Saturday, August 29, 2009

Irish Times review of Colum McCann's "Let the Great World spin"

The Irish Times have a very positive review of Colum McCann's new novel "Let the Great World Spin"

Set in New York in the 1970s and revolves around Philipe Petits tightrope walk between the twin towers of The World Trade Center.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Company by Robert Littell

The Company by Robert Littell

If you are the kind of person who wishes they were a spy during the Cold War (which I do) you will love this book. Beginning in the 1940s, The Company traces the history and development of the CIA, taking in events such as the Bay of Pigs fiasco, Watergate and the Soviet invasion of Afganistan.

Told through the eyes of four friends from Yale who rise through the ranks of the CIA and KGB. Stories of defections and the CIA attempt to assassinate Castro using the Italian Mafia had me riveted.

This is faction of the best kind, weaving rumours and conspiracy theories about the CIA with actual events.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Twilight Saga

The Twilight Saga
Throw-away chick lit or a literary darling?

I would tend to agree with the former. However, I could never part with my Twilight books. Intriguing and addictive, The Twilight Saga will engross the most selective of readers.

Meyer depicts a story of forbidden love that exists between Bella Swan, the awkward new girl in town, and the mysterious Edward Cullen.

The Cullen family stands apart from the rest of the villagers in Washington’s rainy town of Forks in beauty, style and appetite. Although integrated in society, they live a life of ancient secrecy. The Cullen’s are a family of vampires yet; they made the difficult decision to live as vegetarians, choosing to feast on the blood of animals over the succulent taste of human prey.

But as a powerful longing draws Edward and Bella together, danger grows ever more explosive.

We journey with Bella through the 4 books, Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn, as she falls irrevocably in love with Edward.

Each book is packed with obstacles that threaten their relationship, be they the physical constraints between fragile human and immortal vampire or the jealousy that develops in Jacob, Bella’s confidante and Edward’s foe. Jacob is too a descendant of an ancient clan, a natural enemy to the Cullen’s way of ‘life’.

The Twilight Saga is ultimately Fantasy – Chick Lit, it’s easy to read and not too taxing on the mind. However, with its fascinating characters and intense plot lines, it is extremely difficult not to be sucked into Bella’s world.


It is addictive; before you’ve finished Twilight, you will be down the shop to pick up the other 3! Probably best to clear a few days in the schedule before you begin, that way you can get though the Saga without being disturbed or having to take too much time away from the delectable Edward Cullen!

For those new to the fantasy genre, The Twilight Saga is a great introduction.
For those who love a love story, ‘never was there a story of such woe’!
For those who want an action packed read where werewolves take on vampires and vampires take on vampires, sink your teeth into The Twilight Saga.

By Sadashini

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Book Club - Our first official meeting (eventually!)

So it took us long enough but finally the book club managed to set a date and get together to discuss 'The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao'.
Over lots of nibbles and a few glasses of wine we sat and dissected Junot Diaz's Pulitzer wining novel. Overall the feedback was very favourable as most had thoroughly enjoy the book, citing both Oscar himself and Lola his sister as favourite characters. Many also showed a great interest in the historic elements of the footnotes in the book, which deepen the readers understanding of the history and folklore of the Domincan Republic, including the most dreadful of curses, the fuku, which plagues Oscar's family.
These footnotes however, also caused some of us some problems, as they were deemed a major distraction to most of the girls. I myself had no problems with them and found them enlightening as I knew absolutely nothing about the history of the country and its dictator Trujillo.
One of the girls also complained about the level of spanish in the book, the novel is peppered with spanish slang words and she felt she could make out their meaning due to the context but wished she understood the direct translation. I think that I had not forseen this problem , when I suggested the book to the group, as I loved all of the spanish slang because I could understand it (I studied the language at college). In hindsight I can understand why a few of the girls said it took from their enjoyment of the novel.
Yet overall we all totally agreed that it is well worth a read. It's a very engaging story that sucks you in, with characters you really care about and a great plot that spans generations and countries, 'The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao' was for the most part a hit with the book club!
Our next title has already been decided upon by Orna. We will be reading 'American Wife' by Curtis Sittenfeld. This book is reviewed elsewhere in the blog and looks great, I can't wait to get my teeth in to it. I'm off to Village Books to pick up my copy now!!

Friends like these by Danny Wallace

Danny Wallace is about to turn thirty and his life has become a cliche. Recently married and living in a smart new area of town, he's swapped pints down the pub for lattes and brunch. For the first time in his life, he's feeling, well ...grown-up.

But some thing's not right. Some thing's missing. Until he finds an old address book containing just twelve names.

His best mates as a kid. Where are they now? Who are they now? And how are they coping with being grown-up too?And so begins a journey from A-Z, tracking down and meeting his old gang. He travels from Berlin to Tokyo, from Sydney to LA.

Part-comedy, part-travelogue, part-memoir, "Friends Like These" is the story of what can happen when you track down your past, and of where the friendships you thought you'd outgrown can take you today...

This is one of the funniest books I have read in a long time. I loved every minute of and found myself laughing out loud while reading it (even in the most inappropriate of places!)
Danny has a great comedic style of writing and I loved the inclusion of snapshots of all of the people that he reconnects with and the pages from his 'Our News' copy from when he was about six. I particularly loved the episode in which to get revenge for a prank that happened twelve years before, Danny ends up in Los Angeles dressed as a giant rabbit called "Mangriff the Beast Warrior", off-the-wall hilarious stuff, a must read for anyone who likes a good laugh!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Powered by weRead

Genesis by Karin Slaughter: Review

This is the sequel to Fractured. This series is set in Atlanta and revolves around the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Special Agent Will Trent is an intense, intuitive and dyslexic cop, works with his partner Faith Mitchell.

A beaten injured woman wanders into a road and is hit by a car. Nearby an underground torture chamber is discovered by Trent and Mitchell. This is just the start of a grisly murder hunt.

Karin Slaughter writes in a gripping and fast paced style, I find myself still reading her books in the middle….because I can’t stop.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: review

Mikael Blomkist is an investigative journalist who is employed by a wealthy businessman Henrik Vanger to investigate a family mystery. Blomkist is assisted in the investigation by Lisbeth Salander who is a bit of a livewire and a computer hacker.

Blomkist and Salander search for Henrik Vangers great-niece Harriet who disappeared 40 years before. Henrik is convinced that Harriet was murdered by a family member.

As well as a gripping story, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo explores issues such as industrial corruption, incest and the influence of the Nazis in Sweden.

The author Stieg Larsson has a fascinating background; he was one of the world’s leading experts on right-wing extremist and Nazi organisations. He died suddenly after delivering three manuscripts to his publisher, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is part one of the trilogy.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

One Day by David Nicholls

One Day is the story of a relationship told over thirty years. Emma and Dexter had a fling on the night of their graduation from the University of Edinburgh. They keep in touch over the years and their letters form part of the narrative. Their relationship becomes a warm friendship and following divorces and failed relationships they get together when they are in their late 30s.

The book is set in London and reflects the popular culture and trends of the 1980s and 90s sometimes cringingly so. It reminds me of The Timetravellers Wife.

American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld

The American Wife is a surprising book. I was about half way through the book before I realised that the main character Alice Blackwell is loosely based on Laura Bush. This disturbed me because I was really identifying and admiring Alice but I hate George Bush.

Despite this, its really good read, focusing on Alice’s relationship with her husband, American politics and the changing role of women in society.

By Orna