Thanx to your advice I put in my suitcase these books… I read slowly, lazily, between a dip in the sea and a fried auberjine… This post is being posted lately than usual, and I haven’t read my “monthly classic”: but seldom classics are good “beach reads”, I’m sorry!!!
The night circus by Erin Morgenstern – What can I say, a great book! It’s as intriguing as the circus it describes, romantic, ironic, with plot twists you don’t see coming. And it makes you wish for autumn or at least to have tarots read. I know that I usually use more words to review a book, but I liked everything here: plot, characters, style, a sum of things that goes beyond its single parts! Thanx to Chiara for pointing me at this book!!! (And a thing I’ve just noticed… Morgen stern… morning star… is this a moniker or does she really have such a wonderful surname???)
Siberian education by Nicolai Lilin- Finally I got to this! I was a bit worried of having spoiled the book by seeing the movie before reading, but luckily the movie is a very good re-edition for the big screen: it takes elements here and there and mixes them up to have a cinema-ready and organic story to display. The book is entirely different, and I highly recommend it, the style is very simple, honest, straight to the point, somewhat childish/elementary… And I think it’s perfect to render the life and the speeches he was immersed into. After all siberian education is made of stories that people pass on vocally and with this book it feels like you’re being told stories by people while everyone’s gathered around a table, stories told by people about other people. We all have a “life story”. And may I add that, criminal stuff aside, it wouldn’t be so bad to have a tiny bit of that same education? I so loved the bits about respecting all people, discussing things politely and rationally in contextes where everyone is entitled to their opinion and to express it (in due times and manners), and the polite way to speak, have manners and go out and about. It’s respect.
The pillars of the earth by Ken Follett – I had never read Ken Follett before… And I think I will never again. I dropped the book after a few chapters (about around page 300 of 900 and more…), I do not have time to waste reading stuff I don’t like. To me it’s just badly written. Maybe it’s because I had so many expectations on this author… But you really can’t give me characters so bidimensional, so clearly either good or bad, black or white. And then, just because, pointing out the obvious: I’ve read one hundred pages, and nothing happened, do you really -really- need to make a character think or say a summary of what happened? Do US people really think and speak by summaries? Come on! And don’t get me started on female characters… they were so implausible that they were almost the mockery of a stereotype! Or silly things such as: they’re travelling during winter, through woods, and he never mentions the cold, or slipping on ice, or snow crusted somewher, or steam rising from the mouths while speaking/breathing… it’s just “Kids, go to sleep now, lie on the ground”. On the ground??? In the woods??? During winter??? And you’re keeping this life not for days but for months??? And you’re not “waking up dead and frozen” every single day??? OH COME ON!!! And speeches are absolutely forced and exploitables… isn’t it rule number one “show don’t tell”? Yet I’ve saved the best for last: he’s a stone mason he hopes to build a cathedral, and he really thinks he can draw the project and see it completely constructed in his lifetime… I mean, I know in the US a building from the ’70s is an “historical site”, but it suffices to open up a history book to know that cathedrals took centuries to be made!!!
So, in the end: no no no Ken Follett, I have absolutely no idea on how you can be such a famous writer… bah… de gustibus?
The sword of destiny and The last wish by Andrzej Sapkowski – A very enjoyable fantasy, where the “usual” fantasy creatures aren’t that “usual” after all (even though… is it just me or lately fantasy is about giving new interpretations to classic creatures/characters?). Anyway, the interpretation given here is good and original. I’ve found the adventures of the Witcher to be far more believable than Follett’s protagonist, and this must say something!!! It’s a series of short novels with one single fil rouge (recurrent characters, self references, etc). Basically a very good summer read: it’s fun, it keeps you tied to the book for the right amount of time and, all in all, is just a pleasant read for various reasons. If you’re into fantasy I’d say give these a chance
As usual I’m using affiliate links to amazon (aka if you decide to purchase a book from a link I’ve provided it costs you the same but – in a far away future – I’ll get a small percentage on it), I always link to the cheapest option and, as you can see from Follett’s book, if I don’t like a book I do not recommend its purchase U_U