Books

Book 454: The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy #3) – Deborah Harkness

Harkness, Deborah - The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy #3)Where do I begin with this?

It’s very rare that a series starts off and continues to pick up steam the entire way through. In my previous experience, there is usually a middle-book slump. In the case of Deborah Harkness’ All Souls Trilogy the middle book of the trilogy, Shadow of NIght, was the stand out, followed closely by The Book of Life and in a distant third, the trilogy opener A Discovery of Witches.

This could be because the entire series takes place over about a year (give or take a few months because of time travel), but more than likely I think it has to do with the amount of action continuously increasing as the series moved forward. This wasn’t necessarily a good thing as I’ll talk about below, but that’s my conjecture. Continue reading “Book 454: The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy #3) – Deborah Harkness”

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Books

Book 452: A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1) – Deborah Harkness

Harkness, Deborah - A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1)I probably would have read this book closer to its release, but unfortunately it’s part of a trilogy (this followed by (Shadow of Night and  The Book of Life) and I didn’t want to read the books as they came out so I waited to read it. I really wanted to read it a lot sooner because a lot of my blogger friends who really enjoyed it. That being said, I’m a little grumpy as I’ve just found out that Harkness will continue writing in this universe with the release of The Serpent’s Mirror next year. So bah.

If I had to break this down into a one sentence review it would be: Harry Potter meets Twilight for adults. That’s definitely a bit reductionist, but as I was reading that’s what I kept thinking. It wasn’t as much of a compulsive read as either of those series, but A Discovery of Witches definitely stands on its own.

Continue reading “Book 452: A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1) – Deborah Harkness”

Books, Quotes

Book 136: Flesh and Blood – Michael Cunningham

I knew Michael Cunningham could write a great novel, especially one that could be adapted to the screen, like A Home at the End of the World and The Hours, but I didn’t know how great of a novel he could write! This book definitely belongs in the Top 5 Books I’ve read in 2012. It also counts towards my Mount TBR Challenge and officially puts me over 75% on my 2012 challenges! (It’s also the last book my boss gave me to read almost exactly a year ago.)

This is the story of the Stassos family over three generations and although it starts off slow it’s an amazing read. If you’ve ever read my blog before you know I’m obsessed with characters, especially minor characters, and their portrayal. Although there are very few ‘minor’ characters in this novel it doesn’t matter because this is one of the best novels from a character perspective I’ve ever written. Cunningham somehow got inside his characters heads at all ages and really exposed them. When I started reading, I thought these characters are all crazy, but the more I got to know them and as they grew up I realized that he really wrote the book in such a way that you realize hey I probably had thoughts similar to this but could never in ages figure out how to put them into words.

Continue reading “Book 136: Flesh and Blood – Michael Cunningham”

Books

Book 54: The Professor and the Madman – Simon Winchester

The Professor and the Madman - Simon WinchesterThe complete title of this work is The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary and it fully lives up to this title. It is the history of Professor James Murray (the Professor) and Dr. W.C. Minor (the Madman) and their serendipitously linked lives through one of the greatest feats of the English-speaking world.

It’s a fascinating combination of historical novel about the Oxford English Dictionary and Biography of its longest editors (Murray) and greatest contributors (Minor). If there’s one major critique I have is that it often felt like the author purposefully used a ridiculous synonyms when a simple word would suffice. However, with his obsession for lexicography and the OED in particular, it’s not too surprising.

Click here for the recommendation, quotes and the rest of the review.