Thursday, 30 August 2012

forty-one.

Girls in Their Married Bliss by Edna O'Brien (1967)

Kate and Baba are both married and living in London. Kate is married to Eugene, the man she once fell in love with and they have a child, but she has an affair with a politician. Baba is married to Frank, who is extremely rich, but also a violent drunk.

Final book in the Country Girls trilogy, and the most disappointing one. Mainly because it doesn't give the full picture and is more rushed. And I definitely didn't like how Kate turned into a suffering woman. What saves this book is that for the first time Baba is the narrator. And she is as witty as Kate is whiny.

I'm not happy that this didn't give any proper finale for the trilogy - just more unanswered questions.  I also didn't like that the entire book was set in London instead of Ireland, it lost some of its charm that way.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

fifty shades of i can't.

So. I caved in. And downloaded Fifty Shades of Gray on my Kindle. I blame this on the August issue of Cosmopolitan and their Fifty Shades of Blonde, which, by the way, is much better written.

I lasted until after the first sex scene (I admit it, that was why I bought it) and then I just couldn't. The. Language. Completely. Turned. Me. Off. And the characters. Are you kidding me? How someone can read this and call it amazing is a big mystery.

Go read Anaïs Nin instead. Or the Story of O by Pauline Rèage and Venus in Furs by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. Even Marquis de Sade wrote better. Crash by J.G. Ballard is my personal favourite.


forty.

the Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (1939)

"And they stand still and watch the potatoes float by, listen to the screaming pigs being killed in a ditch and covered with quicklime, watch the mountains of oranges slop down to a putrefying ooze; and in the eyes of the people there is the failure; and in the eyes of the hungry there is a growing wrath. In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage."

Tom Joad, jr is coming home after having spent 4 years in prison for killing a man, only to find out that his family has disappeared and their house is wrecked. His family has, along with thousands others, been kicked from their land and the tractors are moving in and they are now preparing leaving for California where workers are needed. But in California hundreds of thousands like the Joads are looking for work.

Set during the Great Depression, the book follows the Joads from the loss of their property to poverty in California. And along the way, they meet all sorts of people; unfriendly employers, terrible police and kind strangers. Steinbeck is an excellent writer and his portrays of the people along the road and the Joad family are amazing. I especially liked those chapters which zoomed out from the Joads and gave a broader perspective on the conditions for the migrants. And his writings made my skin boil with anger because of all the unfairness and discrimination. I actually had dreams about this book, which means that it left a huge impact on me.


It is definitely one of the best books I have ever read. The only thing I didn't like was the abrupt ending. But it was a nice book to read when I have just came back from California myself and I have vivid memories of the landscape. It will not be long until I read another work by Steinbeck.

This was August's book in Line's 1001 books challenge.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

thirty-nine.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed (2011)
From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

Cheryl Strayed hiked alone on the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert in Southern California to the Bridge of the Gods on the Oregon / Washington border in 1995. And wrote an amazing book about it.

I really want to gush about this one, but also I want you to find out for yourself how amazing it is. So in short; after Cheryl's mum died of cancer, she went down a self-destructing path and in order to find herself again decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. On the trail she encountered all sorts of weather, rattlesnakes and bears, lost her shoe, starved, had no money but also met all sorts of awesome people.

I cried, grinned and held my breath while reading it and it was a great fun to read about all those places I have been to in the past month. Just wish I had read it before going, but then again, I might have done something crazy like attempting to hike myself. But I have done is putting some of the books she read on her hike on wish list. I love books which inspire me to read other books!

I also must mention that I was sceptical at first - but the chief reason for that was that the book is in Oprah's Book Club. But now I have come to believe that Oprah has a great taste in books and especially because a lot of those books I have either read and loved or they're in my bookshelves. 

Friday, 10 August 2012

thirty-eight.

Rushing to Paradise by J.G Ballard (1994)

The 16 year old Neil is drawn to the eccentric and charismatic Dr Barbara who is rallying to save the albatrosses on the French island of St Esprit.They are joined by an Hawaiian native, Kimo and they launch an attack on the island. And thanks to Neil being shot, they receive world wide attention and sympathy and the French leave the island for them to establish a sanctuary for all endangered species. But paradise is not what it seems.

I'm afraid I had high expectations for this one as J.G Ballard is the author of amazing books like Crash and Empire of the Sun. But this really disappointed. Rushing in the title might as well point to the fact that the story is really rushed. The plot is simply too big for the story and although it's a great idea for a story, it's just too much. And there are even some severe holes in the plot, especially regarding Neil's naivety and suspicions. Even the sex, which Ballard usually is great at describing, is tame and full of clichés. 

I need to soon read another Ballard story, and a good one, to get over the disappointment of reading this one.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

thirty-seven.

Girl With Green Eyes by Edna O'Brien (1962)
 (also published as the Lonely Girl)
Kate and Baba are still working in Dublin, dirt poor and out to find boys. Kate meets a much older gentleman, Eugene. Eugene is a film maker, lives on an estate, and worse; Protestant and divorced. Kate falls head over heels and starts to sleep over and eventually moves in. Something her drunken father isn't pleased to find out about.

The second book in the Country trilogy and I liked this one much more than the first one. This is wittier and has more action. And I liked the sexual awakening of Kate and her journey from a innocent young Catholic to a lover. However, I didn't like how little Baba appeared in this one as she's always hilarious and I love her and her standard-phrase to Kate; you're a right looking eejit. 

I'm eagerly waiting for the final book in the trilogy to show up in my mailbox and I have put more books by Edna O'Brien on my wish list.

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