This book was recommended to me by my daughter, who works in the book-related industry and gets lots of ARCs (as a full-time student, not that she hasThis book was recommended to me by my daughter, who works in the book-related industry and gets lots of ARCs (as a full-time student, not that she has time to read all of them.) However, this book she finished in one sitting, and found it funny, unique and eloquent. The story's taken place at Oxford University about an English major (like she is currently) does not hurt, either.
The book, strangely, reminded me of An Unnecessary Woman. The female protagonists in both books were intelligent, book-loving, yet reclusive and awkward. Most conversations and thoughts were either book related, or literary related. However, the two were vastly different in age. Although Aaliya in An Unnecessary woman was 72, Sam was only 20 here in this book. Sam was the last living descendant of the Brontes sisters. She started attending college in Oxford a few years after her Dad died a tragic death. She was homeschooled by her Dad all her young life on literatures (especially the ones by their famous ancestors) and hardly met any other human, so Oxford was a strange and intimidating new experience for her. When her Dad was alive, they played these treasure hunting games where her Dad would leave her a clue on a bookmark (hers) leading to other places with clues. The final destination always had a matching bookmark (his) with the treasure (usually a book.) Imagine her shock when the lawyer who took care of his Dad's estate gave her an almost empty shoebox with a "her" bookmark. In her understanding, her family was broke and had no inheritance or treasures left over from the sisters.
So, the story also has a small mystery with a treasure hunt, which I found just okay...although people who definitely needed a plot in their books will find it more intriguing. What I enjoyed about the book were the witty conversations, especially the ones between Sam and her tutor/professor Orville when they analyze literary works. I laughed out loud many times through out the book. This is when they first met:
"Why did you come to Oxford?" "Everyone's got to be somewhere." "Is that supposed to be funny?".... "I came here study English Literature." "And why was that?" "I like books." "You like books." "I'm good at reading?" "I did not ask you whether if you are literate. I asked you why you are studying English Literature. What do you imagine it will provide you?" "Unemployment?".... "English is the study of what makes us human?"... "Human biology is the study of what makes us human,"...."Try again." "English is the study of civilization." "History is the study of civilization," He corrected. "English is the study of art." "ART is the study of art.".....
The rest of the book was sprinkled with conversations like the above. They were more intense and take a bit of thinking to comprehend since they were filled with specific quotes and phrases from the Brontes and other books, as well as analyses of literature and writing. Knowing a little history and work of the Bronte sisters (and other classics) might help, but not necessary, to enjoy this gem of a novel. I also enjoyed how Sam moved from being a reliable narrator, to an unreliable one, and vice versa. It's fun to keep guessing. Watching her navigating her life is also cringe-worthy but enjoyable.
This review is getting out of hand, so I'll end with my favorite short quote from the book -
"It was the sort of library you'd marry a man for."
2.5 Stars. Not a good sign for that I wanted to finish the rest of the series before the year ends. I started reading Kay Scarpetta when I was single,2.5 Stars. Not a good sign for that I wanted to finish the rest of the series before the year ends. I started reading Kay Scarpetta when I was single, now my eldest is 18. I truly loved her character with all the intelligence and wit, but I was turned off a bit when Lucy grew up and made constant appearance in the series. I was hoping that I was biased, and hopefully a calmer mind would reconnect me with this series. It's not working. Everything is wrong. I've lost the connection with the characters. I think they and I have all changed. I hope this is not going to be another series/author that I might need to abandon. I don't do goodbyes well and I'm still coping with the loss of Sweets and Dr. Yang. ;)...more
This is a page-turner, a typical Picoult book with multiple POV's. However, this book is loaded with facts about elephants, especially the process andThis is a page-turner, a typical Picoult book with multiple POV's. However, this book is loaded with facts about elephants, especially the process and behavior when they encounter death, loss and grief. If you were never a fan of non-fiction or books loaded with facts, you're better off staying away from the book. It's not a typical Picoult book in the way that the topic she talked about in this book is hardly controversial. We all suffer loss, and we all grieve. It's a topic that all can resonate with.
I've read through some other reviews, and lots of them had revealed the huge spoiler, or the genre that lead to the spoiler. Please, do not read them. This book deserved to be read without knowing much, except the elephants. The elephants are lovely animals. The plot might not be a Picoult original, but the book is still worth reading. Oh, did I forget to mention. It has a child narrator, a precocious one. I love her....more
I'm always on the look for interesting YA series, for my daughter and son mainly, but also for myself. Although the writings of YA boA 3.5 stars book.
I'm always on the look for interesting YA series, for my daughter and son mainly, but also for myself. Although the writings of YA books are a bit less sophisticated and there's always a love with such childish teenage angst (not to mention the consistent appearance of love triangles), some recent YA books are beautifully written with a wonderful plot and/or great prose. Some well written YA series that I loved are Delirium, Divergent and Seraphina. This book falls into the great plot category, but I definitely will not call the writing great, or the characters unforgettable.
A girl, recovered from a plane crash site, who does not remember who she is, or where she's from - does the plot sound familiar to you? The Jason Bourne plot line has been used over and over again in modern literature. In this case, the mystery is that she was not on the original passenger list. It later turned out that she was also great with numbers, strong, fast and intelligent, but lack human emotion that we all possess naturally. The girl has beautiful, inhuman purple eyes, and a tattoo on her wrist that later turned out to be some sort of a tracker. She was then adopted by a foster family that appeared only in one or two chapters. During this time, she was constantly approached by a boy who she has no memory of, but his appearance always triggered a bit of recognition in her subconsciousness. He insisted her to trust him, and that there are people, bad people, after her. She was amazed by her own strength and intelligence, but also the lack of will power to face danger instead of fleeing every time. Is she human?
"What makes us human? Is it our hearts? Our brains? Our senses? Our limbs? Ask a hundred people and you'll get a hundred different answers."
The book is a page turner, with a good (yet a bit familiar) plot. However, the character development is a bit weak compared Delirium or Divergent. Although the physical descriptions were there, I could not visualize them as someone likable or grow to empathize them. They blindly believe in the love between them, and think it will triumph over every other obstacle...and that they will find each other even if one's memory is erased, which I found a bit unbelievable. In addition, the writing style is a bit bland compared to the other books, and quite lacking in prose. A phase from a Shakespeare sonnet was used throughout the book, and it was, sadly, the most beautiful writing in the book:
"Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments. Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds, or bends with the remover to remove."
I wished the characters are as attractive as Romeo and Juliet, but they are not. However, I will still read the second book when it comes out. I love how the author integrated lots of technology, math and science facts into the story. I can't reveal too much, or I'll be giving the plot away. The plot is quite intriguing, so, if you ask me if this book is worth reading - yes, it is....more
Okay, I cheated on this series by skipping 10 books for later, rainy days. I'm glad I've done it, though. This one was a fun read, although I guessedOkay, I cheated on this series by skipping 10 books for later, rainy days. I'm glad I've done it, though. This one was a fun read, although I guessed the ending early-on thanks to Robin Cook and Michael Palmer books. It's a 4.5 star Plum, hilarious....more
It's not hard to rate it. I knew it's going to get a 5-star from me early from the beginning. The review isIt's hard to write a review for this book.
It's not hard to rate it. I knew it's going to get a 5-star from me early from the beginning. The review is difficult since it's not a thriller, nor plot-driven, nor has poetic passages, nor it's realistic, nor a fantasy, nor dystopian...and it's not about love. Those people who knows me know how I love books about love.
One the other hand, I also love books about books and reading. Nothing also pleases me more than to read a book and learn something tangible. This book has the following subjects that highly interest me:
San Francisco Berkeley New York City Reading Books Book Selling Book Store Technology Computers Google Other high Tech Companies Fonts Software designs Robotics Data archives A geek A female geek More geeks History A mystery Codes A secret society KINDLE and other eReaders Museum A quest Knitting...yes, you heard me right...knitting
The narrator is absolutely fabulous and funny. For example, on a just-like-new copy of Steve Job's Biography on the book store shelf:
Maybe it had been a Christmas present to a tech-executive dad who didn't actually read books. Or maybe Tech dad wanted to read it on his Kindle...
Or a Google employee:
He's dressed like a skater, so I assume he has a PhD in artificial intelligence.
Our narrator is Clay, and he just gotten a job as a grave clerk in Mr. Penumbra's book store. The book store shelves are three-floor high, and there's a secret group of special customers...who borrow weird and special books. What are they doing, who are they? It's up to you to find out....but, if you like what I listed up there, it will be a joyous ride. Since this is a debut, the plot was a bit weak, predictable and narration windy at times, but it's worth it. I tremendously enjoyed the ending and the setting of the book. ...more
The books has a great opening that pulls you right in by introducing the the abduction of two of three triplets at the movie theater, then rapidly intThe books has a great opening that pulls you right in by introducing the the abduction of two of three triplets at the movie theater, then rapidly introduced the family, investigators and several suspects which all have strong motive commit the crime. Somehow at about 30% of the book, the story lost momentum. Reasons become less convincing and events became unbelievable and dragging. The writing was not too polished or descriptive...For example, quite a bit of time was spent describing the three triplets, and I've already forgotten who is whom...I became quite bored by 60% of the books and just wanted it to finish already....more