Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Book Review #726 - Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Jane Austen's first novel—published posthumously in 1818—tells the story of Catherine Morland and her dangerously sweet nature, innocence, and sometime self-delusion. Though Austen's fallible heroine is repeatedly drawn into scrapes while vacationing at Bath and during her subsequent visit to Northanger Abbey, Catherine eventually triumphs, blossoming into a discerning woman who learns truths about love, life, and the heady power of literature. The satirical novel pokes fun at the gothic novel while earnestly emphasizing caution to the female sex.

My Rating: 6.5/10

This was my first Jane Austen book that I have read and I went into it being really intimidated for obvious reasons. 

I found this book extremely slow paced. The book is called Northanger Abbey and yet we do not see the place in question until under 100 pages from the end. 

The first 3/4 of the book was so dialogue heavy and I found this rather boring. 

When Catherine finally made it to the Abbey, I found everything anti-climactic. It kept building up the suspense only for nothing to happen. I lost count of how many times this happened. 

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Book Review #725 - Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick


Ben and Rose secretly wish for better lives. Ben longs for the father he has never known. Rose dreams of a mysterious actress whose life she chronicles in a scrapbook. When Ben discovers a puzzling clue in his mother's room and Rose reads an enticing headline in the newspaper, both children set out alone on desperate quests to find what they are missing.

Set fifty years apart, these two independent stories - Ben's told in words, Rose's in pictures - weave back and worth in symmetry.
My Rating: 8/10
I absolutely loved The Invention of Hugo Cabret and The Marvels and was pleased to discover that Wonderstruck was of the same quality.
I loved that both the drawings and the written words both equally portray the story. Neither of the elements is more dominant than the other.
The way the two stories seamlessly weaved together was really well done and is something that I admired about the previous two books as well.
The fact that a number of the main characters were deaf really added a whole other layer to the story especially how it was told not through any words, but drawings.
This book perfectly gives a silent nod to both art museums and New York which added so much character to the story and the drawings helped immensely bring this element alive.
Overall, this was a very beautifully woven adventure that had so much magic on every single one of its 600 plus pages.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Book Review #724 - Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta


For as long as Josephine Alibrandi can remember, it’s just been her, her mom, and her grandmother. Now it’s her final year at a wealthy Catholic high school. The nuns couldn’t be any stricter—but that doesn’t seem to stop all kinds of men from coming into her life.

Caught between the old-world values of her Italian grandmother, the nononsense wisdom of her mom, and the boys who continue to mystify her, Josephine is on the ride of her life. This will be the year she falls in love, the year she discovers the secrets of her family’s past—and the year she sets herself free.

Told with unmatched depth and humor, this novel—which swept the pool of Australian literary awards and became a major motion picture—is one to laugh through and cry with, to cherish and remember.
My Rating: 9/10
I was supposed to have read this in high school but I was sick that week and so the teacher told me to just watch the movie. My brother however got to read this at school and the reluctant reader that he is, gave me his copy afterwards.
First of all, I am something like 5th generation Australian so whilst I couldn't personally understand the cultural elements in this story, I did go to a catholic school with so many students of Italian heritage just like the protagonist Josie. 
I absolutely loved this book. I think it is my favourite Australian contemporary novel and the best Melina Marchetta book I have read so far. 
I loved the whole family dynamics - the relationships between mother and daughter of multiple generations and then the relationship between grandmother and granddaughter. It was like Gilmore Girls with a more cultural focus. 
This on its own would have made a fascinating story but then the whole cultural difficulties get thrown in and it becomes amazing. 
Josie's mother got pregnant as an unmarried teenager and her deeply catholic Italian immigrant mother has never really respected her since.
On top of all this, Josie's father comes to Sydney where Josie lives. The grandmother not knowing he's the guy who corrupted her daughter all those years ago is all friendly with him, meanwhile he has no idea he even has a daughter.
Then there is the whole exploration of the relationship between father and daughter which is really the essence of the novel.