the wonderful world of veena.

05 November 2013

book reviews: the secret history; stardust.

A couple of book updates from the last month...

The Secret History [Donna Tartt]. This was our "book club" selection for October, once again chosen from one of those numerous Books You Should Read lists. I had read Tartt's other novel, The Little Friend, a few years ago, and although I was left a little dumbfounded by it, I had heard this one was better. It's certainly a long one, weighing it at around 559 pages. When I first started it, I didn't think there was any way I would finish it within the month, just because of its sheer volume. And indeed, the only reason I ended up completing it is because I spent a lot of time in airports and on flights the last 2 weeks of October. The plot takes some time to get going and then takes a few unexpected twists along the way. Admittedly, I'm still hazy on a few of the things that happened. At a few points, 20 pages were devoted to giving the backstory to something, and then suddenly it was over before you even realised it had happened. I think it was partly because the narrator of the story, Richard, was a passive participant in most of the stories being told, so that's why it sometimes seems as though major plot points were glossed over. I will say, though, that the final 50 pages were really good. There was a twist at the end that I never saw coming but that I thought really made the end of the book interesting. I definitely liked it better than our previous book, but I think I might take a little break from some of those lists and stick to books that look interesting to me.

Stardust [Neil Gaiman]. After falling a little bit in love with Neil Gaiman's voice listening to him read The Ocean at the End of the Lane when I went to Little Rock in September, I decided to use my remaining Audible credits to download 2 more of his books, and I listened to the first on my trip to Little Rock this past weekend. I had seen the movie version of Stardust when it came out circa 2006[?], but I had never actually read the book, so I thought it would be fun to listen to it. And I was not disappointed. Neil Gaiman's voice was as awesome as it was the first time around, and it was fun to listen to the story and be able to pick out which parts were altered for the movie or which details were added in. My favourite part, though? They play music in between some of the chapters, and it just gives it that little extra magical touch that the story so deserves. I like the story anyway, of a boy from a village who crosses a wall to catch a falling star and of the adventures he encounters along the way, and the music was a masterful final touch.

next in line to keep me company on my India trip:

  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak [Kindle version]
  • Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs [Kindle version]
  • a yet-to-be-determined print book
  • Will's book to be edited if it arrives in time
and for when I return:
  • The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman [scored at our Booktober book swap last month!]
  • The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver
Any good book suggestions out there in the blogging world?

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