Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Latest purchases

With $70 worth of book vouchers in hand, I popped into Dymocks on the weekend and picked up some books I've been yearning to read for so long. So once I've finished Pride and Prejudice (which is a slow process - never quite realised the hard work it takes to read a Jane Austen novel), I will be moving on to one of these three - The Endless Forest by Sara Donati will probably be first.

The Endless Forest
by Sara Donati

I was first introduced to this series maybe five years ago, when I was struggling to find something as satisfying to read as Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. It proved to be just as fascinating, and sparked an interest in Native Americans.

The series is made up of six books: 1) Into the Wilderness 2) Dawn on a Distant Shore 3) Lake in the Clouds 4) Fire Along the Sky 5) Queen of Swords, and follows the life of Elizabeth and Nathaniel Bonner in the wilderness of 19th Century America.

The Endless Forest is the final book in the sweeping saga, and I for one will be sad to say goodbye to Elizabeth and her brood.

It focuses mostly on returning characters Martha, Callie, Daniel Bonner and Ethan Bonner, and their perpetual adversary, Jemima Southern, the closest thing to a witch the town had ever seen. In 1824, troublemaker Jemima returns to rural Paradise, N.Y., and Bonner men Ethan and Daniel realize the only way to save the property of their friends Callie and Martha is to marry them, arrangements born of necessity that quickly become stronger than anyone expected. Before leaving for good, however, Jemima surprises the people of Paradise by revealing the secrets that they've kept from each other. Donati wraps up nearly every storyline of the huge cast and their individual conflicts.

Water for Elephants
by Sara Gruen

NO I'm not reading this book because the movie has just come out. I was told about it three years ago by my American friend Jamie who loves books as much as I do, who I met while working as an art teacher at a Jewish summer camp in Indiana. I have been meaning to read it since she told me about it, but it hasn't been in the bookstores and I didn't really discover the wonders of Amazon until last year. So now that the movie is out, the books have appeared on the shelves.

Jacob Jankowski's parents were killed in an auto accident one week before he was to sit for his veterinary medicine exams at Cornell. He buried his parents, learned that they left him nothing because they had mortgaged everything to pay his tuition, returned to school, went to the exams, and didn't write a single word. He walked out without completing the test and wound up on a circus train. The circus he joins, in Depression-era America, is second-rate at best.

So without giving too much away - and not wanting to know too much about it myself, Water for Elephants tells the story of a young man's life when he runs away to join the circus.

It sounds like a quirky story that's outside the square and will be a refreshing change from the books I normally read.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

 Jamie also recommended this one to me (she actually wrote me a three-page list before I left the states, what a great friend). This one fascinates me because I just love hand written letters and stories set around the 1940's (just quietly, I'm even writing my own story set in the 1940s. Watch this space for the next Great New Zealand Novel)

In 1946, just after World War II, Juliet Ashton, a journalist and author is looking for her next big project when by chance, she receives a letter from a man on Guernsey, the British island that was occupied by the Germans during the war. Gradually she becomes absorbed into the stories and lives of the island's inhabitants


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. "Water for Elephants" is a fantastic book! I read it about a year ago, and am just about ready to read it again. I have not seen the movie, but have heard it does not really follow the book - which so often happens.

    BUT..... Read the Book!!!

    P.S. Forgot to leave my blog address on my first comment. (that's why I deleted it! But, I did not know it would leave a shadow!!)

  3. Hi Sarah,
    I too have been wanting to read the The Guernsey Literary story for quite some time. There's just something real classic about the front cover and a book filled with pages of letters :-) I will look out for your review.

    Oh and going by your most recent post, you have completely convinced me to read another Diana Gabaldon novel- i read Cross stitch late last year and loved it! Just need an ample amount of time to get through the rest of the series...

    P.s- i popped over from bookblogs and am now a follower. Would love if you followed me back. BTW I am from Australia... so we are practically neighbours :-)

  4. Hi Jayne,

    Thanks heaps for following! It's nice to have an Aussie neighbour on here. I'm now following yours too:)
    If you've read Cross Stitch, you MUST read the rest of the series - once you get to the third one, Voyager, you won't be able to stop.
    Congrats on the novel by the way, it's very inspiring for me to know that it's possible to get a novel published in your twenties like I hope to do - I've written 14,000 words so far of the next Great New Zealand Novel so watch this space:)

  5. Hi Sarah,

    Thanks to book blogs I found you! I've read Water for Elephants too and am afraid to see the movie! I wrote about movies from books in my blog here.

    Sorry I couldn't do a pretty link! I'm still a newbie on the whole blogging thing.