This book was okay, good even, but not great. It maybe warrants 3.5 stars, but I don't really feel like giving it four. It was kind of predictable, swThis book was okay, good even, but not great. It maybe warrants 3.5 stars, but I don't really feel like giving it four. It was kind of predictable, sweet, and, I don't know, I guess it felt like it was trying to be deep without really getting there. I loved the story of Helen and Carl, Claire's story seemed a little too stereotypical, and I will never eat spice cake again. I know that everyone is touting the writing as the greatest since Shakespeare, but it actually got on my nerves a little bit. A few well-chosen analogies and metaphors make a book lovely (Leif Enger does this perfectly), but this book just kept loading them on you, until it became rather annoying to read. But that's just my opinion....more
I surprised myself by really liking this book. I hadn't expected to. I read Austenland and really disliked it, and when I read a synopsis for this booI surprised myself by really liking this book. I hadn't expected to. I read Austenland and really disliked it, and when I read a synopsis for this book few months ago, I thought the premise sounded contrived (which it was) and uninteresting (which, in my opinion, it turned out not to be). When I was a few chapters in I still wasn't really liking it. I thought it was going to be the "Singles' Ward" of chick-lit. However, the story went deeper and had more emotion to it than I expected. Nice. Plus, the protagonist went to Davis High. Hello!...more
To be honest, I expected a little bit more from this book, which is why I'm giving it a low rating. I'm tempted to give it four stars, but I'm restraiTo be honest, I expected a little bit more from this book, which is why I'm giving it a low rating. I'm tempted to give it four stars, but I'm restraining myself and leaving it at three. Here's the thing: I really liked what was there, but I felt like it was just skimming the surface. I think it may be because the last book I read was Undaunted Courage, about Lewis and Clark, and, as a result of the many journals and letters that Clark wrote, it gave much more of an insight into Lewis' character. From what I know, Washington didn't leave behind many writings--Martha burnt all but three of the letters he wrote her, and he doesn't seem to have left a very comprehensive journal, so I guess it's really not McCullough's fault that Washington isn't portrayed more clearly. But that's still how I feel. Plus, 1776 is only one year out of eight, so it was just a snippet of the war, and I felt like I was left hanging in that respect as well. To sum it up, if this were just one volume of a larger set, I would have been satisfied, but as it is, it merely whetted my appetite for more. ...more
This book was very eye-opening. I loved the insights about the Afghani myths and culture. However, by the end of the book, I was really tired about liThis book was very eye-opening. I loved the insights about the Afghani myths and culture. However, by the end of the book, I was really tired about listening to her wax philosophical and whiny about how she couldn't reconcile her eastern heritage with her western upbringing, and about how she couldn't find herself, when there were actual atrocities and horrors unfolding all around her.
At one point, after she had knowingly dishonored her family and her beloved uncle by moving in with her boyfriend, she recounted how a mujahadin who had been protected and supported by her uncle had destroyed his home when he ran out of money and were no longer able to be of assistance. Instead of expressing sadness over what had befallen her uncle and his family, she bemoaned the fact that her idealized vision of the noble mujahadin had been destroyed. I found this a little bit distasteful. Then, at the end of the book, she compared her childhood in Kent, England, to that of three young Afghani girls who had been raped by the Taliban after seeing their mother murdered in front of them. She wondered if they could possibly want to escape, just like she had wanted to do as a teen. My thought was "yeah, they probably do. But not because they're naive girls bored with their upper-class lifestyle. It probably has more to do with the fact that their countrymen are being murdered, their family has been destroyed, and they are starving to death." I know she was there to chronicle the disaster, a very worthy and necessary cause, but she was there for decades, put a lot of people's lives in danger in her attempts to enter Afghanistan and cover the war, and she only made one weak attempt to help anyone. It's a little strong to say that I found her to be self-absorbed, but I'm kind of leaning toward that conclusion....more
I loved this book. I actually really liked the ending, although I didn't like the beginning of the ending (I think that will make sense if you've readI loved this book. I actually really liked the ending, although I didn't like the beginning of the ending (I think that will make sense if you've read it), which I thought took me out of the storyline a little bit too much, even more than the stream-of-consciousness side chapters did (I loved those, actually). Anyway, I thought it was an absolutely beautiful story, beautifully written. I finished it, but couldn't bring myself to take it back to the library. It's still sitting on my couch next to the door. I just don't want to be done with it yet!...more
I really enjoyed this book. It's a detective/mystery/intrigue book revolving around the stock trade in 18th Century England. The main character and naI really enjoyed this book. It's a detective/mystery/intrigue book revolving around the stock trade in 18th Century England. The main character and narrator is delightfully flawed and extremely believable. The author mentions in an interview included at the back of the book that he had to take into account the fact that detective and crime solving work was not yet modernized during the time period in which he was writing, so he had to alter the protagonist's approach to discovering his father's killer and unraveling the conspiracies and corruptions which plague(d) the stock market. I'm very interested in learning more about some of the historical characters, such as Jonathan Wild, who featured into the story....more
I read this book for my book group. I've heard "never judge a book by its cover" before, but I'd never heard, "never judge a book by its synopsis" befI read this book for my book group. I've heard "never judge a book by its cover" before, but I'd never heard, "never judge a book by its synopsis" before, which is a very applicable warning for the edition I read! It really has very little to do with a strike in a silk factory, so don't get your hopes up. I felt the first misgivings when the book began by describing how horrible the protagonist's mother's wedding night was. And then there were about eight thousand similar stories in the book. I'm sorry, but I just find that to be a little bit too cliche, and kind of a cop out for the authors writing books about women. I don't regret reading this book, but I was rather disappointed. The characters were flat and one-dimensional, the story lacked cohesion, and it didn't in any way move me or change me. I finished it, closed the book, turned on Anthony Bourdain, and didn't give the book a second thought. Until book club last night, when all the ladies in the club agreed!...more