I really hoped to like this, because the few bits and pieces that I saw floating around were really great aphorisms. I did like snippets of the book,I really hoped to like this, because the few bits and pieces that I saw floating around were really great aphorisms. I did like snippets of the book, a few prosaic gems in there, especially when accompanied by the photographs that were well worth the look. But the thing as a whole was just so much of the same, and it felt like the punch line to every single piece was 'for YOU'; I mean, even the title follows that formula. That's not necessarily a bad thing in itself, but it got old after a while. So many cliches one after another all to render stereotypical responses... it just had this really teenage-angst feel going on that I couldn't stomach. The author wrote some nice lines, but I felt like this constant reversal back to the eponymous 'you' and the plodding, redundant themes made it too formulaic and contrived to actually enjoy.
That said, I can very clearly see why other people enjoyed it so much, and all the more power to them. ...more
First off, let's be clear here: I love Murakami. This book had some wonderfully enthralling, mystical themes that I adored, but for a book that placedFirst off, let's be clear here: I love Murakami. This book had some wonderfully enthralling, mystical themes that I adored, but for a book that placed significant weight on the art of rewriting and editing, it sure didn't seem like much of that happened here. Murakami ' s writing, at some point, became far too repetitive, like bashing the reader over the head as if we couldn't tell when certain important themes were resurfacing. I'm fairly certain a few hundred pages could have been lopped off without doing too much violence to the substance. overall, though (I'm almost done and will update this when I'm completely finished), I love the swirling themes of unreality and fate. Of course, Murakami is Murakami so a lot of the material is fairly obscure and curious, but that's part of the appeal. One citicism though: Aomame. She's... hm.. garden variety femme fatale trope turned passive lovestruck little girl? I was pretty skeptical of her from the beginning - I'm sorry, but then I started warming up to her. eventually though, she just stayed completely flat and even deflated into this pining teenager. Actually, the whole romance between Tengo and Aomame makes very little sense to me and unfortunately the second and third book have focused fairly heavily on that angle. maybe by the end, I'll be happier with it, but personally, it's a bit... unbelievable....more
Well, I think I get what he was doing - or trying to do. To be fair, I did enjoy the book in the beginning. I thought it was pretty clever and funny aWell, I think I get what he was doing - or trying to do. To be fair, I did enjoy the book in the beginning. I thought it was pretty clever and funny at points, and light reading is always nice before bed.
I stopped in the middle and started again the next day, and for some reason, I started to find his humor a little less funny, a little less biting - kind of ham-handed for what he was trying to do, actually. And David Sedaris himself started to come off as... really unlikeable. which was probably his point, but man, I usually LOVE unlikeable characters. I literally read for the sole purpose of finding flawed characters so for me, this was a Sign.
I think Sedaris as author decided that it'd be way 'wittier' to make Sedaris as character into a gross caricature and it backfired - at least, for me. It stopped being funny and just became unapologetic over-exaggerations of character flaws that could have been dealt with in a much more interesting, cutting way.
At a point, I started to ask myself why I even cared about these little vignettes enough to read them. And why there were so many.
(But it's not as bad as my review probably makes it sound. Once you get past the blatant arrogance, it's relatively funny if you're into short little chapters and punch lines.)...more
Hm... what can I say? I started this book pretty optimistically, but just 40 pages in, and I feel a little bit like throwing it at a wall. I'm the typHm... what can I say? I started this book pretty optimistically, but just 40 pages in, and I feel a little bit like throwing it at a wall. I'm the type that likes to finish every book I start, but I'm not so sure about this one.
The problem is the prose. I understand that Yoshimoto's prose has been praised as being quite poetic and lyrical, but as far as I'm concerned, the English translation is an abomination. It reads like a junior high school student's attempt to be quirky and honestly, it falls very flat. The dialogue between the characters is awkward and clunky. Occasionally, there are some really beautiful sentences or passages that deal with themes like loneliness, but the plot and the story in itself feels very... forced. I don't necessarily think the plot/story is bad per se. It's just that if you want to write a novella dealing with the mundane and the ordinary, you have to be able to craft the prose and the sentences with a bit more artistry and a careful hand to avoid being absolutely dull. Perhaps this works in the original novella, but the English rendering is, again, severely lacking in artistry and subtlety.
I'll probably finish the book anyways since it's short and update this later, but as of right now, I'm not impressed.
--Edit: I was maybe a little harsh, but after finishing the book, I still stand by my initial reactions. The book does get better though, and in particular, I thought the second story did the book a little bit more justice. Even though it was pretty cheesy, I actually found it... kind of charming? And, at least my reading made me think that the author put a lot more of herself into that story than the first....more
At times plodding and tedious, at other times brilliant. I enjoyed it as much as you can enjoy living inside the head of a cynical existentialist mireAt times plodding and tedious, at other times brilliant. I enjoyed it as much as you can enjoy living inside the head of a cynical existentialist mired in his own thoughts, which, frankly speaking sounds a lot like my day-to-day, so... take that with a grain of salt. The book was refreshing in a counterintuitive way. You would stumble onto a page full of exactly what you'd been feeling for years without ever having strung together the words to express it properly, but there it'd be, existing right on that page (lol). Just brilliant philosophical bits sprinkled around, which is why I've given it four stars.
That said, I read No Exit and Three Other Plays a little while ago, and honestly, I enjoyed that work more than Nausea. Maybe it's because plays demand some sort of action and Nausea was really about being locked up in the psyche of another human being - and most of the time only that human being. It got pretty claustrophobic in there, and since I have some similar outlooks on existence, the double-whammy of existential angst might have hit me a little too hard for pure enjoyment.
For me, Nausea as a novel isn't quite 5-star worthy. I felt better for reading it, because Sartre did manage to vocalize a lot of my inner thoughts eloquently, but at the same time, its function as a novel was compromised in favor of heavy philosophy (which is NOT by any means a bad thing). Enjoyment of a piece and respect for a piece are different, and I guess that's where the line comes in here. I respect Nausea. I enjoyed Nausea as well, but part of that enjoyment came from the respect I felt for its weight as a somewhat tedious yet meaningful and relatable work....more
Not a bad book, but I found the characters a bit... stiff, like cardboard. Stock. I give credit for attempting to remedy this; backstory after backstoNot a bad book, but I found the characters a bit... stiff, like cardboard. Stock. I give credit for attempting to remedy this; backstory after backstory on the protagonists is obviously supposed to flesh them out, give them depth, but I found that these attempts became increasingly more contrived, making the book more of a chore to get through than something I felt personally invested in finishing. And I really like finishing books! I did enjoy the beginning though, as I'm an avid reader of Korean War literature and I accept the tragedies as having been realistically portrayed and well-executed on Lee's part. There's some very elegant prose in here and a number of powerful scenes, but the story is too heavy and takes itself so seriously that it really does just end up dragging its feet. I'm always one to enjoy tragic novels, but this was too heavy-handed. ...more
I read this after watching the movies, so fair warning - this may in part color my opinion of the book. I think The Hunger Games has created an intereI read this after watching the movies, so fair warning - this may in part color my opinion of the book. I think The Hunger Games has created an interesting world; the plot - though done before - is still exciting and horrific. All things considered, it doesn't start out with bad materials. Even if you're reading it solely for quick, cheap entertainment value, it actuallly does a good job of keeping the reader interested. That said, I found the writing terse and uninspired. The content makes up for it, but there were some contrived moments of overused phrases that made me raise an eyebrow. Maybe I'm being too picky since I don't really read YA and I'm not used to the genre?
Anyways, I had fun reading it and the book was a breeze to go through. Just not altogether entirely impressed by the actual writing....more
I'm always fond of monstrous types with hearts of gold. A very short story, but Borges does a lovely job of painting the Minotaur sympathetically. SadI'm always fond of monstrous types with hearts of gold. A very short story, but Borges does a lovely job of painting the Minotaur sympathetically. Sad, bittersweet, and resonant....more
I can't honestly say I understood everything Youn wrote, but I'm strangely attracted to this book. Like other have commented, it's pretty abstract, buI can't honestly say I understood everything Youn wrote, but I'm strangely attracted to this book. Like other have commented, it's pretty abstract, but the heart of this collection and the reason I have come back to re-read certain poems so often is her exquisite command of language and nuance. There's something very... full, rich, and lovely about the way she uses words. Her imagery isn't a forced aesthetic - or at least, it certainly doesn't read forced, and she's able to invoke so much more depth with a single syllable than most other poets I've read. I'll probably hunker down some day and dig through this more thoroughly, but even as it is now, I'm wholly charmed. ...more
In all honesty, this book is full of violent kitsch and obscenely unlikable characters, clear ploys to play into novelty. But I liked it, warts and alIn all honesty, this book is full of violent kitsch and obscenely unlikable characters, clear ploys to play into novelty. But I liked it, warts and all. Yes, some parts do go way overboard on trying to shock the reader, but, hey it's Palahniuk, and hey, I was sufficiently shocked. It doesn't hurt that I relate at least in some part to Shannon (not a good thing or something to admit out loud) so this book is doubly damning....more
Immensely thought-provoking and poignant in the midst of atrocity. I desperately needed this and I can already say that the contents of this book haveImmensely thought-provoking and poignant in the midst of atrocity. I desperately needed this and I can already say that the contents of this book have bled through into my own life already. Highly recommended and will likely reread many more times to come....more