terça-feira, 23 de outubro de 2012

Papillon - Henri Charriere

This book just entered into my "TOP 10 Favorites!" list. 
The book is based on the true story of the French convict Henri Charriere who was accused of manslaughter (though he says otherwise) and given a life sentence of hard labor in the French Guiana.
His story begins by him being unjustly accused (as he claims to be innocent) and from there on his voyage to the God-forbidden island where he is destined to spend the rest of his life as a prisoner. But if there is one thing that he cant take his mind off is the idea of escaping and freedom. 
And so begins Papillon's (Henri's nickname...Papillon means butterfly in French and he was given that nickname due to a butterfly tattoo he had on his chest) many adventures, escapes, years of sadness in solitary confinement, hard life as a convict which all culminate in his fight for freedom. 
One thing which greatly impressed me was his will to live and how much he life meant to him. He did all in his power to maintain his sanity, health and resources for when the time was come that he could escape and live as a free man once again - and in spite of it all he was successful!!! 
It is a very thrilling and blood-thumping story with great descriptions of the landscapes, characters, cultures, rules and life in the island. It is like having a big peak at how things really were done and administrated, how prisoners were treated and the way the French would deal with their criminals by sending them to this island.
At the end of the book it is very touching and beautiful - you feel so happy for Papillion finally succeeding in his quest for freedom and a chance to renew himself and restart his life on a clean slate. And it once again goes to show the power of forgiveness and how such a little decision to let go of the hate that is inside you can be exactly what you need to start life anew.
All in all after reading this book in less than a week the only thing I could think about was having his next book in my hands - and so that is just what I did: ran to the bookstore and bought his second book!!! YES!

Wikipedia on "Papillion":

Papillon [papijɔ̃] is a memoir by convicted felon and fugitive Henri Charrière, first published in France in 1969, describing his escape from a penal colony in French Guiana. It became an instant bestseller. It was translated into English from the original French by June P. Wilson and Walter B. Michaels for a 1970 edition, and by author Patrick O'Brian. Soon afterward the book was adapted for a Hollywood film of the same name.
Charrière stated that all events in the book are truthful and accurate, allowing for minor lapses in memory. Since its publication there has been controversy over its accuracy. Some consider that it is not actually true, and that not all the events and jails which he describes correspond to the time frame of the events in the book. In the view of some, it is best regarded as a narrative novel, depicting the adventures of several of Charrière's fellow inmates, among them Charles Brunier.[1][2]
Charrière supposedly had a reputation as a great fantasizer and storyteller. Thus, Papillon can be said to be more about a fictional character than the author himself. Charrière himself always maintained that his account was accurate and true, and that the story was dictated by him to a professional writer who put it in writing. However, in an interview before he died, the publisher, Robert Laffont, admitted that the book was originally submitted to him as a novel. Laffont specialised in real-life adventures, and persuaded Charrière to release it as if it were an autobiography. The book's title was based on Charrière's nickname, derived from a butterfly tattoo on his chest, papillon being the French word for 'butterfly'.
Charrière followed the book with a sequel (Banco) in 1973.


The book is an account of a 14-year period in Papillon's life (October 26, 1931 to October 18, 1945) starting from when he was wrongly convicted of murder in France and sentenced to a life of hard labor at the Devil's Island penal colony. He escaped from Devil's Island, to ultimately settle inVenezuela, where he lived and prospered, free from French justice.
Papillon endured a brief stay at a prison in Caen. As soon as he boarded a vessel bound for South America, he learned about the brutal life that prisoners had to endure at the prison colony. Murders were not uncommon among convicts, and men were cut with makeshift knives for their charger(a hollow metal cylinder containing money, lodged in the rectum; it has also been called a plan). Papillon befriended a former banker convicted ofcounterfeiting named Louis Dega. He agreed to protect Dega from those seeking to murder him for his charger.
Upon arriving at the penal colony, Papillon claimed to be ill and was sent to the infirmary. There he collaborated with two men named Clousiot andAndré Maturette to escape from the prison using a sailboat which they acquired with the assistance of the penal settlement's leper colony at Pigeon Island. They let the current of the Maroni River take them to the Atlantic Ocean, where they began to sail to the northwest.
In Trinidad the trio were joined by three other escapees and were helped on their journey by a British family, the Dutch bishop of Curaçao and several others. Nearing the Colombian coastline, the escapees were sighted; they were unable to escape for lack of wind and were captured and imprisoned.
In Colombian prison, Papillon joined with another prisoner to escape. Some distance from the prison, the two went their separate ways. Papillon entered the Guajira peninsula, a region dominated by Native Americans. He was assimilated into a coastal village whose specialty was pearl diving, married two teenage sisters and made them pregnant. After spending several months in relative paradise, Papillon became motivated to seek vengeance against those who had wronged him.
Soon after leaving the village, Papillon was imprisoned at Santa Marta, then transferred to Barranquilla. There, he was reunited with Clousiot and Maturette. Papillon made numerous escape attempts from this prison, all of which failed. He was eventually extradited back to French Guiana.
As punishment, Papillon was sentenced to two years of solitary confinement on Île Saint-Joseph (an island in the Îles du Salut group, 11 kilometers from the French Guiana coast). Clousiot and Maturette were given the same sentence. Upon his release, Papillon was transferred to Royal Island (also an island in the Îles du Salut group). An escape attempt there was foiled by an informant (whom Papillon stabbed to death) and Papillon was again sent to solitary confinement, this time for nineteen months. The original sentence of eight years was reduced after Papillon risked his life to save the life of a girl caught in shark-infested waters.
After French Guiana officials decided to support the pro-Nazi Vichy Regime, the penalty for any escape attempt became capital punishment. Realizing this, Papillon decided to feign insanity and be sent to the insane asylum on Royal Island. His reasoning was that insane prisoners could not be sentenced to death for any reason and the asylum was not as heavily guarded. He collaborated with another prisoner on an escape attempt but this attempt failed: while they were attempting to sail away, their boat was dashed against the rocks and destroyed, the other prisonerdrowning and Papillon himself nearly dashed against the rocks.
Papillon returned to the regular prisoner population on Royal Island after being "cured" of his mental illness. He requested that he be transferred to Devil's Island, the smallest and most "inescapable" island in the Îles de Salut group. Studying the waters around the island, Papillon discovered a rocky inlet surrounded by a high cliff. He noticed that every seventh wave was large enough to carry a floating object far enough out into the sea that it would drift towards the mainland. He experimented by throwing sacks of coconuts into the inlet.
He found another prisoner to accompany him on this escape attempt, a pirate named Sylvain who had previously sailed along southeast Asia, and who was infamous for raiding ships in the Far East, killing everyone aboard. They threw themselves into the inlet using sacks of coconuts for flotation. The seventh wave duly carried them out into the ocean. After days of drifting under the relentless sun, surviving only on coconut pulp, they made landfall at the mainland, but Sylvain abandoned his coconut sack prematurely and was devoured by quicksand.
Papillon navigated the mainland to find a Chinese man named Cuic Cuic, the brother of Chang. Cuic Cuic protected himself by making a hut on an "island" of solid ground surrounded by quicksand, using a pig that was adept at finding a navigable route over the quicksand. The men and the pig made their way to Georgetown, British Guiana, by boat. Though he could have lived there as a free man, Papillon decided to continue to the northwest in the company of five other escapees. Reaching Venezuela, the men were captured and imprisoned at mobile detention camps in the vicinity of El Dorado, a small mining town near the Gran Sabana region. Surviving horrible conditions there, and even finding diamonds, Papillon was eventually released, obtaining Venezuelan citizenship and celebrity status a few years later.

quinta-feira, 11 de outubro de 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey - E.L. James

The book is as good as they say it to be. 
Is it pornographic? yes it is. But it is in not a distasteful, crude or vulgar way. Like my adoptive mother said "it's girly porn" haahhaha
The story all starts out when Anastasia Steele interviews Mr. Grey for her college newsletter. And from there on the story goes unraveling inch by inch and we are left hanging to the very last thread.
Since it is a three book sequel and I have only read the first book I know there is still a LOT to come in the way of BDSM as the first book it is just touched on only but lightly, so there goes more learning on my part on all these deep dark sex secrets! 
I guess what gripped me in this book is that there is more to it than just being an erotic novel. There is a whole plot, story and feelings that go along with the story and this is what made me want to read the second and third book as well. A lot of erotic novels are very repetitive, just going through the same sex moves and positions over and over again to the point that it gets boring and unexciting. The difference in "Fifty Shades of Grey" though is that not only is there a new twist to the sex (the BDSM fact) but also that you get to know the whole story going on in all sides of these very interesting characters.
So I now to "Fifty Shades Darker" and soon after "Fifty Shades Free" - yippeeeeeee!!!

Wikepedia on "Fifty Shades of Grey":

Fifty Shades of Grey is a 2011 erotic novel by British author E. L. James. Set largely in Seattle, it is the first instalment in a trilogy that traces the deepening relationship between a college graduate, Anastasia Steele, and a young business magnate, Christian Grey. It is notable for its explicitly erotic scenes featuring elements of sexual practices involving bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, and sadism/masochism (BDSM).
The second and third volumes are titled Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, respectively. Fifty Shades of Grey has topped best-seller lists around the world, including the United Kingdom and the United States.[1][2] The series has sold 40 million copies worldwide,[3] with book rights having been sold in 37 countries,[4] and set the record as the fastest-selling paperback of all time, surpassing the Harry Potter series.[5] Critical reception of the novel has been mixed.


Fifty Shades of Grey follows Anastasia "Ana" Steele, a 22-year-old college senior who lives with her best friend Katherine Kavanagh; Katherine writes for their college's student paper. Because of illness, Katherine persuades Ana to take her place and interview 27-year-old Christian Grey, an incredibly successful and wealthy young entrepreneur. Ana is instantly attracted to Grey, but also finds him intimidating. As a result she stumbles through the interview and leaves Grey's office believing that it went badly. Ana tries to console herself with the thought that the two of them will probably not meet each other again. However she is surprised when Grey appears at the hardware store where she works. While he purchases various items including cable ties and rope, Ana informs Grey that Katherine wants photographs to go along with her article about him. Grey leaves Ana with his phone number. Katherine urges Ana to call Grey and arrange a photo shoot with their photographer friend Jose Rodriquez.
The next day Jose, Katherine, and Ana arrive at the hotel Grey is staying at, where the photo shoot takes place and Grey asks Ana out for coffee. The two talk over coffee and Grey asks Ana if she's dating anyone, specifically Jose. When Ana replies that she isn't dating anyone, Grey begins to ask her about her family. During the conversation Ana learns that Grey is also single, but is not "a hearts and flowers kind of guy". This intrigues Ana, especially after he pulls her out of the path of an oncoming cyclist. However, Ana believes that she is not attractive enough for Grey, much to the chagrin of her friend Katherine.
After finishing her exams Ana receives a package from Grey containing first edition copies of Tess of the d'Urbervilles, which stuns her. Later that night Ana goes out drinking with her friends and ends up drunk dialing Grey, who informs her that he will be coming to pick her up because of her inebriated state. Ana goes outside to get some fresh air, and Jose attempts to kiss her but is stopped by Grey's arrival. Ana later leaves with Grey, but not before she discovers that her friend Katherine has been flirting with Grey's brother Elliott. Later Ana wakes to find herself in Grey's hotel room, where he scolds her for not taking proper care of herself. Grey then reveals that he would like to have sex with her. He initially says that Ana will first have to fill out paperwork, but later goes back on this statement after making out with her in the elevator.
Ana later goes on a date with Grey where he takes her in his helicopter to his apartment. Once there, Grey insists that she sign a non-disclosure agreement forbidding her to discuss anything that they do together, which Ana agrees to sign. He also mentions other paperwork, but first takes her to a room full of BDSM toys and gear. There Grey informs her that the second contract will be one of dominance and submission and that there will be no romantic relationship, only a sexual one. The contract even forbids Ana from touching Grey or making eye contact with him. At this point, Grey realizes that Ana is a virgin and agrees to take her virginity without making her sign the contract. The two then have sex.
The following morning Ana and Grey once again have sex, and his mother, who arrives moments after their sexual encounter, is surprised by the meeting, having previously thought Grey was homosexual because she had never seen him with a woman. Grey later takes Ana out to eat, and he reveals to her that he lost his virginity at fifteen to one of his mother's friends and that his previous dominant/submissive relationships failed due to incompatibility. They plan to meet up again and Grey takes Ana home, where she discovers several job offers and admits to Katherine that she and Grey have had sex.
Over the next few days Ana receives several packages from Grey. These include a laptop to enable the two of them to communicate, since she has never previously owned a computer, and a more detailed version of the dominant/submissive contract. She and Grey email each other, with Ana teasing him and refusing to honor parts of the contract, such as only eating foods from a specific list. Ana later meets up with Grey to discuss the contract, only to grow overwhelmed by the potential BDSM arrangement and the potential of having a sexual relationship with Grey that is not romantic in nature. Because of these feelings Ana runs away from Grey and does not see him again until her college graduation, where he is a guest speaker. During this time, Ana agrees to sign the dominant/submissive contract.
Ana and Grey once again meet up together to further discuss the contract, and they go over Ana's hard and soft limits. Ana is spanked for the first time by Grey; the experience leaves her both enticed and slightly confused. This confusion is exacerbated by Grey's lavish gifts, and the fact that he brings her to meet his family. The two continue with the arrangement without Ana having yet signed the contract. After successfully landing a job with Seattle Independent Publishing, Ana further bristles under the restrictions of the non-disclosure agreement and the complex relationship with Grey.
The tension between Ana and Grey eventually comes to a head after Ana asks Grey to punish her in order to show her how extreme a BDSM relationship with him could be. Grey fulfills Ana's request, beating her with a belt, only for Ana to realize that the two of them are incompatible. Devastated, Ana leaves Grey and returns to the apartment she shares with Katherine.


The Fifty Shades trilogy was developed from a Twilight fan fiction originally titled Master of the Universe and published episodically on fan-fiction websites under the pen name "Snowqueen's Icedragon". The piece featured characters named after Stephenie Meyer's characters in TwilightEdward Cullen and Bella Swan. After comments concerning the sexual nature of the material, James removed the story from the fan-fiction websites and published it on her own website, Later she rewrote Master of the Universe as an original piece, with the principal characters renamed Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele and removed it from her website prior to publication.[6] Meyer commented on the series, saying "that's really not my genre, not my thing ... Good on her—she's doing well. That's great!"[7]
This reworked and extended version of Master of the Universe was split into three parts. The first, titled Fifty Shades of Grey, was released as an e-book and a print-on-demand paperback in May 2011 by The Writers' Coffee Shop, a virtual publisher based in Australia. The second volume, Fifty Shades Darker, was released in September 2011; and, the third, Fifty Shades Freed, followed in January 2012. The Writers' Coffee Shop had a restricted marketing budget and relied largely on book blogs for early publicity, but sales of the novel were boosted by word-of-mouth recommendation.
The book's erotic nature and perceived demographic of its fanbase as being composed largely of married women over thirty led to the book being dubbed "Mommy Porn" by some news agencies.[8][9] The book has also been reportedly popular among teenage girls and college women.[9][10][11]
By the release of the final volume in January 2012, news networks in the United States had begun to report on the Fifty Shades trilogy as an example of viral marketing and of the rise in popularity of female erotica, attributing its success to the discreet nature of e-reading devices.[12][13] Due to the heightened interest in the series, the license to the Fifty Shades trilogy was picked up byVintage Books for re-release in a new and revised edition in April 2012.
On 1 August 2012, announced that it had sold more copies of Fifty Shades of Grey than it had the entire Harry Potter series combined, making E. L. James its best-selling author, replacing J. K. Rowling. However, Fifty Shades of Grey has sold over 40 million copies worldwide, while the entire Harry Potter series has sold more than 450 million copies worldwide, thus not having sold more copies than the entire Harry Potter series combined.[14] It was number one on USA Today's best-selling books list for twenty weeks in a row, breaking a previous record of 16 weeks set by In the Kitchen with Rosie: Oprah's Favorite Recipes by Rosie Daley and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.[citation needed]


Critical reception of Fifty Shades of Grey has been mixed to negative, with most reviews noting poor literary qualities of the work. Princeton professor April Alliston wrote, "Though no literary masterpiece, Fifty Shades is more than parasitic fan fiction based on the recent Twilight vampire series."[15] Entertainment Weekly gave the book a "B+" rating and praised it for being "in a class by itself."[16] Jenny Colgan of The Guardian wrote "It is jolly, eminently readable and as sweet and safe as BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism) erotica can be without contravening the trade descriptions act" and also praised the book for being "more enjoyable" than other "literary erotic books".[17] However, The Telegraph criticised the book as "treacly cliché" but also wrote that the sexual politics in Fifty Shades of Grey will have female readers "discussing it for years to come."[18] A reviewer for the Ledger-Enquirer described the book as guilty fun and escapism, but that it "also touches on one aspect of female existence [female submission]. And acknowledging that fact – maybe even appreciating it – shouldn't be a cause for guilt."[19] The New Zealand Herald stated that the book "will win no prizes for its prose" and that "there are some exceedingly awful descriptions," but that it was also an easy read and if you "can suspend your disbelief and your desire to – if you'll pardon the expression – slap the heroine for having so little self respect, you might enjoy it."[20]
The Columbus Dispatch also criticised the book but stated that, "Despite the clunky prose, James does cause one to turn the page."[21] Metro News Canada wrote that "suffering through 500 pages of this heroine's inner dialogue was torturous, and not in the intended, sexy kind of way".[22] Jessica Reaves, of the Chicago Tribune, wrote that the "book's source material isn't great literature", noting that the novel is "sprinkled liberally and repeatedly with asinine phrases", and described it as "depressing".[23] The book has also been criticised for the author's use of Britishidioms which, syntactically, clash with the would-be American voice of the protagonist, thus adding further strain to the dialogue.[24]


Origin as fan fiction

Fifty Shades of Grey has attracted criticism due to its origin as a fan fiction based on the Twilight novels, with some readers predicting copyright issues due to this connection.[25] Amanda Hayward of The Writer's Coffee Shop responded to these claims by stating that Fifty Shades of Grey "bore very little resemblance to Twilight" and that "Twilight and Fifty Shades trilogy are worlds apart".[25] In April 2012, E. L. James was listed as one of Time magazine's "100 Most Influential People in the World",[26] with Richard Lawson of The Atlantic Wire criticising her inclusion due to the trilogy's fan fiction beginnings.[27]

Depiction of BDSM

Fifty Shades of Grey has also attracted criticism due to its depictions of BDSM, with Katie Roiphe of Newsweek asking "But why, for women especially, would free will be a burden? ... It may be that power is not always that comfortable, even for those of us who grew up in it; it may be that equality is something we want only sometimes and in some places and in some arenas; it may be that power and all of its imperatives can be boring."[28] Andrea Reiher expressed frustration at Roiphe's depiction of the series, stating that "[b]eing submissive sexually is not tantamount to being the victim of abuse" or that they're "giving up their power or their equality with their partner".[29] Other sites such as Jezebel have responded to the article, with Jezebel listing reasons for Fifty Shades of Grey's popularity, stating that "the vast majority of fans fawn over the emotional relationship Anastasia and Christian have, not about the sex."[30] In an interview with Salon, several dominatrices have responded that while submission can be an escape from daily stresses, they also frequently have male clients and that trust is a big factor in dominant/submissive relationships. One interviewed former dominatrix and author, Melissa Febos, stated that even if the book's popularity was a result of women's "current anxieties about equality" that it "doesn't mean that it's 'evidence of unhappiness, or an invalidation of feminism,' ... it might actually be a sign of progress that millions of women are so hungrily pursuing sexual fantasies independent of men."[31]
Writing in The Huffington Post, critic Soraya Chemaly argued that interest in the series was not a trend, but squarely within the tradition and success of the romance category which is driven by tales of virgins, damaged men and submission/dominance themes. Instead, she wrote, the books are notable not for transgressive sex but for how women are using technology to subvert gendered shame by exploring explicit sexual content privately using e-readers. Instead of submission fantasies representing a post-feminist discomfort with power and free will, women's open consumption, sharing and discussion of sexual content is a feminist success.[32] At the beginning of the media hype, Dr. Drew debated sexologist Logan Levkoff on The Today Show,[33] about whether Fifty Shades perpetuated violence against women; Levkoff said that while that is an important subject, this trilogy had nothing to do with it – this was a book about a consensual relationship. Dr. Drew commented that the book was "horribly written" in addition to being "disturbing" but stated that "if the book enhances women's real-life sex lives and intimacy, so be it."[34]

Brevard County Public Library ban

In March 2012, public libraries in Brevard County, Florida, USA removed copies of Fifty Shades of Grey from its shelves, citing that it did not meet the selection criteria for the branch and that reviews for the book had been poor. A representative for the library stated that it was due to the book's sexual content and voiced that other libraries had declined to purchase copies for their branches.[35] Deborah Caldwell-Stone of the American Library Association commented that "If the only reason you don't select a book is that you disapprove of its content, but there is demand for it, there's a question of whether you're being fair. In a public library there is usually very little that would prevent a book from being on the shelf if there is a demand for the information."[35] Brevard County Public Libraries later made their copies available to their patrons due to public demand.[36]

terça-feira, 9 de outubro de 2012

The Best of Me - Nicholas Sparks

Somehow Nicholas Sparks has a way of making each of his books have an unpredictable and good ending. When reading the book I always believe I have the ending at the tip of my tongue: "who stays with who", "who dies", "who disappears", "who marries", "who is the good guy/bad guy" and yet once again in this book the author didn't fail to surprise me at the very last moment - and in my opinion that is what makes the book so good - the shock tactic.
Another thing is how the book flows so easily. It is not a hard read or something that you have to put all your focus or attention into. It is a book that is easy to read at a quick pace and that keeps me going; flipping one page after another and before I know it I have finished reading the book in only two days!
The story of this book starts actually quite simple. Two teenage lovers whom are prevented from continuing their love affair and move apart from one another. Many years later their mentor and mutual friend dies and they are brought back together and then the whole love and feelings rise up again...and well if you want to know the rest of the story then buy the book! heh :)

The Best of Me


“Everyone wanted to believe that endless love was possible. She’d believed in it once, too, back when she was eighteen.”
In the spring of 1984, high school students Amanda Collier and Dawson Cole fell deeply, irrevocably in love. Though they were from opposite sides of the tracks, their love for one another seemed to defy the realities of life in the small town of Oriental, North Carolina. But as the summer of their senior year came to a close, unforeseen events would tear the young couple apart, setting them on radically divergent paths.
Now, twenty-five years later, Amanda and Dawson are summoned back to Oriental for the funeral of Tuck Hostetler, the mentor who once gave shelter to their high school romance. Neither has lived the life they imagined . . . and neither can forget the passionate first love that forever changed their lives. As Amanda and Dawson carry out the instructions Tuck left behind for them, they realize that everything they thought they knew—about Tuck, about themselves, and about the dreams they held dear—was not as it seemed. Forced to confront painful memories, the two former lovers will discover undeniable truths about the choices they have made. And in the course of a single, searing weekend, they will ask of the living, and the dead: Can love truly rewrite the past?