To be honest, the only reason I chanced upon this book was because its Kindle edition was available for free on Amazon. It has really high ratings and I like Biblical stories, so I thought I’d give this book a try.
And boy, am I glad I did!
Pearl in the Sand centers around Rahab, a Canaanite woman who is an acknowledged historical figure in the lineage of Christ. She was sold into prostitution at fourteen by her poverty stricken father, and later married an Israeli warrior, Salmone, and gave birth to Boaz, one of Christ’s ancestors. In this novel, Tessa Afshar revisits the story of Rahab (about whom little is known), and seamlessly blends fact and fiction to create a compelling tale of love, religion, healing, and redemption.
The book is well written, but some parts of it feel overdone. For instance, even before the Battle of Jericho, Rahab shows every sign of wanting to convert to Judaism, an alien religion that she knows little about. After her marriage to Salmone, the couple experience a protracted period of marital problems due to Rahab’s trust issues. I feel like these parts, and some others, could have been tackled in a more succinct manner, while including more details about other characters in the story (such as Rahab’s family members).
All in all, for a first book, Afshar does a great job of character development within the factual framework of the plot, and creates an ethereally beautiful love story. A highly readable novel that I’d recommend for all fans of historical and/or Biblical fiction!
It is very difficult to go wrong with a novel by Charles Dickens. Indeed, this book is my favourite of all his works, and it was a pleasure to reread it recently.
Great Expectations is a typical Dickens novel; set in nineteenth century England, it masterfully describes the circumstances and sensibilities of the prevailing British class system. The wealth of character and plot development effortlessly immerse the reader within Victorian society, with all of the latter’s peccadilloes and peculiarities.
The novel is narrated by Pip, an orphan who is being raised “by hand” by his domineering sister and her mild mannered husband, Joe. One day, Pip chances across an escaped convict (Magwitch), and steals food and tools for the latter. Magwitch is eventually recaptured.
In a convoluted storyline typical of a Dickensinian plot, Pip is summoned to play cards at the house of Miss Havisham, a rich, reclusive, eccentric old woman. Miss Havisham has an adopted daughter, Estella, and she lives vicariously through the beautiful young girl. Pip falls in love with Estella, with all the susceptibility of youth, and then mourns the fact that his low social and economic standing mean that he can never hope to win her elusive affections.
In a mysterious turn of events, Pip learns that he has a secretive benefactor, who wishes to endow him with a generous amount of money so that he can move to London and make himself a gentleman. He instinctively assumes that Miss Havisham is behind this, naively hoping this means that she wants him to eventually marry Estella. What follows is Dickens’ trademark blend of pathos, comedy, romance, and critical realism, and makes for a fantastic, intriguing read. I highly recommend that you read (or reread) this book!
“People are so fucking dumb. Nobody reads anymore, nobody goes out and looks and explores the society and culture that they were brought up in. People have attention spans of 5 seconds and as much depth as a glass of water.”—David Bowie (via modernmethadone)
That means, that parental and family love is not there at all. They're simply doing what the government told them. So basically, any kind of love at all is outlawed, if parents are caught being to nice to their children they're suspected of being a sympathizer and thrown into the crypts or killed. I'm just wanted to clear that up, because that book really truly was a great book. I didn't mean to come across as rude or obnoxious or anything like that!
I see! No, you don’t come across as either rude or obnoxious, thanks for clearing that up! I know the author wrote Pandemonium as a sequel to Delirium, and some review online referred to Before I Fall as the first book in the series so I made that mistaken assumption. Thank you anon and I will be sure to check my sources better next time! As I’ve mentioned, my book reviews are purely my mere opinion, and certainly not the last word on any literary work :)
I just felt the need to inform you that you made an error with your latest book review on Delirum. Delirium is not the sequel to Before I Fall, they are absolutely completely different books with completely different story lines. So, that might be detrimental to your opinion on Delirium, but there is just one thing you need to know. In one of the first chapters we learn that everyone is given an amount of children they must have, even if they don't want to have children.
My overall reaction to this book can be succinctly summed up in one word- meh.
This book is Lauren Oliver’s sequel to Before I Fall (2010), which I haven’t read yet. The author blends reality and fantasy to create a future world in which love is unwelcome, even detested. Termed as the medical condition “amor deliria nervosa,” love is presented as something that must be eliminated at all costs, and all youngsters are immunized at the age of eighteen to prevent “infection.” This alternate world is strictly controlled by a totalitarian government, which micromanages every aspect of citizens’ lives. Delirium centers around an idealistic love story, which narrates the tale of how Lena, the formerly obedient, conformist lead character, learns to rebel against the rules and follow her heart.
At first, I thought my lukewarm response to this novel stemmed from the fact that at 22, I’m older than the normal target audience of the “young adult” genre. However, I read The Hunger Games series last semester, and thoroughly enjoyed the books. I think my main issue with this book is that, unlike Suzanne Collins, Lauren Oliver does not flesh out the characters to my satisfaction. Also, there are many loopholes in this alternate, futuristic world; if people are immunized against love, what about the kinds of love that are not romantic (such as parental and familial love)? Are these also outlawed? The novel mentions that Lena’s mother committed suicide years ago, and used to indulge in “forbidden” acts such as hugging and kissing her children. But if parental love was forbidden, why would anyone even bother to give birth to, and raise, children?
Perhaps reading Before I Fall will answer these questions, but for now, I found this novel sorely lacking. I struggled through the book’s 441 pages despite Oliver’s beautiful prose and style. But don’t let my opinion stop you from giving Delirium a try, particularly if you’re into young adult fiction!
EDIT: Apparently Delirium is the FIRST book in an intended trilogy (with Pandemonium as its sequel), and it is not a sequel to Before I Fall. I will make sure to check my sources better next time!
"Love, etc. is a bracing meditation on memory and forgiveness and, most important, on the simultaneously primitive and sophisticated, self-serving, and self-revealing ways in which we tell the stories of our lives." — Elle Magazine
I stumbled upon this book in the library, and as the author’s name rang a vague bell, I decided to flip through it. Three pages, and I was hooked on this darkly comedic, delicious sequel to Talking It Over. Although I haven’t read the latter, it was easy to glean its essence from the crisscrossing monologues of the three principal characters in this love triangle; Stuart was married to Gillian, the love of his life, who then left him for his best friend Oliver.
The sequel picks up nearly twelve years after that betrayal/ separation. Oliver’s feckless, charming ways can no longer excuse his failed artistic aspirations, and a disillusioned Gillian is attempting to balance her roles as breadwinner and mother of two. Stuart returns from America as a successful businessman, and attempts to right the wrongs of the past. Even as the book deals with the topics of fidelity, marriage, divorce, and sex, it subtly addresses darker issues like family tensions and aging. Barnes is especially skillful in his manipulative use of vivid retellings of the same stories, to illustrate the power of perspective and hindsight bias.
No wonder this book was voted NYT’s Book of the Year in 2000! It’s a quick, easy read; I finished it within a day. Barnes’ cutting wit and incisive writing (especially evident during Oliver’s monologues) constantly made me pause and reread entire paragraphs. All in all, this book was an incredible read and I would recommend it to everyone, regardless of whether or not they like the tragicomedy genre. I can’t wait to read its predecessor and then reread this gem.
“My marriage ended in divorce after five years. Now in England the voice-over would go, “His marriage failed after five years.” But in the States the voice-over went, “His marriage succeeded for five years.” They’re a nation of serial marriers, the Americans. I’m not referring to the Mormons, either. I think it’s because at heart they’re a profoundly optimistic people.”—Julian Barnes, Love etc. (via quietontheinside)
I’m a recent college grad who’s the proud owner of a new Kindle (thanks Big!). I love books and the written word, and as I have some time to spare now, I thought it’d be fun to have a blog devoted exclusively to my literary pursuits! This is a secondary Tumblr, created for the sole purpose of reviewing books as I read and reread them. Feel free to hit me up with opinions, book/author suggestions, and your favourite excerpts/quotes! :) Here’s the link to my primary blog, which is an eclectic mix of personal posts and reblogs of things that interest me (mainly coffee and BBC Sherlock).