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Ape House: A Novel
Ape House: A Novel
von Sara Gruen
Preis: EUR 6,99

2.0 von 5 Sternen a rather slow read that reveals deeper meaning at the end, 30. Juli 2011
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Ape House: A Novel (Taschenbuch)
Reading this book took me a rather long time. Mainly because I kept putting it aside or simply doing something else. At one point I almost stopped reading altogether, but I don't like doing that.
So what is it about?
In the first chapter we meet John Thigpen, who is on his way home from a visit to the Great Ape Language Lab. The reader is introduced to the bonobos and scientist Isabel Duncan, who works with the apes. From then on the story follows John, Isabel and the bonobos separately.
After John's visit to the Language Lab it is attacked by an animal rights group and the lives of everyone involved changes dramatically.
John, who wants to stay on this story, is sabotaged by his own editor and ends up following his wife to LA, where she found a job.
Isabel, who was badly hurt in the explosion, learned about the betrayal of her fiancé and invests all her remaining energy to get back together with the great apes, who have been sold and are experiencing a lot of stress in their new environment.
While I was thinking about writing this review I was surprised at how much the book had to say.
John's story mainly centers on his and his wife's professional problems. They are both not where they want to be professionally and end up selling out before regaining their integrity. When Amanda starts working in Hollywood she loses herself in a superficial world and tries to change herself to fit into this society. And John? He finds himself first researching trivial articles and then working for a tabloid.
I think this is one of the stronger points of the novel, how John and Amanda do things they clearly object to, to further their careers or rather keep their jobs.
Unfortunately John's story is overshadowed by his mother in law and Amanda's wish to have children. He also seems to be distracted by his own thoughts of other women, making the reader expect some kind of adultery, although he is obviously devoted to his wife.
Isabel Duncan's story focuses on her healing process and her trial to reconnect with the apes. She has to deal with physical and mental healing as well as her fear for her own life and that of the bonobos. The reader perceives her poweless against a corporate world exploiting animals. Her story is similar to that of the great apes, who also find themselves at the mercy of an unknown stranger not knowing where they are going and what is happening to them.

All this sounds like a great read, but I'm sorry to say Ape House isn't. There are too many details and distractions, plus narrative threads that lead nowhere. The story rambles along for a very long time before picking up speed at the end, and getting everybody back on track as soon as they take control of their own lives again.

Wish You Were Here
Wish You Were Here
von Graham Swift
  Gebundene Ausgabe
Preis: EUR 18,46

4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Another great Swift novel, 5. Juli 2011
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Wish You Were Here (Gebundene Ausgabe)
Wish You Were Here is written in typical Swift manner. In the first chapter we meet Jack Luxton and learn a little bit about him. He is the owner of a caravan site on the Isle of Wight, his wife's name is Ellie and he used to live on a farm in Devon with his father and his much younger brother Tom. His mother was already dead before the mad cow disease hit England. The reader meets Jack in a state of distress; he is sitting on his bed with a loaded gun, anticipating Ellie to come home. It is apparent that the wrong things were said and done, but we don't know what yet.
In the course of the novel we find out more about Jack's life and what has happened in the days before that made him wait for his wife with a loaded gun.
Wish You Were Here is written in a series of flashbacks, as is common for Graham Swift. He tells the story not linear but jumps back and forth between the present and different moments in the past. Additionally the point of view changes, most of the time things are presented from Jack's position. Often we see things from Ellie's standpoint and then there are also other characters who allow us a peak into their minds.
Reading this book we also find other things that are typical for Graham Swift, not only his style of writing is prominent but also his protagonists share a common factor, they are normal people. You might also say his stories are about the little man. There is nothing extraordinary about his characters; they represent the common British people. Jack Luxton is a farmer's son during a hard time for dairy farmers and the world in general. He has to deal with everyday problems and thus represents the life in contemporary Britain.
I also have to say a word or two about the title: Wish You Were Here is not a book title that usually attracts my attention, but this ordinary phrase, which reminds us of a postcard greeting, appears in various situations throughout the novel. It is used for different people and meanings giving the reader cause to think about these simple words and the effect they can have. In retrospect I think the title is a very suitable one, and the story is not like the one you might expect when reading: Wish you were here.
Even though I really like Graham Swift's work, and I think you either do or don't, I admit that towards the end of the book there was a section I could have done without. It drags on for some time, before the ending regains your attention and you can't put the book aside until you've finished.
If you have never read Graham Swift this is as good a book to start as any of his, although it is not his best it is a very good read.

We Are All Made of Glue
We Are All Made of Glue
von Marina Lewycka
Preis: EUR 8,50

1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen rather disappointing, 16. Juni 2011
Rezension bezieht sich auf: We Are All Made of Glue (Taschenbuch)
Marina Lewycka's 'We Are All Made of Glue' is a story about relationships. There is the relationship between Georgie Sinclair and her husband Rip that has fallen apart after years of marriage. Their son Ben tries to keep good relations with both of them while at the same time trying to connect with the confusing teenage world. Georgie starts a friendly connection with her elderly neighbor Mrs Shapiro, who tells her about her relationship with her husband Artem. Mrs Shapiro also has close relations to an abundance of stinking cats and her run down home, Canaan House. This house attracts real estate agents, who try to build relationships with Georgie and Mrs Shapiro. Various relationships with God are mentioned as well as the love for a homeland.

Georgie Sinclair is the narrator and at the center of things. After the breakup with her husband she is lonely and strikes up a strange friendship with an elderly lady from the neighborhood, Mrs Shapiro. This friendship becomes more serious when Mrs Shapiro has an accident and names Georgie as her next of kin in the hospital. Now she has to look after the old lady's cats and save her from social services, who want to steel her house and put her in a home for the elderly.
All of a sudden Georgie has to deal with sexy real estate agents, home improvements and history.

I would love to say the book was as funny as promised, but it wasn't. Georgie is a selfish and ignorant narrator. Under the cover of helping Mrs Shapiro she goes snooping around her private affairs and all in all gets more involved than she has to, while at the same time being irritated with Mrs Shapiro's demands.

Without the many mysteries in the novel I don't think I would have finished it. The most tantalizing mystery is the story of Artem Shapiro which only grows more mysterious as it progresses. Intertwined in this mystery is the character of Mrs Shapiro, who raises more questions than we get answers for. Then there is the subject of Georgie's loneliness, her search for another man and her desire for revenge.This is mainly expressed in excerpts from her sorry attempts of writing a romance novel. And what is with the looming Armageddon?

After the mysteries dissolve, the ending is almost too sickeningly happy to bear, giving closure to all the characters and problems encountered from the first page on.
I did feel relieved when I finally turned the last page and put the book aside.

Artemis Fowl and the Atlantis Complex
Artemis Fowl and the Atlantis Complex
von Eoin Colfer
Preis: EUR 7,99

1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen where will the story go?, 16. Juni 2011
Artemis Fowl and the Atlantis Complex is the seventh book in the Artemis Fowl series. Young Artemis is fifteen now and is no longer a criminal but wants to save the world. He used his genius mastermind to come up with a plan to stop global warming. Of course this plan involves fairy technology and help from the people. So he invites his friends Holly Short and Foaly, of the LEP, and some other important fairies for a demonstration to Iceland.
But then everything goes wrong. They are being attacked and the attacker flees into the glacier and as they follow, they soon realize he's heading for Atlantis. Fearing an attack on the people they alarm Poliza Plaza of this danger. And measures are being taken to protect the city's inhabitants, only to discover that the attack was just a cover for a much more dangerous threat to the people. Artemis and his friends find themselves fighting against a strong and vicious enemy, again.
The unknown enemy is not their only problem though, as Artmeis has gotten himself a critical personality disorder, making him a victim of numbers and giving way to a hidden romantic personality that drives Holly and Foaly mad and is utterly stupid.

Just as in the other Artemis Fowl novels technology is very important and Artemis and Foaly keep flexing their tech-muscles. I like this aspect of the novels as there's always a form of the latest human technology hype in the fairy world as well, only better of course. Mi-ps (meepees) are used frequently in this book to help our heroes out of trouble.

Another thing I like about the Fowl series is that the fairy world and its make up aren't explained in detail anymore, we get vital reminders of people and places, but mainly these just help along. Starting with this book is not advisable as the characters have evolved throughout the series and they have gone through a lot together and most of the interpersonal relations are hard to understand and appreciate fully if you miss the story behind the joke - Butler's kevlar chest for example, to name just one.

The relationship between Holly and Artemis has to face new levels as Artemis is growing up and starts looking at Holly as maybe more than just a friend. Artemis' lack of human friends, Holly's childlike appearance (a fairy thing, she has long seized to be a child though) and their close friendship (acquired over several deadly advantures) render this as a logical conclusion. Meaning it was bound to happen.

Even though I am always happy to lay my hands on an Artmeis Fowl novel, I cannot help but feel a little disappointed. There seemed to be happening less than usual and Artemis was more entangled in fighting his disease than helping his friends, much to his own distress. It is a necessary step for him to complete the transformation away from the bad child to the good teenager, but it wasn't as gripping to read as when he used his brain to come up with devious plans.
The series started with Artemis being a criminal prodigy who can't be trusted. However, as the stories progressed and the fairies and Artemis had to help each other through various adventures, his criminal energy was diminished and as a reader it was hard to regard him as a bad, ruthless person. I am curious if Eoin Colfer will take this any further and come up with more adventures for the friends to fight.

Heat Wave (Nikki Heat)
Heat Wave (Nikki Heat)
von Richard Castle
Preis: EUR 6,03

2 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen something to bridge the summer break, 16. Juni 2011
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Heat Wave (Nikki Heat) (Taschenbuch)
Heat Wave is a crime fiction tie-in of abc's Castle. Normally I don't read crime fiction, but when I saw this book I couldn't resist. It is not so much about the story as the fact that this book even exists.
If you are a fan of the show you know that in the second season Richard Castle, one of the main characters, publishes his first book after his writer's block. This book is Heat Wave. Throughout an entire episode this book is present. The cover art, the inscription, the acknowledgements and of course the hot sex scene between detective Heat and her reporter shadow are talked about. In a later season the book appears again, as it will be turned into a movie.
So when I saw they published this novel I couldn't resist.
The story goes like this. A superstar magazine journalist, Jameson Rook, follows homicide detective Nikki Heat to research an article on New York's Finest. The case he gets to ride along on is a murder of a real estate tycoon, who was thrown off his balcony. During the investigation they learn about the many secrets and problems of his life: women, gambling and the financial ruin of his business. On their way to solve the murder the team has to deal with various mysteries, affairs and more dead bodies.
The book is a fascinating read for a fan of the tv show. From the first page on it felt like being in one of the episodes. The language is true to Richard Castle, espescially when he has his crazy theory moments. But you also get more than in the show. The reader gets a deeper insight into Nikki Heat's character than into Kate Beckett's mind. Also there is more background information to the way the team works and how they act together.
Nevertheless the book's characters differ from the show's characters. Nikki is more sexed up than Beckett and Rook is more annoying and stupid than Castle.
I think this is an interesting aspect of the novel-show connection. As a fan of the show the reader knows Richard Castle, the author of the novel, and thus his characterization of his main characters tells us also something about him, showing us how aware he is of his disturbance, and the danger he presents on a crime scene. In this way the book adds new dimensions to the character of Richard Castle, and I really liked this side of him. Also I liked that the book is not written badly, as Castle seems to be such a sophisticated and smart man in the show and reading this book could have easily taken that away from me.
Another opportunity the book gives to the fan of the show is experiencing what it would be like if Castle and Beckett broke their boundaries and became more than friends. In the book Nikki Heat and Jameson Rook give in to their sexual attraction and I felt a kind of satisfaction or relief, because it seems to be the natural thing. Of course this could not work in the show, as it would jumble up their work relationship - as it does in the book - and take away the easy entertainment the show offers at the moment.
All in all I have to say I was impressed by the book. I didn't expect much, as I'm not interested in fanfiction either. Reading this book was fun, though, seeing Rook being clumsy, stupid and in the way was as enjoyable as were Nikki Heat's inner monologues.
Plus I like the fact that they kept everything true to form. The cover art, the inscription and acknowledgements are the same as in the show, as is the praise printed on the book.
This book is a really nice assett to the show and I'm curious to read Naked Heat, Castle's second book.

von Emma Donoghue

8 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen not thoroughly convinced, 16. Juni 2011
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Room (Taschenbuch)
Looking at the book I want to say it is bad, but I just cannot do that. Neither can I say it is a good book. So, what is the book about? It is not easy to talk about the story without telling too much of it.
For starters let's just say it is the story of five-year-old Jack, who lives with his Ma in Room, and the adventures following his fifth birthday. When Jack was four he thought he knew the world, but with five everything has changed.
Jack is the narrator of the book. The reader only gets his point of view in his voice, that of a five-year-old. In general I like this practice, keeping the narrative voice true to the narrator instead of just writing from his viewpoint. But reading this book I never completely felt comfortable with the language he uses, it got on my nerves pretty soon. Later I discovered why that is. Jack's character is very smart for a five-year-old, he can read and write, memorize long and complex sentences, count and calculate. However, Emma Donoghue gives him bad grammar to show it is his voice. He seems incapable of using irregular verbs for the simple past properly and most of his questions are grammatically wrong. Whereas these are probably typical steps for a five-year-old acquiring English it is just disturbing as Jack is not like other children his age.
Chosing Jack as the narrator is a smart move though, because this way Donoghue can not only show us how he sees the world and thus question the things that are natural and normal for us, but it also allows her to minimize the horror of the events that happened to him and his Ma.
Sorry, this is cryptic, so I'll give you more of the story. Stop reading if you don't want to be spoiled and see for yourself.


Jack and his Ma were held captive in Room and they managed to escape. From then on Jack is in Outside, the real world, only he never knew there was a real world outside of Room. For him Room was the World and everything in it were the only real things that existed. Now he has to adjust his world-view and deal with other people. This is not easy for him, and he doesn't understand everything.
This is one of the aspects why I cannot say the book is all bad. Our world and actions are questioned, giving the reader a lot to think about. Unfortunately the whole thing is rather boring. The story appears to be a mere backdrop to these social and philosophical observations.
Jack's Ma is another story. She was locked up and abused for seven years. Jack doesn't really understand what has happened to her and why she doesn't miss Room like he does, but he registers her behavior and thus conveys a lot of her emotional distress to the reader. As I said before, this is a clever method of showing the damage that has been done to the mother, without forcing the reader to see it from her point of view and thereby experiencing her horrors first-hand. This, I personally would not want to read.

Spoiler ends

As you can see I'm a little torn here. Looking at what the book has to say, I think it has potential to start interesting discussions and reflections of our own life. But when it comes down to reading it, I was just bored most of the time, as it was rather predictable and slow. Even though I made some wrong predictions, and there were some unexpected twists in the story, the book never really got to me.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson
Will Grayson, Will Grayson
von John Green
Preis: EUR 7,99

4 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen a tale of friendship and love, 16. Juni 2011
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Will Grayson, Will Grayson (Taschenbuch)
Will Grayson, Will Grayson is a book about friendship, love and growing up.
As the title already suggests it is about Will Grayson, and not only one, but two. The book centers around these two boys who share the same name and at some point the same friend.
The novel consists of twenty chapters which are narrated alternately by the two Will Graysons.
The story begins with John Green's Will and ends with David Levithan's.
In the first chapter we are thrown into the world of Will Grayson and his friend Tiny Cooper. The reader learns a little about their common past and their friendship, which Will seems to regard more as inevitable than his own choice. He says 'you cannot possibly pick your friends, or else I never would have ended up with Tiny Cooper.'
The second chapter drags us into another world altogether. It is immediately clear that the narrator has changed as the tone is a different one and the most prominent factor is that everything is written in lowercase. The mind of this Will Grayson is a darker one. He is angry and there is a gloom surrounding him. The reader meets his mother, his few friends at school and his online crush Isaac.
For some chapters their lives seem to have no connection at all, until one day they meet by chance and (the other) Will Grayson meets Tiny Cooper.
Tiny Cooper, who is larger than life, not only because he is a massive giant, but also because he is putting on a musical about himself. It turns out that Tiny Cooper is the common denominator between the two narrators. He links their stories and has a great influence on both of them.
I really enjoyed reading this book. It had me laughing at some parts and at others amazed. Even though the two Will Graysons have completely different personalities they both have to deal with similar problems growing up. As I said before the novel is about friendship. Both boys learn a lot about their relationships to their friends and what it means to be a friend

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children, Band 1)
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children, Band 1)
von Ransom Riggs
  Gebundene Ausgabe
Preis: EUR 12,99

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4.0 von 5 Sternen A uniquereading experience, 16. Juni 2011
This is a fascinating book that appears to be written around various photographs. During the course of the story many different people and situations are described. The protagonist is frequently shown pictures to support the report of someone or something. These images are also printed in the book. For this alone it would be worth buying the book. But it also has a gripping story that keeps your eyes glued to the pages in parts.
The novel is about sixteen-year-old Jacob, who has a close relationship with his grandfather. When Jacob was a child his Grandpa Portman used to tell him stories of his own childhood. He grew up in the time of war and had to flee from his country to the safety of a home for children in Wales. The stories he told of his friends there, and his adventures after he left them, were very intriguing for the young boy, but as Jacob grew older he realized how unbelievable they were and started to question their validity.
It is not until after his grandfather's death that Jacob discovers the truth behind all the stories he was told as a child. When he tries to learn more about his grandfather's past an adventure begins that changes his boring life and opens a door to a different world altogether.
Even though I thought the novel fascinating and the turn of events surprised me more than once, I have to admit there was an obstacle to the reading pleasure as well. The narrative voice.
Jacob is the narrator of the story and he recounts the events from a future point in time. But it is not completely clear when and how old he is then. Most of the time I had the impression he is supposed to still be a teenager or a young man, shortly after the conclusion of this adventure. The narrative voice sometimes mirrors that, at others it sounds too grown up, too wise. The things he says are interesting and his observations are well phrased. Just not credible for a teenage boy. This discrepancy, or confusion, between the narrative voice and its narrator kept me at a strange distance to the story, which slowed down the reading process somewhat for me.
Nonetheless I think this is a good novel and an intriguing first book. The narrative in combination with the vintage photography is sure to create a unique reading experience and I am curious to see if there'll be more of Jacob's adventures in the future. I sure hope so.

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