Books

Book 543: The Age of Innocence – Edith Wharton

We moved last month and I had to shuffle books around and needed to pull one of a certain size off my shelf and this one was it so I figured might as well read it and I’m glad I did! I honestly thought this was on my Classics Club list, but apparently it wasn’t when I went to document it on my lists.

Apparently, I picked it up as part of my re-read books from high school that you didn’t like to see how they/I have changed after attending a panel at the 2012 Boston Book Festival. Although I didn’t read this one in high school, I read Ethan Frome, which of course I was disgruntled about because it wasn’t Star Wars or fantasy. Now I am again interested in the retelling that I mention, so who knows I might revisit this sooner than I think. Continue reading “Book 543: The Age of Innocence – Edith Wharton”

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Books

Book 527: Tell No One – Harlan Coben

Since the last two Harlan Coban novels I read I’ve wanted to read this one, but I’ve just been lazy. This has been sitting on my shelf since April 2016, which isn’t too bad for me. I picked up a copy of this after Cathy at 746 Books mentioned it was her favorite when I read my first two Coben books. I was not disappointed.

These types of books, like many romances and many mysteries, are a dual edged sword for me. When I read them they are wonderful page turners full of action and adventure, but 7-10 days later most, if not all, of the details fade away into oblivion. This isn’t a bad thing, but it’s also not a great thing especially if you’re looking for a bit of disposable entertainment.

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Books

Book 421: The Magicians (The Magicians #1) – Lev Grossman

Grossman, Lev - The Magicians (The Magicians #1)This book very strongly reminded me of the opening lines of MTV’s Real World: “what happens when people stop being polite…and start getting real.” This book is Harry Potter and the Chronicles of Narnia without the young adult editing. It is the harsh realities of being a late-teens/early twenties magician.The sex, death, drugs, cursing and general frivolity of that time of life are all over this book.

I of course planned to read this book but never got around to it, but then all of a sudden SyFy is making a series (IMDB link) and I had to move it forward! Thankfully I was able to get a copy from the library after a couple of weeks, now I just need the next two to come in on my Kindle and I’ll be all set to go!

Continue reading “Book 421: The Magicians (The Magicians #1) – Lev Grossman”

Books, The Classics Club

Book 368: Anthem – Ayn Rand

Rand, Ayn - AnthemGoing into Ayn Rand’s Anthem I had very little “real” knowledge of her, her writing or her politics. Everything I know about her is word-of-mouth and I’m sure exaggeration. I have no plans to change that. If I write something incredibly wrong please someone point it out, I’m just writing about my response to this story as a piece of literary fiction. And that response is wow.

I’m not sure why Rand’s masterpieces Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead get all the credit when this is a big piece of work in such a tiny package. I mean Rand was writing about post-apocalyptic dystopias before it was cool. She was contemporaries with Huxley and their bleak views  really must’ve inspired modern-day writers or maybe I’m just seeing connections where I want to see them. Either way, I would be shocked to find that the likes of Atwood, Collins and Orwell to name a few hadn’t read this work.

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Books

Book 326: Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

Flynn, Gillian - Gone GirlI finally got around to reading this after winning a copy back in December of 2012 from Rebecca at Love at First Book. And my first response is WOW. I don’t know how I do it, but somehow I managed to avoid all spoilers about this book and as just as shocked/pissed/angry as I would’ve been two years ago if I read it when I first won a copy. In an attempt to not reveal any spoilers, this will be a very short and very vague response to the novel.

If there is one thing I dislike about many books, it is unreliable narrators, when you added in that this book has two unreliable narrators that seriously like to mess with each other mentally I’m surprised I made it through the novel. It is definitely a page turner and as you get further into the mental mire that is Nick and Amy’s relationship, you can’t get out as easily. When I turned the page to “Part Two: Boy Meets Girl,” I swore out loud and my sister thought I had finally lost it, but I was just that mad at the book.

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Books

Book 305: The Girl With No Shadow (Chocolat #2) – Joanne Harris

Harris, Joanne - The Girl with No ShadowAs I said in my response to Chocolat, I had no idea there were sequels and I’m so glad I decided to read them. I haven’t started the third, Peaches for Father Frances, but I’m excited to start it soon.

Harris takes the story of Vianne and Anouk we followed in Chocolat and expands the age-old battle between good and evil. Instead of the church, this time Vianne and Anouk, now Yanne and Annie, are battling evil itself and magic takes an even more prominent role in this story than in the first. And I was glad she did! She writes about magic in such a way as to make it beautifully common.

“It took me a little longer to recognize these things as magic. Like all children reared on stories, I’d expected fireworks: magic wands and broomstick rides. The real magic of my mother’s books seemed so dull, so fustily academic, with its silly incantations and its pompous old men, that it hardly counted as magic at all.” (67)

Beautifully common, might sound like an oxymoron or an insult, but it’s not. Harris’ writes about it so matter of fact and sets it up that way in this novel, common usage versus evil usage, that you can’t help but appreciate the beauty of the magic she chooses to write about.

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2014 Challenges, Books

Book 298: L’America – Martha McPhee

McPhee, Martha - L'AmericaHonestly, I’m sad I didn’t like this as much as I thought I would. Seriously, I’ve given it the lowest rating of the year so far. I bought it in one of my bulk buys at the 2011 Boston Book festival and haven’t thought of it since. It came up on my list when I used random.org to select my next book.

Even though I finished it, I just could not invest in this book, and that’s never a good sign. It started off slow, and thankfully did pick up a good bit, but still finished slow. Seriously go read the paragraph long sentence that was the final sentence of the novel. Not fun.

I think where I struggled to enjoy the book and where the author struggled to write the book was in converting an excellent idea into a manageable and digestible amount. Thankfully, the book wasn’t longer, but it really struggled through the first half. Beth felt like a whiny idiot (she was a teenager) and Cesare just felt frigid and unapproachable. This definitely changed toward the end, but it didn’t change fast enough or thoroughly enough to make me want to bump up my rating.

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