Tag Archives: Audrey Niffenegger

The Night Bookmobile – Review

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The Night Bookmobile by Audrey Niffenegger

Age: Adult


The Night Bookmobile is a graphic short story that tells the story of a young woman who encounters a mysterious, disappearing Winnebego that carries the most valued elements of her past on the streets of Chicago. The night bookmobile is run by Mr. Openshaw and its hours run from Dusk to Dawn. Exploring through the stacks and stacks of books, Alexandra discovers that the bookmobile houses every single book she has every read, or attempted to read in her life. This chance encounter draws Alexandra into an almost obsessive cycle of reading, and trying to find the bookmobile once again, even going so far as to become a librarian to one day work for the bookmobile and The Library.

I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library. – Jorge Luis Borges, “Poema de los Dones”

This is the quote that kept running through my head while I read this graphic novel. Alexandra’s chance encounters with the bookmobile are sporadic, but timely.  She always comes across the bookmobile at a major turning point in her life, three major turning points to be exact. This book reads more like a cautionary tale against having too much love of reading and books (something unheard of among bibliophiles). Seeing the path Alexandra is drawn down is somewhat disturbing, but maybe because I see myself in her place. Who wouldn’t want their heaven to be full of books, read and unread? Audrey Niffenegger made an interesting point in the afterword:

As I worked it also became a story about the claims that books place on their readers, the imbalance between our inner and outer lives, a cautionary tale of the seductions of the written word. … What is it we desire from the hours, weeks, lifetimes we devote to books? What would you sacrifice to sit in that comfy chair with perfect light for an afternoon in eternity, reading the perfect book, forever?

It is a very haunting story, very much in step with Niffenegger’s style. I love my books, I love the stories, the characters and the lives I can spyon  in any book I pick up and read. But I’m not sure what I would sacrifice for that perfect book in that comfy chair with the perfect lighting. This book brings up many thoughts on life and death, being anti-social and the difference between living for a dream and living in reality. I think any reader who comes across this book should take a pause and really understand why they read and just where books fall in line with their priorities.

The Night Bookmobile
by Audrey Niffenegger
Abrams, 2010
ISBN 9780810996175
33 pages

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Find this book at your local library

The night bookmobile

Her Fearful Symmetry – Review

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Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

Age: 16+ years old
Twins Eslpeth and Edwina live separate lives, one in London and the other in Chicago. Neither sister has spoken for over a decade until Eslpeth becomes diagnosed with cancer and soon starts correspondence with her long lost twin. After her death, she wills her second floor flat in London to her nieces, twins Julia and Valentina. In her will she states that they must live in the flat for one year before deciding if they want to sell it. What Eslpeth had not accounted for, was that her spirit would return from the grave to haunt the flat, the girls, changing their lives.

To be honest, I found this book to be really dull. I thought Eslpeth made for an incredibly boring ghost, the twins were annoying and there weren’t any likable characters other than Martin (and I wish we learned more about Martin). There was a big rift between the elder twins that caused them to not talk for over a decade, but by the time you found out what that secret was, it didn’t effect the plot at all and seemed to be a let down. One of the girls from my book club compared this book to Breaking Dawn: so much build up for nothing. I wouldn’t go that far. Audrey Niffenegger is still incredibly more talented as a thinker, creator and writer than Stephanie Meyer. The ending of HFS felt rushed, and I was mad that it ended just as it got interesting. The ending was predictable (I guessed what would transpire between Eslpeth and Valentia halfway through the book).

What I did like:

I love Niffenegger’s descriptions and characters. Although they weren’t likable, they were fully formed and had their own personalities and histories. I loved that she used British slang and colloquialisms in her writing and I loved learning about Highgate cemetery and its history. I will not compare this book to Time Traveler’s Wife, because they are completely different and one should not be judged based on the other. I love her emphasis on character development and seeing how Martin and Valentina progressed and grew stronger while the initially stronger characters (Julia and Marijke) grew weaker. It was an interesting dynamic.

Overall, I was disappointed with the book. It wasn’t creepy and it wasn’t very original. It had many elements that I have seen in countless ghost movies and read in other ghost stories.

Her Fearful Symmetry
by Audrey Niffenegger
Scribner Books, 2009
ISBN 9781439165393
404 pages

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Find this book at your local library

HFS – a cover story

The various shades of Her Fearful Symmetry.

Through a series of events, I somehow ended up with 3 versions of the newest Audrey Niffenegger book, Her Fearful Symmetry. One copy is an ARC that I found at the library. The second copy is one that I had pre-ordered from Amazon.com and lastly, the third copy is the signed copy that I won from a Twitter drawing run by Scribner Books. Each copy has a different cover and a different feel to it.

hfs

I’ve said it before, I am one of those shameless readers that picks out books based on their cover art. I have to admit that the blue and black covers definitely catch my eye and I think the black cover just makes the book seem much more creepy. I haven’t been able to find any information on the black cover, ie, if its the European cover or not. The only other cover art I’ve seen besides the blue cover is this one, and that’s been on online reviews:

I went into The Time Traveler’s Wife not knowing a single thing about the book or the author.

I bought it on a whim from Border’s Express because they had a buy 2 get 1 free sale and I wanted to read Life of Pi (which I never did finish, but that’s a story for another post).

At the time I started reading TTW, my boyfriend and I had just begun the first leg of our 2 year long-distance relationship and I could relate very much with the Claire and Henry. Unsure of my future with the man I loved, unsure of when I would see him, or for how long. 6.5 years after our first date, he proposed and now I know what our future is. TTW hit me in a way that very few books do, and even though my relationship has progressed, I don’t feel that I’ve outgrown the book.

Her Fearful Symmetry is the November pick for my book club. I want to read it right now, but at the same time, I don’t. It seems like everyone really loves this book, they say its better than her first. I’m very wary, but I should just open up the book and get it over with right? Putting it off will only make me expect that much more out of it, I think.

Are there any books you put off reading because of all the hype surrounding its release? How does the hype effect your reaction to the book?

Audrey Niffenegger news

Well, fans of the Time Traveler’s Wife now have something to latch onto. Audrey Niffenegger just sold her manuscript for her second novel for $5 million dollars to Scribner, a unit of Simon & Schuster. The book is set to be released at the end of September. Likewise, the movie of Time Traveler’s Wife is given a February release date (I can only assume Feb 2010, since it did not come out this past February).

You can read the full article here:

Lit Flicks Challenge

As part of the Bookworms Carnival, Jessica at BlueStocking Society is hosting February’s theme of literature and film. To get the carnival up and running, she’s hosting a 6 month challenge from September 1, 2008 to February 28, 2009. Please make sure you check out her website for more details on the monthly prizes and activities.

RULES
1. Challenge runs from September 1, 2008 to February 28, 2009.
2. Read 5 books that have been made into movies.
3. Then watch at least 2 of the movie adaptations of the works you read.
4. Your list may change at any time and may include overlaps with other challenges.
5. Sign up after you’ve posted about this challenge using Mr. Linky here.
6. Check in around the first of each month to find activities and giveaways for participants.
7. Link to your reviews and posts using the second Mr. Linky here.

OFFICIAL CHALLENGE PAGE
Jessica has set up a challenge headquarters page. It includes all the official stuff: the button, the rules, links to lists of qualifying books, the sign-up Mr. Linky, and the review/post Mr. Linky. Head on over there and sign on up!

MY LIST
Here is my initial selection of books to read for this challenge:
1. Brideshead Revisited (Evelyn Waugh)
2. Shop Girl (Steve Martin)
3. Big Fish (Daniel Wallace)
4. Time Traveler’s Wife (Audrey Niffenegger) – This gives a me a good reason to reread the books before going to see the movie.
5. My Antonia (Willa Cather)
6. All The Pretty Horses (Cormac McCarthy)

If you haven’t already, please check out my review and giveaway of a copy of Immortal to one lucky winner. Contest ends TODAY!

Jakob Wywialowski and the Angels – Review

I’m not even sure where to begin reviewing this short story, Jakob Wywialowski and the Angels by Audrey Niffenegger. It is a 1,255 words, 7 page short story about an elderly man, Jakob Wywialowski finding angels in his attic, and finding an exterminator to come and “angel-proof” his house.

This story is funny, sweet and ripe with imagery and humor. It is very different from Time Traveler’s Wife, but then again, so is everything else Niffenegger has written. Soon after reading Time Traveler’s Wife, I read The Three Incestuous Sister: An Illustrated Novel which really proved the depth and variety of Niffenegger’s style. She is quick to understand human suffering and emotional tragedy, but she also has a keen sense of humor. I fell in love with Time Traveler’s Wife, and I think I would fork over my entire library (minus The Princess and the Goblin) just to have a one hour sit-down conversation with the author.

This short is available through Amazon Shorts for 49 cents, and is sent directly immediately to your e-mail account. You can save this piece to your desktop, print it, or just keep it electronically linked in your Amazon Media Library.

It would be a really cool present to pick out some shorts by favorite authors, print them out, have them professionally bound and present it to a close friend/mate/parent. Its a very original anthology by yours truly, complete with your own dedication page and illustrations if you feel creative enough.