Urania Talks Book Lists…

So here is where I ramble on about a book list I ran across last week. It all started with an email I received from Off The Shelf containing this list (13 Books to Make You Ugly Cry)

Here are the books they listed. Watch the Vlog to hear my (RAMBLING) thoughts…

Buy Them Now
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
When Breath Become Air by Paul Kalanithi
Oh My Stars by Lorna Landvik
Brother, I’m Dying by Edwidge Danticat
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Lucky by Alice Sebold
The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker
Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

Make sure to keep updated so you can see what I think of my two picks from this list…

Until next time…

Urania xx

Review – The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara

16126596After two books, Hanya Yanagihara has now been put onto my “blind buy” author list. This is my list of authors that I will gladly buy their new book without knowing anything about it. You may remember my previous review A Little Life and how much I gushed over it.  Well, The People in the Trees is Yanagihara’s first book, and for a debut novel, it is absolutely brilliant!

Now, being a debut novel, you can see where the author is learning their craft, and in Yanagihara’s second novel, she most definitely expands upon that craft.   However, Yanagihara’s themes, and how these themes are presented, is a skill that the author seems to naturally possess.

The best thing about this books are the characters.  The main character, Norton, is complex, certainly not likable, intelligent, egotistical, and most of all… human…  We are not going to resonate with him on a superficial level, but really, we all share very similar qualities, and that’s what drew me in to these characters and their stories.   Human nature, and the perception of human nature, really interests me, and it is explored with finesse in this book.   If one person is evil, can they still be a genuine?  If a person is honest, can they still be a liar? What do you consider reliable vs unreliable?  The dichotomy of labels that we put on people based upon their actions, or indeed, what actions we choose to support or vilify, is a fascinating subject.  When you have a situation of intentions vs consequences, which one ultimately “wins”?   All these garbled and incoherent questions/ramblings are the result of reading this intense piece of fiction.   But you know what?  I bloody love it!

If you want a book that will make you question things you originally had a different opinion on, reinforce some ideas of yours, but maybe make you consider them from a different angle, then pick this book up.  It is not an easy book at all.  You will need to read fluff afterwards, but these type of books don’t come along often, so take a chance.


The People in the Trees

Review – A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara.

22822858You know when you finish a book, and you have a sense of catharsis – a feeling that someone has gone inside your body and mind and washed it out with a hose pipe?  Yeah, I’m currently at that stage after finishing Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life.   It was only published in early March, so don’t be surprised if you haven’t heard of it before; actually, it was completely by accident that I came across an NPR review of this book whilst reading another review on the same page.  l did a little more research and found a few more reviews.  I immediately went to NetGalley and requested a review copy.  I now am going to buy the hardback version.  I need it on my bookshelf!

You know by now that I don’t like to spend too much time on premise as it often can inadvertently contain spoilers, so I’ll give you the briefest overview.    A Little Life follows four best friends from when they are roommates at college right through the next 30 or so years.   We have Jude, Malcolm, JB and Willem.   All have different personalities and ways of handling issues.  We explore their lives as they try and deal with revelations, tragedy, happiness, fame, and each other.   However, rest assured, that Yanagihara’s novel isn’t just your standard coming of age drama.  No.  It goes deep into who we are , how much we can endure, and what it means to truly live.

The characters in this novel are truly what make it an exceptional book.   Each character is fleshed out sufficiently enough for the reader to believe that they could actually exist and that the dynamics between them are genuine.  Even the secondary characters are believable and vital to the story.  In the hands of another author, the characters could have easily become caricatures and much eye rolling would have occurred.

The language used in this novel is phenomenal.   Having the ability to evoke a sense of horror and shock without being explicit, is a true art form.  The language is raw, yet it never becomes explicit just for the sake of shock value.  It is believable, poetic and realistic all in one.

I will give fair warning that some of the themes and content are indeed painful.  I have read some negative reviews from people, that I believe, went into this novel thinking it was going a Nicholas Sparks type deal, and they were duly slapped in the face.  Go into this novel with an open mind, a willingness to recognize that different people react different ways, because Yanagihara does not make it easy for you.

Having said that, if you want to experience a novel that will really make you pay attention and and will present you with the harsh and beautiful realities of life, then do yourself a favour, go to the library, click on the link, go to your local bookshop, and pick up a copy of this truly unique novel.

~ Pegasus.

A Little Life: A Novel