Goats from a Small Island … a review

It is very obvious why I picked this up, yes? Such a definitive play on Bill Bryson as well as having goats in the name. Seriously, this was begging to get picked up from the library. Especially as after my Spain trip, I was looking for some Spain themed books to read. Any good recommendations in that field?

I sort of enjoyed the book. It is quite humorous, but it was a bit repetitive. It follows the adventures of a young English woman who moved to live on the Spanish island of Mallorca. While the differences in culture and habits are brought out beautifully, the style of writing, I felt was a bit stilted. So the reaction from me would definitely be a bit mixed. The parallel plot lines are quite entertaining, from the Russian model to the crazy neighbour – they all bring their idiosyncracies into the story.

So would I read any of the author Anna Nicholas? Probably, yes. I would love to know more about her adventures and I am sure that I will find styles of er writing in other books that I like better.

The Shadow of the Wind… a review

I picked this book up a long time ago and told you about it. It’s a big book, I mean physically. And that meant that while I’m carrying my laptop around these days, I prefer not carrying this book around. Instead, I read on my laptop… Which means that I have turned to Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s words at night. When things have quietened down, when the drizzle and the wind is just starting to pick up, when Edinburgh’s night-light has taken over, I move over to the streets of Barcelona.

The Shadow of the Wind is the story of a book inside a book. Daniel, a bookseller’s son, picks up a copy of a novel of the same name from The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, written by a Julian Carax. He’s so moved by the story that, not very unlike me actually, he goes about looking for more of Carax’s works. Strangely though, what he finds is that someone is out to destroy all of  Carax’s books! He calls himself Lain Coubert, funnily the same as the name of the devil in one of the books. If it were to happen to me, I would try to get to the bottom of it, and so does Daniel, and he uncovers the unimaginable.

There are a lot of central characters in the novel. At times, when I returned to it after a break of a few days, I found it a little hard to pick up from where I left off, often re-reading the last five pages or so. But the description of Barcelona before the civil war, the bookshops, the buildings, the architecture, the people, all beautiful. More than anything else, the plot weaves through the lives of many beautifully, seamlessly. Imagine having the chance to go to The Cemetery of Forgotten Books… I wonder what sort of a title would catch my fancy!

Quote: “Bea says that the art of reading is slowly dying, that it’s an intimate ritual, that a book is a mirror that offers us only what we already carry inside us, that when we read, we do it with all our heart and mind, and great readers are becoming more scarce by the day.”