Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Artemis@BC, Sep 6, 2012.
Buzz, you might like Irene Nemirovsky's "Suite Francaise," "Dolce" in particular.
Thanks for the recommendation and I will need something with a dose of reality of this fairy tale. Because that is what this book is beginning to feel like. Especially with the amount of times the characters keep bumping into each other. It all has begun to feel very predictable and nauseating. Too bad because I really did like the first portion of this book so much.
I'm listening to The River Killings by Merry Jones. She teaches writing at Temple University and there are multiple gushing reviewers quotes. I cannot imagine what she teaches in her classes but it certainly isn't plotting, characterization or dialogue. The book is in 1st person so the reader only knows what the protag knows. Except there will be clues that are in flashing neon lights and the protag pretends they aren't there. Then there will be a page of mental hand wringing, followed by lalalalalalala unicorns play in my yard, folllowed by oops how could that happen to me? I'm so fascinated by how poorly this book is constructed I've continued to listen to it. I yell at the CD player all the way to and from work about how stupid that bit of dialogue was or how unbelievably stupid the characters are. I think those reviews had to have been significantly edited.
I read that one and I think Publisher's Weekly had it right: While Jones keeps the plot zipping along at a fast pace, readers may occasionally cringe at Zoe's naïveté and the surfeit of coincidences.
I hate it when the detectives ignore blatant CLUES.
So, basically it's the literary equivalent of a Johnny Weir program?
I'm reading my literary broccoli right now--Cloud Atlas. I have my literary cred before returning to my regularly scheduled sexy werewolves and heroines in leather.
"Jones keeps the plot zipping along at a fast pace!"
I'm still plugging away at "The Civil War of 1812," a stomach-turning exercise in deja vu all over again, and Bobby Kennedy has started to turn from a 110% prick to something more complex in "The Passage of Power."
In yet another change of genre, I started Kathy Reichs' "Bones are Forever" last night. I don't consider myself unduly sensative but I had to stop reading before bed. The autopsies were just too pitiful. The on/off Ryan romance thing is getting old. I hope Reichs resolves it soon.
I finished Seating Arrangements a couple of days ago. I like a lot of literary fiction, but this was ... too pretentious, I think. And too self-aware.
ITA about Ryan. I didn't have any problem with the anthro stuff, but she's also made Tempe stupid with which I do have a problem. Kathy has become a victim of her own success.
Aww, c'mon. I just loved Mopsy. And
the exploding whale? I nearly peed laughing!
I've just started reading Dmitry Glukhovsky's Metro 2033, in English. I'm kinda thinking I should see if my classmate's Swedish translation is better; I'm liking the book so far, but the English translation feels very direct, to the point where I find myself reading it in a Russian accent. There's also quite a lot of infodumping, and characters telling one another things they both already know, but I'm guessing that'll recede once the stage has been set? We'll see.
It's funny though, it's gotten me thinking of all those book and films where the world itself it more interesting than the characters and their troubles. A tourist guide or history book of the Metro 2033 tunnels and stations, or the planet Pandora in Avatar, could be awesome.
Ha! I knew the moment described a book as "pretentious" that you would've read it.
*wanders off to find some zombie lit*
I hated Seating Arrangements. I wanted to smack everyone.
I'm surprise I ever got my eyes back to their proper position after they rolled all the way to the back of my head at the whale scene.
The whole thing was clunky and affected. I've read Harlequin romances that were less formulaic.
You two are making me glad I gave up on Seating Arrangements after the first few pages.
I wouldn't have picked it up on my own. I had to read it and review it for work. My review went out with the press release.
I have a Barnes and Noble.com gift card for $25, courtesy of my Barnes and Noble credit card points. This always makes me twitch, as I always want to get something special for my unearned cash and don't want to squander it on a book I won't like.
Note, however, that I actually spend money on books all the time without hesitating. But that's beside the point.
Any recommendations? I figure I can buy maybe two and half books.
The Dig by Michael Siemsen. The follow-up book will be released soon.
I do the same thing.
How about something by Mo Yan? I've had Life and Death are Wearing Me Out on my TBR for ages but since he just won the Nobel Prize, I've moved it up the list.
That sounded familiar, so I checked my Nook. I have it already; I think I got it for .99 one day.
So it's worth a read? Excellent.
Hmm, well, according to the Library Journal review:
the author liberally references a character sharing his own name who is very similar to himself throughout the story. These references seem unnecessary, narcissistic, and annoyingly disruptive to the narrative flow. Yan does manage to convey the difficulties of village life, complex character relationships, and occasional humor. But his work is not for the average reader and requires immense patience to follow through to the end. Academic and large public libraries with collections of translated works by Chinese authors will probably want to consider.
That doesn't sound too promising.
Hmm is right. The few pages that I read a few years ago were promising though.
How about Silence by Endo? It's one of my all time favorites and Spinner liked it too.
Yes, it was! But, it's very depressing, likely not something Prancer would want to spend fun money on. And sorry, but I'm that you gave her a link to Amazon when she has a B&N gift card. Nice. And on that note, I appreciate Prancer for supporting a bookstore. xox
Other recommendations if you're curious:
The Book of Jonas by Stephen Dau. One of my favorites this year, incredible story. Oleada also like this one a lot too!
American Dervish by Ayad Akhtar. Another of my faves.
The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D. by Nichole Bernier. A quick read, good story about friendship and loyalty. The author is a sweetheart!
And take a chance on this FANTASTIC series for kids called Fablehaven by Brandon Mull. It's 5 books, fantasy and adventure. I TORE through all 5 in 8 days at the beginning of the year. SO MUCH FUN.
It's such a habit for me to use Amazon when I'm on my phone because they have a mobile site that I didn't even notice what I was doing.
After finishing the Kathy Reichs (it was okay), I moved even lighter with Kate Carlisle's "Homicide in Hardcover" the first in a series of mysteries set around the bookbinding trade. The main character grew up in a Californian commune and feels compelled to investigate/snoop around when her mentor is found murdered. Of course, there's a mysterious hot security chief who sets her heart pounding and the usual cast of suspects she has to weed through but so far I'm enjoying it. I like finding a new-to-me series.
I think there was some conversation about Justin Cronin's The Passage, but I suck at the search function and only found a reference to it in relationship to the following book by the same author. Is is worth reading?
I quite lurve my Barnes and Noble credit card. I get a discount on all B&N purchases with the card in addition to my member discount, and I get points with all purchases that earn the gift cards.
Not that the discount is great or anything or that the gift cards are for a lot (although every now and then I get one for $50, which is ), but still. I usually use the gift cards to buy books for the family, but I decided that this one was mine, all mine!
Off to check out Spinner's recommendations.....
My take: lots of good stuff, but needed a serious edit. I was particularly ticked off because it was so obvious there'd be a sequel, I would have preferred a shorter and more focussed first book, and keep the rest of the material for the next book(s).
But despite that, it is worth reading. I think a lot of people expected it to be more vampire lit than it is (and I would argue that it's not really vampire lit at all, it just has beings that share some vampire-like qualities ...), so that might be the basis of some criticisms. But as post-apocalyptic lit goes, pretty good. Not perfect, but good.
The sequel, The Twelve, is out today. I think I'm going to have to find a recap website of The Passage to remind myself who everyone is.
I finished The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, by Jonas Jonasson. It was a pretty enjoyable read with lots of dry humour. I enjoyed the present-day material far more than the flashbacks to Allan's past Gump-like adventures, but even those were entertaining, if farfetched.
I don't know if this will help, but salon.com interviewed Sabina Knight, an Associate Prof of Comp Lit and Chinese Literature at Smith, about Mo Yan when after the Nobel award news came out:
I totally understand. I will charge like there's no tomorrow, but if I have a gift card, I'm highly selective.
A few things I have read recently:
Shattered Dreams: My Life as a Polygamist's Wife--Irene Spencer.
This was pretty good. Spencer was the second of an eventual ten wives. She was pushed but not completely forced into the marriage. The family lived in Mexico in a sub-sect of polygamous Mormons. It shows the emotional and financial wreckage that results when one man tries to support a small town's worth of women and children.
Commencement by Courtney J. Sullivan.
Again, okay. But not great. Four girls at Smith and after graduation. Sullivan may have tried to cram too much into it by telling about the entire lives and complex changes of four characters. It ends up not being in-depth enough about any of them.
Some Girls: My Life in a Harem by Jillian Lauren.
Author lived in the harem of Prince Jefri, brother of the Sultan of Brunei. Kind of a self-serving memoir in my opinion. I would have liked her to have addressed or at least acknowledge the very questionable things going on there in regard to very young SE Asian girls in the group. I suspect they had been trafficked. She never really acknowledges the issue.
Attachments: A Novel by Rainbow Rowell
I'm familiar with Rainbow's work as a columnist for the Omaha World Herald. That should have kept me from checking out this dreck. But I'd heard good things. Those people were wrong. My first issue was the character's names. They are named after towns in Nebraska. Not something you would notice if you aren't from here, but I am from here. Dumbest one is the married woman whose hyphenated last name with two towns is the name of a consolidated school district. But that is not the biggest problem. The biggest problem is the stalker creepy behavior of the romantic hero and heroine.