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salon du livre [Mar. 22nd, 2005|12:03 pm]
each year in paris, there's the Salon du livre, a book fair that lasts 4 days and where all major french editors come to sell their books. the paradise (if you forget the hour of traffic jam before parking or course).
since i just bought i camera, i didn't want to spend all my money on books. well i did. i bought :

- los servantes by gustavo bossert
- superstars by ann scott
- cat's craddle by kurt vonnegut
- white oleander by janet fitch
- the bonfire of vanities by tom wolfe
- a bag of marble by joseph joffo (already read it but my boyfriend hadn't and he was signing it - and it's a classic)
- sula by toni morrison
- little by david treuer
- dalva by jim harrison
- the watermelon king by daniel wallace
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High Fidelity, Nick Hornby [Mar. 18th, 2005|03:48 pm]
<td></td> <td valign="top">about Rob is a pop music junkie who runs his own semi-failing record store. His girlfriend, Laura, has just left him and he's both miserable and relieved. After all, he could have spent his life with someone who has a bad record collection. Rob seeks refuge in the company of Barry and Dick, the offbeat clerks at his store who endlessly review their top five films, top five Elvis Costello songs, and top five episodes of Cheers. Rob tries dating a singer called Marie. Maybe its just that he's always wanted to sleep with someone who has a record contract. But then he sees Laura again. And Rob begins to think that a life as an episode of Thirty-something might not be so bad.</td>

My desert-island, all-time, top fivemost memorable split-ups, in chronological order :
  1. Alison Ashworth
  2. Penny Hardwick
  3. Jackie Allen
  4. Charlie Nicholson
  5. Sarah Kendrew

These were the ones that really hurt. Can you see your name in that lot, Laura? I reckon you'd sneack into the top ten, but there's no place for you in the top five ; those places are reserved for the kind of humiliation and heartbreak that you're just not capable of delivering. That probably sounds crueler than it is meant to, but the fact is that we're too old to make each other miserable, and that's a good thing, not a bad thing, so don't take your failure to make the list personally. Those days are gone, and good fucking riddance to them ; unhappiness really meant something back then. Now it's just a drag, like a cold or having no money. If you really wanted to mess me up, you should have got to me earlier.

the author
Nick Hornby was born in 1957, and is the author of: Fever Pitch, High Fidelity, About a Boy, and How to Be Good. He also edited a collection of short stories, Speaking with the Angel, and is the pop music critic for the New Yorker.</i>.

what i've thought about it
as i've read about a boy after seeing the movie, i thought it would be the same impression. but it wasn't. maybe because i've seen it a long time ago, maybe because of the subject, but it really touched me, even if the main character, rob, is an asshole. the book sometimes makes you feel a little sad, since it's about relationships and the point of life (ok i'm only 22, but still), but it is also very funny, and there are a lot of great musical references.

penguin > editor's page about nick hornby
salon > an interview of nick hornby about high fidelity
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Falling Angels, Tracy Chevalier (2002) [Mar. 8th, 2005|03:52 pm]
<td></td> <td valign="top">about January 1901. Queen Victoria is one day dead; two families visit their respective family graves to mourn, and two girls meet, become friends, and bring their relatives together in unexpected ways. Lavinia Waterhouse is respectably middle-class, devoted, like her conventional, doting mother, to the right way to do things, although suspiciously well- schooled in subjects like funerary sculpture and the English practices of mourning. Her friend Maude Coleman comes from a slightly more privileged and free-thinking background.</td>

In contrast with Lavinia's mother, Maude's mother Kitty Coleman is well-educated by the standards of the day, and it has made her restless and irritable. But neither her reading, nor her gardening, nor her affair with the somber, high-thinking governor of the cemetery is enough for Kitty. She comes alive only when she discovers the women's suffrage movement, and her devotion to the cause takes her away from Maude in every sense.

Maude Coleman :
Simon is an apprentice gravedigger at the cemetery. He said he was a mute for the undertakers first but started digging graves once he could use a spade.
"There were three mutes at my grandmother’s funeral," Lavinia said. "One of them was whipped for laughing."
Mother says there are not so many funerals like that any more. She says they are too dear and the money should be spent on the living.

the author
Tracy Chevalier was born in october 1962 and grew up in Washington, but she nowadays is living in England. Her first book, The Virgin Blue, takes place in france in the 16th century. Girl with the pearl earring is her second, and most sucessfull book. Falling Angels is her third book.

what i've thought about it
this book, told through its characters, has a really interesting story. sadly, since there are many points of view the book has many writing styles, which are not really spectacular. but the plot is interesting, and easy-reading. not the book of the year, but a nice one to read.

tracy chevalier > the official tracy chevalier site
harpercollins > tracy chevalier interview about the book
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The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown (2003) [Mar. 1st, 2005|11:55 am]
<td></td> <td valign="top">about While in Paris on business, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon receives an urgent late-night phone call: the elderly curator of the Louvre has been murdered inside the museum. Near the body, police have found a baffling cipher. While working to solve the enigmatic riddle, Langdon is stunned to discover it leads to a trail of clues hidden in the works of Da Vinci -- clues visible for all to see -- yet ingeniously disguised by the painter. Langdon joins forces with a gifted French cryptologist, Sophie Neveu, and learns the late curator was involved in the Priory of Sion -- an actual secret society whose members included Sir Isaac Newton, Botticelli, Victor Hugo, and Da Vinci, among others.</td>

In a breathless race through Paris, London, and beyond, Langdon and Neveu match wits with a faceless powerbroker who seems to anticipate their every move. Unless Langdon and Neveu can decipher the labyrinthine puzzle in time, the Priory's ancient secret -- and an explosive historical truth -- will be lost forever.

the author
Dan Brown is the bestselling author of Digital Fortress, Angels & Demons, and Deception Point. He lives in New England.

what i've thought about it
easy, fast and nice to read, polemic because people tend to forget this is just a novel. i thought he was overselling his ideas and that it was culture on a plate brought to masses.

dan brown > the official dan brown site
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Books read in 2005 [Jan. 1st, 2005|01:59 pm]
Falling Angels, Tracy Chevalier
Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown
Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
Franny and Zooey, J.D. Salinger
Hot Water, P.G. Wodehouse
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Books read in 2004 [Dec. 31st, 2004|01:58 pm]
The Bean Trees, Barbara Kingslover
Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Glamorama, Bret Easton Ellis
As seen on TV, Sarah Mlynowski
The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath
The Mysterious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Mark Haddon
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, Fannie Flagg
The Scapegoat (Au Bonheur des Ogres), Daniel Pennac
The Mistress of Spices, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Portrait in Sepia, Isabel Allende
Blue Heaven, Joe Keenan
Even Cowgirls get the Blues, Tom Robbins
9 Stories, J.D. Salinger
Seabiscuit, an american Legend, Laura Hillenbrand
Less Than Zero, Bret Easton Ellis
Sweet Thames, Matthew Kneale
The Suicide Cclub, Robert Louis Stevenson
Five Little Pigs, Agatha Christie
Emotionally Weird, Kate Atkinson
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Books read in 2003 [Dec. 31st, 2003|01:56 pm]
Little Women, Louisia May Alcott
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, John Berendt
Human Croquet, Kate Atkinson
Tell no one, Arthur Coben
One Thousand White Women, Jim Fergus
Le Dictateur et le Hammac, Daniel Pennac
Autobiographie d'une Courgette, Gilles Paris
The House of the Spirits, Isabel Allende
About a Boy, Nick Hornby
Paris 75016 (Hell), Lolita Pille
The Rules of Attraction, Bret Easton Ellis
Jeûne Fille, Audrey Raveglia
Girl with a Pearl Earring, Tracy Chevalier
Nekotopia, Asuka Fujimori
The one undred and one Ways, Mako Yoshikawa
A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries, Kaylie Jones
Peril at end House, Agatha Christie
Paris Spleen (Le Spleen de Paris), Charles Baudelaire
L'arbre des Possibles, Bernard Werber
La Femelle de l'espèce, Andrea H. Japp
Empire Falls, Richard Russo
The Neverending Story, Michael Ende
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Human Croquet, Kate Atkinson (1997) [Sep. 15th, 2003|02:11 pm]
<td></td> <td valign="top">about Once it had been the great forest of Lythe--a vast and impenetrable thicket of green--and here had lived the Fairfaxes, grandly, at Fairfax Manor. But over the centuries the forest had been destroyed, and the Fairfaxes had dwindled too; now they lived in 'Arden' at the end of Hawthorne Close and were hardly a family at all. There was Vinny, the Aunt from Hell, and Gordon, who had forgotten them for seven years. And there was Charles, who passed his life awaiting visits from aliens and for his mother to come back.</td>

But it is Isobel to whom the story belongs, also waiting for the return of her mother--the thin, dangerous Eliza, whose disappearance is part of the mystery that still remains at the heart of the forest.

Call me Isobel. (It's my name.) This is my history. Where shall I begin?

Before the beginning is the void and the void belongs in neither time nor space and is therefore beyond our imagination.

Nothing will come of nothing, unless it's the beginning of the world. This is how it begins, with the word and the word is life. The void is transformed by a gigantic firecracker allowing time to dawn and imagination to begin.

the author
Kate Atkinson was born in York in 1951 and studied English Literature at Dundee University. She began writing short stories in 1981, then began writing for women's magazines after winning the 1986 Woman's Own Short Story Competition. Her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum (1995), won the 1995 Whitbread Book of the Year award. Human Croquetis her second novel.
She also wrote two plays, Nice and Abandonment. Her third novel, Emotionally Weird, was published in 2000. Her newest book is Not the End of the World(2002), a collection of short stories, and Case Histories(2004).

what i've thought about it
The book is not as mystic as the extract i wrote, actually.
Well, if you like Kate Atkinson, you will obviousely like this book. If you don't know her, i'd merely advice Behind the Scenes at the Museum which i preferred. If you don't like her, or don't especially enjoy weird books, you can go to another review :)
There are many turns around in time and space in this book The ingredients of this book are the turn around in time and space, a bit of police intrigue, forests, cynism and Shakespeare's work. And i'd add a very Lewis Caroll-esque style.

unnoficial page
inner balance - online short story by kate atkinson.
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One Thousand White Women : The Journals of May Dodd, Jim Fergus (1998) [Aug. 8th, 2003|02:08 pm]
<td></td> <td valign="top">about This novel is the story of May Dodd and a colorful assembly of pioneer women who, under the auspices of the U.S. government, travel to the western prairies in 1875 to intermarry among the Cheyenne Indians. The covert and controversial "Brides for Indians" program, launched by the adminstration of Ulysses S. Grant, is intended to help assimilate the Indians into the white man's world. Toward that end May and her friends embark upon the adventure of their lifetime.</td>

(from the prologue)
In September of 1874, The great Cheyenne "Sweet Medicine Chief" Little Wolf made the long overland journey to Washington, D.C., with a delegation of his tribesmen for the express purpose of making a lasting peace with the whites. Having spent the weeks prior to his trip smoking and softly discussing various peace initiatives with his tribal council of forty-four chiefs, Little Wolf came to the nation's capital with a somewhat novel, though from the Cheyenne worldview, perfectly rational plan that would ensure a safe and prosperous future for his greatly besieged people.

the author
Jim Fergus is field editor and monthly columnist for Sports Afield magazine and also writes a monthly feature on the AllOutdoors.com Web site. His work has appeared in numerous national magazines and newspapers, and he is the author of the nonfiction book The Hunter's Road.

what i've thought about it
this is a really touching book, that i've read in just a few days (and yet i wasn't supposed to have the time too...).
Based on an actual historical event but told through fictional diaries, this is the story of a remarkable woman, May Dodd (and her friends who were most of them taken out from prisons and asylums due to the lack of volunteers) who travels west in 1975 and marries the chief of the Cheyenne Nation.
It tells the gab between the two cultures, the non-understanding of the white towards the indians, the problem of alchool...
A really beautiful book.

reading group guides > discussion questions and critics from the book
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The House of the Spirits, Isabel Allende (1986) [Jul. 1st, 2003|01:49 pm]
<td></td> <td valign="top">about A familial saga in a region which looks like Chili Between the various generations, between the branch of the masters and the one of the bastards, between the patriarch, the women, the servants, the peasants of the domain, relations are tied and untied, marked by the absolute of love, the familiarity of death, the soft, or bestial madness of the members of the family, which reflect and summarize the vicissitudes of a country which has been in a few decades from rural rythms and country traditions to fratricidal confrontations and ferocity of modern tyrannies.</td>

Traces the lives of the Truebas, beginning with clairvoyant Clara del Valle's summoning of the man she intends to marry, ambitious Esteban Trueba, and following their participation in the history of their times which is their destiny.
And thus the saga begins depicting several generations of family, their relations and politics and with a touch of the magical realism. But underlying this spiritual quest is a very real account of Latin American politics weaving a strong tale of consequence of action.

Clara was a vision in white chantilly lace and natural camellias, as happy as a parrot after her nine years of silence, dancing with her fiancé beneath the canopies and lanterns, completely oblivious to the warnings of the spirits that gesture desperately at her from the curtains, because in the tumult and whirl she could not see them.

The music stopped and the guests gathered in the main hall where a small, innocent priest, adorned with the vestments of high mass, read the complicated sermon he had written exalting confused and impracticable virtues. Clara did not listen to him, because when the din of the music had died down and the whirl of the dancers had subsided, she began to pay attention to the whispering spirits behind the curtains and realized that it had been hours since she had last seen Barrabas. She looked everywhere for him, summoning all her senses, but her mother's elbow in her ribs brought her back to the pressing matter of the ceremony. The priest finished his speech and blessed the two gold rings. Esteban quickly put one on his bride-to-be and slipped the other on his own finger.

At that moment a scream of horror shook the guests. The crowd cleared to either side, making a path for Barrabas, who staggered out blacker and larger than ever with a butcher's knife stuck in his back clear to the hilt, bleeding to death like an ox, his long colt legs trembling, his muzzle dripping with threads of blood, his eyes clouded in agony: dragging one paw after the other, he traced the zigzag path of a wounded dinosaur. Clara fell back onto the French silk loveseat. The enormous dog approached her, laid his huge, millennial animal head in her lap, and looked up at her with lovesick eyes that gradually dimmed and grew blind, while the white chantilly lace, the French silk of the sofa, the Persian carpet, and the parquet floor absorbed his blood.

the author
Isabelle Allende was born in Peru and raised in Chile. When in 1973, President Salvador Allende, her uncle, was assassinated in a military coup, she was forced to flee from Chile. She moved to Caracas, Venezuela where she found work as a feminist journalist. It was in 1980, at the news of her one-hundred year old grandfather's impending death, that she began to write, beginning with a letter to him which she knew he would never receive. This letter became the international best seller The House of Spirits. Allende currently lives in California.
She wrote books such as Eva Luna (1988), Paula (1995), Daughter of Fortune (1999), and more recently, Portrait in Sepia (2001). .

what i've thought about it
it's strange because i've templated the page about the books the one hundred and one ways, and realised i could make the exact same comments.
this book is amazing, because it portraits a family through 3 generations of women (it begins with Clara when she's about 10 years old, and ends with Alba, Clara's grandchild, when she's in her 20s).
it's a gathering of many stories, which are crossed between the Trueba's family, who live part time on the City in "the big house on the corner", part time on Trueba's domain, "The Three Marias", on the countryside, and the Garcias, who are the main family of the peasans of Trueba's domain.
It's a really touching books, sad but happy. It begins as a tale, and ends in a much more realistic way with the political problems of the country (the socialists arriving on the Government, the President killed, the dictatorship instaured).

isabelallende.com > official site about isabel allende
mostlyfiction > infos about the books and the author
the guardian > infos about isabel allende and a list of interviews
isabel allende > the fanlisting
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