Posts Tagged ‘british’

One Day by David Nicholls

Sorry I’ve been away so long!  Technically, I haven’t really gone anywhere; I just haven’t really been motivated to blog lately.   I have a “backlog” of books I’ve read over the past few months that I need to write about and it’s going to take me forever to get to them all!  Anyway, this book had been on my radar for awhile but I wasn’t in a rush to buy it.  I believe it may have been included on some bestseller or best book lists (I know it was in the top 100 paid Kindle books for awhile and maybe still is).

“One Day” is broken down into one day per year over a twenty year period starting in 1988.  Strangely, I totally missed that fact when I was reading the book but realized it afterward when I was reading a summary of the story.  Oops.  The story starts out with two college students in England, Emma and Dexter (Dex for short), who hook up on graduation night.  Emma has had a crush on Dex for awhile and is so excited to finally have a chance with him.  Dex, on the other hand, isn’t as enthused as Emma at first.  Jump to the following year – Emma and Dex have gone their separate ways but are conversing through letters.  As years go on, Emma’s career as an actress in plays has been unsuccessful and she gets stuck in a bunch of dead-end jobs, not really knowing where she wants her life to go, but she knows that she loves to write.  Dex gets into the entertainment industry and becomes a popular TV personality and leads the life of a playboy.  Dex and Emma couldn’t be in two more different places in their lives.

Over the years, Emma and Dex’s friendship ebbs and flows, usually depending on Dex’s situation and “fame”.  You know the whole time that Emma is in love with Dex but how does he feel about her?  While Emma and Dex find themselves in the arms of others, they always keep coming back to each other.  The story involves more situations and people intertwined with Emma and Dex but you can really see how strong their relationship is after that one night together which was much more than just a one night stand.  You will just have to read it to hear about their ups and downs and what happens to them in the end (do they ever get together?!?  Read it and find out!).

I had a little bit of a hard time getting going at the beginning but the story picked up for me after a little while.  It did seem like a long book though (it’s sometimes hard to tell since the Kindle doesn’t have real page numbers – although that feature is being added soon if it hasn’t been activated already) and it makes sense now since the book covered one day per year for twenty years.  The characters seemed very real, and I found myself really liking Emma and hating Dex sometimes for how he acted.

David Nicholls has a few other books out that I’d like to check out someday.  I also found out that there is a movie based up this book already in the works.   Anne Hathaway is starring as Emma; Jim Sturgess (never heard of him) will be Dex.  This disappoints me because I wasn’t impressed with Anne Hathaway in “Love and Other Drugs” and I wouldn’t have pictured her playing Emma in this story.  Oh well… another movie that won’t live up to the book.  We’ll just have to wait and see!

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Remember in my last post how I mentioned that I’ll look over the book summary once when I first purchase the book and then never look at it again?  Well, that came back to bite me this time because I started reading this book and got really freakin’ confused.

Never Let Me Go” is told in the first person perspective of Kathy.  The book actually starts with Kathy as an adult, reflecting back on her childhood and teen years and her relationships.  She is raised in a boarding school in the English countryside and from a young age, she bonds with two other students – Ruth and Tommy.  Kathy is usually the one who stands back and observes, while Ruth is a little more on the outgoing side.  Tommy is known to have a horrible temper and is teased by many of his classmates.  Kathy befriends him because she realizes there is more to Tommy underneath the bursts of anger and frustration.

At their school, Hailsham, the students are taught normal school subjects but are also pushed to be creative and athletic.  The students know that they are special from others outside of Hailsham, but they aren’t exactly sure how since they are totally isolated.  As teens, more pieces start to fall into place about what makes Hailsham students different and how they can cope in the outside world once they leave the school.  At this time, Ruth and Tommy start to date, leaving Kathy as the third wheel, but she still acts as a confidant to both.  Together, they go through the journey to adulthood while piecing together parts of their past that, at the time, were things that happened in passing that only now start to make sense and will determine the rest of their lives.

Okay, like I said above, this book TOTALLY confused the heck out of me.  I actually had to look up some spoilers because I thought I was just an idiot and didn’t understand what was going on.  If you want to know the real story, you need to go out and read this book yourself.  It would give way too much away if I told you, and what’s the fun in that?

Although the book was confusing and maybe a little bit “too deep” for me (I don’t like to think too much), I did like it, but didn’t love it.  It was something different for me.  I liked that it was told from Kathy’s perspective, but I found it really confusing when Kathy would mention something, then say that she has to tell another story first, then will go off track again before she finally gets back to the story she originally wanted to tell.  By the time that whole song and dance was done, I usually forgot what the original story was.

This weekend when I was in the middle of this book, I was watching E! News and something was mentioned about Keira Knightley’s new movie being shot called “Never Let Me Go“, so I thought to myself, “Hmm, wonder if it’s the same as this book…” and turns out, it is.  The movie starring Keira Knightley as Ruth and Carey Mulligan as Kathy and some dude I don’t know as Tommy is apparently out in theaters in limited release.  (Pssst: Pittsburghers – it’s showing at the Cinemagic Manor Theater in Squirrel Hill and the Waterfront.)  I have a feeling that this story in movie format will be even more confusing as the book, but maybe it will be told in a different order.  Don’t know.  I’ll have to check it out when it gets to Netflix.

Has anyone else read this or seen the movie yet?  Thoughts?

Mini Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

I was pretty quick with this one – it JUST got released on September 21st.  As much as I wanted to start reading it the day it was delivered to my Kindle (since I pre-ordered it), I had to finish the other book I was reading first so I didn’t start this one till Saturday night.  I don’t have the attention span or good enough memory to read two books at once.

I’m not going to rehash the entire five-book series before “Mini Shopaholic” because if you’re reading this, you’ve most likely read at least one of the books already.

The last time we saw Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood), she was expecting a baby.  Fast forward several years, Becky and Luke have a darling 2-year old girl named Minnie.  Unfortunately, Minnie has gotten her mother’s genes when it comes to loving material things and being stubborn.  Luke begins to worry when Minnie gets kicked out of her FOURTH Santa’s Grotto (apparently that’s what they call the Santa visiting displays in England) that perhaps she is out of control and has a behavior problem.  They look into nanny services that are known to have structure and teach the children multiple languages and martial arts and well, that doesn’t turn out so well.

Becky is also determined to do something special for Luke – throw him a surprise party.  Luke isn’t fond of birthdays.  When Becky brings up this idea for their family and friends, they are skeptical that she would actually follow through and be able to keep it a surprise.  As Becky is planning, she goes a little crazy with the ideas and of course, gets in over her head.  Then, an unexpected guest comes in to offer their help….

Along the way, Becky is trying REALLY hard to control her spending.  At Christmastime, she promises Luke that she will wear each of her items of clothing three times before she is allowed to buy herself something new… which would last her until October of the next year.  While she’s trying not to spend for herself, she feels that it’s okay to spend on Minnie and take it out of her “pocket money” account, which she doesn’t really have yet because she’s only 2.  Luke’s suspicions about Becky’s spending are heightened even more than usual as she’s trying to hide the birthday party planning and he thinks she’s gotten herself into spending trouble (again).

As much as I like reading this series for entertainment value, sometimes I think Becky’s a total idiot and want to shake her shoulders and yell at her, “Haven’t you learned your lesson yet???”  The book was a VERY quick and easy read and took me less than two days to read.  One really stupid thing bothered me: all of the dates mentioned in the book were between 2005 and 2006.  There was one reference to a variety of Google products including Google Chrome, Google Wave, Google Voice, etc.  Um, those things weren’t around that long ago.  I guess none of the editors caught that one.

If you’ve read the rest of the series, you must read this one.  I also suspect that there will be another addition to the series after this one based upon how the book ended, but I won’t give you any more hints than that!

Special delivery!

OMG!  Look what I got in the mail today!


Remember a few weeks ago when I wrote about “Holly’s Inbox” and said that there was a sequel that was ONLY released in the UK?  Well, guess what.  I FOUND IT!  When I was originally looking, it was not available for sale on the UK version of Amazon, although now it is.

I searched high and wide on the web and ended up finding it for sale on  I’d never heard of this website before, but they sell used books, movies, music, textbooks, etc., and have a special section for rare and collectible books.  This book only cost me about $7 total.  Yes, I said $7.  The book itself was $3 and shipping was $4.  I know… crazy cheap, huh?  It was shipped from a seller in NY but it did originally come from the UK (see the British Red Cross price tag on it?).  It’s kind of yellowed and some pages are slightly ripped, but it was $7.  I’ll deal with it.

I can’t wait to start reading it!  I have to finish my current book first though (“Winter Garden” by Kristin Hannah); I can’t handle reading multiple books at one time.

Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella

Twenties Girl” is the newest novel from Sophia Kinsella, author of the wildly popular “Shopaholic” series.  It came out last summer and of course, I had to get it right away.  I think I actually may have downloaded it on my Kindle the day it came out.  I’ve read all of her other books, including the ones published under her REAL name, Madeleine Wickham.

This is a cute story about a young British woman named Lara who unwillingly befriends the ghost of her recently-passed great aunt.  The ghost doesn’t come back as an old woman, instead she comes back as a wild partying flapper from back in her younger days in the 1920′s (hence the book title, “Twenties Girl”).  Of course, Lara is the only one who sees and hears Sadie (that’s the great aunt/ghost) so there are quite a few situations where Lara looks like a crazy person when she talks to Sadie in public.  At first, Lara resists Sadie, but then she understands that Sadie won’t leave her alone until she finds the pearl and dragonfly (I love dragonflies, by the way) necklace that Sadie lost before she passed.  This sends Lara on a crazy quest to track down the necklace in order to get Sadie to leave her alone… until she realizes that she has actually become friends with Sadie the ghost and doesn’t want her to leave.  She’s learned to rely on her for advice and companionship.

I liked this book because although it was a chick lit book and there was a romance involved, it had a different spin to it and I’ve never read another chick lit book about a ghost (at least that I can remember).

P.S. “Twenties Girl” made it onto the Chick Lit 100!  And pretty close to the top of the list, I might add.

2012 Reading Challenge

2012 Reading Challenge
Jaci has read 1 book toward her goal of 35 books.

What I'm Reading

Jaci's favorite books »
Blogroll Center Books