Tag Archives: chick lit

#33 Catch-22 – Joseph Heller

15 Jul
Catch-22 - Joseph Heller

Catch-22 – Joseph Heller

Goodreads rating: 3.96/5 (380K+ ratings)
My rating: 4/10
First Published: 11 November, 1961
Genre: Satire; War Fiction; Historical Fiction; Dark Humour

A classic novel, Catch-22 follows Captain John Yossarian who is part of the US Air Force, and is primarily based on an island off Italy where his squadron is stationed during World War II. It is mainly about how they keep their sanity while waiting for the war to end, and how they keep themselves going.

This book took me 2 very very long months to read, and I didn’t enjoy it until the last 3 chapters. I think I just don’t ‘get’ satire – I think it might be too clever for me to be perfectly honest. I was bored. I also got confused because the story jumps around in time and character, and I found it difficult to figure out where in the timeline of events I was.

The tone of the book is generally upbeat in the beginning, but the mood significantly drops about two-thirds of the way through, and that was actually when it got a bit interesting!

I definitely had quite a few chuckles throughout the book, but overall I really didn’t look forward to reading it, or enjoy it.

Notable quotes

There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he was sane he would have to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle. “That’s some catch, that Catch-22,” he observed. “It’s the best there is,” Doc Daneeka agreed.

One of the things [Yossarian] wanted to start screaming about was the surgeon’s knife that was almost certain to be waiting for him and everyone else who lived long enough to die. He wondered often how he would ever recognize the first chill, flush, twinge, ache, belch, sneeze, stain, lethargy, vocal slip, loss of balance or lapse of memory that would signal the inevitable beginning of the inevitable end.

“Haven’t you got anything humorous that stays away from waters and valleys and God? I’d like to keep away from the subject of religion altogether if we can.”
The chaplain was apologetic. “I’m sorry, sir, but I’m afraid all the prayers I know are rather somber in tone and make at least some passing reference to God.”
“Then let’s get some new ones.”

Yossarian was cold, too, and shivering uncontrollably. He felt goose pimples clacking all over him as he gazed down despondently at the grim secret Snowden had spilled all over the messy floor. It was easy to read the message in his entrails. Man was matter, that was Snowden’s secret. Drop him out a window and he’ll fall. Set fire to him and he’ll burn. Bury him and he’ll rot, like other kinds of garbage. That was Snowden’s secret. Ripeness was all.

Past reviews

“A wild, moving, shocking, hilarious, raging, exhilarating, giant roller-coaster of a book” – The New York Tribune

“A dazzling performance that will outrage nearly as many readers as it delights”- The New York Times

“doesn’t even seem to be written; instead, it gives the impression of having been shouted onto paper,” – The New Yorker

-H-

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

#32 The Bridge to Holy Cross – Paullina Simons

13 Jul

The Bronze Horseman Trilogy – Book 2 of 3
Read my review of book one here

The Bridge to Holy Cross - Paullina Simons

The Bridge to Holy Cross – Paullina Simons

 

Goodreads rating: 4.33/5 (14,100+ ratings)
My rating: 7/10
First Published: May 22, 2001
Genre: Romance; Historical Fiction

The Bridge to Holy Cross (also known as Tatiana & Alexander) is the second book in The Bronze Horseman trilogy, and follows book one – The Bronze Horseman. If you haven’t read Book One, I suggest you stop reading this review, and go and read it!

The Bridge to Holy Cross follows Tatiana and Alexander. Tatiana has now had Alexander’s baby, named Anthony, and has escaped to Ellis Island in New York, where she works as a nurse and has made friends in America. She believes Alexander has been killed during the war, however Alexander is alive in the Soviet Union and has been captured by the secret police, where he awaits death accused of being a traitor and a spy. The book revolves around both their perspectives, and their journey to find out the truth about each others circumstances.

I enjoyed it. My main issue with it, was that it repeated a lot of what we already knew and heard in book 1. Particularly it repeated the parts that I got bored of in book one (read the review to see what that was). However, it’s a really easy read, despite the size, and it totally draws you in, just like the first one.

I find Tatiana really lovely and endearing, however really don’t like Alexander. I’d be happy if Alexander did die, however I want them to find each other because of how much I like Tatiana. A friend at work has read this book and likes Alexander so it could just be me!

Apart from some of the repetitiveness, overall I really enjoyed this book, and am looking forward to reading the third, and final, book of the series, The Summer Garden.

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

-H-

 

#31 The Bride Stripped Bare – Nikki Gemmell

8 Apr
The Bride Stripped Bare - Nikki Gemmell

The Bride Stripped Bare – Nikki Gemmell

Goodreads rating: 3.09/5 (3,200+ ratings)
My rating: 6/10
First Published: 2003
Genre: Adult Fiction; Chick Lit

Originally published anonymously, The Bridge Stripped Bare is the story of a newly married woman, who ends up attending a library group regularly and meeting a man there. Through her diary, she details her sexual awakening that she discovers from being with this man, and the confidence this gives her both with her husband, and within herself.

One thing I really enjoyed about this book is that it’s woven together with an anonymous 17th-century text called ‘A Woeman’s Worth’ which is made up of lessons for women. The author then writes the novel as a response to the lessons in the 400 year old book. I liked reading the old lessons and comparing it to modern times.

Each ‘lesson’ is a different chapter, which are really short. When I began reading it, I didn’t like the format – it wasn’t gripping me and I couldn’t get into it, but after a while I was glad for it as it made it easier to read a little bit and then come back to later!

This novel is pretty straightforward and honest when it comes to the protagonist’s thoughts about sex. I must admit that when reading it at lunch at work I didn’t want anyone to see over my shoulder because some of the content is pretty raunchy. So keep that in mind when you read it!

Notable quotes

There were the endless birthday nights and New Year’s Eves of just you in your bed and no one else. There was the welling up at weddings, the glittery eye-prick, when all the couples would get up to dance. Sometimes it felt like your heart was crazed with cracks like your grandmother’s old saucers. Sometimes the sight of a Saturday afternoon couple laughing in a park would splinter it completely.

Alone you’re refinding a glittering, a clarity, you’re finding your distilled self. …You think of the two types of aloneness you’ve known recently: this wonderful, sparkly, soul-refreshing type, and the despairing loneliness that sucks the breath from your life.

An emptiness rules at its core, a rottenness, a silence when one of you retires to bed without saying good night, when you eat together without conversation, when the phone’s passed wordlessly to the other. An emptiness when every night you lie in the double bed, restlessly awake, astounded at how closely hate can nudge against love, can wind around it sinuously like a cat. An emptiness when you realize that the loneliest you’ve ever been is within a marriage, as a wife.

No one except your husband knows of the cautiousness at the heart of your life. Your adulthood has been a progressive retreat from curiosity and wonder, an endless series of delays and procrastinations. You wanted to be so much, once, but life kept on getting in the way… You settled. Shunned creativity, flight, risk, never had the courage to give a dream, any dream, a go.

Past reviews

“Simply too beautiful… a mesmerising and disquieting novel that will deserve to be read again.” – Vogue Australia

“One of the few truly original voices to emerge in a long time.”- Time Out New York

“A powerful novel that does not flinch from strong emotion or description…luminous.” – London Times

-H-

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

#14 The Secret Ingredient – Dianne Blacklock

4 Feb
The Secret Ingredient - Dianne Blacklock

The Secret Ingredient – Dianne Blacklock

Goodreads rating: 3.74/5 (43 ratings)

My rating: 8/10

Why it’s on the list: I won it in a Woman’s day puzzle competition.

First published: November 1st, 2011 by Pan Australia

Genre: Modern Fiction

This book surprised me. The blurb on the back was a bit ‘airy-fairy’ and not my sort of book. All about how flavours evoke memories and what not. I was hooked within the first chapter. It’s a great story of love and loss.

Andie is the main character, and her marriage falls apart in the beginning of the book. It is set in Sydney, which I always love, because I can imagine the places. It’s mainly set in Rose Bay, Double Bay and Roseville – all places I know.

Her mother and brother have both passed away, and it’s just her irritating sister and her lonely dad left. She’s given up a lot of her dreams and aspirations of being a professional chef to let her husband focus on himself, and is running a deli. She decides to try again with the cooking and starts working at a top restaurant with renowned chef, Dominic Gerou.

I really loved Andie. I find it hard to warm to most female characters in these types of books because either I think they’re irritating, or weak, or self-absorbed, however Andie is great. She’s strong-willed, friendly, and… normal! It’s really easy to HATE her husband Ross, and LOVE all the people who are good to her.

There’s a lot of ups and downs. I felt for Andie during the whole book, her highs and lows. In the end, it’s a feel good book and the good guy wins, which is a nice change from some other books I’ve read lately!

I definitely recommend this book, for an easy, light read that still draws you in, and I think most women will be able to relate to the emotions and feelings brought up in this book. Men could read it, but I’d definitely class it as being for women, however it’s not what I’d call ‘Chick Lit’. Dianne Blacklock talks more about how she classifies her books, here.

Bits & pieces

  • Named ‘Pick of the Week’ in The Age, 14th January 2012.
  • This was Dianne Blacklock‘s 8th novel, and took her to over 1million printed words!

-H-

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