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Making Minty Malone
Making Minty Malone
von Isabel Wolff
  Taschenbuch

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2.0 von 5 Sternen how many books remind me of this one?, 31. Juli 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Making Minty Malone (Taschenbuch)
You've read one, you've read them all. Yes, I know I'm being a little bit harsh, & I know that some of the "contemporary-light-easy to read-supposedly modern romances" are better than others. But after having read at least 20 of these, I'm starting to feel as if I've read one too many.
"The making of Minty Malone" by Isabel Wolff was one of the books I bought this summer, while on vacation & desperate to have something to read on the plane. The truth though is that I could have chosen it anyway, in a bookstore, since I have a soft spot for this kind of book after reading everything by Marian Keyes & Helen Fielding. But that's the point: Marian Keyes & Helen Fielding write well, & their books stand out & would have done so even if they had decided to write about something else. The same cannot be said about all the other writers deciding to write this kind of novel: it's as if they all follow an exact formula. Single woman, living lonely & sad & usually ditched in London preferably. Two or three close friends around her. A job that, as the book develops, gets better, as new opportunities appear out of nowhere & our heroine becomes more assertive by the moment, "gets in touch with her true feelings" & grabs these chances. And of course in the end, there's always an almost perfect for everyone, (but definitely perfect for the heroine) man. They live happily ever after & we're left to wander what the hell is wrong with our everyday life, since it doesn't seem to change so dramatically & so easily...
Isabel Wolff's book follows the above formula exactly. So it's both good & bad. It's a good plane-ride book, good for a few laughs (sometimes because of the incredulity of everything that's going on). But after the plane-ride (& the read) is over...so is the book. You immediately forget about it & go on to discover the next Minty Malone-Lucy Sullivan-Bridget Jones etc etc. The only thing I could wish were that more women had these heroins' luck because the world would be a better (& easier to live in) world. Since it's not, we can only dream, & once in a while, pick up one of these books....


Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban[ HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN ] By Rowling, J. K. ( Author )Oct-01-1999 Hardcover
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban[ HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN ] By Rowling, J. K. ( Author )Oct-01-1999 Hardcover
von J.K. Rowling
  Gebundene Ausgabe

5.0 von 5 Sternen by far the best of the first 3 Harry Potter books, 31. Juli 2000
"Harry Potter & the prisoner of Azkaban" is, in my opinion, by far the best of the first 3 Harry Potter books. First of all, it's longer than the first 2 & makes for an excellent, satisfying, quite long read. Second, the first 2 were also very interesting & imaginative, but this one has all sorts of twists & turns & strange subplots that make it gripping. Third, it's extremely funny: the new classes that the third year (by now) students have to attend...Hagrid's attempts to being a teacher, Hermione's extreme anxiety when it comes to studying & getting good results...all these stories & many others in the book, will make you laugh out loud several times. Also, the ending is extremely unexpected, turns the whole story around, and shows what a good writer Joan Rowlings is.


Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader
Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader
von Anne Fadiman
  Gebundene Ausgabe

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4.0 von 5 Sternen a book about books, 1. Juli 2000
A book about books: what could be more appealing to people who live their lives with a book in their hand? Anne Fadiman, a talented essayist, decided to write about her love for books, and did so with great humour and sensitivity. I particularly liked the essay entitled "the odd shelf". All in all, an interesting and enjoyable book. My only complaint is that it was too short. I hope Anne Fadiman writes another book of essays soon.


How Proust Can Change Your Life (Vintage International)
How Proust Can Change Your Life (Vintage International)
von Alain De Botton
  Taschenbuch

3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen an unusual, original book, 19. Juni 2000
A reviewer wrote- "I'ts hard to imagine how Proust can change your life if you don't actually read Proust". That is true, but then on the other hand, never, while reading this book, did I get the impression that Alain de Botton was trying to replace Proust. I don't think he was trying to offer a guide to Proust, nor trying to write literary criticism or anything like that: After finishing the book, the impression I got was that this is more a self-help book (and quite a witty and funny one, actually, much better than the usual saccharine-sweet self help books) and less a book about Proust. The good thing is that "How Proust can change your life" will probably give you an appetite for more Marcel Proust...and that has to do with the clarity and lightness of touch with which de Botton writes: you can't resist his admiration for Proust, even though you might have objections to the way he chose to express this admiration: but then who says that books about philosophy or about literature have to be dead serious and heavy? I think Alain de Botton has written an original book, a book that's a kind of experiment, as it combines self-help insights with good literature and important ideas. If you read this as such, as an interesting experiment which may bring more people to Proust, then you won't really be able to find any fault in the book.


The Saving Graces: A Novel
The Saving Graces: A Novel
von Patricia Gaffney
  Taschenbuch

4.0 von 5 Sternen a book made for summer, 19. Juni 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Saving Graces: A Novel (Taschenbuch)
Okay, "the saving graces" certainly doesn't qualify as outstanding literature. And yes, the story of 4 friends & each one's joys & sorrows is not the most original concept in the world: But the strength of this particular novel is that it's extremely well written & so much fun: it's a story that could really be about any of us, the themes are so familiar. "The saving graces" underline what most of us already know, that friends are the relatives we chose, the family we form for ourselves, whereas when it comes to our actual families, we don't have a choice.
Patricia Gaffney, from what I've heard (because this is the first book of hers that I've read) usually writes different kind of novels, historical romances etc. But I don't know why- she seems to be a natural in telling a contemporary, real, easy-to-read story.
This book is about the friendship of 4 women, around 40 years old: Rudy, Isabel, Emma & Lee. They meet twice a month for dinner & share secrets, talk about their lives, laugh a lot and sometimes cry. What women-friends do in real life, actually: and this is this novel's strength: although it's not the most substantial or inspired book in the world, it's one of the best books in the "light reading" category, since it's as if the story is taken out of real life. It's one of those novels that the reader gets totally engrossed in, so it's a very good selection for a weekend away or for a long airplane ride. You'll have a great time reading it...


Amy and Isabelle: A novel (Vintage Contemporaries)
Amy and Isabelle: A novel (Vintage Contemporaries)
von Elizabeth Strout
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 13,09

4.0 von 5 Sternen a promising first novel, 16. Juni 2000
This is Elizabeth Strout's first novel, and, taking this into account, I have to say it's an excellent book: It has its flaws, sure, but all in all it's a story true to life, and has lots of good points that made me read it in 2 sittings...
Strout has a real talent when it comes to portraying the characters- Amy and Isabelle: the shy, teenage daughter and the neurotic mother terrified of her past being revealed. Mr Robertson, the math teacher with whom Amy experiences lust & love for the first time. Fat Bev, a nurturant, kind woman who ultimately helps Isabelle face up to her past & start opening up...
The descriptions of the weather or of other minor characters (especially the men, who all seem wooden & one dimensional) sometimes are a little tiring. Also, it's true that some loose ends remain in the end, but then, life itself often doesn't tidy everything up.
The small town life of Shirley Falls is beautifully created, the painful but in the end cathartic relationship between mother and daughter is believable and true to life. The book is also very funny at times, for example I couldn't help laughting out loud when Isabelle was pathetically trying to read Hamlet. And in the end, Amy and Isabelle is one of those books that mark the beginning of a promising writing career. I look forward to reading Elizabeth Strout's next novel.


Tully
Tully
von Paullina Simons
  Taschenbuch

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5.0 von 5 Sternen very enjoyable novel, 14. Mai 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Tully (Taschenbuch)
Tully is one of those books that you believe is your own secret discovery, and then you realise that lots of other people have also been reading it and reacting in the same way as you...It's one of those books that you fall in love with, without knowing exactly why, and you return to it again and again. I've read Tully so far at least five times, especially certain parts of it...and I'm certain I'll read it again in the future.
But why such a fuss over a first novel by an unknown american author? (whose two subsequent books, by the way, didn't even come close to Tully).One of the reasons I loved Tully was Tully herself: a one of a kind, special woman who grows up under horrible circumstances, but still learns how to survive, and even how to give and take love. A woman who got to me, for some reason, maybe just because she's tough and at the same time very vulnerable.
Paullina Simmons wrote her heart out in this book. Especially the second part of the novel is exquisite: in it you'll find a powerful love story, not a soap-opera kind of love story, but a true to life description of people and feelings. People who have to make choices and have to live with their choices afterwards. People who learn that love isn't a moment but a whole process, and who learn, in time, to appreciate what's important.
All in all, Tully is one of those books that'll take over your life for a couple of days. So chose a quiet weekend and read it.


Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
von Edward Albee
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 6,10

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5.0 von 5 Sternen one of the best modern plays, 9. Mai 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Taschenbuch)
A play in three acts, a very simple setting, and only four characters who live in a small, university town in America: a middle-aged couple, Martha and George. And a "young and innocent" couple, Nick and Honey. They all meet in a room, in Martha and George's house, very late one night, for a nightcap. And then...all hell breaks lose.
The play tears apart both marriages: the middle aged couple, who seem to hate each other and in the end turn out to be much more devoted to each other as it would seem. The young, seemingly perfect couple, who turn out to have lots of problems of their own. In three heart-breaking scenes, using dialogue that cuts like a knife, Edward Albee has written a masterpiece. He manages to give a clear-cut, honest picture of the reality of marriage, the reality of love, and the fears that go hand in hand with love and intimacy. At some point, in act three, Martha talks about her husband- and it's probably one of the best pieces of literature I've read:
"...George who is out somewhere there in the dark...George who is good to me, and whom I revile; who understands me, and whom I push off; who can make me laugh, and I choke it back in my throat; who can hold me, at night, so that it's warm, and whom I will bite so there's blood; who keeps learning the games we play as quickly as I can change the rules; who can make me happy and I do not wish to be happy, and yes I do wish to be happy, George and Martha: sad, sad, sad."
What more can I say? just read the play, and if you get the chance, watch it performed in the theatre, too.


The Virgin Suicides (Roman)
The Virgin Suicides (Roman)
von Jeffrey Eugenides
  Taschenbuch

4.0 von 5 Sternen a novel that asks questions but gives no answers, 7. Mai 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Virgin Suicides (Roman) (Taschenbuch)
If you read the "virgin suicides" expecting answers, explanations, or any kind of analysis on how 5 teenage sisters ended up commiting suicide, one after the other...you'll be disappointed. After you reach the last of the 250 very well written pages,you realise that Jeffrey Eugenides hasn't revealed anything more than you knew from page one: the only thing the reader knows is that the 5 blond, almost indistinguishable Lisbon sisters commit suicide one by one.
The story is told through the eyes and ears of the neighbourhood boys. Teenage boys who are obssessed with the Lisbon sisters and watch their lives and deaths (or what they know of their lives and deaths) step by step. So, in the end, all we get to know about this tragic story, is through these teenage boys' eyes. It's like we are watching the chorus in an ancient greek tragedy: the chorus watches from afar, feels sorrow and pain, but doesn't know or reveal much.
This fact of not knowing, of not understanding the whys and the hows of the story, adds an almost surreal quality to the book. Eugenides is a very gifted new author, and manages to create a great book, even though with the total absence of characterization (the 5 sisters are almost described as one single person)as well as the total absence of feeling or explanation, this could prove to be tricky. But he does it skillfully and in the end, this fact of not knowing adds to the book.
A very sad, mysterious, deeply moving novel, a novel where the reader has to read between the lines to feel and understand. My only complaint was the short length of the book, but all in all: I strongly recommend it


The Law of Similars: A Novel (Vintage Contemporaries)
The Law of Similars: A Novel (Vintage Contemporaries)
von Chris Bohjalian
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 11,41

2.0 von 5 Sternen seems like a sequel to midwives, 5. Mai 2000
Second book I've read by Chris Bohjalian. The first was "midwives" & when I bought the "law of similars" I at least expected something as good, or a little bit better than his previous book. Instead, what I found was an almost exact replica of "midwives": the same subject--alternative medicine. And almost the same way of looking at alternative medicine: One woman who works in this field (here, the specific field is homeopathy)gets in trouble when a death occurs and doubts begin to arise as to whether this woman and the "medicine" she practised had anything to do with the death. In both books, the author gives a lot of information on alternative medicine, but not in a preachy way. This is good, because we get to know a lot of stuff about midwives (in one book) and homeopathy (in this one), and specifically, we are given both the arguments for and against both types of alternative medicine.
But where "midwives" was a page-turner, "the law of similars" is much slower, and all in all, predictable and boring. It's as if Chris Bohjalian decided to write a kind of "sequel" to his previous book, but couldn't get it quite right. Since he's a competent writer, and can definitely produce best-selling books, it would be best, in my opinion, if he looked elsewhere for his subject matter.


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