Challenge: 50 Books discussion

Finish Line 2011 > Aubrey's 50 in 2011

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message 1: by Aubrey (new)

Aubrey (korrick) I couldn't resist. Hopefully I can make it this year without too much seclusion.

message 2: by Aubrey (last edited Nov 07, 2011 05:36PM) (new)

Aubrey (korrick) 1.

Sophie's Choice - William Styron

Finished 1/1/11

Very emotionally charged. An interesting take on the Holocaust and its ever present destructive forces.

message 3: by Aubrey (last edited Nov 07, 2011 04:47PM) (new)

Aubrey (korrick) 2.

The Name of the Wind - Patrick Rothfuss

Finished 1/7/11

I thought I had had my fill of the new takes on fantasy and magic things, and nothing of quality would ever be written again. I was wrong.

message 4: by Aubrey (last edited Nov 07, 2011 04:53PM) (new)

Aubrey (korrick) 3.

Kokoro - Natsume Sōseki

Finished 1/11/11

A brief look into the life of a changing Japan. A very melancholy book, but not without its charm.

message 5: by Aubrey (last edited Nov 07, 2011 04:44PM) (new)

Aubrey (korrick) 4.

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet - David Mitchell

Finished 1/24/11

Definitely need to reread this. I read and loved this book before I had started leaving reviews, and it's a shame to not have my recollections upon finishing the novel immortalized.

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Aubrey (korrick) 5.

Stones from the River - Ursula Hegi

Finished 2/13/11

Yet another gem I need to reread. This book had one of the most satisfying endings that I had read in a long time. Everything tied together so nicely. It was <3

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Aubrey (korrick) 6.

The Secret History - Donna Tartt

Finished 2/18/11

Well. Interesting college experience we have here. On the one hand, the complete opposite of what I've had so far, and one that I'd love to try. On the other, an absolutely terrifying ride into the void. I think I'll stick with reading and enjoying it. Also need to reread, so many reviews I have not done!

message 8: by Aubrey (new)

Aubrey (korrick) 7.

Set This House in Order: A Romance of Souls - Matt Ruff

Finished 2/20/11

Okay. This book was just ridiculous. Now, I'm a fan of MPD/DID based stories, they're interesting stuff. This however turned the concept into a video game where you can call forth different kinds of players with different abilities to the forefront of a single entity. It is NOT that convenient. Bleh. Writing was good, will give it that.

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Aubrey (korrick) 8.

The Art of War - Sun Tzu

Finished 3/22/11

Not really a book as much as a guidebook to life and its wars big and small. How to fight, where, and more importantly, when. Definitely a need to read at least once in your life.

message 10: by Aubrey (new)

Aubrey (korrick) 9.

A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving

Finished 3/22/11

I usually can't stand post 50's US historical fiction. Too much political bullshit and self-entitlement for my tastes. This however. This was very good in delving beyond that and recovering some meaning behind this overfed overindulged country of ours. Very comforting.

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Aubrey (korrick) 10.

A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

Finished 4/3/11

Oh hey I actually have a review for this one. Might as well make use of it.

This book was depressing, almost overly so. What was the point of completely disintegrating every main character to various types of hells, both living and dead? The worst part was while there wasn't obvious potential to happiness, there was a definite trend of small improvements throughout the story, at least till the point that the train hit the bulwark and left no hope of reparation. It was a very accurate historical fiction, but it left a bad taste in my mouth. I may reread in the future, but that will be a long time coming.

I think I was inspired to review it by the sheer depression I felt after reading it. Go figure.

message 12: by Aubrey (last edited Nov 07, 2011 05:40PM) (new)

Aubrey (korrick) 11.

Dexter Is Delicious - Jeff Lindsay

Finished 6/7/11

Noooo I don't have a review stored for this one. And I had such a promising beginning. Oh well.
This is one of the few, if not only series for which I purchase books, instead of delegating my searching to the library. Maybe it's the suave psychopath. Maybe it's the sharp and murderous writing. Or maybe it's the fact that I still can't believe that something this beautifully sinister is being readily snapped up by the mainstream in all forms. Who knows. Anyways, I am absolutely fascinated by the continuation of this story. The TV series I can hold out on, but I'll be looking forward to each new book with pleasure.

message 13: by Aubrey (last edited Nov 07, 2011 05:40PM) (new)

Aubrey (korrick) 12.

Galore - Michael Crummey

Finished 6/24/11

This book was weird. Like. I appreciated the circularity of the story itself. But it didn't seem put together that well. A slap dash ouroboros if that. Didn't really take anything amazing away from the reading experience.

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Aubrey (korrick) 13.

84, Charing Cross Road - Helene Hanff

Finished 6/25/11

Oh hello there review. Fancy seeing you here again.

Quick, witty, and charming read, with the slightest tones of nostalgia and heartbreak. Definitely rereadable with short time periods in between the readings. If the movie is just as good, that would be lovely.

I forgot to mention that this book was absolutely adorable. No joke.

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Aubrey (korrick) 14.

The Brothers Karamazov - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Finished 6/26/11

This book took so looooooong. I swear. Didn't even bother reviewing it. Guess I'm not cut out to appreciate all the classics. Sigh. Reading it in pdf form probably didn't help....

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Aubrey (korrick) 15.

Deep River - Shusaku Endo

Finished 6/29/11

Yay a review. Awesome.

There is death. Yet, there is also life. There are long emotionally dead passages. Yet, there are also moments so charged with feeling they consume all in their path, carrying along for a bit and leaving behind ones willing to do anything to catch up. You have the search for reincarnated love ones, the search for emotional fulfillment, the search to reconcile death with life, the search for atonement, each person ever searching for something omnipresent in its never clearly defined state. And on it goes, this one period of time accepting all parts of life into its midst; the river mentioned in the pages embodies this, and will take everything in without spitting out any straightforward conclusions of its own. This is definitely a novel that won't get very far with a reader without some interpretation on their part; it is only fully enjoyed if one can see their own life experiences within the pages, and leave with a new understanding of just what it means to exist.

Well that was awfully philosophical. Must've been the mood of the book getting to me.

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Aubrey (korrick) 16.

Like Water for Chocolate - Laura Esquivel

Finished 7/1/11

I think I finally hit the period where I started to regularly review. Excellent.

The book is decent. The recipes would be worth coming back to for trying out. Otherwise, the fantastical premise is nothing inspiring. There's your romance, your death, your regret for past actions, your overwhelming hate for a familial tyrant, etc etc. It was a quick read, but doesn't leave the reader much to reminisce over.

I faintly remember this book being ridiculous. Not a big fan of that.

message 18: by Aubrey (last edited Nov 07, 2011 06:16PM) (new)

Aubrey (korrick) 17.

The Slynx - Tatyana Tolstaya

Finished 7/5/11

Ooh. Now this one was good. This is where I committed to writing reviews because a simple star rating wouldn't be able to convey all that I felt upon finishing this book.

**spoiler alert** This book. This book describes the addiction to literature I have in excruciating detail. It makes me appreciate the wealth of knowledge I have in comparison to the main character, for what is reading if you don't understand it?
Also, post apocalyptic at its best. No drowning in scientific garble describing the dessicated toxic surroundings. It is much more concerned with the mentality of the populace, the complete ignorance and great practicality the denizens of this fallout zone are capable of. You never find out much of what exactly happened, but frankly, that's not what counts here.
What counts is the progression the main character goes from man to monster. 1984 has nothing on how easily he slips into the mindset of what he fears above all else, all for the sake of the written word. God forbid books be as scarce and prized as they are in this world; one could hope they were valued in the real world as much as they are in this novel, but it's frightening to consider the consequences.
In addition to the transition beautiful in its slick descent is the emotional overtones, the hilarious vulgarity juxtaposed with the overwhelming depression that surfaces every so often. It is loss conveyed at its best, despair over having lost a world of light and having to grind out an existence among the remains; worst of all being able to feel the emotion but not be able to comprehend the reason behind it.
A very good read. Will definitely get you thinking, if nothing else.

Yep. See? Can't get all that from a five star rating.

message 19: by Aubrey (last edited Nov 07, 2011 06:14PM) (new)

Aubrey (korrick) 18.

Between Two Seas - Carmine Abate

Finished 7/7/11

And the reviews continue.

Basic premise of obsession, family, and culture, a good vibrant tale of Italian food and love of life. Speedy read, the ending was expected but not made boring by the predictability. I liked the details, it was very easy to maintain a colorful mental pictures while reading. No great insights into the human condition here, it's a juicy read filled with beautiful scenery/photography and mouthwatering food/women rather than a savory one. There's a bit of triumph, a bit of tragedy, and a whole lot of the incomprehensible human condition. All in all a decent read.

I think I liked this book mainly because I could add 'Italian' to my lists of read author's nationalities. Don't judge. >_>

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Aubrey (korrick) 19.

An Artist of the Floating World - Kazuo Ishiguro

Finished 7/8/11

Review review.

I finished this book on a very blue note. The narrator has a great amount of emotion built up that he refuses to acknowledge, and keeps a 'stiff upper lip'; acting almost normal despite the fact the world he once knew and loved has been completely eradicated by the war and those adapting to the aftermath. Even worse is he sees himself as being at fault for the destruction, although truthfully, as an artist he couldn't have had that much impact on Japan's decisions concerning the war. He blames himself for creating art that supported the war, and believes others wish that he would honorably commit suicide to atone.
It is uncertain what the character will do after the novel's ending. With his remaining daughter married off and most of his friends and colleagues beyond his reach through either death or differences in ideologies, he will have a lot more time to spend in solitude on his hands. Whether he will continue to persuade himself to not regret the past years of his life, or start to believe in earnest that he is at fault and seek to remedy his guilt, is up to debate.
Uncertainty aside, this book is a very good look at Japan after the war, and the shifting beliefs of the people struggling to find purchase in a world where all the old beliefs have been torn apart and a foreign power has been elevated in their place. The melancholy tone is almost a must, and accurately conveys the sentiments of those who have to make the decision to either accept their previous actions as necessary, or leave the world to the next generation for good.

I'm always so verbose after finishing a book. Must be all the reading, I must absorb quite a few along the way.

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Aubrey (korrick) 20.

Black Swan Green - David Mitchell

Finished 7/13/11

My first repeat author of the year. I should read more of him.

This is a children's book written for the adult mind. All of the horrors and torments of the regular youth, the fighting parents, the schoolyard bullies, the secrets, the shame, are written in such a way that memories of your own childhood will be conjured up, emotions fresh as if it were yesterday. Throughout the story, the main character has insights that are a mix of childhood imagination and innate wisdom, as he goes through the motions of the daily life and all of its consequences. It is a long, hard slog, with an end that while not triumphant is indeed a triumph; a child conquering what life throws at him and coming out of it bruised, but not broken.

And that pretty much sums it up.

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Aubrey (korrick) 21.

The Bleeding of the Stone - Ibrahim al-Koni

Finished 7/14/11

I'm on a roll :D

A decent read. Very good metaphor for animal extinction caused by man's reckless slaughter. Some good descriptive passages, but otherwise nothing of special note here.

I think I expected this to be more. Inspiring. Oh well.

message 23: by Aubrey (last edited Nov 07, 2011 06:32PM) (new)

Aubrey (korrick) 22.

The Book of Evidence - John Banville

Finished 4/20/11

And so it goes.

Hm. Definitely wasn't what I expected. Bit boring, actually. But there are a couple of prime moments where the book kicks you in the face in the most hilarious way possible with how unreliable the narrator is. So, not completely irredeemable.

As said before, I expected more out of this book than I was given. Guess not all murderous psychopaths are fascinating. Who would've known.

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Aubrey (korrick) 23.

Possession - A.S. Byatt

Finished 7/30/11

This book more than made up for the previous disappointment.

It is astounding how naturally and fluidly this book progresses, through past centuries and present ages of poetry and literature; a record of the constant need of the people now to know the passions that drove the people of before. Everyone wants to know what happened in their own way, to understand the person behind the particular passage that touched their heart and decided their future. The ending is balanced in that while the old love was not fully lived out, it still came to fruition generations later, in a new love that amazes me with its thorough comprehension of all sides of the issue of 'romance'. And the poetry. The quality of it is incredible, and I would give anything to have more of Randolph Henry Ash and Christabel LamMotte beyond the pages of this story. As there isn't, I shall simply have to reread it on many an occasion in the future, and of course update this review accordingly.

Not as long as some of my other reviews, but full of affection <3

message 25: by Aubrey (last edited Nov 07, 2011 06:42PM) (new)

Aubrey (korrick) 24.

Night - Elie Wiesel

Finished 8/11/11

I knew taking the Holocaust in Film and Literature class was a good idea, now I have good stuff like this under my belt.

You can't critique this book. You can like it, you can dislike it, but you can't reason out why. That would be an insult to the memory of this horrific time, and an insult to the man who lived through it and chose to cry out to the world against it. The most you can do is read it, and take away something from it. You can never fully understand the emotions this book encompasses, for the price of understanding is death, if not of the physical than of the mental. Read it, and know that this was not some nightmare in a fevered brain; this once upon a time was reality, and it is up to us to know this and to make sure this reality never occurs again.

More of a cop out of a review than anything else, but I at least explained why.

message 26: by Aubrey (last edited Nov 07, 2011 06:45PM) (new)

Aubrey (korrick) 25.

An Instance of the Fingerpost - Iain Pears

Finished 8/13/11

Personal opinion intruded a bit more than usual on this particular review, unfortunately.

This is a good book, don't let the measly three stars tell you any differently. The author juggles the contrasting views of the unreliable narrators with veritable finesse, so the solution to the mystery isn't revealed to the very last pages. However, I do not like unreliable narrators, especially those that largely treat anyone that isn't an affluent man with outright disrespect. So, this is very well-written; I just spent too much time being pissed at the narrators to be bothered to give a more favorable rating.

Yeah. Wasn't really comfortable with this book. Can't do much else beyond giving reasons for it.

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Aubrey (korrick) 26.

Wolf Hall - Hilary Mantel

Finished 8/25/11

This book was fortunately a better piece of historical fiction than the previous.

This is history written in the descriptive, with no plot other than a man's life, with convenient starting and stopping points, and much backtracking to fill in the details. I've always been a fan of historical fiction, and this is a prime example of why (I will admit I have a penchant for the Tudor family, but that detracts nothing from the quality of the book). You learn so much about the time period, and all the dry, boring facts are brought to such vivid color that you can't help but enjoy yourself. It helps that Cromwell is, in simple terms, a veritable BAMF, and it's great fun cheering him on through his rocketing rise to power. He's not the most human narrator, you have to pay quite a great deal of attention to the writing to ferret out his emotions and his moments of weakness. The moments are there, however, and make him all the better, as there's no enjoyment in reading from the viewpoint of a machine man, always successful and inevitably boring. In summary, it's a great read, with historical knowledge wrapped in well written prose of descriptively entertaining prowess.

Oliver Cromwell's one of my most favorite historical figures because of this book.

message 28: by Aubrey (last edited Nov 07, 2011 06:55PM) (new)

Aubrey (korrick) 27.

The Reader - Bernhard Schlink

Finished 8/31/11

Having reviewed this, I should go back and reread/review Lolita. It's only fair.

**spoiler alert** This is a curious book, curious in its affect on people. The large age difference between the lovers brings to mind Lolita; it's astonishing how much the choice of the genders of the old and the young affects the reputation of the two books. People are much more likely to forgive Hanna than Humbert, although Hanna's statutory rape receives much more description, and she's a Nazi to boot. But nevermind that.
The book clearly illustrates the large scale repercussions the Holocaust had on the world at large, how the future will never be able to outrun the memories of horror and waves of guilt. Michael is the embodiment of the second generation of Germans whose parents were involved in some way in WWII, whether directly acting or a conforming bystander. The children of these participants, whether willing or unwilling, are all too eager to break off and sentence their parents to a life of regret, saying how could their parents judge them while they themselves have so much to atone for? Michael discovers over the course of the novel that he can't do this, not fully and absolutely, much as he can't bring himself to pass judgement on Hanna for her crimes, or on himself for loving a criminal. He instead escapes to the past of legal history and jargon, much as Hanna escapes from her illiteracy and the life she has led because of to the world of literature in having people read to her.
With all the escaping there is no real closure; not even Hanna's suicide tells Michael what he should think, and instead increases the guilt he feels for his love and the baggage that goes with it. It is forever a grey area, both emotionally and morally, as his troubled guilt derives from his past love, just as the German populace derives guilt from their past history.

Yep. Will be getting to Lolita. Sometime.

message 29: by Aubrey (last edited Nov 07, 2011 07:00PM) (new)

Aubrey (korrick) 28.

Baltasar and Blimunda - José Saramago

Finished 9/5/11


I usually like historical fiction that goes in depth, deviates off the given plot in order to embellish on historical aspects here and there. This however was a trial to finish. There was a little too much wandering, and not enough interesting details about the main characters themselves to merit paying attention. The religious cynicism agreed with me, but didn't offer any food for thought. Unfortunately, this book proved to be one that went in one ear and mostly went out the other without any affect.

Not what I expected. A bit depressing since I've wanted to read Blindness for ages. We'll see how that goes.

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Aubrey (korrick) 29.

The Complete Maus - Art Spiegelman

Finished 9/9/11

Another good contribution from the Holocaust Film and Lit class.

And so it goes. The story delivered here is just as morally complex and emotionally raw as the Holocaust itself. The author's father tells his story of survival in the face of such horrors, and also serves as a living example of the horrors that didn't die with the end of the war. The author himself is left to pick up the pieces of a life that had been chipped away at by his father's stingy eccentricities and his mother's suicide; remnants of the stereotypical Jews that Hitler sought to exterminate, and those who couldn't cope with the aftereffects. His drawings illustrate both fact and emotion, as they serve as both creative output and a method of coping with the burdens of transgenerational memory. It is a powerful work, and shows that comic books rank as an art form on par with music, painting, and any other form of conveying emotion in a creative undertaking.

After all the manga I've read, the comic book was refreshing in its unique art. And of course, its wonderful presentation of complex issues.

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Aubrey (korrick) 30.

A Game of Thrones - George R.R. Martin

Finished 9/13/11

Just a warning guys, this is when my list gets taken over by huge works of fantasy and leaves next to no room for standalone literature of any other sort.

This is fantasy. A sprawling conglomerate of fantastical characters both large and small, all strung together in a vast web where one event begets thousands of others with the rapidity of vibrating strings, everything encompassed by a world where magic creeps at the edges and the supernatural whispers throughout the land. The pace of the book is both slow and breakneck, details abounding every which way but in no sense hindering the plot of action and consequences. I am very pleased with the quality of writing and the world created thus far, and hope that both are maintained and maybe even improved upon as the books continue.

My newest obsession, as you can see.

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Aubrey (korrick) 31.

A Clash of Kings - George R.R. Martin

Finished 9/23/11

Another one. Sigh. See what I mean?

The reverberations of the web aren't as inspiring, and the pace has become a bit muddled by the introduction of vast numbers of characters, of which quite a few die shortly afterward, but so far still good.

Not as obsessed now. But it's still better than a lot of the stuff out there.

message 33: by Aubrey (new)

Aubrey (korrick) 32.

Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides

Finished 10/3/11

Oh hey, a non-huge fantasy thing. Amazing.

**spoiler alert** You know those books that seem to be getting somewhere but in the end really don't? This was one of them. The subject material was fascinating and all, the historical progression of a single family that culminated in a genetically mutated hermaphrodite, but to be frank, I was looking forward to Cal's life more than his family's. How did he go from teenaged newly made male wearing an old suit to the elegant world traveler telling the story? I feel if that portion of the story had been expanded upon as much as the grandparent's and parent's had been, the book wouldn't have seemed to end so abruptly. It was a good read, but nothing really stood out from the flow. That and the lack of Cal's transition story from teenager to adult culminated in the 3 star rating.

I think, in the end, I would've preferred the fantasy, unfortunately.

message 34: by Aubrey (new)

Aubrey (korrick) 33.

A Storm of Swords - George R.R. Martin

Finished 10/19/11

Aaaaaand we're back.

Ok, so this still wasn't up to par with the first installment. I however was pleased by the fact that things are finally coming together. The second book introduced a lot without explaining much of the mystery of the first book, and it's the third book that finally gives enough of its secrets to keep me happy. I won't deny it, the deaths in this book were a kick in the gut, but they're roughly balanced by the improving conditions of some of my favorite characters.

Yep. And now another fantasy hiatus.

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Aubrey (korrick) 34.

The Road - Cormac McCarthy

Finished 10/19/11

I read quite a few good ones during the hiatus. I am pleased by this.

Apocalyptic western of slow prose that is both dry as ashes and succulent as nature's breath. Every day the man and the boy face death and the constant collapsing of hope, knowing no future nor reason for why they still exist. All the world is grey in the unknown, save for chance meetings with cannibals and flashes of the past that offer the barest glimpse of how things came to be. There is another story behind the walking existence offered here, but that is left up to the reader to parse together from descriptions of burned landscape and dried corpses, extinct species and no food left save for the walkers. It is a story as smooth as a flow of movement with no record of time, only a slow soft degradation into the wasteland. The ending brings a small glimpse of something akin to hope, a contentment found with humans who have found in each other something more than the monsters they are surrounded by.

Such creative language. Must've been inspired again.

message 36: by Aubrey (last edited Nov 07, 2011 07:19PM) (new)

Aubrey (korrick) 35.

Pavilion of Women - Pearl S. Buck

Finished 10/26/11

It's always nice to see that my tastes during high school weren't nearly as bad during high school as I thought them to be, considering the fact that I loved The Good Earth when I read it sophomore year.

Pearl S. Buck is one whose writing I absolutely adore. I shall have to go through her entire bibliography in order to satisfy myself. Her prose is a warm bath, complete with the small insights and revelations that often come to one during luxurious respite. 'Pavilion of Women' presents a woman with unparalleled logic and self-control, but who also is ignorant of how coldly she views the rest of the world, those who lack her intelligence and strength of will. Through the course of the novel, she recognizes the mistakes she has made in withdrawing herself from the world and expecting the world to properly continue, and with the help from a foreign priest and a previously foreign emotion, she discovers how to continue existing. I feel I have a soft spot for this book, as I share many of the character traits of the protagonist (albeit not nearly as omniscient), and I love the book for being able to relate to many of its wise remarks on life in general.

Yay. I love comfortable, relatable books. So soothing.

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Aubrey (korrick) 36.

Waterland - Graham Swift

Finished 11/6/11

The last of the bunch I had saved up. But certainly not the least.

Yes, there's eels. Yes, there's incest. But more importantly, there's a subtle flow of history, back and forth across the pages from the French Revolution to the nuclear days of WWII. Lessons learned from the trials and tribulations of the Crick family can easily be applied to the great events of world history, and history itself is shown to be an irresistible constant of useless baggage wrapped around dire foretelling. The world is racing to improve itself at such speeds as to dash itself across the rocks of its own progress, falling in love with the idea of complete destruction in order to break from the mindless fervor pace. Humans are the most obvious instrument and often times side effect of this juggernaut, and as Tom shows, the only thing to be done is to try and understand the facts behind the madness. Not to get THE answer, but SOME answer, delving deep and retrieving something serviceable, something that will reason out the unfortunate events and say, "Here. This is why it happened. Knowing this won't change anything, save your ability to cope. And perhaps add you to to the chain of consequences propagated from this history. Your decision."

That's all for now. Until next time I update. Off to more ridiculously long fantasy! :D

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Aubrey (korrick) 37.

A Feast for Crows - George R.R. Martin

Finished 11/14/11

I've noticed that with massive fantasy, the reviews are not so much careful analysis and discussion as much as semi-coherent rants. So here we go.

Holy crap George KICK YOU IN THE FACE. AGHGHGHGHGH. That little blurb at the end was great, by the way. Summed up exactly the frustration I was feeling. I practically SPRINTED through the book, and got next to no feedback on many of my favorite characters. It is very, VERY, frustrating, when all you know about them is through hearsay. WHERE'S THEIR POINT OF VIEW. And then you come in with your, "Oh I did one side of the story and I'll do the other later." It's good that the next book is out already, or I would have gone completely MAD I tell you. MAD. Other than that, huuuuuuge story expansion. Huge. Practically another couple country's thrown in to the already horrendously large mix of plot and characters and whole heaping piles of murdurings. Oh and some of my favorites got lots of plot progression but DUDE. MAJOR CLIFFHANGERS ON ALL OF THEM. WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT. I think this is the worst book so far in terms of that, no wonder everyone went nuts when the fifth book finally came out. Actually. Now that I think about it. There's no guarantee of continuation of those character's plot lines. Since you're covering the unmentioned ones in the next book. ARRRRGHH. You're very good at this. Guess all that's left to do is sprint through the next one. If the next one's like this I am seriously tracking you down and kicking you though, nothing to be done about that.

...yeah. Uhm. The next review will actually be decently intelligent. I promise. >_>

message 39: by [deleted user] (new)

BAH hahahahahahhahahaw! Love it! Haven't read this one but this rant applies to many of these kind of books. Thanks so much for your rant, lol

message 40: by Aubrey (new)

Aubrey (korrick) Deborah wrote: "BAH hahahahahahhahahaw! Love it! Haven't read this one but this rant applies to many of these kind of books. Thanks so much for your rant, lol"

Oh. Thank you! I'm glad someone enjoyed my rant of pure frustration with my addiction to books like these. It's good to see the review was at least entertaining, if not the most enlightening of things. I'll work on the enlightening for future reviews though, that's a promise. Can't rant too often, doesn't make for good reference.

message 41: by Aubrey (last edited Nov 17, 2011 06:43PM) (new)

Aubrey (korrick) 38.

Goblin Market - Christina Rossetti

Finished 11/17/11

Look look look a decent review. I'm so proud.

This book was quite misleading. I went expecting poems along the lines of the goblin market, malicious faeries and whimsical settings galore. Instead I get mostly depressing tidbits on death and lack of love, all of it rife with seasonal imagery. Oh, also a wave of religion inspired writings at the end. Not a big fan of that kind of stuff. I definitely need to choose my next poetry reading more carefully.

Unfortunately what I read wasn't so decent itself. Sigh. At least I have twelve books left to redeem myself with.

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Aubrey (korrick) 39.

Dr. Faustus - Christopher Marlowe

Finished 11/18/11


Eh. Reading this makes me want to reread Hamlet. As well as read Goeth's Faust. I feel I'll get more out of them than I did with this play. At least, in terms of appreciating plays and Faust's story. Most of it was pretty weird. And not much meaning behind it besides falling prey to temptation and the devil. Maybe I'm not a play person. Or maybe I need to read it in a group setting that facilitates proper discussion and analysis. Maybe the next plays will be better.

Another not so good one. Maybe I've lost my ability to appreciate classic literature. Nooooooo. Must read more. Maybe it's because I don't have my old English teacher to help me analyze it. Sadness.

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Aubrey (korrick) 40.

Constant Wife - W. Somerset Maugham

Finished 11/18/11

I have gotten out of my slump. Yusssss.

Ahhh me. There really is nothing like a good dose of intelligence and sheer wit. Especially concerning a well crafted revenge served cold. Simply delicious. Constance is the model of all that I admire in a woman; manipulating her vulnerable position in society to its fullest free state, not to mention keeping every inch of her dignity the entire way through. John was finished from the beginning, and only knows at the very end just how deeply he's trapped in the web he himself began. And Marie-Louise. Ha. The poor thing, how empty her life must be without this sort of intellectual entertainment. So nice of a read. So nice.

I love Maugham. I really do. I shall have to read his entire bibliography. I swear it. Luckily I can act on that, since I have another one of his plays lined up. Happiness is mine~

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Aubrey (korrick) 41.

The Letter. - W. Somerset Maugham

Finished 11/20/11

Finishing this means I have polished off my current checked out batch and must decide what to get next. How exciting :D

Not as good as 'The Constant Wife', but the intrigue kept my interest till the very end, and the characters were fantastically rendered as always. However, I wasn't particularly fond of the fact that Leslie, portrayed as brilliantly in self control at the beginning, had by the end collapsed into a quivering, hysterical mess. I had much more sympathy for Joyce trying to keep everything together for the sake of a friend rather than the wiles of a woman. Sigh. I just don't like the soap opera kind of romantic drama involving excesses of emotion. It's all too ridiculous, really. Maugham was able to make it readable though, so I was more entertained than exasperated. That was nice.

So, nine books to go. With roughly a month and ten days left, that means more short readings. More Maugham perhaps? We shall see.

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Aubrey (korrick) 42.

M. Butterfly - David Henry Hwang

Finished 11/23/11

A very auspicious start indeed.

Now here's a play with depth. Here you have your racial stereotypes, your political stereotypes, your gender stereotypes, all coupled in a massive sexual stereotyping for the ages. A misunderstanding so great and maintained for so long requires a massive amount of explanation, an intro to which the playwright has thankfully provided us at the end of his work. The language was a bit coarse for my tastes, so my rating originally wasn't five stars. But the amount of thought and discussion this piece provokes is definitely better than five stars. It delves unflinchingly into sexual deviations and fetishes that the public would be better off being aware of, as the repercussions of these are more rampant than one would think. One can only hope that this becomes required reading in the future at some level of education, as it will definitely broaden ones mind in ways that are necessary in this day and age.

I'm becoming a bit of a fan of plays. It was a good thing to have decided to read a lot of short books, else I probably wouldn't have gotten to the plays for a while.

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Aubrey (korrick) 43.

The Yellow Arrow - Victor Pelevin

Finished 11/27/11

Another short piece of excellence. I hope to keep this up.

What a concise story encompassing the concept of life and the 'yellow arrow' that it is for so many people. The locomotive of I, to use one of the stories terms, brings to mind Plato's cave, inherent restrictions on life that are rarely observed and yet remain in plain sight. To only know a second of the present before it is shunted to the past by a succeeding second, to never observe fully the succession of moments, to be inextricably bound to life speeding you through the future without a chance of escape before the final plunge. It is all too easy to focus on the small universe at hand, rarely reminded of the world existing at large beyond the confines of the forward traveling through time. Definitely one of the more interesting philosophical meanderings, and one from which it is a joy to learn and draw ones own conclusions.

I liked this one because it wasn't pretentious about the ideas it was delivering. It'd wander around, throwing out observations, which when examined and polished quickly shine with so much meaning. I love it when a book allows the reader to develop their thoughts like that.

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Aubrey (korrick) 44.

Memories of My Melancholy Whores - Gabriel García Márquez

Finished 11/30/11

Not so excellent. It was a smooth read, at any rate.

Okaaay, 3.5 stars out of five, all because I love Gabriel Garcia Marquez's prose and the last pages made me happy. For this story you really need to get used to the massive gap between the ages of the respective romantic parties, otherwise you'll hate every word of it. Ignoring that, it is the tale of a man on his last last legs whose life without uniqueness, success, or love chooses to reduce him to the state of not second infancy, but second first crush. And this all a result of his desire for a pure maiden, the last of a long line of melancholy whores, weighted down by the price of their bodies paid to them and the price they pay to their bodies. Who would've thought. Anyways, he's so doddering and helpless that you can't help cheering him on, especially when he fails so many times in the fulfillment of his initial goal out of fear and puppy love. Not the author's best, but still worth a read.

Alright, one more book and I will no longer be behind! Let's do this.

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Aubrey (korrick) 45.

Bartleby, the Scrivener - Herman Melville

Finished 12/2/11

I liked this one, surprisingly.

I can understand why the Occupy movement took to this book so well. The titular character after a while does nothing but occupy his chosen workplace, in a sort of calm refusal to acquiesce to anyones demands that would be the envy of any peaceful protester. There is a certain elegance to Bartleby's constant response of 'I would prefer not to' to any demand made of him, especially when it not only makes those who talk to him respect his wishes, but even causes the word 'prefer' to crop up more in their speaking. It's also necessary to note that the event that caused this persistent occupancy was the abrupt termination of Bartleby's previous employment, something many of the Occupy protesters can relate to. All in all, I liked this story for beautifully demonstrating the sometimes startlingly powerful effects of peaceful protest, as well as being a prime example of words written long ago still very much applicable today.
Also this book gave me hope concerning being able to read Moby Dick, Melville's writing is more engaging than I had assumed previously.

Now I feel less intimidated by Moby Dick. Excellent.

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Aubrey (korrick) 46.

The Glass Menagerie - Tennessee Williams

Finished 12/11/11

Another midline score.

A sad, sad trinket of a family bound by dead hopes that are constantly panic-revived into desperation. The mother has dreams for her children that are constantly thrust into them with the forceful insistence of a buzzing gnat; whining reminders of the future and futile efforts of inspiring action through persisting noise. One can either flee the waves of reproach or fully succumb to them, abandon all to find something better or cave in on oneself in full denial of reality. These reactions are deadening ruins of the American Dream, when hope does nothing more than circle in on itself to feed after the outside world has deprived it, bit by bit, of all its sustenance. What comes after the last straw has been thrown down and the world has come crashing down, in the land of the free where all should all able to rise from rags to riches? What excuse is there for those who fail in this ideal promised to them? Not much.

This one spoke to me a great deal, but it's not something I care to listen to for too long.

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Aubrey (korrick) 47.

A Dance With Dragons - George R.R. Martin

Finished 12/18/11

Grinding on.

Ok. You know what? Just. Fine. Cliffhangers of amazing here. Cliffhangers. Of. Ridiculous. Amazing. And it was going so well for some of my favorite characters. And then stab in the back ridiculous reversal of fortunes. Oh, and who knows what half the characters that were featured in the fourth book are up to, cause guess what? Brief mentions here and there. That's it. And no mention whatsoever of quite a few of them. And waaaaay too much focus on one of them. I couldn't care less about that particular strumpet. Oh, and another host of new people. And if constantly bringing in new characters wasn't bad enough, George has now seen fit to bring back characters that were assumed to be dead long ago. Yep. Oh and there are dragons. Lots and lots of dragons. But no closure there either. That would be too easy. One of these days, things will wrap up, and I will appreciate the convoluted mess a bit more. But until then, I await the next book of A Song of Ice and Fire, the conclusion of the equally ponderous Wheel of Time series, and distract myself from these two endeavors with 'A Wise Man's Fear'. I'll never get free of these long winded fantasy things, but seriously, where's the fun in doing so? So until next time, I'll leave this series at that.

Home stretch! Three books to go. Sizable ones at that. Let's do this.

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