Best Books of 2011

2011 has been a great reading year for me. I tend to take into account the quality of what I read and not the number of books I read. Sometimes, a single book can change your life in ways that fifty other books did not. So, I am happy to say that I read books that reminded me of how much I love sitting on my bed, with a blankett and a good book. Or how it can help me to read a few chapters of a book I love to keep on working on those awfully boring papers for school.

Here you have, Books and Reviews’ best books of 2011!

Lamb (Christopher Moore) 4,5/5 - A humoristic re-writing of Jesus Christ’ life narrated by his childhood bestfriend who accompanied him until her death. Sweet and funny, incredibly full of values to live your life by. Review here.

Alias Grace (Margaret Atwood) 4,5/5 – What can I say about Margaret Atwood? I simply adore everything she writes. This book was a journey into a 19th century woman’s mind and how she managed being accused of murder. Review here.

Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier) 4/5 – A Classic. It was dark, thrilling, and very psychological, in every sense of the word you can imagine. You can read my review here.

The Weird Sisters (Eleanor Brown) 4,5/5 – A book I bought for light reading and loved so much as to want to re-read it. The Andrea sisters just reminded me how much I love books: from the font, to the quiality of the paper or the design of the cover. A must read. Also, the author was kind enough to let me interview here. You can read my review here and the interview here.

When Will there be Good News? (Kate Atkinson) 4/5 – Everyone kept insisting on how wonderful Kate Atkinson is and I did not belive them. Shame.on.me. She is as wonderful as an English female author of detective fiction can get, which is awesome. Review here.

The Dinosaur Feather (Sisel Jo Gazan) 4,5/5 – A crime novel set on a college and with the incredible combination of dinosaurs, academics and a thesis. Simply perfect! Review here.

Two of my passions: reading and bunnies.

I am incredibly proud of myself for having reviewed all these books that I loved so much. I wanted to share them with all of you and, hopefully, having helped you to discover new titles. But, the best part, is that we got to share opinions.

I hope you have a wonderful New Year’s Eve and 2012 is full of happiness, health, love, projects and books for all of you. Thanks for visiting Books and Reviews and a especial thanks to those who took time to comment, enriching the blog and fulfilling its mission: spread the literary love.

Eleanor Brown (The Weird Sisters) Interview for Books and Reviews

As you already know, my top favourite book this summer is The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown. In fact, I love it so much that I was lucky enough to contact the author herself and she kindly asnwered five questions. So, technically I inteviewed by first best-selling author!!

Hope you enjoy this interview and I’d like to trully thank Eleanor Brown for being so kind and so patient and taking some of her time to be interviewed by a blogger. You can thank her personally on twitter (@Eleanorwrites) and don’t forget to read my review to make sure you purchase this wonderful book.

Q1: How did you come to create the “we” perspective? It’s unusual yet it works with the three sisters and their relationship.
I am generally fascinated by narrators and point of view and how that affects stories, and at some point I wondered, “Why doesn’t anyone use first person plural narrators?” I now know that (a) people do, just not very often, and (b) they don’t do it very often because it’s difficult! But for this story, I thought there is a “we” that develops out of any close relationship – siblings, families, close friends, marriages – that seemed to fit, and it was a good way to underscore the fact that though they are quite different and, at least at the beginning, not very close, their sisterhood has influenced the people they became, the way that all our families influence us, no matter our relationship with them.
Q2: The reader gets to love the three sisters despite their faults. How did you achieve that?
Wow, thank you! I’d like to think I just made them as human as possible. None of us is perfect – we are often foolish or cruel or thoughtless, but we are just as often kind and brilliant and warm, and we all manage to love each other anyway, and that’s the way I like to think of the Andreas sisters.
Q3: You play with adultery and out-of-wedlock babies yet the ending is politically correct. Was it on purpouse?
I wanted the sisters to get lost and then find their way again, and that was different for each of them. Adultery is a damaging situation for everyone involved, so in order for that sister to find herself, she needed to get out of it. As for the out-of-wedlock baby, it’s still an out-of-wedlock baby, but I think everyone realizes it doesn’t matter, that the baby will be loved and cared for and raised on good literature, and that sister will find strength in herself she didn’t know she had. I’d call it a happy ending.
Q4: Your book makes readers like me love books even more. Are you passionate about them: smell, turning the pages, etc?
I’m passionate about good stories and good writing in any form. I don’t feel passion for the physical object of a book, but I am deeply passionate about what’s inside them. One of the happiest things about writing The Weird Sisters has been hearing from so many people who love reading and stories in a time when there is so much wringing of hands over the idea that those things have been lost.
Q5 (last): Are you planning any sequel to The Weird Sisters? Are you writing at the moment?
No sequel planned, but I’m flattered that people like the characters enough to want to spend more time with them! And yes, I am writing now, but something different, and I’m having a wonderful time!

Isn’t this the best way to start the 2011/2012 academic year?

Thank you, Eleanor!

30 Day Book Meme – Day 25

Day 01 – The best book you read last year
Day 02 – A book that you’ve read more than three times
Day 03 – Your favorite series
Day 04 – Favorite book of your favorite series
Day 05 – A book that makes you happy                                                                                          Day 06 – A book that makes you sad                                                                                                 Day 07 – Most underrated book                                                                                                        Day 08 – Most overrated book                                                                                                            Day 09 – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving                                                                                                                                                      Day 10 – Favorite classic book                                                                                                            Day 11 – A book you hated                                                                                                                     Day 12 – A book you used to love but don’t anymore                                                                     Day 13 – Your favorite writer                                                                                                                 Day 14 – Favorite book of your favorite writer                                                                                 Day 15 – Favorite male character                                                                                                         Day 16 – Favorite female character                                                                                                    Day 17 – Favorite quote from your favorite book                                                                            Day 18 – A book that disappointed you                                                                                             Day 19 – Favorite book turned into a movie                                                                                  Day 20 – Favorite romance book                                                                                                   Day 21 – Favorite book from your childhood                                                                                  Day 22 – Favorite book you own                                                                                                         Day 23 – A book you wanted to read for a long time but still haven’t                                       Day 24 – A book that you wish more people would’ve read                                                       Day 25 – A character who you can relate to the most This is a tough one! I’d say Sherlock Holmes because both of us need to find the logic and the correct reasons behind everything. I find it hard to leave something unexplained yet, I’m not as obsessive as he is! But, I probably feel identified with him because I grew up reading his cases and it kind of modelled my character (also, my Philosophy teacher in high school was a House MD/Sherlock Holmes mix and he was a huge influence).

However, I sometimes feel identified with characters that are not similar to me. For example, when I read The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown I felt identified with Bianca “Bean” and I assure you I’m not like her… not that much, at least.

30 Day Book Meme – Day 17

Day 01 – The best book you read last year
Day 02 – A book that you’ve read more than three times
Day 03 – Your favorite series
Day 04 – Favorite book of your favorite series
Day 05 – A book that makes you happy                                                                                          Day 06 – A book that makes you sad                                                                                                 Day 07 – Most underrated book                                                                                                        Day 08 – Most overrated book                                                                                                            Day 09 – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving                                                                                                                                                      Day 10 – Favorite classic book                                                                                                            Day 11 – A book you hated                                                                                                                     Day 12 – A book you used to love but don’t anymore                                                                     Day 13 – Your favorite writer                                                                                                                 Day 14 – Favorite book of your favorite writer                                                                                 Day 15 – Favorite male character                                                                                                         Day 16 – Favorite female character                                                                                                    Day 17 – Favorite quote from your favorite book I don’t really have A favourite book. I think a 19th century novel cannot be compared to a postmodern novel or a graphic novel. Also, I’m not good at memorizing quotes: they are terribly meaningful when I read them, but then I forget. However, this one always sticks with me:

“To Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman. I have seldom heard him mention her under any other name.” – Dr. Watson, A Scandhal in Bohemia (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)

Then, doing some reserach I googled my favourite books and found the following quotes:

“Prejudices, it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilised by education: they grow there, firm as weeds among stones.”- Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will.”- Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre

“Life’s a nasty habit”- Bean from The Weird Sisters (Eleanor Brown)

“Go and see what might be. Before it’s too late” – The Weird Sisters (Eleanor Brown)

“How old were you when you first realized your parents were human?” – The Weird Sisters (Eleanor Brown)

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” – Rebecca (Daphne du Maurier)

“They are not brave, the days when we are twenty-one. They are full of little cowardices, little fears without foundation, and one is so easily bruised, so swiftly wounded, one falls to the first barbed word.” – Rebecca (Daphne du Maurier)

 

30 Day Book Meme – Day 5

30 Day Book Meme:

Day 01 – The best book you read last year
Day 02 – A book that you’ve read more than three times
Day 03 – Your favorite series
Day 04 – Favorite book of your favorite series
Day 05 – A book that makes you happy The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown. I read it while I was on a summer course (10 hours a day of lessons!) and it just improved my days. The fact that the main characters love books makes the reading experience special but also, they rely on books when things go wrong, which I can completely relate to. Although this was one of my first summer readings, I can’t wait to re-read some excerpts (or even the whole book) in the following months.

The Weird Sisters

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown has been around too much: there were days when I would see more than two references to this books. So, after learning about its amazing plot, I decided to give it a try as part of my free-from-college readings!

4,5/5

Basically, the book deals with three sisters whose father, a professor devoted to Shakespeare, named them after Shakespearian characters and talked to them quoting the great English author.

That said, the book does not seem very attractive. But, as the plot progresses, the reader gets to know each of the three sisters who are very different from each other. They are three grown up women, each with her own problems, issues and a captivating  personality. Also, the way they were brought up has made them different yet you can identify with them and, slowly, you fall in love with the story and the characters.

I loved this book much more than I expected to. The story is perfectly timed so that the reader never loses their interest nor gets bored. And the characters, oh the characters!! Rose, Bean and Cordy are just the neighbors you wanted to be friends with, they have something that makes you instantly attracted to them. Also, the whole setting is perfect and the fact that, thanks to the father, the house is full of books, bohemianly arranged, I would say, makes it a better reading. There were times when I just adored turning the page, staring at the cover or simply, carry the book around anywhere I went (or I’d feel alone).

For those who read it, my favourite character was Bean, who I pictured in my mind as Rachel McAdams. However, I should say the ending was too stereotyped. Don’t get me wrong, I liked it, but at the same time I would like to question the author about it.

So, The Weird Sisters is already one of my favourite readings for this summer. It just reminded me how much I love books and how they can help readers anytime, anywhere.