Archive for book reviews

Anna Karenina…a long read…

Posted in Books, Film with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 22, 2012 by Mj Rains

…by the time I’m done the new Anna Karenina movie, starring Keira Knightley, will be out, thus saving me from the torment of getting though all the pages on my Kindle…okay, it’s not torment. I actually love reading it. It was the first tomb of a book I downloaded back in January. No, I’m not that slow of a reader, but with any disastrously long novel, I kind of lose it mid-way, and find myself veering off to other literary terrains. I feel a wit-bit guilty, since this is so thought of as one of the ultimates in classic literature. So my goal is to finish this book in the next week if possible. My Kindle says I’m at 64% into the story since it doesn’t display page numbers. Can I finish it? Do I have a chance?

So here’s the beautiful preview of Anna Karenina. It looks breath-taking, though the Vronsky actor choice has me confused. Keira looks like perfection however.

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Book Beginnings – One Hundred Years of Solitude

Posted in Book Beginnings with tags , , , , , , , , on January 23, 2012 by Mj Rains

By Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. At that time Macondo was a village of twenty adobe houses, built on the bank of a river of clear water that ran along a bed of polished stones, which were white and enormous, like prehistoric eggs. The world was so recent that many things lacked names, and in order to indicate them it was necessary to point. Every year during the month of March a family of ragged gypsies would set up their tents near the village, and with a great uproar of pipes and kettledrums they would display new inventions. First they brought the magnet. A heavy gypsy with an untamed beard and sparrow hands, who introduced himself as Melquiades, put on a bold public demonstration of what he himself called the eighth wonder of the learned alchemists of Macedonia. He went from house to house dragging two metal ingots and everybody was amazed to see pots, pans, tongs, and braziers tumble down from their places and beams creak from the desperation of nails and screws trying to emerge, and even objects that had been lost for a long time appeared from where they had been searched for most and went dragging along in turbulent confusion behind Melquiades’ magical irons. “Things have a life of their own,” the gypsy proclaimed with a harsh accent. “It’s simply a matter of waking up their souls.”

How could you not want to read more? This has always been one of my favorite books of literature. It’s timeless, classic, with just the right amount of strangeness, called magic realism, which lends to its tone and rapturous nature. It’s loaded with beautiful Spanish names, which can be daunting to the faint reading heart, but there’s a nice chart in the beginning pages giving the family history of Aureliano Buendia with all the names in order of birth. It’s a profound story, leading up to the firing squad, and years after, I guess 100 in total, the rise and fall of a town called Macondo, somewhere in the world, somewhere in time, in some history that is the writer’s and readers imagination. Truly one of the best reads of all time.

Originally published in Argentina in 1967. First English copyright translation 1970.

Review: Inside of a Dog (via Doggerel)

Posted in Books with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 17, 2011 by Mj Rains

Great review of an interesting book…

Review: Inside of a Dog I’m an avid reader of book reviews, and I first heard of this wonderful book in the New York Times Book Review. Critic Cathleen Schine gives a fair and warm review of the book, writing that author Alexandra Horowitz is keen on dropping “some lovely observation, some unlikely study, some odd detail that causes one’s dog-loving heart to flutter … Read More

via Doggerel

Summer Reading…

Posted in Books with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 7, 2011 by Mj Rains

Finished reading 13 Reasons Why last week. It was an awesome teen read, but left me a bit confused. I guess I didn’t quite “feel” the anxiety of this suicidal girl, but could certainly understand the circumstances of her situation…how she felt lost, with no one to turn to…but then, she could have made a lot of other choices, for instance a scene in a hot tub (need I say more), a place she clearly did not want to be, yet goes there willingly and …I won’t give away the story, but bad choices lead to bad feelings and emotional scars. All in all, the story was well written. Loved the unique format of Hannah’s voice on tapes, and the thoughts of the main character mingled together. It was different and hard to put down. Good work by Jay Asher.

A movie is already in the works I’ve heard, with Selena Gomez starring. I can’t see her as the Hannah character, so if this is the case, I think I’ll skip the movie version. Some books are best left alone…

More reading….

Posted in Books with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 1, 2011 by Mj Rains

So after putting down that monstrosity of a Stephen King book (Under the Dome, in case you all forgot) I moved on to one of my library book sale finds, a book I always had in mind to read but never did.  I know this is an older book, and the movie was out in 2005 I believe…what can I say?  The book was fascinating.

I found myself totally engrossed in this breathtaking novel. The description and fine detail that Arthur Golden produces in Memoirs of a Geisha centers one’s mind in the time and place presented.  I fell in love with the main character, and of course, felt a bit of anger with her situation, but  I stayed entranced and on edge with what would happen next.  Throughout the story we learn of this main character’s love for one man who showed a kindness to her as a young girl…and we wait the entire book for that secret to come out, for that all-encompassing moment when he realizes it was her, and she shows him the handkerchief he’d given her, that she’d kept close to her for over 15 years…and unfortunately this is where the story fell flat for me.  I guess it was within the last 20 pages or so….sad really.  I waited for the moment, waited….waited….and the characters jumbled on with talk so much the moment just sort of came and went without this reader’s emotions charged.  Perhaps this was the author’s intention, or I missed something in my eagerness….

The book also takes us a bit through the rough times the Japanese people faced during WW II, the lack of food and essentials for living, but I felt Golden kept the tragedy of such a time at a distance without much impact.  The atom bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not even mentioned, and I find it quite hard to believe that no one in Kyoto would have even spoken about these disasters…Surely I wouldn’t have wanted this stunning tale to turn into a war story, but still, a little more would have made the time more haunting and substantial in a reader’s memory.

But all in all:  Enthralling.

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