Monday, August 29, 2011


A Novel of the Irish Rebellion
By Morgan Llywelyn

This book is amazing. I love everything about it. I love that it is a kind of historical fiction book. I love that it is about Ireland and Irish history. I love each and every character Llywelyn created. 1916 is completely engulfing. The world is so vivid and electric.

If you have no interest in Ireland or Irish history, do not even open the book. It is all about the political and cultural climate of Ireland during one of the most tumultuous and infamous times in Ireland's history. Llywelyn does an incredible job of making this book historically accurate and informative without being tedious. The reader doesn't get bogged down with names and dates. Instead Llywelyn weaves an expansive yet very personal story within the fabric of the political changes.

However, I will say the novel does become convoluted when the Rising is in full swing, but, as frustrating as it may be will all the names and places and action, that sense of frustration and confusion mirrors that of the characters. There was not truly reliable communication, no one knew for sure what was happening until the action involved themselves.

Llywelyn does a good job of making the book somewhat impartial. Obviously the reader is put on the side of Ireland. But she presents all sides of the conflict, causing the reader to question each party's actions, motives and consequences.

Ned and Henry are extremely strong characters, full of conviction and fire. Sile is wonderful in her own strength. And Precious will just break your heart. I really enjoy that Llwelyn combines characters of her own creation with historical figures.

This is truly a remarkable book, and I cannot wait to read the rest.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Color Purple

by Alice Walker

I've been slacking. Well, that's not exactly true. I started reading 1949 by Morgan Llywelyn. Unfortunately I wasn't paying attention and didn't realize I had picked up the third book in a series of three. Typical. But I was committed, so I figured I'd keep reading. And then came moving day, and as 1949 was a library book, I had to give it up. Even worse, I had to make the decision which books would be moving with me and which would need a new home. Not an easy choice. So my book collection is now limited. But I did have enough sense to bring The Color Purple with me.

What I liked most about this book is the letter-writing format. It makes the book very personal. And truly, I think that's the only way the reader would have gotten to know anything about Celie because she started off so stony to the outside world, and understandably so.

The only letter I didn't enjoy was the one Nettie wrote to Celie about how Samuel and Corrine met. That one went on forever and was pretty dull actually. But other than that I don't have any complaints.

Although, I don't know how someone could have read this book and said, Hey, this would make a good movie. The book leaves so much that would have to be fleshed out. (I haven't seen the movie or the musical).

Truth be told I rushed though this book a little. I don't have strong feelings about it one way or another. Also I just picked up my copy of Llywelyn's 1916 and I'm eager to start it. So, really, for me this book was about killing time more than anything else. That isn't to say it's not a good book to read, I just, like I said, have little feeling one way or the other about it.