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Everything posted by Betty1997

  1. Hi all, finished this earlier in the week. I was really looking forward to the book as "Pride and Prejudice is my favourite novel of all time. However I was disappointed by it in it's relation to "Prejudice". I think that the parallels between the two stories could have been drawn a little better, or alternatively, this should have been a below stairs novel without any reference to Austen's work. I think that it has been well researched, but I think that many writers "piggyback" the love many of us have for Austen's works so they become a guarenteed sale. Oftentimes they can feel a little strained for the effort. I was disappointed in the story-line between Mrs Hill and Mr Bennet, but my least favourite depiction was of Elizabeth, I thought Elizabeth came across in this novel as rather spoilt and a little uncaring. I think that her sparkle was not glimpsed in "Longbourn". Throughout the original work Elizabeth is light and bright, but she never swerves in her understanding of the importance of showing her subordinates a respect which is due to those in her employ. She seemed in "Longborne" to be careless of Sarahs duties especially sending for the shoe roses "by proxy". This happens in Austen's novel, of course (and at this point we are hearing the wry tones of Austen the narrator) but in "Longborne" it is ordered by Jane and Lizzy and struck me as being out of character. I imagine that Mrs Bennet would have been a more likely candidate for this sort of thing wanting her girls to appear to best advantage!!. Elizabeth is much more aware of sociey's responsibility to persons who are there to serve, as she is aware of the unrespectability shown by her own mother on occasion, and how the Bennet family are viewed by their social superiors. The depiction of Lydia was more in keeping I think and Jane...I suppose there really can only be one Elizabeth Bennet...!!!
  2. On the Beach by Nevil Shute

    Charliepud, I totally agree, that I imagine Humankind would react like this in reality! Sad isn't it?! I'm sure there would be powerful people trying to hole up in bunkers with tinned goods!. Great that negative reactions to books are discussed too. Dtr...let me join your club. I have started "The Hobbit" on numerous occasions and couldn't get into it! Normally I'm not averse to fantasy/sci-fi. In fact I had the same problem with "Dune" recently! I try and give a book a fair number of pages though, I remember the strange first section of "Captain Corelli" and glad I kept with that one.
  3. On the Beach by Nevil Shute

    thank you for nominating this book. I read the blurb on the back cover and was not relishing the read at all but found it to be one of the most moving and (yes I will say it...) hopeful of interpretations of a post apocalyptic world. The calm, the spareness of the writing, seemed to highlight and bring out the true pinnacle of humanity. Works of this genre often show Mankind striving to kick against the inevitable, Humans basest traits are uncovered as they claw for survival, but I never felt that we were going to get a happy ever after in this story. Tom Cruise was not going to save the day! It made me think of what I have heard about those moments before death, people who have no hope of survival (who later do survive!!!) talk of a peace and acceptance which comes over them. I think many of the characters were able to appreciate their place as parts of the nature and cycle of life, they talk of the future still when other lifeforms develop and take their place on Earth. Their lives have not been in vain, but as part of the grand scheme. It was interesting to see a flip side. I had great admiration for the characters, who upheld their values and went "not with a bang but a whimper". (interestingly the last line of Eliots "The Hollow Men") This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends Not with a bang but a whimper.Philosophically interesting and, as many have mentioned, how would we react if our world was in this situation?
  4. Finally finished this one. It took me longer than I expected. I did enjoy it much more than I expected from the blurb, mainly from the detail in the writing. I quite liked Nick at the beginning but in the end he really grated on me, he seemed to be very passive, in that he never really made anything happen for himself, apart from cruising for sex!. Never thought to move out of the Feddens, or get a job that he wasn't handed on a plate.He even allowed others to supply his drugs and pay for him (the one time he did a deal on behalf of Wani, he built it up into his mind as a romantic adventure seeing himself as a secret agent!). I think that right at the end we get a glimpse that he will mature and move on, when he sees Wani off in the car and has been caring for him. The writing really evoked the 80's for me (when I was probably of a similar age to the younger characters), it encapsulated the hedonism and selfishness of the age. Every one seemed to be on the make. The clubs, the small portions and high prices...I remember it well...! Catherine didn't come across, to me, as strong in her opinions, I just thought she was totally self absorbed. when she exposed her fathers affair, I feel she was doing it to get back at him in some way, rather than that she felt he was doing wrong. I thought she was very disengaged from her family all the way through the novel and, like Nick, didn't seem to take responsibility for her actions or emotions. She was suffering from a mental illness, so this may be some kind of reason for her lack of engagement, but I thought she just had no direction. I liked the development of the relationship with Leo, it did capture that exquisite pain of first love, and was quite saddened to find that part two moved on and there was no mention of him until the terrible news at the end. I presumed about the AIDS testing section that Nick was between tests as HIV has an incubation period so a first negative test is not absolutely conclusive, you have to be tested again, I think it's 3 months after the first test. If you were clear at the first test, you could then be positive at the next even if you hadn't been exposed to the virus between. I felt that the novel was very British in it's style, similar to the Henry James, Wharton type which was often quoted. I often had a sort of "Brideshead Revisited" in the back of my mind. Especially with the unrequited love/lust Nick had for Toby. I wonder how any of you readers from other countries found it, i guess there are probably parallels for US readers of the Wall Street/Reagan years?
  5. The Secret History by Donna Tartt

    Thanks for the link, I couldn't find a readily available copy at my library so took "The Little Friend" instead. hopefully will be able to listen to the radio 4 version on catch-up if I find the time
  6. The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham

    I have sincerely just had a "faceplam" moment upon reading this! Ever since I first saw the title of this book (and I am talking around 30+ years ago!) I assumed the "Wakes" was referring to the wakes in water, from a ship or creature... ripples. I didn't even read it as "Wakes" as awakening! In some sense I guess, both readings of the word work in the context of this particular story. Life's an education as they say. I must confess to feeling rather red faced!!!
  7. The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham

    Side note: Oh I forgot to mention the fact that the cottage was in Constantine in Cornwall. During childhood holidays our family stayed near Helston and as we drove along the Helston road, we laughed that the signposts to Constantine always indicated 3 miles. The village became a bit of a myth to us (a la Brigadoon!) We would be travelling for miles and Constantine was only ever 3 miles away! Wyndham kept referring to the change in distance from London to the cottage and I wondered if he had been along that road too! Spooky. If anyone has been there recently I would love to know if this is still the case!
  8. The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham

    Ok, so this comes after "Triiffids" which surprised me a little as I thought it might have been an early pen picture in which themes were later developed. I recognised similarities in the fireballs/meteor shower and cilia/whip stings of the two novels. I didn't find this as engaging as the other works I have read of Wyndham's (however I read most of his novels during my sci-fi teen phase, so may not have a true recollection of the novels, as opposed to the many tv/film adaptions in which the stories seem more concrete) I don't know that I would have kept reading if the book had been longer. the initial premise kept me interested, but the middle section did feel slow as regards either plot or character. I did want to know how the main protagonists had survived and if the Kraken was beaten or perhaps Earthlings had learned to co-exist with it. The later sections where we see London being engulfed by water, were particularly well handled I thought. Wonder what happened to Venice? I liked the use of the fiction within fiction ploy of using HG Wells "War of the Worlds" to make the plot ring more "true" and note on Wikepedia that this novel appeared in the same year as the 1953 movie of "Worlds" The themes and parallels with the Cold War era of both stories run alongside each other nicely but by including the device Wyndham enhanced his works sense of reality. I cannot recall,l but think that "War of the Worlds" also used first person narrivive? I think the story really echoes the threat of climate change and it is interesting that we still don't seem to be listening (maybe we need more Bockers!) However the book is really of it's time. The attacks are reported and play out over a few years. I thought about this happening nowadays. Within minutes people would be posting "YouTube" videos of attacks. Our world media has become much more immediate and accessible by ordinary people. If we saw mobile phone footage today of fireballs and sea tanks, would we heed the warnings or assume there was a large scale hoax going on? I thought it was good that we never got a true explanation of the Kraken, the unseen threat was more chilling. There was no need for Wyndham to try and justify how and why the beings moved, fed or their overall intent. Sometimes it is better to have the sense of mystery, rather than coming up with some inelegant and worldly explaination (note to George Lucas: midichlorians I ask you?!!! )
  9. The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham

    I finished reading yesterday, getting my thoughts in order to post. I thought I had read this one but it turned out I hadn't. I read Triffids and Midwich Cuckoos years ago and enjoyed them, this was like a short novella but with similar themes to the other novels, fireballs in the sky etc. Will look a little into the history as it felt like this may have predated them?
  10. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

    Phew that's a relief! I guessed you would be fellow sniffers!. I don't know which reader you have but if it supports epub such as the Sony (other eReaders are available) such as I have, I can now loan books from my local library online. I have a pin related to my library card number (I am in the UK but many USA libraries also participate) Good for reading up to date books. Sorry I went OT but wanted to thank you for the welcome.
  11. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

    Hello all, I am new to this discussion site and managed to find this months book in a charity shop. I really enjoyed it. I don't think the book would have appealed from the blurb on the back as I thought a mother/daughter group sounded a little chick lit. I associated it with something like "Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons" which I found rather a shallow read. However I couldn't put this down. I loved the different narratives. Although I found keeping track of who was who quite difficult, I did find that I read the book more as a series of short stories with a general theme of the mother/daughter relationship. I found it interesting that the relationships also had the East/West and rural/urban themes. The stories of China were like magical morality tales or fables and I found them really quite beautiful and strange and somethimes quite funny. I agree with what someone else said about Waverley, she seemed to stand out for me and I think that was to do with the difference in opinion other characters had about her, she seemed to have something a little wicked about her! Aside from the story, my paperback had a lovely floppy feel to it. The paper felt really nice and was a pleasant read physically. I must admit to being a bit of a book sniffing geek so these things really change my reading experience!. It's never quite the same on my eReader and I really dislike books with large typeface (maybe that will change as I get older!!!) Is it just me or do other people get put off by the feel or look of a book?