Milan Kundera The Festival of Insignificance #giveaway

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Thanks to the wonderful people at Allen & Unwin for the chance to share a copy with one lucky winner. Australia only as I’m shipping myself. Thanks and good luck

Casting light on the most serious of problems and at the same time saying not one serious sentence; being fascinated by the reality of the contemporary world and at the same time completely avoiding realism – that’s The Festival of Insignificance. Readers who know Kundera’s earlier books know that the wish to incorporate an element of the ‘unserious’ in a novel is not at all unexpected of him. In Immortality, Goethe and Hemingway stroll through several chapters together talking and laughing. And in Slowness, Vera, the author’s wife, says to her husband: ‘you’ve often told me you meant to write a book one day that would have not a single serious word in it … I warn you: watch out. Your enemies are lying in wait.’

Now, far from watching out, Kundera is finally and fully realizing his old aesthetic dream in this novel that we could easily view as a summation of his whole work. A strange sort of summation. Strange sort of epilogue. Strange sort of laughter, inspired by our time, which is comical because it has lost all sense of humor. What more can we say? Nothing. Just read.

‘Enchanting … it explores all aspects of a declining civilisation without taking any of them too seriously … In this novel of Flaubertian seduction, free of blame and guilt, insignificance is the very essence of life.’ La Repubblica

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Milan Kundera, born in Brno, Czechoslovakia, was a student when the Czech Communist regime was established in 1948, and later worked as a labourer, jazz musician and professor at the Institute for Advanced Cinematographic Studies in Prague. After the Russian invasion in August 1968, his books were banned. In 1975, he and his wife settled in France, and in 1981 he became a French citizen. He is the author of the novels The Joke, Life is Elsewhere, Farewell Waltz, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, and Immortality, and of the short story collection Laughable Loves – all originally in Czech. His most recent novels, Slowness, Identity and Ignorance, as well as his non-fiction works The Art of the Novel and Testaments Betrayed were originally written in French.

Now that Darkness with a Chance for Whimsy by @RJSullivanAuthr

The always lovely Rj Sullivan has a new release which is a short story collection. Rj is featuring a seven series excerpt sampler for readers. This can be found on his blog with the first in the series out at available at RjSullivanfiction.com

Also can I just say I love the cover. That smiley face in the rain drop totally kills me.

 

Rj Sullivan

 

Dark clouds overhead may stir up whimsical twists. Collected for the first time since their initial publications, Darkness with a Chance of Whimsy presents ten tales from the imagination of R.J. Sullivan. Thrills and chills await you, but you may also get blindsided by the absurd. This volume includes a pair of stories featuring Rebecca Burton, the mysterious investigator of R.J.’s acclaimed paranormal thriller series. Among the ten stories, you’ll find: “The Assurance Salesman” shows five strangers more about themselves than they ever guessed. You don’t want to venture into Daddy’s basement in “Fade.” Rebecca Burton tries to talk someone out of a bad idea in “Backstage Pass.” A bullied police detective finally defeats his rival in “Able-Bodied.” A desperate father finds the “Inner Strength” to save his young daughter, “Becky” Burton. A child seeds his aquarium with a most unusual “Starter Kit.” A brilliant robotics engineer creates a “Robot Vampire.”

 

Rj SullivanAbout rjsullivanfiction

R. J. Sullivan’s novel Haunting Blue is an edgy paranormal thriller and the first book of the adventures of punk girl Fiona “Blue” Shaefer and her boyfriend Chip Farren. Seventh Star Press released Haunting Obsession, a Rebecca Burton Novella, in 2012 and Virtual Blue, the second book in Fiona’s tale, in 2013, and a revised edition of Haunting Blue in 2014. R. J.’s short stories have been featured in such acclaimed collections as Dark Faith Invocations by Apex Books and Vampires Don’t Sparkle. His newest project is the Red Lotus series of science fiction novelettes in the tradition of Andre Norton and Gene Roddenberry. R.J. resides with his family in Heartland Crossing, Indiana. He drinks regularly from a Little Mermaid coffee mug and is man enough to admit it. Check in to learn the latest about the projects of R. J. Sullivan.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood #review

Margaret Atwood

Title : The Handmaid’s Tale
AuthorMargaret Atwood
Published: 1985
Pages:: 307
Format:: Print

 

This is my second book by Margeret Atwood and I liked this one even more than The Robber Bride. A very famous tale that is required reading in most schools and frequently banned, The Handmaid’s Tale is a sad look at a possible future that while fictional is an example of the need for woman’s rights.

I would have liked more story as a large part was world building which while required was slow and plodding at time. I did find the possibility of such a future to be highly depressing and sad. I cant fathom why anyone would think this would be an ideal world and then you see the plight of woman around the world being told what they can wear and do, and knowing we live in a world of genital mutilation and young girls being married off sadly anything is possible. I admire Atwood for her efforts on woman’s rights and I’m pleased this is required reading at schools. I certainly hope it will open the eyes of many young people.  I cannot however figure out why this book is banned so often.

I recommend this book to those who enjoy literary fiction in particular focused on woman rights.

This book counts towards the banned book challenge.

The Unquenchable Fire by D.A. Adams #review

DA Adams

Title : The Unquenchable Fire : Low-Down, Desperate & Damned : Episode Two
AuthorD.A. Adams
Published: 27th Feburary 2015
Pages:: 44
Format:: Ebook

 

After losing his faith during the Civil War, fallen preacher Sam Skeen now serves the leaders of the seedy river town of New Port, handling business outside the law like protecting the town’s brothels. His dreams are haunted by the horrors of the war, and Sam wants nothing more than to drink away his misery. But on Stone Mountain, a strange evil torments livestock and terrifies the farmers. Sam is hired to investigate, and what he finds will transform his life forever.

This is my favourite book by the author to date. I really enjoyed this story, the character and plot developed nicely and while supernatural the human aspect of the story with redemption and finding ones true self felt very real. Highly entertaining and gripping read. Totally recommend.

The Exit by author Helen Fitzgerald #review @FitzHelen

Helen Fitzgerald

Title : The Exit
Author: Helen Fitzgerald
Published: Allen & Unwin, 25th Feburary 2015
Pages:: 239
Format:: Paperback print

 

Some people love goodbyes…

23-year-old Catherine is mainly interested in Facebook and flirting, but she reluctantly takes a job at a local care home after her mother puts her foot down – and soon discovers that her new workplace contains many secrets.

One of the residents at the home, 82-year-old Rose, is convinced that something sinister is going on in Room 7 and that her own life is under threat. But Rose has dementia – so what does she actually know, and who would believe her anyway?

As Catherine starts investigating Rose’s allegations, terrible revelations surface about everyone involved. Can Catherine find out what’s really going on before it’s too late?

I really enjoyed this book and it would be 3.5 stars if I was inclined to dish out star ratings. Catherine initially comes off as a rather annoying and shallow young woman which I guess she is but over the course of the story she grows and matures. While this story is extremely creepy and odd in particular the end I also see it as a coming of age story for a very immature individual who through quite unusual circumstances learns a lot about herself and what is important in life.

I work in aged care and I’m studying nursing so this was quite interesting to me for the blurb but Catherine working in a care home is less about the work there and far more about herself, her relationship with her mother and those around her, Rose a resident in the care home in particular.

I found in the beginning the alternating points of view of Catherine and Rose confusing in particular with Rose alternating between young and old Rose though as time progressed it not only was fine but very intricate to the story.

The care home holds many secrets or does it? This questions runs through the whole book is something going on at Dear Green of is the mind of poor Rose conjuring curiosities. I shan’t give that away but do think its worth a read to find out.

I enjoyed this one so much the author is now on my radar and I simply must read more of her work. Highly recommend.

This book qualifies for both the Australian Woman Writers Challenge as well as the Aussie Author Challenge

Thank you to Allen & Unwin for the review copy.