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Lilliputian

Lily's Library

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SEPTEMBER

 

Loving it

 

Snakesleeper by Ann Chamberlin

 

Definitely one to love if you like historical fiction that thinks out of the box. Set at the time of the Old Testament monarch, King David, she borrows heavily from the book, When God was a Woman by Merlin Stone, but nonetheless she manages to weave a truly alien world, where a goddess might have just as much clout as a God.

 

Her attention to historical detail is impressive, and she draws the reader in through the eyes of a very unusual little girl, who grows to womanhood while straddling two entirely different cultures.

 

 

Hating it

 

1Q84: Books 1 and 2 by Haruki Murakami

 

 

Recommended to me by an (ex) friend, I knew nothing of Murakami when I started. And, honestly I wish I had remained in blissful ignorance.

 

I had been told that the style was unusual, and that much I can agree on. Characters endlessly repeat things they already know to each other, while the plot unfolds like a poorly written fairytale and magic solves everything.
 

I realise many people loved the book, but it left me cold.

 

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A new reading log!

 

It's a shame you didn't lke 1Q84. I've got the book on my TBR, I plan to read it some day.

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Welcome to the forum, Lily.   Great username! :D

 

I've only read one Murakami - he's definitely not for me.  :)

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Welcome to the forum!

 

I've enjoyed all the Murakami books I have read, but I have yet to tackle 1Q84. I keep seeing it at the library, and I picked it up yesterday and had a quick flick through it, but ended up putting it back on the shelf. Not because I don't think I will enjoy it, but because I know I have to be in the right kind of mood for it. Plus it's a doorstopper so I want to clear the decks of my other library books before I give it a try.

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Welcome to the forum, Lily.   Great username! :D

 

I've only read one Murakami - he's definitely not for me.  :)

Hi

 

Sorry to respond so very late (decorators in for last month, house in chaos scenario). I'm glad to hear someone else didn't like him. I was beginning to question my sanity as everyone said he was so good. I have a terrible habit of not liking books that are popular and preferring obscure ones. So thanks for your reply and I hope to be a bit more punctual in future. :readingtwo: 

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Hello Lily!  Nice to see another reading blog on the forum :)

 

Hi there. Thanks for the support. Been a bit overwhelmed with decorators this month, but am getting right back on it. if you like obscure books no-one else recommends, watch this space :P 

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Welcome to the forum!

 

I've enjoyed all the Murakami books I have read, but I have yet to tackle 1Q84. I keep seeing it at the library, and I picked it up yesterday and had a quick flick through it, but ended up putting it back on the shelf. Not because I don't think I will enjoy it, but because I know I have to be in the right kind of mood for it. Plus it's a doorstopper so I want to clear the decks of my other library books before I give it a try.

 

I've heard that Murakami's other books are quite different to this one. If you've got a Kindle, it might be worth while getting a sample.

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SEPTEMBER

 

Loving it

 

Snakesleeper by Ann Chamberlin

 

Definitely one to love if you like historical fiction that thinks out of the box. Set at the time of the Old Testament monarch, King David, she borrows heavily from the book, When God was a Woman by Merlin Stone, but nonetheless she manages to weave a truly alien world, where a goddess might have just as much clout as a God.

 

Her attention to historical detail is impressive, and she draws the reader in through the eyes of a very unusual little girl, who grows to womanhood while straddling two entirely different cultures.

 

 

Hating it

 

1Q84: Books 1 and 2 by Haruki Murakami

 

Recommended to me by an (ex) friend, I knew nothing of Murakami when I started. And, honestly I wish I had remained in blissful ignorance.

 

I had been told that the style was unusual, and that much I can agree on. Characters endlessly repeat things they already know to each other, while the plot unfolds like a poorly written fairytale and magic solves everything.
 

I realise many people loved the book, but it left me cold.

 

 

 

OCTOBER

 

Loving it

 

Possession by A S Byatt

 

Decidedly one for the favourite shelf. The poetry alone would sell this book. Apart from that is the poignant tale of stifling Victorian morality, there is a parallel romance unfolding in the modern day. The author draws the reader through the strands of English romance literature and mythology as the mystery slowly unfolds.

 

 

Hating it

 

The Octavian Chronicles: Octavian: Rise to Power by Patrick Parrelli.

 

I have to admit that I did not finish this book. The historical detail seemed accurate, but the writing style was (to be kind) just to sparse for my taste. This book may  appeal to readers who essentially want facts with no interest in style, but I found the prose flat and unappealing. Robert Graves would be rotating in his surname if he caught wind of this.

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Sorry to respond so very late (decorators in for last month, house in chaos scenario). I'm glad to hear someone else didn't like him. I was beginning to question my sanity as everyone said he was so good. I have a terrible habit of not liking books that are popular and preferring obscure ones. So thanks for your reply and I hope to be a bit more punctual in future. :readingtwo:

That's okay - nice to see you back. :)

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NOVEMBER

All right, I know it’s December but I had flu and family and Xmas shopping … don’t judge!

 

Loving it

 

The Mind Body Problem by Rebecca Goldstein

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mind-Body-Problem-Contemporary-American-Fiction/dp/0140172459/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1481499721&sr=1-1

 

Not a new book, but one I had never read. It’s hard to explain what was so great about it. The narrative follows the marriage of the protagonist (a girl who has broken free of her Hasidic Jewish background) only to marry a genius and find that she isn’t as free as she thought.

 

The story has no grand climactic moments or high drama, yet somehow I couldn’t put it down. There’s something in the way that the author crafts her story that reaches inside the reader in the same way that an old friend can really know you.

 

Probably not a great read for men (although it was a man who recommended it to me) but a must for the ladies.

 

 

Hating it

 

The helios disaster Kindle Edition by Linda Boström Knausgård

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00S8FKKRC/ref=pdp_new_dp_review

 

I wanted to love this book. It seemed original with its blend of classical mythology and modern narrative, and certainly it begins well. However, it’s a story essentially about madness, and as such the author feels free to meander about without really giving those of us, who are not mad, any understanding of what is going on.

 

As an exploration of depression there are some poignant insights, but the mythology sits as a clunky add-on that never really get off the ground. On the up side it is, at least, short.

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DECEMBER

Late as usual. How does anyone manage to do this on time??

 

Loving it

 

Ghosts By Daylight: A Memoir of War and Love

by Janine di Giovanni

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ghosts-Daylight-Memoir-War-Love/dp/1408822318/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1483564044&sr=8-1&keywords=ghosts+by+daylight

I loved this powerful, gritty insight into the effects of being a modern day war correspondent. Janine is careful to avoid unnecessary description aimed at the gore voyeur. And she seamlessly interweaves the horror of war with the horror of adjusting to everyday traumas, such as motherhood when suffering from PTSD.

 

More than that, Ghosts by Daylight is follows the beautifully tragic love story between the author and another correspondent. There is great poignancy in her writing, and you are left with the impression of a woman far tougher than her exterior would suggest.

 

 

Hating it

 

Agnès Sorel: Mistress of Beauty (Anjou Trilogy 2) Kindle Edition by  Princess Michael of Kent

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Agn%C3%A8s-Sorel-Mistress-Beauty-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00LX8WCOU/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1483564546&sr=1-1&keywords=Agn%C3%A8s+Sorel

 

Having stood admiring the portraits of Agnes of Sorel when visiting France as a child, I was thrilled to come across this novel. Unfortunately, like waking up from a dream about Sam Heughan, the disappointment was almost too much to bear.

 

The cardinal sin of this book is not the unbelievable characters or silly, unrealistic dialogue, it’s simply that it is boring. You simply don’t care at all about anyone and most especially the eponymous heroine. Poor Agnes. She deserved a better epitaph.

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JANUARY

 

Loving it

 

Foxlowe

by Eleanor Wasserberg

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Foxlowe-Eleanor-Wasserberg-ebook/dp/B0191GZ4EK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1486146029&sr=8-1&keywords=foxlowe

Well, anyone reading my reviews probably knows that I hate formulistic works so no surprise that I love Eleanor Wasserberg’s description of a young girl’s experience growing up in a cult.

It’s a poignant pleasure to see the protagonist grow to maturity, while the forces of the cult vie in her psyche with the lure of the outside. The power struggle within the cult provides the background on which ‘Green’ must make her decisions.

Well worth a read. The prose has a light touch and the novel is short enough to appeal to those who are nervous about trying something new.

 

Hating it

 

Slade House

by David Mitchell

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00VEEYCJ6/ref=pdp_new_dp_review

 

I feel mean putting up a bad review of this author. I am normally a huge fan of his work, including Cloud Atlas and The Thousand Summers of Jacob de Zoet. But, having worked my way through this flat, uninspiring tale, I feel the need to rant.

Previously, I was attracted to the breadth and sophistication of Mitchell’s work. But Slade House barely feels like the same author. Essentially, it’s a story about vampires, dressed up in a purple prose, with amateurish stylistic errors, where characters explain the plot to each other.

It largely reminded me of a sponge cake I once made that went terribly wrong. Instead of simply throwing it away, I kept adding frills of icing, and sprinkles. End result? A sticky mess that did nothing to hide the lack of substance.

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I've been hearing so many negative comments about David Mitchell's work lately, I have Cloud Atlas on my TBR and I'm starting to get a bit worried I'll hate it...

 

I hope you have a great reading year! :) I've read two Murakamis before, and loved them. Maybe you should try some of his books that don't feature any magical elements? I found Norwegian Wood by him really interesting. 

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I've been hearing so many negative comments about David Mitchell's work lately, I have Cloud Atlas on my TBR and I'm starting to get a bit worried I'll hate it...

Even if you hate it, it'll just make the next book you love reading feel even better. You can't appreciate the good unless you've suffered the bad. :yes:

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I've been hearing so many negative comments about David Mitchell's work lately, I have Cloud Atlas on my TBR and I'm starting to get a bit worried I'll hate it...

 

I'm in a minority of people who really didn't like Cloud Atlas (1-star).  However, I loved The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet (6-stars!), and have just finished The Bone Clocks for my book group - in the middle (4-stars).  Generally, we all liked the last, but nobody was raving - mostly put off by the fantasy element, atlhough we pretty much all loved the rest.

 

So - you take your choice!

Edited by willoyd

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Hope is not lost then! :D I have Cloud Atlas on my shelf anyway, so I will definitely try it out eventually, we'll see how I get along with it =)

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I've been hearing so many negative comments about David Mitchell's work lately, I have Cloud Atlas on my TBR and I'm starting to get a bit worried I'll hate it...

 

I hope you have a great reading year! :) I've read two Murakamis before, and loved them. Maybe you should try some of his books that don't feature any magical elements? I found Norwegian Wood by him really interesting. 

 

Hi,  Late in my replies as always. How does everyone manage to be so organized. Don't worry about Cloud Atlas, it's brilliant. As is The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet. After that the books get paler until they fade into rubbish. I've heard people saying I shouldn't judge Murakami by 1Q84. I'll maybe give him another chance. :)

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I've only read Black Swan Green by David Mitchell, and I think it's very different from the other novels by him, but I totally loved it! :smile2: As far as I know, from what I've read about his other books in other people's reviews, BSG might be his most easily approachable novel. 

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