Tag Archive | Books I've read

The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht

‘Having sifted through everything I have heard about the tiger and his wife, I can tell you that this much is fact: in April of 1941, without declaration or warning, the German bombs started falling over the city and did not stop for three days. The tiger did not know that they were bombs…’ A tiger escapes from the local zoo, padding through the ruined streets and onwards, to a ridge above the Balkan village of Galina. His nocturnal visits hold the villagers in a terrified thrall. But for one boy, the tiger is a thing of magic – Shere Khan awoken from the pages of The Jungle Book. Natalia is the granddaughter of that boy. Now a doctor, she is visiting orphanages after another war has devastated the Balkans. On this journey, she receives word of her beloved grandfather’s death, far from their home, in circumstances shrouded in mystery. From fragments of stories her grandfather told her as a child, Natalia realises he may have died searching for ‘the deathless man’, a vagabond who was said to be immortal. Struggling to understand why a man of science would undertake such a quest, she stumbles upon a clue that will lead her to a tattered copy of The Jungle Book, and then to the extraordinary story of the tiger’s wife.

I don’t think I would have chosen this book myself – when I read what it was about I thought it would be quite depressing (set in the Balkans during and after the wars there), but it was chosen for my book group. Each month one of the four of us chooses a few books and the rest of us decide which one we want to read. The other 2 choices were kicked out by other people, so this it was.

I loved it, but then what isn’t to love about a book that has a man getting his arm chewed off by a tiger in the zoo in the first chapter? I don’t think of myself as someone who like anything like that, but for some reason it really drew me in. When I think more about it, some of the thriller novels I love are pretty graphic (Random by Craig Robertson anyone?). This wasn’t a thriller though, it was a literary novel.

I loved the characters, especially the MC’s Grandfather, who you know as a cute little boy with a new found love of tigers, through when he was a young doctor, and then to when he was an old man, with a life long love of tigers.

The story jumps about a lot, so when you start each chapter you have no idea which story it’s going to be telling. I found that off putting to start with, but got used to it pretty quickly; it was good for stopping reading at bedtime – I couldn’t carry on with the next chapter to find out what happened next, because the next chapter was leading on from another story.

This was Tea Obreht’s first novel, I hope it’s not her last. I totally can see why it won the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2011 and I’d totally recommend it to anyone (in fact I have already).

Advertisements

Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge 2010 Round-Up

Around Christmas I wrote a blog and in it had a big long moan about how badly I thought I’d done in this challenge. After that I sat down and worked out what thriller or suspense books I’d read throughout the year and was shocked to realise I’d actually read 11. Wow! I then thought about all the other books I’d read over the year, and went over to the host of the challenge Book Chick City to see what other people had read. shockingly someone had reviewed Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger. I wasn’t too sure if it was a thriller or suspense, but as someone else had used it, guess what? I’m really happy to use it.

So that means… I completed the challenge. WOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOO! The thing I haven’t done is review all the books yet, but I will get there. Here’s the list of them – the highlighted ones are linked to the review. The unhighlighted ones will have a review as soon as I can add it.

There you have it, my 12 books. I’m really happy I did it. I think the challenge pushed me to read more thrillers than I would have normally done, because I tend to favour chick lit and romance. I don’t know why I do that, I really love thrillers.

One of my aims of doing this challenge was to introduce myself to new authors. I certainly did that. The first book I read, a Sandra Brown book, I only picked up because of the challenge. I was so glad I did – I totally love both of her books I read during the challenge. I can’t wait to read more of hers.

Nicci French was introduced to me by my Step Mum. Again because I told her about the challenge so she gave me that book. I totally loved it, and will be looking out for more Nicci French books this year, and in the future.

Simon & Schuster sent all the people in this challenge an ARC of one of two novels. I was so happy I got Random by Craig Robertson. I hated the goreiness of it, but loved that at the same time. Last time I saw his update on Twitter, he was writing a new book. When it gets published I’ll be first in line to read it.

I honestly wouldn’t have read Asimov if it wasn’t for this challenge and my boyfriend convincing me it would work really well for the challenge. Sci-fi? Me? Nah! But, yeah. I actually enjoyed it. So much so, I’m going to read the other books in the Robot series. I don’t think I’ll read any others of his though, Sci-fi does still… I was going to say scare me, but I think it just doesn’t interest me that much. Hopefully he’ll (the boyfriend) will bully (!!) me into reading more of Asimov, or maybe another sci-fi writer – and he’ll find something easy-reading that I’ll ‘get’.

I’ve had the Judith Cutler book (and another) for years and didn’t pick it up in all that time. This challenge made me pick it up. I’ll definitely be reading the other one I’ve got of her’s (Dying to Fall) and probably the rest of that series.

That’s it. All the others I think I would have read anyway. But that’s pretty impressive – five authors that now I’ll be looking out for, that would have pasted right by me without the challenge.

I’m really impressed with how much I enjoyed the books I chose for this challenge. Looking at this list, I can genuinely say I loved each and every one of them. How good is that?!

I only have one small regret to come from this challenge. At the beginning of 2010 I looked around the internet and got recommendations of authors from people/places (including other people taking the challenge) and got a list of authors I wanted to read. But, I didn’t read any of them. That upsets me. But I’ll get over it. Just because the challenge is over… doesn’t mean I have to stop reading thrillers & suspense novels.

Plus… You never know what other challenges will be round the corner in 2011…

Pictures and Pitches and Piles and Piles

I’m going to start today with a little rant, because this is really annoying me.  I’m maybe 1/3 of the way through The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and really enjoying it.  It’s not keeping me up at night, but I think that’s a good thing.  Maybe I’ve learnt to control my reading urges (doubtful). 

BUT.  Every time I pick it up, I get a little annoyed.  The cover shows the girl with the dragon tattoo.  Or so you would think.  In actual fact it shows a girl, who does have a dragon tattoo, but that has long hair scruffly held up – with long bits falling down.  Salander (the girl in the novel) has (direct quote) ‘…hair as short as a fuse..’  It annoys me so much that the picture doesn’t match the novel.  So much.  It’s even worse though, because I bet if Larsson was alive when the novel was published he wouldn’t have let it happen. 

Sorry, had to get that out.  Moving on. 

Actually I don’t have anywhere to move on to.  Nothing to say.  That can’t be right.  I’ll save the draft for an hour or so and have a think. 

*

That was silly, now I’ve lots to say (well a little more).

I started something yesterday that I thought might be interesting – if a little impossible.  I’m creating a list of all the novels I’ve read since been an adult.  Originally I thought it would be impossible to do because I’m never going to remember all the books I’ve read, but I’ve found something even harder.  I can’t remember if I’ve actually read LOADS of books.  I’ve got Amazon open and am going through the authors I can think of whose books I’ve read.  I’m on Jill Mansell.  I’m about 10 books down and already I can’t remember if I’ve read 4 or not.  I recognise the story line, but don’t know if I’ve only read the back, or the whole thing. 

I’ve should have known I’d have this problem, it’s the kind of thing I’ve done before.  I once bought a book, cause I thought it sounded really good.  I got to maybe page 3 before I realised I had read it before.  *sigh*.  Still it’s an interesting project, and again, a great way to procrastinate!!

The other thing I’ve been working on today (not my job obviously) is this pitch for the competition I was talking about yesterday.  I’m going through Winnie Griggs’ workshop on them.  It’s really really hard.  I think I’ve found a pretty big problem with my novel – there’s not enough background story to it.  Or, when looking at a pitch there isn’t.  I thought and still think there is, but I can’t find enough to fill the pitch.  Maybe I need to look at it without the distraction of phones ringing, people coming to reception and staff saying goodnight as they leave! 

That really is it this time!

By the way, it’s ‘piles and piles’ of books – on my read list 😉