Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “Kazuo Ishiguro”

The Scruffy Rube’s #CBR4 Review Supplement (#s 27-43)

In all of my reading and writing it would be easy to say that I’m thinking too much about books that are meant to be little dollops of entertainment. That may well be true, books may just be meant as minor diversions for over-stimulated minds. But through the past year I realized how the various reading role models I have had in my life taught me how to read, how to love reading and how to use reading to think.

So, after I finished my half-cannonball back in August I kept right on reading and thinking. Balancing all that work with the job I’m paid to do was a little difficult and I only just finished reviews for all of the books read in that span. Rather than reprinting some or all of those reviews here, I wanted to give any readers of this site access to my other site where they can read the complete reviews of various books that might interest you. (If you or someone you know–particularly an administrator–believe this is in someway a misuse of the Cannonball Read site, I sincerely apologize and will remove it ASAP.) Take a look, click around and see what you think of everything else I managed to read this year.

All reviews (plus other older reviews and fancy blog style shenanigans at The Scruffy Rube

Post 1 Book Club Books:

#27–The Unbearable Bookclub for Unsinkable Girls, by Julie Shumacher (2 stars)

#28–Frozen by Mary Casanova (3 stars)

#29–Matched by Allie Condie (2 stars)

#29.5–The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind  by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer (illustrations by Elizabeth Zunon) (2 stars)

#30–A Strange Place to Call Home by Marilyn Singer (illustrations by Ed Young) (4 stars)

Post 2: Mock Caldecott Award Candidates

#30.25–Oh No, by Candace Flemming (illustrations by Eric Rohman) (4 stars)

#30.5–Words Set me Free, by Lisa Cline-Ransome (illustrations by James E. Ransome) (4 stars)

#30.75–House Held up By Trees, by Ted Koosner (illustrations by Jon Klassen) (2 stars)

#31–Extra Yarn, by Mac Bennett (illustrations by Jon Klassen) (5 stars)

Post 3: Mock Newberry Award Candidates

#32–Mighty Miss Malone, by Christopher Paul Curtis (3 stars)

#33–Glory Be, by Augusta Scattergood (1 star)

#34–The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate (4 stars)

#35–Wonder, by RJ Palacio (5 stars)

Post 4: Mock Printz Award Candidates

#36–Never Fall Down, by Patricia McCormick (4 stars)

#37–Code Name: Verity, by Elizabeth Fein (1 star)

#38–Year of the Beasts, by Cecil Castelluci (art by Nate Powell) (5 stars)

#39–Every Day, by David Levithan (4 stars)

Post 5: Books with lessons of the year

#40–Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro (5 stars)

#41–Daughter of Smoke and Bone, by Laini Taylor (5 stars)

#42–A Room with a View, by E.M. Forster (5 stars)

#43–Cinder, by Marissa Meyer (5 stars)

Quorren’s #CBR4 Review #33 The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

Normally I find slice of life style stories to be dull.  This book was a bit better than most, having a twist of bittersweet to override the mundane.  However, the overall theme of the book lacks any type of subtlety and will repeatedly jump out of the pages and slap you in the face, lest you forget that being so caught up in your own insular world without stopping to smell the roses is a BAD THING.  *slap*

The story centers around the life of Stevens, the butler at Darlington Hall.  He has worked for several decades for the house, which has now passed ownership to a wealthy American.  He gives Stevens some time off and the use of his car, so Stevens decides to drive around the English countryside and visit the old housekeeper of Darlington Hall, Miss Kenton.  As he travels, he reminisces about his job and his previous work under the Lord of Darlington Hall, a mover and shaker in the political scene in the time leading up to WWII.

Imagine Carson of Downtown Abbey.  Now take away all the humanizing moments the show gave him.  Then you have Stevens.  Lord Darlington was hosting a summit to prevent WWII when Stevens father took ill.  Instead of staying with his father, Stevens instead attends to the guests because that’s what a perfect butler would do and because Stevens overestimates the importance and influence a butler has.  You want to feel sorry for him, but he’s so clueless about the world outside of his pantry and what really matters that it’s near impossible to do so.

In the end, Stevens finally gets to see Miss Kenton (who has married which is why she left the Hall in the first place).  It finally dawns on him that she was in love with him when they ran Darlington Hall together.  Which was a great reveal for no one.  In Never Let Me Go, Ishiguro had a good grasp of handling the bittersweet.  While he shows some of that same mastery here, he does venture into maudlin too often for my taste.

sevenstories’ #CBR4 Review #2: A Pale View of the Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro

The story of Etsuko, a Japanese woman now living alone in England, dwelling on the recent suicide of her daughter. Retreating into the past, she finds herself reliving one particular hot summer in Nagasaki, when she and her friends struggled to rebuild their lives after the war. But then as she recalls her strange friendship with Sachiko – a wealthy woman reduced to vagrancy – the memories take on a disturbing cast.”

A subtle and delicate novel that delights in not telling you the whole story. Intriguing and careful, it will satisfy any fans of Ishiguro but not one for fans of pacy, story-led novels. A character study of sorts which gently winds round thoughts of race, family and memory, familiar themes for Ishiguro.

There are massive spoilers in my review as I don’t think you can really discuss this novel without attempting to deal with them, so be warned! I’ve abandoned my usual format of Story/Characters/Writing as well as it’s all wrapped up together and impossible to consider one without the other. So please click through to my blog to read the full review, complete with spoilers and attempts to work out the novel. If you have read it, please let me know what your conclusions were!

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