Wednesday, 30 July 2014

5 Books I Recommend

I know this post is probably pretty boring for most, but I've got to get this down in writing. I love to devour words, and I basically read a LOT. I used to read more because I had the time, but now I don't have as much time to read anymore. Nevertheless, here are some good books I have read, starting from...

5) The Other Boleyn Girl, by Philippa Gregory

I adore historical fiction. Love love love it, which is ironic because I flunked my combined humanities during O level. What?! If they made me write about Henry VIII, I would totally excel. I think it's really interesting that 500 years later, we are still reading about these people. Some of them aren't really even that important, but they get their own characters in novels and movies. For example, Mary Boleyn, who is actually The Other Boleyn Girl's main character.

Yes, after all she was the queen consort's sister and kin to Queen Elizabeth I, but if you think about it, she really was a nobody. In those times, factors such as wealth, kin, family alliance, and favour with the King mattered most in terms of status. She herself was not wealthy and was the eldest daughter of the Earl of Wiltshire, Thomas Boleyn. Also, in that time period, girls were only as good as the family they were married into (and thus increasing or decreasing familial status by alliance). She married William Carey who had no title (who later became Sir William Carey, I believe?), and became the King's royal mistress, also rumoured to have had two royal bastards. So altogether, not very impressive.

However, she has an entire book written about her! I believe there are more, though. I know some people criticize Philippa Gregory's writing and say that she is taking too many creative liberties and sensationalizes stories too much, but she's a novelist, they're supposed to make stories interesting. Otherwise, nobody would ever care about Henry VIII and his six wives. Also, if you wanted a history lesson, read historical accounts and not historical fiction.

4) For One More Day, by Mitch Albom

Oh man.

Such a sad story.

No stranger to touching chords in our hearts that we didn't even know existed, Mitch Albom recounts a mother and son story of Charley "Chick" Benetto and makes us think about all the chances we miss and all the relationships we take for granted. It's very sorrowful and enlightening, I don't wish to talk about it much. :(

3) The Rainmaker, by John Grisham

Oh, this is a story about a lawyer! It's by the great John Grisham, and tells the story of a struggling law school fresh graduate hitting paydirt with one little case that brings down the big dogs on his head yet pulls down the greatest prize.

My secondary school teacher actually recommended Grisham to me, along with novels by Jeffrey Archer. And it's so good! It was adapted into a film in 1997 but the novel is definitely better. Many of Grisham's novels are about lawyers, haha, but I like this best because it portrays the rough side of law school, the side that isn't the glamorous, glass-walled, $3000-suit donning image of court brawlers we have in our minds.

2) The Harry Potter series (1 thru 7)

I've talked about how much I love the Potter universe so many times I really don't think this needs an explanation.

1) The Time Traveller's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger

Those who have watched the movie might be familiar with this story, and Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana are so talented, in my opinion. I especially thought of Rachel as a fantastic Clare. However, in my opinion, the movie was not nearly as beautiful or accurate a portrayal of their relationship as in the book...

This is my favourite book and my favourite love story ever. No kidding. It follows the story of Henry DeTamble, who is unfortunate or fortunate enough to have a little something special in his genes that makes him a CDP - Chronically-Displaced Person. This means that he sometimes gets displaced in time - in layman's terms, we call it time travel. He first meets his wife, Clare, when she is six and he is 42 or 43. The timelines switch back and forth, but is organized in such a way that effectively plays out the chronological order of their relationship.

And Rachel is really, really believable as Clare, she really is. She's so beautiful, and the red hair fits, and she has these awesome dimples, and I just can see her as an artsy, caring, ebullient, small town girl, which is exactly what Clare is. And whenever Henry disappears, I get the feeling from Clare that there is no shock or anything, just quiet resignation. And Rachel gets that perfectly!

Anyway, this is about the book and not the movie, sorry. The writing style makes me truly feel that I am glimpsing an insight into the most private nature of their relationship, and at the same time I enjoy the portrayal of the culture that is all around that time period like Iggy Pop, Clash, etc etc. Also, I love the very matter of fact way that feelings are discussed and displayed in the novel. Here is a snippet:

"Henry's been gone for almost twenty-four hours now, and as usual I'm torn between thinking obsessively about when and where he might be and being pissed at him for not being here ... I hear Henry whistling as he comes up the path through the garden, into the studio. He stomps the snow off his boots and shrugs off his coat. He's looking marvelous, really happy. My heart is racing and I take a wild guess: "May 24, 1989?" "Yes, oh, yes!" Henry scoops me up ... and swings me around. Now I'm laughing, we're both laughing."

Okay. Go and read!!

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