On the one hand, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. On the other, 90-year-old man decides for his birthday that he will buy a 14-year-old virgin for one last sexOn the one hand, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. On the other, 90-year-old man decides for his birthday that he will buy a 14-year-old virgin for one last sexual huzzah.
I wouldn't say that turned me off reading the book—obviously. Marquez has this dreamy way of writing things that is both sensual and melancholy, and considering that this book is called "Memories of My Melancholy Whores," you kind of go into it knowing assuming there's a debauched protagonist. And I don't think intensely sexual subject matter is a good reason to say "Oh no, I shouldn't read it," regardless of your moral leanings.
It's just that I don't feel like this book was particularly well executed. *Gasp* Sacrilege to say, I know.
Old and alone, the protagonist has claimed to have never been in love despite his wealth of experience warming the beds of whores. So when his 14-year-old virgin is too sleepy to do anything their first night together, he...finally falls in love? Waxes poetic about her without bothering to learn her name? Forms an idea of the girl that he falls madly in love with...at the age of 90? Finally comes to terms with his frailty and impending mortality? Associates his romantic love of her with chastity and proceeds to just watch her sleep?
Something about that rings false.
I don't know. I wanted to like this book, but it feels like a failed shadow of Love in the Time of Cholera, in which Florentino Ariza has similar characteristics. I've seen some reviews say this is a sly wink and nod to the vicissitudes of old age. Maybe. The writing is, as always, Marquez-like, rich and full-bodied. I just didn't get that electric shiver up my spine when you read a truly excellent story. This...just sort of fell flat for me.
Perhaps my view is colored by my admiration of his other works. Perhaps what Marquez is trying to say just didn't resonate with me. Whatever it is: I get what he was trying to do. I just don't think it translated. ...more
This is probably the most deceptive five-star rating I've ever given a book on Goodreads. Technically, the definition of amazing is this: "causing greThis is probably the most deceptive five-star rating I've ever given a book on Goodreads. Technically, the definition of amazing is this: "causing great surprise or wonder; astonishing." If that is the criteria Goodreads' rating system operates on then yes, this book is amazing.
As I have lamented to my reading partner, tackling this post-modern brick has been an adventure in the many ill-advised life choices 13-year-old Theo Decker makes after losing his mother in a terrorist attack on the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Really, you could have called this book "Theo Decker Makes Poor Life Decisions, A 771-page Novel" and it would have been quite accurate. His first life choice of dubious merit was 'stealing' Carel Fabritius' "The Goldfinch" in the aftermath of the attack. This, in turn, sets off a series of events that alter the course of his life. Irrevocably.
Lots of words have been hurled at this book. Among them: Bildungsroman, Dickensian, Pulitzer-Prize winning, masterpiece and "art"—both sincerely and derisively. It's not hard to see why. In the course of the last 100 pages, I swung from hating this book to loving it every few pages. Tartt is a gifted writer who knows how to turn a phrase but not edit it. There are soul-crushing verses that echo in the mind long after you've read them. And then there are tedious passages about drug trips in the Nevada desert interspersed with sprawling philosophical musings on the nature of Death and Art (with a capital D and A), the perils of loving objects and the heart wanting things that may not be good for it.
One word I have not seen hurled at this book is "almost." I feel like this book was one edit away from being truly mind-blowing. That being said, it is rich and vivid. I feel like I have known Theo Decker, Boris and Hobie for years (I will say there is a lack of awesome females in this book, Mrs. Barbour excepted). And I will never look at "The Goldfinch" in quite the same way ever again. I am thinking about it after I have put it down. If that is not deserving of five-stars, then I'm not sure what is.
It is not a perfect book. There are sections that are clunky, or seem like Tartt is more or less flexing her metaphor muscles, rather than servicing the story. Sections of the last 100 pages seem less like Theo talking and more like Tartt espousing her worldview on aesthetics and the human condition.
But overall? It is probably one of the "best" books I have ever read. I will let you ponder the significance (or lack thereof) of the quotation marks. ...more
Gillian Flynn's "Gone Girl" is one of the most terrifying books I've read in recent memory, a he-said, she-said murder mystery with unlikable and unreGillian Flynn's "Gone Girl" is one of the most terrifying books I've read in recent memory, a he-said, she-said murder mystery with unlikable and unreliable protagonists. Nick and Amy Dunne are the definition of a match forged in Hell, with a capital H.
There are a few twisty turns in this story, some of which left my eyes wide as saucers, muttering under my breath "Dang, this character is a crazy psycho dingbat." Flynn also takes the "unreliable narrator" trope and runs with it, which creates an interesting, if not entirely cynical psychological portrait of marriage.
The writing is also solid; Flynn has a few passages that echoed around in my skull long after I'd read them; "There’s something disturbing about recalling a warm memory and feeling utterly cold" and Amy's entire tirade on "cool girls."
But this book doesn't get 5 stars for a few reasons: 1) As other reviewers have mentioned, the first part of the book is a bit...slow. The setup takes a bit and when you're not crinkling your nose at how unsympathetic Nick and Amy are, you're wondering where it's all going and if the payoff will be worth it. The story picks up speed during part 2 and is fairly well paced from there to the end. 2) At the end, one of the characters gets...a bit...cartoony. Terrifying, but cartoony. I'm not sure I bought it 100%, but I still had chills running up and down my spine.
In short, if there's one lesson to take away from Gone Girl, it's this:
Gentlemen, it is a supremely bad idea to cheat on your wives. ...more
After finishing "The Fault in Our Stars," I have drawn two simple conclusions: 1) John Green keeps a bag of onions on his person at all times and 2) JAfter finishing "The Fault in Our Stars," I have drawn two simple conclusions: 1) John Green keeps a bag of onions on his person at all times and 2) John Green's power comes from the tears of his readers.
The best stories are the ones that hurt just a bit when you're done reading. Come into this book armed with kleenexes. If you don't cry after reading this story, I'm pretty sure it's because you have robot eyes. Either that, or you have no business calling yourself a human being.
I'm done. This book destroyed me.
EDIT: I also wanted to highlight the fact that a man in his 30s was so accurately able to capture the inner thoughts of a 16-year-old girl. Talent. ...more
This book is both wonderful and frustrating at the same time. Rothfuss is an excellent storyteller, his prose is simple yet elegant,Where do I start?
This book is both wonderful and frustrating at the same time. Rothfuss is an excellent storyteller, his prose is simple yet elegant, and the world he's created is rich and brimming with imagination. Picking up from where the first book left off, Kvothe takes some time to actually explore the rest of the world outside the University and its here that the narrative really soars. You see the birth of the almost mythic figure Kvothe will later become and the hours will literally melt away the more you read.
I was also in danger of my eyeballs rolling out of my head at Kvothe's many adventures. I get this is heroic fantasy, but could Kvothe please suck at a few more things? Sure, he's arrogant and full of himself, but Rothfuss has also imbued him with an almost god-like ability to be super-duper awesome at everything he tries.
So when in this book, Kvothe meets Felurian (a kind of faerie succubus) and she opens the floodgates of his mighty nether-sword, the book kind of devolves into "Kvothe travels, bedding every attractive single female in a ten miles radius and is remarkably good at it." Seriously, once he loses his V-card, no woman is safe from his raging love stick. Not even deadly she-warrior mercenaries who could kick his ass with a flick of their pinky finger.
And Denna. Ugh. Don't get me started on Denna. I think Kvothe spends at least a good tenth of the book looking for Denna. Thinking about looking for Denna. Denna Denna Denna. And then when he spends time with Denna, she turns out to be the female Kvothe. Never has a woman been so beautiful and alluring (not even Felurian), talented at music, witty, savvy, resourceful, mysterious...blah blah blah. I get that part of this is how Kvothe sees Denna as opposed to how she really is, but Jesus Christ. Almost every other girl in the book is about 10 times more interesting, fleshed out and developed. Which is maybe what Rothfuss is going for, but if that's the case, using her more sparingly might have been better.
Overall, pretty minor quibbles for a massively entertaining book.
In a sleepy town, a man returns to set the record straight on a stranger murder that occurred 27 years earlier, when the Vicario brothers brutally kilIn a sleepy town, a man returns to set the record straight on a stranger murder that occurred 27 years earlier, when the Vicario brothers brutally killed Santiago Nasar for dishonoring their sister.
The book begins and ends with Santiago Nasar's death on the morning after Angela Vicario is returned to her family home by her new husband, Bayardo San Roman. From there, Marquez explores the psyche of a small Latin American town, the residents of which all know Santiago is doomed to die but do nothing for one reason or another. But the actual story is more a study on human relationships and nature; a window into a bygone culture drenched in sweltering heat and pungent spices, where avenging honor is a necessary ritual and yet a person's true intent is obscured by reasons unknown.
Reading Marquez is always like reading a modern myth. The lands are always vibrant and exotic, the people draped in poetry and mystery. In the end, the end of one of his books always feels like waking from an incredibly vivid dream. This is no different. ...more
Neil Gaiman's "Ocean at the End of the Lane" is brings to life the dark mysteries of childhood, the frightening creatures that lurk just out of view aNeil Gaiman's "Ocean at the End of the Lane" is brings to life the dark mysteries of childhood, the frightening creatures that lurk just out of view and go bump in the night.
Short and sweet, "Ocean" is the tale of a middle-aged man who returns home for a funeral and is reminded of a long-forgotten incident involving the suicide of a family acquaintance that sets off a chain of eerie events involving the odd Lettie Hempstock and her family down the road.
The resulting story is haunting and brimming with nostalgia. The plot is nothing entirely revolutionary—in fact, its somewhat reminiscent of Gaiman's Coraline—but when I finally finished and put the book down, I found myself longing for those rainy days spent reading under covers with my flashlight.
While I'm sure Gaiman's horde of literary faithfuls have already bought and read this book, I would recommend "Ocean" as a good gateway book to the Gaiman mythos. ...more