NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)

Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!

Lezlie



Tuesday, February 3, 2009

THE HISTORIAN

by Elizabeth Kostova



It's easy to see why there are so many good reviews for The Historian. It's also easy to see why other readers may not have liked it so much. It's not a quick read. It's very, very detailed and moves somewhat slowly, so if I had been reading this rather than listening, I may have been more impatient with it. For me, it successfully had the same feel to it as Stoker's Dracula, but I admit it has been many years since I read that. Someone who read them closer in time may disagree.

What I loved about the book was that the majority of the tale is told in the form of letters. For some reason, that technique makes what could be a bit dull much more exciting for me to read. I've seen complaints that the letters are amazingly elaborate for missives that were supposed to have been dashed off in a hurry. I cannot disagree with that as an observation, but I had no problem overlooking it. The style captured exactly what I would have wanted in a book of this kind.

I have no life lessons to pass on from my reading of this debut novel except maybe if you suddenly find a mysterious book in your possession which is empty except for an eerie woodcut of a dragon, stock up on silver bullets, crucifixes and garlic. :-)



25 comments:

Katherine said...

I enjoyed this book, too. A little over-the-top with the Dracula stuff, but I loved it when the book got to Constantinople.

Amy @ Passages to the Past said...

It's been a while since I've read this, but I really liked it. Dracula has always been a fascinating subject to me. I wonder if the author is working on something new?!

joanna said...

I can't wait to read this, it's waiting for me. From your review, I think I'll like it. I like anything with vampires in it anyway! :-)

Michele at Reader's Respite said...

I started reading this one a few years ago when it first came out and something distracted me and I haven't picked it up since. But I've been seeing reviews of it here and there and think perhaps I need to pick it up and start all over with it!

Lightheaded said...

I liked this one too! Maybe I should reread it. And I actually read it before I did Dracula, so there :)

Anna said...

Serena had an extra copy of this one lying around and gave it to me. I haven't heard much about it, and I don't think I'll get to it soon, but it sounds interesting.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

Lezlie said...

Katherine ~ I expected the Dracula stuff, though it did seem a bit silly sometimes. It was the abruptness with which that particular thread ended that made me say, "Huh? That was easy." :-)

Amy ~ I wondered the same thing. I haven't been able to find any information on her current work, if there is one. If you haer anything, let me know!

Joanna ~ It's a good one! Save it for a dark and rainy night. :-)

Michele ~ I think it would be easy to get distracted from this, but it would be just as easy to get sucked back in. So to speak. :-)

Lightheaded ~ :-) Did you find the atmospheres to be very similar also? I'm sure that's what she was going for, and I thought it worked well.

Anna ~ Save it for when you want something to really dig into. It won't work if you're in the mood for something fluffy. I hope you like it!

Lezlie

Dar said...

Gosh, this one has been on my shelves for ages. I've heard mixed reviews but mostly good. I still want to read it though. Nice review Lezlie.

Lisa said...

I definitely fall into the camp of "loving" this one. It is long and sometimes meandering, but I loved every minute of it.

Lezlie said...

Dar ~ This sat on my shelf forever, too. I think you'd like it a lot.

Lisa ~ The meandering was part of what I liked about it, though I do have more patience for it on audio than when I'm reading. The history in here was fantastic!

Lezlie

Terri B. said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed this book, Lezlie. I too found that it held my attention very well for its length. I also appreciated the author's "old fashioned" style of writing. I thought she was quite successful in capturing the classic Nosferatu/Dracula atmosphere.

Lezlie said...

Terri ~ I'm curious as to what she'll come up with next. I hope she's still writing!

Lezlie

Shelley/Chain Reader said...

I had a hard time listening to this one, and thought I might have been more patient reading it. It took me over a month to listen to it, so it seemed to drag on and on...I did like that they switched narrators.

Lezlie said...

Shelley ~ Isn't it funny how different methods work for people? I listen to audiobooks on my commute and at work, so I'm a pretty captive audience. :-) I liked the narrator switch, too. It was a nice touch and made them seem more like real letters.

Lezlie

Serena said...

I have not read this one yet, but it is in the tbr pile!

Lezlie said...

Serena ~ It sat in my TBR for a couple years. I hope you like it when you get to it! :-)

Lezlie

Fyrefly said...

I listened to this book as well, and I really enjoyed having someone to vocalize the various accents for me as they travelled around Eastern Europe... helped bring the book to life.

Lezlie said...

Fyrefly ~ Now that you mention it, the accents *were* really great! I think Helen's was my favorite. And wasn't there an Irish scholar at one of the conferences? He was good, too!

Lezlie

Literate Housewife said...

I won this book from Devourer of Books and I really am looking forward to reading it and giving my two cents. I'm glad you liked it on audio. I'm really discovering how that can be a wonderful way to enjoy books. I especially enjoy audio for books set in England. Hearing the accents makes it come even more alive.

Lezlie said...

Literate Housewife ~ Until a couple of you had mentioned it here, I had never thought about How much I like the accents and such that people have on the audiobooks. It really can change the feel of the experience! I am an audiobook junkie. My only complaint is that is makes it near impossible to write down notable passages. :-)

Lezlie

Literary Feline said...

I really enjoyed reading The Historian. I loved the pacing and writing. As well as the story. I am glad you enjoyed it too!

Ladytink_534 said...

I bought the hardcover of this when it first came out and then after getting about 200 pages in was ready to throw it against the wall! Maybe I'll try again one day and love it (it's been known to happen on occasion) but for now I'm actually stuck with two copies of it lol.

Lezlie said...

Ladytink ~ I think a person would definitely need to be in the right mood for this one or it could be really frustrating.

Lezlie

Irish said...

Have to say I loved this book :) One of my favourites .... Finished it one day :)

Lezlie said...

Irish ~ One day! That's amazing! It's a long book. But then again, once a book captures the imagination, it really doesn't matter how long it is. :-)

Lezlie