Saturday, December 19, 2009

Brida - Paulo Coelho

It took me all of two days to read this wonderful little book. Written in much the same style as Coelho's famous work, The Alchemist, Brida is a story of love and of discovery. As with all his novels, Coelho wraps this underlying message up in prose and magic.

Brida is the story of a young Irish girl who is searching. Searching for love, for acceptance, searching for answers to her questions on spirituality, searching for magic, and searching for her ever elusive Soul-Mate. Coelho introduces us again, to only a few key characters - Brida, the Magus, Wicca and Lorens. When Brida encounters the Magus of the forest, he accepts her as a student of the Tradition of the Sun, and teaches her how to overcome her fears. However, not immediately satisfied that this is the magic she needs, Brida approaches Wicca who, in turn, teaches her the Tradition of the Moon, and how to dance to the hidden music of the world. With the magical combination of these discoveries, Brida visits parallel worlds and learns more about herself and her faith than she had ever imagined was possible.

I loved this story. I loved the way it was written, and I loved the characters. I felt as though I knew Brida personally by the end of it. I saw myself in her, and her fantastical world resonated with mine. While unbelievable to the majority, Brida's experiences are what I long for.

This novel has an interesting mix of Christianity and Pagan mysteries, all blended in a very Coelho way. It requires an open mind. One that can read between the lines, and look past the poetry to understand the message. Because there is one in there. A beautiful and important one.

"We are responsible for everything that happens in this world. We are warriors of light, and with the strength of our love and of our will we can change our destiny and that of many other people."

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Room for a Little One - Martin Waddell & Jason Cockroft

I thought it apt to add my favourite children's book in here today. It's called Room for a Little One, and is one of the most beautiful interpretation's of the Christmas story, that I have ever seen.

It is told from the perspective of the animals who sheltered in the Bethlehem stable on that cold winter's night many moons ago. It is simple, yet descriptive, and captures the magic completely. The first time I read it, my voice cracked as I read the last few pages. It touched my soul.

Story aside though, it is the illustrations that will capture your child's imagination. They look as though they might be watercolours, or maybe even air-brushed, but my untrained eye might be wrong. Suffice to say, they are gorgeous and my children adore them spending time just gazing.

This is a book that will be treasured and enjoyed by my family for years to come, and now that my daughter is old enough to sit quietly and enjoy being read to properly, I can't wait to share it with her.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Bride Stripped Bare - Anonymous

This was one of those books that attracted me by something other than the content. I was struck by the fact that the author was anonymous. Why? What could they be writing about that they wouldn't want to put their name too?

This is definitely not a book for those looking for a soppy romance! It is written in almost diary style, with each chapter headed with a lesson. The story of our anonymous woman begins on her honeymoon in Morocco. As her life changes and she discovers more about who she is, her circumstances take quite a perilous turn. No longer the faithful wife, she delves deep into her darker side and begins to experiment with infidelity and lust. She takes risks that many might never consider and her double life begins.

This erotic tale left me bewildered. I enjoyed the thrill of her adventures. They put me in places that were uncomfortable, but they also left me secretly delighted. The character is confused but certain, frightened but brave, in love but alone. She made me want to help her, and in a certain shocking way, made me want to be more like her.

A true dichotomy, the book's ending is both predictable but unexpected, and left me wanting to know more about this intriguing character. The opening page of the story has a quote from an Alfred Hitchcock story, and it epitomises her journey -

"I have a feeling that inside you somewhere, there's somebody nobody knows about."

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Expected One - Kathleen McGowan

As some of you may know, I have quite a fascination with Mary Magdalene, and for reasons far too complex to explain here. Because of this, I am always on the look out for books, fact or fiction, about this wonderfully interesting and powerful woman. On one of my routine internet surfing sessions, I came across quite a bit of controversy surrounding the author Kathleen McGowan and her claim that she is a descendant of the Magdalene. The detective in me was determined to find out more. After looking at her website I was even more intrigued, so I searched for a second hand copy (yay, for ebay!) of her first book, The Expected One.

This is a fiction novel full of fact, and closely echoes the likes of The Da Vinci Code and other similar books. I really enjoyed it. Mostly because it kept me on the edge of my mattress (I read in bed...), but also because it was a history lesson and covered aspects of the Magdalene that I had yet to discover.

Maureen Pascal is a journalist who is on the verge of beginning a new book. Unbeknownst to her, she is about to embark on a journey that could change the course of history and most definitely the rest of her life. When she starts to make sense of the visions she is having of a weeping red headed woman, she begins to unravel secrets that were hidden from the world two thousand years ago - the hidden gospels of Mary Magdalene. She becomes incredibly immersed in the secret cultures and dynastic families of the Southwest of France - the Cathars, the Medici and the Borgia - and begins to link their stories with those of Jesus and Mary Magdalene, and ultimately herself.

The story exposes the reader to the fictional character of the slightly neurotic Maureen (loosely based on the author's own persona), but also takes us back two thousand years and attempts to place us in the mind of Mary Magdalene. In Mary's shoes we experience the crucifixion of her beloved, his resurrection and her alleged escape to France. Both the modern and historical stories were well written, and in a style that was convincing for both characters. In between these two fascinating characters, is the somewhat controversial story of Mary Magdalene, her Easa (Jesus Christ) and what became of her after his demise.

Whether one believes or not, this book is definitely a good read. It will satisfy history buffs, crime fans and romance lovers, and at the same time allow the reader that wonderful escape we all crave.

An introduction

I've found some amazing blogs in my short blogging history. It's so addictive! There are some incredibly talented people out there whose blogs are not only beautiful to look at, but wonderful to read too. I'm an avid reader and blogs have been a great way to sate that appetite, but books are still my first love. There is nothing like diving into another person's world and escaping my own existence, if only for a little while. Because I read so much, I decided to start a book review blog so that I can share my discoveries with you all, and hopefully ignite in you the same passion for reading that I have. I have already read so many books this year that it would be impossible for me to add them all - I just don't have that kind of time! So I will pick a few of my favourites and gradually update the blog, but once that is done, I will just add each book as I finish reading.

So here it is - A Garden in my Pocket! Enjoy...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho

Ok, so I'm slow on the uptake. I know this book has been around for years, but I've only just discovered it, and it's incredible author. Maybe there's a reason for that? It did seem to pop up just when I needed it. Synchronicity? Of course. What a little gem it turned out to be too!

This is the story of Santiago, a young shepherd boy who is on a journey from Spain to Egypt to find his personal treasure. Along the way, Santiago meets many wise people, the old king, the crystal seller, the charismatic thief, a beautiful woman and of course, the Alchemist. All of these characters play a part in helping Santiago achieve his dream. Or so he believes. His journey is one of learning through experience and acceptance, and that was the joy of the story for me - the blossoming of wisdom in a young and impressionable soul. Each mystical, and somewhat fanciful character, could well be someone in our own lives. Someone who unwittingly is helping us on our own journey of discovery, whether we realise it or not.

This beautifully simple story is full of symbolic characters and secrets, wonderful imagery and poetic words, and is ultimately a story of optimism. It's a fairytale for grown-ups, and should be read by everyone who is searching for that elusive 'pot of gold'. It's a story for the heart, and mine accepted it totally.

In the words of the author, "when you really want something to happen, the whole universe conspires so that your wish comes true"....