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Sarah (UK)

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Sentence of Marriage (Promises to Keep Book 1)
Sentence of Marriage (Promises to Keep Book 1)
Price: £0.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Sentence of Marriage, 28 April 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This could be classed as a bit of a guilty pleasure for me, whilst I wouldn't say it has a unique writing voice there is no denying that I got hooked on it and read it in virtually one sitting (which is rare for me!). The story really is compelling and moves along at a good pace with believable characters. There is real warmth and empathy that comes through in Parkinson's writing and to piece together such a compelling story really is a talent indeed. And free too, (on Kindle) - a great marketing devise as I'm definately going to go on and read the sequels! Overall, a very good read that will have you wanting more!

Chernobyl Strawberries: A Memoir
Chernobyl Strawberries: A Memoir
by Vesna Goldsworthy
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting historical read, 13 Feb. 2008
I did enjoy this book and found it v.easy to read (I finished it in a day being bed bound with the flu!). Although I did like this book I didn't feel it quite matched up to it's covers accolades. I also feel, given the historical context of the book, set in former Yugoslavia, it would have been helpful to have had a map outlining the areas talked about in the book. The family photos, although interesting, arn't in chronological order e.g. childhood pictures of the author are scattered throughout the book. I thought, as the book progressed to the author moving to England and marrying an English man a wedding picture of them might ? have been more appropriate at this point. Where I feel this book wins it that it does give a v. interesting 'hands on' personal account of an eastern European country in political, communist turmoil during the 1950's onwards. So for anyone especailly interested in this area, this is a book for you. One, other minor comment is that, as a British person, I think I would have found it useful to have had at the beginning, a brief chronolgical list of historical events going on during the era of the book to help put a historical/political context to the book (just as a point of reference). But all in all, quite a good, unsentimental and at time touching read.

Geisha of Gion: The True Story of Japan's Foremost Geisha: The Memoir of Mineko Iwasaki
Geisha of Gion: The True Story of Japan's Foremost Geisha: The Memoir of Mineko Iwasaki
by Mineko Iwasaki
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sarah, 11 Sept. 2007
This is definatly an enjoyable read. You are bound to enjoy it if you like Chinese/Japanese literature and are interested in Geisha culture. You do take from this book an insightful understanding of Geisha training in Japan and other aspects of this e.g. tea ceremony, dancing, komono costume design etc.

The book also puts across effectivly just how much time, discipline and dedication is required to train as a Geisha.

However I feel this book falls down in quite a few areas. The progagonist Mineko definatly does come across as arrogant and self-important which is at times off putting. As Mineko trained so young and was such a dedicated student she does seem to have missed out on much emotional development. Reading another review on this book, I agree also that this does make the book a bit one dimensional at times.

Although the book flows well and is very readable the English is simple and at times disjointed or uses wrong expressions. A result of it's translation no doubt. So in terms of English literature I did not find it stretching my vobabulary/appriciation for the art of English in any way.

I also found the descriptions e.g. of the Geiko house very flat and one dimensional at times. Again in line with other reviews I felt this resulted in a slightly one dimensional read and would have benefited from using a more imaginative description.

One last point was the under developed/explained aspect of the protagonists' (Mineko) fustrations of the rigid and archaiac training system of becomming a Geiko. It seems to be only at the end of the book that we begin to learn this. As Mineko retired at the peak of her career at 29 I found this aspect to be unsatisfactory unresolved. For example, if this bothered Mineko so much why didn't she contribute to positivly try and change this for herself and others?

As the end of the book finishes rapidly with a summary of what happened next to Mineko it is hard to accertain Mineko's true depth of feelings/reflection of where she came from and acheived. I know others have mentioned how much they admired Mineko for her sheer determination and hard work. This, I would never knock her for. However for all the status and professional experiences she gained what ultimate price did she pay for this? If anything the book highlights a slightly sad and lonely childhood which Mineko seems to have blotted out by simply working herself into what could have been an early grave.

I did like this book but I wouldn't feel compelled to rush out and recommend it to others as a must read. But like I say if you like oriental literature you definatly will enjoy this one. And perhaps the fact that I've had all this to write about is no bad thing. It certainly has sparked a lot of questions and reflections for me reviewing it.
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