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Здравейте! Аз съм Нина - или Топчо :) Добре дошли на моите странички, където плямпам основно за книжки и разни сръчности.

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сряда, 12 февруари 2014 г.

[book review]White Thirst/Бяла жажда

Заглавие: "Бяла жажда"*
Автор: Майк Анка

Бележки +*: безплатно копие за ревю. И честно казано, идея нямам как да преведа заглавието, затова заложих на добрия стар буквален превод. Със същия успех може да е "Чист копнеж", на това ми звучи твърде като сапунче. Затова и приемам предложения, ако има някакви.

Предпрочитно:
По принцип историите за Желязната завеса не съставляват голям процент от четивата ми. Но мернах тази книга в списъка за поискване, анотацията ѝ звучеше прилично, не беше дебела, беше отбелязано че е до голяма степен мемоар на автора - който е румънец. Освен това щеше да се впише чудесно в не едно от предизвикателствата ми, та реших да я взема да се пообразовам. 
Да отбележа, първоначално в сайта нямаше корица, само снимка (на автора, предполагам), та когато отворих файла останах приятно изненадана от наличието на корица и като цяло много доброто оформление - доста добро първо впечатление.

Следпрочитно:
Оказа се доста трудна книга за оценяване, защото и самите ми чувства към нея се оказаха доста противоречиви.
Както е отбелязано в анотацията, това са мемоарни бележки, историята и героите са в голяма степен истински - и това вече си е добра основа за разказ, още повече като имаме предвид фона, на който точно тази се развива. Един човешки живот винаги може да се превърне в история, от тук нататък всичко зависи от умението, с което е предадена и способността на разказвача да увлече читателя. И точно по тази точка с "Бяла жажда" не се  спогодихме особено.
Това се дължеше най-вече на факта, че книгата беше... не особено добре балансирана, поради липса на по-уместна дума. Имаше изключително подробни  описания на всекидневни действия или на облекло, а в същото време моменти като убийства и сблъсъци бяха споменати ей така, между другото. Авторът описва Италия по начин, който би могъл да ти спре дъха... и би бил уместен, ако това беше преди всичко пътепис. През цялата последна трета на книгата се повтаря колко емоционален и възхитителен е спектакълът, над който работят, но така и не разбираме за какво всъщност е пиесата.
Така натрупани, тези излишъци от информация ме отвличаха от зрънцата, които според мен бяха по-важни и ме отегчаваха - а самата история не предполагаше да скучая.
Само ако имаше малко по-стратегическо акцентиране. Най-най-лесният начин да се постигне това май би било да се поработи по начина, по който са разделени главите. Сякаш нямаше особена мисъл зад това къде почва и свършва дадена глава - първите бяха по 5 страници, след това се навъдиха глави по 30+ страници. Последните съдържаха по няколко смислово отделни епизода, например първата по-обемна глава - шеста - просто си просеше да бъде разделена поне на две. Първата половина щеше да е за промъкването на момчетата през последните граници до Италия, и щеше да завърши с "Бастиян е болен, но държи всичко под контрол. "Остани спокоен" <- ей такъв край на главата определено би ме зарибил да продължа да чета нататък. Втората половина пък, обособена сама, би наблегнала на разочарованието на Майкъл и Бастиян от предателството на приятелите ми, отчаянието, което ги наляга след това, и крайният момент в църквата. 
Ня, малко се отнесох, но всички тези моменти (както и много други) са наистина силни и емоционални, и въпреки това се губят  и размиват, по начина, по който са изсипани главите. Естествено, ако те бъдат пообработени и разширени за сметка на други епизоди, бих била още по-доволна, но дори и с подобна лека намеса, пак би се усетила разлика. Поне така си мисля де.
На второ място... повествованието се води от един общо взето всевиждащ разказвач... което не обичам, ама тц. Така само се дистанцирам от героите, а честите коментари, сравняващи настоящето на героите с някакво далечно бъдеще (което явно ще се случи) - ами аз вече знам, че ще свършат добре, за какво да се безпокоя за тях? Добавяме към микса сегашното време, в което е разказът... резултатът е недоволно Топче.
Като заговорихме за героите... Още от първата глава става ясно, че това не е разказ за двама млади мъже, пресичащи границата и рискуващи живота си. Това е историята на Майкъл и приятеля му, който се превръща в просто поддържаща фигура за главния герой - както и останалите герои, които се появяват. В интерес на истината, Майкъл беше интересен персонаж, въпреки почти пълната мъгла относно миналото му. Но не можах да се привържа особено към никой от фоновите герои - с изключение на Джи-Джи (душкаааа! :D ) и може би Стефани към края на книгата. Именно моментите със Стефани - любимата на главния герой, с която той успява да се събере (изключително по нейна инициатива, трябва да отбележа), бяха единствените, в които се скъси дистанцията между мен и героите.

За десерт - имаше доста странни грешки - в имената на героите - полякът е Петров, българката се казва Клава Петросима (утф?), изрази от рода на sun-of-a-bitch, и изобщо странотии от всякакъв род. Някои определено са случайно плъзнали се пръсти по клавиатурата, докато за други честно казано нямам обяснение. И все пак, това са по-маловажни неща - могат в крайна сметка лесно да бъдат поправени

Сега малко хубави неща. Диалозите. Те наистина ми харесаха - бяха леки и естествени, на едни места разсмиваха, на други внасяха драматизъм, когато беше нужно. Телевизионното обръщение на Майкъл като говорител на емигрантите от лагера наистина поставяше въпроси въпроси вълнуващи и двете страни, които са валидни и днес. Самите изречения бяха много стройни и въпреки всичко книгата се четеше лесно и бързо. Описанията са една от силните страни на автора - и така ми харесаха, а бих им се насладила още повече, ако заради тях не страдаха други елементи. И с каквото започнах - историята сама по себе си, си струва.

Затова и до последно не бях сигурна с колко да оценя тази книга. Оставям я на три, макар че малко ѝ трябва да бъде закръглена на четворка. Защото е историята на обикновени хора, попаднали във водовъртежа на строящата се история. Не е история на големи имена, но това не я прави в никакъв случай по-маловажна.


Title:White Thirst
Author: Mike Anka

Side note: review copy

Pre-read thoughts: 
While stories about the Iron Curtain are not usually my cup of tea, when I spotted this one I decided to give it a try and request it. The page count wasn't too high, it was noted that it was mostly a real life experience, and I figured I can place it in quite some challenges, so a decision was made. Also, when I requested the book, it didn't have a cover shown, but just a photo of the author (I guess), so when I opened the file, it was a pleasent surprize - the whole look of cover and pages was pretty good.

The story:
White Thirst follows the successfull attempt of Michael and his friend Bastian to cross unnoticed the borders and exit the shadow cast of the Iron Curtain. On their way the protagonists encounter many challenges - legal ones, not-so-legal ones, as well as unexpected matters of the heart.

After-read thoughts:
It turned surpisingly hard to review this book, as my opinion of it is very controversary.
As the author states in the annotation, this is a memoir, a mostly true story and this fact already is a great base for a book. Because a human's personal experience in his own life can always turn into a great tale. This and the time and the events in the book, we got it all packed for a majestic story. From this point, it all depends on how this story is told, and wether it will be able to capture the readers. But on many places while reading, White Thirst failed to do this.
I'd say that it was due mostly to the fact that the book was rather... unbalanced, for a lack of better word. We readers were given detailed information of repetitive daily routines or clothing, while dramatic moments like murders and clashes were mentioned and solved briefly. We see a breath-taking Italian scenery that would be well placed... if this book was travel notes. During the last chapters we are repeatedly told how amazing, emotional and etc is the play, but we never really get what it is actually about. All of this confused me as a reader as I couldn't pick up the important parts which at some times lead almost to boredom. And given the story, I shouldn't have been bored of it!
So I'd say some well placed accents will do really good to the book. The easiest way to do it would be to work on the chapters. As it was now, I saw no real thought in dividing the story. The first chapters are really short, about 5 pages, then they grow rapidly to 30+ pages. Those long chapters contain few separate episodes in, but center around none. For example, one of the first longer chapters, chapter six, just calls to be divided at least in two. The first part centering around their last moments of travel before crossing the border, and possibly stopping at "Bastian is sick, but has it over control. "Stay cool" " <- now such an ending of a chapter would def make me want to read further! And the other half about their time in Italy, when the accent of the chapter falls on the betrayal they felt talking to their freinds on the phone,the trouble and the scenes in the church.
These are all strong and emotional moments, but they kind of get lost. By simply working on chapters and placing strategic accents, the attention of the reader will be caught and the whole experience will be easier to appreciate. Of course, if there is a fuller explanation of some events (and not so much on others), it will be great, but even so little will make a difference.
I also didn't enjoy the fact that the story was told from rather omnispective point of view. Combining this with the use of present tense, plus the mentioning of some distant future several times, AND the fact we never really get to know much about the past of the guys, it all made me feel less and worry less for the characters, because I know that they will have a future.
As for the characters. From the first chapters it gets clear that it is not the story of two men. It's the story of Michael and his friend. Michael was def the lead - I liked him - while Bast was more of a supportive figure to the main character, same goes for all the other figures that appear. I couldn't grow fond to them, with the exception of Jee-Jee (I loved him!) and maybe, Stephanie towards the end of the book. The scenes where I felt most emgaged in the book were actually those with Michael and Stephanie, especially the ones toward the end of the book. Those moments were with no doubt the strongest and most emotionally charged

Aslo worth mentioning are the dialogs. I quite enjoyed them. They built some tension where it was needed, and in other places were a good source of comic relief. Sentence structure was also really good, the book was a fast read even despite all mentioned above. The author was really strong in describing - those parts were very good, even if they distarcted me from other events. I would just liked them to be more balanced.
I enjoyed very much the ending. At some points I felt as if some characters where almost abandoned, so seeing them all gather after many years was a great way to finish the story.

As some other people mentioned, there are some typos all around the book, along with tense issues `(mostly with perfect tenses and future tenses) and some weird naming and phrases all along. I saw most of them covered, so I will just add that I would feel slighlty uncomfortable if my man kept up calling me "mon cher" (instead of the "ma chérie", the correct form when addressing a woman). And my guess is that Michael wants to hurry his friends and not insult them being just so ordinary, so he better use "Come on!" instead of "common".
However, these are things that can be fixed easily with some thorough proof-reading and redaction, they are minor mistakes in my opinion.

With all this said, I still have a hard time rating the book. I liked the story, I really did. But there where all those things mentioned that more or less made my experience with it less enjoyable. For now I rate it with three stars, but with just a bit more work on impact and engaging the reader, it can be easily rounded to four stars. Because it is a heart-felt and lived personal story, and not of a some grand name, but just a human, who had to cope and survive with everything life threw at him. And more such stories should be told

Challenges:
Gentle Spectrums -  Hosted by Riedel Fascination - my progress  
 100+books - Hosted by Freda's Voice - my progress
 Quick fix - Hosted by Jessie's book place - my progress (263 pages)
European Reading Challenge - Hosted by Rose City Reader - my progress (They cross different countries but more than half of the book is placed in Italy)
 New Authors - Hosted by Literary Escapism - my progress
 Outdo yourself - Hosted by The Book Vixen - my progress
 Ebooks - Hosted by Workaday Reads - my progress
 Free reads - Hosted by Bookish Ardour - my progress
 What countries have I visited - Hosted by: Christian novels - my progress (Italy)
Alphabet Soup challenge - Hosted by Escape with Dollycas - my progress

петък, 7 февруари 2014 г.

Goodreads Monopoly Challenge

Goodreads Monopoly Reading Challenge

This challenge is just as awesome as it gets. It's hosted  on goodreads @ Crazy Challenge Connection. I played in lots of blog and even forum challenges, but this will be my first GR challenge :)


Here's what you do:
MONOPOLY
NO DEADLINE, TAKE AS LONG AS YOU NEED TO FINISH, OR PLAY AS LONG AS YOU’D LIKE TO PLAY 

Start on Go. Go to www.random.org/dice, and roll one six-sided die. Move forward that number of spaces, and read a book that fulfills one of the options for that space. When you’ve finished the book, roll the die again and continue around the board until you finish the game. You cannot roll the die for your next move until you've completed reading for the space you're on.Be sure to count your spaces correctly! If you have to go backwards and land on a space you’ve already landed on, you must choose a different option than you did the first time around. When you go all the way around the board once, you can stop or you can go again for another round – or two or three : ) If you go around more than once, you may choose the same option you did in previous round(s), but of course, you’ll have to use a different book. 

Every time you take a new “turn,” please post an update and a new message. Let us know what your die rolls are and what space you land on, then later come back and provide a link to the book you read for that space, how it fits the task, and the date you completed reading. If you used the book cover option, please provide a link to the book cover. 

Example: 
First turn: Rolled a 3, moved to Baltic Avenue. 
Later, edited to add: Body Movers, by Stephanie Bond; title starts with B; finished 3/15

Next turn: Rolled a 4, landed on Chance #1. 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
To sign up for this challenge, unlike our other challenges, all you have to do is post here and say “I want to play!” I’ll create a link for you to keep track of your progress around the board, but you do NOT need to repost all of the tasks. You may start the game as soon as you sign up for the challenge. 

Any book format counts, as long as the book is at least 150 pages long. For e-books and audiobooks, check the number of pages Goodreads lists for the hardback copy of the book. Rereads are acceptable as long as you read the whole book and not simply skim it, and cross-challenge posting is encouraged. Ready … set … GO!
And here are the tasks for each game board space:

GO - Everyone starts here.

MEDITERRANEAN AVENUE: Read a book with a mostly purple cover OR a book whose title starts with M OR a book set in the Mediterranean OR a book by an author whose first and last initials can be found in “MEDITERRANEAN”

COMMMUNITY CHEST #1: Read a book by one of your favorite authors.

BALTIC AVENUE: Read a book with a mostly purple cover OR a book whose title starts with BOR a book set in/near water (Baltic Sea) OR a book by an author whose first and last initials can be found in “BALTICAVENUE”

INCOME TAX: Go to your Goodreads TBR list; read one of the first 10 books listed.

READING RAILROAD: Read a book with a train on the cover or in the story or with an X in the title or author’s name OR a book by an author whose first and last names begin with the same letter, for example Michael Morpurgo or Cleo Coyle

ORIENTAL AVENUE: Read a book with a mostly white cover OR a book whose title starts with OOR a book set in the Orient OR a book by an author whose first or last initial can be found in “ORIENTAL”

CHANCE #1: Read a book recommended by a friend/family member/co-worker.

VERMONT AVENUE: Read a book with a mostly white cover OR a book whose title starts with VOR a book set in one of the New England states (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont) OR a book by an author whose first and last initials can be found in “VERMONTAVENUE”

CONNECTICUT AVENUE: Read a book with a mostly white cover OR a book whose title starts with C OR a book whose title (no sub-titles) includes at least one set of double letters, in consecutive order OR a book by an author whose first and last initials can be found in “CONNECTICUT”

VISITING JAIL: Roll the die again, move forward and do the task for that property.

ST. CHARLES PLACE: Read a book with a mostly black cover OR a book whose title starts with SOR a book in which a character is a member of royalty OR a book by an author whose first and last initials can be found in “CHARLESPLACE”

ELECTRIC COMPANY: Read a book with a daytime scene on the cover OR a book set at least 50 years in the future OR a “light and fluffy” book.

STATES AVENUE: Read a book with a mostly black cover OR a book whose title starts with S ORa book set in the state in which you currently live (for our international friends, a book set in the country in which you live) OR a book by an author whose first or last initial can be found in “STATES”

VIRGINIA AVENUE: Read a book with a mostly black cover OR a book whose title starts with VOR a book set in one of the South Atlantic states (Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware) OR a book by an author whose first and last initials can be found in “VIRGINIAAVENUE”

PENNSYLVANIA RAILROAD: Read a book with at least two generations of the same family OR a book set in a place you’d like to visit OR a book in which a character’s career is essential to the story.

ST. JAMES PLACE: Read a book with a mostly orange cover OR a book whose title starts with J or P OR a book set in Europe OR a book by an author whose first or last initial can be found in “STJAMES”

COMMUNITY CHEST #2: Read a book in your favorite genre.

TENNESSEE AVENUE: Read a book with a mostly orange cover OR a book whose title starts with T OR a book with a character in the music industry OR a book by an author whose name includes two sets of repeated letters (do NOT have to be consecutive – example: Livia Washburn has two Is and two As)

NEW YORK AVENUE: Read a book with a mostly orange cover OR a book whose title starts with N or Y OR a book set in a large city OR a book by an author whose first and last initials can be found in “NEWYORKAVENUE”

FREE PARKING: Read any book of your choice.

KENTUCKY AVENUE: Read a book with a mostly red cover OR a book whose title starts with K or A OR a book in which horses can be found OR a book by an author whose first or last initial can be found in “KENTUCKY”

CHANCE #2: Read a book by one of your favorite authors (NOT the same author as the previous Chance space, if you’re lucky enough to have landed on that earlier in the game)

INDIANA AVENUE: Read a book with a mostly red cover OR a book whose title starts with I ORa book in which a character is a farmer, gardener or gardens as a hobby OR a book by an author whose first and last initials can be found in “INDIANAAVENUE”

ILLINOIS AVENUE: Read a book with a mostly red cover OR a book whose title starts with A ORa book about a US president or other world leader (fiction or non-fiction) OR a book by an author whose name includes at least one set of consecutive double letters (examples: Steve BeRRy, DeBBie Macomber, Orson ScoTT Card)

B&O RAILROAD: Read a book set at least 50 years in the past OR a book by an author whose first or last name begins with B or O OR a book set in Maryland, Ohio, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Indiana or Illinois (states the B&O went through).

ATLANTIC AVENUE: Read a book with a mostly yellow cover OR a book whose title has at least two words that begin with the same letter (Example: Buried in Buttercream) OR a book set on an island in the Atlantic Ocean (see below) OR a book by an author whose first or last initial can be found in “ATLANTIC”
Use this list for the island option: Islands in the Atlantic Ocean

VENTNOR AVENUE: Read a book with a mostly yellow cover OR a book whose title starts with V or A OR a book in which a character behaves in a “yellow” (cowardly) fashion OR a book by an author whose first and last initials can be found in “VENTNORAVENUE”

WATER WORKS: Read a book which takes place on/near the water OR a book with a happy ending

MARVIN GARDENS: Read a book with a mostly yellow cover OR a book whose title starts with M or G OR a book with a garden or plant/s on the cover OR a book by an author whose first or last initial can be found in “GARDENS”

GO TO JAIL: Roll the die again; move backwards that many spaces, and complete the task for that space.

PACIFIC AVENUE: Read a book with a mostly green cover OR a book whose title starts with a POR a book which takes place on an island in the Pacific Ocean (see link below) OR a book by an author whose first or last initial can be found in “PACIFIC”
Use this list for the island option: Islands in the Pacific Ocean

NORTH CAROLINA AVENUE: Read a book with a mostly green cover OR a book whose title starts with an N or C OR a book in which grilling or food plays an important role OR a book by an author whose first and last initials can be found in “NORTHCAROLINA”

COMMUNITY CHEST #3: Read any book from the CCC Bookshelf (found at the bottom of the group’s main page).

PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE: Read a book with a mostly green cover OR a book whose title starts with a P or A OR a book which involves a trip of some kind OR a book by an author whose first orlast initial can be found in “PENNSYLVANIA”

SHORT LINE RAILROAD: Read the shortest book on your TBR list (or the shortest you can obtain) OR a book with the word “SHORT” or “LINE” in the title OR a book with a line on the cover (just a plain, straight line).

CHANCE #3: Read a book with a Goodreads rating higher than 3.0.

PARK PLACE: Read a book with a mostly blue cover OR a book whose title starts with P, A, R or KOR a book in which at least one character is wealthy OR a book by an author whose first or last initial can be found in “PLACE”

LUXURY TAX: Go to your Goodreads TBR list and read one of the first 75 books listed.

BOARDWALK: Read a book with a mostly blue cover OR a book whose title starts with B or W ORa book in which most of the plot happens on/near a beach or vacation spot OR a book by an author whose first and last initials can be found in “BOARDWALK”
 
 
~~~~
And here are my rolls:
Turn 1: 2 - Community Chest 1