Books

Book 550: Quietus – Vivian Schilling

I was excited when the publicist reached out to me about this book, it sounded just creepy enough to not be terrifying and interesting enough because of its location.* Unfortunately, because of the problems with the location (see most of the next four paragraphs), it ultimately wasn’t an enjoyable read for me.

I will cut to the chase, the problem with reading books set where you live, no matter the time unless it’s so far in the past that it’s unrecognizable, is how much they get wrong or it feels like they get wrong. So many of these could have easily been fixed with a quick internet search of the MBTA map in Boston and just looking at a map in Boston. Boston is not a large city and its public transit is not that large or complex. I want to blame the copy editor, but really it’s the author’s fault.

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ARC, Books

Book 294: The Art Restorer (Enrique Alonso #2) – Julián Sánchez

Sánchez, Julián - The Art RestorerI’m always happy when I discover an author new to me. As I said on Monday in my response to The Antiquarian, I stumbled across Sánchez’s work on NetGalley and requested a copy of this novel. I received a copy of The Art Restorer from the publisher and received no compensation for my honest opinion.

Whereas in the first novel of this series, The Antiquarian, Sánchez completely sold me on his writing and story telling, this novel fell a little short. The story was still fascinating and excellently written, how the story was told bordered a bit too much on the Hollywood/Dan Brown scale. However, I can’t decide if this is a part of Sánchez’s writing style for the story within this story, or if it is something that happened in his own processes.

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ARC, Books

Book 293: The Antiquarian (Enrique Alonso #1) – Julián Sánchez

Sánchez, Julian - The AntiquarianI stumbled across Sánchez’s work on NetGalley when I requested The Art Restorer, reviewed later this week. The publisher was incredibly accommodating and provided a galley of this for me to review as well! (Damn me and my completion-ist tendencies!) I received no compensation in return for my honest response to the novel.

Although it started off a bit slow, maybe as a result of the translation?, I quickly fell into the book and ended up loving it! The closest thing I can find to compare it to is Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon series (I’ve reviewed the two most recent here and here)! I won’t spend too much time comparing the two works/authors, because I want to give Sánchez his due, but suffice to say this novel (and what I’ve read of The Art Restorer) are SO much better.

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2013 Challenges, Books

Book 200: The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas – Gertrude Stein

Stein, Gertrude - The Autobiography of Alice B. ToklasThe writing in this book is quite possibly the most beautiful writing I’ve ever read. The premise of the book, however, is incredibly convoluted. Regardless, I am glad I read the book because it counts for multiple challenges this year (Back to the Classics Reading Challenge and Mount TBR Reading Challenge).

When I first thought about reading this novel, I knew it wasn’t an autobiography, but I wasn’t quite sure where this fit into the myriad genres available. Ultimately, this book falls into some gray area between biography and autobiography. This felt like Gertrude Stein’s biography told through Alice B. Toklas but written by Gertrude Stein. And what I found out while reading this was that Paris was an incredibly small place and everyone knew everyone. It was incredibly strange how everyone was connected, but at the same time it was awesome the people who stumbled in and out of the novel including numerous painters and authors.

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2013 Challenges, Books

Book 195: Loot: The Battle over the Stolen Treasures of the Ancient World – Sharon Waxma

Waxman, Sharon - LootSorry for the long post in advance, it’s been a long time since I’ve read a book about museums and antiquities and I forgot how much I love them and how much they make me think!

This book has been on my to-be-read shelf since July of 2011 and I can’t believe I waited this long to read it! I will never forget my first Anthropology class in undergrad and the professor going off on a tangent about the looting of the museums after the fall of Saddam Hussein. It pretty much guaranteed I would be an Anthropology major. (I later switched to cultural anthropology and focused on gender in the media, but still the people were awesome!) The intrigue, the drama, the affairs and the crimes, it could be a spy novel if it were fiction and not fact! This book will count as a bonus book for my 2013 Mount TBR Reading Challenge.

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