Tag Archives: romance

Sophie’s Choice

Whoa, steamy!

Not only is there a whole lot of built-up sexual tension throughout the entire novel, the narrator has such a love affair with the English language that it’s downright sexy.

I love that this novel operates on so many different levels: there’s the horrors of the Holocaust and the Auschwitz labour camp, and it’s tied back to the embarrassment of slavery in what is recent American history, and there’s also the violence and passion of Sophie and Nathan’s relationship.

I was particularly drawn to Stingo’s struggle as a writer, and how the book is really a bildungsroman in that Stingo matures not only in the literary sense (that is, into a true writer), but also – gratefully – sexually.

Soneto XVII

I missed Valentine’s Day here, oops! For now let me leave one of my favourite Neruda poems (in English at Poemhunter):

No te amo como si fueras rosa de sal, topacio
o flecha de claveles que propagan el fuego:
te amo como se aman ciertas cosas oscuras,
secretamente, entre la sombra y el alma.

Te amo como la planta que no florece y lleva
dentro de sí, escondida, la luz de aquellas flores,
y gracias a tu amor vive oscuro en mi cuerpo
el apretado aroma que ascendió de la tierra.

Te amo sin saber cómo, ni cuándo, ni de dónde,
te amo directamente sin problemas ni orgullo:
así te amo porque no sé amar de otra manera,

sino así de este modo en que no soy ni eres,
tan cerca que tu mano sobre mi pecho es mía,
tan cerca que se cierran tus ojos con mi sueño.

The Persian Boy

I’ve been reading a lot of good contemporary novels, and I am so glad!  I’ve been on a sort of classics spree so it’s nice to read something current and enjoyable every once in a while.

This book is a very well-researched historical account of Alexander’s “boy” (that is, his, ahem, young male consort, and that’s Alexander as in “the Great”).  I could see how this could turn off a lot of people, even people who aren’t necessarily homophobic.  It’s a lot to stomach if you think too much about the subject matter.  But it’s not about that, really.  It’s more about love and loyalty and passion.  It’s beautiful to see Alexander’s passion and strength and also his weaknesses.  The boy is really admirable; I feel like Renault really delved not only into the historical facts but the culture and the mindset of Persia and Macedon.

It’s really well written and a wonderful story.

Rebecca

This is absolutely one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. I guess it just goes to show that a classic can beat out the new fad novel any day. (Ahem, Dan Brown!)

Rebecca is about a young woman who marries a widower whose late wife’s memory lingers a little too closely…

The neighbours, family, and even the servants all seem to prefer the vibrant and capable Rebecca, who died tragically in a boating accident a year before. The housekeeper Mrs. Danvers adored her and treats the new mistress as incompetent. The new wife, who remains unnamed throughout the whole novel, struggles to maintain the household and to save her marriage as she can’t seem to get rid of Rebecca.

Du Maurier’s writing style is impeccable! It’s lyrical and haunting and vivid all at the same time. And the descriptions of the Manderley estate remind me of Austen, while the unsettling Rebecca and Mrs. Danvers remind me of Poe or some other Gothic/horror writer. The main character is also so imaginative and descriptive that you can’t help but like her, or at least sympathize with her. She might seem naïve or immature but I think she represents all the feelings of incompetence and insecurity that we feel – especially in relationships and new situations. I might have had pretty bad timing in coming across this book because I’m planning my own wedding and marrying into a family that is somewhat more… well-off than mine. But I’m lucky we’re not inheriting a sprawling estate in the English country, nor do we have an evil Mrs. Danvers making me feel inferior!

I was so impressed and my mind still wanders back to that book even though I’ve finished it and begun another. I definitely want to read it again!

Stranger in a Strange Land

I actually finished Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein quite quickly – in about three late night reading sessions. Having read it, I strongly urge you to read the complete version – it was originally published with several thousand words cut out as per the publisher’s request – because I really think that it is truly complete the way it is.

Stranger is about this man Michael Valentine Smith who was born and raised in Mars, away from all human contact. When he is brought to Earth, he must cope with this strange planet with not only a different gravity and language, but strange ideas such as jealousy and love.

I understand a bit why hippies seem to love his work (being a teensy bit of a hippie myself) but I have never been able to come to grips with the idea of free love. It’s the one thing that I am most unable to fathom of all the socially liberal tendencies out there. I did, however, truly enjoy the discussion of total emotional and spiritual connections – the idea of “grokking”.

Read this book – there’s a reason why it’s famous!

P.S. I Love You

Just finished P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern (free at Amazon)… yep, back on my book-movies kick! And how sad! Seriously, I cried on and off all day. It’s even sadder than the movie, if that’s at all possible, and incidentally, the book is totally different from the movie anyway! So P.S. I Love You starts with Holly who is just shy of thirty and lost her husband Gerry, who had a brain tumor. She’s devastated, but it turns out Gerry had left her with a note for every remaining month of the year – 10 notes total. These notes tell her how to live her life without him, as he seemed to know beforehand that she’d be pretty hopeless at first. The notes range from telling her to buy a bedside lamp to keep her from bumping her leg at night, to doing karaoke even though she’s horrid, to sending her on a lovely vacay with her best friends in Lanzarote, Spain… Meanwhile her (and Gerry’s) friends and family have lives that continue on as well and Holly is still struggling to deal with her own life, unexpectedly and suddenly alone.

Even in the company of friends she felt alone; in a room of a thousand people she would feel alone. But mostly when she roamed the rooms of her quiet house she felt alone… She hated feeling like she had no reason to wake up; she hated the feeling when she did wake up. She hated the feeling of having no excitement or anything to look forward to. She missed the feeling of being loved, of knowing Gerry was watching her as she watched television or ate dinner. She missed sensing his eyes on her as she entered a room… (Location 4582)

It’s definitely a book that puts things into perspective, as they like to say. Do you love someone with all your heart? Are you passionate and honest about your love, and do you brush off silly worries, knowing that you are loved wholly and interminably? And beyond romantic love, the book explores family love a lot more than the movie does. I LOVE stories with big families like Holly’s, simply because I come from one. And her family is totally dysfunctional but loving and interesting on so many levels. It’s a great read – I think it must be quite long because I read all day but I’m not too sure because I haven’t adjusted yet to book lengths on the Kindle! Well worth it anyway! Oh, and I love the Irishness of it all! It all takes place in Ireland (except for the vacation)… none of that glorious Irishman falling in love with that American Hilary Swank rubbish.

More Kindle, Atonement cont.

I forgot to mention that I still don’t actually have a cover for my Kindle. These are the three features I want:

  1. Looks like a book!
  2. Not leather
  3. Uses the hinge system

So far the M-Edge covers seem perfect for me, but they’re not putting the hinged ones out until next week or so. Right now my poor little KT travels in a cloth pouch that I happen to have and I just put her in the top part of my backpack when I’m walking around campus. Of course, this makes me a little restless so sometimes I walk around holding her, in the pouch. Like a baby. Ahem. Anyway, let me know if there are any other covers you think I should know about!

I’m more than halfway through Atonement and I already know that this book gets two thumbs up. I knew it before I finished the first chapter. It’s lovely, and so much better the movie (which incidentally, I loved). I also loved how Part II starts exactly 50% into it. And I love the progress indicator in the Kindle; it’s grown on me. I’m planning on finishing Atonement tonight before going to see my boyfriend as Grumio in Taming of the Shrew! ‘Til tomorrow!

Edit: Hey, M-Edge! Did you know I was writing this post? Because you just put up the cover of my dreams on your website! *runs to order*