Monday, December 29, 2014

“The Luminaries” by Eleanor Catton – Stories and Judgments

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton - book cover
As has been mentioned in virtually every review of The Luminaries, there are times when grandiose authors seem to be just born out of blue and crash down into the world of literature like flaming comets, and Eleanor Catton, its author, is certainly one of them.

Before getting into the book itself, I would like to warn potential readers that it is around 848 pages long (depending on which edition you choose I suppose), and is actually the lengthiest Man Booker Prize winner in history. In other words, this is the kind of book that requires dedication on the part of the reader to get through the whole thing and be immersed in it. It does take a bit to start up, and though there are most certainly always things that retain your attention, you will need a certain amount of patience and diligence to enjoy it thoroughly. In any case, what I mean to say is that those who don't like long books because of that sheer characteristic would probably do best to steer clear from this one... otherwise, proceed onwards!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

“The Last Letter from Your Lover” by Jojo Moyes – Love Finds a Way

The Last Letter from Your Lover by Jojo Moyes - book cover
As those of you who have taken to reading this review site regularly doubtlessly already know, romance novels are certainly not up my alley, unless of course there is something extraordinary about them, and let's face it, there aren't that many books in any genre that could be labeled as such.

However, from time to time, either when the mood itself swings in that direction or perhaps the holidays come creeping around I do find myself in a state of mind to give one of them a chance, and in this case I had the pleasure of choosing The Last Letter from Your Lover by Jojo Moyes.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

“Tennessee Williams” by John Lahr – Theater of Tortured Souls

Tennessee Williams by John Lahr - book cover
It is said that artistic creativity, the kind true geniuses are bestowed with, never comes for free, always taking some sort of toll on the person... and as it happens, in some cases that toll ends up being their entire life, as was the case with Tennessee Williams, arguably one of the most prominent and influential playwrights of our time, perhaps even the greatest one the United States had ever seen.

In Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh, John Lahr provides us with a rather detailed and in-depth biography into a strange and tormented life, a review into a fascinating fate. one that dragged its owner through hell and back and gave birth to an eternal star.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

“100 Sideways Miles” by Andrew Smith – Steering Your Own Life

100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith - book cover
It seems that even though coming of age novels are pouring out one after the next, there is little new to introduce into the genre at this stage. Let's face it, the transition into adulthood can certainly be frightening, confusing, disorienting and enlightening, but it is something everyone goes through (barring some notable exceptions, we all know one of those) and in the end, there are countless other topics in life that deserve more attention.

Nevertheless, they do have an undeniable appeal, perhaps due to our ability to relate to them so easily, especially when the author manages to surprise the reader and make the subject feel fresh, which is something I believe Andrew Smith did in 100 Sideways Miles.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

"The Rabbit Back Literature Society" by Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen – A Study of Mysteries

The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen - book cover
As strange as it may be, it feels as if books are perhaps one of the few constants which we take for granted in our universe; once something is written on a page, it stays the same forevermore. Though virtually every book review can be different, they are all going to be discussing the same, never-changing subject, the words on the page. However, if that certainty is to be shattered, then new and interesting paths are certainly opened up to the writer, and that is something Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen achieved when he penned The Rabbit Back Literature Society.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Gliding Over the World of Literature – Issue 66

Good day to all of you, fellow literature enthusiasts, and welcome back for the entry which marks the 66th issue of Gliding Over the World of Literature. You'll most certainly be glad to know that today the topics at hand will be kept fairly light and will actually provide you with some interesting reading materials, ones that will keep you gripped on a binge.

To start things off we are going to delve into a list of ten book series that will most certainly make you want to hermit up in your cozy dwelling for the entire holidays. Following that we will go deep into the past in honor of Alice in Wonderland's 150th anniversary, and conclude it all by checking out how Tolkien's Middle Earth mythologies actually have beneath them a very complex and intriguing system of politics.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

"The Broken Eye" by Brent Weeks – The Rise of a New Dawn

The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks - book cover
The world created for us by Brent Weeks in his Lightbringer series is, following the second book in it, The Blinding Knife, is in a rather chaotic state: the satrapies lie in ruins, the old gods have reawakened, the world is plunged into a terrifying civil war, Gavin Guile has been captured and stripped of his powers... in other words, in the third book in the series,

The Broken Eye, our protagonist Kip has his work cut out for him. Without giving away anything in the review, this book feels like the first half of a two-part finale, one that becomes increasingly focused on Kip's trials and tribulations as he attempts to navigate the cruel and unforgiving politics and power games of his world as well as elude a sect of assassins while trying desperately to find a way to salvage his universe, to stop it from descending in the eternal abyss of pain, desolation and suffering.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

"The Blinding Knife" by Brent Weeks – The Abyss of Chaos

The Blinding Knife by Brent Weeks - book cover
The second book in the Lightbringer series by Brent Weeks, The Blinding Knife, picks up exactly where the last book left off, and needless to say, if you haven't read the first part yet, The Black Prism, then you should do so before potentially tackling this book for this is one of those series that needs to be read in the proper order to be enjoyed and understood.

Monday, December 08, 2014

"The Black Prism" by Brent Weeks – The Colors of Fate

The Black Prism by Brent Weeks - book cover
Though in the real world politics and struggles for power are the cause of much pain and suffering, in the world of the book they are the fodder that makes for grandiose and epic stories, the kind literature doesn't forget. The Black Prism by Brent Weeks is the first part of the Lightbringer series, and though it certainly is in the realm of fantasy and magic, its overwhelming story is still founded in the very familiar realm of power and politics.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

"The Orientalist" by Tom Reiss – The Enigmatic Faces of Lev Nussimbaum

The Orientalist by Tom Reiss – book cover
There come many times where real life brings to us stories so incredible and sensational that they feel as if they belong more in the realm of literature fiction than anything else. Of course, as is often the case, lives that took dangerous twists and turns are more or less shrouded in mystery, and perhaps one of the most fascinating ones is that of Lev Nussimbaum. Thankfully though, Tom Reiss has taken it upon himself to retrace and chronicle the life of this enigmatic man across the many countries he visited and people he crossed in his book titled The Orientalist.

Who exactly was Lev Nussimbaum? His story begins in rather complex conditions and he gets thrown to the wolves, being forced to escape the Russian revolution aboard a camel caravan with little more than what he had on his back. That decision led him on a life during which he more than likely took on multiple identities, though in the end re-inventing himself as Esad Bay, effectively making the transformation into a Muslim prince. It can be said that the more surprising part about that. He is believed to be the author of the eternally and internationally-popular "Ali and Nino", and has also written biographies of Nicholas II and Stalin, as well as a review of the Azerbaijani oil industry.

Monday, December 01, 2014

"Revival" by Stephen King – Eternal Bonds

Revival by Stephen King (book cover)
In recent years it seems that with his fans, Stephen King has been delivering largely hit or miss literature, at least if his book reviews are to be trusted. Fortunately, it seems that he managed to find his footing with his more recent works, and in my opinion Revival is certainly a grand step in the proper direction.

To explain the story as basically as possible, it begins with the introduction of Jamie Morton, a young boy who develops a deep and somewhat dark bond with the Reverend Jacobs who only recently arrived in town. A macabre turn of events pushes Jamie into the arms of tragedy, and the good Reverend to curse the name of God and leave the town forever.