Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Review: Falling Man by Don DeLillo

Title: Falling Man
Author: Don DeLillo
Pages: 315
My Rating: 3/5 stars

Falling Man by Don DeLillo is basically just a part of a man’s life. This man, Keith, has survived the 9/11 attacks, and the book starts just after. Although the event obviously did have an impact on his life, it is not so much a negative one. Of course, there are some images he, and also his family (who have only seen pictures but still), will never get out of his head, but his life does not seem damaged, as it already was pretty messed up before. He had separated from his wife and the first thing he does in the novel is go back to the apartment he shared with her and their son Justin.
The first 70 or so pages are quite rough to get through. DeLillo’s writing style is rather unstable – sometimes it feels very structuralised whereas at other times it is very messy and confusing. There are paragraphs in which a character called ‘he’ or ‘she’ is never truly defined and context does not really determine which character it has to be. Moreover, things feel very repetitious – the same events were written about from various perspectives which is normally quite interesting, but if the characters all had the same experience, it becomes boring.
Some pages in, however, the story becomes interesting. Keith, the protagonist is not the character I could empathise with, but his wife is more so, as well as Justin, and when their storylines became more prominent I could not put the book down.
The way DeLillo wrote from the terrorist’s point of view was very intriguing and courageous and those parts were very well-written, too. 
There still were some parts in which the style of writing did not make sense to me but it was easier to ignore because of the interesting plot.
Although the novel had a few ups and many downs,  I will still rate it 3/5 stars, because it had me hooked, eventually. 

Friday, 21 February 2014

Book Depository Book Haul

I just received the last three books I ordered on the Book Depository a while back, so I thought I'd do a book haul.

    The first two on the pile are Pattern Recognition by William Gibson and Falling Man by Don DeLillo. I bought these books because I am currently writing my dissertation on (post) 9/11 literature for which I wanted to analyse Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer and these two novels. I had actually ordered these quite on time but they arrived rather late so I have to read them really quickly. I've already started Falling Man. 
    Now as I said, the novels are about 9/11. Falling Man more so than Pattern Recognition as in the latter it only features as a subplot whereas in the first, as the title already indicates, it's really a main theme.
    Falling Man is about a man, Keith, who has survived the attacks. Right after he visits his ex-wife's apartment and tries to fix things with her and his son, Justin.
   Pattern Recognition is about a woman called Cayce who is a "coolhunter", meaning she predicts all the future trends. Meanwhile she is haunted by the memories of her father who went missing during the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The next book on my list is Wonder by R.J. Palacio. It is about a young boy whose face is severely deformed. He had always been home schooled because his parents wanted to protect him, but now as he's supposed to be going to 5th grade, his parents think it's best for him to go to a real school.
     I've already finished this book, if you want to know what I thought about it, you can read my review in the post below this one.

Then there's The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I've heard so many good things about it, and I've started reading it and so far I really enjoy it. It's set around the second world war and it's about a German girl whose mother decides she'd probably be better off in a foster family.

The Fault in our Stars by John Green is a novel you've probably heard much about. I'm very happy I got it and I'm so excited to start reading it. All I really know, and want to know, about it  is that it's about a 17 year old girl who has cancer, goes to a support group where she meets a really interesting boy.

The Grapes of Wrath is a classic written by John Steinbeck. It's about a family trying to find work during the Great Depression in America.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath is another novel I've been dying to get, and I was so excited when I opened a package and that was in it because I had forgotten I'd ordered it. It's quite a depressing novel which was published only a few weeks before Plath's suicide. It's basically about a woman who's going insane.

Then last, but hopefully not least is Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. Everyone is raving about this novel, and I cannot wait to read it and order the second book. I don't know what it is about at all, and I do not want to know it before I start reading it. I like being surprised.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Review: Wonder by RJ Palacio

Title: Wonder
Author: R.J. Palacio
Pages: 315
My Rating: 5/5 stars

Wonder by R.J. Palacio is a contemporary young adult novel about a little 10 year old boy, August, who has a severe facial deformity. His mother has always home schooled him in order to protect him, but now he is at an age where his parents believe he should go to school. While he at first protests, he decides to do it anyway.
     I had really high expectations of this book, and was afraid it would not live up to them. However, it did. I truly fell in love with Auggie, what a wonderful little person he is. And the way it was written.. just brilliant. 
     I read some reviews and noticed many people did not like the fact that it was written from different perspectives, claiming that they feel torn away from the main character of the book. Now, in this case, I do understand what those readers mean, because the parts written from other characters'  perspectives are rather short. However, I did really love those parts, as well. They really give you insight in how other people think about Auggie. In those parts, it is also clear that August still is our protagonist. Every bit of action or thought involves him in some way. 
     What I also love about this book is how many beautiful and true quotes there are. This is one of those novels which are very moralistic, yet very beautiful. Often those novels are just too corny for me  - only telling us how to behave and think. Although this novel does that too, in a way, it does give you the opportunity to think for yourself. 
    I believe that everybody should read this book. Although most adults would not learn much of it anymore, they will love how adorable and beautiful it is. Children should read this story as soon as they can. Although it is a very cliche lesson they will learn, it is told so wonderfully and heartbreaking yet heartwarming they will love it more than your average 'don't judge a book by its cover' novel. 
    I cried, I laughed out loud. I rated it 5/5 stars because it's simply lovely. Go read it if you have not yet! Now!

Friday, 7 February 2014

Classics Book Haul

In the Netherlands and Belgium, there is a travelling book market, and in terms of English books, they have a lot of cheap classics. So every time it comes near to where I live, I go and buy a lot of books. Yesterday, I bought twenty-two.

Moreover, my friend bought the first three books of A Song of Ice and Fire, started reading the first book, didn't like it and gave the books to me : D