Friday, February 13, 2015

The Emperor of Paris

Like his father before him, Octavio runs the Notre-Dame bakery, and knows the secret recipe for the perfect Parisian baguette. But, also like his father, Octavio has never mastered the art of reading and his only knowledge of the world beyond the bakery door comes from his own imagination. Just a few streets away, Isabeau works out of sight in the basement of the Louvre, trying to forget her disfigured beauty by losing herself in the paintings she restores and the stories she reads. The two might never have met, but for a curious chain of coincidences involving a mysterious traveller, an impoverished painter, a jaded bookseller, and a book of fairytales, lost and found...

It is difficult for me to give this book a rating and the one person I've passed my copy to was not able to "get into it".  It is a bit disjointed, and that may be frustrating, except I have patience which made me stick with this story and I'm glad I did.  All the events that seem so random converge to a lovely conclusion.  Life is random, life is chaotic, and all those random events often bring us to a certain point in our lives.  I think this is what the author was trying to convey with the style of writing used in this novel.  Frustrating, maybe, then so is life at times.

Have some patience, stick with this one to the end and you'll be delighted. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

What if you could kill Adolf Hitler?  That's the question presented in Life After Life by Kate Atkinson.  Ursula the heroine repeats her life several times.  This isn't Groundhog Day by any means.  Life After Life touches on the age old question, what would happen if you did get to go back over and over to get other aspects also "right"?  Life After Life presents us with those questions, to be a victim or not, to save others whose lives we touch or by saving one losing another.  This is the web of life and death. 

Life After Life answers that question, What if you could kill Adolf Hitler, would you?  Of course you would, except how does this touch your life in other ways? Do certain events have to happen in your life to give you the courage to kill someone else?  Do you have to love deeply and wish to protect others to be willing to kill?

A book worth curling up with on a cold rainy Victoria weekend.  Read it from end to end in one sitting. You won't be disappointed. 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi

A step-daughter who is coddled so much that she may end up never knowing or be allowed to develop into herself.  A woman who ran away from home and abuse.  A daughter who shatters a secret.  A grandmother who isn't biological but acts like a grandma, another who is biological and doesn't acknowledge her grand-daughter.  Girlfriends who have your best interests at heart.  Fathers who aren't what they seem and husbands who love their wives. 

All this and more is beautifully intertwined in Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi.  Set in the 1950s to 1960s this is the story of three women. Boy who runs away from home and becomes mother to Bird.  Snow, Boy's step-daughter, whose own mother is dead and her relationship to the women in her life.  And finally, Bird, Boy's daughter, and how her birth shatters a secret and sets everyone free from lies and secrets that they have kept.

This book presented such an interesting premises and was so beautifully written I read it fairly quickly.  I wanted to know what was going to happen. This is the first book I've read written by Helen Oyeyemi and I plan on reading her other books based on how much I enjoyed reading Boy, Snow, Bird.  A beautifully written deep story about love, kept secrets and truth. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

It has been two years since I've written about what I am reading.  Since then I've read two new Flavia De Luce mysteries and am awaiting another one to come out in paperback.  Six books were originally to be in the series.  Since a TV series is now in production for British TV Allen Bradley has decided to write a total of 10, or so I've heard.  Which is a plus for readers who love Flavia!  If you haven't read the series your missing out on some fun reading.  I don't want to give anything away regarding the books due to enjoying them so much.  I want other readers to discover the wonderful writing and be as enthralled with Flavia as everyone else who has read these books.  There is a Flavia de Luce fan club if that is any indication of how much this character touches readers.

So dear readers of this blog, go to your local bookstore, find Allen Bradley's books on the shelf, curl up this summer and travel to the English country side.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Hand Me Down World

Lloyd Jones has written another novel that captured my reading heart as much as Mister Pip did.  Lloyd Jones's characters are so utterly human that one expects them to walk out of the pages and into reality.

Hand Me Down World is about a woman, a mother looking for her child, and all the people she encounters on her journey.  These people in turn report their impressions of the woman they met and tell their stories to create the tale of this woman's search for her child.  It is only near the end that we hear the woman's story, or rather the story of both the woman in this novel.  Beautifully written, full of compassion, emotional depth and tender insight into how a mother would feel at losing her child and the great lengths she would go to to find that child.

I couldn't put this book down and I couldn't stop thinking about it afterwards. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Let's Pretend this Never Happened

Jenny Lawson's almost true memoir is hilarious!  If you even think your life was disfuntional, you were a weird kid or thought your parents were strange you need to read Let's Pretend this Never Happened.  Even if you don't think any of those things and just need to rest assured your life was normal, you need to read this book.  Need a really good laugh and don't care if people stare at you on the bus, then read this book.  If you don't care about mascara running down your face, want to try to read to your partner while laughing so he/she can't understand a word you are saying or have a warped sense of humour, well then read this book.

I now visit Jenny Lawson's blog page The Bloggess -- I'm a fan!  Thank you Jenny Lawson for being the almost crazy cat lady and for having a crazy childhood which makes mine seem overly normal.

PS: Lila, you need to read this book.

Loving Frank

Loving Frank is about Frank Lloyd Wright's affair with Martha (Mamah) Borthwick the woman he left his wife Catherine for in the early 1900s.  Frank Lloyd Wrigth met Martha Borthwick when he designed the house for her and her husband Edwin Cheney. The two fell in love during the designing of the house and eventually moved to Europe. Martha leaving behind her two children and Frank Lloyd Wright leaving behind his six children, as well as their respective spouses.  The affair caused a huge scandal at the time with reprecussions for both families.

Frank Lloyd Wright is one of my favourite architects and I already knew he was considered arrogant. I also knew a bit about his affair from documentaries I've seen on his life.  So this novel was of interest to me as I wanted to know more about his relationship with Martha Borthwick.  This novel is a mix of fact and fiction providing a picture of what loving Frank Lloyd Wright must of been like, the famous architect of Oak Park - ego and all.  I can't say I liked or disliked this novel especially when I already knew the outcome.