terça-feira, agosto 30, 2005

Wide Sargasso Sea

"Set against the lush backdrop of 1830s Jamaica, Jean Rhys's powerful, haunting story was inspired by her fascination with the first Mrs Rochester, the mad wife in Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre.If Antoinette Cosway, a spirited Creole heiress, could have foreseen the terrible future that awaited her, she would not have married the young Englishman. Initially drawn to her beauty and sensuality, he becomes increasingly frustrated by his inability to reach into her soul. He forces Antoinette to conform to his rigid Victorian ideals, unaware that in taking away her identity he is destroying a part of himself as well as pushing her towards madness.'A late but brilliant comeback... a tale of dislocation and disposession, which Rhys writes with a kind of romantic cynicism, desperate and pungent' The Times" (Adapted from the back cover) by Paulainen
Someone asked me if I were feeling depressed due to reading this book - I was at the beginning and didn't get it... Now I do! It was really interesting and one can easily find the resemblances specially as it was pointed out - the third part... Yet the whole book seemed like a masterpiece...

The Mists of Avalon (Abridged Audiobook)

"There is no such thing as a true tale. Truth has many faces and the truth is like to the old road to Avalon; it depends on your own will and your own thoughts, whither the road will take you."

The Mists of Avalon is a story of another time and place. It's the legendary saga of King Arthur and his companions at Camelot, their battles, love, and devotion, told this time from the perspective of the women involved. Viviane is the Lady of the Lake, the magical priestess of the Isle of Avalon, a special mist-shrouded place which becomes more difficult to reach as people turn away from its nature- and Goddess-oriented religion. Viviane's quest is to find a king who will be loyal to Avalon as well as to Christianity. This king will be Arthur. Gwenhwyfar, Arthur's Queen, is an overly pious, fearful woman who successfully sways her husband into betraying his allegiance to Avalon. Set against her is Morgaine of the Fairies, Arthur's sister, love, and enemy - and the most powerfully believable person in the book - who manipulates the characters like threads in a tapestry to achieve her tragic and heroic goals. The Mists of Avalon becomes a legend seen through new eyes, with details, majestic language, and haunting foreshadowing that hold the reader through its more than 800 pages. from Heathwitch

It was a joy to listen to this book - I liked the narrator's voice and the story, which I already knew.

segunda-feira, agosto 29, 2005

The Lovely Bones

"On her way home from school on a snowy December day, 14-year-old Susie Salmon is lured into a cornfield and brutally raped and murdered, the latest victim of a serial killer. The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold's haunting and heartbreaking debut novel, unfolds from heaven, where "life is a perpetual yesterday" and where Susie narrates and keeps watch over her grieving family and friends, as well as her brazen killer and the sad detective working on her case. As Sebold fashions it, everyone has his or her own version of heaven. Susie's resembles the athletic fields and landscape of a suburban high school: a heaven of her "simplest dreams", where "there were no teachers... We never had to go inside except for art class... The boys did not pinch our backsides or tell us we smelled; our textbooks were Seventeen and Glamour and Vogue". The Lovely Bones works as an odd yet affecting coming-of-age story. Susie struggles to accept her death while still clinging to the lost world of the living, following her family's dramas over the years. Her family disintegrates in their grief: her father becomes determined to find her killer, her mother withdraws, her little brother Buckley attempts to make sense of the new hole in his family and her younger sister Lindsey moves through the milestone events of her teenage and young adult years with Susie riding spiritual shotgun. Random acts and missed opportunities run throughout the book--Susie recalls her sole kiss with a boy on earth as "like an accident--a beautiful gasoline rainbow". Though sentimental at times, The Lovely Bones is a moving exploration of loss and mourning that ultimately puts its faith in the living and that is made even more powerful by a cast of convincing characters. Sebold orchestrates a big finish and though things tend to wrap up a little too well for everyone in the end, one can only imagine (or hope) that heaven is indeed a place filled with such happy endings." Caffcaff

It was a very harsh description of a rape though the story was very "beautiful". It also depicted a good vision of after-life-death...

The Discovery of Chocolate

"Diego de Godoy sets off for South America in 1518 with Cortes and the Conquistadors. During his travels he falls in love with Ignacia, a native woman who introduces him to the secrets of the most delicious drink he has ever tasted: chocolate. Tragically, their passionate affair is cut short by the chaotic conquest of Mexico. Diego later discovers that his lover had secretly added the elixir of life to his chocolate. Unable to die, he lives on through history -- Paris during the time of the Revolution, Vienna in the 19th century, late Victorian England, and Hershey, Pennsylvania -- accompanied by his trusty greyhound, Pedro. All the while, he searches to recapture the magic of Ignacia's chocolate -- and to learn to love life just as fully." irishajo

A wonderful story well told though it could have some other kind of explanation for the time lags... Specially liked the Sachertorte story...

Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister

"Editorial Reviews
Amazon.com
Gregory Maguire's chilling, wonderful retelling of Cinderella is a study in contrasts. Love and hate, beauty and ugliness, cruelty and charity--each idea is stripped of its ethical trappings, smashed up against its opposite number, and laid bare for our examination. Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister begins in 17th-century Holland, where the two Fisher sisters and their mother have fled to escape a hostile England. Maguire's characters are at once more human and more fanciful than their fairy-tale originals. Plain but smart Iris and her sister, Ruth, a hulking simpleton, are dazed and terrified as their mother, Margarethe, urges them into the strange Dutch streets. Within days, purposeful Margarethe has secured the family a place in the home of an aspiring painter, where for a short time, they find happiness.
But this is Cinderella, after all, and tragedy is inevitable. When a wealthy tulip speculator commissions the painter to capture his blindingly lovely daughter, Clara, on canvas, Margarethe jumps at the chance to better their lot. "Give me room to cast my eel spear, and let follow what may," she crows, and the Fisher family abandons the artist for the upper-crust Van den Meers.
When Van den Meer's wife dies during childbirth, the stage is set for Margarethe to take over the household and for Clara to adopt the role of "Cinderling" in order to survive. What follows is a changeling adventure, and of course a ball, a handsome prince, a lost slipper, and what might even be a fairy godmother. In a single magic night, the exquisite and the ugly swirl around in a heated mix:
Everything about this moment hovers, trembles, all their sweet, unreasonable hopes on view before anything has had the chance to go wrong. A stepsister spins on black and white tiles, in glass slippers and a gold gown, and two stepsisters watch with unrelieved admiration. The light pours in, strengthening in its golden hue as the sun sinks and the evening approaches. Clara is as otherworldly as the Donkeywoman, the Girl-Boy. Extreme beauty is an affliction... But beyond these familiar elements, Maguire's second novel becomes something else altogether--a morality play, a psychological study, a feminist manifesto, or perhaps a plain explanation of what it is to be human. Villains turn out to be heroes, and heroes disappoint. The story's narrator wryly observes, "In the lives of children, pumpkins can turn into coaches, mice and rats into human beings. When we grow up, we learn that it's far more common for human beings to turn into rats." --Therese Littleton--This text refers to the Hardcover edition."
The attention to details was very interesting and the resemblance to the cinderella story was also very interesting. It took me a long time to read it though because I wasn't always in the mood... I think I'd rather have read it in the winter by the fire :).

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

"This lovely story almost reads like fairy tale. Two young men being "re-eduated" in China learn that a third has possession of books of classic world literature (illegal under Chairman Mao's government). We are taken lightly into the recent history of Chinese government repression and shown how a few people react by watching thesefellows acquire the books and use them with joy." SqueakyChu

I thought it was an extremely well written novel, filled with delicious irony, leaving an open question about who was re-educated after-all.

Angels & Demons

"Amazon.com

It takes guts to write a novel that combines an ancient secret brotherhood, the Swiss Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire, a papal conclave, mysterious ambigrams, a plot against the Vatican, a mad scientist in a wheelchair, particles of antimatter, jets that can travel 15,000 miles per hour, crafty assassins, a beautiful Italian physicist, and a Harvard professor of religious iconology. It takes talent to make that novel anything but ridiculous. Kudos to Dan Brown (Digital Fortress) for achieving the nearly impossible. Angels & Demons is a no-holds-barred, pull-out-all-the-stops, breathless tangle of a thriller--think Katherine Neville's The Eight (but cleverer) or Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum (but more accessible).
Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is shocked to find proof that the legendary secret society, the Illuminati--dedicated since the time of Galileo to promoting the interests of science and condemning the blind faith of Catholicism--is alive, well, and murderously active. Brilliant physicist Leonardo Vetra has been murdered, his eyes plucked out, and the society's ancient symbol branded upon his chest. His final discovery, antimatter, the most powerful and dangerous energy source known to man, has disappeared--only to be hidden somewhere beneath Vatican City on the eve of the election of a new pope. Langdon and Vittoria, Vetra's daughter and colleague, embark on a frantic hunt through the streets, churches, and catacombs of Rome, following a 400-year-old trail to the lair of the Illuminati, to prevent the incineration of civilization.
Brown seems as much juggler as author--there are lots and lots of balls in the air in this novel, yet Brown manages to hurl the reader headlong into an almost surreal suspension of disbelief. While the reader might wish for a little more sardonic humor from Langdon, and a little less bombastic philosophizing on the eternal conflict between religion and science, these are less fatal flaws than niggling annoyances--readers should have no trouble skimming past them and immersing themselves in a heck of a good read. "Brain candy" it may be, but my! It's tasty. --Kelly Flynn--This text refers to the Hardcover edition."
I wasn't a bit disappointed. In fact I think I enjoyed this one even more than the Da vinci code. the plot was really interesting and I'd love to go to Rome and check out that tour... ;)

Almas Cinzentas

"Mais do que a historia, encantaram-me e comoveram-me uma serie de pequenos pormenores: a madrinha de Flor de Liz que todos os domingos assava lombo de porco, fazia uma salada de feijao verde e um bolo de maca, a casa de Josephine e o seu sonho de cacarolas de cobre, o padre gordo que gostava de flores... Mas este livro nao e feito apenas de docura e nostalgia, tambem descreve muito bem um mundo corroido pela brutalidade da guerra e pela injustica social, um mundo em que todos os sentimentos sao distorcidos ou anulados."
Tal como a Aquina gostei muito dos pormenores. Da história devo dizer que alguns pormenores me chocaram - esperava "justiça" e amor...

A Profecia Celestina

"Inspirado num antigo manuscrito peruano, este livro é um romance de iniação á nova consciencia- transcendente, espiritual- que está a emergir no mundo. Tomando como modelo, ainda que remoto, a procura do Graal, A Profecia Celestina não é apenas a história de uma aventura e de uma descoberta; è, sobretudo, um guia com o poder de reinventar as nossas percepções esxistenciais e de nos conduzir em direcção ao futuro com renovado optimismo. Um livro que surge uma vez na vida para mudar a vida para sempre. " Patyblue

De inicio achei que o texto era forçado e com algumas dificuldades em fluir mas de facto gostei muito de o ler e as suas mensagens ainda ecoam nos meus ouvidos e parece que continuarão a fazer sentido... O que vale é que era ficção...

The Day After Tomorrow

"It starts in a Paris Cafe when American surgeon Paul Osborn, sees the man who murdered his father thirty years earlier. Meanwhile, L.A. detective William McVey is in London investigating the mystery of seven headless corpses and one severed head. There's a link, but neither man knows it and both men are in for a whirlwind investigation that reaches the highest levels of world power." Olysmom

Sem ligação com o filme, é um thriller bem intencionado, do princípio ao fim.

Férias

Foram umas boas férias - Alemanha, Portugal! Descanso, cansaço e muita leitura em dia... É por isso que se chamam férias. Infelizmente ou felizmente estãoa acabar. Felizmente porque se todo o ano fosse assim não se lhe daria o devido valor e até poderia provocar uma certa tensão e aborrecimento...

Que venha o trabalho! Do outro, aquele que não se fez nas férias.