Monday, 21 July 2014

The Dinner by Herman Koch

After finishing the disappointing Summer House With Swimming Pool a few days ago I decided to dip my toe a little further into the pool of YA fiction. I started reading the much praised Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell because she's all anyone on the internet seems to fucking talk about these days. I can't say I was blown away and, after getting bogged down in the awful teen melodrama, I took a peak at the ending (which incidentally I do a fair amount of the time and I see nothing wrong with it). It didn't really fill me with any great desire to finish the book any time soon. Therefore, it seemed like fate when, after an early finish from work gave me a bit of charity shop time, I found a cheap copy of the Herman Koch novel that preceded the topic of my last review. 

Friday, 18 July 2014

Summer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch

(In which I attempt to restrain myself and write a review of a more manageable length.)

Another of Huff Po’s summer recommendations which, from their description, sounded like a simple and, hopefully, trashy murder thriller. I was desperate to get my hands on this book, particularly the beautiful hardcover, so I tracked down a copy from outside the UK to get it all the sooner. However, thanks to my increasingly short attention span, I finished The Enchanted and bought another huge pile of books that somehow managed to make their way to the top of my ‘to read’ pile. I seriously cannot be trusted in book stores these days. When I eventually got round to it I was once again halted thanks to my desperate need to criticise the fucking stupid binding that made page-turning a bit of a nightmare. Perhaps patience really is a virtue?

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Half a King by Joe Abercrombie

On one of my random lunchtime bookshop trips I found this beauty on sale for half price and decided to pick up a copy. I thought I’d heard about it from someone on YouTube but, after some research, I’m pretty sure that I was mistaking it for another book. Nevertheless, I found myself at the starting point of a few uninspiring novels and, after being excited by the writing in the final sentence of the first page, I started my journey.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld

I first read about this book on Huffington Post months ago and I spent weeks searching every bookshop to track down a copy. Of course I could have just clicked a few buttons on a certain website but I’m trying to avoid it. By the time I actually found a copy IRL I was too far into The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August to finally sink my teeth in. Suffice it to say that I powered through that novel in order to finally read the book I’d been desperate to get my hands on. Every day beforehand, I was drawn to the beautiful, metallic cover art and prayed it would be as delightful as it sounded.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

The Fault in Our Stars (2014)

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I have to admit, I’m a little bit in love with John Green. It’s one of the unfortunate side effects of religiously watching various YouTube personalities. The number of people I’m currently besotted with is getting fairly worrying. However, despite this innocent infatuation, it wasn’t until I became intrigued by all of the hype surrounding his runaway success The Fault in Our Stars that I actually read his books. I don’t think I’ve ever really seen the point of YA fiction. I hardly indulged when I was a member of the intended audience bracket so definitely couldn’t be bothered after I left it. After reading, I was pleasantly surprised. Green’s novel is well written and deals with certain subjects in a sensitive and realistic way. However, I hated his representation of modern day teenagers and felt that some moments were just uncomfortable. Plus, despite the warning from a young colleague of mine, I didn’t find myself turning into an absolute wreck at the end because it becomes painfully obvious where the novel is heading very early on. It’s something that stopped me from finishing Gone Girl and it almost prevented me from making my way through TFIOS.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014)

Not that I want to start sounding like a broken record but I've often thought Seth MacFarlane is my ideal man. He's clearly hilarious, likes classic musicals and sings like fucking Frank Sinatra. Due in part to my continuing romantic delusions, I was very much looking forward to his latest film A Million Ways to Die in the West. To be honest though what isn't there to be excited about? Wild West setting, Liam Neeson and Charlize Theron, and a shit ton of gratuitous violence: sounds ideal. 

Maleficent (2014)

Wicked has an awful lot to answer for these days. The novel that created a back-story for the Wicked Witch of the West and went on to become a runaway success as a stage show has started something of a trend in Hollywood. After last year’s disappointing Oz: the Great and Powerful attempted to explain the origin of the great wizard, Disney have set another much loved family film in their sights. Their big live-action blockbuster Maleficent is the long-awaited rewriting of Sleeping Beauty (1959) from the perspective of the terrifying and terrible witch whose spell sent Aurora to her rest. 

Monday, 2 June 2014

Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid

Last year, HarperCollins launched their Austen Project with the release of Joanna Trollope’s updated version of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. The project was clearly born out of a well-thought out marketing strategy to take the hard earned pennies off both the modern writer’s pre-existing fans and Austen lovers whilst introducing her works to people scared of dipping their toes into Romantic era prose. However, the publication of the first in the series didn’t offer the resounding success that the firm were clearly hoping for. The major reaction tended to be that, whilst the novel was fairly well written and very tounge-in-cheek, it was all a bit pointless. Back in March this year, the second modernisation was released: an update of the under-appreciated Northanger Abbey, a novel Austen wrote in her youth, by crime writer Val McDermid. Northanger Abbey is my favourite Jane Austen novel (not that it means a lot coming from an Austen cynic such as myself) so there was a lot more riding on this than the previous attempt.