Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Nov 2015: Absolute Truth, For Beginners

Heyyyy Everyone,

This months book review is soooo exciting! Not only did I get to read an awesome book and review it, I also got to interview the author (this is a big first for me so excuse the 'over the top' excitement)!!

Ok, so firstly the book. I usually try to describe the book in my words without giving away anything to exciting but also giving you as much information on it as possible so you know whether to read it. Well, I've not bothered with that this month. The book blurb is written so well I thought I would just give you that..

Elisa Mancini is a Nobody. Painfully insecure, more at ease with books than with people, at twenty-three she's a university dropout living at her aunt's, drifting from one day to another, and waiting for something big to happen.
Judith Shapiro is a Somebody. Arrogant and eccentric, she's a superstar of mathematics, the subject of scientific articles, and the undiluted ruler of the world around her. 
In a trillionth of a trillionth of a second, Elisa falls madly in love with Judith Shapiro. For sixty-eight days she is the mistress of an internationally acclaimed mathematician. 
But loving Judith Shapiro is like running a marathon in a war zone. As days pass, Elisa's wild infatuation takes on a suicidal bent, and the world around her starts to go to pieces. 
Just as everything is about to blow up, the moment of truth comes. 
Absolute Truth, For Beginners is a story about truth, time and love. Or about identity, positive nursing, degrees of happiness, Baroque art, scientific theories, homosexual lovemaking, arrogant television producers, and becoming who you really are.

 I loved it! It was written very differently to books I would usually read but I loved Katarina West's style of writing. I am not an expert on literacy and cannot normally comment on how well the book is written because I focus on the storyline, however, it was clear to me that Katarina had done heaps of research around the book and she included interesting information within the story. It was one of them books that I wanted to read quickly because I was desperate to find out what was going to happen but then I had to keep reminding myself to put it down otherwise it would come to an end too quickly. There are so many emotional moments that the main character, Elisa, goes through that I am sure everyone will be able to relate too, and I formed a connection with Elisa. I seriously hope that Katarina continues to write about Elisa's story so that I can see where the next stages of life takes her!

So, now for a few words from the author. As I have mentioned this is the first time I have been lucky enough to interview an author so I had to think long and hard about what questions I wanted to ask her. I decided that I would go for more generic questions rather than focusing on this book in particular because if I ever get the chance to interview more authors I would love to be able to compare their answers. So here are the questions and answers (I hope you enjoy!)

What is your favourite book and why? 
This is a really tough question. When I was an undergraduate student studying political science, I learned that there are eternally contested concepts, like "justice" or "freedom". Well, for me "favourite book" is just as contested. Because I may have a favourite book for a short period of time, but then something else comes along, and.. au revoir! I have periods with authors, so that there was the John Irving period, the Toni Morrison period. And yeah, the John Gisham period, and the Carlos Ruiz Zafon period. Earlier these favourite authors influenced my own writing, but nowadays that happens less. And then there are long periods - like now - when I have no favourites at all. That's sad, actually. I love to find a new author whose style and stories fascinate me. 
Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
Oh absolutely, and now more than ever before. Because, when shopping for books online, it is so easy to click download, and to hop somewhere else. It's a matter of minutes, even seconds. That's why the first impression is essential.  
Do you think paper books will become obsolete and everything will become digital? What are your views on this? 
In Florence, which is my hometown, you can find some of the most beautiful ancient books in the world. The Biblioteca Medicea Laureziana has some 11,000 ancient manuscripts and the oldest are more than 1,500 years old. Looking at those ancient manuscripts you realise that there is something in the written word, some inexplicable beauty and magic; and digital books can never compensate for that. Having said that, I read almost exclusively digital books. We live isolated in the Tuscan countryside, and downloading books is just so much easier than waiting for weeks for the poorly printed paperbacks to arrive from abroad. I don't miss those paper books at all - and yes, it seems logical that digital books would replace much of them in the future. But I think (and hope) that digital books will never replace certain carefully produced hardbacks - like art books, or cooking books, or travel books. 
What was your inspiration behind Absolute Truth, For Beginners? 
The inspiration for this book came really slowly. So slowly, actually, that it is hard to say when the initial idea came, and how and why. All I remember is that it was Judith Shapiro's scientific work and the notion of time that made me want to write this novel. For a long period I collected material on time - whether in physics, or philosophy , or just the history of clock-making. I knew there was something in it, something worthy of a story. But I didn't know what it was. And then, just as slowly, I started to create the characters. 
What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 
Read, read, read. And write, every day. Continuity hugely important, and the resolution to go on, no matter how many setbacks you face. Good luck!!

I've got excellent news for you folks!! Absolute Truth, For beginners is on a special book launch price!!! Get yourself over to Amazon before January 15th for the cheap price of £1.99/$2.99 

I hope you have enjoyed this book review, a bit different and exciting! 
For the first time since I started writing book reviews I haven't got a book lined up for next month. Because I am travelling I haven't got access to my wonderful book collection, but fear not, there will be a good review next month, in fact I am over to a cute little book shop now! 

Ciao EmmaJessica <3

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