Tag: Rebecca

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Posted November 26, 2014 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Young Adult / 0 Comments

We Were Liars by E. LockhartTitle: We Were Liars (Goodreads)
Author: E. Lockhart
Published: Allen & Unwin, 2014
Pages: 225
Genres: Young Adult
My Copy: Library Book

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Meet Cadence (Cady) Sinclair Eastman; she is seventeen years old from a family that is so wealthy they spend their summers on their own private island. The summers are spent with her cousins Mirren and Johnny, plus her crush Gat. The four of them are so close they are collectively known as the Liars. However, there is a big secret within the family, a secret that has been kept from Cady. An accident when she was fifteen left Cady damaged and with some memory loss. What are they hiding?

I picked up this book because of the marketing campaign; see good marketing does sell books. Basically the concept behind the campaign was to read the book then lie about it; a great way to stop anyone from spoiling the fact that Cady’s grandfather is really a Russian sleeper spy. We Were Liars is this wonderfully secretive novel with a psychological element that slowly gets revealed. The way I view this book is if Daphne du Maurier (Rebecca) wrote a YA novel set in the world of the TV show Revenge.

There are a lot of people that loved this book and to be honest I wasn’t sure if I would be among them. I started off reading this book thinking there wasn’t anything special and it felt like privileged white kids with first world problems. However, like most people, I got to a point where everything clicked and I was floored. Everything started making so much more sense. As you can tell, this is a difficult novel to write about because I don’t want to give away the plot about the zombie apocalypse.

I am of two minds about the writing, on one hand it was pretty basic and I found it incredibly easy to rush through the novel and not miss anything important. However as things start to reveal themselves, you can think back to previous chapters and see all the subtle clues that were missed. In the end, I think E. Lockhart did a brilliant job of making the book so easy to read while packing in subtle evidence that The Sinclair family are just a big crime family. The subtlety worked really well throughout the novel and I feel like I was so blind, I would never have guessed that they were aliens, but the evidence was there.

I may joke about the ending and the fact that it was all a dream but I am just following their marketing campaign. I had a lot of fun reading this book; much like Gone Girl, the twist was done so well and We Were Liars kept me up at night as I desperately tried to finish the book. I am very surprised by this book and I wonder if re-reading this book would be any good. I can’t imagine going into the novel knowing what happens would be any fun, but I am not the kind of person that likes spoilers.

Five Decent Movie Adaptation

Posted July 10, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Adaptations, Top 5 / 0 Comments

top-5Yesterday I did a Top Ten Tuesday list where I looked at ten of the Worst Movie Adaptations in my opinion. These were books that really don’t translate well to the screen. But as a counter balance I thought I would give you five good movie adaptations. Yes only five, there are not many adaptations that I feel work as well as the book. So in no particular order:

5. Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding

4. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

3. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

1. Scott Pilgrim Verse the World by Bryan Lee O’Malley

Also I would like to include The Virgin Suicides, Revolutionary Road, Perfume, Fight Club, The Road, American Psycho and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy which are not perfect but they are still pretty decent compared to some of the other adaptations out there. Now it’s your turn, what do you like that worked well as a book adaptation? Maybe next time I’ll look at decent Noir adaptations.

The Engagement by Chloe Hooper

Posted January 6, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Gothic, Literary Fiction / 0 Comments

The Engagement by Chloe HooperTitle: The Engagement (Goodreads)
Author: Chloe Hooper
Published: Penguin, 2012
Pages: 256
Genres: Literary Fiction
My Copy: Personal Copy

Buy: AmazonBook Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Liese Campbell is an English architect working in real estate trying to make ends meet, but she is in a financial crisis. Enters Alexander Colquhoun, the heir to a pastoral dynasty who is looking for a city apartment; or maybe something more. The two enter into an erotic game that includes sex for money. This leads to a weekend away in luxury, in what is known as the girlfriend experience. But is this just a fun game or is this a disaster waiting to happen?

I’ve not read a book like this, at one point I thought it was Indecent Proposal and at other times I thought it was going to turn into a Pretty Woman scenario. There is an air of mystery and or something much more sinister with the situation and I couldn’t put my finger on the real motivation of both Liese and Alexander.

I really got emotional at this book; at some points I thought it was exciting, at times I thought it was disturbing. Then there were the times I wanted to throw the book across the room and yell at the characters to ‘sort their shit out’. I guess this emotional investment is what made this book so enjoyable. I like a book that makes me rage and keep me coming back for more and Chloe Hooper’s The Engagement did just that.

There was this quote going around that called this the literary version of Fifty Shades of Grey which really bothers me; for one this isn’t an erotic book this is more a story of a disturbing situation. More like a modern take of a gothic novel. There were even elements of this book that reminded me of Rebecca; not the plot but the idea that the protagonist has someone acting to take her down.

Emotionally thrilling novel, The Engagement was not something I would normally read but I’m really glad to pick it up because it really was worth reading. It’s a dark psychological tale that is sure to be enjoyed by many people. I do like that hint of erotic thriller within the novel, while it wasn’t arousing it has the whole sex and power element that really helped this novel. This is a quick exciting read for anyone looking for a deliciously cynical novel.

My Experience with the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die List

Posted October 27, 2012 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Literature / 29 Comments

One of my favourite bookish podcasts is The Readers; if you haven’t heard it before go and subscribe, it offers random book-based banter which has been both enjoyable to listen to and offers some interesting ideas for future blog posts. This post is inspired by the latest episode about the “1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die” list.

With the newly revised book being released earlier this month, I thought I would share my experience with this list. As most people know I was never much of a reader, I think I read about one or two books a year. In 2009 something clicked in my head (thanks to Craig Schuftan) and I wanted to read everything I could get my hands on. But I had a problem; I really didn’t know where to start. I found plenty of books that looked interesting but I wasn’t sure if they would fulfil my yearning.

So with no idea of what my literary tastes were and not knowing what books would be required reading. I turned to a “1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die” list which I found while searching books that were considered required reading for everyone. The thing I loved about this book was the fact that it was a combination of old and new books ranging from all different genres. This helped start my literary journey and find a real joy in being a literary explorer.

While I don’t read many books from the list now, I discovered the types of books and genres I really like and what hasn’t worked for me. Personally I would love to read every book on the list but as I discovered there are now four different editions. Do you read the entire list from one edition or combine the lot and read every book ever mentioned? I’ve come to the conclusion I would rather use the list as a guide in addition to discovering new books on my own accord as well.

I will always hold this list close to my heart because it did nurture my newly formed love of reading but it also helped my pretentious level as a book critic. I wish the publisher released a list of the books that have been removed from the new edition, I know there was a spread sheet that had the first three lists on it, so you can see which ones disappeared from each update and tick off all the books you’ve read but sadly that was taken down for copyright violations.  The publisher should look into something similar as I’m sure there are people out there that are willing to pay a small fee to have access to all the lists for referencing.

As a point of reference since beginning my reading journey back in 2009, I’ve now read over 400 books and seventy six of them were from the “1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die” list. The list is still a point of reference for me when I feel like I’m not reading books that are literary enough. While the list covers most genres and offers an interesting perspective on your reading life, it never really felt like it was full of highly literary novels. For me it was just a way to explore and cover the essentials in reading. Here are ten books from the ones I’ve read that I loved and highly recommend;

  1. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  2. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  3. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
  4. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
  5. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  6. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  7. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
  8. Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco
  9. Perfume by Patrick Süskind
  10. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess