Sunday, 27 June 2010

The Island

Hello again from here! To tell you the truth, I do not know if my previous post was good, but never mind ...! Logically, they will get better as time goes by! Or at least I hope so... 
Today, I am going to write about my very favourite book, The Island. The author of this book is Victoria Hislop, a British journalist. The book is all about Spinalonga, an island in the gulf of Elounda in Crete. And you might say, so what??? The reason is that the island of Spinalonga is known is because it used to be a leper colony from 1903 until 1957. The author uses this fact on which to base her story. The idea for this book came to Ms Hislop after a holiday in Crete in 2001. During her stay in Crete, she stayed in Elounda and she found out about Spinalonga. Characteristically, she mentions that the tour guide said very little for Spinalonga. Specifically it said: ''abandoned leper colony at a short distance from the coast. Boats every half hour.''. The writer also mentions that the minute she set foot on Spinalonga, she decided that she wanted to write a novel about the island and it's role in society while it was still in use as a leper colony.

The book tells us the story of a girl, Alexis Fielding, a woman on the brink of a major decision, who decides to find out her family's past, which her mother refused to talk about. Knowing only that her mother grew up in Plaka, a small village in Crete, near Elound, she decides to travel to there to see what she can find out. Upon arriving there, she finds out about Spinalonga and meets a woman, Foteini, who was an old friend of her mother's, and who is the only one who can tell her the story of her family. A story that is closely linked with the Plaka and Spinalonga and which, in the end, has the ability to change the very future of the heroine.
I read this book two years ago, but I was reminded of it two weeks ago, when I visited Spinalonga. Which is a bit embarrassing really, as I go to Elounda almost every year and has been going for at least a decade! Nevertheless, I finally did it! I remember, however, that I had really enjoyed the book! I remember that my grandmother lent it to me, but it took me ages to get to the point of reading it, because I thought it would be a bit odd/weird... (It's not my fault that my grandmother usually reads very peculiar books!) But when I started reading it, I really could not put it down! I found the subject of the book to be interesting and it was very well-presented by the author. I learned many things about a subject on which I had heard only very little and only just know the basic facts that most people know. The score would give this book is 8/10, because I think it is really a book that is worth reading. I strongly believe that if someone decides to read this book, they will not regret it! And it's not only me speaking. My friend Linda absolutely loved it and so did my grandmother! 
A further incentive to read the book, at least for the Greeks, is the fact that Mega Channel has acquired the rights to make a weekly series based on the story. The series has already started filming in Elounda, Spinalonga, Agios Nikolaos (St. Nicholas) and Chania. It will star many well-known Greek actors.
And for those who have not seen Spinalonga, here are some pictures!

Spinalonga, as seen when approaching in the boat ...

The main gate through which the lepers reached the island (by boat from Plaka, located just opposite from Spinalonga) ...

And finally, a picture of Spinalonga from the air ...

As for the author, after '' The Island'', she has written another book called ''The Return''. This book takes place in the city of Grenada (Spain) and has some common elements with ''The Island'' (the heroine discovers the story of her family, this time without actually going to find out about it). Despite this basic similarity, this book is also very pleasant. But more about it in another post!
To conclude, here again are some links that are related to the book and the author.

Bye-bye for now!

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

The Time Traveler's Wife

First book ... I think I will begin with a book that I finished fairly recently: The Time Traveler's Wife. I seriously do not like the American spelling of traveller... It looks like it is wrong...Sorry, I'm a bit off topic. This is a book that was written by Audrey Niffenegger and was published in 2003. This book is the author's debut. As she is artist (painter ... I think), she thought to create a picture-story, with pictures she would paint herself, and which would be about a man who could travel through time and his wife. But she realized that this would be quite difficult to depict something that is three-dimensional onto paper ans so, she began working on it as a novel. After several years of work (from 1997 until 2003, when it was issued), the ''The Traveler's Wife'' was ready. Its cover is shown below, although it has now been re-released with the poster of the movie as a cover.

The book talks about a man, Henry, who can travel through time, but is unable to control the place where he ends up going, or the amount of time for which he is there. On one of these travels, I meets Clare, when she is 6 and he 36. As the story continues, we learn that they marry when Clare is 20 and Henry 28. The story goes on , describing the relationship that develops between the two protagonists, from the perspectives of both Henry and Clare. But we also learn about the relationship of each of the characters with their families, the (common and non common) friends, in a way that gives depth to the characters and explain why some events happened as they did in the book.
The reason why I read this book was because it was recently made into a film. I  haven't seen the film, but I heard quite a few things about it and this led me to buy the book. I started reading it and I have to admit that in the beginning I didn't like it very much. Yes, it is quite an original theme ... Yes, it is written in a different way (with several jumps in time)... But not much more... However, since I rarely stop reading books I have already started, I decided to continue reading it, and I must say that, in the end, I really enjoyed the book!! While I was nearing the end of the book, I nearly started crying, something that I don't often do with books ...
The film, which is based on the book, was released in 2009, starring Eric Bana in the role of Henry and Rachel McAdams in the role of Clare. I have not seen the film yet, and there is a very important reason for this: I'm sure that when I do end up watching it, I will start crying so hard... Of course, at some point I'll make the decision and I will watch it! For anyone who wants to see, here's the trailer of the film, so as to get a first taste.

In my opinion, this is a really good book, with a very interesting plot. While using a theme  that many writers have written about (travel time), she presents it in a way of her own, completely different way, which I personally think is very gripping. The story might be quite sad, but I think it deserves a chance. As for the rating I would give the book, I am inclined to 7/10.
Audrey Niffenegger recently published a second book called Her Fearful Symmetry, and while is now preparing her third book entitled The Chinchilla Girl in Exile.
Finally, here are some links about The Time Traveler's Wife and the author, that some people might find interesting!

The Time Traveler's Wife
Audrey Niffenegger (Official Site)
The Time Traveler's Wife on Amazon
The Time Traveler's Wife Movie

Goodbye for now!!!

Monday, 21 June 2010

First post... Hmmm...

Hello from me! First post ... It is quite difficult to find a theme on which to base an entire blog ... But say you do find one... The problem is to keep on writing it ... I've tried doing it before and it didn't really last ... The main reason for that was that I had not found a theme... So now I decided to write a blog on what I know best (and others might consider boring ...), ie books ... Every time, I will find a book, which I probably would have read, and I will comment on it, without telling you all the details (in case you decide to read it ... I don't want to spoil it for you!).
Seeing as I have both the space and the time, I'll advertise my brother's blog! It's about music and, more specifically, several new (or not so new) bands ... So far at least, he has only posted information about bands! If he decides to write about something else later, I do not know! The link is here:
Coming soon... a new post on a book!
See ya!
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