Friday Face Off : The nose boop – any animal, or human, with a close up shot

FFO

Here we are again with the Friday Face Off meme created by Books by Proxy .  This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite book covers.  The rules are fairly simple each week, following a predetermined theme (list below) choose a book (this doesn’t have to be a book that you’ve read), compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future’s themes are listed below – if you have a cover in mind that you’re really wanting to share then feel free to leave a comment about a future suggested theme.  I’ve also listed events that take place during the year, that I’m aware of, so you can link up your covers – if you’re aware of any events that you think I should include then give me a shout.  This week’s theme:

The nose boop – any animal, or human, with a close up shot

So, by way of an update. I’m still catching up with comments so if you’ve stopped by and left commens and I haven’t responded yet- I am getting there.  Blog hopping = nearly there.  Reviews = catching up with.

I had a couple of covers in mind this week but I’ve gone for a book that I read quite some time ago, pre blogging by an author that I enjoy.  Emotionally Weird by Kate Atkinson:

My favourite this week (without a doubt):

EW2

Do you have a favourite?

I’ve updated the list now to include themes for next year.  If you know of an event that’s coming up let me know and I’ll try and include covers that work for the event itself so that you can link up to the Friday Face Off and, as always, if you wish to submit an idea then leave me a comment – or if you’d like to host a week then simply let me know.  Also, I would just mention that it’s very possible that some of these might be repeats from previous FFOs although I have tried to invent more ‘open ended’ prompt that can be interpreted differently and also prompts that relate to emotions.  Finally, don’t struggle with any of these, this is meant to be a fun way of highlighting books.  If you can’t come up with a book you think fits for a particular week use a freebie – perhaps a recent read for example:

Next week – A cover that annoyed you and why

2021

June

11th – A cover that annoyed you and why

18th – Out of Perspective, or make you feel a bit dizzy

25th – Upside down, back to front or topsy turvy

July

2nd – A book with a landscape you’d like to visit

9th – A Wicked Grin

16th – Books with ‘book’ in the title

23rd – A Black Hole – could be in the universe or going deep into the ground

30th – Chaos – maybe too much going on in this one

August

6th – “They cluck their thick tongues, and shake their heads and suggest, os so very delicately!” – The Motel

13th – A favourite holiday read

20th – Dressed to kill (could be literally someone dressed to kill, or someone dressed up for a big night out

27th – Sunbathing or on the beach

September (RIP event)

3rd – 1920s feel, noir detective

10th – I’m Henry the Eighth I am – let’s look at Kings or other Emperors/rulers

17th – Books with ‘Murder’ in the title

24th – A favourite thriller

October

1st – A Halloween read

8th – Chills – anything at all that almost makes you too scared to pick up the book (your own pet hate)

15th – Your favourite book of magic

22nd – Books with ‘Queen’ in the title

29th – Must be gothic

November – Sci Fi Month

5th – Your earliest sci-fi read or the first sci-fi you reviewed

12th – A book with ‘star’ in the title

19th – Futuristic vista

26th – A Black Hole – in the universe or going deep into the ground

December

3rd – Windswept, the classic figure, stood majestically, with wind blowing out in a fetching way

10th – A fairytale retold

17th – Winter Solstice approaching – anything cold and seasonal

24th – All things fire – red hair, red covers, fire breathing dragons, simply fire?

31st – What’s your catnip – if it’s on a cover you have to pick it up

Life after Life by Kate Atkinson

Just finished reading Life After Life by Kate Atkinson and absolutely loved it.  It’s such an unusual story and set during a period of history that was very eventful.  The story is based on a middle class family and starts in 1910 moving primarily through both World Wars.  I’m not sure how you would describe the premise.  Is it one of reincarnation.  I’m not sure.  For example Ursula is born on a snowy winter’s night and dies before her life begins.  That would have been a very short novel.  But, no, in the next chapter a different set of circumstances mean that the doctor arrives on time and the baby survives.  In fact we have more than one birth and death set in 1910.  It is an unusual concept and one that continues through the rest of the novel where we are given a scenario that then changes in the next chapter or next.

This may sound like a confusing way to read a story and I will admit it certainly isn’t a linear novel so if you don’t like jumping back and forth in time this may not be for you.  Personally I thought it was brilliant.  It was written in KA’s usual fluent style, her characterisation and world building is second to none and her depiction of family life is as usual excellent.  I can perfectly picture all the key players and I think she does an amazing job of portraying the events that take place.

As mentioned, the main character is Ursula.  Ursula grows up with a strange foreboding or an ability to see into the future – of course this is based on the fact that she has sometimes lived these moments already and usually leads to a very strong feeling within her of deja vu – or in some instances a very pressing need to be in a certain place at a certain time.  Unfortunately this strange ability of Ursula leads others and her mother in particular to think of her as slightly odd and as a consequence in need of therapy!  It’s difficult to quite pin down whether you love Sylvia or not because you do come to read a number of life stories for her (some quite a bit shorter than others!) and so at first it’s difficult to pin down what exactly is her true character.  Having read this though there is a definite ‘true’ story for her – one which won’t become fully evident until the story concludes and one that I found ultimately satisfying.

The other key characters are Izzy, Ursula’s aunt and rather decadent member of the family who dances to her own tune and doesn’t fit in with anyone’s expectations.  Sylvie – the rather disenchanted mother born into a family with greater expectations but whose circumstances changed dramatically upon the death of her own father.  Hugh, Ursula’s father – who is a lovely warm character that you can’t help loving.  Pamela – Sylvie’s sister and down to earth, honest to goodness salt of the earth type.  Maurice, older brother, ambitious and brash.  Teddy – Sylvie’s favourite and in fact family favourite and Jimmy – who only plays a small role.  There are of course plenty of other characters ranging from neighbours to colleagues and not to mention two different husbands for Ursula depending on which life story you’ve read up to!

It certainly is an ambitious novel and includes so many poignant events that it’s something of a feat that the author manages to pull it all together. As I mentioned above we go through WWI and II, the blitz, VE day not to mention travelling through Europe with Ursuala – a tour that culminates with her mixing with the Third Reicht!

Now, even though I did really enjoy this I do have a number of criticisms.  Firstly, I think the whole element where Ursula is involved in company with Eva Braun was probably a bit too much of a stretch and I didn’t particularly enjoy that aspect of the story.  Also, the other thing that may be a turnoff is the fact that you are constantly becoming attached to a character who may suddenly be taken from you – which can become a bit depressing to say the least!  But having said that you do then get to read the alternative storyline or lines which does redress the balance somewhat.  The other thing was there were definitely a couple of unanswered strands.  I don’t want to say too much about them other than ‘who was the mysterious man who Ursula saw with Sylvie’, and the murderer????  Can’t say more but I wanted answers.  I’m sure I’ve just maybe overlooked some clue to both of these though as I raced to the end!

Criticisms over – a great read which I would recommend.

Not sure how to classify this – I’m putting it in to my Once Upon a Time reading event and perhaps somebody else will have a better idea than I have.  Maybe falls into myth with the whole idea of rebirth, premonition.