The Help by Kathryn Stockett Review 4/5

Overall Impression: A leisurely walk through history with some strikingly memorable characters.
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
This is another book I never really planned to read because it seemed impossible that it could live up to the insane hype around it. Its chick-lit-esk cover also confused me somewhat, why was a book dealing with important issues masquerading around in such a way? It seemed like an odd mix. Although I felt this way, I thought it would appeal to a member of my family so I suggested it as a Christmas gift for her. She read it, enjoyed it and then passed it on to me due to my reputation as a woman who adopts all unwanted books to look after, lol!
With the positive comments from all of you echoing in my ear I with much trepidation opened the first page to discover a tale of courage and hardship in the deep south.
I also just realised that I can use this as my last book for the 2012 Eclectic Reader Challenge. Huzzar, it is complete – some 5 months late but COMPLETE. WOO!

Enter a vanished world: Jackson, Mississippi, 1962. Where black maids raise white children, but aren’t trusted not to steal the silver…
There’s Aibileen, raising her seventeenth white child and nursing the hurt caused by her own son’s tragic death; Minny, whose cooking is nearly as sassy as her tongue; and white Miss Skeeter, home from college, who wants to know why her beloved maid has disappeared.
Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny. No one would believe they’d be friends; fewer still would tolerate it. But as each woman finds the courage to cross boundaries, they come to depend and rely upon one another. Each is in search of a truth. And together they have an extraordinary story to tell…

The Help switches between three main perspectives for its duration Aibileen, Minny and Miss Skeeter. Aibileen is a black maid who specializes in taking care of children, her current commitment is Mae Mobley, a child desperate for her mothers approval receiving only agitated looks and scolding in return.  Continue reading

The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White Review 3/5

Overall Impression: This is a tiny little book with a lot of information, but does anyone actually TRY and make these writing books interestingThe Elements of Style by William Strunk JR. and E.B. White as well as informative? Zzz.

This was a book set to me as recommended reading for my minor in creative writing at university. Being a good little student I decided to play along. It’s geared towards both creative and formal essay writing.
Of my own free will I never would have picked up any kind of grammar book even if you paid me. Maybe it’s because I hate the idea of writing as a formula, or perhaps it’s because the idea of writing being filled with rules is horrifying to me as it immediately makes it feel less fun. But I suppose…. *sigh* that it is kind of necessary. Maybe……
Possibly…
I’m also using this as part of the Eclectic Reader Challenge, partly because I need a non-fiction book and partly because it was a reason to push myself to actually read it all, lol. Yep that’s correct, I read the whole yawnsome thing from cover to cover! -_-
I’ve never reviewed anything non-fiction before, but I shall do my best. Wish me luck!

Blurb from Goodreads (as mine doesn’t have a blurb at all):
You know the authors’ names. You recognize the title. You’ve probably used this book yourself. This is The Elements of Style, the classic style manual, now in a fourth edition. A new Foreword by Roger Angell reminds readers that the advice of Strunk & White is as valuable today as when it was first offered.This book’s unique tone, wit and charm have conveyed the principles of English style to millions of readers. Use the fourth edition of “the little book” to make a big impact with writing.

According to the introduction this book was originally printed by William Strunk Jr. as a little 43 page guide to help his students. E.B White just so happened to be one of those students, and many years later he was asked to revise it. As a big practitioner of the book he accepted, updating it as well as adding a few extra pearls of wisdom and so TA DA, we have The Elements of Style 4th edition. Continue reading

Dracula by Bram Stoker Review 4/5

Overall Impression: Longwinded; but ultimately a great atmospheric and tangible tale of the most notorious vampire in pop culture.

I have wanted to read this book for so long, that I almostDracula by Bram Stoker can’t believe I’ve finally done it! As a girl who got caught up in the vampire craze of YA literature, I knew that at some point I would have to delve back in history to one of the original sources and inspiration; Dracula. While, like many others I had of course heard of Dracula from the constant stream of references, puns and parodies saturating our media, I never really had any knowledge of the details and plot twists it entailed. And I have to say in many ways, it was not at all what I was expecting! When I finished the book in the early hours of 5am I was almost left with the feeling that the whole tale was real, or at least, that it could have really happened.
This I think, is a large aspect of its appeal.
This book was also read for the belated Eclectic Reader Challenge for the horror genre.

Collected inside this book are diary entries, letters and newspaper clippings that piece together the depraved story of the ultimate predator. A young lawyer on an assignment finds himself imprisoned in a Transylvanian castle by his mysterious host. Back at home his fiancée and friends are menaced by a malevolent force which seems intent on imposing suffering and destruction. Can the devil really have arrived on England’s shores? And what is it that he hungers for so desperately?

Jonathan Harker is a young Englishman with the new burden of responsibility, and all he wants to do is succeed. So when he is sent to help the mysterious Count Dracula he does everything within his power to please him. It is not long however, until he starts to find a few strange things about the place. There seem to be no serving staff – or anyone else living around for that matter. Why does the Count never eat, and where does he skulk off to late at night?  Continue reading

Across the Universe by Beth Revis Review 3/5

Overall Impression: A random mix of science fiction, dystopian and romance that intrigues but fails to entertain.Across the Universe

Aggh, unfortunately another book I was disappointed by, I seem to be hitting a bit of a rough patch in my reading lately. I’ve got to stop getting reeled in by pretty covers on books dammit!
I got this book last year for Christmas after putting it on my wishlist, and while there were some aspects of Across the Universe that were really interesting there were also a lot of issues I couldn’t overlook. Then again, maybe I’m just becoming the grumpy granny of the literary world, lol!
I am also using this book for the science fiction category on the Eclectic Reader Challenge. I think this is the first science fiction book I’ve ever read, so from that point of view it was at least a good way of dipping my toes into a new genre.

Amy has left the life she loves for a world 300 years away.
Trapped in space and frozen in time, Amy is bound for a new planet. But fifty years before she’s due to arrive, she is violently woken, the victim of an attempted murder. Now Amy’s lost on board and nothing makes sense – she’s never felt so alone.
Yet someone is waiting for her. He wants to protect her – and more if she’ll let him.

Amy has the opportunity to make a journey of a lifetime, they called it ‘the epitome of the American dream’, a chance to find more land on a new planet. Her mother and father are determined to embark on the journey, but Amy is not so sure.  Continue reading

Eclectic Updates and Ego Stroking

Aggghhh stressed! So, so stressed! I have too many deadlines and essays. It’s a spiraling abyss or psychological journals and books on grammar! I have 5,100 words of mumbo jumbo to write all due in by the start of December, and a looming exam. It feels impossible, but I’ll do it somehow I guess… :/

Meanwhile I have all these blog posts I want to write, and all these books I want to read but I barely have the time to touch either of them.

Agghhhfff, frustrated!

Which brings me back to my main point; books. It always goes back to the books doesn’t it? Lol.

2012 eclecticreader

I’m so behind on the Eclectic Reader Challenge! I’ve only read 8 of 12 books on the list and I only have until the 31st of December, and at the snail pace I am currently going there’s no way I will complete it. It’s quite depressing actually. I thought I would complete it no problem, but I keep deviating from the list. I’ve read 20 books this year, but only eight of them are relevant to the challenge. *sigh* So contrary. Not to mention the fact that various big changes in my life keep throwing me off balance which puts me even more behind.
As my first book challenge I really wanted to complete it, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. 😦

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In other news….. Continue reading

The Brutal Art by Jesse Kellerman Review 4/5

The Brutal Art by Jesse KellermanOverall Impression: Finally a thriller I enjoyed! Smart, sophisticated and classy.

I’ve had this novel on my bookshelf for a long time. At school I went through a phase of researching books when I was bored in ICT class, and I found The Brutal Art mentioned a lot with rave reviews. So, I eventually purchased a second hand copy from ebay. After one failed attempt to read it while waiting in a Thorpe Park queue with friends (too full of nervous anticipation) it made it’s way back to my shelf soon forgotten. Until now.
I am also using this book as part of the Eclectic Reader Challenge for the Crime/Mystery category. 🙂

In a New York slum, a tenant has mysteriously disappeared – leaving behind a huge collection of sick but brilliant paintings.
For art dealer Ethan Muller, this is the discovery of a lifetime. He displays the pictures in his gallery and watches as they rocket up in value.
But suddenly the police want to talk to him. It seems that the missing artist had a deadly past. Sucked into an investigation four decades cold, Ethan will uncover a secret legacy of shame and death, one that will touch horrifyingly close to home – and leave him fearing for his own life.

Ethan Muller is a hot shot living in New York. He has money to burn, a no strings attached relationship and a successful art gallery. He has everything he could ever need. Or at least he thinks so, until he comes across Victor Cracke’s paintings. Disturbed and intoxicated by the work he sets up an exhibit which is an instant success. Desperate to know more he searches for the missing painter; interrogating neighbours, shuffling through boxes and reading the mans diary, but gets nowhere. So when  Continue reading

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald Review 2/5

Overall Impression: At the risk of sounding immature andThe Great Gatsby cover uncultured – what a snooze fest!

This book was read as part of the Eclectic Reader Challenge.
I really wanted to like this book.
From the moment I first bought it, I was staring longingly toward the spot it occupied on my bookshelf. Excited to discover this epic story that is so widely praised, and cherished.
Umm yeah…no.
Seriously, what just happened? Gatsby goers what am I missing?
This year I set myself the goal of trying to read more classics including books from the Rory Gilmore Challenge. And weirdly it has only just dawned on me – I am not going to like all of them; because no matter how much literary merit they have, people’s tastes vary. Unfortunately this was one I just did not get on with.
A pre warning, this is probably more of a rant than a review, and when I look back on it later I hope I will be able to look down my nose at it and say ‘gosh, I was so immature’. But here goes!

Jay Gatsby is a self-made man famed for his decadent, champagne-drenched parties. Despite being surrounded by Long Island’s bright and beautiful, he longs only for Daisy Buchanan. In shimmering prose, Fitzgerald shows Gatsby pursue his dream to its tragic conclusion.

The above description pretty much sums up the entire plot (it’s only a small book, 148 pages in my version). We are guided by Nick Carraway, our narrator (implementing the age old unreliable narrator debate) a man in his 30s recovering from his involvement in the war. He decides to try his hand at the bond business, moving to New York. As an outsider he paints a bright picture of the 1920s in America – the glamour, the parties, and the desecrated American Dream. He rents a house which resides next to the mansion of the one and only Jay Gatsby, a figure of mystery and intrigue who’s story is slowly revealed throughout the course of the novel.  As past and present collide, tensions hit breaking point in a whirlwind of love, jealousy and betrayal. Continue reading