Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Luminous Life of Lilly Aphrodite

'Deftly captures the era's sense of frenzied invention and seductive promise' - The New York Times

'Full of suspense, this is an all-feeling novel, seductively and dramatically told' -- Daily Mail

“She tried to smile but her face,she noticed with a jolt,was one that 
had been configured for tradgedy.” 

I just finished this book, The Glimmer Palace. I didn't read the reviews before I picked it out. But, as usual, I listened to it on audio; driving around in my car. I don't know how it would've been to read it. Some books are better than others and should be listened to instead of read from a book... at least in my opinion. This one I think would've been just find to read from a book but I adored the narrator. I thought she was superb.

The book was written by the UK author Beatrice Colin and that is the reason for the two titles. The Luminous Life of Lilly Aphrodite was it's UK title. When it came to America it was re-titled The Glimmer Palace. Isn't the cover pretty?!

I got the feeling that this book was impeccably researched. It was the perfect blend of history and fiction; so much so that after awhile you start wondering if more of the story is real than fake.

After I read a book that I really enjoy I like to look up the research behind it. Unfortunately I couldn't find an interview with the author Beatrice Colin about this book specifically. But I found some other things. Like this interview where we find out that her great-aunt Nina, who carved out a career in the German film industry between the wars, was a guiding spirit behind The Luminous Life of Lilly Aphrodite. 

Beatrice Colin is a UK writer. On her main author website she explains what it feels like to write - There are dozens of analogies of how it feels to write but to me it feels a little like trying to walk through a dark room with my arms outstretched. You stumble across things you weren’t expecting, and as you grope around in the dark take two steps forward in any direction and then one step back again. It can be either frustrating or exhilarating, but this is where I feel I’m most creative, and I usually come up with scenes or situations that I had never imagined before.

Towards the end, I start to speed up, almost finished, but this part is also the hardest. All those choices I made so casually earlier on in the story have consequences. I am now the grown-up left to tidy up the mess of a very messy adolescent...

The story is about Lilly Nelly Aphrodite who is orphaned when she is only two years old. She lives in a Catholic orphanage in Germany and her life takes a turn when she befriends a girl who has more life experience than she should. Lilly's story twists and turns and you never know what is going to happen next. She goes through many different hardships, all the while just trying to be happy and safe. She eventually falls into the film industry and then things really start happening!

early Germany film industry
The actress Pola Negri was mentioned several times in this book... here is her picture. It gives you an idea of what actresses during that time looked like.


And of course, since it was an audio book that I listened to, I must mention Justine Eyre, the narrator of this fine novel. 

Take a listen and see if you don't think her voice is divine & perfectly matched to the story...

If you like historical fiction this book is for you. If you are interested in World War 1, Nazi Germany and early cinema this book is for you. If you like plot twists and beautiful language this book is for you. If you like to be entertained, well, this is the book for you!

I thoroughly enjoyed it and I think you will too.

Check your local library. That's where I got mine!

Happy Reading!

Monday, September 3, 2012

What makes someone love a book?

What makes a book review and what makes a book enjoyable or not enjoyable? I know what my opinions are.

I recently saw a review where someone rated Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen as one of their all time favorites. Now, I read the book and I enjoyed it. But as an all time favorite? I didn't think that was possible for anyone. I put off reading it for years because of the somewhat negative reviews of it. One of them said that Gruen knows how to write about the relationship between human and animal but not so much the relationships between people; that critque rings true in Water for Elephants.

And I just looked back through my blog to see if I'd reviewed and I noticed that I have not. Oh well. Here it is now. I thought the story was fun and intriguing; it kept you guessing. So overall it was quite good. However!!! I am fairly picky when it comes to my books and I did not come to love the characters. I didn't really miss them when I'd finished and I felt like they were sortof whiners and I hate whiners unless I'm supposed to hate them as characters and then I love it! The best part of this book was the ending, and I don't mean that it was the best because it was over, but it was just a very excellent ending to the story.

I guess it just surprised me that someone would claim it as a favorite of all time where for me it doesn't even come close.

It's a good thing we don't all have to agree! As my mother would say, that's why God made so many different kinds of people :) hah. Well go figure. And if you feel like this book sounds interesting to you, please read it. It was a very good story with a great plot. And not only that, but she researched elephants for the book. If you read the book go to the back and read the part where she talks about the research she did on these two real life elephants. Fascinating!

I always like to look into the research and inspiration behind a book. That always makes it better for me.

While I'm on the topic of favorite books of all time, I'll mention a few of my own just for good measure.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (which I have not yet reviewed on here)
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (which I have also  not reviewed)


and here are two Honorable Mentions that come in very close to being on my top top list of books...
The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson - a new author with a very interesting voice. Great story.

A Long Way Gone; memoirs of a boy soldier - by Ishmael Beah ( I think every teen boy should read this book. It has easy language but it is a true story and the author is alive and telling his story today! Amazing!)

There are many many other books that I love dearly but they do not pop into my head right now, and I've also not written reviews about them. But rest assured, I shall review again! But that list of four right now has yet to be beat. Although I did like A Tree Grows in Brooklyn...

And by the way, if you're looking for a good book reviewer I do recommend Farmlanebooks. She is the one who loved Water for Elephants, but I still think she writes pretty good reviews overall. And she's got a lot more than me.....

What makes you really enjoy a book?

What books are are you list of all time favorites and WHY!?


Saturday, September 1, 2012

why do I ever think it has anything to do with me?!?

Seriously. I don't know why I have these delusions that my life in Christ has anything to do with me!

Last week was kindof a tough week spiritually. See, I work really hard, a lot for several days, then I have a few days off and I crash. I crash and I eat bad food and watch crap television and can't get out of the funk.. then I go to church and whine when I can't get people to focus. Um, hello Ciara?

How do you expect to be a blessing to anyone when you're being crabby pants yourself? Going to church isn't about being blessed by others, it's about BEING the blessing TO others!!! It's not about me at all. It's about Jesus. All the time. Every second of every day, and especially on Sabbath!

So last week I had a whine session with my mom about it and she talked with me and gave me exactly what I needed, like she always does. I am grateful that I have that. But not everyone does. Some people don't have that person they can talk to. Maybe their week was even worse than mine. Maybe they didn't pray at all and are having an even worse spiritual low than me. Maybe it's been that way for a long time.

Jesus doesn't want me to whine about it. He wants me to get up off my butt and do something to help someone else.

I've also been doing a lot of thinking about prayer lately. I've learned a lot about it. Pretty sure I am that God has placed that in my path for a reason. Everywhere I turn I keep hearing stuff about prayer. So obviously that's what God wants from me. And I think I'd like to talk to you about it as well. So stay tuned for that next time.

Remember, if you're feeling down, talk to Jesus about it. Ask him to send His angels to give you some help with whatever it is you're feeling and what you're dealing with... and He will.

Remember, God does not step in where He's not wanted. So ask Him for special help and He WILL help you! Claim His promise!

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. - 2 Peter 3:9