sexta-feira, 29 de março de 2013

The Wedding - Nicholas Sparks

This book is the story of a normal guy. That normal guy that forgets his wife's birthday anniversary, that works more than spends time with the family, that at times barely sees his children for days on end of so overloaded he is with work, the kind of father that wouldn't take longer than two or three days to go on a holiday because he can't be too far away from his clients and business. The husband that doesn't say "I love you" enough times, rarely buys his wife flowers and chocolate and tries to make up for these mistakes by bringing home some expensive present. 
Not a bad man, no - a hard working father and husband that supports his family - but not the most romantic or the "ideal husband" every woman dreams of having throughout her life. But in the end a good, normal man - the way most men are. 
And I am sure this is one of the main reasons I liked this book so much - because it describes a realistic family, something I could relate to while still bringing in the magic and romance to the story when this man tries to "make things right" and change to be a better father and husband.
It is a very beautiful story and the ending is very touching and turns the book in one you cannot forget easily. 

Book Review:

After thirty years of marriage, Wilson Lewis, son-in-law of Allie and Noah Calhoun (of The Notebook), is forced to admit that the romance has gone out of his marriage. Desperate to win back his wife, Jane’s, heart, he must figure out how to make her fall in love with him… again. Despite the shining example of Allie and Noah’s marriage, Wilson is himself a man unable to easily express his emotions. A successful estate attorney, he has provided well for his family, but now, with his daughter’s upcoming wedding, he is forced to face the fact that he and Jane have grown apart and he wonders if she even loves him anymore. Wilson is sure of one thing—his love for his wife has only deepened and intensified over the years. Now, with the memories of his in-laws’ magnificent fifty-year love affair as his guide, Wilson struggles to find his way back into the heart of the woman he adores.

domingo, 24 de março de 2013

A Walk to Remember - Nicholas Sparks

And here I go again...with my overdose of Nicholas Sparks books - hah!
Well to this book - no, to this story - I can go on all day saying how much I LOVE it!!! 
Actually, "A Walk to Remember" became my favorite movie for a long time; and until today it still is in my favorites list. I must have watched the movie at least five times and have cried like a baby each and every time I have watched it. 
Last night I started reading the book and before it turned 1:00 am I had turned the last page and was wiping my crocodile tears. One conclusion I have made about both the movie and the film: they are PERFECT!!! 
Nicholas Sparks reaches into your very core as he narrates the story, introduces the characters and unfolds the plot to you. At first you laugh, after you cringe, from then you grimace, crack up once again and before you know it the unending tears have started and don't stop until you are done with this heart touching book. 
Since I was a child I have always loved dramas more than those stories which everyone lives happily ever after and I am sure the fact of this story having a sad but lovely ending is what's made it become one of my favorites. 
I recommend this book to everyone - and if for some reason Nicholas Sparks books haven't yet made their way into your heart strings I promise you this one will. It's unbeatable in softening hearts and wetting cheeks.

Wikipedia on "A Walk to Remember":

A Walk to Remember is a novel by American writer Nicholas Sparks, released in October 1999. The novel, set in 1958-'59 in Beaufort, North Carolina, is a story of two teenagers who fall in love with each other despite the disparity of their personalities. 


Sparks wrote the manuscripts for A Walk to Remember, his third novel, in the summer of 1999. He wrote it in North Carolina, which is the setting of the novel.[1] Like his first published novel The Notebook, the prologue to A Walk to Remember was written last.[2] The title A Walk to Remember was taken from one of the tail end pages of the novel: "In every way, a walk to remember."[3][4] The novel is written in first-person, and its narrator is a seventeen year-old boy, living in the 1950s.[1]
The novel was inspired by Sparks' sister,[1][5] Danielle Sparks Lewis, who later died of cancer in June 2000. Although the story is largely fictional, certain parts were based on real experiences.[4] For example, his sister, just like Jamie, was never popular at school and always wore an ugly sweater. And just like Jamie, she always carried the Bible around with her every where she went. And just like Landon and Jamie, never in a thousand years did anyone think he would ever deeply fall head-over-heels for her. His sister's husband proposed marriage to her despite her sickness. After her death, Sparks said in the eulogy: "... I suppose I wrote this novel not only so that you could get to know my sister, but so that you would know what a wonderful thing it was that her husband once did for her."[5]

[edit]Plot summary

The story starts with a prologue from Landon Carter at age 57.[6] The remainder of the story takes place when Landon is a 17-year-old high school senior.[7] Landon lives in the small, religious town of Beaufort, North Carolina.[8] His father is a genial, charismatic congressman.
His father is not around very much, as he lives in Washington, D.C.[9] Landon is more reclusive, which causes some tension in their relationship. Landon's father pressures him into running for class president.[10] His best friend, Eric Hunter, who is the most popular boy in school, helps him and, to his surprise, Landon wins the election.[11]As student body president, Landon is required to attend the school dance with a date.[11] He asks many girls, but none are available. That night, he looks through his yearbook, trying to find an acceptable date.[12] Since nobody else seems to be available, Landon reluctantly asks Jamie Sullivan, the daughter of Hegbert Sullivan, the Beaufort church minister,[13] who accepts his invitation.[14] While Jamie is very religious and carries a Bible with her wherever she goes, Landon (one of the popular students) is reluctant to go to the dance with someone like her. When Landon is threatened by Lew,[15] Jamie comes to Landon's aid, to his appreciation. At the end of the night, he admits she was the best date possible.[16]
A few days later, Jamie asks Landon to participate in the school's production of The Christmas Angel.[17] While Landon is not very enthusiastic about participating, he agrees to it anyway.[18]Jamie, on the other hand, could not be happier about her new cast mate. Landon knows that if his friends learn about his role in the play, he will be teased relentlessly.[19] One day at rehearsal, Jamie asks if Landon will walk her home, after which it becomes routine.[20] A couple of days later, Eric mocks the couple during their walk home and Landon becomes truly embarrassed to be with Jamie.[21] Meanwhile, Landon continues to learn about all the people and organizations Jamie spends her time helping, including an orphanage. Landon and Jamie visit the orphanage one day to discuss a possible showing of The Christmas Angel,[22] but their proposal is quickly rejected by Mr. Jenkins.[23] When Jamie and Landon were waiting to meet Mr. Jenkins, she tells Landon that all she wants in the future is to get married in a church full of people and to have her father walk her down the aisle.[24] While Landon thinks this is a strange wish, he accepts it. In truth, he is beginning to enjoy his time with her.
One day, while they are walking home, Landon yells at Jamie and he tells her that he is not friends with her.[25] The next day at the first show of The Christmas Angel, Jamie enters the stage dressed as the angel,[26] making Landon simply utter his line, "You're beautiful,"[27] meaning it for the first time. Following that, Jamie asks Landon if he would go around town and retrieve the jars containing money collected for the orphans' Christmas presents.[28] When Landon collects the jars, there is only $55.73, but when he gives the money to Jamie, there is $247.[29] Jamie buys gifts for the orphanage, and Landon and Jamie spend Christmas Eve there.[30] Jamie's Christmas gift to Landon is her deceased mother's Bible.[31] As they get in the car to go home, Landon realizes his true feelings for her. "All I could do is wonder how I'd ever fallen in love with a girl like Jamie Sullivan."[32] He invites her to his house for Christmas dinner. The next day Landon visits Jamie at her house, where they share their first kiss on her porch.[33] Afterward, Landon asks Hegbert if they can go to Flavin's, a local restaurant, on New Year's Eve. While Hegbert initially refuses, after Landon declares his love for Jamie,[34] Hegbert allows it.[35]
On New Year's Jamie and Landon go to dinner, where they share their first dance.[36] A couple of weeks later, Landon tells Jamie that he is in love with her.[37] To his surprise, Jamie replies by insisting that he cannot be. In response, Landon demands an explanation,[38] and Jamie reveals that she is dying of leukemia.[39]
The following Sunday, Hegbert announces to his congregation that his daughter is dying.[40] Jamie does not return to school the following Monday and that it is eventually learned that she is too ill and will never return to school.[41] While they are having dinner at Landon's house, Jamie tells Landon, "I love you, too," for the first time.[42] A couple weeks later, Eric and Margaret visit Jamie's house, where they apologize for ever being rude to her.[43] Eric gives Jamie the $400 that he collected for the orphanage.[44] Jamie refuses to stay at the hospital, because she wants to die at home. In turn, Landon's father helps to provide Jamie the best equipment and doctors so she can spend the rest of her life at home.[45] This gesture helps to mend the gap between father and son. One day, while sitting next to Jamie while she sleeps, Landon comes up with an idea.[46] He runs to the church to find Hegbert[47] and asks him for permission to marry Jamie. While Hegbert is reluctant,[48] his refusal to deny Landon's request is seen by Landon as approval.[49] Landon runs back to Jamie's side and asks, "Will you marry me?"[50]
Landon and Jamie are married in a church full of people with Hegbert walking Jamie down the aisle. When they reach the front of the church, Hegbert says, "I can no more give Jamie away than I can give away my heart. But what I can do is let another share in the joy that she has always given me."[51] Hegbert has had to experience so much pain in his life, first losing his wife, now knowing his only child will soon be gone, too. The book ends with Landon 40 years later at age 57. He still loves Jamie and wears her ring.[52] He finishes the story by saying, "I now believe, by the way, that miracles can happen."


  • Jamie Sullivan is the daughter of the Beaufort church minister Hegbert Sullivan. She has leukemia. Jamie is also Landon's wife. She is very religious, sweet, and kind.
  • Landon Carter is a son of a rich family, the narrator of the novel, and the husband of Jamie.
  • Hegbert Sullivan is Jamie's father. He is the Beaufort church minister.[53] His wife died shortly after giving birth to Jamie. He is very old with "translucent skin";[54] he is often crabby but his daughter describes him as having "a good sense of humor".[55] He wrote the local play, The Christmas Angel but he maintains a strong dislike for Mr. Carter due to his father's choices.[54][56]
  • Mrs. Carter is the mother of Landon Carter. "She [is] a nice lady, sweet and gentle."[57]
  • Mr. Carter is the father of Landon Carter. He is a congressman in North Carolina and is gone nine months out of the year because he lives in Washington D.C..[58][59]
  • Angela Clark is the first girlfriend of Landon and then begins dating Lew.[60]
  • Carey Denison is the treasurer at Landon's high school as well as a tuba player. He is unproportional, with short arms, a large stomach, and a squeaky voice.[61]
  • Lew is Angela Clark's boyfriend, who "[is] twenty years old and [works] as a mechanic" and "always [wears] a white T-shirt with a pack of Camels folded into the sleeve".[11]
  • Miss Garber is the drama teacher at Landon's high-school. "She [is] big, at least 6'2", with flaming red hair and pale skin that [shows] her freckles well into her forties." Her favorite word is marvelous.[62]
  • Eric Hunter is Landon's best friend, who does more making fun, than being an actual friend.[10] The popular jock at school, he starts out very crude, but when tragedy strikes his long time friend, he shows that he is sympathetic.[10][63][64]
  • Eddie Jones is not well liked by the drama department. He was scheduled to play the main character in the play, but is demoted to the "bum" when Landon steps in.[65] He is extremely apathetic.
  • Jamie's dead mother is a minor role. Described as "a wispy little thing", she died while giving birth to Jamie, and is greatly missed by Hegbert and Jamie.[13]
  • Margaret, a cheerleader, is Eric's girlfriend.


The novel was published in the fall of October 1999 in hardcover print, and later in paperback edition. It spent nearly six months in the best-seller list on hardcover, and an additional four months on paperback.[1]
The novel received mixed reviews from critics. The Sunday New York Post holds that it "never fails to be interesting, touching, at times riveting ... a book you won't soon forget".[66] African Sun Times echoes the former's comments, saying, "A remarkable love story that, like its predecessors, will touch the hearts of readers everywhere."[66] New York Daily News compliments Sparks, commenting that he "has written a sweet tale of young but everlasting love, and though he's told us to expect both joy and sadness, the tears will still come".[66] Clarissa Cruz of Entertainment Weekly, however, panned the novel, saying, "With its cliche-riddled prose and plot twists that can be predicted after skimming the prologue, Nicholas Sparks' latest, A Walk To Remember, reads more like the script for a bad after-school special than anything approaching literature."[67] Although the novel is number 12 on their list of 1999 Bestsellers Fiction,[68] Publishers Weeklydescribed it as "a forced coming of age story" and "the author's most simple, formulaic, and blatantly melodramatic package to date".[69] Theresea Parks from Publishers Weekly goes on to say how many will be disappointed stating, "Readers may be frusturated with the invariable formula that Sparks seems to regurgitate with regularity."[70] She also writes that it is especially similar toThe Notebook in its [70] "corny flashback device that mimics The Notebook." Overall Publishers Weekly expresses its disappointment.


A Walk to Remember was adapted in the film of the same name, becoming Sparks' second novel adapted to the big screen after Message in a Bottle in 1999. Sparks sold the film rights toWarner Bros. in December 1998, months before the publication of the novel.[1] The movie was directed by Adam Shankman and produced by Denise DiNovi and Hunt Lowry for Warner Bros.; the film premiered on January 25, 2002.[71]
The film, starring singer and actress Mandy Moore (Jamie) and Shane West (Landon), is set in the late 1990s. Sparks and the producer thought that because the film was suitable for teenagers "because of the message it provided", they had to make the adaptation more contemporary.[71]

sábado, 23 de março de 2013

Safe Haven - Nicholas Sparks

With all these Nicholas Sparks book reviews soon this will turn out to be a girly blog full of romantic views on life - hah! Well to let things clear I am reading other books other than just ones written by this one author. I am reading at the same time "Kane and Abel" by Jeffrey Archer and the famous "Nelson Mandela" written by none other than himself which by the way is taking me an eternity to reach even the middle of the book. If that wasn't good enough I am also reading "Joseph Anton Memories" which is the very thick book of 600 pages which tells the true story of Saalman Rushdie who had to spend five years of his life in hiding to preserve his own life.
But I am getting off the subject...the truth is that I got a new student who will be studying not more than a month with me before she flies off to Canada. In one of our first classes together she told me that she has the whole "Nicholas Sparks book collection" and since those words left her mouth I am lending two books a week from her so that way I can finish reading the collection by the time the due date of her trip arrives. And so in the past two weeks I have read four Nicholas Sparks book and my head has become filled with love stories, perfect men and kind women, love, passion, romance and other similar words. And yet I love it! 
In my opinion this book of his is great as it has a real good story behind it and it shows what many women go through in real life: physical abuse. I once read somewhere that 20% of the women in the world went through physical abuse and yet in Brazil this number already jumps considerably. In "Safe Haven" the author is able to portray the reality of this abuse and what goes through the heads of both the man that is violent with the woman and what are some of the causes that makes the woman stay with a man like this for such a long time. It is a very shocking story and different from the usual line of thought and plot that Sparks usually uses in his books. I think that this book has jumped a few notches in originality, creativity and context that his other books didn't reach as they kept only on the "lovey-dovey" and "perfect story" kind of novel. I highly admire Nicholas Sparks talent but I must say that in this one book he stepped up a lot and showed the whole world how far he can go when it comes to writing a great book - excellent in my opinion! A big thumbs up to  him!!! 

Book Review:

"When a mysterious young woman named Katie appears in the small North Carolina town of Southport, her sudden arrival raises questions about her past. Beautiful yet self-effacing, Katie seems determined to avoid forming personal ties until a series of events draws her into two reluctant relationships: one with Alex, a widowed store owner with a kind heart and two young children; and another with her plainspoken single neighbor, Jo. Despite her reservations, Katie slowly begins to let down her guard, putting down roots in the close-knit community and becoming increasingly attached to Alex and his family. But even as Katie begins to fall in love, she struggles with the dark secret that still haunts and terrifies her-- a past that set her on a fearful, shattering journey across the country, to the sheltered oasis of Southport. With Jo's empathic and stubborn support, Katie eventually realizes that she must choose between a life of transient safety and one of riskier rewards-- and that in the darkest hour, love is the only true safe haven"--from author's web site.

domingo, 17 de março de 2013

The Notebook - Nicholas Sparks

Many of Nicholas Sparks books sadden me. They make me see what I can't have and won't ever have because the kind of love he describe doesn't exist. Or maybe it even does but only a very few lucky ones get to feel and be touched by this indescribable love. A love that lasts after fourteen years away, a love that makes all be well and back to the way it was in less than a day, a love that makes you risk everything you already have and throw it all to the wind - a love like this I believe, only in Nicholas Sparks books. 
People change, passions die, time makes you forget, go on and live on and rationality most always comes first. Men don't read women poems, don't wait for them to come back like as if they were the only ones, don't listen to a women for hours on end without getting irritated or wanting sex. Its human being, nature, the manly mind.
I do believe in love - I truly do. But in a love that is built with time, a love that is imperfect, a love which is based on common likes and interests, a love based on friendship and understanding of the other differences, a love which isn't always a flaming passion, wild emotions and sleepless nights in a sexual frenzy. Nope, that is passion - summer love - but just like summer it passes and leaves us. Love for me is like the seasons: we have summer - when our love is hot, wild and sexy -, winter - when the hard times, discussions and learning to agree despite disagreeing, autumn  - when we are finding stability, limits and mutual understanding on all parts - and at last spring - now love is a state of care, friendship, feeling safe with one another, giving each one its space and yet knowing how to enjoy each minute of love and passionate feeling which comes by our way. 
Nothing against Nicholas Sparks - I still LOVE his books and won't ever stop reading them...but I will know the difference of love in life and love in a book's pages - and enjoy both of them the same way.


The Notebook is a contemporary love story set in the pre- and post-World War II era. Noah and Allie spend a wonderful summer together, but her family and the socio-economic realities of the time prevent them from being together. Although Noah attempts to keep in contact with Allie after they are forced to separate, his letters go unanswered. Eventually, Noah professes his undying and eternal love in one final letter. Noah travels north to find gainful employment and to escape the ghost of Allie, and eventually he goes off to war. After serving his country, he returns home to restore an old farmhouse. A newspaper article about his endeavor catches Allie's eye, and 14 years after she last saw Noah, Allie returns to him. The only problem is she is engaged to another man. After spending two wonderful reunion days together, Allie must decide between the two men that she loves.

sábado, 16 de março de 2013

De Todo Meu Ser - Monica de Castro

This is a book based on Spiritism which a good friend kindly gave me when I was in Munich. 
It is a very strong book which most certainly isn't for any person to read. Despite being a novel written in simple and clear writing the content are many heavy topics.
The story begins with a young girl who sees and speaks to spirits - both young and old, good and bad ones -   as she grows up she is affected by one spirit in particular whose aim is to use her as his tool. As her behavior changes her parents, relatives, siblings, teachers and schoolmates attention focuses on her making her become even more violent, disrespectful and strange. There is only one person whom she is able to get well along with, who understands her and can control her: her cousin, Ross.
And so the story goes on...
Many times I had to close the book and give it some time off as it was a bit too much for my head to bear, other times I just needed to finish that chapter. Even though not being Spiritist it was a good book as it helped me understand many questions I had in my head concerning what spiritists believe (I have many friends who are so) and a bit of knowledge on a different topic is always good, helpful and very welcome.


O mais novo romance de Mônica de Castro traz como tema central o poder transformador do amor.
A história gira em torno de Marianne, uma menina, cuja mediunidade despertada aos sete anos de idade de forma perturbadora e pouco compreendida, traz transtornos para ela e sua família.
A trama se passa na Inglaterra, pouco antes de eclodir a Segunda Guerra Mundial, numa época em que a ignorância fazia com que a sociedade encarasse a sensibilidade e os distúrbios psicológicos com muito preconceito e medo.
Este comovente romance facilita a compreensão de que a reencarnação é um bálsamo concedido pela vida para aprimorarmos nossas qualidades, superarmos as dificuldades, fortalecermos o espírito e entendermos que o nosso maior desafio não é o confronto com o mundo, mas conosco.


domingo, 3 de março de 2013

Bombay Time - Thrity Umrigar

I love her books!!! Thrity is an incredible writer which has exceptional talent. She is Indian, a woman and a writer - WOW! This was my fourth book of hers that I read and in sincere honesty it was the one that least made an impact on me - but nonetheless that doesn't change the fact of her being an amazing writer and the book being a wonderful read. 
One thing I really admire in all of her books is how she portrays the truth, people's everyday reality and her characters come from all walks of life. Each one differs making you understand people's perspective: be they young, old, rich or poor... they are all part of India which is revealed in her books. She unravels the thoughts in peoples heads, reveals the politicians filth, makes you sympathize with the poorest of poor and understand the big woman who married into a sad, sad life. 
This book focuses on a community which is based in all the inhabitants of an apartment complex who find themselves in a wedding. You get to enter each guest's private thoughts, secrets of the past, pain and joy, secret longings and frustrations. And you then find yourself one with them, part of the Wadia building. 

Book Review:

I was waiting for this book for a very long time. Thrity Umrigar has been a favourite author of mine for ages and this book did not disappoint. The beauty of the story is that the doings of the families of Wadia Baug (a block of flats in Mumbai) are set amidst the wider scope of the Parsi community at large. You finally end up knowing quite a bit about Parsis in general and the residents of Wadia 
Baug in particular.

The story is of Rusi a businessman whose dreams of becoming another Tata has failed. He is moderately successful but not to the extent that he wanted. We also have his embittered wife Coomi who cannot really pinpoint her animosity and anger towards her husband. She is just dissatisfied, bitter and angry at the turn of events. The story of Rusi and Coomi and their daughter Binny who has made a life for herself in England is set against the stories of Jimmy and the catalyst of the story is Jimmy's son's lavish wedding banquet.

The wedding forms the setting for the story of all who gather to celebrate the event. From Tehmi who married and who was widowed tragically after just three years of married bliss and who has almost withdrawn from the world, to Dosamai widowed with a married son who has moved as far away as possible from her, to the very happily married Bomi and Sheroo and Adi Patel who flits from one woman to another and is never satisfied we have the broad outlines of the people who inhabit the flats and how their lives have mingled from the time they were young couples and with growing children. Now the couples are middle aged and children married and they are introspective as to how their lives have changed and what their present focus in life is.

The story is representative also of the different stratas of society found in Mumbai. We have the Parsis generally considered a very educated, business minded community who are forward thinking, English educated and who consider themselves a cut above everyone else! Originally from Persia to escape persecution they sought refuge in Mumbai and ended up holding key positions in the civil service under the British. This consolidated their hold on society in Mumbai especially in the business sector. We have on the other hand the teeming poor of Mumbai waiting for the guests to finish eating so that they could partake of the remnants and for them the remnants were the feast. This seems to highlight the differences in this society which I presume remain to this day. It does not augur well for society in general when the gap between the haves and the have nots is so very wide.

I was so struck by the Parsi community that I want to do a bit of reading on this tiny community of under 80,000 (worldwide). The book gives you an insight into Parsi customs and traditions but it is a small intriguing  look only. The fascinating tradition regarding how Parsis view death and how they deal with death in their Towers of Silence is also fascinating reading.

Would highly recommend this book not just from a family story point of view, but also an insight into Mumbai and this small community still managing to survive maintaining all its traditions and customs.