quarta-feira, 20 de fevereiro de 2013

Quote of the Week # 11

Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Dylan Thomas

sábado, 16 de fevereiro de 2013

The Hobbit

Even though I bought this book last summer, I've only read it this month and since I had already seen the movie, I'll take this opportunity not only to review the novel but also to let you guys know what I thought about the movie as well.
The Premise
The Hobbit (also known as The Hobbit, or There and Back Again) follows the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit who lived a quiet life until a great wizard, Gandalf, comes to his house and asks him to take part on a great journey. He will join a group of dwarves whose greatest desire is to defeat Smaug - a terrible dragon - that has taken over their land and their treasure. Their quest won't be easy and they will face unknown dangers.
My thoughts
First of all, let me just say that I was blown away by the fact that J R R Tolkien used to tell this story to his kids before they went sleep! Lucky kids!
I have to admit, my expectations were high so I was a bit afraid I would be disappointed by the book, but fortunately that didn't happen. The world created by Tolkien is amazing - it's magical and spellbinding - and the level of detail he putted into it blew my mind.
As for the characters I have to say my favorite one was Bilbo Baggins. He grew a lot throughout the story and he really surprised me, because he went from being this scared little hobbit who wasn't really sure he would be up for the job, to someone who was respected by others and who looked to no means to make sure his friends would safely arrive at their destination. What I most admired about him was his honor, his kindness and his sense of justice - they were instrumental during this journey and they earned him the respect from the others.
However there were some things that disappointed me a little. I didn't like how some lines of the plot were dealt with by the author; there were parts where I was hoping for something really epic, instead of an expeditious solution, even if it was unexpected. I also think that even though the descriptions weren't long and boring, there were some parts that, for me, dragged for a while; my mind would just go some place else and I wouldn't pay that much attention. Another thing that I have to point out is the lack of information about most of the dwarves that went on this journey with Bilbo - I wanted to know more about them and not just about Thorin.
Overall I really enjoyed reading this book. It's a gripping tale that really grabbed my attention and kept me reading in hopes of discovering what would happen next. Like I've said before, the world building in this book is amazing and Bilbo Baggins is so endearing that makes us hope that he and his friends arrive safely at their destination. Really enjoyed this book and, hopefully, I'll start reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy this year.
I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars.
The Movie
Generally I prefer to watch the movies after reading the book, but this time I made an exception. I was really curious about it and I wanted to see how the world created by J R R Tolkien and his characters had been portrayed in Peter Jackson's adaptation of the novel. The  whole setting is just breathtaking - I was mesmerized! And Martin Freeman, as Bilbo Baggins, is superb; he was the best choice for the part - after watching the movie, I  actually think he was the only one who could have pull off this role the way he did. It was good to see him do something different from what he normally does.
After reading the book I can say that this a good adaptation and it goes into a lot more detail than I would have expected. I would also give 4 out of 5 stars.

quarta-feira, 6 de fevereiro de 2013

Giant's Bread

This was the second novel by Mary Westmacott that I've read; you can check out the review for Unfinished Portrait here.

The Premise

Vernon Deyre is a sensitive and brilliant musician, even a genius. However, his sheltered childhood in the home he loves didn't prepare him to his life as an adult and to the difficult choices that he will have to make to create his great masterpiece. He will learn that there is a high price to be paid for his talent and that sacrifices have to be made in order to be successful.

My thoughts

The book focuses on Vernon but also on the lives of a small group of characters that help us see Vernon from different perspectives. I have to say, neither of them was particularly interesting; they came across as almost one dimensional and I couldn't shake the feeling that what we saw from them was all we were going go get. 

I'll admit, my expectations regarding this book were low; Unfinished Portrait had proven to be a disappointment and I thought that probably this one would have the same fate. Fortunately I was pleasantly surprised by this novel. Even though I wasn't as invested in this book as I usually am, there were enough elements to spark my interest in the novel. The ending was, by far, my favorite part because it really took me by surprise – it was completely unexpected!

I wouldn't necessarily recommend it, especially if you're used to Agatha Christie's style as a mystery/crime writer but if you're thinking about trying something from Mary Westmacott then I would suggest starting with this one.

3 out of 5 stars 

domingo, 3 de fevereiro de 2013

Reading Challenge Update #1

For this year I've decided to take part in two reading challenges - the A to Z challenge and another one where I would try to read as many of the books that are currently sitting on my bookshelves.

  • A to Z challenge - So far I haven't read any of the books from my list but this month I'll probably start reading some of them.

  • Books from my bookshelves challenge - This month I read two of the books that had been sitting on my bookshelves for a while; I read La Mécanique du Coeur (review here) and El Palacio de la Medianoche (review here). I was really happy with these two books and also with the fact that I met my quota for this month - 2 books from my list (you can check the list here). This challenge was created by Sheila from http://deliberatereader.com

sexta-feira, 1 de fevereiro de 2013

Read in January

These are the books I read during the month of January

The Lady in the Lake by Raymond Chandler

The Hedge Knight by George R R Martin

These five books are the final installments of a popular Portuguese series that focuses on a group of 4 teenagers that solve mysteries on their town. When I was younger I loved reading them but I had never finished the series so I decided to dedicate 2/3 days this month to finish it and I have to say, I had a lot of fun reading these books; I missed reading this type of stories :) 

I had to read to this play for a Spanish class but I really enjoyed it. It's a play set in the XIX century and it's a sentimental comedy that deals with the issue of arranged marriages and the fact, that back then, young people couldn't marry who they wanted. I think that the words that best describe this play are poignant and comedic.

Quote of the Week #10

“If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” 

J K Rowling