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Ana M. (UK)

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Gone Girl
Gone Girl
Price: £3.66

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lukewarm ending, 23 July 2014
This review is from: Gone Girl (Kindle Edition)
There are some very good and some very bad 'stuff' in 'Gone Girl'. The characters are interesting and complex - they display a kaleidoscope of strong qualities: courage, determination, passion, intelligence, and wit, which indeed, are used by the author to defy a more simplistic view of what a priori might be considered 'good' or 'bad' personality traits (and yes, they're good looking and charming as well). Nick and Amy are the yin and yang, clashing and blending throughout the pages: one chapter you love him/her, the next you hate them, which in a way appears to mimic what could be the dynamics and the complexity of a relationship between two people: the ups and downs, the good and the bad days, the genuine feelings and the small lies, what it means to love and to be loved, etc. Indeed, much of the story conveys those conventional concerns, struggles and ailments, but of course nothing is as simple and 'normal' as it seems, and like any proper thriller, darker and sombre layers about the main characters are yet to be revealed. The book is a real page-turner, no doubt, but gradually there is the feeling that it dangerously walks a tightrope in terms of its plotline - some parts are preposterous enough to give that impression, but somehow it cleverly keeps holding on. Only just. But still, you really, really hope that it doesn't fall apart completely; increasingly and perhaps worryingly, everything seems too ambitious, artificial and baroque: colourful and interesting but perhaps a bit too much sometimes. 'I really, really do hope that my reward is nothing less than a spectacular ending', 'wow, this might go places' (some of my thoughts while following Nick and Amy misadventures). And then, indeed, it doesn't go far, it stays there, in the middle ground, if you will. How clever, dramatic and extraordinary they both seemed, but fatally, boredom and pedestrian dreams conquer in the end, and for that, I guess, I couldn't care less for Nick and Amy, what they were and what they become, or where they're going, but fundamentally, one could ask, given such a lazy finale, what was the point of all that, anyway?!

No Title Available

5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely shoes, great price, 21 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I really like this shoes, they're quite funky and go with all kinds of colours/clothes. Amazing quality for the price!

Womens CAT grey T.shirt. Large (sz: 12)
Womens CAT grey T.shirt. Large (sz: 12)
Offered by Red Dog Wear
Price: £12.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Cute t-shirt, 21 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I followed the advice of other reviewers regarding the size of this t-shirt, and bought a larger size; usually I'm a size M (12), but ordered a L, and it fits perfectly. The shirt is super cute and has a fantastic colour (exactly as its shows). Also great price, highly recommended!

After Dark
After Dark
by Haruki Murakami
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Midnight Expresso, 19 May 2009
This review is from: After Dark (Paperback)
Visually, "After Dark" could well be a snapshot of any given night on modern Tokyo; the mysteries of the city and its strange "creatures" that keep the night awake, wrapped up in secret and obscure realities, old, dark stories of the past, sometimes too dark to be seen, at the light of a new day.

Caught by the eyes of the "presence" of the night (the "narrator"of the story) roaming through the streets of Tokyo, Mari is the interesting lonely girl reading some bulky volume at a table at Denny's; as usual, in Murakami's novels, an apparently ordinary and simple character, becomes the center and the starting point of a chain of surreal events and only the first of some other bizarre and singular characters, in this case, those who Mari will meet all through this strange night (and of course that will include at least one cat!).

A random encounter, a brief conversation, an apparently odd circumstance, is only what Murakami's needs to create once more, an immense and deep universe filled with amazing creatures and surreal episodes that so well characterize his singular apprehension of the human condition: the shadows, the light and the darkness that defines every single existence and the real meaning of one's life, are here, perfectly reviewed in a glimpse of time that lasts one night. "After Dark" fully accomplishes this subtle beauty and singularity of feelings translated in words, in which every one of them, offers a true feeling and a genuine intention from those caught up between lunch, a dream or 12 and 07. Always at the sound of great music.

The Time Traveler's Wife
The Time Traveler's Wife
by Audrey Niffenegger
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hey, it would be great if everyone listen to Bartok, but ....., 18 Mar. 2009
«The Time Traveler's Wife», definitely has a very interesting narrative structure created by the possibilities of space-time traveling, embody by the character of Henry DeTamble, a man who since childhood has a rare physical disorder that he cannot (always) control or totally understand, making him travel through time, mainly back and forward along the course (past and future) of his own life.
Clare Abshire, like the book title indicates, is Henry's wife and though the reader knows that fact from the beggining, the development and the transformation of that relation is not that clear and simple as one might think; not so much this is a friendly encounter with the possibility of an unknown common future, it is more likely to be a long journey and complex story of love that begins at an early age, more precisely in Clare's childhood.

This side of the novel is really very well crafted; the possibilities are almost unlimited for Henry, the time traveler. He can be in the present and the next moment be talking with himself at the age of 10, or suddenly appearing in his own past and see (again) people that are already dead. Although able to travel around time, Henry has a linear and constant age in the present and gets old like everyone else. Also he's not capable to change dramatically the future or the past, since the premise of cause and effect is a thin and complex web of events, bigger than just isolated moments of people's lives; Henry not always knows exactly which or whom cause what, or who or what cause some event and in which space-time momentum that exactly occurred. Since his time traveling process occurs in such unpredictable ways (provoked by his emotional state, stress or anxiety) and odd conditions on his "arrivals" (naked and starving, without knowing immediately where he is), Henry is all the time more concerned about his own survival, rather than comprehending what this phenomenon is or why is it happening with him.

On the other side, Clare's the person that knows Henry (in his late 30's) for the first time when she's a 6 years old child but that episode ends up not being only a single event. In fact, for some reason imposed by the force of destiny or as a consequence of events occurring in the actual present time of Henry, (that unconsciously throws him back to the time when he has met young Clare; which one as cause the other is the central question and a very interesting metaphysical premise) he's a constant and significant presence during all Clare's growth till she becomes a woman.
Both are different sides of the same coin, without knowing that necessarily at the same time; Clare (child) meets Henry (adult)and knows how he looks like in the future and that inevitably they're going to be together but without knowing how exactly that happens or when; Henry (adult) is married with Clare (adult), but before the age he met Clare (child) in her past he doesn't know (in the present) that he's going to marry a women named Clare.
Confused? Well, is not so much as it seems, it's like starting a 3000 piece puzzle.

(Now the not so good part of the book).For all this and because the novel has such a great and original premise, it is quite disappointing that the universe surrounding the characters (and those same characters) could not end up being more fluid and less pretentious, bringing the right balance to an already enough complex and surreal story.
Like the sound of nails scratching a black board, also Clare and Henry (and some other secondary characters) can be unfairly and unbearably annoying (almost silly sometimes) in so many occasions during their journey; Clare as the white-catholic-beautiful-rich-sensitive-artist-fairly-intellectual-elitist that recites German poets while scrambling eggs and drinking coffee, is quite annoying, when one has already such a special and winning plot, and that becomes even worst, being Henry the punk-fairly-intellectual-elitist-geek-librarian-sex-guru son of a virtuous violinist and a famous classical performer, that recites German poets while preparing 5 star hotel meals but also is a bad boy which can turn into smash potatoes, the faces of those who dare to say something less eloquent about his clothes.
Making a soup with so many ingredients can be after all, not such a good choice, as much as we'd like it to be; most certainly the result will turn out to be something tasteless and without real body or quality. That's what I felt about the characters in this book; excessively pompous and unrealistic recipients for all the likes and references of the author. Unfortunately that excess, together with too much silly emotional verve in what by far is a too long 'cooking' time spoils much of what had promised to be such a delicious and refreshing read.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
by Michael Chabon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.49

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars (3.5 *) Anyway, a worth and entertaining reading, 22 May 2008
Casualties of II WW and tragic events back in the late 30's, places escapism arts apprentice, Joe Kavalier in a troubled but successful trip directly from Praga to Brooklyn, to the home of an unknown and distant cousin, the young and ambitious cartoon artist Sam Clay. It doesn't take too long for the two boys to know each other and their own creative talents and the accidental encounter between them, not only is the beginning of a deep and lasting friendship but also a popular and successful future team of innumerous stories and characters in the world of the classical comic books.

Michael Chabon creates a very intimate, magical and imaginative world largely due to the perfect portrait of Clay and Kavalier as individuals; this are really two well crafted characters with a very complex personality that the reader absolutely indentifies with, having the particularity to allow him/her to "feel" and understand their most profound and recondite emotions, differences, frustrations, etc.
The novel is also very original and appealing concerning to the way it cross "serious" and dramatic themes and issues, such as the nazi holocaust and war, sexual orientation, religion, corporate greed and putting them through the perspective of a graphic novel and the eyes of the comic heroes as well from those he sets free from the iniquities of "evil". In fact this battle between the "good" and the "bad", where justice is the final goal, where for every super hero there's a super villain, told by the simple and redeeming language of a comic, is the most exciting and distinguish accomplish of the novel; Chabon masters this two universes (reality and the imaginary world of the Escapist) so well, in such a sublime and terrific way, that in my opinion this is one of the main reasons that the novel as a whole, seems to end up being a little disappointed.

Since the beginning till the "golden age" part, the narrative is absolutely flawless, a real page turner, a vivid and colorful writing of the amazing adventures of Kavalier, Clay, Rose, the Escapist, the real villains of the world and also the imaginary ones, but after that, so suddenly as the break of sales of the comic books in the end of the 40's, also the life of our heroes loses the flair, joy and charisma of the youth, turning towards to a sad predictability that at the beginning seemed to be exactly what Chabon wanted to avoid and struggle against to, decided to make a subtle (and artistic) but powerful statement of all the dark forces and inhuman actions that still haunt and blind the human spirit. But maybe after all there is some point in this "adult" transformation, as something being part of the growing process and the loss of innocence, the conclusion that in real life there aren't omnipresent heroes with all the super powers, only average people trying to struggle the best they can against the adversities of life...but for any reason that doesn't seems to fit so well the positive, fresh and always coherent description of character's truthful nature, at least towards their friendship, one of the most important ideas as a concept of the all novel.

The Sound And The Fury (Vintage Classics)
The Sound And The Fury (Vintage Classics)
by William Faulkner
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.74

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The end of an era, 18 April 2008
Fragments of thoughts, broken memories, lost and blurred pieces of imagination once lived and desired, are all we have to build a shattered picture of what was the tragic destiny of the Compson family.

Brief moments of the present and flashes of the past come and go constantly through the voices and thoughts of Benjy and Quentin Compson, in the first part of the novel; till here should be no worry on trying to find a common thread of speech since the spontaneous and fluent narration "comes directly" from the memories and recollections of the two brothers; in fact all the essence of the novel is here, through the form that Faulkner wisely understood that only could be told; all the weakness, fears, misconceptions, guilty and disgraces that strikes this family is all translate in matter of what in spirit was build upon a chaotic, deformed, distort and limited vision of life and its own propose. Symbolically it's in a physical and spiritual way that this concept is embodied: by Benjy that is mentally (and partially physically) disabled and by Quentin that build for himself so many moral barriers and social preconceptions that inevitably lead him to a tragic dead end. Both represent the inability (be that brought by bad fortune or by free will) to fully understand and embrace Life and all the beauty and tragedy in it, represented in the novel by their sister Caddy, that like life itself is the great secret and mystery, the driving force and the unknown voice that we only perceive and experience as a reflexion in the destiny of the others.

Unlike the first ethereal part of the book, the second one is the consistently, formal but not necessary pleasant narration of Jason, the younger of the Campson's brothers. Like the others, also Jason's obsession is centered on the figure of Caddy as a representation of reality through his eyes. Jason personifies the last and the lower level of the human spirit, in a mix of tyranny, petty, misery, villainy and foolishness, part given by heritage (his mother), part by an unstoppable ill will that its own nature and the consequences of his own acts will naturally lead him to a predictable destiny, that consolidates as well as promises, to carry on the chaotic nature of the family. And to carry all the sins and sadness of the world there is the pure and untouched soul of Benjy that cries out loud an understandable and violent sound, the ultimate glimpse of a raw fury that defies and resists all the logic, again in one more attempt to run out of time that will bring back to a place of distant and gentle old memories.

Life Of Pi
Life Of Pi
by Yann Martel
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars To kill a masked booby, 19 Mar. 2008
This review is from: Life Of Pi (Paperback)
It was with great expectations that I start reading this book; the story of a boy who sees himself victim of a shipwreck having only for companions, a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan, a Bengal tiger, the diversity of undersea life, from the turtles to the sharks, as well as all the despair and hazards of such situation, seemed to me nothing but a good premise. And even promises to make you believe in God... oh, and has won so many prizes.

The novel is divided in 3 parts and has 100 chapters exactly, as Pi (the narrator) states, exactly how much it takes to tell us about his (life?!) story. But it only takes a few pages in the first chapter to start guessing what Martel means when he says "This story will make you believe in God..."; of course, what better way to reinforce this idea than a 16 years old boy, whose "spirituality" is so amazingly generous that it embraces not one, or two but extraordinarily, three religions, yes that is correct, Pi follows with the same passion Christianity, Islamism and Hinduism. What a loaded baggage the boy carries, but apparently a safe one, there is no reason here for not ending up bumping with the True and the real meaning of Life.
This and much more other religious clichés can be found earlier in the novel; if you're fond about this kind of "spirituality" and meditative "philosophy" that in a glimpse promises you to evaluate your faith, your beliefs and your inner self in such an economic travel, you'll enjoy it till the end. Of course, for this to happen you have to believe, to give that leap of faith that will prove that what you don't see and know, it's not necessary false or impossible, it can be the Reality, because is the way you see it and understand it.

Put all this ideas and theories in a story along with pretensions of greatness, great lack of keenness, complexity and imagination and you'll have a silly, juvenile, black and white picture of all the redundant and unnecessary sermons that any religion can give.
Also, I especially dislike the "wild life vs zoos" theory, which I consider totally absurd, unnatural and a completely nonsense; I really don't think a powerful zebra or cheetah with all the skills God gave them, would prefer to live in a zoo rather than living in the African jungle, however the narrator vivid anthropomorphism make him believe that what all animals need to be happy and fulfilled, is a 50 square feet cage!

One long and monotonous description after another, instructions on how to sadistically kill turtles, birds and fish, the wackiest way to train a big cat and save your life (because a whistle blow really can't tame him), the eternal question of how the first chapter articulates with the second and why those passages located in Canada were there for, all this is part of a great mystery, that you are challenged to discover, believe and why not dream and learn how to live in a better world. If you want you really can, just choose a really nice pair of pink glasses and everything will look much better.

The Pillars of the Earth
The Pillars of the Earth
by Ken Follett
Edition: Paperback

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kingsbridge, a place to visit, 28 Feb. 2008
It all starts with someone's dream of building the most beautiful, outstanding and inspiring cathedral ever seen by anyone; the place: England, the time: middle age, 12th century.
But such an ambitious dream so often comes with a big prize attached and not only for our humble and honest dreamer Tom, that becomes a true and simple certainty, as it proves to become also true for others that with him will play their part in this amazing puzzle of drama and intrigue that it's "The Pillars of the Earth".

Love, hate, cruelty, compassion, honesty, hypocrisy, passion, injustice, weakness, loyalty and friendship are just some of the emotions that with the characters you start to experience in this novel; page after page, it seems impossible for you to stop and find out what comes next, you really become the invisible character that lives in Kingsbridge in one of those rustic, cold, Ikea free decoration houses that easily you believe still existing somewhere in a lost place of England. Everything is perfectly described in the right measure, not to much simplified not extensively detailed, you build the scenarios, you imagine the people, you visit the places, by little but significant details Follett's offers you throughout the almost 40 years in the lives of our heroes, at the same time the big cathedral is being raised stone by stone. The cathedral is in fact, the symbol, the physical evidence, a timeless character and an extension of what life meant and was in those dark ages, but strangely enough, it appears that in the end the same human qualities of love and accomplishment, of hate and destruction that human kind is capable of pursuing, haven't changed much decade after decade, century after century; aren't we instead more polite, polished and sophisticated, and still our world isn't full of people with those same (political, social) games, cruelty and harsh ambitions like in the novel?

This is a truly beautiful and magical book, something that lingers in your imagination for days and days and days, and when you finish it, it's really with a sad inevitability that you have to deal with.
Read is something I do avidly since I was a child and books and more books are something I hardly imagine not existing in my life every day, but fewer were the books that left me with such a sense of lost, sadness and joy. I can count by my fingers which ones they are, and "The Pillars of the Earth" with no doubt are among those precious pieces that I will keep in my memory as being part of people and places that I "knew and visit" during my life.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
by Mark Haddon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

5.0 out of 5 stars The formula for happiness, 1 Dec. 2007
In a world with too many people, things, metaphors, signs and yellow cars, Christopher Boone a 15 years old genius with a form of autism, struggles to understand and decipher everything that's outside his head existing in a world he's not able to relate to most of the time, because a world with so many people is not necessary a place where all are capable people, things are not all absolutely necessary, metaphors can be sometimes very dumb, signs not always help a lot and yellow cars always foretell a very bad day.

Wellington, the neighbor's dog brutally killed in his garden, is something that absolutely must be solve and Christopher using the logic and deduction of Sherlock Holmes and the laws of Einstein is determined to find out who could commit such an explainable, mysterious and disturbing action.
At the same time Christopher decides to write a book about this mystery, in fact "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" ends up to be a journal not only about Wellington but also about his parents, his teachers, Toby, his mouse pet, the Universe, his favorite subjects, mathematics, physics and computers, everything that can be part of Christopher's world, a world in which chapters should begin with prime numbers and pure logic, mathematic and physic dictate rules and formulas that can be applied to daily life, assuring Christopher that the world he lives is a safe place to be.

The extraordinary achievement of this book, is the way it deals with the dramatic events that occur in Christopher's life during this journey, things will be not exactly as he (so well and detailed) had planned, forcing him instead, to make and take decisions that will involve many of his largest fears. Emotions and intuition here, doesn't count for the equation and for solving the problem ahead some math has to be done in order to jump into the next level. In his own way Christopher proves after all to be capable of surprising himself beyond his most hard calculations, even in a world where noise, chaos, confusion and disillusion are always a trap to achieve some real and simple happiness. And that is the big challenge for everyone to deal here, not only for Christopher.

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