Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Orange Prize Winner

Congratulations to Madeline Miller for winning the last Orange Prize for Fiction for the beautiful novel, The Song of Achilles. As I mentioned in my last post, I adored this novel.  It's my favorite read of the year so far. Joanna Trollope, the chair of judges said, "This is a more than worthy winner - original, passionate, inventive and uplifting," I couldn't agree with her more and I hope that because of this win the book will gain a wider audience.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Orange Reading: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

I adored this one and I hope it wins the Orange Prize which will be announced this week. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller is a retelling of parts of the Iliad focusing on the story of Achilles told from the point of view of his closest friend and lover, Patroclus. Most of you probably know how this story will end but in spite of that Miller has written a moving and beautiful love story where Achilles is a wonderful and charismatic hero (so unlike the Brad Pitt version in Troy). Patroclus is sensitive and awkward and can't help falling in love with his best friend. I was completely caught up in the story and I loved the two main characters. This is a passionate and ultimately heartbreaking novel.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Great Gatsby Trailer

The trailer for the upcoming movie The Great Gatsby has just been released. It looks fantastic. I may just have to read the book again.

The film will be released in 3D on December 25th and stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire and Isla Fisher. It's directed by Baz Luhrmann. Can't wait!

Monday, May 21, 2012

It's still the eyes, isn't it?

"But it's still the eyes we look at, isn't it? That's where we found the other person, and find them still. The same eyes that were in the same head when we first met, slept together, married, honeymooned, joint-mortgaged, shopped, cooked and holidayed, loved one another and had a child together. And were the same when we separated.

But it's not just the eyes. The bone structure stays the same, as do the instinctive gestures, the many ways of being herself. And her way, even after all this time and distance, of being with me."

I'm meeting my book club tonight to discuss The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes. I didn't have time to reread the novel so I ended up skimming it and rereading my review and all the 176 comments (an all-time record for my blog). I also came across the section above which I had highlighted on my first reading. Indeed, it's a beautifully written novel but I'm still stumped about some things. I'm sure we'll have a never-ending discussion tonight but I wonder if we'll be satisfied with all our different scenarios. I guess I'll have to wait and see.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

I loved this book! I've been recommending it to everyone I know. It was so much fun and by far the most entertaining novel I've read this year. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline was such a refreshing roller coaster ride.

It's 2044 and the world is a mess. The environment has deteriorated, unemployment and poverty are the norm. People spend more and more time at their computers, living another life in a fantastic virtual world called the Oasis created by recently deceased James Halliday. Left with no heirs, Halliday stipulates in his will that the person who finds the three keys hidden in the Oasis and opens the connecting gates will inherit his vast fortune. Years pass and no keys have been found though millions immerse themselves in Halliday's favorite 1980s films, music and video games hoping these hold the clues to the keys' locations. Wade Watts is a teenager who lives in trailer that's literally stacked on top of other mobile homes. Overweight and acne-ridden, he goes to school in the Oasis and spends ninety percent of his life as his avatar Parzival. We find out in the first few pages of the book that Wade is the first to find a key and unlock the first gate. This discovery unleashes a wave of other treasure hunters, some of whom will stop at nothing to win the ultimate prize.

Though this was a light and fun read, it was also a cautionary tale about where our world is going in terms of the internet and social media. It's not hard to believe at all that this is what our world will look like in 2044 and it is certainly not a pretty sight. It's downright scary. When our hero is given the choice to push a red button that will destroy the Oasis forever, I felt the urge to push it myself. In the end, our hero finds his way and discovers that he doesn't need the internet or the Oasis to be happy. He wins the girl of his dreams. Yes, there's even a geeky love story thrown in. It's not surprising that the movie rights for Ready Player One were  snatched up before it was even published. I just wish the late John Hughes was alive to direct it. It would have been perfect.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Goodbye to the Wild Things

Maurice Sendak (1928-2012)

"It is a blessing to get old. It is a blessing to find the time to do the things, to read the books, to listen to the music....I have nothing now but praise for my life. "

R.I.P. Maurice Sendak and thank you for Max and the wild things.

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