Lillelara

Lillelara

"A half finished book is, after all, a half finished love affair"
                 - Robert Frobischer (Cloud Atlas)

Review
4.5 Stars
The Murder on the Links
The Murder on the Links - Agatha Christie

Monsieur Renaulds life is in danger and he asks desperately for Poirots help. Alongside his sideckick Hastings he ventures to France, but upon his arrivel Monsieur Renauld has been murdered. Poirots "grey little cells" are needed once more.

 

I really liked this second book in the Poirot series. The mystery took its twist and turns and I was really surprised by the end of the book, simply because I didn´t see it coming.

 

The more Poirot books I read, the more I grow fond of the characters. Poirot is such a charming, odd and funny man and he might be pompous at times, but he is a genuinly good soul. I have to admit, though, that I like Poirot more when he is with Hastings instead of being on his own. There is something paternal in his manners towards Hastings, that makes him a more likeable person. 

Hastings grated on my nerves at the beginning of the book, because he more or less drooled over every young woman he has laid his eyes on. As a consequence he makes some pretty stupid decisions and I didn´t like how gullible his character has been written in the beginning of the book. However, towards the end of the book I really took a liking to Hastings and when he makes an appearance in other books, I guess I will be less annoyed by him. 

Reading progress update: I've read 90 out of 203 pages.
The Murder on the Links - Agatha Christie

Oh Hastings, you are such an idiot ...

 

 

Review
4 Stars
Travels with my Aunt
Travels With My Aunt - Graham Greene

Travels with my Aunt is a fun and enjoyable read about Henry Pulling, a retired bank manager somewhere in his fifties, and how his life gets turned upside down when he meets his Aunt Augusta at his moher´s funeral. All of a sudden Henry´s boring dahlia-filled suburban life is turned into a life of travels with his unconventional aunt, shady characters, pot and the CIA.

 

Don´t expect an action packed book, because this novel is all about the characters and their relationships with each other. And Graham Greene surely knows how to write some compelling characters. Aunt Augusta could have told her stories for hours, I wouldn´t have cared.

The book is devided into two parts and as much as I enjoyed the first part of the book, Henry coming to grips with his aunt and (more or less) failing at it, I didn´t like the second part that much. The whole South America story has been too unbelievable for my taste and it felt like there hasn´t been a proper conclusion to the story. Besides the little problem that

I had a huge dislike for Mr. Visconti. Aunt Augusta deserved someone better.

(show spoiler)

 

My favorite quote by Aunt Augusta:

 

"I have never planned anything illegal in my life" Aunt Augusta said. "How could I plan anything of the kind when I have never read any of the laws and have no idea what they are?"

Reading progress update: I've read 29 out of 262 pages.
Travels With My Aunt - Graham Greene

"They´ve taken away the urn," I said. "They think my mother´s ashes are marijuana. [...]"

 

 

This is brilliant. Thirty pages into the story and I´m constantly smiling and chuckling. And oh my, Aunt Augusta´s funeral story left me speechless :D.  

Reading progress update: I've read 11 out of 262 pages.
Travels With My Aunt - Graham Greene

I bought myself a 12 month book subscription by the Willoughby book club and yesterday the first book has arrived. And I had to start it right away because

  • I don´t know which book they send me and I love surprises
  • it´s my first book by Graham Greene and I´m super excited about it
  • BrokenTune really liked this book and based on her review it seems like this is going to be a good read.

 

So far I have read two chapters and Aunt Augusta seems to be quite a character.

Review
3.5 Stars
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day - Winifred Watson

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is the perfect book when you are feeling down and you just need something light, fun and charming to read. Even though this book hasn´t the most intricate plot, it kept me entertained for at least a few hours.

I have to admit, I could have done without the few racist comments and the message that a woman needs a man in her life to survive in the world. But since this book is written in the late 1930s and the book has a dated feel about it, I haven´t been too annoyed by it.

 

 

Reading progress update: I've read 66 out of 234 pages.
Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day - Winifred Watson

Life hasn´t been too good in the last couple of weeks, so I´m in desperate need of a light and fun read.

 

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day definitely fits this bill. Miss Pettigrew is simply endearing and Dylesia Lafosse´s naivety is charming. And I cannot wait to meet Michael. Miss Pettigrews first judgement of his character is a devastating one and she doesn´t even know him yet.

Reading progress update: I've read 56 out of 332 pages.
A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers) - Becky Chambers

"And seriously, anybody working in a job that doesn´t let you take a nap when you need to should get a new job."

Reading progress update: I've listened 591 out of 4318 minutes.
Sherlock Holmes: The Definitive Collection -  Arthur Conan Doyle, Stephen Fry

I´ve been awfully busy last week and I didn´t get much reading done. However, I managed to put a huge dent into the Sherlock Holmes audiobook.

 

I finished the first two Holmes novels, A Study in Scarlet and The Sign of Four. Both have been rereads for me and I will stick with my initial rating of 3,5 stars for both stories. The infodumping in both of them concerning the perpetrators still bugs me, I just can´t help it.

 

I really like the narration by Stephen Fry, since he manages to make the stories come alive. And I´m enjoying the forewords by him. He gives for each novel / short story collection an introduction in which he puts the stories into a historical perspective. It´s really interesting and I cannot help but notice just how much of a Holmes-fanboy Stephen Fry is.

Review
5 Stars
J´Accuse
J'accuse...! (I Accuse): Letter to the President of the Republic by Emile Zola (Unabridged) - Emile Zola

Reading Zola´s The Ladies´ Paradise brought me back to this piece of non-fiction by Zola. I have wanted to read this years ago, after having read An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris and I have never gotten round to it until now.

 

J´Accuse is the famous open letter to the french president regarding the Dreyfus affair and the wrongdoings of the government during this affair. Impressive, poignant and a fascinating piece of contemporary history. A highly recommended read, especially when you have some prior knowledge of the Dreyfus affair.

Reading progress update: I've listened 26 out of 4318 minutes.
Sherlock Holmes: The Definitive Collection -  Arthur Conan Doyle, Stephen Fry

After 5 hours of Dickens David Copperfield I had to throw in the towel. The audiobook, narrated by Richard Armitage, is excellent, but I wasn´t interested in Davids life at all. I guess Coming-of-age stories are not my cup of tea.

 

However, while browsing the Audible website, I found this collection of all the Sherlock Holmes novels, narrated by Stephen Fry. Each story has an introduction by Stephen Fry himself and what can I say, Stephen Fry is great and it is a pleasure to be listening to him. It´s a tome of an audiobook (approx. 72 hours), but I´m looking forward to every second of it.

Review
2 Stars
Chocky
Chocky - John Wyndham

Chocky tells the story of 12 year old boy, who all of a sudden has an imagenary friend. His parents have to deal with these changed circumstances and they have to ask themselves, if their son is turning mad or if he is possessed by some foreign entity.

 

My second Wyndham and as much as I loved The Day of the Triffids, I didn´t like Chocky. I couldn´t stand these horrible do-gooder parents (the mother is a stereotypical 1960s housewife and the father a condescending jerk) and I was totally unimpressed by the ending. 150 pages of boredom and a plot like molasses. A huge disappointment.

I just have to get this off my chest

dawn of justice

[Source]

 

I just watched Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice and oh my, this movie was so bad. The whole Martha business was utterly ridiculous (I haven´t done so much eyerolling in a very long time), the special effect guys must have borrowed that "thing" from another movie set or from a second hand store for crappy CGI monsters and don´t get me started on Lois Lane. Because, woman, I have to tell you, Superman has other things to do than to save your ass all the time.

 

I liked Ben Affleck as Batman and Wonder Woman was pretty awesome. But other than that this movie is shite.

 

 

Review
4.5 Stars
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof - Tennessee Williams

A Mississippi plantation on a sultry evening and a dysfunctional family with all its secrets and untold truths. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is one of these plays that I would much rather have watched on the stage than have read it, because I imagine it must be even more powerful while being performed on a stage.

 

The big strenght of this play doesn´t lie in discovering the family secrets, although it deals with a controversial topic (the play is set in the 1950s).

Homosexuality

(show spoiler)

It´s much more about the way the characters deal with these problems and how they behave towards each other during this crises. My favorite part of the play is the dialogue between Brick and his father Big Daddy, which is absolutely mesmerizing, spellbinding and which will change your perception of the characters.

 

I loved reading this play and since I won´t be able to watch it in a theater, I have to watch the movie adaption.

 

Maudit elizabeth taylor cat on a hot tin roof richard brooks making a fool of myself

[Source]

Video

Since I´m reading Geoffrey Chauchers The Canterbury Tales and I´m really enjoying it, I thought I would share some medieval fun. Have a nice sunday, everyone :).

Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYFefppqEtE&t=69s
Review
4 Stars
Far From the Madding Crowd
Far from the Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy

I may be the odd one out, but I really liked Far From the Madding Crowd. I liked the sheep, I liked the character of Gabriel Oak and above all, I loved Thomas Hardys descriptions of the landscapes and the weather. Since I know that a lot of people don´t like his writing style, I´m very pleased by the fact that Hardy seems like an author that I enjoy reading.

 

I have to admit, though, I´m not the biggest fan of the heroine, Bathsheba. She is selfish, condescending, at times cruel, vain and, which is my biggest complaint, utterly stupid. I didn´t feel sorry for her once and during the whole Valentine cards fiasco I just wanted to punch her in the face. How she can have three suitors in the first place is beyond me and the falling in love of Gabriel in the beginning was extremely poorly developed. Why is he falling in love with her? Right, it must have been her looks, because they didn´t talk that much to each other.

 

And I still have the same problem with the book as I had with the Carey Mulligan movie way back then:

 

Gabriel proposes to Bathsheba on page 20 or there about. And after 400 pages of drama and stupidity on behalf of Bathsheba, she ends up with the guy, who proposed to her in the first place. Yeah, she is a daft cow.

(show spoiler)

currently reading

Progress: 14/230pages
Progress: 180/941minutes
Progress: 1389/4318minutes