Sunday, November 28, 2010

Quest: Sam Silverthorne Book 1 - Gary Crew

About The Book
Sam lives in a big house with his father and his Aunt. His father is a biologist and is often away. His Aunt would prefer that Sam wasn't around so she could inherit it all. His father has been away for quite a while when things come to a head with his Aunt and the Gardener. He runs away in search of his dad.

My Thoughts
I came across this book when searching for some quick reads in the YA section at the library. I haven't read anything by Gary Crew, though I've been meaning to read Strange Objectswhich is about the sinking of the Batavia in 1629.

Quest was easy to read, but some of the characters were a bit stereotypical. Such as the Aunt. I enjoyed reading it, but as yet haven't been moved to read the next books in the series.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Spare Room - Helen Garner

This was the Wednesday book club read for September. We had a bit of a contentious discussion because one of our members stated that he didn't think it had a plot, but didn't elaborate on it any further.

About the Book
Helen's friend, Nicola, comes to stay with her while she gets treatment for cancer. Nicola is in denial about how sick she is and how much hard work it is to take care of her. Helen also doesn't realise how much hard work it will be, or how frustrating. It is a book about the depth of friendship, but also realising that we can't always do things ourselves and that it's much easier when we have the support of others.

My Thoughts
This is the only book by Helen Garner I've read and I really enjoyed it. The writing is spare and I think that's what I love about the book. There is no unnecessary flowery language or description. The friendship between the two characters is touching. The way both characters deal with the idea of Nicola's dying was handled very well. My favourite scene is where Helen confronts Nicola about being in denial about the seriousness of her illness and the futility of the treatment she'd been receiving.

Snow Country - Yasunari Kawabata

This was the October selection for the Friday bookclub. Unfortunately, I was sick and missed the meeting. I finished the book a week after the meeting.

About the book
The story is set in a town in the mountains of Japan. Shimamura escapes from his life in Tokyo and meets Komako, a geisha in a mountain town. Their relationship starts with a meeting on the street, and progresses over a couple of years. Shimamura is drawn to return again and again to where Komako is. Their relationship is illfated. Shimamura doesn't seem to be capable of love, but he is drawn back to her. Komako knows that she shouldn't be with him, and yet comes to his room every night.

My Thoughts
I don't know if it was the translation, or just where my head was at, but I spent most of the book not understanding what was going on. Other reviews I've read say it is full of symbolism (ah!) and written in almost haiku style (double ah!).

I guess what I came away with is a sadness for both of the characters. I think I'll need to reread it though to understand it better.