I’ve wanted to read this since a book group I was in when I first moved to Boston read it. They read it before I joined and I thought it sounded interesting. So keeping with my theme of expanding my reading (and apparently reading a lot more nonfiction) I requested it from the local library.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t impressed. This book felt more like a really well written undergraduate research paper than a book than a published book (and they were typos too). Part of this I believe comes from the structure and subtitle of the book and the other part I think comes from the super-focused subject matter. I discuss both below, but before I get to that I do want to say that it was an interesting read and I found many of the stories compelling and the appalling way in which Harvard dealt with these students should be a black mark on their history and reputation regardless of the time period. Not only did the Secret Court expel a number of individuals they were so adamant in their beliefs that they expunged the records of some of the individuals completely removing them from Harvard University records and if any of those expelled attempted to get into another school or a job using their Harvard connection/credentials, Harvard had a policy of exposing explicitly why they were expelled and this continued into at least the 1970s.
I’m never sure whether I should research an author or book too much before I start reading, especially if it is an advanced copy. On one hand I wouldn’t mind knowing where this novel fits within their repertoire (is it a first, a tenth, a hundredth?) or are they a writer by training? And on the other hand do I really want to have those pre conceived notions? Sometimes that really works well for an author.
If I’m reading a novel that I’m not sure is a first novel or not and I read it with no pre-conceived notions and then I go back and find out that it is a first novel it often makes me reflect on it differently and that is the case with The Waiting Tree. I received a copy of this novel from the publisher and received no compensation for my honest response.
This is Moynihan’s first novel and it was a good novel; it wasn’t great, but it bordered on great which is all you can really ask for in a first novel. I vaguely remember it saying this was her first novel, but there were times where the maturity of her writing made me think this couldn’t be her first novel, but there were a few occasions which made me think it could be her first novel.
When I saw the title of this book I clearly had to read it, mostly because at a party in December my friend Caroline was talking about 50 Shades of Gray and accidentally said this title and we both were like YES.
I have not read, nor do I intend to read, the original, but from what I’ve quickly researched they are pretty similar. I received a copy of this novel from the publisher and received no compensation for my honest response.
This was not a bad book, don’t get me wrong it wasn’t a great literary achievement either, but it wasn’t bad. I had a few issues with it, but I appreciated the refreshing writing style of the author and the tongue-in-cheek comments and countless pop-culture references that made me smile and or question why I’ve the social skills/knowledge of an 80-year-old southern woman.
What really helped with this book is that I was able to identify with the protagonist on some level, and isn’t that what you’re looking for in any book you read?
“It’s not that I have a problem with being gay, I don’t. I just grew up in the type of family that didn’t like talking about feelings and certainly never uttered the word ‘sex’.” (Chapter 2)
I received a copy of this via request on NetGalley and I am so happy I requested it. This is my honest opinion and I received nothing in return for it.
It’s times like this when I wish I went into teaching at some level to share a story like this with my students. It’s heartbreaking, but hopeful and I can only imagine what it would be like if I were an Irish teen reading this in the mid 1990s after it was written. Honestly, I would’ve felt just like Neil when he found out he wasn’t ‘the only gay in the village.’
I wasn’t sure what to expect of this novel and Tom Lennon (a pseudonym to protect his Catholic-school teaching identity and he’s still unknown) as an Irish author writing about LGBT characters had the decks stacked against him: Jamie O’Neill can do no wrong, John Boyne won me over with The Absolutist, Damian McNicholl put up a good effort with A Son Called Gabriel and Oscar Wilde is, well, Oscar Wilde. Needless to say, Tom Lennon did not disappoint, and as I listed all of those authors I realized his story pre-dated all of the rest by at least a decade with the exception of Oscar Wilde, so I’m excited his story is being introduced to the US.
Sometimes you just need a bit of fluff to make life seem less hectic. And that’s exactly what this series is for me: a temporary escape from I usually read and from the every day happenings of life. I mean as soon as I start reading one of these (or my Jane Austen fan-fic) I immediately have a smile on my face and start giggling to myself.
This is my first Galley of 2013 and I don’t plan on reading too many this year because of my huge backlog of owned books. I have one left over from 2012 and two additional I’ve requested this year, but I’m only planning on requesting them if they are for series (like this one) or by an author I really want to read, like the second one I’ve requested from the Other Press. I received a copy of Dirty Laundry via NetGalley and this is my honest response and I have received no compensation.
I don’t really know where to go with this response. I’ll start with the positives. Dirty Laundry was a quick and fun read. I’m not sure I’d call it engaging, but it held my attention well enough that I read it in less than 24 hours. Dirty Laundry appears much more sexually explicit than the first two in the Tucker Springs universe, but I think that has to do with the fact this novel includes BDSM play. Surprisingly, I wasn’t bothered by the sexual explicitness of this novel (I’m a prude we know this), even though Cullinan jumped right to it at the beginning of the second chapter.