Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Son by Jo Nesbo

Author: Jo Nesbo
Original title: The Sun
Pages: 522 
Edition Language: Russian
Series: no 
Format: Paperback 
Genres: Thriller, Mystery  

Sonny Lofthus, in his early thirties, has been in prison for the last dozen years: serving time for crimes he didn't commit. In exchange, he gets an uninterrupted supply of heroin—and the unexpected stream of fellow prisoners seeking out his uncanny abilities to soothe and absolve.  When Sonny learns some long-hidden truths about his father he makes a brilliant escape, and begins hunting down the people responsible for the hideous crimes he's paid for. But he's also being hunted, by the Twin, the cops, and the only person who knows the ultimate truth that Sonny is seeking. 

My thoughts:

     The Son is a stand-alone book that centers around protagonist Sonny Lofthus, a convicted murderer and heroin addict. We find Sonny in prison and the reader quickly learns that he is in jail for crimes he has not committed. He confesses to a murder and in exchange he is supplied a steady stream of needle drugs.     
    Whenever I read a Jo Nesbo book, it has some great, thrilling parts and some interesting plot twists. But, it also has some slower parts and places. I wouldn't say it's a bad book by any means, but, the overall plot about the mole, drug trade, and corruption was kind of confusing and sometimes boring.  Nesbo is always capable of producing a good book, The Son was not an exception, but it is definitely not his best book.
     The greatest advantage of the novel are the characters. They are so good written that I have a feeling that they are people I know: I can easily picture everyone in my mind and see their motivation and desires. The plot itself is however did not impressed me. And the ending was not Nesbo's style at all. I was confused and a bit disappointed.
     A good mystery / thriller on the surface, The Son works on various levels: it deals with he morality of good and bad, revenge, justice and forgiveness. But above all it is dealing with the idea of finding piece of mind and balance in the cruel and unjust world and this leaves the reader with much to ponder in this enjoyable and well written story.


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

June - July 2017 Wrap up

Read books: 
read: 2/ listen: 0/ pages: 721/ hours listened: 0
1. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell p.521 - my review
2. All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka p.200 - my review

Movie watched:
   In June I watched 3 movies:
1. Ice Princess (2005)
2. Inside Out (2015)
3. Pete's Dragon (2016)

In July I watched 9 movies:
1. North and South (TV mini series 2004)
2. About a Boy (2002)
3. Mansfield Park (1999)
4. Northanger Abbey (2007)
5. Mansfield Park (2007)
6. Sharpe's Rifles (1993)
7. Sharpe's Eagle (1993)
8. Sharpe's Company (1994)
9. Sharpe's Enemy (1994)

Challenges overview:
Goodreads Reading Challenge: 33/50
Pages Read Challenge: 8684/12000
Audiobook Challenge: 6/15
Russian Literature: 2/30
World of Literature: 8/50
Booker Prize Project: 3
Classics Club: 1/50

Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Taming of the Shrew #ShakeTube

       From my early teens, this is my most favorite play by Shakespeare. First of all, this is a comedy, I do enjoy tragedies and they are too emotionally intense. Secondly, it is a quite straight forward play: it is easy to understand, easy to follow the plot and there is not much complicity of the characters. Altogether it is quite entertaining piece of work for me and I re-read it with pleasure.
      Frankly speaking Kathetina is one of my all-time favourite fictional characters. I just love this wild spirit that does not put up with the "accepted society norms". She is challenging everyone, even her family and thus put them to shame, but to me she is just trying to find her way, her place where she can calm her mind and spirit.
      Actually, the whole play can be seen as a proper feminists' hell: no rights for women, they are forced to marry, they can be treated by their husbands with all physical and psychological cruelty, they are technically a piece of property. And this is probably a true depiction of society at that time, but again Kathetina shows that not everything was so bad: her father is afraid of her and she can get whatever she wants, she refuses suitors (and here I am sure she refused not out of bad character but most probably that those suitors are inferior to her) unless she meets Petruchio, in whom she finds a challenge worth trying. Of course, this does not excuse the whole process of "taming" which is just pure cruelty.
     So, Kathetina has to adjust to survive and she has to scarify some stand points but I'd rather hope that her final dialogue is a disguise: Petruchio has a wife who “obeys” him in everything and he thinks he is the boss and finds pride in it, and she has a strong family and happy satisfied husband, probably in love with her, who, once confident in his success, will be far more generous and forgiving.
      Secondly, in the final monologue Kathetina shows how "tamed" she is generally.  The tone she is speaking with the widow and her sister - the sharpness and criticism did not go anywhere. I'd rather believe that Kathetina is still the same passionate, spirited and independent character with her point of view, she just rechannelled her energy and adjusted new requirements.
        She actually shows more sense than both other ladies, especially Bianca, whose "perfection" I cannot stand. This passive, submissive creature decided to rebel only once and against her husband when she is on the safe ground, so Kathetina in her sensible obedience is much more superior to her beautiful but rather shallow sister.
       So, as you guessed I just love Kathetina and call the play to myself not The Taming of the Shrew but The Taming of the Shrewd.

Sunday Post #16, Home Alone

The Sunday Post is hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer.  It’s a chance to share news, a post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things received, and share news about what is coming up on the blog for the week ahead. To get in on the Sunday fun, see the rules here: Sunday Post Meme. 

Outside the Blog
     I am left alone at home for this weekend which is not a bad thing at all when you have a great wish to read and too many people walking around during a week.
    I finished A Monster Calls this week I thought it is a very touching story and written masterfully, I cannot give this book full praise as it seems to me (regardless of the topic seriousness) too juvenile.
     I started a non-fiction book which does not happen often The Making of Pride and Prejudice by Sue Birtwistle and Susie Conklin. I was not sure I would like this type of book and was pleasantly surprised by the smooth narration and great structure of the book. I do not hurry through it and enjoying reading about making one of my favourite TV series.

   Last on the Blog
Next on the Blog
  • I will review movie/book About a Boy by Nick Hornby 
  • I will review North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
  • I will publish July 2017 Wrap up
  • I will review The Son by Jo Nesbo
  • I will review play Richard III
Newcomers on my Shelf
       Finally I got my first box with books and games I ordered.  I have bought Taboo board game and hope that our family will enjoy it, or I may play it with friends in any case.
So the books I have ordered are:
The Thirst by Jo Nesbø  - the latest book in Harry Hole series
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
L by Erlend Loe (I am trying to find the English translation for the title)
The Pharmacist by Ingrid Noll
People that are always with me by Narine Abgarjan (I do not thing this book is translated in English yet)
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab     

Friday, August 25, 2017

Tome Topple Readathon Wrap Up - August

  The whole point of this readathon is to read big books (over 500 pages). You don't even need to read a lot of them. You don't even need to finish one. The point is that we are all reading those big daunting books at the same time and supporting each other.  Tome Topple Readathon Goodread group. All books read need to be over 500 pages! That's the only "rule".

           It seems I have a real issue with Anna Karenina - I failed again and did not even opened the book. I do not know what motivation I need to just start the book. I know once started I will love it, but the problem is to start. I believe I have such a poor result because I was reading in parallel The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman and the experience from the book was heart breaking and I needed some tile to recover from each chapter.

     So first novel I finished is The Son by Jo Nesbø (p.527). I finished it within 2 days and rather enjoyed it, but not quite. It is a standalone novel. I liked it; but though the development was fast paced and captivating, I was disappointed with happy end. The characters were also a bit unrealistic, so it left an strange mixture of enjoyment and bitterness.
     The second novel was Blood Ties by Samantha Hayes (p.543). I have this book from a friend and was trying to read it for a couple of months now but it just did not grab me. This time I made a small effort and after 100 pages I started to like it, though it contains some triggers as child abuse and abduction. The ending was rather predictable from around the half of the book, but still it did not spoil the way the story was revealed to the reader.
      The 3rd and final book was The Cuckoo's Calling (p. 509) by Robert Galbraith. I was disappointed by this book and it seemed to drag forever. There were too many repetitions and unnecessary descriptions that were killing the pace for me. About in the middle of the book I guessed who was the killer and I was struggling through the rest of the book just to see the reasoning for the murder.
      So 3 out of 5 planned books are finished. There were none 5 stars read, but all of them were rather enjoyable and captivating. I am so looking forward to the next round of the Tome Topple Readathon.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka

Author: Hiroshi Sakurazaka 
Original title: オール・ユー・ニード・イズ・キル  
Edition Language: Russian  
Series: no 
Format: e-book  
Genres: Science Finction   

      There’s one thing worse than dying. It’s coming back to do it again and again… When the alien Gitai invade, Keiji Kiriya is just one of many raw recruits shoved into a suit of battle armour and sent out to kill. Keiji dies on the battlefield, only to find himself reborn each morning to fight and die again and again. On the 158th iteration though, he sees something different, something out of place: the female soldier known as the Bitch of War. Is the Bitch the key to Keiji’s escape, or to his final death?

My thoughts:    
        I decided to read All You Need Is Kill after I watched Edge of Tomorrow starring Tom Cruise.  Beat me, but I just LOVED the movie and I found the book a bit boring. It is very much the same as with the Martian: the science and action scenes are much better on screen then on paper.
      The producers changed a lot in a movie. Some of the changes were good, some are unnecessary. The title character could have stayed the same recruit instead of becoming an officer. I rather enjoyed Keiji Kiriya as a character. The narration was rather dry but you can see the rapid development from a hopeless rookie to a war hero. And I feel that the movie would gain more for starring Keiji Kiriya instead of "Major William Cage." I also wish the movie had more of the Japanese and other diverse characters. The diversity would make sense as the entire world was trying to push back the Mimics. Without doubt the book has its own merits, and I like the way the story developed and ended. I am glad that the book avoided happy end clichés.
    On the other hand, what I did not like, or rather say, did not fully understand is the nature if the time loops in the novel. It is explained, but leaves too many questions. I prefer the explanation in a movie; it is much clearer and fits better in the picture.  No doubt I would recommend the movie and the book to all. It is a great action-packed story.