Archive | June, 2013

WWW Wednesday

26 Jun

W…W…W…Wednesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should be Reading. 

TO PLAY ALONG, JUST ANSWER THE FOLLOWING THREE (3) QUESTIONS:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

_________________________________________________________________________________

What are you currently reading?

I’m reading A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. It’s taking me a while to get through, which usually happens with books that have really long chapters because I find it harder to concentrate on books. It’s enjoyable though and i’m interested in the story line, and it’s written in a digestible way.

A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving

What did you recently finish reading? 

I’ve finished two books since my last WWW Wednesday – A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry, and A Judgement in Stone by Ruth Rendell. One I loved, one I didn’t – check out the reviews to find out which was which.

A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry

A Judgement in Stone - Ruth Rendell

A Judgement in Stone – Ruth Rendell

What do you think you’ll read next?

The next book on my list is A Tale of Two Cities  by Charles Dickens – a classic which I haven’t read!

A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens

I would love to hear your thoughts on any of these books, although no spoilers please for the ones I haven’t read yet!

-H-

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#23 A Judgement in Stone – Ruth Rendell

13 Jun
A Judgement in Stone - Ruth Rendell

A Judgement in Stone – Ruth Rendell

Goodreads rating: 3.92/5 (1,600+ ratings)

My rating: 5/10

First published: 2nd May 1977 by Hutchison

Genre: Crime, Mystery

A Judgement in Stone is a really quick read. To be honest, you can almost figure out the entire story just from reading the back and the first sentence, which is “Eunice Parchman killed the Coverdale family because she could not read or write“. It’s set in the 1970s, and is acclaimed as being an accurate examination of the differences of social classes in Britain at this time.

It revolves around The Coverdales – a well-to-do English family, and their housemaid Eunice Parchman, who murders them on Valentines Day (this isn’t a spoiler; it’s on the back cover!). Eunice clearly has many issues, aside from her illiteracy, and constantly misinterprets and misreads social cues or comments made by the family.

I feel bad for giving this book only 5/10, but I’ve done so because I felt that there was no mystery, even though it’s meant to be a Crime/Mystery novel, and Rendell has been named by Time Magazine as “.. the best mystery writer in the English speaking world.” I will definitely read another one of her books, but I think i’m too accustomed to Agatha Christie‘s style of mystery that I found no actual mystery in this book. However, I feel like there’s something obvious i’m missing about A Judgement in Stone, as i’ve read a few great things about the book, and how it’s been described as ‘haunting’ and ‘chilling’ – which I didn’t feel at all.

The characters are all well developed, and are interesting characters, but I felt that I was constantly waiting for something to happen, and nothing that wasn’t on the back cover ever did happen. With 20 pages to go, my mum asked me if I liked it, and I said that I still wasn’t sure if I did and that it depended what happened in the last 20 pages… and nothing of excitement happened!

I liked Rendell’s writing style though, so if anyone has any recommendations of a favourite book of hers I’d be keen to hear about them!

-H-

Teaser Tuesday

11 Jun

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Should Be Reading.

Rules
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Teaser

Book: I have just started (on page 6) A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. My teaser is from page 52.

I would never describe my cousins as bullies; they were good-natured, rambunctious roughnecks and daredevils who genuinely wanted me to have fun – but fun in the north country was not what I was used to in my life with the women at 80 Front Street, Gravesend. I did not wrestle with my grandmother or box with Lydia, not even when she had both her legs.

A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving

A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving


#22 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry

6 Jun
A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry

Goodreads rating: 4.31 (52,000+ ratings)

My rating: 9/10

Why it’s on the list: I received this book from my boss for my birthday this year, and she said it was one of her all time favourites.

First published: 1995 by McLelland & Stewart

Genre: Historical Fiction

Well, what a book. A Fine Balance is a beautiful story full of tragedy, hope, heartache, and desperation. Set in the 1970s in an unnamed place in India, A Fine Balance centres around a few key characters. Dina Delal – a widowed, mid-40s woman who lives on her own and manages some tailors in her home; Ishvar & Omprakesh – An uncle and nephew duo who work for Dina, and are working to save money to go back to their home village; and Maneck Kohlah – the son of a friend of Dina, who is at college and finds himself lodging in Dina’s home.

The whole book circles around these main characters, and about the trials and tribulations they face, from loss of loved ones, to dealing with The Emergency – a period of expanded government power and crackdowns on civil liberties. The book explores the childhoods and background of all these characters, as well as what brings them together.

The main thing that struck me about this book is that there is a lot of hope throughout the entire story. I felt hopeful for the futures of these characters, and without giving too much away, I found myself crying as I read the last chapter. I won’t say whether it was from happiness or sadness, but it was a very emotional story.

A Fine Balance is spectacularly written, and the environment is so well described that I felt like I was there, in the situations. I learnt a lot about 1970s India, and about the conditions that people lived in, and still do live in and deal with every day. It certainly made me feel grateful for what I have.

I can’t recommend this book enough, so if you haven’t read it – READ IT!

Notable quotes

“It was hard for them not to be resentful – the birth of daughters often brought them beatings from their husbands and their husband’s families.”

“Crossing the line of caste had to be punished with the utmost severity.”

“Independence came at a high price: a debt with a payment schedule of hurt and regret.” – Dina

Past reviews

“Few have caught the real sorrow and inexplicable strength of India, the unaccountable crookedness and sweetness, as well as Mistry.”
– Time

“A masterpiece of illumination and grace. Like all great fiction, it transforms our understanding of life.”
– The Guardian

If you’ve read this, I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts or reading your reviews so please share any links!

-H-

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