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for the record

Just keeping track of the books I've read and my thoughts on them.

Mara, Daughter of the Nile

Mara, Daughter of the Nile - Eloise Jarvis McGraw

I can't remember when I read this for the first time, but it was several years ago. Back then I loved the book. I still really like it now.


The book is about Mara, who is a slave girl who seems to have another destiny. She meets 2 people that end up changing her life. These 2 people happen to be on opposing side even if they don't know it, and Mara becomes a double spy.


It's always nice to read a book about a smart girl, who can hold her own, and has some wits. In this aspect Mara is great! She's not looking for anyone to rescue her and always manages to get out of tough spots by herself. Seeing that girl evolve from trusting no one to opening up to others is one of the book's enjoyments. 


The book can get a bit corny, but then again it goes with the genre.

As with her other books, the author gets you invested in the characters, who really were interesting.


This book will always have a sentimental value because it was one of early favorite books.


Greensleeves - Eloise Jarvis McGraw

I just finished reading greensleeves a couple of days ago. It was a bit difficult to properly imagine the setting because the story unfolds in the 1960s, and lately I've noticed I have a need to have a clear image of the characters while I'm reading.


The book was surprisingly deep. I like the first 2/3 of the book more than the last part. Even though there were so many characters, the author gave just enough for you to care deeply about each one. The characters were all really interesting too.


The journey itself was of course special. And I really think its a journey every girl goes through; a period when you're not really sure what you're doing and where you're heading. Since I'm in such a period right now I was really able to connect with the book.


The book gives a warm cozy feeling.


4 stars instead of 5, because towards the end the focus went to the romance aspect, which was less interesting than the rest. OK, 4.5!


(Read in November 2015)

Boy 7

Boy 7 - Mirjam Mous

I wasn't expecting too much when I started this book. Taking that into consideration I was pleasantly surprised. The story was interesting, which is the biggest compliment I can give it.


The story has 2 timelines which is not really something I prefer. The style wasn't bad but not great either. But as I said, interesting story!


(Read August/September 2015)



1984 - George Orwell, Erich Fromm

I read this book as the first book in our recently established bookclub. 


Obviously there's no denying the genius of the book. Written in 1948, the imagined world of 1984 is in some ways so close to 2015 it's scary. 


The book seemed divided into parts, even though there wasn't an actual division. The first part is a quite lengthy introduction in which you get a glimpse of Winston's life in Oceania and the system that rules that society. The government is keeping stabs on the while society, but especially on the middle class (the outer party) with a bit less on the working class (the proles). This is done through Telescreens. These telescreens send and receive data. I don't mean to sound conspiracy theorist, but smart phones? Basically have the same function. Anyway, the introduction is so lengthy that you spend a good part of the book wondering what the story is actually about. But you get the chance to wonder about the way people in Oceania are thinking and how they're controlled. The influence of the media is reinforced something that rings true till this day.


The second part seems to be mostly about sex. Winston's obsession with it, it's prohibition, etc.


The third part is about the party and its workings. Winston joins the rebellion which has a kind of handbook. The text from this book forms a good part of 1984. The text wasn't uninteresting, in fact it was interesting, but it was a bit long.


The last part is Winston getting caught. This was an exciting part (especially compared to the rest) and quite gruesome in some ways. The ending in my opinion is just right. Even though I didn't like Julia throughout the book, I liked her in her last scene a lot.


There was a quote which I liked a lot "The best books are those that tell you what you know already."


...A book that organizes your thoughts and puts them eloquently and extracts the thoughts you didn't even know you were thinking.


The principles of Newspeak also greatly interested me. By limiting the words the society uses, the thoughts of the people are limited. This reminded me of a quote:

"To say something new is first of all to reaffirm the traces of the past that are inscribed in the words we use." Saussure



If judged by the pace and the presence of some long boring parts this book would probably get a 2.5 or 3 star rating from me. But the novelty of the book and the ingenuity make up for a lot, making it a 4.


(Read in October 2015)

The Lies of Locke Lamora

The Lies of Locke Lamora - Scott Lynch

I was kind of on the fence with this book the whole time I was reading it.

Although the concept of the plot was interesting from the beginning, it was kind of slow and it literally took about 250 pages before it got exciting.

The descriptions in this book are very detailed, which I know some people really appreciate and like, but that was not for me. The detailed descriptions took away from the excitement of the plot for me.

I'm not sure if it's very appropriate for younger readers.

The story itself though is excellent! And especially towards the end it got really exciting

The Goose Girl

The Goose Girl - Shannon Hale

This book had many elements that made into a very enjoyable book.

To begin with, it's a fairly big book that allows you to really get into it and get to know the characters.
It's not rushed at any point, the characters are interesting.

It is slightly predictable, but that's usually the case with fairy tales.
But it's not all happy, there are sad moments and heartbreaking ones.

I finished it in 3 days I think. It was really engaging and just a nice book to read.

(Read in April 2015)

We Have Always Lived in the Castle

We Have Always Lived in the Castle - Shirley Jackson, Thomas Ott, Jonathan Lethem

This cover is a bit creepy, the book I have is a lot simpler. I think if I had seen that cover I might have hesitated in reading the book.

It builds up really nicely, Merricat keeps giving us pieces of the puzzle throughout the book, until the picture is complete.

It's one of those books that don't find it necessary to spell-out everything for you, which is a nice change from some other books.

You can really get engaged with the characters, and Merricat keeps drawing you into her magical world.

I really really enjoyed it.


(Read in April 2015)