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Monthly Archives: January 2015

The House of the Mosque by Kader Abdolah

Obviously I read the English translation of this but there doesn’t seem to be an English version on Goodreads? Anyway it’s one of my library picks which is why it’s so random and an extremely unusual genre for me to read. This is what I love about the library, I pick up books I would never buy in a million years. If this was in a bookshop full of free books Id probably have still left it behind.

However I am glad that I’ve read it now that it’s over. It didn’t grip me throughout and I wasn’t feeling overly enthusiastic about it at any stage really but it wasn’t all bad. It was interesting in the sense that I have zero knowledge of Iran or its political history so I was learning something which is always a good thing.

Basically it tells the story of a family who live beside a Mosque in Senejan and are also the mosques caretakers. Some parts are hard to get your head around because of the MASSIVE cultural differences between Middle Eastern countries and the West but I tried my best to look at it from their point of view. However as I am what they would probably call your typical ‘ignorant Westerner’ it was hard for me. What I found especially hard to accept was the way women are treated over there. They really are treated like second class citizens or worse and are rarely allowed to have an opinion never mind stand up for themselves.

Throughout the book we meet different characters, both male and female, and while the general feeling towards women was the same there were men who treated them better than others. Our main character Aqa Jaan treated his wife better than most of the other male characters we met but there were, without doubt, still times when I was left shocked by a comment or an action that excluded or demeaned his wife in some way or other.

I must try to be more neutral, however, as this is a way of life for some people and most of the women seemed to just accept it as normality. However the author is a man so how much of women in Iran does he really understand?

At the very least I definitely learned a lot from this book about the Muslim culture and Iranian history. It wasn’t my favourite book but I’m still glad I read it if that makes any sense.

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Posted by on January 28, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

A Feast for Crows by George RR Martin (A Song of Ice and Fire #4)

Oh you rascally devil George!! How could you do this to us loyal fans?

So basically lets just lay out the hard truth here, which is your favourite characters are no where to be seen in this instalment. However it’s not the catastrophe that you may imagine. I did not know that this happened in this book so I sat down to read completely unawares that this was going to happen to me. Maybe that saved me a little because for the first five chapters at least I was thinking ‘Hey we haven’t heard from Tyrion yet…’ The next five I began to worry, the five after that is where I lost all hope.

It’s not just Tyrion either. No Daenarys, no Stannis, no Davos, no Jon… But we all know that Tyrion is the beating heart of these books right? Right?? Don’t even dare to disagree.

But look it’s not all bad. Cersei is the main focus of this novel and that’s not a bad thing at all as I have always loved her for the evil witch that she is. We meet her just after the discovery of her father who Tyrion killed at the end of the previous novel. The death of her father coupled with the death of her son Joffrey seem to send Cersei into a downward spiral where she becomes just a tad insane. Her trip on the crazy train is quite fun to watch though.

We also focus on Brienne who is not the most interesting of characters. She had the potential to be amazing but somehow she comes across as almost a bit stupid or slow minded or something. You want her to be this strong, amazing, Xena warrior princess, type of character but she’s just not. She’s an awkward, paranoid, self-doubting, annoying person who just happens to be a woman and just so happens to be handy enough with the aul sword. Her story isn’t as exciting as it could be too. It seems obvious to me that the Eyrie would be a definite hotspot for Sansa sightings considering its safety and the fact that Lysa is one of Sansas only living relatives but this is not the conclusion that Brienne reaches. So ensues an annoying search that we all know will ultimately be fruitless. We leave Brienne in a bit of a tricky situation so it will be interesting to see what happens to her at the very least.

Sansa is once again the most annoying character in the book. She’s weak, she’s petty, she’s a silly little girl and I loathe her. The scary thing is that no matter how much I dislike Sansa, I will always, ALWAYS, dislike that pitiful creature Robert more. Ugh even saying his name makes me shudder. Somebody push him off the mountain and be done with it.

We also heard tidbits from Arya and Samwell but nothing hugely exciting to report. Their stories do set them up for bigger and better storylines in the future however. Along with them we meet a few new characters in the form of Arienne, Areo and Arys. Confused? You should be. They’re off in Dorne which was nice to learn a bit about but to be honest I think I’m pretty much at my limit for new characters. Especially those with names beginning with A…

It was good, but there is no escaping the fact that major characters were missed terribly and I really feel for fans who read this as the books were released. To wait years for a book and then to not get to read about your favourite character would be a killer. Thankfully I’m a latecomer to this series so am able to skip merrily onto Dance with Dragons. Insert evil laugh here!!

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Posted by on January 22, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

White Horse by Alex Adams


You see the thing is this book was kind of just made for me. I was never going to hate it, mainly because it involved an apocalypse of some sort. However it actually was really well written and the characters were likeable. I’m not biased because of my love of dystopian books, I’m not. I promise.

Ok maybe just a little.

Anyway the main character Zoe is a thirty something woman who is plodding through life fairly quietly. Nothing major to report, she’s a janitor in a pharmaceutical company, formly married but unfortunately widowed due to a car accident. So nothing really unusual. Until an old-fashioned jar turns up in her fortress-like apartment with no other sign of a break in. She is strange in her reaction to it in that she doesn’t immediately open it, instead deciding to go to therapy and get advice on what to do about it.

That’s when things get even stranger as people she knows start to die from unexplained illnesses. Eventually this spreads further than just her circle of friends and people start to die in their thousands. So as the world goes to pot, Zoe falls in love with her therapist. Unfortunately he decides to play his part in the war America is waging and gets shipped off to the other side of the world. They reunite briefly only for Nick to decide that he wants to go in search of his parents who were holidaying in Greece when society collapsed. He disappears during the night to Zoe’s utter horror and so ensues a mad trek across the world in search of him.

The book is written in an interesting way in that it tells the present story of Zoe’s travelling in Europe and then flashes back in time to tell us how she got to that point. It was great because you’re left wondering about a lot of things until midway through the book or even further on. For instance we slowly get hints that she’s pregnant and we don’t know for sure who the father is until even further on.

The sickness was interesting too. It didn’t just kill people. With some people they survived but were left altered in some unimaginable way. Like having a tail or two hearts, that kind of thing. Some were violent, some were not.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It’s hard to make an original apocalypse-based story these days considering the vast amount of them out there but this one is. It was different to anything I’d read and I loved it.

 

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Posted by on January 4, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

The Pact by Jodi Picoult

This was one of those books that’s just scary good you know? It’s almost too good. Picoult is fast becoming one of my favourite authors and even though her books are hit and miss, when she hits… Boy does she hit hard!

This book centers around Chris and Emily a young teenage couple who have grown up next door to each other and shared literally everything over the years. From childhood best buddies to young lovers their relationship has progressed as mostly everyone thought it would. Unfortunately Emily feels as if her life was mapped out for her without any input from herself. As her and Chris become intimate she finds herself becoming more and more uncomfortable with her life and where it seems to be leading. Eventually she decides suicide is the only option and begs Chris to help her end her own life.

As I am someone who has suffered from depression in recent years I have gone from a person with a complete lack of understanding into the minds of those who commit suicide into a person who has a whole lot more compassion and empathy. I used to think that suicide was the ultimate selfish act and a part of me still does but I do understand now that for a person to contemplate suicide they have to be in a very, very dark place where they see no way out. It’s so hard for a ‘normal’ person to understand this feeling. Even now when I’m feeling so much better I struggle to imagine a place where you feel so little hope or happiness that you want to end your life. But it does exist and for that person they believe that everyone, not just themselves, would be so much better off without them. It’s a heartbreaking place to be and I pity anyone in that mindset.

Chris is so completely in love with Emily that he feels at first that he will have no problem talking her out of it. After all how could someone who he loves so much do this to him? As time comes closer he feels less and less in control of the situation until eventually Emily is shot dead and there is confusion over whether Chris shot the bullet or Emily herself did. Chris ends up in jail for murder and a trial ensues where the details of why Emily was feeling the way she was and what happened that night.

Ultimately it’s a pretty heart breaking story and you feel for every single character in the book. I love the way Picoult can tell a story and make you feel as if you have lived the story along with the characters. I loved this book and actually didn’t want it to end.

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Posted by on January 1, 2015 in Uncategorized