Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sunday Snippet

Firstly many thanks to everyone who sent lovely birthday messages on last week's 'Sunday Snippet'. I had a very enjoyable day, in fact, weekend.

Anyway back to 'Fall of Giants' by Ken Follett. Despite spending most of the day yesterday ploughing through this enormous book, I'm still no where near the end. I'm enjoying it, but I'm now itching to get this over and done with, so I can read something else. Do you ever feel like that when reading doorstop sized books? Or do you avoid this size of book altogether? Nonetheless I will finish this book.....although I can't say when that will be.

Here's a 'snippet':

Page 628: 'On the morning of the next day, the First Machine Gun Regiment gathered on the parade ground to elect a representative to the Petrograd Soviet. Issak proposed Sereant Grigori Peshkov.'

'Fall of Giants' by Ken Follett

Whatever you are up to, enjoy the rest of the weekend. I'm off out to lunch with some friends this afternoon. It should be fun.

Happy Sunday!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday

As I mentioned on last week's 'Sunday Snippet', it was my birthday recently. Knowing that I have a sweet tooth, my friend bought me these scrummy cream cakes.

I have to point out that I did share these with my parents.....I'm not that greedy!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday Snippet

Today is a special 'Sunday Snippet' because it's my birthday! I won't divulge how old I am, but I feel like I'm still about twenty! Over the last few days I have had a cake, presents and many other surprises, so I'm a very lucky girl.

Anyway back to this week's 'snippet'. 'Fall of Giants' by Ken Follett isn't turning out to be the kind of book that I was expecting, but I'm still really enjoying it. I'm coming up the half way point in the book, but it's going to take me a while to finish! Here's a 'snippet':

Page 409: 'In June 1915 America came one step closer to war.'

'Fall of Giants' by Ken Follett

Whatever you are doing, enjoy the rest of the weekend. My birthday is going to be quite quiet, I'm off out to lunch with my parents.

Happy Sunday!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sunday Snippet

Following on from last week's 'Sunday Snippet', where I talked about whether or not to abandon Penny Vincenzi's 'Something Dangerous' well, in the end, I did abandon it.

I think that I made the right decision, because the book I'm now reading 'Fall Of Giants' by Ken Follett, is much better. I'm really enjoying it and so far, am making good progress through this doorstep of a book.

Here's a 'snippet':

Page 239: 'A strained silence descended on the house in Wellington Row. Mam made dinner and Da and Billy and Gramper ate it, but no one said much.'

'Fall Of Giants' by Ken Follett

Whatever you're doing, enjoy the rest of the weekend. I'm going to have a quiet, relaxing day, reading my book. I'm also looking forward to this week's 'Dancing on Ice' and 'Sherlock' (I can't believe that the current series finishes today already!). What are you reading/watching today?

Happy Sunday!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday

Here are some photos of the latest picture I have completed in Art Class. The medium I have used is charcoal pencil.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sunday Snippet

So we are the end of the first week in January and I'm already on my 3rd book of 2012! Ok, I did technically begin 'The Long Song' by Andrea Levy in 2011, but I'm still counting this as a 2012 read.
This week's 'snippet' is taken from Penny Vincenzi's novel 'Something Dangerous'. If I'm honest, I'm not really enjoying this novel at the moment. However as I am only on page 26, I will perceive with this novel, until I have reached 100 pages at least . Then I will decide whether to ditch this or not. What is your policy on continuing books that you are not enjoying? Do you plough on until the end? Do you change books straight away, or wait until you have read a certain amount of pages before deciding?

Here's the snippet:
Page 16- 'The twins unwrapped their parcels, drawing silver cigarette cases out of Asprey packaging with cries of 'Oh, how lovely' and 'Utter bliss' and 'Sebastian, you shouldn't have' and 'As if we'd change these.'
'Something Dangerous' by Penny Vincenzi

Whatever you're doing, enjoy the rest of the weekend. I have a slight dilemma later on this evening. Two programmes I really enjoy, 'Dancing on Ice' and 'Sherlock' (a programme I could easily become obsessed with) are on at the same time. So which one do I watch!?

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

'The Pale Horse' by Agatha Christie

Publisher: Fontana Books

ISBN: Unfortunately the edition that I have doesn't seem to have an ISBN number.

Length: 191 Page

What the 'blurb' says:

As the priest ended his ministry, the dying woman spoke again.

"Stopped...It must be stopped...You will see...?"
The priest spoke with reassuring authority.
"I will do what is necessary..You can trust me..."

A doctor and an ambulance arrived a little later.
The landlady received them with gloomy triumph.
"Too late as usual!" she said......'

Opening line: 'The Espresso machine behind my shoulder hissed like an angry snake.'

What's good about this novel?

Not being a fan of traditional murder mysteries, I was a little unsure whether I was going to enjoy this novel. However I thought that this was very well written and I was easily absorbed in the story.

Whilst I had the impression that Christie's novel focus on one main detective, for example Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple, 'The Pale Horse' was a little different. It had not one, but two central characters, Mark Easterbrook and Detective-Inspector Lejeune. I found both characters to work well within the story and I didn't feel a conflict of attention within Christie's writing. In general, I thought that the characters were fully constructed and mostly realistic.

At first, I felt that the storyline was a little too far fetched and silly. However, I was relieved to find that the conclusion to the story was logical. I also enjoyed the fact that at no point during the story, was I able to guess 'whodunnit'.

What's wrong with this novel?

Possibly because I am not familiar with the genre, I felt that even though I enjoyed reading the novel, it didn't grab me. That's not to say that there is anything wrong with the book, it's just that maybe this isn't my preferred genre. I would read more of Christie's novels in future though.

Is this worth a read?

If you are looking for some escapist reading, then you may enjoy this. I thought that 'The Pale Horse' was a fun read.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Did you know.....

In celebration of 'King's day' here (a bit like another Christmas), I thought I would share this with you.

Did you know that the names of the three kings (or wise men) are Casper, Balthazar and Melchior? Here apparently, the favourite King to bring the children presents on 'King's Day' is Balthazar, although I'm not sure why.

Here's a photo of him, taken at last night's parade (it's not the greatest photo, but it was late evening.):

Happy King's Day!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

'The Long Song' by Andrea Levy

Publisher: Headline Review

ISBN: 978-0-7553-5942-4

Length: 398 Page

What the 'blurb' says:

'You do not know me yet but I am the narrator of this work. My son Thomas, who is printing this book, tells me it is customary at this place in the novel to give the reader a little taste of the story that is held within these pages. As your storyteller, I am to convey that this tale is set in Jamaica during the last turbulent years of slavery and the early years of freedom that followed.

Prehaps, my son suggests, I might write that it is a thrilling journey through that time in the company of people who lived it. All this he wishes me to pen so the reader can decide if this is a novel they might care to consider. Cha, I tell my son, what fuss-fuss. Come, let them just read it for themselves.'

Opening line: 'The book you are holding within your hand was born of a craving.'

What's good about this novel?

On my first attempt at reading this novel, I did find the almost light-hearted nature around the subject of slavery, quite off putting. However having read on, I realised that what Andrea Levy was doing by using this tone of writing, was rather clever. This is because by having light hearted moments within the novel, this created more of an impact, when the novel moved on to graphic and dramatic elements of the story.

I found the majority of the novel to be well paced and intensely written. I also thought that the characters within the story to be realistic and well formed. I believed that the characters existed and were part of the era of slavery and subsequent demise. Aside from the story in the past, I loved the voice that Levy gives to the character July in the present day. I could almost picture her in front of me, talking about her life.

What's wrong with this novel?

Whilst I enjoyed the voice given to July in the past, I found the variation of perspectives within the novel, rather odd. Whilst I knew that July was talking about her life story, the fact that July refers to herself in the third person when she talks of her past, made my reading experience feel disjointed and at times, confusing. Several times during the novel I had to return the start, to affirm who exactly was talking.

Also I found that even though the first half of this novel was compelling (I was unable to put the book down) the second half, was a little disappointing. I still wanted to read on, but I didn't feel that the second half of the book kept my attention as firmly as the beginning of the novel.

Is this worth a read?

Yes I think 'The Long Song' is worth a read. I have read better books set in the times of slavery ('Kindred' by Octavia E.Butler springs to mind), but this is still a well written representation of the events within that era. 'The Long Song' isn't without its flaws, but this book is compelling and in some ways, educational.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Sunday Snippet

So, it's the first day of a new year and the first 'snippet'. This 'snippet' comes from 'The Long Song' by Andrea Levy, a novel I actually began reading in 2011. After having a false start with novel (I just couldn't get into it), I'm really enjoying it on my second attempt. Here's a snippet:

P270- He pulled her to her feet, then looked quickly around himself for somewhere to hide her, like she were some stolen booty, before steering her down the veranda steps and around the corner to shelter within the secrecy of a large clump of bamboo.'

However you are spending the first day of 2012, have a great time. Unfortunately my 2012 has started with no hot water in the house, due to not having enough gas. That is not going to dampen our spirits however. We will just have to boil the kettle a lot!

Happy Sunday!