Just Read

The Readers Of Broken Wheel Recommend – Katarina Bivald

Young Sara is a passionate lover of books. All the travelling she has done is through books – she has never been out of her hometown, Sweden, ever. She is not much of a talker, either, and doesn’t have any friends except her colleagues at the bookshop where she works. As her mother is fond of telling her, Sara lacks the ability to lead a ‘real’ life, out of her books. When her workplace shuts down, Sara sees it as the perfect opportunity to visit her book-lover penpal Amy in Broken Wheel, a small town in the middle of nowhere in the US of A. She wants to figure out her life and herself and, not to forget, meet Amy, a person who sounds rather interesting from her letters. That is how she sets out to a place she has never thought of visiting before, to meet a person whom she has never met before. How will Sara find Amy? What will she find in Broken Wheel, once she reaches there? All of this and more is covered in the pages of The Readers Of Broken Wheel Recommend; you’ll have to read it to find out. Saying any more would kill the suspense.

I requested the book on Netgalley because the plot sounded so very interesting. It definitely was an interesting read. The characters are well-etched, including Sara. Sara reminded me a lot of myself, in fact. The story is interspersed with the many letters that Amy and Sara exchanged, which makes for a lovely read – I love epistolary books because there is just something about letters that gets to me. Sara’s love for books and the way she and Amy bonded over books are simply lovely to read about. The narration is nice, and the book has its fair share of poignant moments. This book has been beautifully translated from the original, Swedish version. Many a times, in the course of my reading, I had to remind myself that this was a translation; it had none of the awkward language and the losing of nuances that is oh-so-common in translations. The small-town setting of the story is charming.

There was a lot that I liked about this book, and a few things that I didn’t. The characters are eccentric, making for an entertaining read, but sometimes, they felt too far removed from real life to be believable. The same was the case with the storyline too – parts of it seemed too far-fetched and unrealistic. That is the cynical part of me speaking, though, I’ll tell you. If you are ready to look at the book as a bookish fairytale, I think you will have a different experience reading it. The story seemed to be too slow-moving, too long-drawn-out in parts, even for me, and I say this as a person who normally enjoys slow-paced books.

All in all, I felt this book had everything to make it a highly delightful read, but it turned out to be only an above-average one for me. Some reviewers have stated that this book is a must-read for fans of 84 Charing Cross Road and The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society, but I didn’t find it as charming a read, I’m sorry to say. I definitely do not want to pooh-pooh the book either – it is far from horrible. It has many things going for it, but failed to be ‘the perfect’ read for me.

The Readers Of Broken Wheel Recommend is slated for release on June 18, 2015.

One Summer In Venice – Nicky Pellegrino

I have read Nicky Pellegrino’s books in the past and haven’t been very happy with them, but this sounded like something I would like. So, I was quick to request for it when the book appeared on Netgalley. I was approved, I read the book, and this time around, I was definitely not disappointed.

One Summer In Venice is the story of Addolorata Martinelli aka Dolly, owner and manager of a cosy eatery called Little Italy in London. When her restaurant is bashed by a hot-shot food critic in a newspaper, Dolly goes into introspection mode. She feels her life unravelling – her marriage isn’t going anywhere, her husband is frustrated with her, and her teenage daughter doesn’t even like talking to her. Now, the only thing that has always consoled her in turbulent times – food – seems to be lacking in its ability to provide her its usual warmth. Quite by chance, Dolly ends up going on a short trip to Venice, alone. The holiday seems like the perfect thing to examine her life and come up with a conclusion about what to do with it next. What will Dolly encounter in Venice? What conclusion will she come to, at the end of her trip? Will she even want to go back to her dreary life in London? You’ll have to read the book to find all of this out!

I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of reading this book and, I must say, I greatly liked the author’s writing style here. She has come a long, long way from the first book of hers that I read. The characters in the book are interesting, eccentric, a mix of good and bad, very realistic. I have to give full marks to the author for creating a beautiful backdrop for the story – one cannot help but fall in love with all that Venice is, during the course of one’s reading of this book. The descriptions of the food in the book are just glorious. The storyline is lovely, with just the right amount of twists and turns to keep one hooked till the very end. I have to say I didn’t agree with everything that Dolly did in the story, but I could see her rationale behind doing so, and I couldn’t argue with that. Also, the book is too long drawn out in certain parts. There is not much happening in these parts, in terms of the storyline, but they are still not boring. They still make for interesting reading, giving deeper insights into the various characters.

My only grouse with the book is that the ending seemed quite abrupt. After the long-drawn-out story, the ending seemed rushed. The ending doesn’t seem to be improper; it just seems to lack the depth and richness that the author has exhibited throughout the rest of the story. Had she gone a bit more into depth towards the end, I am sure the story would have been all the more richer for it.

All in all, this book was something I enjoyed reading and liked, but didn’t fall in love with by the end of it. That said, this is something I would definitely recommend. Go for it if you are looking for a light read, which is not too dumb.

One Summer In Venice is supposed to be the sequel to Nicky Pellegrino’s The Italian Wedding, which I haven’t read so far. This is quite easy to read and understand as a stand-alone book, and one doesn’t necessarily have to read The Italian Wedding before it. I am, however, waiting to get my hands on The Italian Wedding!

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4 thoughts on “Just Read

  1. Maybe I will try the second one. Am currently reading ‘The school of Essential Ingredients’ based on your recommendation and am loving it. Thanks for introducing me to this genre TGND !
    What titles would you suggest for travelogues if any? I ve been wanting to read one for quite a while.

    Like

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