I really enjoyed Jonathan Carroll's novella Teaching the Dog to Read. It is a dreams meet reality story with a bit of a twist to that. Where I was sliI really enjoyed Jonathan Carroll's novella Teaching the Dog to Read. It is a dreams meet reality story with a bit of a twist to that. Where I was slightly disappointed with this story compared to all of Carroll's novels that I have read was there were a bit too many, and too large gaps in this story where I felt a lot more important detail could have been added. Again, this isn't a full length novel, so maybe I should be taking that into consideration. I just felt there were too many times where I was just wondering "why did the story jump to this new part so quickly"...and "how did this happen, and that was really convenient." On the positive side: Teaching the Dog to Read has all the wonderful imagery, philosophies, etc. that you get with all of Carroll's other novels. If you like his story telling, you probably will enjoy this too. It just isn't a major work in his canon of work....more
Dear Mr. M by Herman Koch was an amazing, unique read. However it took me a third of the book to really get in to it. Not that that is a horrible thinDear Mr. M by Herman Koch was an amazing, unique read. However it took me a third of the book to really get in to it. Not that that is a horrible thing, it just took a good percentage of the story before it really grabbed me. What held me up at the beginning was the style of writing. It starts out with an unnamed narrator that is speaking directly to a famous author, Mr. M, in a very stalker like manner. Except the reader doesn't really know if the narrator is speaking directly or maybe he is writing to the author in a diary style, I never could really tell. Whatever it is, everything in the first third seemed intentionally vague, and creepy to keep the reader off guard. The author being "stalked" wrote a book that made him famous based off a true crime. So the second third of the book is told to us through the connection with all the children that made up that true crime. This is where the novel started to pick up to me. I really could start connecting with the characters here. Where things were intentionally vague and hazy to me in the first third of the book, every thing now became much more concrete, the story was clear, and the overall mystery of the book was presented. The last third was told from multiple characters points of view, changing every chapter or so. Despite the rotation of the narrator here, it was so well written that it was very simple to know who's eyes we were following. I found the overall writing of Koch much more pleasing and beautiful than in The Dinner, the other book of his that I have read. There is a passage in the middle of the book where a rather minor character, Lodewijk, has a shining moment about the upcoming and then death of his mother that just blew me away with how gorgeous the writing was. I really cared and connected to this character even though he was so minor he could have been written out of the book and not much would have changed with the overall story. This happened often for me, and by the end, even the vague narrator of the first third becomes clear and retroactively connection occurs. The only part that I didn't love about the book was the very very end, avoiding spoilers, it just had a darker tone than I expected or found to be a pleasing way to end the story. Overall, Dear Mr. M was an outstanding book. It is really unique as I have never read anything like it in style and story. If you liked The Dinner (and I did), I found this novel to be superior in every way.
Disclaimer: I received the book for review via NetGalley. It did not effect my review in any way. ...more