Archive for April, 2011

Cover of "Little Hands Clapping"

Cover of Little Hands Clapping

I have just finished “Little Hands Clapping” by Dan Rhodes, and found it to be an interesting book, covering the issues of cannibalism and suicide. I found it to be a little odd, and a bit confusing at first, as it starts with a death which is handled very matter-of-factly. Then we are introduced to a subplot telling us about beliefs and stories handed down by generations, leading to love and heartbreak.

We meet several very different characters, with bits of the story told from their point of view, and although the sections are a little confusing but later in the book they are pulled together as the characters’ stories intertwine.

The tone of the story is a little morbid, but there are some moments of happiness, which make the story less heavy.

It is a well-written book which covers some intriguing issues. It seems very original, and its not the sort of thing i would usually read but i found it gripping enough. Its a fairly easy read, and satisfying in the end when it all comes together.

I give it 7/10 as its not the best book i’ve read, but the quality is really good and it is a good read!

David Nicholls: One Day

Image by Wolf Gang via Flickr

I have literally just finished reading “One Day” by David Nicholls, and i have to say, i have never finished a book feeling more upset. It is just such powerful writing and my emotions have been tugged in every direction since i started reading it, something that doesnt happen very often.

The plot basically follows Emma and Dexter, two people who meet on graduation and have a night together, and then live their lives in their seperate ways, their lives intertwining every now and then as they keep in contact as friends or fall out.

It is a tale of growing up, realising how much you change over the space of 20 years (the timespan of this book), and all the issues and worries which affect you along the way. The protagonists are just so different and their relationship/friendship is just so complicated, but they work so well together as they are the perfect match.

All the way through, you are aware that eventually they will be together, but so much happens to keep them apart: as soon as one realises that they want the other now they are free of other commitments, the other drops a bombshell. There are some moments which made me want to cry for the characters, and others where i just wanted to bang their heads together.

This book keeps you guessing until the end, with the ultimate twist bringing the story to a climax which is welcomed after everything that happens. But i won’t spoil the ending for you!

I felt a range of emotions while reading this: sadness for the losses suffered and the unfortunate conclusions to bits of the story; happiness for the true friendship that comes throughout the book; depression for the difficulty the characters have with trying to sort out their lives and careers; and irritation that it takes so long for the characters to work it out. It made me think about my own life, and how i can avoid losing people, how to take chances, and how to live my life in a better way so i won’t settle for second best.

Reading this book has been an education, and i won’t say it was overly enjoyable given the content, but its kept me hooked for the last 3 or 4 days that i’ve been reading it.

I give it 10/10 for originality, for the suspense and anticipation all the way through, and the rollercoaster of emotions it puts you through. I would definitely recommend this book as it is utterly amazing writing and hard to put down!

Earlier this week i went down to London for the London Book Fair 2011. it was my first visit and i really enjoyed it! It was just 3 buzzing days! Weather was gloriously sunny and hot when i arrived in London, as you can see in the photo below, but obviously we were inside this massive building for 3 whole days so didnt enjoy the weather much!

Outside the LBF at the Earls Court Exhibition Centre, London

It was really good to see the cream of the publishing industry all under one roof! So many people, so many stands, so many books! I like to think that, one day, i will be employed by one of those companies!

View over Earls Court 1

I went to lots of seminars and talks on things like Translation, Russian literature, and Digital’s effect on publishing. A good one was “Harry Potter and the Russian Orthodox Church” talking about how the Russians thought HP was evil because of all the magic in the story, and then they realised it has a strong moral background and has strong base in Christian beliefs, as well as being about the defencelessness of children and so on, so its not actually that scary a book. Was fascinating!

Harry Potter and the Russian Orthodox Church seminar

Me and some of the other girls on my course went a bit crazy on the later hours of the second day, as we developed “looter’s mindset” on the World Book Night promotional stand which had copies of all the WBN2011 titles, free to take away! I only took 7 of them, knowing that i would have to lug them all the way back home on the train, but the others all took loads, expecially one who took 21 books!

My stack of WBN books!

I definitely have enough books to keep me going for a few months, as i already had a pile by my bed waiting to be read! My personal library is growing by the month!

During the Fair, I found it really useful being on Twitter, as i could follow the updates by people at the Fair on my mobile, so i had a deeper experience of what was happening. No-one seemed to mind that people were on their phones on Twitter, in fact the people doing seminars even gave their hashtag name so we could keep up to date with their tweets!

Talking of Twitter, there was a seminar on “The Tweet Smell of Success” which me and many others tried to get into, but unfortunately the organisers hadnt anticipated that 4 times the amount of the room’s capacity would turn up, as you can see in the photo below:

The massive crowd trying to get into the "Tweet Smell of Success" seminar

It was insane how popular this seminar was, unfortunately we couldnt fit in the tiny room, so many of us decided to give up and go elsewhere, which is a shame because it sounded really good.

It was a good 3 days, and i managed to network a little bit, got some contacts for my dissertation research survey, and had a laugh with the people on my course.

I didnt want to go home! I definitely loved the excitement and buzz of the Fair, and i will definitely go back again next year!