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Femmielala "Book Wormy" (London, UK)

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Women in Love (Penguin Popular Classics)
Women in Love (Penguin Popular Classics)
by D. H. Lawrence
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Heavy going - but a literary triumph, 4 Feb 2009
I felt a little speechless after finishing Women in Love, if not a little emotionally drained. Having never read a DH Lawrence before, yet heard much about how controversial his writing was, I had some preconceived idea that this would be a sort of early 20th Century erotic (and homo-erotic) novel. How wrong I was! Women in Love is a complex novel exploring the intricacies of human relationships against the backdrop of post-WWI Britain.

The story follows two sisters, Ursula and Gudrun Brangwen, a local school teacher and local artist respectively. The sisters embark on two very different relationships, Ursula with Rupert Birkin, a school inspector, and Gudrun with Gerald Crich, a local colliery owner's son. As the two relationships intensify they take very different directions, culminating in tragedy.

Lawrence uses Women in Love to both attack social conventions and movements he detests, and voice his theories and opinions on all manner of subjects including love, sex, marriage, education, society, industrialisation and materialism, through his characters. Rupert Birkin, who is a self portrait of Lawrence, is the most vociferous of the characters. Birkin's tone and, equally, the tone of the book borders on being sanctimonious at times. I didn't always like the characters in the book. Lawrence shows the ugly sides of human nature in Women in Love, and is admirably unapologetic about it.

My only criticism is that Lawrence can be rather long winded at times, but on the whole Women in Love is an amazing experience...I can't believe I left it so long!


Mistaken Identity: Two Families, One Survivor, Unwavering Hope
Mistaken Identity: Two Families, One Survivor, Unwavering Hope
by Don Van Ryn
Edition: Paperback

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pious, 18 Dec 2008
This book is amazing. It tells the true story of Whitney Cerak, the sole survivor of a horrific road traffic accident in 2006 which killed 5 other people. Whitney was mistakenly identified as Laura Van Ryn, who had in fact died in the crash, as she was thrown 50ft from the vehicle along with Laura's purse which contained her ID. Due to the uncanny likeness of the two girls, "Laura" was taken to hospital in a coma with severe injuries; and "Whitney" was buried a few days later.

The mistake was not discovered for 5 weeks, as Whitney's parents elected not to view their daughter's body, and Laura's parents were viewing their "daughter" through the window of the ICU, covered in tubes and bandages. In which time, one set of parents began the grieving process for their daughter, while the other family suffered the agonies of seeing their child in a coma, but experiencing relief that she had lived.

In a cruel twist of fate for one, and a miracle for the other, the Cerak's discover their daughter is alive and the Van Ryn's discover that the girl they have been caring for is not Laura. One's joy is another's despair. Yet despite everything that has happened to both families, they maintain unwavering faith in God.

As an Atheist I found all the religious stuff a little hard to swallow. It completely dominates the book. However, even an old cynic like me did get quite choked up reading most of this. Once you get past the guff, and get to the real human emotion it is devastating and amazing at the same time. My favourite bits of the book were when they stopped talking about God for a minute and started talking about themselves. There are two bits in particular, one from Laura's mother and one from Whitney herself which are both heart breaking and inspiring.

It's incomprehensible that a mother could sit in a hospital bed and look at a sleeping girl and not realise that it was not the girl she nurtured. I guess this is an example of the power of the mind, particularly when it's in shock. When you want to believe something that badly, you'll see what you want to see.

This book is not an easy read. If you're not a Christian, then if you can get past the, in parts, sanctimonious preachy tone of the book then you will read an overwhelming, tear jerking and inspiring story.


The Judgment of Paris
The Judgment of Paris
by Gore Vidal
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amusing...and philosophical too, 15 Dec 2008
This review is from: The Judgment of Paris (Paperback)
This is my 3rd foray into the world of Gore Vidal, and the most enjoyable to date. Humourous and philosophical, with some absolutely brilliantly colourful characters, this was a pleasure to read.

The Judgment of Paris is a modern day telling of the famous Greek myth which is claimed to be the cause of the Trojan War. Here Paris is Phillip Warren, a young American travelling around Europe and North Africa. The book is set at the end of the second World War. Phillip, having finished his commission in the forces, and graduated with a law degree, takes a year out to travel and find some answers about himself.

On his travels he meets a variety of characters, mainly gay men who are intrigued by him, as he's good looking and mysterious. Phillip is tolerant of gay people, but doesn't indulge himself which makes him even more attractive to men who invite him into their social circle.

Phillip proceeds to embark on a number of adventures in Italy, Egypt and finally in Paris. He also embarks on affairs with married women, and in the end must decide between them. The characters he meets along the way are rather colourful. The Egyptian section is hilarious, although I couldn't quite work out if Vidal was poking fun at Agatha Christie (how very dare he!!).

If you know the Greek myth then you'll have an idea which path Phillip takes. However, if you haven't I won't spoil the ending. The Judgment of Paris comes highly recommended. Not nearly as dry as other Vidals I've read, very enjoyable!


The Tales of Beedle the Bard, Standard Edition
The Tales of Beedle the Bard, Standard Edition
by J. K. Rowling
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £5.59

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect. I didn't want it to end!, 5 Dec 2008
After getting bogged down in the last couple of Potter books with Harry's endless woes and tying up all those lose ends, JK Rowling gets back to what she's good at with Tales of Beedle the Bard - writing wonderful, magical, funny children's stories which can be enjoyed by grown-ups too!

This is a collection of 5 fables, with notes written by Dumbledore. The notes were discovered and translated by Hermoine. A great introduction, and then you get onto the stories which are little gems. Dumbledore's commentary is very witty in places and demonstrates Rowling's wonderful imagination. Wouldn't I have loved to have a funny commentary on Red Riding Hood or Rumplestiltskin when I was a kid!

The stories are accompanied by lovely illustrations and the book is attractively presented. My only criticism is that its too short! Please can we have more?!


Intimate Strangers
Intimate Strangers
by Susan Lewis
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Great little plot twist!, 2 Dec 2008
On reading the blurb on the back, you might be forgiven for thinking that this is a thriller about undercover investigative reporting into the world of human trafficking. However this is just a small subplot, a device really to link certain characters together. This book is more about the destructiveness of human relationships.

Don't think from my introduction that this is an indepth look at human emotion. It is still, fundamentally, a fairly lightweight novel but it has a little more too it than some out there.

I wasn't aware when I started reading this that it forms part of a series. I think it works well as a stand alone too. It made slightly uncomfortable reading in parts, for anyone who has suffered rejection, I cringed in places to see, in black and white, pathetic lines which we've all used at some point!

The East End gangster stuff didn't quite work for me. I'm afraid, for me, no one does authentic gangster vernacular like Martina Cole! However, on the whole, I did enjoy Intimate Strangers. Good characters, good plot, great plot twist. Good book for reading by the pool/on the beach.


Williwaw
Williwaw
by Gore Vidal
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.85

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An odd little book, 22 Nov 2008
This review is from: Williwaw (Paperback)
I felt somewhat flat when I finished this rather short story. I understand that this was one of Gore Vidal's earlier works, and therefore the skills that made him the successful author he is clearly have not been honed yet.

A strange, disjointed sort of a book, Williwaw follows the voyage of a ship carrying two military officers and a chaplain from the Aluetian Islands to Arunga. On the voyage, however, they hit a terrible storm.

Even the descriptions of the storm couldn't get me excited. I didn't feel that Vidal created enough tension or excitement. I just felt rather indifferent about the whole thing. The characters are rather good though, and in a more developed novel they could have been really interesting. Unfortunately this just falls a little short.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 8, 2014 10:50 PM BST


Steaming!: With Recipes
Steaming!: With Recipes
by Annette Yates
Edition: Paperback

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very handy, despite the lack of pictures, 18 Nov 2008
If you're new to steaming this is a great little book to get you started. It contains lots of recipes and timings for different vegetables, meat, fish and poultry. I often refer to this book more than the book which came with the steamer!

My only criticism is that there are no pictures to accompany the recipes, but if you're looking for an inexpensive book to get you started, this is the one for you.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 6, 2009 1:46 PM GMT


Killing Me Softly
Killing Me Softly
by Nicci French
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.59

4.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!, 17 Nov 2008
This review is from: Killing Me Softly (Paperback)
This is such a compulsive read, I could hardly put it down!

After a seeminlgy unrelated prologue, the story begins with Alice, the generic city girl approaching her 30s - steady job, nice boyfriend, close circle of friends, likes clothes and wine etc etc. Alice's safe world comes crashing down when she meets a dark, brooding stranger and embarks on a passionate affair. Only when she starts delving into Adam's past does she realise he's not quite what he seems...

Killing Me Softly is an uncomfortable read, showing human emotion at its most raw and challenges your perceptions of that fine line between sex, power and violence.

If you're after a reasonably light read, with good believeable characters and a great plot - then this is for you!


The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
by John Boyne
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, 9 Nov 2008
This is beautifully crafted book, showing the injustices of the holocaust through the eyes of an innocent child. This highlights the crimes committed in a way that resonates with the reader more than reading an adult account, as a child's simplistic view of events show just how senseless the whole thing was. By the end of chapter 18, with a sense of dread, you realise how the story will end, but are compelled to read on to the painful conclusion.

This may look like a light read, you many finish it in a day or two, but this book will keep you thinking long after turning the last page. I can't recommend this highly enough, and it should definitely be on school syllabuses, if it's not already.


Moby Dick: Or, the Whale (Penguin Popular Classics)
Moby Dick: Or, the Whale (Penguin Popular Classics)
by Herman Melville
Edition: Paperback

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It made me want to jump ship!, 2 Nov 2008
In my quest to read all the literary classics, I do have to keep reminding myself that just because something is a "classic" I'm not necessarily going to enjoy it.

This was certainly the case with Moby Dick. Written in 1850 by a former Whaleman, it follows the story of the monomaniacal Captain Ahab and his ship the Pequod in the relentless pursuit of a fierce white whale - Moby Dick. The story is narrated by Ishmael, a member of the crew who is on his own personal journey of philosophical and spiritual enlightenment.

I enjoyed the book up to the point when the Pequod embarked on its journey, then for 400 odd interminable pages Melville presents you with an encyclopaedic account of a whale voyage, going into mind numbingly tedious detail of almost every aspect of the 19th Century whale industry, Cetology, whale mythology, the physiology and phrenology - Ad Nauseum!

Moby Dick is a hybrid of a novel and a factual book on Whales. The story is continually interrupted, often at exciting parts, by Melville while he indulges in yet another lengthy description. He's clearly far too close to his subject to be objective, therefore characters and plot are sacrificed for factual detail. It's only really in the last 100 pages that the action really gets going and we see the climax of Ahab's self destructive quest. All in all though, I was relieved to finally finish this book!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 18, 2013 7:46 PM BST


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