maandag 30 november 2015

Jane Austen: Persuasion

Hi

Persuasion was Jane Austen’s last completed novel and it is one of my favorites.
The novel has 249 pages and 6 pages on the story by Elisabeth Bowen.
This was also a reread for me.

“Twenty-seven-year old Anne Elliot is Austen's most adult heroine. Eight years before the story proper begins, she is happily betrothed to a naval officer, Frederick Wentworth, but she precipitously breaks off the engagement when persuaded by her friend Lady Russell that such a match is unworthy. The breakup produces in Anne a deep and long-lasting regret. When later Wentworth returns from sea a rich and successful captain, he finds Anne's family on the brink of financial ruin and his own sister a tenant in Kellynch Hall, the Elliot estate. All the tension of the novel revolves around one question: Will Anne and Wentworth be reunited in their love?”

I absolutely adore this novel.

The story is melancholic, it has a feeling of loss throughout the novel but it is never hopeless.
Some might say it’s a slow story but I never found it so. The book is very short and I flew through it while I do think a smile never left my face. I just loved it.
The writing is amazing, it’s flowery, it’s passive and delicate. Truly exquisite prose.

Captain Wentworth letter is beautiful, sweet, full of love and so tender.
Anne is an admirable character. She never puts herself forward, she cares for everyone even those who don’t care for her, she’s realistic, she’s intelligent and she has common sense and founded opinions.

Go read it, you really have to.


Happy reading!
Helena

zaterdag 28 november 2015

Robert Jordan: The Dragon Reborn

Hi

This is the third book in The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan.
It has 641 pages.


* SPOILERS! *

Ah, the foreshadowing is glorious! That’s what’s so nice about rereading. The suspense and the anxiety are far less, but knowing so much more, you get to enjoy the novel in a whole other way.

While you’re reading, certain decisions like Siuan sending the girls to hunt the Black Ajah seem to be plain foolish. But actually thinking about it, you get to see that it really is the only way events could go. The whole novel is so plausible, so logical the way everything happens.

This novel is told in a very different way from the ones before.
Rhand has a lot of growing up to do and he has to accept being the Dragon Reborn, but we don’t get to see that because he’s not in the novel. He’s almost like a side character even though he is the main character with the most important mission in the novel. But I like that; I guess we got rid of a lot of whining this way.

Instead of Rhand, we get multiple, diverging plotlines all coming together in the end.
This book proves that a hero doesn’t save a world on his own. Others have their roles to play too. This is not a simple hero saves the world story and it is not just about Rhand. There is so much more going on.
Not a lot happens in the way of real action but it is a very important and big novel in the way of shaping the characters because it tells us a lot about them, we get to know them so much better. The characters are growing up, even Matt (though I still feel like he’s a caricature). Most of the characters are better developed in this book.

I did not like Moiraine in this novel though. She seems very different from before.
And I absolutely hate Faile, she’s complaining about everything, and it’s always someone else’s fault. Well guess what, she wasn’t wanted but she decided to come anyway, knowing it was dangerous. She’s manipulating, bitching and being childish. She should shut up and get killed.
One can only hope.

The forsaken could be anywhere and that’s creepy, anyone with power could be a forsaken. Or anyone else for that matter. In this novel we truly get the sense of the scope of the evil in the world.

This novel was a pure joy to read. So fast, so much suspense and so many wonderful characters. Except for Faile; I hate her.

Happy reading!
Helena


dinsdag 24 november 2015

Isaac Asimov: Prelude to Foundation

Hi

Prelude to Foundation is the first prelude in the Foundation Series even though Isaac Asimov wrote it after Foundation.
I got this book from Bol and it has 493 pages.

 “It is 12,020 G.E. and Emperor Cleon I sits uneasily on the Imperial throne of Trantor. Here in the great multidomed capital of the Galactic Empire, forty billion people have created a civilization of unimaginable technological and cultural complexity. Yet Cleon knows there are those who'd see him fall, those whom he'd destroy if only he could read the future.
Hari Seldon has come to Trantor to deliver his paper on psychohistory, his remarkable theory of prediction. Little does the young Outworld mathematician know that he has already sealed his fate and the fate of humanity. For Hari possesses the prophetic power that makes him the most wanted man in the Empire... the man who holds the key to the future -- an apocalyptic power to be known forever after as the Foundation.”


                * SPOILERS *

I enjoyed this novel very much.
I loved the history in the novel. As it is set in our far, far future, we are the past of the novel. And it’s fun to read about Hari’s search for the foundation of The Empire.
I also liked the idea of the inevitable return of everything that already has happened before.
Decay is a slow process and it isn’t noticed as such until it has been going on for quite some time. T
here’s never a specific date it started.
The different societies are truly magnificent and imaginative. I always love that in SFF. I love the daily life, the details and the cultures.

The prose is easy to read and not really beautiful or of high quality. But it is thrilling and engaging so it definitely works.
The story is fast-paced, full of action and very exciting.
But the characters are rather shallow.

The amount of worlds is a bit over the top; 25 million worlds is mind-boggling and hard to grasp for the reader. Also, for being so far in the future, not much has changed.

The twist at the end was partly expected and partly a real twist so I liked that too. And it was a great idea to have a robot live through all the millennia. The decay of The Empire becomes very realistic that way because if someone should know about it, it’s this robot. 
The Aurora and Earth side story is amazing and very interesting. I liked this a lot because it makes it real, it makes it a possibility for us. It’s intriguing too because there are no records of this part of their history. That certainly must have a dark reason.

I enjoyed it a lot and I would definitely recommend this to you.

Happy reading!
Helena


A bit of reading in between cleaning the new house and packing everything we own.

vrijdag 20 november 2015

The books I want to read before the end of 2015

Hi

I wanted to do a short post about the books I really want to finish before the end of the year.
So without further ado, here they are and the reasons why I want to read them this year.
Well, I’ve been (re)reading every Jane Austen novel I own in 2015 so I want to finish this endeavor.
I am reading one of the books in these series every other month so I have time to read other novels too. But more importantly, I won’t be tempted to binge-read a series and risk being burned out of enjoying them. I have experienced that in the past when I read 4 or 5 books in a series in one go and then leave them for months because I’m bored of the characters or the setting or something else.
So far, I’ve read Foundation and Prelude to Foundation. Forward The Foundation is the novel in between those two. Off course I want to read it a.s.a.p.

That makes six books. It’s not a lot so I’m sure I’ll manage reading and finishing them in the next 40 days or so.
The Beautifull Cassandra is a tiny book and I’m reading The Dragon Reborn at the moment so it won’t be a problem.
We’ve moved already and I’m putting stuff away every day so by next week I’ll have more time to read.

What books would you like to finish in 2015?

Happy reading!
Helena

zondag 8 november 2015

Ernest Hemingway: Across the River and into the Trees

Hi

Across the River and into the Trees is my fourth (I think) novel by Ernest Hemingway.
I got it very cheap at the Boekenfestijn and it has 220 pages.
We’re moving next week so this will be short.

 “In the fall of 1948, Ernest Hemingway made his first extended visit to Italy in thirty years. His reacquaintance with Venice, a city he loved, provided the inspiration for Across the River and into the Trees, the story of Richard Cantwell, a war-ravaged American colonel stationed in Italy at the close of the Second World War, and his love for a young Italian countess. A poignant, bittersweet homage to love that overpowers reason, to the resilience of the human spirit, and to the worldweary beauty and majesty of Venice, Across the River and into the Trees stands as Hemingway's statement of defiance in response to the great dehumanizing atrocities of the Second World War.”

This novel is supposed to be inspired by Hemingway’s own life and I do feel like it is.

Reading this was an emotional ride.
Nothing much happens and even though it is a very small book, it is filled to the brim with love, hate and deep sadness.
I enjoyed it, certainly, but it was too much. Too slow and too emotional.

Happy reading!
Helena

zondag 1 november 2015

Wrap Up: October 2015

Hi

My reading slowed down considerably by the second half of the month.
Moving day is getting closer and there’s still a lot to do. Our house isn’t completely finished and even after the move there’s work to be done for the next few years (painting, the garden and terrace mainly but some other parts like the attic too).
So we’ve started packing, cleaning our new house in between the workers doing their jobs, cleaning the old apartment, planning the move and the deep clean of the new house. It’s pretty amazing and very exciting. I honestly can’t wait for the move. But it’s really exhausting so I actually just want to sit and watch Doctor Who or The Walking Dead after work.
We’re moving in two weeks! So there’s still a lot to be done before the big day. I haven’t even started packing my books.
All this jabber was just to point out why October started out great readingwise but slowed down so much.

I read a total of 9 books or 2990 pages. That’s 332 pages per book.

Here’s what I read this month:
And here’s what I didn’t finish:
How was your month? Anything you would like to recommend me?
Helena