Sunday, 8 January 2012

The Best of 2011

 I read a number of books during 2011, most of them great, but only a couple stood out to me as ones I would recommend to a friend.

                                     A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
Synopsis from Goodreads:
  Deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.
 My review:
  A Discovery of Witches is part of a series called the All Souls Trilogy. Overall, I enjoyed this book. A lot, actually. I went into this book knowing there was a lot of hype surrounding it, but tried to ignore the hype so as not to get my hopes up.
 There are so many reasons I enjoyed this book, despite the small details that irritated me. Deborah Harkness is a very talented writer, and had several story lines going throughout the novel that kept me entertained and will entertain me throughout out the trilogy, without the story lines getting too messy. Deborah was able to mix the magic and history in this novel, in such a way that almost has you questioning whether the magic was a real part of history. The novel also has a great love story going on throughout the novel, between the two strong lead characters, Matthew and Diana.
 However, in this novel there were a couple things that bothered me. Slightly, but still tiresome. The characters are true to themselves throughout the novel, and they're also so well developed but due to the many layers Deborah has created for them you don't get to connect to the characters as well as you'd like. Another thing that bothered me is that at some point during the middle it hit a slow point, only for a period, until it quickly sped up again.
 On goodreads, I gave this four out of five stars. Deborah Harkness, as obvious in the books, went through so much research for the book. Her details and description of Oxford are beautiful, and makes one want to plan a trip and visit. A Discovery of Witches has garnered interest from movie execs and is a book I wouldn't mind seeing made into a movie. I would recommend this to a friend. This book has been compared with Twilight, but it's not Twilight. It's better.
                                           Deborah Harkness giving a guided tour of Oxford while discussing A Discovery Of Witches
                                       Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill

Synopsis from Goodreads:
  Unrolling a map of the world, Aminata Diallo puts one finger on the coast of West Africa and another on London. The first is where she was born in 1745, the second is her location six decades later. Her story is what happened in between, and her remarkable voice is the heart and soul of Hill's magnificent novel.
Brought before the British public by the abolitionists to reveal the realities of slavery, she has come, old and weary, to change the tide of history and bear witness to some of the world's most grievous wrongs.
Kidnapped and taken from her family as a child, Diallo is forced aboard a ship bound for South Carolina, where she arrives at age 12, weak and ill, the other slaves her only family. But soon she is sold again and begins an exodus that will lead to Canada, where she discovers the same relentless
hardship and stinging prejudice.
Her hunger for freedom drives her back across the Atlantic to England, and in 1792, Aminata undertakes yet another ocean crossing, bound for the place of her birth.
 My review:
  This book went straight onto my "favourites of all time" list. Lawrence Hill was able to create a strong, convincing, female lead character in Aminata - something many male authors aren't able to do successfully. This book is wonderfully written. Aminata is strong, simple and without embellishment. Aminata is a wonderful character for the fact that she rarely passes judgement on others and instead offers up her own thoughts and perspectives. The story is engaging and captivating throughout. Someone Knows My Name automatically transports you back into time. I would recommend it to anybody and if you haven't already read it, read it again. It's been optioned for a movie, and I can't wait to see the story come to life.

                                                Bossypants by Tina Fey
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV.
She has seen both these dreams come true.
At last, Tina Fey's story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon — from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence.
Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we've all suspected: you're no one until someone calls you bossy.
My Review:
  Before I tell you what I thought of this book, there are two things you should know about me. One: We don't get Saturday Night Live here, so all I'm able to do is watch youtube videos of some of the skits. Two: I love Saturday Night Live but mainly I love Tina Fey. She's my biggest girl crush and I think she's a genius.
  I got this book for my birthday last year, with high hopes. Bossypants exceeded all my expectations. There was not a moment that I wasn't laughing while reading this. I've never been big into read memoirs but Tina Fey's book had me changing my mind. Tina Fey remembers friend and colleagues in this book with humour and honesty. There was not a moment where I wanted to put this book down. READ IT. Tina Fey is a great writer, she makes you feel like you're her best friend due to her writing. Tina Fey is witty throughout and this is a book I constantly go back to when wanting some laughs.
  Highlights: - Tina Fey's Ode to Amy Poehler.
                    -  Her Mother's prayer for her daughter.
                    - The chapter on her Dad. HILARIOUS.
                    - EVERYTHING ELSE
 Just read it. It truly is amazing.


  1. Visiting via your sister's blog! Congrats on starting yours :)

    And thanks for the book tips - I'm always looking for something to read!

  2. Love Bossypants! I'll have to read the other two!

  3. I've heard of A Discovery of Witches, but never paid much attention to it. I have a friend listing it as top read for 2011... and now, it's on my radar :) Glad to know you enjoyed it!

  4. I really need to read A Discovery of Witches--it's popped up on my radar one too many times as a great read! And Tina Fey. What an awesome chick. I need to read that, too!