We need to talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver ★★★★★
This epistolary novel documents the attempts of a mother to come to terms with her son’s killing a group of high school students. Aside from the controversial subject (is a mother to blame for her child’s actions?) what I liked the most is Shriver’s style. She describes Eva’s feelings with so much detail, it made me cringe at times.
The night circus by Erin Morgenstern ★☆☆☆☆
On the background of the phantasmagorical Cirque des Rêves, two magicians Marco and Celia duel in creating the best circus attractions and without knowing it, they fall in love. I did not like the book. I took it with me during summer holidays but could not pick it up. The only good thing it has going are the descriptions of the circus, although even those seem to belong to a YA novel. the reader’s expectations are heightened, and I kept waiting for the big challenge to happen or at least be explained, but no. Most of the characters are flat, especially Marco and Celia, there is no conflict, just descriptions which although imagistic enough become quite redundant and frankly I had to skip. I think the book would make a good Tim Burton movie.
Life of Pi by Yann Martel ★★★★☆
A 16 year-old Indian boy’s passage to a new life in America aboard a freighter ends in a shipwreck in the Pacific. He is left to fend for himself on a life raft with a Bengal tiger. How’s that for a plot? I loved the book because it is not merely an adventure novel, but one on God, religion, acceptance and rising above hardship. It meant a lot to me during a phase of self-search and I actually had an “Aha” moment while reading it. I give it 4 ★ because I was not happy with how some aspects were left unexplained (what did the island mean?). Some might like this openness which invites to interpretation, but I am more the type that wants things cleared up.
The Stand by Stephen King ★★★★★
On the background of a super-flu pandemic which kills 99.4% of the world’s population, the survivors take sides: Good or Evil and an epic battle ensues. Stephen King is one of my guilty pleasures. But after devouring this 1500-pager over the winter holidays, I must confess I don’t feel guilty at all. The novel is probably King’s best. He truly shows his mastery at creating characters, one for every nuance of human nature. The plot is classic King – twists and turns, surprisingly almost no gore, but at times chilling to the bone. The man is a great storyteller.
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell ★★★★★
A novel made of 6 nested and interweaving stories which takes place over a few centuries and aims to show how one’s actions can influence the past, pres ent and future. One of my Top 5 Favorite Books. All 6 stories are enthralling; I was amazed at the versatility of Mitchell’s styles. The novel is filled with symbols and parallels that I enjoyed figuring out. Like the number 6 for instance (6 stories, Cloud Atlas sextet, Genesis reference maybe?). If you’re planning to read the book, once you’re done with a chapter, make sure to check this out. It will open your eyes to all the hidden gems of the novel.
Room by Emma Donoghue ★★★★☆
The entire book is written from the perspective of Jack, a five year old, who is held captive in a room, along with his mother. The style is obviously original, and I loved it. In this way we see the world through Jack’s eyes, but as adults we understand the horror of what is happening even if (fortunately) the boy does not. What stuck with me the most was the dedication and love the mother has for Jack. It’s first of all a story about the resilience of a mother who endures terrible things to protect her child.
Other books I liked:
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss ★★★★☆
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood ★★★☆☆
The Chrysalids by John Wyndham ★★★☆☆