Sunday, 31 March 2013

Cloud Atlas a novel by David Miller - A Review

Cloud Atlas by David Millar -  (his third novel published in 2004).
David Millar’s Cloud Atlas is not a read for the feint hearted.  It’s interesting in that it covers three genres, that of Science Fiction, Drama and Fantasy.  There’s the hint of a parable in there too. It starts with Treasure Island and ends with Apocalypse, with some Jonathan Swift, James Joyce and Douglas Adams to mention just a few, in between
The main appeal of the book and certainly what kept me hooked was Millar’s use of language. It works on the mind as champagne bubbles work on the tongue, with sparkle, surprise and is intoxicating.  It’s opening the bottle that’s the hard bit.  
There is no plot to work through, you have to be ready and willing to be taken by the hand by the teller, relax, and be led trough the labyrinth of tales.  Let the language wash over you; accept the images and situations presented.   
The opening storyline has an adventurous, but slightly sinister tale of a voyage on the sea by a Dickensian character and his attentive doctor, but, be prepared for your six voyages – past present and future.  None appear to be related, but there is an underlying challenge of watch, listen and learn, then when you don’t get a satisfactory answer, think it through yourself.  You’ll have hours of fun, or perhaps tear your hair out.
There is some satisfaction at the end, but no real closure.   The book made me think, very hard and concentrate very hard and I still didn’t understand it fully.  If you want something deep, that will keep you awake and your mind ticking over, read it. If you want something to relax and send you to sleep, don’t.
Margaret Rowland

Book Review of Cloud Atlas by David Miller

The cafe that inspired me to read Cloud Atlas.  The name of the cafe is a quote from the novel 

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Book Reviews

We had a great session today - with most of us reading book reviews. An interesting selection including non-fiction.

My contribution was 'I am Spain' by David Boyd Haycock - for more see here
which I reviewed for Books4Spain.

Rob Innis

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Love Reading?

Every Saturday morning I volunteer in our local Alzheimer’s shop – working to raise money for the local day centre where Alzheimer’s patients are treated offering respite to their families.

I have adopted the book department and this week sorted out our huge stock of Danielle Steel, Maeve Binchy and Catherine Cookson books into one large display.

This led me to research these prolific authors who between them have sold millions of books in many different languages (our stock is in English by the way).

For more see here and I do hope you can call into the shop and find a book or two or maybe another one of our many bargains.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Some definitions
figure of speech: use of words in a different way from their usual meaning
idiom:words put together differently from the dictionary definition of individual words
figurative language: lots of metaphors, similes, hyperbole (as opposed to literal language)
literal: actually happens
figurative: feels like it happens
simile: comparison (+ 'like' or 'as') between things with something in common
metaphor: description of something as the same as something else
alliteration: repetition of initial sounds
onomatopoeia: imitates the sounds represented
hyperbole: exaggeration
euphemism: substitute inoffensive term for something explicit
assonance: repetition of similar vowel sounds
resonance: prolonged vibrating sound
repetition: reinforcement of ideas and dramatic momnts
personification: giving an object a personality or human qualities
anaphora: repetition of the same word or phrase at the beginning of successive sentences
understatement: to deliberately make less serious or important
irony: use of words to convey opposite of literal meaning
oxymoron:contradictory or incongruous words used side by side
pun: play on words of different or similar sense or sound
allegory: symbolic use of language, representing abstract ideas through concrete forms
analogy: transfer of information or meaning from oe subject to another
rhetoric:undue exaggeration, used to sway an audience, to persuade
rhetorical question: not really a question, no answer expected
satire: exaggerate in order to ridicule
parody: writing in another's style with intention of ridicule
facetiousness: inappropriate humour
Examples of some of the above:
onomatopeia: mumble, buzz, quack quack
resonance: murmur of inumerable humming insects
hyperbole: nearly died laughing
idiom: fishing for compliments
euphemism: passed away
analogy: own goal, shoot self in foot
anaphora: I have a dream, Of all the gin joints
oxymoron: Spanish punctuality
trope: Number 10

Other linguistic terms
collocation: words normally found together
colligation: grammatical structures usually found together
syntax: rules governing the patterns of language
grammar: rules governing the use of language