Enjoyed it! Has a familiar cadence to the sentences, maybe because I knew it was JK. As other reviewers have said, this book breaks no new ground in c...moreEnjoyed it! Has a familiar cadence to the sentences, maybe because I knew it was JK. As other reviewers have said, this book breaks no new ground in crime mysteries, and the one sex scene and one violent scene were abrupt and reeked of an editor's last-minute request to spice it up. But beyond that, I feel close enough to Cormoran and Robin that I do believe I will pick up #2 when she releases it. (less)
**spoiler alert** Wtf guys. I'm only reading the third because Maria tells me it will get better and I need to see if Clary and Jace are gonna commit...more**spoiler alert** Wtf guys. I'm only reading the third because Maria tells me it will get better and I need to see if Clary and Jace are gonna commit creepy incest or what (I'm pretty sure they aren't actually siblings). And way to have six death scenes, Simon. You just won't go. (less)
**spoiler alert** The most cliched parts of Twilight, Harry Potter, and Star Wars mashed up into one nearly unreadable mess. I'm so incredibly disappo...more**spoiler alert** The most cliched parts of Twilight, Harry Potter, and Star Wars mashed up into one nearly unreadable mess. I'm so incredibly disappointed in this.(less)
**spoiler alert** I read this entire book in one lazy, languid poolside day over a long weekend, and my initial thinking was, well, it was entertainin...more**spoiler alert** I read this entire book in one lazy, languid poolside day over a long weekend, and my initial thinking was, well, it was entertaining, quite easy, and fast-paced enough for me. However after learning more about the authors and after picking up His Dark Materials, I realize what a cheap, Hollywood bait crapfest this book really is.
I was recommended this book by a few people who enjoy fantastical YA fiction (I mean really, who doesn't?) when I was looking for my next The Hunger Games... I suppose The Power of Six is supposed to be the best book in the trilogy, but after learning about James Frey's fiction-farm being behind The Lorien Legacies, I'm just somewhat disgusted and uninterested in reading more. I did pick up His Dark Materials immediately after getting home from said long weekend because I Am Number Four was good in that its ease kickstarted my reading habit, and just 10% into The Golden Compass and I can see what a joke I Am Number Four really is. Cheap, fluffy, derivative (dog daemons!) and so clearly written with young Hollywood actors in mind to play the lead roles.
Listen, I could be wrong, James Frey's fiction-farm and The Lorien Legacies could've been written with no ulterior motive other than to introduce another fantastical, inspiring world for kids and a grand escape for adults, but after looking at the evidence I'm glad I've moved on to something with more substance, more of a challenge, something that I think I'll remember and enjoy and want to share with my children some day a la Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. I Am Number Four can be considered an amuse bouche, nothing more.(less)
C'mon. It's Kris Jenner's memoir. She's a completely interesting woman with a really inspiring outlook on life. Really! If you're an unironic fan of K...moreC'mon. It's Kris Jenner's memoir. She's a completely interesting woman with a really inspiring outlook on life. Really! If you're an unironic fan of Keeping Up With The Kardashians (I started out as one), then you'll totally enjoy this light read. (less)
Like Middlesex, I found myself walking away from this book for quite a long time - a few months, nearly a year? - before tapping back to it again whil...moreLike Middlesex, I found myself walking away from this book for quite a long time - a few months, nearly a year? - before tapping back to it again while waiting for a delayed flight after finishing Night Circus and not feeling like shelling out another $10 for a Kindle book when I had just recently abandoned Cloud Atlas. I went from 20% to 100% complete in a matter of days. Eugenides has a way of doing that to me... we sort of slog along for the first quarter or so and suddenly, I am pulled into the current and I can't put it down. The Marriage Plot is not as good as Middlesex although it takes place in New England, another locale familiar in my life (like Middlesex's late-book San Francisco), but there is still something about it that is captivating.
Perhaps its the early 1980s setting. Perhaps it's the well-written white people/first class problems dichotomy that had me interested. Madeline is an infuriating protagonist if only because she has the life, intellectually and physically, that anybody would want but rarely have. She's moneyed, intelligent, emotional, beautiful, "odorless," one character calls her later. A bit of a comically idealized young woman. The men who orbit her life, one in tight orbit, another often far-flung, are more relatable but still somewhat mysterious, because despite the time we spend with Mitchell in his three-week enlightenment crusade I still didn't feel the depth of his struggle the way I, begrudgingly, did with Madeline.
Eugenides's portrayal of a manic-depressive was heart wrenching and upsetting at times just for the sheer relatability of it. Not because I personally have experienced anything like Leonard's decline into his illness or experienced the effect that it had on Madeline, but because it just all felt so damn plausible. Even the Monte Carlo fiasco.
The novel ends with each of the three main characters deciding to spin off into their own orbits, to plunge headfirst into the dark unknown of their mid twenties without the blankets of each others' approval warming their shoulders. That, in fact, is something that I think myself and my friends and peers have experienced or are even just beginning to in our early 30s (arguably the same maturity point as 24 year olds in 1983...?) and after all was said and all the whining was done, it left me satisfied and even a little inspired after all.(less)
**spoiler alert** Nothing happens. Nothing. Happens. Oh fine, some battles and betrayals and blah blah blah but this book absolutely did not deliver o...more**spoiler alert** Nothing happens. Nothing. Happens. Oh fine, some battles and betrayals and blah blah blah but this book absolutely did not deliver on the promise of the first.
What is everyone talking about with regards to the "complexity" of the characters? Cersei is so cartoonishly villainous, during the scene in the Queen's Hall during the battle when she's wink-wink-nudge-nudging dear innocent Sansa about the "weapon between [her] legs" I could practically picture her threading her fingers and leering. Okay, we don't know if we love or hate Tyrion, but of course we love him, because he's the only Lannister with an ounce of intellect in his head but we're torn because guess what? The Lannisters are evil. The Starks are good. There has never been any indication that it was any more complex than that. And Jaime's scene... with the wine and Catelyn... I pictured an off-Broadway theater actor twirling his moustache and spitting out the crudest, most ridiculous declarations of "eeeeevil" in a stage whisper and over-enunciation. Enough.
Even my beloved Dany was so goddamn boring in this book. Waah waah, I have dragons, I am their mother, no I will not marry you, okay so I guess I should leave your house. That's what happens. I will say however that her visit to the House of the Undying was pretty mindblowing and creeptastic, but getting to that section alone can't be worth the thousand pages.
Why didn't we see more of that super creepy red priestess giving birth to demon shadow children who do her bidding? THAT'S the kind of insanity that I was expecting throughout this entire read. Not idly wondering what the hell a capon actually is as Asha tears one apart with her fingers. Again.(less)
I'm finished. Almost done with the book, but I'm so, so sick of it that I'm done. This book started out so promisingly - a sparkling tale of love set...moreI'm finished. Almost done with the book, but I'm so, so sick of it that I'm done. This book started out so promisingly - a sparkling tale of love set in the Prohibition era, going from the uncultured Midwest to the hotbed of Chicago, and then Hem and Hadley get married and move to Paris and THUD. The story drops like a rock. Hadley becomes an incredibly unlikeable protagonist - she is so pathetic, so empty, such a soulless shell of a wife whose only purpose in life is to nap fitfully while doubt of her great love's honesty knocks about her empty little head, whines about needing vacations and getting whisked away to the Alps, and maybe, MAYBE tricks Hem into having a baby to "keep" him.
Now don't get me wrong. Hemingway is drawn as pretty much your classic cad - manic depressive, a bit callous, almost doesn't even see Hadley in front of him when he's in a writing jag. However, he meets Hadley when he's but 21 years old, and he grows up but his character never progresses, the same flashes of anger and pugilist stay stagnant throughout the years and this was really a missed opportunity to paint him richer.
McLain perhaps takes too much time filling out the edges of Hem and Hadley's social circle - she seems to take such utter grating delight in name-dropping all the heavies from the era, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, et. al., but I get so much of their inner lives and so much of Hadley's nothing that I just MISSED getting deeper into the real relationship between Hem and Hadley, what made them work, what made them actually attracted to each other, even if they were obviously doomed from the start.
I'm frustrated by this book. I loved the first third, and just couldn't finish. So sad.(less)
A beautiful Angelou collection of heartfelt essays spanning life, love, and racial and gender equality issues. Her writing feels like wrapping yoursel...moreA beautiful Angelou collection of heartfelt essays spanning life, love, and racial and gender equality issues. Her writing feels like wrapping yourself in a warm blanket on a snowy day. Being essays, the mini-stories didn't pack quite the punch that her novels do, but that's obviously to be expected.(less)
This book was well-timed for me. I didn't pick it up after When The Elephants Dance on purpose - it just happened. But where Elephants was about the J...moreThis book was well-timed for me. I didn't pick it up after When The Elephants Dance on purpose - it just happened. But where Elephants was about the Japanese occupation in the Philippines during WWII, Buddha in the Attic is about the Japanese immigrants in the US - San Francisco and all the way down the California coast - at the start of the war. Having spent some time with Alejandro and the rest of the Filipinos living in fear of the Japanese forces, Buddha is about the Japanese who have nothing to do with war - Japenese women who are living in their own small hells of unrealized dreams and unfulfilled potential, as mail order brides to Japanese working men who came to America long ago.
Buddha is small but potent. The entire book is told in first person plural which is a device that I have not had the pleasure of enjoying until now - it gave the entire story a cohesiveness, and a feeling that an entire chorus of women who shared this experience were telling the story to you. The last chapter, told from first person plural of the American townspeople who had to come to terms with the internment of their Japanese neighbors who had become friends, was a very interesting way to finish the book.
One of the things that struck me about Conquistadora, a book I read recently about the slavery in the turn of the civil war, was how the author made it a point to say that the characters didn't want their names forgotten. Beaten, physically and emotionally, because of the way people treat people, Santiago gave names to all of the people who populated Ana's life. So it was in Otsuka's Buddha, almost an entire chapter describing how the various Japanese women, men, and children left behind their lives when the government came for them - some with fresh laundry, others having paid down to years' worth of life insurance, a little girl with a red rubber ball...
The spate of books I've randomly picked up recently have made me, time and again, almost breathlessly grateful that I don't live in a time of war the likes that these people have seen. The Buddha in the Attic is a great addition to my list.(less)