Review of the Year (part 2)

The Worst

Rachel Ray by Anthony Trollope 2/5

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne 2.5/5

The Hunchback of Notredame by Victor Hugo 1/5

This is Your Brain on Music by Daniel Levitin 2.5/5

New Moon by Stephenie Meyer 2.5/5

Technically by scores The Hunchback of Notredame should loose, but it doesn’t seem fair when I’ve only read about 100 pages of it. So instead it will have to be Rachel Ray which oh you won’t believe how relieved I was to finish! As you can guess I’m not really into Classics generally.

Rachel Ray by Anthony Trollope

Synopsis (taken from Amazon)
This is Trollope’s most detailed and concise study of middle-class life in a small provincial community – in this case Baslehurst, in the luscious Devon countryside. It is also a charming love-story, centring on sweet-natured Rachel Ray and her suitor Luke Rowan, whose battle to wrest control over Baslehurst’s brewery involves a host of typically Trollopian local characters.

Review

Well what can I say? I did not enjoy this book, in fact I’m surprised that I didn’t give up before the end although I was tempted many times. There were the occasional sections which I, didn’t enjoy exactly but found somewhat engaging and that is part of what kept me going I think. By the end I did want to know how the characters would end up, which I suppose shows that I found the characters more engaging than I had realised while reading, or maybe it just shows that I was looking forward to resolution and the end .
Plot wise I didn’t find it particularly engaging. What I had expected to be the main plotline- that of Rachel and Luke’s romance although a central plot was not really seen so much as discussed. This was somewhat disappointing as possibly my favourite book moment was when we actually saw them together as a couple. The second main theme of the brewery I just found generally boring. I found the owner of the brewery stubbon to the point that I just wished he’d shut up and stop moaning.
The whole story I found rather dragged out, everything was written with more words and explaination than neccersary. Some discription is good but I found the ammount of discription gave a waffley element to the narative, paired with the usual language used in ‘classic’ novels it made reading a real effort, which I wouldn’t mind if it wasn’t for the fact that it really added nothing to my enjoyment.
Oh and the blurb said it was a comedy, maybe there was one point in the whole book which made me laugh! I have a feeling it was an observational comedy though and society is quite a lot different to how it was at the time when Trollope was writing.
I am not generally a classic reader. Which I suppose is part of what made me so determined to finish this one. This though is the first I have really not enjoyed of what I have read. I wouldn’t recommend it, and deffinatly not if you are not someone who usually reads classics.

2/5

And the most surprising?

No contender really it has to be The Cure for Death by Lightening by Gail Anderson-Dargatz. It was on my wishlist for a long time but nowhere near the top. A recommendation I wasn’t sure about. And while I didn’t think it was one of the best books I’d read I did enjoy it much more than I had expected to and I now want to read more by her. (If possible, the first was tricky to get hold of)

Synopsis (from Amazon)

The remote Turtle Valley in British Columbia is home to fifteen-year-old Beth Weeks and a community of eccentric but familiar characters. There, amidst a stunning landscape of purple swallows and green skies, strange and unsettling events occur: children go missing, a girl is mauled by a crazy bear and Beth too is being pursued…The Cure for Death by Lightning is a rich and thrilling novel, as filled with strange deeds and dark fears as with beauty and magic.

Review

For some reason I remembered this book being described to me as a fantasy book. I suppose it does have some fantasy elements, but despite some odd events the story actually feels quite realistic. It did take me a while to get into this story, in fact I was probably about half way through before I really started enjoying it. However by the end I was really enjoying it. I had really got attached to the characters, especially Beth and Billy. Sometimes I thought Beth was being stupid about things but that just made her realistic, and made you want things to turn out right for her even more. Even the characters who I didn’t feel attached to I did feel deeply about (if those are the right words). I hated to father, the mother I thought was a bit of an idiot. I quite liked Dan. Initially I disliked the style of writing, I found it a little old fashioned but by the time I got into the story that didn’t really matter, and it seemed to fit with the setting of the book. I want to read another by her now.

3.5/5

Where now?

  • Finish my current TBR pile
  • Finish series by Jasper Fforde (Nursery Crimes and Thursday Next)
  • Finished The Girl With the Dragon Tatto series
  • Read something else by Gail Anderson-Dargatz
  • Finish the Sookie Sackhouse series
  • Finish the Twilight series
  • Read more books by: Johnathon Coe, Linda Gillard, Jodi Picoult, Mitch Alborn, Tracy Chevalier and Haruki Murakami
  • Read the sequel (or maybe a prequel) to The Secret Scripture
  • Try and find a book by Louis de Bernieres as good as Captain Correli’s Mandolin (if such a thing exists)
  • Attempt to finish unfinished books, especially Vikrim Seth’s A Suitable Boy because it is apparently very good.

So that’s it. Enjoy your reading for the next year. I may update again before the year is out, if not Happy New Year!

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