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review 2017-06-27 14:20
A Book About Existence Found In A Place That Nobody Knows It Exist.
Britt-Marie Was Here: A Novel - Fredrik Backman

Stories of slice of life may not be anyone's cup of tea (or coffee). There are times when I read such stories, I don't get move by how its meant to be written. When I read My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry, it was messy to me. Yes, its the point of view from a 7 year-old girl that her grandmother send her a quest of fairy tale stories that sort of mixed up with reality... for me, I can't tell which is which. Then came the unexpected spin-off - Britt-Marie Was Here and I find it much better than Fredrik Backman's previous book before this one.

 

Britt-Marie Was Here focus on the title character herself. In the previous book (not a sequel, mind you), she was annoyingly weird (to me that is), a nagger and fussy like hell. But here we get to see and understand who Britt-Marie truly is. Her life, what she was before and who she is now is deeper than we think. After what happen to her in My Grandmother Asked Me... , she traveled to Borg, a fictional place that nobody knows of and literally, its like non-existence. As Britt-Marie gets a job in a recreational center, she encounters unexpected characters that will change her life or how she change theirs. Plus a conversation with a rat, soccer and lots of baking soda and Flaxin plus cutlery. Oh yes - this book and like all Fredrik Backman's books has that same formulated story and theme. In A Man Called Ove, we have those kind of unexpected characters and a cat. In My Grandmother Asked Me..., we have an apartment of unexpected characters too and a dog (even the car Renault is a character of its own). There's no difference here. I can see how his books are written now. But is Britt-Marie Was Here a one-trick pony? Well... yes and no.

 

You see, there's some thing I enjoy reading this book and its just what message Backman is trying to say here. Its a good one and there's some realism about how people are too comfort in their current lives and afraid to break free and do some thing for themselves when their whole lives are about doing some thing for others. When we try to assure ourselves that the right way is to go back what it was before, its what's happening now. The book does show us that scenario... but of course, I can't give out that ending but I can say, its one I believe that is good. And then of course, Britt-Marie always felt nobody thinks she exist that she makes herself known she does and in the end... well, I can't reveal that either. What I enjoy most is how now the chapters are short and direct, it is a much easier feeling of reading that I took my time no longer than I had with the last book.

 

I can't say that this book is great but its a read that gives me a subtle warmness towards it, that I like when it comes to slice of life. And this is one of those books that I would say its worth reading for those who are lost in a course of their lives should pick this up.

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review 2017-06-11 05:44
Badly Executed, But A Journey of Closure Worth Reading...
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry: A Novel - Fredrik Backman

If there is any thing about Fredrik Backman books that I want to talk about, its his characters he created. My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry is filled with colorful characters. Weirdos in their own way, witty to some. And for a time, they are memorable in a simple design. Sadly, I can't say much about the plot. While A Man Called Ove is formulated with a design that is predictable (you can read my previous review), My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry is quite a mess. There is a main plot written, but the chapters on each page is just every where. There are times I have no idea whether the intention of reading is to see how fast a reader can capture the idea between the real world and the imaginary world. Of course, I do understand the reason behind this writing because this is from the perspective of Elsa, the little protagonist of this book but then, there are times I got confuse as to where is Miapolis or Mitabulous and who is Sam, which I later found out int he chapters and the origin of some of the characters weren't clear to me. The weakness of this book is the execution, which I do find it hard to follow. Maybe that's one of the reasons why it took longer time to read it as my interest was no longer the need to follow up but eventually, I finished it today.

 

Of course, there are some good points. For one - the dialogue. As always, its well written. I did smile from time to time whenever Elsa makes a smart remark. Yes, she is rude but then as a character design, she has part of her grandmother's traits, her mum's compassion and of course, some of her dad's. I can say that this is well-thought of. Whenever she interacts with the characters, its the mind that matters most of what she thinks. That adds a little realism of children today (I know, I taught kids in school and some were rude without realizing they are rude but it was not intentional). Then of course, Fredrik Backman added some other elements like calling a vehicle Taxi or Renault as a name, which adds some thing special to it. I like how kids are given a freedom to think for themselves, maybe because every thing happens in Sweden? I do not know what's it like in Sweden but I believe, as its written, it is how it is. I do not judge it because of how rude she is, but how she does make a point.

 

As for the rest of the characters, its just as its meant to be. It's a journey of forgiveness and closure. I love how Britt-Marie as a character isn't as what it seems. The things that we say 'no matter how bad people they are, there are some good in them', which I do believe its true. Not many do thought of it this way but I have met some people or children that no matter how much bad they had shown, there are some good in them. What make's this journey in reading is how important it is to have closure, even though the execution of it was not done smoothly, for me that is. This suffer's the rating I have given to this book.

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review 2017-06-04 03:25
A Girl, A Man and A Love That Can't Be Touch...
Close Enough to Touch: A Novel - Colleen Oakley

A girl who has a rare allergy - people. A man who is trying to be a father. When two lost souls met in a library, you will expect some thing magical to happen. Here's what I like about this book and there is nothing magical that will happen - its real romance that puts two people in a situation that you just loved them because they are flawed but you can't help it because people like them do exist (apart from the allergy of human touch) and you just can't help it even more to believe it but its true in every single page that is written inside.


Close Enough To Touch is a romantic novel that is poignant and yet beautiful romance novel that is truly touching. When we fall in love, we want to touch and kiss the ones we love. Jubilee can't have any of that. Once, she was kissed by a boy in middle-grade school and it almost killed her. Life as we know it, she grew up without a hug or even holding her mother's hand. Because of that incident, she isolate herself from the world... until her mother passed away. When she met her old schoolmate along the way, she was offered a job to work in a community library. That's where she met Eric, a divorced father with an adopted son from his best friend and a daughter that doesn't want to speak to him at all as to how clueless he is on parenting, on Halloween. When they meet, Eric knew there is some thing about her he can't take his eyes off her. When Jubilee meets Eric, it took one quote from her favorite poet and every thing falls into place.


This is life - its complicated, its flawed and its not what we always want. Written with real world problems, what I love about it is how real this feels. The dialogue is natural and its well exchanged. The characters are memorable and more importantly its the execution. There isn't what I would call it a magical happy ending that ends like a fairy tale. This is real as it gets - the kind that reality sets in one people with indecisive actions, where characters just do not open up and allow their egos set in place until its too late. Where clueless dad's who has a chance to fix things, able to. I love this kind of hope and the ending is just enough to tell me, I don't need a fairy tale ending but I do need an ending that works and this works.


As the book is told in two different perspective of the main characters, its how the exchange of thoughts make its work. Men and women can never understand each other's thinking and to be able to read what they truly think evokes a lot of feelings how relationships can be so difficult to be embraced as one but many people in reality is one-sided in a relationship but this... this is workable. I love how Colleen Oakley has written them and the premise, its just a good way of telling a reader that writing is just a form not to getaway into our own introvert world but in a way, we can be part of a society to understand them why we function the way we are that is written in books. For that, this is truly a better book than her first (although I still love her first book).


If you haven't read any of her books, please pick up Close Enough To Touch first and then read Before I Go. Its light reading (for me anyway) and its a light reading that is worth picking up.

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text 2017-04-06 02:10
World Without End
World Without End - Ken Follett
The Pillars of the Earth - Ken Follett

I haven't read the first book in this series, but the blurb claims that World Without End can be read on its own, so I'll give it a go for this month's club reading. Maybe I'll like it enough to read The Pillars of the Earth afterwards? I hope so, since I've heard great things about that book.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-04-06 02:01
Finally!
The Queen's Man - Sharon Kay Penman

Well, that took me long enough to read! I kept getting distracted from the book to read other things, in part because for me the story just wasn't holding together well. I understand that the book was showing just how random an investigation can be, with many loose ends and unanswered questions. But when I reached the point where we find out that Gervase's death wasn't tied at all to the Richard plot, and that therefore it was all an undortunate coincidence, I was disappointed. And then the very last pages are filled with a series of revelations that come fast and furious, after chapter upon chapter where these plot points had lain dormant. I don't expect every thread to be connected, but the story here was just too dispersed to hold my interest.

 

Also, as I mentioned in an earlier post, although the setting is historically accurate, for some reason I wasn't feeling as inmersed in the time period as I have in other novels set around this time.

 

In all, it was an interesting reading experience, but I'm not sure I'll read any of the sequels.

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