Tag Archives: The Buried Giant

WWW Wednesday, 9-May-2018

9 May

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I’m enjoying Mister Monkey by Francine Prose and I think I’ll have it finished by next week. The audiobook is well done and I’ve started doing my long runs so I get through audiobooks on my phone fairly quickly. I like finding the connections between the plot lines and I’ve had fun guessing who the next narrator will be.
I’m not too far into The World’s Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne but it’s a joy so far. Hanagarne is able to make fun of himself and his childhood and at the same time convey how hard it is to live with Tourette’s. I’m enjoying the tone he picked for the book and I’m excited to keep reading.
My next ebook is The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver. I added it to my list after I enjoyed another Shriver book. I’m a bit too early in this one to tell how I feel about it and I’m not reading it quickly so expect this one to linger here for a while.
Over the weekend, I started a new physical book with The Sellout by Paul Beatty. I almost read this about a year ago but was going to miss the book club meeting so I decided not to read it and now I get a second chance! Again, early in, but so far soon good!

Recently finished: I was able to wrap up An Abundance of Katherines by John Green late last week. It’s not my favorite Green by any means, but it was still enjoyable. I’ll have a review up next week so I can go into some more detail on it.
I sped through What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self by Ellyn Spragins. The letters were all really short so I’d binge-read five or so at a time and got through the book really fast. I’ll have a review for this one up next week, also. I’m catching up on reviews!

A few reviews as well! I posted about my feelings on Drop Dead Healthy by A.J. Jacobs last Thursday. I love this author and I gave him a glowing review. He always makes me laugh. I gave him 5 out of 5 Stars.
I also wrote about The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro earlier this week. I’ve liked Ishiguro in the past, but this book was not for me. Please check out my review for more details, but still read Never Let Me Go! I gave the book 2 out of 5 stars.

Reading Next: I’m trying to keep ahead of my book club picks so I can lazily pick up my own books. The next one I’ll grab will be Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson. I’m worried the audiobook I have is abridged because it’s only 2 hours and 30 minutes long! If you’ve read this before, does that seem right? It looks like the book is about 200 pages so I’m surprised it would be so short.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

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Book Review: The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro (2/5)

7 May

This is my third Ishiguro book and I own one more that I plan to read at some point. I’ve noticed that Ishiguro’s ‘thing’ is keeping something hidden from the reader. He doesn’t hide it well, but it’s just far enough out of reach that you start to look into it before the text openly explains what is going on. I’ve liked that in his previous books. Honestly, I didn’t feel like this was by the same author. This book was so different and the ‘thing’ was more subtle and less a key part of the plot. I’m still sorting through my feelings on this one more than a week after I finished it.

Cover image via Goodreads

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

Other books by Ishiguro reviewed on this blog:

The Remains of the Day
Never Let Me Go Book Club Reflection
Meeting Kazuo Ishiguro

Summary from Goodreads:

The Buried Giant begins as a couple set off across a troubled land of mist and rain in the hope of finding a son they have not seen in years.

Sometimes savage, often intensely moving, Kazuo Ishiguro’s first novel in nearly a decade is about lost memories, love, revenge, and war.

This book was too layered in meaning for me to enjoy. I started reading it and was thinking of the characters being exactly who they were described to be. These are two Britains traveling to see their son. Knowing Ishiguro, I didn’t think there would be more to it. As they traveled, the people they met confused me. Gawain seemed too old to be a knight and his backstory was mixed. Wistan’s linguistic abilities confused me and I didn’t understand why he was so attached to Edwin. It wasn’t until I started getting ready to write this review and saw other takes on the book that I ever considered what the characters ‘stood for’ and what the setting ‘represented.’ I think if a book is going to be an allegory for a couple growing old, it should work as a story by itself. I didn’t feel this one did.

The characters weren’t credible enough for me. I liked the love between Axl and Beatrice but the way she dismissed her pain and their knack for forgetting their pasts (but not what they’d done since the book started) bothered me. I didn’t think of it as relating to Alzheimer’s and dementia in old age. Edwin seemed to have no purpose to me and seemed like a burden to Axl and Beatrice and later Wisten. I didn’t see the point in him and I never would have thought of him as a stand-in for their son. The people seemed like the caricatures they ended up being and I didn’t like them or connect with them.

Axl was the only character I liked. He was so sweet to Beatrice. He always called her Princess and never got angry. He made decisions that were best for her and always had her interests in mind. He was the kind of husband anyone would want.

My inability to relate to or connect with any of the characters is a big part of why I didn’t like the book. I didn’t care what happened to them. After the final scene, I didn’t sit and think about what had happened to them or bother to look up interpretations of the book. I’m only now looking into that! I was OK with the Arthurian setting but the allegory was too strong for me to connect with the characters.

Me, Ishiguro, and my friend Nicole, 2015

I enjoyed the escape from the terrible beast that Gawain, Axl, and Beatrice had. It was after this scene that I started getting confused about timelines so it was the last scene that stuck with me before I was confused. I liked the image of them creeping along in the dark and finding an escape route. It seemed like a good adventure for an Arthurian tale. I did find it a bit inappropriate for their ages, but that was something I could get over.

I really disliked the ending. This might end up in spoilers so best skip down if you don’t want to know that. I was so frustrated that after all the warning’s they’d had, they would still separate with a boatman. I couldn’t believe they’d have no patience to wait or that they’d place trust in a stranger after they’d had bad experiences with strangers earlier in the story. The fog had lifted, they should have remembered what they’d learned but they carried on anyway. It made Querig’s plotline seem pointless.

The audiobook I listened to was narrated by David Horvitch. I didn’t like his narration very much. I thought he made Beatrice sound a bit whiney and he didn’t use very different voices for the male characters. It’s fairly often that I find a male narrator whose female voices bother me so this isn’t a surprise but it didn’t help when I was already struggling to stay engaged with the book.

Looking it up now, I see a lot of different interpretations of this story. Axl and Beatrice’s story is about losing one’s memory in old age and reflecting on relationships and their merits. The characters represented themselves and others at different stages of life. It’s all well and good and if I’d known these interpretations, I might like the book better. As it is, I didn’t and I think it would have been more enjoyable if it had been couched in a frame narrative like a dream or book, like how The Princess Bride structures the film. As it is, they were too hidden for my tastes.

Writer’s Takeaway: Ishiguro was trying too hard to say something that I didn’t hear him. It was completely lost on me and I can’t imagine I’m the only one. I think he strayed too far from what made his previous books enjoyable. I think there’s something to sticking to a ‘type’ of book. I wish there had been a bit more realism in this one.

Not my favorite and not an Ishiguro book I’d recommend. Two out of Five Stars

This book satisfied the ‘Pre 1500’ time period of the When Are You Reading? Challenge.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
October 2015- The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro | LovingBooks
The Buried Giant, by Kazuo Ishiguro | Nafka Mina
It’s a Kind of Magic: ‘The Buried Giant’ by Kazuo Ishiguro | Robin’s Books
The Buried Giant, by Kazuo Ishiguro | Obooki’s Obloquy
The Buried Giant | RobertMBall

WWW Wednesday, 2-May-2018

2 May

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently reading: I’m still moving forward at a fair pace in An Abundance of Katherines by John Green. It’s fun for me but I think it started off with some large stretches of the imagination so it’s hard for me to enjoy it even though the rest has been really great.
So many new books now! I did start Mister Monkey by Francine Prose like I’d hoped to. The preface threw me off a lot and I’m still deciding how I felt about the book. It’s a lot different from the premise and I think I’ll like it. I’ll have a much better idea next week.
I also got my copy of What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self by Ellyn Spragins through inter-library loan. It came in just as I was about to finish my previous book so it’s beyond perfect! It’s a bit shorter than I thought so I’m being hopeful that I can power through this one and keep scaling Mt. TBR!
I grabbed a copy of The World’s Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne on CD at the library. I got this book at an awesome bookstore in Cincinnati a few years ago and I’m excited to finally enjoy it!

Recently finished: So many to report! The end of The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah had me crying while I was working out and it made push-ups a lot harder! I enjoyed the book a lot and posted my review of it yesterday. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars.
I finished Drop Dead Healthy by A.J. Jacobs Friday. I flew through it and loved every minute. Jacobs is one of my favorite writers. I have only one of his books still to read and I want to get to it right away, but he doesn’t publish very often so I also want to pace myself. I’ll have a review up tomorrow and I’m excited to gush about this book.
I also finished The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro. I had to pick my husband up late Friday night and I finished it waiting for him in the car. I think him being out of town for the week helped me finish so many books this week! I’ll post a review sometime next week.

Reading Next: Being at the beginning of so many, it seems a bit presumptuous to put anything here. However, my book club met on Monday and our next selection is The Sellout by Paul Beatty. My other book club read this when I thought I was going to be out of town so I missed it. I’m excited to get another chance at this book! I’m curious about a Man Booker winner from America!


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 25-April-2018

25 Apr

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently reading: Lots of driving for work and the emergence of spring means that I’ve made significant progress on The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. The book’s really good and I found myself moved near to tears at one point (no, I wasn’t chopping onions). I know the big question is if the older woman in the 1990s timeline is one of the sisters or not and I keep changing my guess. Please, no one tell me!
I’m getting there on The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro. It’s still slow for me. This part of the book has been jumping around in time and character and I’m not enjoying it at all. I often find myself confused about who’s talking and if it’s in the timeline or a flashback. I’ll be glad to finish this one.
I’ve made some fair progress on An Abundance of Katherines by John Green but not too much. It’s enjoyable still but not sucking me in yet. John Green tends to suck me in late so I’m waiting for it.
I was able to start Drop Dead Healthy by A.J. Jacobs and I’m already over half way through it. I adore Jacobs’ writing voice and I’m also a big fan of all the health tips and tricks I’m picking up along the way! I bet this one is off this list by next week. Seriously.

Recently finished: I finally finished Harry Potter y las Reliquias de la Muerte by J.K. Rowling! It was great to finish this one up after so long at it. There’s my Spanish book for the year. Phew. I posted my review of the book yesterday so please check that out when you get a minute. It’s not my traditional review, but I’m guessing if you wanted to read it, you probably have by now. Or at least saw the movie. Either way, you likely know the plot by now and I’m not going to say anything new original that you haven’t heard or thought before. It’s pretty much me gushing, I’ll be honest. Oh well.

Reading Next: I hope to finally start Mister Monkey by Francine Prose soon. I’m getting close to the end of Nightingale so it shouldn’t be far off. I still have no idea what this book is about, but I’m looking forward to finding out!
In my efforts to tackle Mt. TBR, I’ve requested an inter-library loan of the book currently sitting on the top, What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self by Ellyn Spragins. It’s a collection of letters and life advice from successful women in various fields. I think it will be a good pick-me-up as I struggle through finals and get ready to head into an accelerated summer class. At least I hope it is.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 18-April-2018

18 Apr

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently reading: I’m. So. Close! I’m on the last chapter of Harry Potter y las Reliquias de la Muerte by J.K. Rowling but my week has been just nuts and I haven’t had a lot of time to read it at night. I swear I’ll get to it by next week, promise!
The Midwestern weather has been terrible so I haven’t done much running and thus not much listening to The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. I’m still enjoying the story and hoping something radical happens so I can see why people loved this one more than other WWII fiction. I’m still a bit neutral on it.
To be honest, I’m not enjoying The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro much at all. I know his books keep something hidden from the reader, but I’m lost and confused at this point and I’d really like a clue as to where this one is going. Maybe it will recover, but I’m not counting on it. I’m just trying to finish this one.
I haven’t gotten through much of An Abundance of Katherines by John Green. It’s a rather short book so it shouldn’t take too much longer but I haven’t had lunches to read during. My crazy week involves work and working through lunch. Yuck.

Recently finished: I’m sad to say I have none to report! With two wrapping up last week, it’s not a huge surprise. I’m feeling good about having some for next week, though. Positive thoughts.

I was able to post one review for The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp. It went up last Thursday and I gave the book 4 out of 5 Stars.

Reading Next: I’ll start Drop Dead Healthy by A.J. Jacobs as soon as I finish Potter. I’m looking forward to a fun read!
Once I finish The Nightingale, I have another book club pick to enjoy as an audiobook. The next one is Mister Monkey by Francine Prose. I know nothing about this one and I’m excited to go into it blind! That’s honestly my favorite way to enjoy a book.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 11-April-2018

11 Apr

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently reading: Slow going but I’m still making my way through the end of Harry Potter y las Reliquias de la Muerte by J.K. Rowling. I’m at Snape’s flashbacks now so not too much more to go!
I’m still enjoying The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah though nothing has happened that’s particularly stuck out to me yet. I’m hoping something unique happens so I can keep this one separate from other WWII books in my head, but it’s still reminding me a lot of Sarah’s Key.
I’m still a little wary of The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro. It’s a lot more fictionalized than I’d planned on reading and I’m losing focus from time to time. I hope to power through this one because I don’t think it’s going to be a favorite.
I started An Abundance of Katherines by John Green. I have to say, so far this is my least favorite Green book. It still has plenty of time to win me over, but so far, I’m not impressed. I hope this will be a quick one and I won’t be reading it forever, as is my ebook custom.

Recently finished: I powered through and finished The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp on Friday. It picked up and got me interested really quickly so I was reading it on my phone every free second I had. When I had twenty minutes to finish it, I pulled the paper book off my shelf and read the last three chapters like that. It’s refreshing to read YA when you haven’t in a long time!

A few reviews that I’ve caught up on, too! First is The Circle by Dave Eggers which I posted Monday. I enjoyed the book and I’ve since watched the movie so I’ll have some opinions on that coming soon. I gave it 4 out of 5 Stars.
The second one is History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund. My book club met to talk about this Monday so I’ll have a book club reflection coming your way soon, too! Look for it next week (probably). I gave this 4 out of 5 Stars as well. That’s been a pretty common rating for me lately. I guess that’s a good sign!

Reading Next: I’ve still got Drop Dead Healthy by A.J. Jacobs lined up as my next physical read. I keep hoping I’ll finish up Potter and pick this up, but it’s taking me just a bit longer than anticipated. I forgot how slow I read in Spanish!


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Meeting Kazuo Ishiguro

14 Apr

Kazuo Ishiguro is probably the most famous author I’ve had the pleasure to meet. Maybe Khaled Hosseini could rival him, but that’s debatable. Either way, Ishiguro was a great person to meet and hear read.

IMG_1535He was doing a signing about an hour before the reading so Nicole and I went and got in line about 4:45. Of course, I picked up his latest book, The Buried Giant. While we were waiting in line, we got the terrible news that we could only have two books signed! I was heartbroken. I had a copy of The Buried Giant for myself, one for my father-in-law, and a copy of my favorite of his novels, Never Let Me Go, for myself. Luckily, the kind soul standing in front of me in line heard my plight and offered to take on of my books for me because she only had one! Thank you, kind soul! So I got all three books signed. Ishiguro is a pro and got through 200+ people in line in two hours without seeming rushed or dismissive. He was even nice enough to take this picture with us.

IMG_1534

 

There were some refreshments and then it was time to get in line and rush to get good seats. Luckily, I’m super pushy and we got seats about 7 rows back right on the aisle. The awesome picture of Ishiguro below was taken by Nicole while he was reading.

IMG_1537

Ishiguro read Chapter 11 from The Buried Giant to the full crowd. It took him about a half hour reading at a moderate pace. He was very comfortable with his words and you could tell he’d done this several times before. As you can see in the picture, he read from a paperback copy of the book. I’m guessing it’s a proof copy, but I thought it was interesting he chose to use this instead of the final hardbound book.

He agreed to answer questions for the second half hour of the event from the audience. Before you get too giddy, no, I did not ask my author question (How do I get to where you are) because of a fear of talking in front of so many people. He talked mostly about Giant and how it was an unconventional love story because it was a story about those already in love who had to remember why they were in love. The concept sounds very interesting. The couple is afraid of the bad that comes with the good parts of their relationship. They fear separation from each other and never finding out the truth more than they fear death.

Asked about his books, Ishiguro said that he’s fascinated by stories (plot-driven books) and likes trying to blend genres to find a new way to tell stories. One of his older books that I was unfamiliar with is called The Unconsoled and he said it was an attempt to try a new approach to storyline. Instead of being written as a memory or as a current progression of facts, he tried to write about a current progression where the people the character met brought back memories though there weren’t real flashbacks. I had trouble understanding what he was saying and I think only by reading the book would I really understand.

The buried giant in the title referred to secrets and history of the UK that’s been pushed aside but needs to be recalled. There are surely buried giants in any nation’s history and past. The novel plays with remembering and forgetting. How does a nation remember or forget compared to an individual? Are we deceiving ourselves when we forget? I like the concept.

Ishiguro was asked what books were most influential to him as a writer. He gave two, the first is Marcel Proust. He said Proust was a bit dry for him but that in the middle of the text there were great passages that moved him. He wanted to create passages in fiction that moved people in the same way. It was an element to fiction that wasn’t part of visual description and action, something that was more philosophical. He described it as a ‘texture of memory.’ The other book that influenced him was Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. He said he didn’t mean for it to be very influential, but that he’s found passages of that book that are very similar to his own. He uses a style in which the characters are confiding in the reader and sometimes withholding vital information in much the same way Jane does. I thought that it was interesting he admitted to being so influenced by a book to have the same elements in his own work.

Overall, it was a great experience and one I wouldn’t change for anything. It was well worth being tired while I was in Texas!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!