Sometimes you read a book and it gives you all the answers. Spells the whole plot and ideas and problems and solutions all clearly and precisely out s...moreSometimes you read a book and it gives you all the answers. Spells the whole plot and ideas and problems and solutions all clearly and precisely out so you don't have to think at all.
Sometimes you read a book in which you have to figure things out. Usually as you go along but more likely just the ending. It's not necessarily a mystery... Just not everything is revealed to the reader while it transpires. Or, as the reader, you're just too oblivious to really pay attention enough.
And then there are books like this one, The Sense of an Ending. I'm not really sure what the aim was; if there was a point to be made, other than all the minuscule mundane minature ones (e. g. don't grow up doing nothing; you'll regret never having taken those chances).
So I am finding it really hard to rate and review this book. Not much happens in it. And yet a whole lifetime more or less passes. There aren't any great, lasting moments. A few amusing anecdotes and perhaps an admonishment of how to live my life 'better' will be all I can't take with me. Still, it wasn't terrible.
Somehow I feel like I "just didn't get it" [this book]. (less)
When I first started reading this book, I really wasn't happy with it. It seemed boring and annoying: a book about a really boring old man who has not...moreWhen I first started reading this book, I really wasn't happy with it. It seemed boring and annoying: a book about a really boring old man who has nothing else to do other than bitch about other people's lives. The best part (in the first half of the book) was the trip to Thailand, since I could compare it to my own travels there. Still, I don't remember anything at all about sex tourism while I was there, and it's such a huge topic in this book.
One thing that really bothered me while reading was the writing style. Houellebecq loves to go off on tangents and over-explain other characters, situations, fields of work, etc. Because of that, the reader gets to over-learn about working as a chief executive, how the tourism industry works, way too much about France, and definitely too much about working as a Civil Servant in today's Information Age.
To be honest, I really do not like reading about France, or French people. It's just annoying and ruins a book for me. That's probably one reason why I was dissatisfied with this book.
On top of that, the book takes forever to get rolling, then starts speeding up, and by the end it's moving at break-neck speed. The problem is, the story line should have the opposite focus. The build-up is unimportant and boring, the middle gets to be a bit more interesting, but is ultimately only setting up for the finale. The end, the most important part, is skimped on details and fast on action, and we could finally use some extra explanations here, but don't get them.
Due to these two points, I really couldn't enjoy the story. By the time the "amazing end" came about, I was disgruntled by the subject matter, the characters and the writing style. There were a few really wonderful philosophical points, but nothing where I would say that it rescued the book for me.
All in all, I was disappointed. I do not know why this book is listed on the list of 1001-Books-To-Read-Before-You-Die, since it wasn't amazing in any sense of the word. (less)
What a powerful novel! I just finished reading it and I am still reeling from the shock of the last 20%!
The setting is the late 1700's in southern Am...moreWhat a powerful novel! I just finished reading it and I am still reeling from the shock of the last 20%!
The setting is the late 1700's in southern America, the plantation home of a white family and their black servants. Rather typical, and known, and yet there is something different here: one of the main characters is a white girl, who's parents died on passage from Ireland and is sold into indentured servitude.
To be a white girl and to grow up with black slaves as your family is hard. We're taken with Lavinia through the years as we see life through her eyes. The other main character is a black slave, Belle, who is the daughter of the white Captain; the plantation owner.
Together, we see them make mistakes, watch the retribution of bad advice and feel very acutely with them how cruel their society is.
But this book isn't just another Uncle Tom's Cabin. There are deeper connections and a more twisted plot and family history you couldn't ask for. The line drawn between 'nigra' and white seems to get more blurred the longer the story goes on, and by the time we make a full circle (since the story visits the prologue again at the end) we're hoping that God (or someone) will intervene and make something positive out of all this abuse, death and cruelty.
Although I have read a lot of books that deal with black slavery in the southern States, this one touched me more than any other. It reminds me a lot of how I felt after I read Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, over 10 years ago. A bit hopeless, a bit happy at the ending, and very emphatic with the characters.
I'm so glad that my book club picked this book to read! It was definitely horrible and appalling at times, but the family spirit and the love that emanates from it more than makes up for the cruelty found in some parts.(less)
Wow... I can't believe that I am already done with this book. I just breezed through it, and I think I will read it again in a second. It was that inc...moreWow... I can't believe that I am already done with this book. I just breezed through it, and I think I will read it again in a second. It was that incredible. I started it this morning, after having seen my friend Tahleen's review on it, found an ebook copy and set to. And then didn't really stop reading although I have to pack for my trip to Prague, although friends are calling me and although there are all these other things wanting my attention. At this now, this present, I was with the book.
Amongst the last words, the high school atmosphere (which seemed more real to me, than any of the dozens of YA books that spawn every day) and the tragedy which divides the book into two, there was a raw freshness to the plot, characters and ideas that just left me feeling mauled; in a good way.
Miles heads off to boarding school in Alabama to find his "Great Perhaps" (supposed last words of Francois Rabelais "I go to seek a Great Perhaps.") What he finds there is so much more, that it takes a whole book to tell the tale. He finds friends (which he never had back in Florida) and a really hard curriculum (which strains his mind to new thoughts) but most of all he finds a lot of firsts: first love, first blow job (that scene is incredibly funny), first cigarettes and so on.
His experiences read a lot more like someone heading off to college than to junior year at a boarding school (especially since I had my first cigarettes only a few weeks ago!). At the same time, I wasn't annoyed that he was a teenage and living through teenage problems. I tend to loathe YA books for all the [fake] emotions packed in, but Miles (he's known as 'Pudge' in the book) is real. He feels like a real person. As do the Colonel (or Chip) and Alaska. The three make up the main characters, and they could be my friends here, that's how realistic they felt.
I also loved how Green just told the story as it was happening. Occasionally there'd be a bit of foreshadowing (which I abhor), but in general events happened as they happened. Even when the characters laid down plots and plans for mischief and pranks, the reader still wasn't informed until they actually happened. The closest we got to foreshadowing was the chapter titles: the book was divided into two main parts: Before and After. So obviously there is some huge crisis moment in the middle of the novel. I won't go into details here, but it was really suspenseful the closer and close I got to the switching point.
Green wrote an amazing book: it has real characters, which make you love and hate them, a real glimpse into the life of high school students and the crazy antics that can go on at boarding school ("no parents means paaaartaaaay!"). This book definitely moved me, and I'm glad that I decided to pick it up!(less)
Wow... I don't even know what to write about this book. In summation: it was incredible. Realistic enough to leave me gasping, but enough sci-fi eleme...moreWow... I don't even know what to write about this book. In summation: it was incredible. Realistic enough to leave me gasping, but enough sci-fi elements for me to not feel too threatened.
Listening to the story was definitely a great experience. I'm sure if I had read it I'd be less emotional about the whole ending, but as things are, I feel elated and buoyant but also a deep sense of loss after finishing this book.
The novel was exquisitely written. Ron Currie Jr. essentially told the story from various 1st person points of view. Occasionally this left me lacking explanations and information and I was rather annoyed, but for the most part it was well done.
The story starts with the conception of our main character, Junior, and his unique gift: the knowledge that in 39 something years earth will be destroyed. Due to this knowledge, he has to battle the concept of "does anything I do matter?". This question is finally answered in the last half of the book, with many supporting examples for the argument. It's at once uplifting but also makes the reader (or listener, in my case) feel a tad hopeless for his situation.
I loved the cumulative settings: the story takes place all across the continental U.S., with focus in various towns. Still, it reminded me of my live in the U.S. and I felt connected with the mentioned place (like how Flagstaff suddenly just appears in the middle of the desert).
I love the writing style. I always felt a part of the story, and I was hardly ever bored. There were a few times when I had to force myself to stop listening just to go to sleep or to study, it was that captivating.
This was an incredible story and definitely changed my perspective on what matters in life. I just hope I can remember the lesson long enough to live as though what I do matters!(less)
Oh. My. Gosh. Goodreads deleted my review, and my read dates and my shelves! Ugh...
Okay, from what I can remember about reading this book (also, I rea...moreOh. My. Gosh. Goodreads deleted my review, and my read dates and my shelves! Ugh...
Okay, from what I can remember about reading this book (also, I read this book in one afternoon, I totally stopped working and everything, just to read this book. That's how powerful I found it to be):
I really felt like this book was amazing. It's been a few weeks now since I've read it, but I still feel moved by it. Not so much by the characters, or the plot, but by the subject matter.
Christopher is an amazing character personality. Someone that I haven't encountered before. He opened my eyes a bit wider as to the real meaning of words like intelligence, feelings, proper social behavior, etc.
This is a wonderful book that I can recommend for just everyone to read at least once!
Original Review that I found:
Wow, now I understand how this book made it onto the 1001 books list and into all those "best books of ever" lists.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time touched something within in me. Sort of like Flowers for Algernon, although perhaps not as profusely from the scientific aspect. Certainly from the personality of the main character, though.
There is just something compelling about Christopher's thoughts. A clarity that mine don't seem to have. He notices specifics, but do I do that? This novel made me ask a lot of questions about myself. Which I suppose the best books do.
Anyway, it was well worth reading. I read it in a time span of a few hours, it was that good.(less)
I will probably pick this book up again one day. Right now, though, I'm still feeling a bit squeamish.
I understand how the protagonist really wants t...moreI will probably pick this book up again one day. Right now, though, I'm still feeling a bit squeamish.
I understand how the protagonist really wants to make sure that we understand him/her by going out onto all necessary tangents and giving us every necessary past details (all the way to his/her grandparents in war-ravaged Greece) but it was dragging the story too much for me to get really into it.
Perhaps I'll read this also when I feel a bit more inclined to learn about the his/her/other concept.(less)
I really really really adored this book! I can't understand why so many people find it negative or too something. It makes no sense to me since I foun...moreI really really really adored this book! I can't understand why so many people find it negative or too something. It makes no sense to me since I found it written clearly, descriptively and for a very interesting view point!
This is the book that finally pushed me to articulate my dreams of visiting India, even though I know it's nothing romanticized, it's no place for a single, young woman and it's not the ideal tourist location. In spite of all this, or perhaps because of it, I've had a burning desire to visit the country for a long time, and Shantaram really opened my eyes to how life is there.
It's an absolutely wonderful book that I recommend to anyone who doesn't mind a bit of a longer book. I adore long novels, so this was perfect for me, but perhaps other people hated it because it was so long. I was disappointed when the novel was over, but there's always time for a re-read! So go pick it up, because from my point of view you wont regret it.(less)
I actually read this book for school in 2009 although I didn't want to. I had picked it up when I was 10 or 11 and didn't like it at all; amazing how...moreI actually read this book for school in 2009 although I didn't want to. I had picked it up when I was 10 or 11 and didn't like it at all; amazing how a few extra years change a whole perspective!
I did like this book (sort of) after reading it last year. It was part of a joint project with Gone With the Wind, so I compared the two a lot. A slavery books go, this is definitely a classic!(less)
I read this book back in the days of high school. It was a really good look at the mindset of a troubled teenager, and what it means to be a cutter, e...moreI read this book back in the days of high school. It was a really good look at the mindset of a troubled teenager, and what it means to be a cutter, etc.(less)