All the Pretty Horses – Cormac McCarthy

This isn’t the first book that I’ve read by McCarthy. I read The Road a few months ago and so I knew that I had to prepare myself when sitting down to begin All the Pretty Horses. If you have ever read a book by Cormac McCarthy, then you will understand that his writing is unique and often very depressing.

All the Pretty Horses is no exception. It is a book about love and friendship and although not quiet as desperate or bleak as The Road, it sure has its moments. Our protagonist is a sixteen year old of few words, who spends most of his time among the horses, whispering to them, calming them and of course riding them. A world without horses to John Cole Grady is unimaginable, which is why, when his mother tells him that their ranch is being closed, he decides to set out on horseback with is friend Lacey Rawlins, to find work in Mexico. Leaving their childhoods behind them in San Angelo, Texas, they travel towards the border and a time of their lives that will scar them forever. Continue reading

Upside Down Inside Out – Monica McInerney

I have said before that I don’t particularly like romance novels, but my friend gave me this one as a present, and I thought the summary on the back sounded quite intriguing. Set between Ireland, England and Australia, this book is about an unsatisfied shop assistant in Dublin and an unhappy, but successful business man in London, who meet while on holiday in Melbourne, and surprise, surprise, fall in love.

I am not really giving anything away, as the book does not pretend to be anything other than a romantic story about two strangers. The ‘twist’ is that both characters have secrets. Eva, the shop assistant, spends the whole holiday pretending to be a famous singer and sculpture called Niamh, while Joseph, who runs his own business, has her believing that he is a backpacker with no money. But will they accept each other for who they really are when the truth is finally revealed? Continue reading

Algoritam Multimedia – Dubrovnik

Algoritam is another bookshop along the main street in Old Town Dubrovnik. It is different to Algebra because it does not have the same cluttered atmosphere and originality. It is a lot more like any other ordinary bookshop you might find. In fact it is actually part of a larger chain in Croatia, and it definitely has that feel.

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Inés of My Soul – Isabel Allende

From the moment I opened this book, I was under a spell. And remained so  until the very last page. Isabel Allende’s words are bewitching and I am thankful that I was on holiday when I started, so I could have hours of uninterrupted, beach-reading bliss!

Throughout Isabel Allende’s magical historical novel about the conquest of Chile, I went through every emotion imaginable. The enthralling book tells of the exciting life of Inés de Suárez, the mistress of Pedro de Valdivia, who became the first royal governor of Chile.

Inés’ life wasn’t always so interesting. After her first husband leaves to travel to The New World in the Americas, in search of gold and glory, Inés becomes frustrated with her boring life in Plasencia, Spain. She makes a decision that will change the course of her life, and history. She decides to follow her husband, not for love, but for herself. She longs for freedom and adventure.  Continue reading

Croatian Nights – A Festival of Alternative Literature – Various Authors

This is a marvellous collection of short stories. Sex and alcohol are mixed in with a splash of violence and a good helping of humour. All this creates a delicious cocktail of weird and wonderful stories set in or about Croatia. A mixture of British and Croatian authors have contributed to this book celebrating alternative literature, many of the Croatian ones being translated for the first time.

I chose this book to take on holiday with me to Croatia and really enjoyed almost every moment. I don’t often read short stories, but found it just right for holiday reading.There is a variety of themes in the collection, including love, the aftermath of war, sexuality and tourism. The British authors mostly write from tourist or ex-pat points of view, with an emphasis on alcohol, sex and Rock and Roll. Continue reading

Algebra – Dubrovnik

Along the main street of Old Town in Dubrovnik, you can find this little treasure of a bookshop. It is a long, thin room filled from floor to ceiling with English, French, German and of course Croatian books. There is also a whole section dedicated to Croatian history books and travel guides.   The books are not only on the shelves, but also piled on the floor – the shop is simply bursting with books!

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Frankenstein – Mary Shelley

Having heard the story of Frankenstein and his monster many, many times, I thought I knew exactly what to expect from Mary Shelley’s novel. I imagined it to be gruesome and frightening. I assumed I would have nightmares and would only be able to read the book during the day, when all was still light. What I was not expecting was for such a tragic, heartbreaking tale.

Everyone knows Frankenstein’s story, of how he created a monster and through years of study, found a way to bring life to the being. As the nameless monster opens his luminous eyes, Frankenstein suddenly realises the horror of what he has done and flees. The newly alive creature, alone and  uncertain struggles through a hard and unloved life. People run from him, he can’t even stand the sight of himself and with a rush of emotion and self pity, he curses his maker and vows to hunt him down and make his life unbearable. Continue reading