Sunday, February 27, 2011

'Sunday Snippet'

This week, I thought I would do something different for my 'Sunday Snippet'. This is the opening of a novel I have been working on over the last few months, called 'The Unheard' . This book is nowhere near finished, but I thought I would give you a little taster. I hope you enjoy it:

Prelude

'Silence. The town of Deadwood looked as if nothing had happened. The only strange thing about this tiny town in California, was that it was deserted. Deserted, all except a boy.

The boy was dressed in a dirty blue T-shirt and shredded jeans. On his feet were the remains of a pair of trainers. They were so tattered and full of holes, they looked as if they might fall off at any moment.

The boy wandered aimlessly through the streets stepping over Coke cans, crisp packets and discarded buckets of popcorn. The strange thing about this scene, was that even though there was a building which suggested that at one time it had been a cinema, it was now boarded up. It appeared to have been like that, for quite some time.'


Happy Sunday!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Poem

Regular followers of this blog may remember that I posted about writing poetry and the elements that make up a good poem. Well, I've actually attempted to write a poem. It's not the greatest poem ever, but it's definitely a start:

Bed

Thick and warming sheets
envelop me, from
wild, windy storms outside
my windowpane.

Thunder booms and crashes
around but I lie safe,
until dawn resumes the day.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Book Slurge

Apologises for not having been around much over the last week, I have been busy with visitors. Now that they have gone, I can get back some blogging/writing normality.

It's been a while since I've had a book slurge, but last week, I went a little bit mad. Here's the stash of books I bought last week:





'Eclipse' by Stephenie Meyer
- This is a 13 disc CD audio book set which I managed to pick up for €9. I'm far too old to like this series, but 'The Twilight Saga' is one of my guilty pleasures. I just have to find out what happens next!

'Don Quixote' by Miguel de Cervantes- I could have bought a dual (English-Spanish) version of this novel. However I chose to buy the English version because at over 900 pages, it will probably take me a long time to complete this. If it were in Spanish, I hate think how long it would take for me to read this novel.

'Room' by Emma Donoghue- I have read many reviews about this novel on the blogosphere and also on 'The TV Book Club' and thought that this looked an interesting read.

'Slipstream: A Memoir' by Elizabeth Jane Howard- After my review of 'Falling' by Elizabeth Jane Howard, one of the readers of this blog recommended that I read this autobiography of the author.

'Two Cures for Love: Selected Poems 1979-2006' by Wendy Cope- This is another 'The Oliva Reader' follower recommendation. I previously blogged about wanting to read some poetry and I was recommended this author.

'The Prestige' by Christopher Priest - I have seen and enjoyed the film. However I was unaware that this was a novel, until I saw a review for this one another book blog.

'The Maltese Falcon' by Dashiell Hammett
- This is the latest read for the online book groupon the 'Book Group Online' website. In my college days, I also had to watch the film for my Media Studies course, so I think that this novel is going to bring back fond memories.

'The Pillars of the Earth' by Ken Follett- A few months ago, I did start to watch the television adaptation of this novel. Even though I enjoyed the first installment, I was unable to watch the rest of the series, so I thought that I would read the book instead. Apparently, the book is better anyway.

I know I shouldn't have bought all of these books, as I still have quite a large TBR pile. However, I couldn't resist!

Have you read any of these books? Have you been on a book splurge lately?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday Snippet

It hasn't been a good reading week. In fact, due to being busy with our visitors I've only managed to read 1 or 2 pages of Ursula Holden' novel 'Tin Toys'. I'm hoping that next week, I'll get a lot more reading and writing done. For now, here's the snippet:

Page 17- "Talk to me, Maggie. Say something."


'Tin Toys'- Ursula Holden

Today is my dad's 80Th birthday and so myself and the rest of the family have been out for a celebratory lunch. So for the rest of the afternoon, I'm off for a sleep before 'Dancing On Ice' (for those of you who don't know what that is, it's a programme in which celebrities ice skate and one couple is voted out each week.)

Happy Sunday!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

'Sunday Snippet'

This week's 'Sunday Snippet' comes from a book, that I haven't read. Having only finished the wonderful novel 'Of Mice and Men' last night, I haven't had the chance to begin reading 'Tin Toys' by Ursula Holden yet.

This week's snippet, is the the first line of the novel:

Page 9- 'I could be certain of happiness on Saturday mornings because of my dancing class.'

Enjopy the rest of the weekend. I may not post much over the next 10 days, as we have visitors arriving some time this afternoon. Which reminds me, I must start cleaning before they get here!

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

'Of Mice and Men' by John Steinbeck



Publisher: Mandarin

ISBN:
0-7493-0404-9

Length: 113 pages

What the Blurb says:

'The classic novel which established John Steinbeck as one of the world's most celebrated writers.

This is the story of George and Lennie, two itinerant farm workers- one of nimble wits, the other of huge physique- whose simple arrangement keeps them in work. But even his best friend and mentor cannot save Lennie from his worst enemy- his own strength...'


Opening line: 'A few miles south of Soledad, the Salinas River drops in close to the hill-side bank and runs deep and green.'

What's good about this novel?

This book has fully formed, believable characters. I thought that the relationship between Lennie and George had real emotion. The story is extremely well written, Steinbeck is able to describe the surroundings of the characters by only using a few, effective words.

Even though this novel is only 113 pages long, 'Of Mice and Men' is a complete story. What I mean by that, is that the reader is given good explanation of the character's back stories, before progressing onwards. I also thought that the drama and tension that was created in such a short book, was brilliant. I particularly liked the impact of the ending.

What's wrong with this novel?

If I had a slight complaint, I would say that it takes a while to get into this book. However, I would suggest that you keep on reading, because this novel is really worth persisting with. Also I found the language a little hard to understand at times, although I do think that the speech adds to the authenticity of the characters.

Is this worth a read?

Yes I think so. I didn't have the opportunity to read this at school, as most people do and should. However, even though it has taken me 30 years to read 'Of Mice and Men', it was definitely worth it. This is a 'must read' classic.

Friday, February 11, 2011

For your (book) lover...


Want some gift ideas for Valentine's day? I think I may have found the perfect present, for any book/word lover. Click here.

I would have trouble picking just one word to adopt. Which one would you choose?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

'Falling' by Elizabeth Jane Howard



Publisher: Pan Books

ISBN: 0-330-36889-3

Length: 422 Pages

What the Blurb says:

'Henry Kent is a sensitive man in late middle age, a reader and a thinker, without means perhaps but not without charm.

Daisy has recovered from her unhappy past by learning to be self-sufficient, and viewing trust as a weakness. But there is still a part of her that yearns to be cared for once more.

It is this part that Henry sees, and with dedicated and calculated patience he works at her defences. So it is that despite all attempts to resist his attentions. Daisy finds herself falling under Henry's spell..'


Opening Line: 'She has left me.'


What's right with this novel?

One of the things I liked about this novel, is the writing itself. The story is told from three different perspectives, Henry's, Daisy's and then using flashbacks, to tell Henry's back story. To do this, Howard writing interchanges between the first and third person.

Usually when writers combine different perspectives in their writing, it becomes a bit of a mess. However with 'Falling', this really works. In fact, this makes the book an interesting and dynamic read.

I also like the subtle writing in this novel. Throughout the novel, I couldn't work out the central character, Henry. Through Howard's storytelling I found that my opinions of Henry changed continuously. From not trusting him, to thinking he was a nice, but slightly tragic character, then realising the true character of Henry, towards the end. I liked this technique, because it puts the reader in the position of how Daisy feels throughout the novel. I could also relate to her, because like Daisy, I have also encounter men like Henry, who manipulate and pull on the heart strings of women to get what they want (although in my case, I didn't fall for their tricks as much as she did).

All of the characters within this novel were believable and well rounded. However, I felt that it was the suspense and tension in the novel, that kept me gripped.

What's wrong with this novel?

One thing that I can pick fault with this novel, is that after all of the suspense that was created throughout this novel, the ending was a slight let down for me. It did come to a reasonably satisfactory ending, however I was anticipating something more dramatic. After reading this, I felt a bit flat.

Is this worth a read?

Yes 'Falling' is worth reading. However, I feel due to its content. this may appeal more to a female reader. However this is not strictly a 'Chick Lit' book. 'Falling' is dark novel, packed full of tension and suspense. I think that it's a gripping read.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

'Sunday Snippet'

Apologises for being such a slow reader, but I'm still reading Elizabeth Jane Howard's novel 'Falling'. Although I have to say, I've definitely changed my opinion of this novel, it's really very good. Here's the snippet:

Page 290- ' It had a gently domed roof, and its entrance was a pair of wooden doors flanked by an absurdly large portico.'


'Falling'- Elizabeth Jane Howard

Whatever you're doing, enjoy what's left of the weekend. Here, the weather is sunny and bright, which makes a change from all of the rain we have been having of late!

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

'Save Our Libraries Day'

This morning whilst reading the latest posts on my dashboard, I came across this interesting post on 'Savidge Reads'. It talks about 'Save Our Libraries Day' in which many people in the UK are protesting, to save their local libraries from closure.

Living in Spain, I am unable to take part in this protest. However if I were there, I'd definitely be joining in. It is essential that libraries (no matter how small) should stay open. They encourage the development of reading skills and imagination in the young. Not only that, they provide a sense of community, particularly for smaller villages and remote places.

I have many wonderful memories of the library and it is one of the things, due to living here, I really miss. Why should the government deny people, particularly the young, the chance to build their own memories of the library?

Are you in support of this campaign and, if you are in the UK, are you joining in with any protests?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

'Brighton Rock'




Last night saw the UK premiere of a new adaptation of Graham Greene's classic novel 'Brighton Rock'. It stars Helen Mirren as 'Ida', Andrea Riseborough as 'Rose and Sam Riley, as the infamous villain 'Pinkie'. Whilst I'm interested to see what this new film is like; as it has an impressive cast, something irks me.

The original novel is set around Brighton in the 1930's. However this new adaptation is now set, in the 1960's. Whilst being interviewed at the premiere of this new film, Helen Mirren said that the reason for the change in era, was so that audiences (particularly younger members) would be able to relate to the film, than if it had been set in the original era. I partly understand this, but is it right to take a novel, set in a particular time and then completely change its era?

Would it be acceptable for example, to take a film like 'The Other Boleyn Girl', which is set in Henry the Eight's time and set it in the 1970's? My example may be a little silly, but I believe, that changing the time period that a book adaptation is set in, could seriously alter the message that the writer had originally set out to put across through out their novels.

What do you think? Does it bother you when films adapted from books have serious time/plot changes? Or do you see this as artist license and can enjoy being told a tale again, with a different approach?