Skip to main content

What's in a Name challenge review #5: Alexandria by Nick Bantock

 What's in a Name challenge category: The letter X in the title.

Author: Nick Bantock.
Full title: Alexandria: In Which the Extraordinary Correspondence of Griffin & Sabine Unfolds.
Genre: Fantasy.
Published:2002

Have you read this book? Why not leave a comment to tell me your thoughts about it?

This is going to be somewhat of an unusual review, as the book is the middle volume of a trilogy that tells a single story (and links to another trilogy), and I have not read the previous book. However, I enjoyed it anyway and it fits into the What's in a Name challenge category of a book with the letter X in the title.

The Griffin and Sabine trilogy garnered critical acclaim and praise for originality of presentation, as well as bestseller status when it first came out, and the author went on to write The Morning Star trilogy, which continued the story with new protagonists, followed by a final, 7th book that was published last year. I got my hands on the first trilogy and this book at a charity bookshop several years ago and while I enjoyed the Griffin and Sabine books for the artistic aspect, I found the story they told to be paper-thin and not very original. I decided to put this one aside for a while in the hope that I could get my hands on the first and third books in the trilogy, but I haven't come across them yet at a price I'm willing to pay for them, so I finally gave up and decided to read it.

It is just as colourful and beautiful to look at as the previous books, with illustrated postcards and letters you must pull out of envelopes and unfold in order to read, and like Griffin and Sabine, it tells a mystical story of lovers who correspond with each other. It also contains letters and postcards from Griffin and Sabine to Matthew and Isabella, the trilogy's protagonists, that guide and advice them what to do. I will pass no judgement on the story itself, as I came into the middle of it, but is appears to be a continuation of the mystical events of the Griffin and Sabine trilogy, overlaid with another love story. The artwork is delightful to look at and I will enjoy going over it a second time to unravel the symbolism in the images. Also, I think I will make an effort to acquire the remaining three books of the series, because I want to keep them, if only for the art.

And who knows: I might even reconsider my opinion of the storytelling once I have all the books and can read them as one story.

Links:




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Reading report for January 2014

Here it is, finally: the reading report for January. (February‘s report is in the works: I have it entered into Excel and I just need to transfer it into Word, edit the layout and write the preface. It will either take a couple of days or a couple of months).

I finished 26 books in January, although admittedly a number of them were novellas. As I mentioned in my previous post, I delved into a new(ish) type of genre: gay (or M/M) romance. I found everything from genuinely sweet romance to hardcore BDSM, in sub-genres like fantasy, suspense and mystery and even a quartet of entertaining (and unlikely) rock star romances. Other books I read in January include the highly enjoyable memoir of cooking doyenne Julia Child, two straight romances, and Jennifer Worth‘s trilogy of memoirs about her experiences as a midwife in a London slum in the 1950s. I also watched the first season of the TV series based on these books and may (I say 'may') write something about this when I have finis…

How to make a simple origami bookmark

Here are some instructions on how to make a simple origami (paper folding) bookmark:

Take a square of paper. It can be patterned origami paper, gift paper or even office paper, just as long as it’s easy to fold. The square should not be much bigger than 10 cm/4 inches across, unless you intend to use the mark for a big book. The images show what the paper should look like after you follow each step of the instructions. The two sides of the paper are shown in different colours to make things easier, and the edges and fold lines are shown as black lines.


Fold the paper in half diagonally (corner to corner), and then unfold. Repeat with the other two corners. This is to find the middle and to make the rest of the folding easier. If the paper is thick or stiff it can help to reverse the folds.



Fold three of the corners in so that they meet in the middle. You now have a piece of paper resembling an open envelope. For the next two steps, ignore the flap.



Fold the square diagonally in two. You…

Stiff – The curious lives of human cadavers

Originally published in November and December 2004, in 4 parts. Book 42 in my first 52 books challenge.

Author: Mary Roach
Year published: 2003
Pages: 303
Genre: Popular science, biology
Where got: amazon.co.uk

Mom, Dad, what happens after we die?

This is a classic question most parents dread having to answer. While this book doesn’t answer the philosophical/theological part of the question – what happens to the soul? - it does claim to contain answers to the biological part, namely: what happens to the body?



Reading progress for Stiff:
Stiff is proving to be an interesting read. Roach writes in a matter-of-fact journalistic style that makes the subject seem less grim than it really is, but she does on occasion become a bit too flippant about it, I guess in an attempt to distance herself. Although she uses humour to ease the grimness, the jokes – which, by the way, are never about the dead, only the living, especially Roach herself – often fall flat. Perhaps it’s just me, but this is a serio…