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Search tags: 21st-century-lit
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review 2016-05-18 18:16
The Two-Family House
The Two-Family House: A Novel - Lynda Cohen Loigman

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the writing or cadence of this novel. It is also very "clean" (no cursing, no sex scenes, no gore--my mom's kind of book, basically). And all that is fine too, because a good author should not rely on sex and violence to keep a book interesting.

My hangup with this novel is the "surprise". Though not stated outright, it is very obvious within the first 50 pages. And then the entire rest of the book is the reader waiting for the characters to figure it out. So, while the story could have been great, it was mostly frustrating.

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review 2016-05-12 19:52
Sleeping Giants
Sleeping Giants - Sylvain Neuvel

It's always fun to find a science fiction book I enjoy, because I am soooo picky. This is the first in a new series, so I have quite a few questions that I imagine (or hope) will be answered in the upcoming volumes.

Neuvel writes this novel as a series of interviews, recorded diary entries, and reports. A mysterious interviewer seems to know all--but then he is interviewed by anther mystery man. Who knows what, who needs to know, who thinks they know, and who knows less than they think is all a part of this story.

And this story is clever--rather than ending with "oh it was aliens!", as way too many sci fi books do, this book starts with a strange discovery. After studying the found objects, the characters know aliens have been on Earth. As they work out what these giant metal (?) body parts are, and how to find them, put them together, and use them, they learn more. Or some characters do--others already know. Who were these aliens? Are they us? Are they coming back? Why are Kara and Vincent able to work the helmets?  Will this bring about world peace or world destruction--or intergalactic warfare?

Looking forward to book #2.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-05-09 22:08
Numero Zero
Numero Zero - Umberto Eco,Richard Dixon

I loved the buildup and idea of this novel: creating a newspaper that will guess/investigate upcoming scandals. But it's not meant to ever exist--it is meant to get the creator/owner into the "inner circle" of publishers. By scaring the existing paper publishers with his incredible newspaper that will not report what has happened, but what might happen. And to do this, his team will create 12 "fake" papers based on past dates. Because it's easy to predict the news when it is in the past. And the paper isn't really the point at all--it's actually to be a book on the fake paper that will be ghostwritten by one of the staff. Only the editor and the staff writer know this.

It all sounds so absurd.

And then one of the editors begins researching a conspiracy theory involving Mussolini, his double, the WWII left-behinds, the CIA, the Vatican, Argentina, etc. His fellow staff think it sounds crazy (and suspect he is crazy).

Great build up, but I found the ending to be a let down. That guy ends up dead. Was it random, or did the CIA/Mafia shut him up? "Paper" is shuttered. But then the BBC has a documentary that is even crazier than his theories--complete with participant interviews. So was his murder random after all?

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review 2016-05-06 21:32
Now and Again
Now and Again - Charlotte Rogan

Wow this one is hard to review. There are 2 separate storylines here--that of Maggie and the rest of the folks in Red Bud, where a munitions plant keeps the war effort stocked and a prison of inmates is used for some sort of labor. And then there are Penn Sinclair, Danny, Pig Eye, Le Roy, and Joe Kelly--a group of soldiers who had been together in Iraq and have largely come back together to expose the lies of the war effort to the American public.

The only character in both of these stories is rather minor--Dolly, Danny's girlfriend and a midwife in Red Bud.

I kept expecting these 2 stories to come crashing together to resolve something. But it never really happens. And nothing is really resolved (not that the issues in this book could truly be, since they are real and they are current and ongoing in real life). Yet what one might expect if this were to go down in real life doesn't really happen either. Or at least Rogan doesn't actually finish that part of the story.

So, ultimately this was disappointing.

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review 2016-04-19 03:13
Felicity: Poems - Mary Oliver

While the front book flap says this is a collection of love poems, I felt that the first set, "The Journey" were more about nature. I liked this group the most, and Meadowlark is my favorite poem in this book, with Storage coming second.

Oliver uses words that I find awkward. Even Meadowlark ends with "posthaste"--which kind of ruins the melancholy of time passing that she so successfully created. It's so...abrubt. Though I the old-fashionedness of it supposed to also show her age, and thus the time passing?

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