Monday, 30 November 2015

Miss Charity par Marie-Aude Murail

« Je suis dans ma vingt-troisième année. Mais je me sens plus âgée. Et pourtant, je n’ai presque rien vécu. Les années immobiles comptent peut-être doubles. » (p. 425)

Miss Charity par Marie-Aude Murail. L’histoire se déroule dans la fin du 19ème siècle. Miss Charity Tiddler est une petite fille solitaire. Depuis l'enfance, elle s'intéressé par la nature, spécialement les animaux. Elle passe son temps dans le troisième étage de sa maison en compagnie de Tabitha, sa bonne, et ses animaux de compagnie. Charity est très intelligente et apprend par cœur les pièces de Shakespeare. Sa plus grande passion c'est le dessin. De chapitre en chapitre, Charity grandit. Elle est perdue dans les rigueur de la bonne société anglaise. Au 25, la société pense qu’elle est trop vieille pour trouver un mari.  Mais Tiddler n'est pas trop inquiet parce qu'elle veut être indépendante, et écrire de livre jeunesse.

J’ai compris peut-être 50 pour cent de ce livre. Je pense que c’est bon parce que c’est un livre très long (563 pages !). Mais, donc, je ne suis pas la meilleure personne pour écrire une critique sur le livre. Je vais écrire basé sur que j’ai compris. Parce que c’est un bon exercice pour mon français. Je m’excuse pour les erreurs.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

The Absolutist by John Boyne

“In that direction only pain lies.” 

I think this quote pretty much sums up the book. I can't actually remember in which part of the book this quote is from, but it can be interpreted as the physical pain that war brings, the emotional pain because of the many losses it causes, or pain because of a heartbreak.

Just in case you are unaware, an absolutist is someone that completely opposes the war- they refuse to fight in it, or help out in any other way. Nowadays, I think the majority of people are against war, but during WWI, they were considered cowards or 'feather men'. There were also conscientious objectors, who were those who refused to fight in the War, but helped out in other ways, e.g. by being a stretcher bearer. I actually learnt many things by reading this book. It's not very educational, but I was just ignorant about WWI before.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

“To sell your soul is the easiest thing in the world. That's what everybody does every hour of his life. If I asked you to keep your soul - would you understand why that's much harder?” 

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand is about architect, Howard Roark, working against the tides of society. He knows what he wants, and has a need to design. However, his designs are his own and are not accepted by a society of ‘second-handers’. His genius and independence are threats to the way society is functioning. His rivals, those who seek power, control and self-sacrifice from the common people, will stop at nothing to bring him down. There are only a few people who are Roark’s equal. But even Dominique Francon has much to learn about Roark’s philosophy.

It is strange that Rand’s novels have a way of making me like them at the end, no matter how much I hated it in the middle. I found The Fountainhead, much easier to read than Atlas Shrugged. But despite this, there were moments that I thought the story was heading down hill. I struggled to understand some of her ideas, especially that of love. I thought that the scene were Roark goes into Dominique’s bedroom and ‘claims’ her, was completely unnecessary (well, actually, maybe not unnecessary but in my point of view it went a bit too far.) The reason I liked this book was combination of factors – I liked it because of a sense of accomplishment when I got to the end of such a heavy and long book, because I agreed with the ideals she presented (even if some of them appeared as caricatures) and most of all, I like Rand’s books because she somehow manages to leave a sense of hope and resolution even though there is never exactly a ‘happy ending’.

I know that many people regard Rand’s writing as a ‘cult’. I don’t. I like reading her novels, and I don’t every think I have to hide them. I like her ideas; I like the idea of independent thinking. The problem is that I know that no matter how much I try, whatever I think will just be a copy of what someone else had thought before, and I can assume that much. What I do try to achieve, is to read, watch and listen to as many opinions and thoughts as possible, I can then try to decide which mix of ideas makes the most sense to me. By then saying ‘yes’ to these ideas, they can become ‘mine’, independent of who created the thoughts/values.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Portraits of Celina by Sue Whiting

“… but it seemed that the troubles of the past had strangely brought us a little closer together…”

Portraits of Celina by Sue Whiting tells the story of a broken family who move into an abandoned haunted house. The house had belonged to past members of their family, and had been the site where Celina, Bayley’s second cousin, had died. Bayley shares a striking resemblance to Celina. When Bayley starts to have visions of Celina’s old life, she thinks she is going crazy. Celina seeks revenge and Bayley must be the one to avenge her.

I am absolutely mesmerized by this book. It was so interesting and it had both cute teen romance and brooding mysteries. Full of plot twists, I could not put the book down. The result? Two hours later, and a finished book to write about. It is listed as part of the Premier’s Reading Challenge for years 7-9. But I think it may be interesting to even older grades.

Friday, 6 November 2015

iBoy by Kevin Brooks

“we’re all … animals - none of us know any better”

iBoy by Kevin Brooks is the story of a teenage boy who acquires ‘superpowers’. When someone throws an iPhone from the top of a 30 story building, Harvey’s head is cracked and the iPhone pieces get stuck inside his brain. Harvey is able to everything that a phone can do and much more. He seeks revenge on the gang members who hurt his childhood friend, Lucy. He becomes known as iBoy, a superhero protecting the violent local area. But in all of that, Harvey loses himself to iBoy as the line between good and bad starts to blur.

After reading How to be Invisible, I simply assumed that this would be another book for pre-teens. However, this book contains some heavy themes and should be read by younger adolescents. (Maybe 15 and up? It really just depends on maturity…)

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

How to be Invisible by Tim Lott

“Trust is invisible too, but it turns out that that it’s the invisible things that matter most of all”

How to be Invisible by Tim Lott is the story of a 13 year old science genius who, as per the title, learns how to turn invisible. Strato Nyman, just moved schools and was having a hard time fitting in. When he discovers how to be invisible, he finds out that no one is ever really ‘visible’. He learns a lot about his family, his friends, his bullies and even his teacher.  

I think I may be too old for this book. I kind of worked that out from the age of the protagonist. However, the title seemed so interesting, I decided to read it anyway. So, of course since I’m not the target audience, this review might be a bit harsh.