I LOVE reading. And every spare minute I get I would love to cozy up with a good read. Last year I managed to get through roughly 20 books. Wuthering Heights – Eat Pray Love – The Hobbit – Revolutionary Road (2nd time) – Never Let Me Go – Little Children – Cider with Rosie – Freedom, J Franzen – The particular sadness of lemon cake (dead) – The Road – Easter Parade – Far from the Madding Crowd – Persuasion (well half of it) – plus tonnes of screenwriting books. Okay I guess it wasn’t 20, but it still beats my 2010 record, which was likely to be around 5 or 6. So you get the picture, I like to read. It can be to the extent i’ll rather pick up a book and hear the words fall off a page, rather than words fall out of certain people’s mouths. So when a book comes along and halts the flow of my reading ritual I get annoyed, especially as I’m the one that wants to know what happens in the end. Once I’ve got through the first chapter there’s no going back. Same with films. 20 minutes in and I have to stay committed. Unless I fall asleep.

2012 book count = 0

Cause = Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day.

I know some people will be outraged by this, dumbfounded that I didn’t love this. It is on a lot of must read lists. The film adaptation was Oscar nominated and so forth. But I tell you, no one is more outraged than myself. My reasons are that I don’t often read more than one novel from an author, and Kazuo Ishiguro was one author I felt compelled to read another one of his novels. As I mentioned before I read Never let me go, which was also by Ishiguro, and I was engrossed in it. I enjoyed how the tone of the book was very simple, yet pensive and had a tinge of sadness about. It moved me. It surprised me. And I love it when anything does that to me. N.B. Please read the book before watching the film starring Carey Mulligan and Co.  Yes it is one of those cases where the film does not live up to the book, although it isn’t terrible. But mainly it fails to convey all the best bits about the novel.

So I was expecting the same with The remains of the day. I started reading it in January; we are now in March, and I’m still stuck on the second chapter. All I know of the book is that a subservient butler is released to go on a road trip. Well something along those lines. He starts to analyse the how the butler/ servant community rate each other, which I suppose was to give us a sense of the community/place he comes from. But to me it sounds highly dull. And unfortunately because I expected so much from this novel, the energy to push through the dull bits has disappeared and I can’t seem to find it. I can’t believe it has halted all reading for 2012. I know I could have put it down and moved on, but yes there is a tinge of hope that this is going to be a good read. So every 5 -10 days I pick the book up again, re-read the same 3 pages again and put it down, again. That is my new ritual. It goes everywhere with me, like a nagging dog, and I’ve succeeded in ignoring it so far. But now I’ve realised it’s getting in the way of plenty more amazing reads.

From the moment someone asks “What are you reading?” and you are lost for words since you’ve completely forgotten the name of the book, looking like you lied about reading something, it’s time to divide or conquer.

So I’ve decided to Conquer! (or Divide). Actually i’m still making my mind up. But if I conquer I give myself till this time next week to write a full review on it. If I divide there’s no going back. Unless I decide it is necessary to read it in the distant future.

So it’s time to decide and continue my flow of reading along the mountain of books I have waiting for me.

I’ll keep you posted on the outcome via twitter if I divide, or via here in the form of a review if I conquer.


LitREV: Ellis Island… Captivating Irish tale!

Ellis Island is a TV Book Club recommendation that centres on the life of Ellie, a young Irish girl, in which her life is full of longing for love and a sense of belonging. Set in 1920’s rural Ireland, Ellie was raised in a semi-affluent devout catholic household. The story evolves from her feeling a sense of belonging in her catholic school, which she even makes the decision to join the nunnery, but does a complete U-turn and instead starts a home with her childhood love John Hogan. Although they have their unfaltering love for each other, Ellie does not have the support of her parents. And life during the civil war, in which John is wholeheartedly proactive in participating in, leaves them struggling to stay above the poverty line. But the intrigue comes from Ellie’s decision to move to Ellis Island – New York when a tragic incident involving John changes their lives.On a mission to provide for her loved one at home Ellie’s life in the states is set far-apart from her struggling life in Ireland. Her transformation from maid to a sought after typist is infused with lust, discovery and doubt.

Although the heart of the story is supposed to exhibit the lavishness of New York and the Luxuries like electricity, fashion, cars it has to offer, it was slightly not as hearty and intriguing as her previous life in Ireland. Possibly, because I live in an age where the extravagance that Ellie is amazed by is too familiar already. Another plot that found my captivation wavering was the new love interest. I was already drawn in by the intense love that Ellie and John withhold for each other, that I wouldn’t even expect Ellie to doubt this.

The outcome of the plot seemed a bit vague, but the ending revealed the meaning underneath it all. A woman’s struggle of empowerment, and fulfilling life with more than just baking, cleaning and lovemaking her way through it.

An insightful read that I would recommend, despite the filler in the middle that didn’t add much to the intriguing plot.

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