All posts tagged: Challenges

2010 TBR Challenge: ‘The Little Stranger’ by Sarah Waters

Let me begin by saying I’ve highly enjoyed Sarah Waters’ work, so far. I loved “Tipping the Velvet” & was whisked away by “The Night Watch”. That said, I have to admit to being slightly on the fence about her last effort. As always, the prose is excellent, the atmosphere superb & the characters engaging – albeit a bit stiff. Clearly a brilliant portrait of post war life (& its implications) in Britain, the story also manages to have a highly appropriate claustrophobic feel to it & a tension that steadily builds throughout. As far as I’m concerned, these are two of the most important elements in the genre. Sometimes, however, they are just not enough & I was tempted to say this was one of those times. I’ll admit to approaching this with the highest of expectations -which may well have been a contributing factor. Still, I just felt something missing. Given the fact that the book was described as a “chilling ghost story” taking place in a huge, lonely & decaying mansion, I …

2010 TBR Challenge: ‘The Book Thief’ by Markus Zusak

In direct contrast with some of my more recent reads (see Scarlett Thomas’ PopCo) this book commanded interest and undivided attention from the very second it was picked up – and faithfully followed through to the very end. How could it not, when it read something like this: “I could introduce myself properly, but it’s not really necessary. You will know me well enough and soon enough, depending on a diverse range of variables. It suffices to say that at some point in time, I will be standing over you, as genially as possible. Your soul will be in my arms. A color will be perched on my shoulder. I will carry you gently away.” / “A SMALL PIECE OF TRUTH: I do not carry a sickle or scythe. I only wear a hooded black robe when it’s cold. And I don’t have those skull-like facial features you seem to enjoy pinning on me from a distance. You want to know what I truly look like? I’ll help you out. Find yourself a mirror while …

2010 TBR Challenge: PopCo

Having greatly enjoyed Ms. Thomas’ “The End of Mr. Y”, I picked this up with high (probably too high for my own good) expectations. After a “painful” couple of…months (which should, by itself, say something), trying to stick with it, I finally read the long-awaited conclusion a few minutes ago -and, frankly, feel it was hardly worth the hassle 😦 Despite the fact that the characters were interesting (if with loads of unexplored potential) and the criticism of today’s society thought provoking (if a bit preachy at times) -I found the book, overall, to be highly tiresome. From its insanely long, unnecessary descriptions of the lives of bullied, teenage girls, to the endless presentations of their buying habits during company “ideation” meetings -it was all a bit too much for me. Not to mention I’ll probably have to kill someone if I hear another word about homeopathic remedies..:roll: Having said all that, I have to admit I’ve read mixed reviews and heard a lot of different opinions while discussing this with friends. However, considering my …

2010 TBR Challenge: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo…

Not being much into picking up huge best-sellers at the bookstore -I decided to give “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” a chance, after (weirdly enough) watching the movie trailer at the cinema, one Wednesday night. Despite the fact that the first few chapters of the book didn’t do much to persuade me I shouldn’t have steered clear in the first place, I have to admit that the pace did pick up along the way and -a bit further down the line- I realised I was hooked…Somehow, I just couldn’t put the darn thing down: I downloaded it on my iPhone Kindle and read it wherever I was -while waiting for people, in the taxi, on work breaks…everywhere! The story is a mix of corporate crime, who-dunnits and computer hacking brilliance. The characters are clever, fun and engaging -especially L. Salander, the slightly sociopathic, but totally ingenious heroine. The pace keeps picking up throughout the book, leading to a wholesome & satisfying finale -which, however, somehow manages to make you want to immediately get your …

2010 TBR Challenge: The Host…

Having started this year’s TBR Challenge quite late, I now have to put in a bit of extra effort  -in order to catch up. Read this in about a week, which is quite a feat -believe me. So, here goes my first 2010 TBR book review: Having loved the “Twilight Saga” books, I have to admit it was more a matter of when, than of if I was gonna give “The Host” a spin… Ms. Meyer’s latest effort features a compelling story line (sure to appeal to most people, but especially sci-fi buffs), presented from a personal point of view -much in the style she used for the Twilight series. All in all, you’ll be dealing with a relatively long book (600+) pages with a bit of a slow start that, however, evolves into a much more interesting read -should you manage to stick with it (and yes, I do know of many who didn’t). The characters are intriguing enough (despite the fact that they could certainly have afforded a bit more “depth”) and the …