Should I finish this book?…..

I’m reading ‘We need to talk about Kevin‘ by Lionel Shriver. I might only be about a third of the way through but so far my thoughts are;

-She needs to talk about Kevin and stop whining to me about it (she being the main character Eva) and also….NOTHING IS HAPPENING!!!!

Seriously it’s not enjoyable but I’m willing to persevere if it will be worth it. Any comments from people who have read this would be much appreciated! :)

 

 

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‘The Fault in our Stars’ by John Green

The fault in our stars book coverI had added this to my wish list after it being recommended to me by fellow blogger Taylor Jordan (you should check out her page if you haven’t already!). Two weeks ago I finally made the long trek to the bookshop and set out on fulfilling my book-blogging destiny :) The book took me a total of 4 nights to read. At 313 pages it’s the type of book that I would have easily read in one go if I was on holidays. The opening paragraph really sets the tone for the writing style and gives us our first introduction to the main character ‘Hazel’;

‘Late in the winter of my seventeenth year, my mother decided I was depressed, presumably because I rarely left the house, spent quite a lot of time in bed, read the same book over and over, ate infrequently, and devoted quite a bit of my abundant free time to thinking about death’

Hazel Grace Lancaster is battling terminal lung cancer. She lives with her parents who devote pretty much all of their time and energy to her and she has no other siblings. Worried about her reclusive state, Hazel’s mother encourages her to get out of the house and ‘live life’. She starts attending a weekly Support Group where she meets the other main character of the book, Augustus Waters.

Being honest (as I always try to be), as soon as Augustus came into the storyline I started to lose interest rapidly. It seemed the book was heading down the dreaded path of mindless, teenage, romance drivel.

A tall, handsome stranger who just appears at the group meeting and is instantly besotted with Hazel: his character  justHazel Lancaster and Augustus Waters didn’t fit in with the blunt and rather harsh depiction of life that Hazel had been narrating up to this point. The book was in danger of crossing over to ‘twilight’ territory. Thankfully I read on and decided to give this Augustus guy a chance. If you happen to hit the same little roadblock I assure you to read on, after a couple of pages I was completely won over by the way the 2 characters began to react and bounce off each. A few chapters in I was completely hooked and cannot say much more about the storyline itself without giving too much away.

One of the best things about this book was its clever use of humor and how it managed to diffuse the heaviness of the subject of cancer. It also made it easy for me to warm to the characters, in particular Hazel as you can’t help but admire her outlook on the situation;

‘…the diagnosis came three months after I got my first period. Like: Congratulations! You’re a woman. Now die.’

Both characters are highly intelligent and witty and share a love of literature. The author uses these qualities to allow himself to write in a poetic and almost exaggerated style which otherwise might have come off as a bit pretentious. He also uses this characteristic to weave some really nice poetry into the story. My favorite was his use of ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock‘ by T.S.Eliot:

The love song of J.Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot (1915)

'The love song of J.Alfred Prufrock' by T.S. Eliot (1915)


Another really interesting feature of ‘The fault in our stars‘ was that it contained another book within it. Hazel’s favorite book is ‘An Imperial Affliction’ by Peter Van Houten. She has reread it countless times and much of the storyline is about her getting in touch with the author in order to try find out what happens to the characters after the book abruptly ends in the middle of a sentence. There are numerous referrals to quotes from this book which is in fact fictional and does not exist in real life. So really you can say that John Green has written 2 books in one! (and both are very good).

The title of the book comes from Shakespeare’sJulius Caesar‘;

Men at some time are masters of their fates:
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings. (1.2.135)

Peter Van Houten (the author of Hazel’s favorite book) writes that never was Shakespeare more wrong than when he claimed that human’s are responsible for their mistakes and that the stars play no part in our destiny. Van Houten disputes this saying that there is ‘no shortage of fault to be found amid our stars’, hence the title of the book.

Realizing that this book review is wayyyy too long already I will summarize by saying overall it is an extremely enjoyable book and I would certainly recommend it. While it is suitable for most readers, mid to late teenagers (in particular females) would enjoy it the most I think. The author is a pretty interesting guy in his own right and I was pleased to discover he is an avid user of social media. He has over 1.1 million followers on twitter (@realjohngreen) and even has his own youtube channel which is definitely worth a look!

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It’s me Blog…Roisin

Poor dusty, neglected blog…here’s a funny picture to cheer you up :) Currently writing up my review of John Green’s ‘The Fault in our stars’ so will post tomorrow!

Funny meme

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Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

A short review for a short book!Seagull

At 87 pages (small pages at that) it took me about 2 hours to read this. It tells the story of Jonathan Livingston Seagull who only cares about flying; the higher and faster the better. His refusal to act like the other seagulls and spend his day scrounging around for scraps causes him to be cast out of the group. Hurt but determined to follow his passion, he keeps flying.

The whole book is full of metaphors for the usual trials we all face in life; not fitting in because you are different, finding the strength to follow your dreams, not accepting failure, forgiving people who have wronged you etc etc. It’s an inspirational little read but I must admit I thought it was a bit strange. The writing style is almost biblical, at some points I felt like I was reading a religious story. I also thought I was a bit too old for it (how depressing I’m only 23!) and I would have enjoyed it much more if I had first read it as a child.

Seagull Image

The photographs in the book are taken by Russel Munson and I thought they added a lot to it.

Personally I wouldn’t have much respect or admiration for seagulls, I generally associate them with squawking, pooping and ruining peaceful sunbathing experiences! Still I’m sure children wouldn’t have these preconceptions in their way so it’s not hard to see why it has become such a well loved children’s classic.

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Roisin Mc Cormack:

One of my favourite books ever, just don’t have time to review it myself and besides this one does an excellent job, I cannot recommend this book enough!

Originally posted on theunlikelybookworm:

As a child I read a book called Skinny Melon and Me by Jean Ure; written in the form of a diary it chronicled the life of Cherry, whose mother had remarried - much to her disgust - a man named Roland Butter. His favourite book, and one that was mentioned on numerous occasions in Skinny Melon and Me, was Dodie Smith’s debut novel, I Capture The Castle. Thus, when almost two decades later I scanned the list of the BBC’s Big Read, number 82 caught my eye immediately.

Written by Smith in the 1940s when she was living in California, and feeling desperately homesick for England, I Capture The Castle is a poignant novel about an impoverished family in the 1930s living in a decaying castle. And while Smith is best known for writing 101 Dalmatians, her debut novel has certainly worked its way into the heart of many readers, through its…

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Nice blog on the strange and wonderful habits of writers :)

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A review of Jean-Paul Sartre’s ‘Nausea’

“Existence is not something which allows itself to be thought of from a distance; it has to invade you suddenly, pounce upon you, weigh heavily on your heart like a huge motionless animal – or else there is nothing left at all.”
(John-Paul Sartre, Nausea)

I would love to try to review this book but quite frankly I have no idea what the hell was going on in it. It took me about 2 weeks to get through the 250 pages. Written by a famous French author and dealing with big long fancy things such as ‘existentialism‘ I thought I would come out the other end of this book a higher being. Well I didn’t. For a finish, I found it so boring and just pointless that I only had 2 pages left to finish it, 2 pages!!! and I couldn’t manage to struggle through and get it over with. I finished it the following night not that it really made any difference.

On a more serious note after my little rant, I was genuinely really looking forward to reading this as most classics have earned the title for a reason. The book is written from the point of view of a young troubled author; Antoine Roquentin who is off his head, to put it lightly. The first half of the book wasn’t too bad actually and there were brief moments of really nice description and clever insights. The following are some quotes I picked out that I liked;

Monsieur, it seems to me that you could define adventure as an event which is out of the ordinary without being necessarily extraordinary”

I thought of committing suicide. What held me back was the idea that nobody, absolutely nobody would be moved by my death, that I would be even more alone in death than in life”

“Life has a meaning if you choose to give it one”

Another comment I have after reading it is that maybe the book might have lost some of its flow when it was translated into English. The names of the characters and the place-names are all in French and perhaps to a French reader it offered a little bit more ease of reading. In terms of a storyline there was none really. He lives in a little town and walks around the place, goes to the library to work on his book and harps on about this girl called Anny, who it turns out is crazy too. Every now and again when his thoughts go into overdrive, he experiences this ‘nausea’. I’m not really sure what it is, to me it sounded like something along the lines of a panic attack.

To sum up… I read to relax and let my imagination wander, I like to look forward to my book when I head to bed. This book annoyed me and quite frankly some parts of it were very disturbing, like really really disturbing. While I’m glad I can say I read it I would never read it again and I definitely wouldn’t be recommending it.

Related Articles

http://radicalhub.com/2012/03/02/joss-whedon-and-jean-paul-sartre-the-wanker-phallosophers/

http://theinfinitynetwork.org/jean-paul-sartre-nausea-the-novel-of-the-existentialist/

http://jrbooks.livejournal.com/4246.html

http://gayecrispin.wordpress.com/2012/03/04/why-did-the-chicken-cross-the-road-for-philosophers/

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