Review: The Cardinal by Henry Morton Robinson

This book, the actual book and the story inside it, has an emotional value to me since it is my grandfather’s favourite book. He read it in his youth and since my early teenage years he has always insisted that I read it. I’ve postponed the reading of this book for many years, maybe because the title led me to think that the book would be somewhat preachy (BIG MISTAKE), but on January I found myself looking at this old tome in my grandfather’s library and decided to give it a try.

The story is about Stephen Fermoyle, an American priest of Irish roots, and its path in the Church. It starts in a ship, somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and in it, there is a young american priest who’s returning to the USA after completing his clerical education in Rome. Stephen Fermoyle appears in front of our eyes as a very intelligent, charismatic young priest, full of idealism and desire to serve the church. I don’t want to get too much into the plot but I would just like to say that the story follows the ups and down’s of Stephan career through is youth until is late adulthood.

Stephan Fermoyle grew throughout the book, he became more calm and less idealistic though  he never lost his charisma and strength of character and above all, no matter how difficult the situation was he always remained true to his beliefs (sometimes I couldn’t be more revolted with this but I believe if Robinson had made Fermoyle act in a different way it would seem really odd). Also I liked that way the characters that appeared in the first stages of the novel later reapered, also grown and changed but without losing their essence. Sometimes, authors neglect this aspect but Robinson handled it perfectly.

Another thing that really stands out in the book, besides the beautifully crafted characterization, is the lyrical writing style. Henry Robinson besides a novelist was a talented poet and that reflects on his writing: the way the words sound,the imagery and metaphors, all show a talent that not all novelist have.

One of the aspects I enjoyed in this books was the way t the author managed to mix together historical aspects of the 20’s and 30’s with the made up stuff. One thing that I found very interesting and that it wasn’t explored in the books I read about that era is the way t the Vatican was involved in the International Relations. I found fascinating to read about the paper that embassadors from Vatican had in the attempt to prevent the IIWW.

Now, being this a book about a catholic priest there are a few issues dealt in the book that I don’t agree with. like the impossibility of priest marrying, and that the use of birth control is a sin. Though I don’t agree with the views written in the book about this topics, I found interesting to understand the “other side”.

The Cardinal was a book that I really enjoyed reading, it gripped me not only because of the beautifully writing and because of the well crafted characters but also because the story stays with us. Though I’m not religious myself, some of the values and lessons transmitted in the book are (or should be) universal, and in many ways I believe Stephen Fermoyle is a role model. Unfortunately this book is not published nowadays, but, if I were you, I would go look for it at the library🙂

Tea & Books Challenge

I know I’ve already joined one challenge, but when I saw this one at The Book Garden, I couldn’t help but join. I love to read ( it’s kind obvious since this is a book blog) but what might not be so obvious is that I also love tea, so this challenge is perfect for me. Besides I was needing an extra help, like a kind of moral support to read some of the thickest tomes I have on my shelves, and this challenge does that.

I’ll join at the Berry Tea Devotee  which means I’ll read 4 books 700 + pages . Here is my list:

  • War and Peace by LeoTolstoy (I read and loved more than I was expecting Anna Karenina this summer so I have high hopes for this one)
  • The Brothers of Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe
  • Gone with the Wind  by Margaret Mitchell

 

2012 Global Reading Challenge

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I was looking for a good challenge to join in, one that helped me to reach my goals, when I stumbled across the “2012 Global Reading Challenge” at Mysteries in Paradise.
I decided to join at the Easy level so basically this is what I’ll have to read:

“Read one novel from each of these continents in the course of 2012:

Africa
Asia
Australasia/Oceania
Europe
North America
South America (please include Central America where it is most convenient for you)
The Seventh Continent (here you can either choose Antarctica or your own ´seventh´ setting, eg the sea, the space, a supernatural/paranormal world, history, the future – you name it).

From your own continent: try to find a country, state or author that is new to you.”

Here is the list :
Africa: Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Asia: Any book from Haruki Murakimi (I still haven’t decided)
Australasia/Oceania: Still looking (suggestions?)
Europe: Nada by Carmen Laforet
North America: In cold Blood by Truman Capote
South America: Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
Seventh Continent: Observations by Jane Harris
Your Continent: The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera

So, what do you think?

Frankenstein by Mary Shelly

This was the post that I should have done in the 25th of the past October, but due to several problems I had in the last months I didn’t managed to make it. Luckily all of those are now resolved and so I can start to pay a lot more attention to the blog.

I must say I was a little disappointed with Frankenstein since I expected it to be a lot more creepy and scary than it really is. I mean the book is somewhat creepy but not in the supernatural way. I felt that Frankenstein was more a study about human nature and about how far it can be altered and the consequences of that.

I identified myself a lot with young Viktor Frankenstein: he was dedicated to his family, very curious, hard-working and a bit shy. But while completing is project he becomes very introvert, neglects his family, friends, and basically all the outside life. After completing the creature his character is changed again when he realizes the monster that he created, and this time he becomes very ill and depressed. And this is the mood that spreads for the whole book.

I think that the message that Shelly was trying to pass with this book is how much we can change by discovering some of the hidden secrets in Nature and by going to far away.And that some things should remain a secret.  I don’t exactly agree with this perspective though. I think human beings are given the gift of intelligence and that they should use it to uncover the secrets hidden by Nature. Maybe it’s the time where I live, and certainly my education that gave me this view as it probably were these same factors that influenced Mary Shelly’s opinion.

Though I didn’t exactly agreed with the message of the book I have to admit that Shelly did a great job imagining how someone passed from the “tabula rasa” state to become such an evil creature. I also admired the changes that Victor suffered though I do not think he did something so horrible, he just tried to uncover one of the secrets of the Universe.

Basically this book was not what I expected and that’s way I have a rather apathetic opinion of it.

 

Review: Everything Secret Thing

Every Secret Thing (Kate Murray, #1)Every Secret Thing tells a mystery that spans through time and place.

Kate Murray the major character is your cliché beautiful journalist, with somewhat troubled past that starts to investigate a story about a murder that happened years ago, but it was never resolved.

When I started to read Everything Secret Thing I was prepared for a few clichés that characterized this genre such as the beautiful young journalist (see above), the handsome guy,… I usually don’t have many problems with these clichés since I consider this kind of books my comfort reads, but luckily Cole managed to use them without making the book totally predictable. Sure I guessed the killer before it was revealed but I only did that almost in the end.

What dragged me most to this book was that part of it that’s set in Portugal both in the present time and in the WWII era, when Lisbon was full of spies, creating a great environment. Obviously I also enjoyed the other settings, New York and London, but they are kind of frequent in mysteries.

Emma Cole did a great job with the characters, making all their voices seem real to me. The only problem I had with characterization was that Kate seemed a Mary Sue sometimes.

Cole’s writing is good and I liked the way she managed to capture the essence of the places she described.

Sorry for the blog silence but I’ve been really busy.

And It Ended and Plans For October

 

This is it, I’ve reached the end of September have only reading books written by women writers. In case you don’t remember why I did this you can revisit my introductory post here.

Throughout September I read great works written by women that I think that everyone should read. This stories had everything: strong female characters, a well structured plot, battles, wars, conquests, romance, time-travelling, sex, mystery, passion,…

I underestimated the amount of things that I had to do this past month, and the complexity of the works I had chosen so I couldn’t read all the things that I listed on the first post, but I’m determined to read them all until the end of the year.

Right know I’m finishing “Every Secret Thing” by Emma Cole, a mystery that spans through time and place, I’ll post more on that later, when I finished it.

This October I decided to take part on the Classic’s Circuit Gothic Tour and so the next book that I’ll read will be Frankenstein by Mary Shelly, and then I’ll read Coraline and the Secret Door by Neil Gaiman.

I hope you all have a nice month.

 

Review. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

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Title: The Time Traveler’s Wife

Author: Audrey Niffenegger

Pages: Paperback, 536 pages

Publisher: Harcourt, Inc.

Genre: Romance, Sci-fiction

Summary: When Henry meets Clare, he is twenty-eight and she is twenty. Henry has never met Clare before; Clare has known Henry since she was six. Impossible but true, because Henry finds himself periodically displaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity from his life, past and future. Henry and Clare’s attempts to live normal lives are threatened by a force they can neither prevent nor control, making their passionate love story intensely moving and entirely unforgettable. The Time Traveler’s Wife is a story of fate, hope and belief, and more than that, it’s about the power of love to endure beyond the bounds of time

Review (I’ve been really busy so I appologize in antecipation for this rather confusing review)

My thoughts:

The Time Traveler’s wife tells the very imaginative love story between Clare and Henry,that time travels. Clare and Henry relationship looks pretty normal, they fall in love, they get married, they fight they make up, you know, they do all the regular things that couples do. But a closer look at their lives shows that their relationship is anything but ordinary: as Henry time travels Clare met him when she was only six, and for that moment on she and Henry continue to met through out her infancy and adolescence. The thing is, that though she meets Henry when she’s only 6 he only gets to meet her when she is 20. Pretty strange huh?That happens because Henry only time travels to destinations that are related to him somehow, and so until the present him (and what’s present in this novel?) meets Clare he can’t time travel to met her.

Please don’t let my rather confusing summary of the novel stop you from reading this fantastic book.

Niffenegger’s writing is very straight forward and through it we get this story full of raw and true feelings rather than embellished ones,making the story more believable. I could really feel the strong feelings the Henry and Clare had for each other and how much it hurt when they were apart. The alternate narrators also worked really well because they let us see both sides of this relationship

One of the subjects that most interested me in the novel was the unpredictability of the present though sometimes the past and the future were already know and how that had such an impact in their lives. Sure sometimes the future was a mystery to them but the present was what they most feared because in a moment Henry could vanquish and appear somewhere in the past or future and get killed or beaten up, and get really hurt, and that way, though all those things might have been part of the past for us regular people, or part of the future, they were the present for Clare and Henry.

Other thing that I liked a lot was the references to bands and other literature that Niffenegger inserted in the book, they made the characters much more relatable to.

Final Thoughts

A fantastic love story that spans through time and place. A must read

Favourite Quotes

“Why is love intensified by absence?”

“Don’t you think it’s better to be extremely happy for a short while, even if you lose it, than to be just okay for your whole life?”

“Long ago, men went to sea, and women waited for them, standing on the edge of the water, scanning the horizon for the tiny ship. Now I wait for Henry. He vanishes unwillingly, without warning. I wait for him. Each moment that I wait feels like a year, an eternity. Each moment is as slow and transparent as glass. Through each moment I can see infinite moments lined up, waiting. Why has he gone where I cannot follow?”

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