Posts Tagged ‘book’

Of Books and Birds v3

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

In keeping with the going trend…I will post another time about books and birds. This week’s bird of the week is a female Pine Siskin and Anna’s Hummingbird.

Female Pine Siskin

Female Pine Siskin

Female Pine Siskin

Female Pine Siskin

Female Pine Siskin

Female Pine Siskin

Female Pine Siskin

Female Pine Siskin

Anna's Hummingbird

Anna's Hummingbird

Anna's Hummingbird

Anna's Hummingbird

I really enjoy these little birdies. =) They are fun to watch, relaxing even. I would be hardpressed to think of a better day than a breezy Spring day relaxing with a good book and an unobstructed view of the birdies. These are the books I am currently reading—I know I haven’t given a thorough review of my last ones yet but I will get to it eventually.

flights_of_fancy

bird_brain_teasers

Why?

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

“Here we are, trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why.”
– Kurt Vonnegut

Company of Liars

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

I felt like I should share the books I have been enjoying. And so, I will. I just finished reading Company of Liars by Karen Maitland. This is a historically relevant fiction spin-off of the Canterbury Tales. It is creative and engaging. The characters have believable strengths and flaws, both endearing and annoying.

Set in England, circa the 1400’s, a story of nine wayward misfits who come together by chance attempting to escape their pasts, as well as the Black plague. There is Camelot, the one-eyed elderly man selling hope in relics; Rodrigo, the passionate musical performer, and his promising, yet, troubled student, Jofre; Zophiel, the narcissistic magician; naive Adela, who is pregnant and should not be on the open road, and Osmond, her serious but devoted husband; Cygnus, the one-winged man accused of a heinous murder; Pleasance, the healer; and the eerily strange, devious albino child she has unofficially adopted, Narigorm.

Their journey is arduous and wet. It hasn’t stopped raining for months. Imagine traveling by foot or by wagon and horse on dirt roads, through forests and swamps, with constant rain! EGADS! That would be horrible.

The author does justice to the time period, researching interesting facts to make the story more believable. In a dark time this lost and confused, wayward band find protection, comfort and often suspicion in one another and in their beliefs in the supernatural, spells, relics, charms and folklore of the time.

But it isn’t just the Black Plague these nine must avoid along their way to an unspecified destination. They have to avoid supernatural predators, everyday hassles, angry mobs, and other dangers presented in the medieval times. They have nothing but one another and their limited shared resources. But can they really trust each other? They do not actually know each other and most of them know the others have lied about something or are running from something in their pasts, but what? And how will this affect them?

Where will they end up? How will they be betrayed? Will they survive? (Read the book to find out!)

An interesting side-theme in this book is the way the story demonstrates the religious journey for the side-characters, the villagers these nine pass in traveling. The plague and death must have taken its toll on the religious beliefs of people during this time. Was this the catalyst for the Enlightenment? The book tells how the people turned to God and the Church, which they were taught to do since birth. Then as death smothers all around them, they first try to cling to their religion and their priests, who often take advantage of them. Soon, the Church and the priests abandon them altogether to perish. Alone, they begin to question their beliefs. This is interesting to me, historically speaking. Don’t worry, this book is not religious. This was just a back burner theme I picked up on and found intriguing.

This book provided a engaging tale and motivated me to research more about that time period. Overall, I am extremely pleased with the read. This is the first book I have read by this author, I will be looking for more.

I definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes a good story, strong characters or anyone who has an interest in history (or historical fiction), particularly the medieval times. 

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Farrell

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

Click here to buy me uber cheap!Sometimes, I am shocked to see the prices of book. Some are way too expensive, hardly worth the almost $30 they charge for them. Some, though, are so inexpensive it is a shame. This is the case for this book, The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox  by Maggie O’Farrell. I went to BN.com today on the prowl for a new book to consume and saw this on the front page under specials or discounts or something. I clicked on it and it is on sale for $1.99!!!! OMG! That is insane! This is such an amazing book.

This book is wonderful! The characters are realistic, likeable and easy to relate and empathise with. The story is interesting and complex, touching upon societal ills while telling the story about one woman and her familial history. Iris, the opening character, is called to help a great aunt she didn’t know she had who was soon to be released from a mental institution. You are taken on a journey of exploration into the history of this family, how Esme (Euphemia) lived outside societal expectations and how society dealt with her in response. She dared to do as she pleased but at what cost? This is a timeless message, isn’t it? We all must choose what is important to us and there is always a price to pay. Together, Iris and Esme, learn how to be exactly who they want to be while getting to know one another. It is a story of the trials, errors and triumph of spirited women.

This book was engaging, thought provoking and simply a delight to read! I would recommend it to anyone! It is definitely well-worth the read. Incidentally, it also introduced me to an excellent author, Maggie O’Farrell. If you have not read anything by this author… STOP READING and GO! GO GET SOMETHING BY HER! She writes in a way that makes you yearn for more. =)