For something that has been coined as a "memoir", it didn't allow me to know the author very well. The whole time I was reading the book, I couldn't pFor something that has been coined as a "memoir", it didn't allow me to know the author very well. The whole time I was reading the book, I couldn't pin down her motivations for certain things because I felt she simply didn't make a case for them. I'm not saying she should have immediately come in on the defense for being a stripper (I didn't judge her for it), but considering she was writing a memoir you would think she would talk a little bit more about why she did things or how she felt when she did them. Even when she did glide over her thoughts/feelings, I didn't feel convinced. It's like even she knew that she's great at writing a good story but weak at delving into herself in relation to that story.
That aside, however, I liked the book for what it was: good, clean entertainment. OK, so maybe it wasn't "clean", but I was thoroughly entertained by the author's perspective on the sex trade industry, and it was rather refreshing to find out that not all strippers are socially maladjusted drug addicts. (I didn't think this before, but it was nice to read the words from someone who worked in the industry.)...more
When I visited my local independent bookstore to buy this book, I wasn't aware it would be in the Young Adult section. But when I couldn't find it inWhen I visited my local independent bookstore to buy this book, I wasn't aware it would be in the Young Adult section. But when I couldn't find it in the Literature & Fiction section, there it was, a mere three shelves above the atrocious Twilight.
I know, I know. When kids read Twilight, "at least they're reading." But why can't more of them read The Book Thief? It might, you know, teach them something, enlighten them on the ugliness and beauty in the world, cause them to understand some of the miraculous ways life can operate....
There's so much beauty in this novel, beauty during a time when the world was at its most grotesque. I love the way this novel highlights the way in which the seemingly small decisions and occurrences in life can determine the larger ones. I'm always interested in this sort of thing, little microcosm observations of life when The Big Stuff is happening all around. These stories always fascinate me the most, and The Book Thief didn't disappoint.
Yes, sometimes it felt like Death was talking down to me, feeling the need to explain every nuance, every inkling of foreshadowing. But then I remembered the intended audience, and I put it aside. I felt this was small potatoes compared to the fascinating experience of watching "The Other," ie. the regular citizens of Germany during Nazi reign. People who still knew what was right despite the propaganda, people who were strong enough not to sacrifice their moral code during a time when another code was well on its way to being created.
SUCH a beautiful book. Wish it would replace Twilight on the Young Adult Bestseller list....more
Such a tiny little book, yet it packs a lot of truth. This book is an expanded version of Ann Patchett's commencement address at a Sarah Lawrence gradSuch a tiny little book, yet it packs a lot of truth. This book is an expanded version of Ann Patchett's commencement address at a Sarah Lawrence graduation ceremony, which she herself attended years ago as a student. She unpacks the very loaded question "What now?" and its various answers, and how those answers have guided her in life as a novelist. Most importantly, she speaks of how those answers seem to fall on your lap when you least expect it, and that it's important to be aware of "things [you'll:] never need to know and people [you:] don't usually pay attention to."
I've always liked Ann Patchett as a novelist, yet her non-fiction always seems to stir something within me that her fiction does not. I wish she'd write more of it....more
Probably one of the best chick-lit books I've ever read. It fulfilled its job as a light read I desperately needed, but it also managed to surprise meProbably one of the best chick-lit books I've ever read. It fulfilled its job as a light read I desperately needed, but it also managed to surprise me with its message. I enjoyed following Cannie throughout her transformation (and I liked the fact that she didn't end up skinny). Don't really have much else to say, as the book was just good chick-lit.
I do need to say, however, that you would think the publisher would have weeded out all the errors in grammar and consistency considering how many reprints this title has been through. A bad copy edit can sometimes take away from the reading.......more
What an original theme, exploring what it is to be good. I don't think I've heard of a book that touches on this particular concept, at least not in cWhat an original theme, exploring what it is to be good. I don't think I've heard of a book that touches on this particular concept, at least not in contemporary literature. I usually have such conflicting thoughts and feelings toward Giller nominees, but I can safely say I understand why this book was shortlisted.
Endicott has clearly mastered point-of-view, and her transitions between voices are seamless. I didn't like Clara at first but it's clear we're not supposed to, that she's supposed to seem as needy and desperate as she does. But then she becomes three-dimensional, just as everyone else does, and it's so beautifully subtle the reader doesn't know it's happening until it already has.
I don't think the last 100 pages could have been handled any more skilfully. For such a "quiet" book, I found myself on the edge of my seat throughout those last pages. Would Clara and Paul find each other again? Would Clayton leave again? The suspense was strangely subtle, which I think is just another testament to the author's great skill.
All in all, a great title. A deliciously painful read, even....more
Okay, so maybe that's not the most productive way to start a review. But that basically sums up how I feel about The Boys in the Trees, a book I hMeh.
Okay, so maybe that's not the most productive way to start a review. But that basically sums up how I feel about The Boys in the Trees, a book I had high hopes for. It reminded me of a fiction version of In Cold Blood by Truman Capote -- and I hated that book.
The reason I gave this book three stars instead of two is because I recognize that Swan's obscure, non-linear style is a matter of personal taste rather than fault. I enjoy flowery, descriptive writing in addition to a good plot, but with The Boys in the Trees I felt that the story was being hidden behind a style that was trying too hard to be ... quiet? edgy? "beautifully" undercut? Instead it just fell flat, and I found myself wanting the book to end so I could move on to something more my taste.
Another reason I couldn't justify giving this book two stars is because I did enjoy certain parts, those rare snippets of concrete story that were sometimes allowed to roam free through the obscurity of the writing. I also loved the concept of exploring the effects of a murder through several perspectives. I liked seeing Heath's execution through Eaton's eyes, finding out what Rachel's voice sounded like, disliking a character like Sarah. I just didn't like having to chase down those parts I did like, having to sift through what I thought to be meaningless prose to get to the meat of the story.
Keep in mind that this book had a tough act to follow; I just finished Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald, which I loved, before starting thisKeep in mind that this book had a tough act to follow; I just finished Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald, which I loved, before starting this novel. Perhaps if this wasn't the case my review would be a little more positive.
Not to say I hated the book; in fact, I'd more like to give it 2.5 stars rather than just two. I enjoyed bits and pieces of the story, but I found myself constantly distracted by the convoluted nature of the plot, and especially the voice. The narrator's voice was oddly inconsistent throughout, which is usually OK when dealing with a complex character, but all the pieces just didn't seem to match up. Instead it left a blurry picture of a dying man, which I felt I should have cared more about.
I think this book was trying to be too many things at once: a war story, a forbidden love story, the story of a dying man, a historical novel, a metaphor for food as life. In the hands of a more experienced writer, this may have been handled more effectively -- but I think in this case Singh bit off more than he could chew.
That said, I did enjoy learning about a piece of the world I've never read anything about, and it inspired me to do further research on the Kashmir region. Also, Singh's descriptions of Indian cuisine were mouth-watering! I don't even like Indian food, but this book left me wanting an Indian feast....more
If this book was real life and I had met Hoolboom's version of Steve Reinke, I would think he was a cult leader wannabe, a whack job with questionableIf this book was real life and I had met Hoolboom's version of Steve Reinke, I would think he was a cult leader wannabe, a whack job with questionable motives and sanity. But in Hoolboom's world, the one where "The Steve Machine" has the power to "cure" disease and alter the core of someone's personality, I mildly enjoyed this book's improbable insight. (Very mixed thoughts, I know, but such is how I feel about this book.) I personally think this book is a demonstration of the placebo affect (a line in the book may imply this is indeed what it is), but I'm willing to accept that I could be dead wrong about this. I feel the book is more about the relationship between the sick and the healthy, and what kind of relationship can form out of this circumstance.
Setting all rationality and my personal opinions about the characters' motives, I did enjoy the writing. I found myself wanting to enthusiastically nod my head at certain parts where I felt the author hit the nail on the head, so to speak. However, at the same time, I'd be lying if I said I didn't want the book to end. ...more
The thought of reviewing this book intimidates me. I'm afraid I won't be able to capture how much I loved this book, how each word touched me in a wayThe thought of reviewing this book intimidates me. I'm afraid I won't be able to capture how much I loved this book, how each word touched me in a way I won't forget. I have not read anything this profound in a long time, something so layered and symbolic of life, love, being... I feel like Andrew Davidson reached out and wrote the perfect book for me, and it just so happens he received the largest advance in Canadian publishing history for doing it. Well deserved, my friend, well deserved indeed.
The story gripped me from the very beginning, with the description of the crash and burning of The Narrator (nice touch that we never discover his name, even when Marianne carves it on her chest). The description of The Narrator's disfigurement and subsequent recovery was almost too disturbingly vivid to read, yet I was also way too invested and enthralled to turn away. After this, I was absolutely fascinated by the story of these two people, two outcasts of society, finding each other once again after 700 years of separation. This is a story of rebirth, and how a kind of renewed sense of life is sometimes required to be able to love completely. The language used to tell this wholly unique story was crisper than crisp, and I was left wanting to devour the words like I would a favourite dish.
I'm afraid this is really all I can say, as I'm left lacking the words to describe this masterpiece of a book despite being exposed to such stellar composition. I'll just say this one last thing: this morning I had 130 pages left to read, and I considered calling in sick to work so I could finish. I unfortunately couldn't, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't pull the book out at the office to sneak a few pages in while no one was looking....more
I won't add to the mass amount of detailed reviews for this book, but rather just say that I was deeply moved by Aminata's story. Lawrence Hill did anI won't add to the mass amount of detailed reviews for this book, but rather just say that I was deeply moved by Aminata's story. Lawrence Hill did an amazing job of captivating one story of slavery among the many true accounts of the atrocities of such a trade. Story aside, what I enjoyed most of all was reading Hill's afterword regarding the many texts he consulted to shape Aminata's story. He consulted a number of types of books during his research: memoirs, diaries, historical documents, historical narratives, etc. He researched even the smallest aspects of the story, straight down to how slave women wore their hair when making the long journey to the coast of Africa where slave vessels were waiting to take them away to the United States. It overwhelms me to think about how Hill used all those bits of information to shape the story of one woman, one slave, one person who reclaimed her freedom....more