maandag 30 september 2013

Review "Through a glass, darkly"

Some information

Title: Through a glass, darkly
Author: Jostein Gaarder
Pages: 161
Genre: philosophy
Published: 1993
Publisher: Dolphin Paperback (1999)
My Scource: Boekenfestijn (Gent)
My score on Goodreads: 3 stars


It's almost Christmas. Cecilia lies sick in bed as her family bustle around her to make her last Christmas as special as possible. Cecilia has cancer. An angel steps through her window. So begins a spirited and engaging series of conversations between Cecelia and her angel. As the sick girl thinks about her life and prepares for her death, she changes subtly, in herself and in her relationships with her family. Jostein Gaarder is a profoundly optimistic writer, who writes about death with wisdom, compassion and an enquiring mind. 'Through a Glass, Darkly' will not only bring comfort to the bereaved. It will move and amaze everyone who reads it.

My review

Before I started reading this book, I knew I could expect lots and lots of philosophic thoughts in a book by Jostein Gaarder. I knew it would make me think about things I will never understand and maybe even don't want to understand. Nevertheless I started reading this little book "Through a glass, darkly".

Though the story is a little dark and sad, there are some deep thoughts in it. Most of these thought are really Christian ideas about heaven and God. I believe that non-Christian people won't like this book at all because God is omnipresent in it. 
I'm not sure I liked the book. It certainly made me think about some things but the "big" problem is I don't know what to think about afterlife and heaven and that's what the book keeps talking about.

In this story we meet Cecelia, a girl who's terminally ill. She can only lay in her bed and is too sick to celebrate Christmas, her favorite time of the year. While Cecelia is in bed and dreams about trees, presents and Christmasfood, she meets the angel Ariel. Ariel is a funny angel whose presence is appreciated a lot by Cecelia. She likes talking to him about heaven and he likes to learn new things about people. Cecelia wants to know how it is to be an angel, to float, to know God,... and Ariel can't wait to hear how it feels when you're made of flesh and blood, dream, feel pain,...Towards the end of Cecelia's life, Ariel visits her more and more so when Cecelia leaves the world her family and friends live in, she's already used to some things in heaven and isn't afraid of it anymore...

Not bad, but not entirely my thing too...

zondag 22 september 2013

Review "The Beach House"

Some information

Author: Helen McKenna
Pages: 507
Genre: contemporary/ womens fiction
Published: 2011
Publisher: Joshua Books
My Source: the author (thank you!)
My score on Goodreads: 5 stars (deserved!)


Nothing much happens in the small Queensland town of Sunset Point, which is just the way the locals like it. So when an outsider with grand plans threatens to demolish an iconic local landmark and build a huge resort the battle lines are drawn.

Young journalist Jessica hopes to make it big with her coverage of the court case, but first she has to appease her editor and put a human interest spin on the situation. At first glance the five people she chooses to background have little in common – but it soon becomes apparent that staying at The Beach House has changed all of them in some way.

In telling the stories of Kate, Simone, Tom, Clare and Jack, Jessica too learns some important life lessons.

My review

Although it took me a while to read this book, I loved it! Helen McKenna wrote a story that doesn't get boring at all. I can't say it reads like a train, but I was always curious about the things that would happen next. I could really connect with the main characters in this story, though there were a lot of them. I didn't think I would be able to understand all the different characters and like them, but I did. The author has the great ability to describe characters in a "real" way. You seem to know them. You almost have the feeling you're staying in the beach house with them and that's what I loved so much about this book. If you're trying to get away from everyday life or stress, this is a great book to read. Also in other circumstances I really recommend it. 

In this book Helen McKenna tells us the story about a beautiful but simple building on the beach of Sunset Point, Queensland. Not providing internet, television or anything else modern people can't miss, it doesn't seem to be much of an attractive place to spend your holidays. We couldn't be more mistaken! The beach house turns out to be a great place to get to know yourself and the people around you a bit better. It seems to show the good there is in everybody, to heal wounds, to heal bonds that are broken, to make new bonds,... In fact this house turned out to be a little bit of a main character too. 
We "meet" the house when it's almost too late to get to know it. A big firm wants to place it somewhere else because they need the place on the beach to build huge resorts. Of course the people of Sunset Point don't like this idea and don't want their beach house to disappear. When a newspaper wants to write a story about the house, everybody is happy to participate. Just like all the people who once stayed at the house, they want to help in every way they can to save it. 
Instead of describing a boring discussion in court, Helen McKenna gives us five stories about different people staying at the house and somehow becoming better of it. These five people don't have a thing in common except for one major thing that changed their lives: they stayed at the most special house in Australia.

At first I wanted to give this book 4 stars, but I just couldn't because the story is so good and well written. I still believe the story could "move on" a little faster (it took me a month to read this book), but that didn't make me appreciate the book less. I believe Helen should get a lot of praise and I hope her book will do well!