Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl

I don't know what attracted me to the book but I had really wanted to read it. Mayhap it has been my personal encounter with Dante as a freshman in college. Basically it is another one of those literary reads, with real characters like the poets Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and who translated Dante originally and physician Oliver Wendell Holmes, and poet James Russell Lowell. Basically the Dante Club which are these 4 men meet in order to translate the book despite academic protests and a series of murders that is eerily similar to Dante.
For a literary book with all men, I liked the book. COuld have been more though but all in all it was a good book.

The Last Templar by Raymond Quory

I picked up this book because it was on the stack of recommended books along with the Da Vinci code and this one looked interesting so I chose that one. anyway, starts out with a incident in a musuem that involves a cryptex and a secret and all those Holy Grail trail.
Anyway, like most readers of the book, I agree that the beginning had a lot of promise. The museum thing and everything were pretty interesting and the way the conspiracy was explained was more believable then the Da Vinci Code - it sounded ven more scandalous to me BUT I found myself not sympathizing with the characters at all!! I felt that the story got lost in the middle or something, was pretty disappointing for me.

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

99. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

Since the Da Vinci Code and I really do love history, I started picking up religious thrillers and the like that belong to that genre. So when I was back home last May, I picked up 2 books(The Last Templar- which will be discussed next. which had interesting summaries and the protagonist was female (ok so that still gets to me) It wasn't until I started to read the book that I found out that it was about Dracula but not Bram Stoker Dracula. Turns out that dracula was really this vicious warlord, known as Vlad the Impaler that was known for his cruelty and love for you guessed right ...impaling. And how chosen people who mysteriously receive a blank book with just a picture of a dragon would be caught up in this web of intrigue, tragedy and death, in that order or otherwise.
I liked how the book was written, It is in a first person narrrative which I do not gemerally read but involves the retelling of a retelling so you jump from points of view of different characters in a way. The description is very eloquent that I found myself falling in love with Hungary and Budapest (its on my list of places to visit in Europe near the top now- and coincidentally my friend went there in his honeymoon and he aid it was really wonderful). 4 star.

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke

100. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke

I think the book has it's own website here too. This is a really thick book counted at a whopping 800 pages. I remember cause it took me most of December and January this year to read it. Slightly counts as my first book of the year. My friend Joey recommended it to me and I found it in a local bookstore so I picked up a copy and started reading. It is kind of hard to specify a genre for it though because it involves magic - about the last 2 real magicians in England and how they plan to bring and not about the restoration of magic to England - so a slightly adult and darker version of HP but does not concentrate on the magic. It reads like a historical novel, like reading Sherlock Holmes. Set in the time when Napoleon was fighting the English Army, it proves that it has been researched and developed, even has the footnotes to prove it.
Personally I liked the novel, everytime I continued reading I get hooked into the book. But because it is really long and it's not those I'm in a hurry to find out the ending kind of book, it does take time. I like the stories included in the footnotes about the adventures of the Raven King. It contains discussions and is very descriptive. I found myself liking the character of Jonathan Strange and his wife and being annoyed at Mr. Norrel. The ending left pretty satisfied although I would have wanted more. 4 star.