One Day

Written by Eleanor on September 10th, 2011

Title: One Day (buy now on Amazon)

One Day

Author: David Nicholls
Year: 2009

The novel, One Day, by David Nicholls, has been a popular hit since its publication in many countries (translated into over 30 languages!) and has recently been converted to the Hollywood big screen. I have neither watched the film nor engaged in reading its cinematic reviews. I have decided that I have no intention of watching the film until it appears on satellite television, so this is my review about only the book.

The book is about the harsh realities of modern life for Generation X’ers in London. I am just barely a GenX girl but I understand where the two (yes, two!) protagonists of the story are coming from. I understand their ambitions, their values, their fears, their hunger for an ideal life with everything just perfectly in order.
The two main characters, Emma and Dexter, are vivid and multi-dimensional. They are like you or me: insecure but hopeful of the future, sympathetic but selfish, loving but destructive. What is painfully clear is that these two individuals may come from two completely different backgrounds, speak with different accents, but they are meant for each other in every way. What breaks my heart is when two people meet randomly, sparks fly and feelings are positive (almost wonderful), but because the timing is off, sometimes just by a minute or two, the conditions are never ideal and therefore the two are never able to fulfil their destiny together. But such is life, especially in London. We are pulled in different directions, busy hurrying off somewhere, always thinking about how to better ourselves. We don’t stop or wait to see what good might happen.
This is what I admire about this novel. It portrays the tragedy of our lives: we never truly have what we believe we deserve. This is a special novel that captures simple moments with humour and sometimes gut-wrenching bluntness. I laughed heartily at points but also felt my heart sink down to my stomach.
On the basis that the author takes the reader on a 20 year long journey through life and allows me to feel a breadth of emotion in each chapter, this book is a 4 out of 5 (very good). Striving to work hard and accomplish something worthy or admirable to others sometimes strips individuals of the ability to feel and give love. This book is a reminder to us all that it is the joyous and painful journey of personal relationships that makes life worth living. If only we could all benefit from coincidences and be wise enough to dedicate effort and time to encourage those situations to bloom and develop…

New look and feel via WordPress

Written by Neal on February 4th, 2010

Hi all.  I think this is what the new-look Eiserman Domain is going to be.  Now to replicate it throughout the rest of the site…




Influence – Science and Practice

Written by Neal on October 5th, 2008

Title: Influence – Science and Practice – 4th edition
Author: Robert Cialdini
Year: 2001

Click, Whirr

This book is great is you would like to know more on how to influence people (or defend against being influenced. It is easy to read and the examples are entertaining and effective.

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The Selfish Gene

Written by Neal on October 1st, 2008

Title: The Selfish Gene
Author: Richard Dawkins
Year: 1976

The only kind of entity that has to exist in order fir life to arise, anywhere in the universe, is the immortal replicator.

This book is quite interesting and caused a great stir when it was originally released. the title was also a bit controversial in its day and Dawkins has since made quite a splash with some of his other books, like The God Delusion.

I found the book to be very well written and engaging. I also thought that it covered modern Darwinism in good detail that a layman can follow and understand. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to look a bit deeper into evolution.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

Written by Neal on September 25th, 2008

Title: To Kill a Mockingbird
Author: Harper Lee
Year: 1960

Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.

What a great book. It is a tale of small town USA, prejudice, discrimination, and one mans fight against it in the 1930’s. It is told through a child’s eyes, which gives the book a sort of innocence even when it’s awash in racism.

The images and characters, from Atticus Finch to Scout, that Lee creates will never fade from your mind.

Everyone should read this book. It is a great book for school, both for its entertainment values and the issues that it deals with. I wish that I had read it in English class.

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The Sword of Honour Trilogy

Written by Neal on September 24th, 2008

Title: The Sword of Honour Trilogy
Author: Evelyn Waugh
Year: 1886

The hallucination was dissolved, like the whales and the turtles on the voyage from Crete, and he was back after less than two years’ pilgrimage in a Holy Land of illusion in the old ambiguous world, where priests were spies and gallant friends proved traitors and his country was led blundering into dishonour.

This series is not quite what you would expect for material relating to WWII. It is humorous in many parts, but it does have sober moments of tragedy and suffering.

The three books in the Trilogy are Men at Arms, Officers and Gentlemen, and Unconditional Surrender. It tells of a gentleman whose family is extremely old and respected, and now broke. He joins the army for his own glory and experiences many events over the war.

What I really liked about the novel was how it presented the British army. Many times the solders were moved around in chaos, and most of the operations were cancelled in the eleventh hour. The bureaucracy of the military, in all of its strange glory, is brilliantly presented throughout the series. A good read; funny, well written and engaging.

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Rob Roy

Written by Neal on September 23rd, 2008

Title: Rob Roy
Author: Sir Walter Scott
Year: 1817

For Why? Because the good old rule
Sufficeth them; the simple plan,
That they should take who have the power,
And they should keep who can.
Rob Roy’s Grave. – Wordsworth

If you have seen the move, forget it. The book has very little to do with the movie. In fact, Rob Roy is only in about 1/3 of the book.

The novel is about a young man who defies his father and refuses to take on the family business. His father is a successful merchant and the son wants to be a poet. The father sends his son to his brother and the book tells of this journey and the consequences of it.

I enjoyed the book but some sections were hard to read. When the Scotts are speaking in their native dialect, the novel is hard to understand. In my copy, there was a glossary in the back, but flipping back and forth seemed to break the flow of the story so I soon stopped. I think this is one of the first historic Fictions, as Rob Roy really existed, which is kind of cool. Other than the dialogue problems, it is a good book to read and I recommend it.

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The Scarlet Letter

Written by Neal on September 22nd, 2008

Title: The Scarlet Letter
Author: Nathaniel Hawthorne
Year: 1850

On a field, sable,
The letter A, gules.

This was probably America’s first classic. If you have watched the movie with Demi Moore, forget it! The book is worlds better, and except for the characters names and the basic story, it is completely different. How could Hollywood produce such filth, and then tarnish the book by sharing its name?

My biggest beef with the book is the horrendously long, boring and meaningless preface. Take my advice, don’t read it! Skip right to the story. The preface is nearly ¼ of the length of the story, and it is some of the worst drabble I have ever read.

The story proper, is a gripping tale of adultery in a puritan colony. In it you will find a soul tormented by long-kept secrets, and another whose strength bears the weight of the world.

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Robinson Crusoe

Written by Neal on September 21st, 2008

Title: Robinson Crusoe
Author: Daniel Defoe
Year: 1719

All these things, with some very surprising incidents in some new adventures of my own, for ten years more, I mat perhaps give a farther account of hereafter.

This book has no chapters! It is one continuous tale from start to finish. I found this very strange, but it adds to the overall tone of the book.

Almost everyone knows something about Robinson Crusoe. There have been movies and it is one of the most popular books in English literature, with good reason.

The book is short, but it seems longer because there are no breaks in it. I enjoyed this book and even if you know the story before you start, it is enjoyable.

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Moby Dick

Written by Neal on September 20th, 2008

Title: Moby Dick
Author: Herman Melville
Year: 1851

Call Me Ishmael!

I found this book OK. The emotional struggle between Ahab and the White Whale was written very well. When the book was telling the tale it was riveting. The only problem is that the author frequently sidetracks to inform the audience about various whaling practices. These tend to be overly-descriptive, long-winded and boring. In one section, when he is talking about the measurements of the whale I actually fell asleep reading it!

One interesting thing about the book is it sometimes takes a Shakespearean twist with play-like soliloquies. Often times these are used to reveal information about the characters that needs to be told.

The chapters in the book are very short. There are 135 chapters for a 590 page book! It is great for reading on the train, as it allows you to have convenient breaks in regular intervals.

Overall, I recommend this book. The story is very good, only a little wordy in sections.

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