Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.

The book tells the story of Jacob Jankowski, an old man in his 90’s in a nursery home. Jacob goes back in his memories to his early 20’s on the day of his final exam as a Cornell University veterinary student when he receives some horrible news and takes a life changing decision by leaving the University without taking his final exam. In his attempts to escape life and his new reality Jacob finds himself in a circus train, from there his life as a moving circus vet starts.

The major themes explored in this novel include circus life during the depression (Gruen did extensive research on the subject), the testing of a man’s moral compass, self worth, mental illnesses, acting on emotions, illusion vs. reality, and love triangles.

Simply an enjoyable read, a movie adoption of the book is released, however I highly recommend reading the book

How to Kill Your Husband (and Other Handy Household Hints) – Kathy Lette

 

Before starting my review I should mention that I’m not into “chick-lit” and all “women issues” novels and writers like Sophie Kinsella or Cecelia Ahern, however Kathy Lette’s writing is to be “given a chance”.

A woman would joke about killing her husband until her husband disappears and she becomes the only suspect which is what happens to Jazz Jardine. Personally didn’t find the plot interesting but Kathy Lette’s writing was so hilarious that made the book enjoyable…

The Other Side of The Story by Marian Keyes

Gemma, Jojo, and Lily are three successful women who are linked to each other in different ways.
Jojo Harvey is an intelligent, ambitious book agent who has a relationship with her married boss, Mark.
Lily Wright is a new best-selling author, agented by Jojo, and who lives a not-so-charming life with the love of her life, Anton, and their daughter, Ema.
And Gemma Hogan, an event planner who’s bitter and sad after Lily stole her Anton and her dad leaving her mum for a younger model. And while she’s babysitting her mom who’s living now on antidepressants and tranquilizers, she keeps in touch with her best friend Susan through e-mails, telling her every little detail about her new life. Until Susan forwards these e-mails to the one and only Jojo Harvey to be published in a book.

This book is absolutely charming! Funny, sad, shocking, and incredibly romantic. You’ll be hooked just couple of pages into the book.

If you’re looking for a fun, light read, then you shouldn’t miss on reading this one!

Rating: 5/5

More about the book: Click here.

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Animal Farm is a novella by George Orwell. Published in England in 1945, the book reflects events leading up to and during the Stalin era before World War II.

The book is about animals who start a Rebellion lead by two pigs  Snowball and Napoleon and rule the farm by themselves following the principles of Animalism that states “All animals are equal.” The term Animalism is an allegorical mirror of Communism and it reflects the author’s view of the Russian revolutionaries and government of how to practice it.

Characters:

Pigs:

Old Major, who inspired the rebellion but didn’t live it, He is an allegory of Karl Marx and Lenin, the founders of Communism.

Napoleon, An allegory of Joseph Stalin, Napoleon is the main villain of Animal Farm. Uses dogs “his secret police” and  false propaganda to keep the other animals in line.

Snowball, Napoleon’s rival, mainly based on Trotsky. He wins over most animals and gains their trust by leading a very successful first harvest, but is driven out of the farm by Napoleon.

Squealer, Napoleon’s right hand pig and minister of propaganda, holding a position similar to that of Molotov. Squealer manipulates the language to excuse, justify, and extol all of Napoleon’s actions.

Humans:

Mr. Jones, The former owner of the farm, an allegory of Nicholas II, the last Emperor of Russia who was executed by the Bolsheviks.

Frederick, the owner of the neighbouring farm. He buys wood from the animals for forged money and later attacks them. There are stories of him mistreating his own animals. He could be compared to Adolf Hitler.

Mr. Pilkington, the owner of another neighbouring farm. Could be a representation of Britain and The United States.

Other Animals

Boxer, a very loyal, kind and dedicated horse. He represents the working class.

Moses the Raven, An old crow who occasionally visits the farm, regaling its denizens with tales of a wondrous place beyond the clouds called Sugarcandy Mountain, where he avers that all animals go when they die—but only if they work hard. He is interpreted as symbolising the Russian Orthodox Church, with Sugarcandy Mountain an allusion to Heaven for the animals.

A very interesting short novel. Time magazine chose it as one of the 100 best English-language novels (1923 to 2005) and considered one of the Greatest Books of the Western World.

Suite française by Irène Némirovsky

before reviewing the book I have to introduce it and it’s author. Suite française is the title of a planned sequence of five novels by Irène Némirovsky, a French writer of Ukrainian Jewish origin. In July 1942, having just completed the first two of the series, Némirovsky was arrested as a Jew and detained at Auschwitz, where she was sent to the gas chambers by the Nazi regime. The notebook containing the two novels was preserved by her daughters but not examined until 1998. They were published in a single volume entitled Suite française in 2004.

The first novel, Tempête en juin “Storm in June” depicts the flight of citizens from Paris in the hours preceding the German advance and in the days following it. I personally didn’t like this part of the book very much but there was something in it that kept me reading. It featured the stories of families fleeing Paris, therefore it was a bit confusing with its many characters (those many characters weren’t randomly added, the author planned on writing five novels where she introduced all the characters in the first).

The second, Dolce “Sweet”, shows life in a small French country town, in the first, strangely peaceful, months of the German occupation. As for that part it was what made the book worth reading.

I couldn’t put the book done specially after I started the 2nd novel, it teleports you to a French village during German occupation, and what makes it so realistic is that the author lived that war. At the end of the book you will find an appendix of Irène’s notes during that war and while writing the book, it has a lot of ideas that she held for the 3 remain unwritten novels.

Have a Little Faith – Mitch Albom

Mitch Albom’s second non-fiction (first was Tuesdays With Morrie). It tells Albom’s experience writing the eulogy for a Rabbi from his hometown . The book is written in the same vein as Tuesdays With Morrie, in which the main character, Mitch, goes through several heartfelt conversations with the Rabbi in order to better know and understand the man that he would one day eulogize. Through this experience, Albom writes, his own sense of faith was reawakened, leading him to make contact with a pastor of a church, in Detroit, where Albom was then living. That pastor, a past drug addict, dealer, and ex-convict, ministered to a congregation of largely homeless men and women in a church so poor that the roof leaked when it rained. From his relationships with these two very different men of faith, Albom writes about the difference faith can make in the world.

It’s a very inspiring book written in a simple enjoyable way, its about individuals’ faith and faith itself, regarding of what that faith is. Personally I consider it my Mitch Albom’s favorite.

“‘faith is about doing.  You are how you act, not just how you believe.”‘

The Concise 48 Laws of Power

The Concise 48 Laws of Power

The 48 Laws of Power is a 1998 book by Robert Greene and Joost Elffers. The book shares thematic elements with Niccolò Machiavelli‘s The Prince and has been compared to Sun-Tzu‘s classic treatise The Art of War.

not everyones typical kind of book I know, but change is good. The book promotes Machiavellianism which is the employment of cunning and duplicity in statecraft or in general conduct” deriving from the Italian  writer Niccolò Machiavelli, who wrote The Prince.

It  presents 48 law, some are too cruel to be applied, some are interesting to know and others should be done subconsciously, with examples, stories and quotes by Machiavelli (of course), Louis XIV, Catherine the Great and Baltasar Gracian.

Some quotes from the book:

“If you are unsure of a course of action, do not attempt it. Your doubts and hesitations will infect your execution. Timidity is dangerous: Better to enter with boldness. Any mistakes you commit through audacity are easily corrected with more audacity. Everyone admires the bold; no one honors the timid.”

“Always Say Less Than Necessary. When you are trying to impress people with words, the more you say, the more common you appear, and the less in control. Even if you are saying something banal, it will seem original if you make it vague, open-ended, and sphinxlike. Powerful people impress and intimidate by saying less. The more you say, the more likely you are to say something foolish.”

“Keep your friends for friendship, but work with the skilled and competent”