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September 21 2011 4 21 /09 /September /2011 13:22

onedaybookcover.jpgI read David Nicholls' One Day novel when I heard about the eponymous film coming out.

I got totally caught up in the story, read the book in a few nights. It is very well written, the two protagonists do have two different ways of being and speaking, and this is perfectly conveyed in the 2 writing styles. The story itself is deeply touching, and worked with me.The relationship between Emma and Dexter, so complicated and yet so simple at the same time, is so real, Emma and Dexter so likeable in their humanity, that I would find hard to believe anyone wouldn't like the book.

One-Day-Film-Poster.jpg

The film is a good adaptation, not perfect, of course, but well-cast and almost always in line with the novel. Anne Hathaway is just perfect as Emma. Jim Sturgess, whom I had not recognized (he starred in 21) is also doing a tribute to the Dexter in the book.

 

My September book fling.

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April 24 2011 1 24 /04 /April /2011 10:08

Last Night At Chateau Marmont cover

Undeniably one of the most boring 400 pages book I've ever read, and I read Jane Austen's novels where nothing happens until the last 50 pages.

Last Night At Chateau Marmont is eventless. Or, rather, each event is repeated several times and overanalysed. The main character is pathetic rather than touching. The whole story is bathed in clichés, and overall very unconvincing.

Definitely NOT what you'd expect, or wish for that matter, from a chick-lit. So disappointed.

I'm seeing an "every other book is good" pattern here - The Devil Wears Prada was good, Everyone Worth Knowing was crap, Chasing Harry Winston was great, Last Night At Chateau Marmont sucks. I'm guessing Lauren Weisberger's next novel will be good, but I'm not sure I'll buy it unless I find a 1-cent opportunity on eBay.

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April 19 2011 3 19 /04 /April /2011 22:11

Dan Brown - The Lost Symbol

Either one shouldn't read all of Dan Brown's novel for fear of becoming used to his writing and usual scenarii, or this book was one of the biggest disappointments in litterature's hisory.

Sure, the whole semiology and the sinking into the Freemasons's world are very interesting, but, come on, enough with the false intrigue already! The suspense was far too pushed to make you turn the pages: the chapters were too short and the parallel stories were not advancing an inch, everything was repeated several times, and I hate that. 

 

Unlike The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons, and Deception Point, (Digital Fortress was a joke, and I mean that in a bad way) The Lost Symbol kept getting me frustrated rather than hooked, and felt more like a movie scenario than a real book. Avoid it if you usually love Dan Brown's work.

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March 26 2010 6 26 /03 /March /2010 22:05
Ken-Follett-World-Without-End.jpg

I just finished World Without End, the sequel to The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, and I was disappointed.

Maybe I shouldn't have read it right after the thousand pages that make The Pillars of the Earth. Maybe I liked the first novel too much not to be dismayed by the sequel. In any case, I found the story less interesting.

Another thing that I disliked was that every single event that happens in the book has repercussions in the future. This was not the case of the first novel, but in the second you begin to realise, after the first 400 pages or so, that everything you have read so far will be echoed somewhere, sometime, afterwards. So I felt manipulated from the beginning to the middle, then I concluded that the plotline was cheap. The book is either too short (no room for details and anecdotes that are useless to story but gives depth to the characters and make the whole novel richer) or too long (some parts in the childhoods if the characters need be removed).

I didn't buy the main love story between Merthin, the architect/carpenter, and Caris, the rich daughter of the alderman
. In short: Jack the lovely Architect and Aliena the strong-willed noble, born again in this novel. I felt cheated. The clergy character were more vicious and manipulative than in the first book, which focused on the good Philip, but that didn't make them more interesting, on the contrary.

Still, it is well written, although, I think, badly edited, for there were some repetitions from one praragraph or page to the next but I guess it is not easy to edit or write a 1200 pages novel. Maybe he tried too hard, or not enough, I cannot tell. All I can say for sure is that World Without End doesn't equal The Pillars of the Earth, and should have aimed to surpass it and innovate, instead of just wanting to equal it.

It is still a good read, but I don't reckon it is worth the 1st novel.
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January 31 2010 1 31 /01 /January /2010 19:34
The Pillars of the Earth cover
Finally, finally, I finished Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth. I say finally because it's the first over-a-thousand-pages-long book I ever read and I loved every single word in it.

It's this huge, huge multiple point of views story, spread on a 60 years timeframe during the 12th century. We follow, mostly:
- Philip, a young monk who slowly but firmly goes up the church power ladder, from monk to prior,
- Tom, a mason whose biggest dream is to build a cathedral, and, to a small extent, his children Alfred and Martha,
- Ellen, an outlaw woman who lived in the woods before she met Tom,
- Her son Jack, a weird, wild boy who has only ever known life in the forest before meeting Tom and his family,
- William, a power-thirsty noble whose morals are inexistent (wealth really meant power back then, it's true today but was even more so during the Middle Ages), and who rules by terror and rape.
- Aliena, the daughter of a destitute earl who has to make a living on her own, a tough enterprise in times when noble women were meant to stay home and bring up children.
- And all the other political, religious, work-related people that gravitate around them.

It really is a fascinating, epic story, not only in terms of the building of cathedrals (I really learnt a lot about that), but it is also an in-depth vision of the Catholic Church ways of ruling. I'm not a believer, and yet I was captivated by this aspect of the story. It is a major bestseller Ken Follett wrote in 1989, but its sequel, World Without End, only came out in 2004. I'm really excited about this opus, which of course I already have in my possession and which is currently waiting for my eyes to read it.

A warning though, I guess that to read this one you must be prepared to spend quite a lot of time reading because it really is huge (1,079 pages in my edition), but it's a page-turner so time kind of flies. Another warning, there are many rape scenes, and very graphic ones too. I know at least one person who cannot stand those, so I'm giving you a heads up here.

Totally worth it.
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August 17 2009 2 17 /08 /August /2009 13:29
Millenium 1Millenium 2Millenium 3

I just finished the Millenium trilogy, and I must say it had been a while I hadn't been that obsessed with a story. The first book has already been turned into a movie, which is really, really good. The cast is perfect, the sounds, images and atmosphere extremely convincing and close to the book.

The first opus of Millenium, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, is set in Stockholm, Sweden, and is about a journalist, Mikael Blomkwist, who is trying to unveil a huge conspiracy in the financial world, within a company called Wennerström. He works for the journal Millenium. He fails in his attempt to destroy the Wennerström Board of Directors, so he is sent to prison for false accusations. Before doing his time, he is hired by an old man in the countryside who lost his granddaughter 40 years before and would like to know who killed her, because no one has ever found out the answer. Mikael accepts the mission without much conviction and settles in the country to solve the Harriet Vanger mystery. In his task he receives help from oh-so-bizarre Lisbeth Salander, an excellent hacker who also happens to have spent 6 years in a psychiatric hospital as a child before being released, under guardianship, at 18.

Millenium is different from all the other books I've read, first because of the violence it contains (rape is described in detail), and the overall adult content. I'm more used to young adults or women books, light and full of fantasy, although I also love Kathy Reich's novels. I think the big difference between what I usually read and Millenium is that they were written by a man instead of a woman which changes a lot of things, in the end. Stieg Larsson, whom unfortunately died unexpectedly and quite suddenly before knowing of his own success, is really perceptive of his characters and presents detailed, accurate and credible description of what's on their minds. I'm all for Lisbeth Salander's character, because she's a geek and a rebel, and also because the way she thinks and acts is very interesting and not much different from who I am, although in a much deeper and more inflexible way.

I loved the Millenium books because they are real page turners, and I also loved the movie because it is authentic (Swedish director, Swedish actors, Swedish everything) and very respectful of the book.

The first two opuses are available in English, but the third one has not been translated yet. So unless you're fluent in Swedish, you'll have to wait for the release on 01 October. But if you speak French, it's available, although I personally found the translation very poor, especially about some phrases which are not at all used in French but seem to be the literal translation of English phrases. E.g., when we want to say "a couple of hours", we don't use "une paire d'heures" but rather "quelques heures". The third book is full of such occurrences, which I find very annoying. I read the first two in English so I don't know if it's also the case for those.

Swedish, English, French, I don't care, JUST READ THEM!!

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August 3 2009 2 03 /08 /August /2009 08:52
One Fifth Avenue Cover
I've just finished reading One Fifth Avenue from Candace Bushnell (author of Sex & The City, Lipstick Jungle...). I had never read any of C. Bushnell's bestsellers, so I was quite surprised to read some very graphic content from time to time, but otherwise it's good chick lit material.
It long enough (I never read anything below 400 pages), it's got romance (obviously!), action, twists and turns, deaths... You never get bored because it talks about many different characters who all live in the same building. Though they are linked by different sorts of relationships, from lovers to enemies or simply neighbours, they are from different generations, with different hopes, expectations, revenue levels and opinions on everything. Besides, I just love all the 'jealousy between neighbours' stuff, it's so pointless but funny at the same time. And ever since I went to NYC myself two months ago, anything linked to New York has taken a totally new dimension. It's no longer some hypothetic city I wanted to check out. I've been there, so I know it's real.

A few quotes I picked out:
"That's the difference between girls and women: Girls find men fascinating. Women know better".

"Looking up Sandy and Connie Brewer on the internet, David discovered exactly who they were. Sandy was a hedge-fund manager, of all things - typical that an arriviste should end up with such rare and precious antiquity - and while he and his wife, Connie, deemed themselves "important collectors", David suspected they were the new-money ilk who paid ridiculous prices for what David considered junk".

"Don't take anything I say seriously. I never do."


Definitely one of the books to bring with you on the beach this summer!

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