Wednesday, June 27, 2012

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday

I haven't done a 'Wordless Wednesday' in a long time, so I thought that I would post a photo of a friend I made at a place called 'Rio Safari Park' in Elche, a couple of weeks ago:

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunday Snippet

There are some writers that hide under the mainstream that I think, should get more credit than they do. Guy Burt is one of them.

Mostly known nowadays for television, Burt's novels are some of the most interesting I have read. One of the reasons is because I think he has the ability to really get inside his character's heads. So much so, that with my latest read, 'The Dandelion Clock' I initally found it difficult to follow the way in which the story leaps from what is going on in the present, to the memories within the main character Alex's mind. As I am progressing with this novel, the more interesting the concept becomes. Here's a 'snippet':

Page 63- ' I am left with the strangest feeling that the history of the past year is changing around me; that the details of the 'miracle' are no longer quite so miraculous.'

'The Dandelion Clock' by Guy Burt

Which authors do you think have the ability to transport their readers into the minds of the characters?

Whatever you're up to, enjoy the rest of the weekend. I'm going to be avoid watching the England football game, by reading some more of this isn't my sort of thing....

Happy Sunday!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

'We Bought a Zoo' by Benjamin Mee- Review

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

ISBN: 978-0-00-743182-3

Length: 313 Pages

Opening Line: 'Mum and I arrived at Dartmoor Wildlife Park in Devon for the first time as the new owners at around six o'clock on the evening of 20 October 2006, and stepped out of the car to the sound of wolves howling in the misty darkness.'


Up until a few weeks ago, a group of friends (a mix of Spanish and English) and I would spend our Wednesday nights going to a discount evening at our local cinema. Not only did this provide an excellent form of Spanish practise for us Brits, but also a very enjoyable evening for all. This is on hiatus at the moment, but one of the films we have been to seen, is 'We Bought A Zoo' with Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson. Having enjoyed the film (despite being a little schmaltzy), the end credits revealed that this film was based on a true story, told in the book I'm about to review.

The story surrounds Benjamin Mee the writer of a DIY column buying a zoo with his family, despite none of them having any experience of animals whatsoever. The majority of the book deals with the problems Benjamin faces learning the many rules and regulations necessary to reopen Dartmoor Wildlife Park and also family tragedy.

Being a animal lover, I knew that this book was going to be right up my street. Mee's writing is warm, funny and contains many interesting facts on animal psychology/behaviours and very amusing anecdotes about the individual animals within the park. Mee also deals with his personal tragedy with sensitivity and even at times, humour.

In most of my reviews, I can always find something within a book that doesn't quite work, but with 'We Bought a Zoo' I can't find anything negative to say. The only disappointed I felt when reading this book, was that it had to end.

Is this book worth a read?

If you're an animal lover like I am, 'We Bought a Zoo' is definitely worth a read. Even if you aren't, I still think that this story of taking on the unknown is very good read. One word of advice, forget the film version of this, just read the book. It's brilliant.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sunday Snippet

It's funny how some of the books I have read are arduous and quite frankly a chore to get into and others, I whizz through. 'We Bought a Zoo' by Benjamin Mee, is the latter.

I will probably finish this book today and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. Whilst with 'The Passage' by Justin Cronin I mentioned that this would be better in film form, I think that 'We Bought a Zoo' works perfectly as a book. The film version has the bare bones of the story, but the book version provides the flesh to tell this interesting story.

Here's a 'snippet':

Page 276: I didn't help, pointing out that by the tiger house (for want of something to say while we waited for the keys to arrive) there was blood on the padlock of the external door.

'We Bought a Zoo' by Benjamin Mee.

Whatever you're up to, enjoy the rest of the weekend. As today is Father's Day (in most places anyway), I'm taking my dad out to lunch this afternoon. What are you up to this weekend?

Happy Sunday! 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Review- 'The Passage' By Justin Cronin (Contains Spoilers!)

Publisher: Orion Books

ISBN: 978-0-7528-9784-4

Length: 766 Pages

Opening Line: 'Before she became the Girl from Nowhere- the One Who Walked In, the First and Last and Only, who lived a thousand years- she was just a little girl in Iowa, named Amy, Amy Harper Bellafonte.'


Being a door stop sized novel, I was bit hesitate about reading this novel. However, the cover alone pulled me into giving this a go.

I wouldn't say that I was completely disappointed by this novel, but I certainly wouldn't say that this was the best book I have ever read.

'The Passage' is a book that is hard to get into for starters. It took me over 200+ pages, before I could comprehend where this book might be going. The set up is rather slow and a few times I contemplated abandoning this altogether. However, I would recommend to anyone who is/contemplating reading this novel, is to stick with it, the story gets better.

What I would say with this novel, is that I think that this would translate better on film rather than on paper. Whether or not Justin Cronin had a film in mind when writing this novel, I do think that the vast landscape and multi layered story plot might be better explained on the big screen. A lot of dialogue could have been better though. Sometimes I didn't feel like the characters where real people talking and the speech felt a little disjointed.

One thing I found particularly annoying (apart from the endless use of the word 'Flyers'), was that on numerous occasions, Justin Cronin sets up relationships between characters, investing a lot of the reader's time getting to know these characters, only for Cronin to then inexplicably kill the character off! It felt like Cronin was making all of the events up as he went, rather than having a purposeful journey he wanted to take his readers on. Twists and turns are sometimes good in novels, but when it gets to the point where the reader has no idea where the story is going, can be rather off putting.

I also felt this novel was an amalgomation of many things (books and films) that I have seen before. In all fairness, a lot has been done in the apocalyptic/monster genre in the case of films and literature, so there is many more places for 'The Passage' could go with it. However, I felt that this was orignal enough, to keep my interest.

Is this book worth a read?

Yes I do think that this novel is worth a read. 'The Passage' is not without flaws, but the suspense and cliff hangers Cronin creates makes me want to read the sequel, if only to have some answers to the numerous unanswered questions left, in this novel.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sunday Snippet

'Sunday Snippet'

Now that I have finished 'The Passage' by Justin Cronin, I can add a different 'Sunday Snippet' rather than have continual extracts from the same book! I haven't really progressed past the prologue of 'We Bought a Zoo' by Benjamin Mee, so I haven't formed any opinion of this yet.

Here's the first sentence of the novel:

Page 1 : 'Mum and I arrived at Dartmoor Wildlife Park in Devon for the first time as the new owners at around six o'clock on the evening of 20 October 2006, and stepped out of the car to the sound of wolves howling in the misty darkness.'

'We Bought a Zoo'- The Amazing True Story of a Broken-Down Zoo, and the 200 Animals That Changed aFamily Forever' by Benjamin Mee.

Whatever you're up to, enjoy the rest of what is left of the weekend.

Happy Sunday!