Archive for February, 2018


Their Eyes Were Watching God

by Zora Neale Hurston

This is the first book I am counting for Book 14. A book by an author of a different ethnicity than you.

What a wonderful, beautiful, moving book this is. It is the story of Janie, a woman of mixed race living in the south during the early 20th century. Janie tells her story of life and love in such an engaging way I felt like I had actually met her.

 

Janie is a strong independent woman searching for own identity throughout her life, and three marriages. In this way she is a thoroughly modern woman despite the time and setting of her life. Janie spends a lot of energy asserting her own being into her relationships, and fending off comments and criticisms based on her looks. She is held accountable for the fact that men other than her husband find her attractive.

Despite being a book about black people, it is less about racism than it is about discrimination within the black community. Women and darker skinned people are seen as less by the rest of the community – a thing the fair skinned Janie doesn’t participate in or understand. It may be because of this that the book received a poor reception when it was first published. Many African-American writers, readers and critics felt that Hurston had skirted issues that needed facing. Other, however, felt that Their Eyes was a gripping story, true to the experiences of many ordinary people.

What is certainly is, in 2018, is a wonderfully written story with a narrative technique that makes it fun to read So much of Janie’s story is told in direct speech, with the words written as they would have been said.

This took a while for me to get into and reading aloud helped, but once I had managed to understand the accent and dialect, it made the story so much more vivid.

 

I loved everything about this book. The story, the characters, the method of telling…simply everything

 

 

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by Fiona Snyckers

This is book 3. The next book in a series you started. I reviewed the first in the series as my book published in 2018. Both have been published this year so far.

Just like with Hacked, this book was easy to read, engaging and entertaining.  As cozy mysteries, both books are wonderfully accessible and gentle to read.

That does not mean, however, that this books is simple in construct or crime. There is still the sense of mystery and wanting to work out who did what to whom and why. Snyckers keeps you going; there are enough exciting scenes between the friendships and family politics (all filled with love and familiarity) to whizz the story along.

By the end of the book I felt like I had been on a wonderful adventure with people I knew and liked.

I will certainly keep reading each book as it comes out as I am more and more interested in the characters and their relationships, but also like the way the crimes are solved. Perfect cozy mystery really.

 

The Secret History

 by Donna Tartt
 
I read this for 30. A book with characters who are twins. And by read I mean listened to.
 
This book went on and on, and bloody on.
I got bored at least twice, and got irritated by the author. And then the story would get engaging again and I’d be happily listening once more. Had I been actually reading I am not sure I would have got past the first third of the book.
 
That being said, once the story played out, I was glad to have stuck with it. It just felt like it was so swathed in unnecessary detail and what felt like Tartt showing off her knowledge or research skills, the actual story and the flashes of wonderful writing were lost to me.
 
So yeah, I’m a bit mixed when it comes to this book. I won’t be dashing off to read another Tartt just yet, but maybe in the future. Seems unfair to judge an author on their first novel when they have gone on the write so many more.
 
Or maybe she’s just not for me.