in the mall. He (the other guy, not the boyfriend) was raving about this book he had gotten in the secret Santa exchange, the book I had brought.

I like to think the universe worked a little mojo to get it into the hands that would appreciate it the most.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

The charm and grace of this debut novel decisively made it my favorite recommendation of the summer. Set just after the end of World War II, English writer Juliet Ashton is fretfully seeking a topic for her next book. When she receives a mysterious letter from a stranger who found her name in a book by Charles Lamb, not only does it solve her writer's block, it introduces her to the quirky inhabitants of the island of Guernsey. Juliet finds solace in the stories of the inhabitants of Guernsey which was occupied for five years by the Germans during WWII. The novel is strikingly told through letters between the characters, and each voice is distinct and amusing. Guernsey is a loving ode to the transformative power of literature which can reveal hidden truths and help us through the darkest days.

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love: rainbow heart

Book Search Loch Ness Monster

I am hoping and praying that this is the right place to post this; I feel like there used to be a community specifically for book searches, but I couldn't find it. If there is one that will be able to handle my question better, please feel free to redirect me!

This has been driving me absolutely nutty. I read the book years and years ago, so it's possible that it's a children's book or a young adult novel. It was about the Loch Ness Monster, so it took place in Scotland. I remember that the monster ate scones, and that it was from the monster's perspective. There was some angst about keeping it hidden, I remember, so no one would hurt it, but the main storyline came from it trying to get over this waterfall, so it could make it to the sea, like salmon do. There was also a cavern that the monster hung out in, and it was friends with some humans-- I think a young girl and an old man, but that could be mistaken, or there could be more.

Can anyone help me? I'm dying! :)
Carnival

Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause

I recently recommended Blood and Chocolate to someone looking for a good werewolf book. Soon after this, I realized that I hadn’t read the book in ten years, and could barely remember the plot. It became obvious to me that if I’m going to recommend a book to someone, I should probably know what I’m recommending.

Here’s the basic plot. Vivian is a sixteen-year-old werewolf. She is mentally recovering from a fire that killed her father and exiled her pack to a Maryland suburb a year before. As an artist, she submits some of her pictures of wolves to her high school literary magazine. Her pictures are printed next to a poem called “Wolf Change,” and she finds a connection with its words. She seeks out the author; a human boy named Aiden and quickly becomes attracted to him. As the two begin a relationship, Vivian wonders that if the calm and gentle Aiden will be able to accept not just her human side, but her wolf side as well.

Blood and Chocolate is a book that gets recommended to Twilight fans a lot, and it’s obvious why. Both books center on a romantic relationship between a regular human, and supernatural creature. At the same time, Blood and Chocolate can almost be seen as the anti-Twilight. The first difference would be that the female, not the male character, is not human (a twist for this type of novel). Vivian and Aiden’s spicy relationship is much different than the restrained Bella and Edward. Also, Vivian herself is a far different character than clumsy Bella. She is fierce and confident about her beauty to the point of cockiness, and does not let anyone push her around. Although this book has plenty of drama and suspense like Twilight, their difference outweighs their similarities.

I found that after ten years, I still find this book quite enjoyable. The only thing I find different is my reaction to many of the teenage characters. While Aiden and the friends seemed so cool at thirteen, at twenty-three I found myself wondering why Vivian was so attracted to him. This diminished my enjoyment a little. Still, I really liked reading it again. I’m almost inspired to maybe pick up a few more of the books I got into when I was younger, such as Vivian Vande Velde’s Companions of the Night. 

Rating: Four and half out of five stars
Similar Books: Companions of the Night by Vivian Vande Velde. The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause.
Other books I've read by this author: The Silver Kiss, Alien Secrets

xposted to bookish  and temporaryworlds 
Kitty: Angry Calico

Saramago, José: Blindness

Blindness
Writer: José Saramago
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 293

The premise: this speculative fiction tale asks the simple question, "What if everyone went blind?" Blindness is treated like a contagion, with the book opening with the first blind man, and how the blindness follows those the man comes in contact with. Better still, the blindness is question isn't actually darkness, but rather an unrelenting white light. Fearful of a disease they do not understand and can only hope to contain, the government quarantines all of those who are blind. But one woman lied in order to stay with her husband, and it's through her eyes we witness how a blind society is formed and how humanity falls apart, as well as what means to hold on to hope in such a hopeless situation.

My Rating

Worth the Cash: so even though I haven't seen the movie, I'm kind of glad I got to the book first. I know many people feel like the source material should always be experienced first, but I'm the kind of girl that tends to turn to the adaptation to see if the material interests me enough to go to the original book. Sometimes, that plan backfires, and I'll wish I read the book first. I won't know if that'll be the case for Blindness, but I suspect this is one of those cases where it's better to have read the book first. I had the visuals from the trailer in my head, and that was enough to allow me to really enjoy and focus on the beauty of Saramago's prose instead of trying to speed through material I was already familiar with. I still want to see the movie, but in the meantime, I found an author worth revisiting. This book is definitely worth checking out, particularly for fans of literary SF, and trust me, this book is beyond literary. It's no wonder its author won the Nobel.

The full review, which does include spoilers, may be found in my journal. As always, comments and discussion are most welcome.

REVIEW: José Saramago's BLINDNESS

Happy Reading! :)