logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: BookLikes
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2020-02-26 17:47
Possession by A.S. Byatt
Possession - A.S. Byatt

I don't even know where to begin with this book. I bought a used copy from Abebooks because it's on my Round 2 Classics Club list, and I've been meaning to reread it. I read it for the first time decades ago, around the time that it won the Booker Prize. I remember really loving it when I first read it, and I loved it even more this time around.

 

This book is everything I want in a piece of literary fiction. I love Victorian novels anyway - you'll often find me reading Trollope or Gaskell or one of the Brontes or something by Wilkie Collins (less so Dickens because my relationship with Dickens is complicated) - so reading a book about a pair Victorian poets was already going to be something that would work really well for me.

 

I also love a well-done dual timeline, although that particular device has gotten to the point where it is sadly overused by people whose writing chops are inadequate to manage it. This one moves back and forth between the Christabel/Randolph Ash timeline and the present with Roland & Maud. I almost always like the historical timeline better, but Byatt's character development is so good that I enjoyed the present timeline as much as the historical stuff.

 

Which brings me to the academic literary detective work. That is like some sort of catnip to me. I love it desperately and find it incredibly intriguing. Finding connections between authors, their works, other authors, mining for clues, that's just so much fun. This book had that in spades.

 

I also have to just note how incredibly well-done this book is. It is replete with an entire, collateral, body of work of these two poets in what I would call the "evidentiary" portions of the book. The letters, the poems, wow. She spends very little time narrating the lives of Christabel LaMotte and Randolph Ash and yet, through their letters and poems, they spring off the page in certain ways and yet remain ciphers in others. I absolutely loved this - it felt so real.

 

The book does start out a bit slow, but the second half is phenomenal. By the end, I couldn't put it down. The final reveal wasn't really a surprise - I'd been suspecting something along the lines of the ending for a good chunk of the book (and, of course, I have read it before, although my recollection was dimmed by the passage of time). 

 

Anyway, I absolutely loved this book. I'm half inclined to just open it up at the beginning and read it again, so that I can savor the structure and the clues once more, now that I know where it is all headed. I probably won't, but I am mentally penciling this book in for a reread in six months or so just for that reason.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2019-12-01 13:27
24 Festive Tasks: Door 13 - Advent: Book
Still Life - Louise Penny

 

Turns out I already read my book for this square!

 

On a related note, color me somewhat less impressed than I expected to be -- this is yet another insanely popular series that, as it turns out, I won't be rushing to continue.  There's some really good and insightful writing in the later parts of the book, but the beginning is dominated by cliché and long too-cutesy-to-be-true passages strongly reminiscent of the worst of cozy mystery writing, and equally as importantly, with the exception of Gamache himself (and one or two of the villagers), I found few characters I really cared about ... or could even be bothered to like and root for.

 

(Task: Read a pastiche, a book authorized by a deceased author’s estate, the 4th book in a series, a book with the word “four” in the title, a book featuring four siblings, or a book with a wreath, pines or fir trees on the cover.)

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2019-11-25 20:05
24 Festive Tasks: Door 8 - International Children's Day: Book
An English Murder - Cyril Hare

 

OK, so I thought about this for a while, because it's admittedly a borderline case, but I've ultimately decided to use Cyril Hare's An English Murder, which I recently finished, as my book for International Children's Day: Although the kid concerned doesn't actually make a personal appearance, there is no question that a child "plays a significant role" in the plot within the meaning of the book task for this square.  To say anything more would constitute a huge spoiler (probably even so much as using the book for this square at all already constitutes one), and I'm definitely open to comment by those who've read this book as well ... but this kid's role is unquestionably among the most significant I can think of, behind the scenes or not.

 

(Task: Read a children’s or YA book or a book where children or teenagers play a significant role, or written by an author who was under the age of 18 at the time of publication.)

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2019-11-12 19:25
One of this year's Christmas mysteries
Duck the Halls - Donna Andrews

I had a little bit of a hard time rating this book because I liked it, but I also think that it is one of those series that will grow on me since it seems to be so character driven.

 

I usually don't like jumping into series in the middle, but these books are pretty expensive for kindle, and, while my library has most of them, the first one has entered some sort of parallel universe where it is apparently infinitely unavailable. It's Schrodinger's book, but it pretty much only does not exist. I decided to just say screw it, and start with book #16, which may not have been ideal.

 

I get the sense that the crime involved is really secondary to the characters, and I don't know the characters yet. I was trying to explain it to my husband, and came up with "The Northern Exposure of murder mystery series" but set in Virginia, not Alaska. Lots of eccentric, quirky characters who do eccentric and quirky things. I spent the entire book trying to figure out what Meg Langslow does, and I'm still not sure. Something churchy, but not a pastor or rector or anything? She has an office in a church - I figured out that much.

 

Anyway, I feel like I need to read more. I liked the characters I met, even if there was a lot happening that was confusing to me. I can't get Murder with Peacocks, apparently, but I can get Murder with Puffins, which is book 2.

 

MBD, what do you think? I already have two other Meg Langslow Christmas mysteries: Six Geese A-Slayin' and Lark, The Herald Angels Sing, checked out. Should I return them, and start at the beginning, or should I just go on as I have begun with the scattered approach and expect that everything will start to make more sense about five books in?

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2019-10-30 02:04
Daisy Jones & the Six (Different ISBN)
Daisy Jones & The Six - Taylor Jenkins Reid,Jennifer Beals,Benjamin Bratt,Robbin Cuddy,Julia Whelan

This book has a "mockumentary" format. It somewhat reminds me of Eddie & the Cruisers in book form. Except without a central member of the band disappearing under mysterious circumstances.

Within the universe of the book, Daisy Jones & The Six was a mega-hit rock band in the late 1970s. Fans were mesmerized by the singing of Daisy Jones and Billy Dunne, the two singers and main songwriters for the band. Why did they break up at the height of their success? The frame of the novel is that the "author" of the book within a book is unraveling that mystery by interviewing the band members and various friends and associates.

The characters were frustrating at times, heartbreaking at others. Love, longing, creative drive, and drug addiction are all involved.

Rolling Stone article about the book. Reportedly, there will be a 13-episode limited-run Amazon series (Reese Witherspoon bought the rights). According to the article, Amazon will record the songs. I'll be curious to hear them! The "bonus track" at the end of the audiobook is supposed to be the song "Honeycomb" but, after all the build-up of Daisy and Billy's voices--it's an instrumental track! I felt so cheated.

But otherwise, a compelling listen.

 

(Note: I ultimately shelved a different edition from the ISBN of the audiobook I downloaded--same audio recording and all that, and THREE DAYS after I initiated it, the one-book import I did JUST TO ADD THE EDITION TO BOOKLIKES,is still "waiting to import."  And all attempts to contact Booklikes help have gone unanswered.  Are we in a ghost train?)

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?