I picked this up because I kept seeing people compare it to The Vegetarian, which I enjoyed earlier this year. But having finished Shelter I don't thiI picked this up because I kept seeing people compare it to The Vegetarian, which I enjoyed earlier this year. But having finished Shelter I don't think it is anything like The Vegetarian - other than the subject matter being quite dark and that the author and characters were Asian.
I thought Kyung was a ridiculous character and that any attempts Yun made to make him more sympathetic had the opposite affect - and he wasn't the only one. A number of terrible things happen to almost every character in this novel but I never felt any sort of emotional investment towards them, so events/twists that were supposed to shock and upset me just fell flat. ...more
Anna is a housewife. A bored housewife. She feels alone in a foreign country where she doesn’t speak the language. Her husband’s friends are her wholeAnna is a housewife. A bored housewife. She feels alone in a foreign country where she doesn’t speak the language. Her husband’s friends are her whole social circle. She even feels distant from her children at times. She feels as though she has nothing that’s her own. Nothing that she can control. And as her shrink says, “A bored woman is a dangerous woman.” So Anna has an affair. And then another. And then another.
This is a YA book for YA readers. It takes familiar plot lines and tropes and satirizes them. It’s a book about the background characters. The charactThis is a YA book for YA readers. It takes familiar plot lines and tropes and satirizes them. It’s a book about the background characters. The characters who are just trying to live their life while the “chosen ones” are running around trying to save the world. It’s an interesting premise for a novel, and one that almost works.
A fantastic book and an incredibly moving story. Great for readers of all ages but I definitely think this should be required reading in middle schoolA fantastic book and an incredibly moving story. Great for readers of all ages but I definitely think this should be required reading in middle school. ...more
About what I expected. It was an interesting mystery with some great twists. The characters were who they've always been. Having Kristen Bell narrateAbout what I expected. It was an interesting mystery with some great twists. The characters were who they've always been. Having Kristen Bell narrate it made it feel like I was listening to just another episode.
The writing wasn't as strong as I hoped (Holy Adjectives Batman!) but it was still a fun listen. ...more
I am generally not drawn to books like The Supreme Macaroni Company. As readers of this blog mayThis review originally posted at More Than Just Magic
I am generally not drawn to books like The Supreme Macaroni Company. As readers of this blog may have noticed I tend to dabble the most in speculative and historical fiction. And when I do venture into contemporary I either expect it to make me cry all the tears, or laugh (until I also cry all the tears). But I had heard so many great things about Trigiani’s books that I decided to give this more straight forward contemporary romance a shot.
This is technically the third book in Trigiani’s Valentine series but you don’t need to read the first two books to enjoy The Supreme Macaroni Company. The first two books may give you more insight into Valentine’s character but the actual plot itself is completely self contained. It begins with Gianluca proposing to Valentine and follows them throughout their time together. I found The Supreme Macaroni Company to be a really interesting portrait of married life, with all its ups and downs. Valentine and Gianluca clearly love each other very much but they come from very different lifestyles and have some conflicting values and ideas. They have a lot of really adorable scenes but a lot of really tense ones too and through them all Trigiani provides a very balanced look at married life.
In addition to marriage The Supreme Macaroni Company also explores the complicated beast that is large families. Valentine and Gianluca are both Italian and have the giant, close families that come along with it. But I don’t think you need to be Italian to understand what Valentine and Gianluca go through. If you have a large, close knit family you’ll be able to relate to so many scenarios that come up in this book – marriages, births, deaths. The whole nine yards.
The reader see’s the events of the novel through Valentine’s eyes, which was an interesting experience. She was an extremely complicated character. As the head of the family shoe business, as well as their primary designer, I admired her a lot – both for her business sense, her stubbornness and her artistic nature. I also loved that she always stood up to Gianluca, even when it felt like he was bullying her into accepting his way. But at other times I found her incredibly frustrating for some of these same qualities. Occasionally she would take her stubbornness a bit too far and refuse to comprise. Or she would blow small fights out of proportion and take them to the extreme. I suppose this was just another way for Trigiani to make this book as realistic as possible – we are all complicated creatures capable of extreme and varied emotions – but it was a bit of a double edged sword. At times it would push me away from Valentine, and since she was the sole narrator this made me feel disconnected from the story at large.
In what felt like a very short amount of time Trigiani paints a very large and detailed picture of family and married life in The Supreme Macaroni Company. It is very focused on those themes, however, so I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone. If you prefer more plot heavy or action packed novels, you may struggle here. But if you enjoy family sagas and realistic romance I would definitely suggest it....more
There are three kinds of stories in One More Thing – the ones that made me laugh, the ones that mThis review originally posted at More Than Just Magic
There are three kinds of stories in One More Thing – the ones that made me laugh, the ones that made me think and the ones that really stood out. I thought for this review I would break down each kind.
The ones that made me laugh
This title is applicable to the majority of stories in this collection. Novak’s stories are short and sweet but also quite charming and many left me with a smile The following were some of the highlights. Stories like “All You Have to Do,” ”No One Goes to Heaven to See Dan Fogelberg” and “Chris Hansen at the Justin Bieber Concert” flowed smoothly, used charming language and were just all around easy to read. Other stories like “Great Writer’s Steal” were simple and straight forward but would always have one line (in this case: ”they misunderstood literature on an unusually fundamental level”) that stood out and really brought the story together.
Of all the ‘stories that made me laugh’ there were three that stood out in particular. The first was “Closure.” Partially because it was just a fun story with a great twist. But also because I listened to the audiobook sample (read by Mindy Kaling and B J Novak) and it reminded me so much of Kelly and Ryan from The Office. Then there was “Julie and the Warlord” which physically made me spit out my coffee when I got to the discussion questions at the end. And last but certainly not least “The Something by John Grisham.” I went through a HUGE John Grisham phase when I was in high school and I loved how perfectly this story captured some of his more common tropes.
The ones that made me think
There are less stories in the ‘ones that made me think’ category but that makes them no less meaningful. What really stood out about this stories was that it was often only one line that really grabbed you and worked its way into your head. For example in “The Best Thing in the World Awards” - ”the fun isn’t whether love is going to win the fun is seeing how.” Or “If You Love Something” - ”If you love something let it go. If you don’t love something definitely let it go. Basically, just drop everything, who cares.” And perhaps best of all “J C Audetat, translator of Don Quixote” – ”Have you heard this song? It’s like poetry…Have you read this book? It’s poetry. Oh no thank you”
The ones that really stood out
There are really only two stories in this category – “Sophia” and “Kellogs.” I don’t want to say too much about them because I think part of the reason they were so great is that you truly had no idea where the story was headed when you started reading. “Sophia” got much more serious than I expected and I loved when the narrator talks about the nicks and dents that happen every time you get your hopes up and are disappointed. “Kellogs” has so many twists and surprises but was ultimately a great story about family, values and potential. What both of these stories had in common was their length – they were both on the longer side, which really allowed B J Novak’s true story telling ability to shine through.
Even if you don’t normally read short stories I would recommend this collection. They’re not all fantastic offerings but more often then not you’ll find yourself chuckling along or wanting to highlight a certain passage so you can come back to it. If you like humour, witty dialogue and great twists, One More Thing is for you....more
Firefly fans – this one is for you. It’s that fantastic mix of science fiction and Western with aThis review originally posted at More Than Just Magic
Firefly fans – this one is for you. It’s that fantastic mix of science fiction and Western with a little time travel thrown in for good measure (so Doctor Who fans may want to check this out as well). The story focuses on a rag tag team of individuals who have all time travelled to the mysterious Wasteland from different periods of history – it’s a unique concept and one that grabs you right away, as you wonder where exactly they are and what brought them there. All the characters are interesting, but with so many players on the board it was hard to get to know any of them that well. That being said, I have to admit my favourite was Edgar, a prohibition era bootlegger. He was charming, sweet and brave. What more could you ask for?
Matt Burns did a good job narrating this story – particularly when he took on Jack’s Western drawl. At times I found it a bit too slow but once I sped it up to 1.25x speed my listening experience improved greatly....more