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Search tags: Better-Than-Life
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text 2018-04-24 00:21
I Read A Lot of Books

Apologies in advance fellow booklikers. I read a ton of books and I didn’t have a chance to keep up with everything on my dashboard. I’m too tired to even think about posting updates, so tomorrow it’s just gonna be a review wave from me.



Here’s some pics from my trip:













Saturday Market in Portland 


Bibliophiles dream

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photo 2018-04-24 00:10
Books from Powell’s Books!
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text 2018-04-22 08:26
Reading progress update: I've read 89 out of 416 pages.
Democracy: A Life - Paul Anthony Cartledge

I am juts not feeling this book right now. It received a ton of praise when it was first published last year and it's all well deserved, but it contains everything that turns me off about ancient history: meticulous parsing of sources, entire paragraphs about the meaning of words, and detailing of arguments by different scholars without definite resolution. It's finally getting to the good stuff, but if I wasn't reading this for a podcast I would DNF it for a time when I was more motivated to read it.

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quote 2018-04-21 23:05
Beneath that arch of unmoved and eternal lights; some, so remote from this little earth that the learned tell us it is doubtful whether their rays have even yet discovered it, as a point in space where anything is suffered or done: the shadows of the night were broad and black. All through the cold and restless interval, until dawn, they once more whispered in the ears of Mr. Jarvis Lorry—sitting opposite the buried man who had been dug out, and wondering what subtle powers were for ever lost to him, and what were capable of restoration—the old inquiry:
“I hope you care to be recalled to life?”
And the old answer:
“I can’t say.”
A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens,Stephen Koch

Page 50, end of the first book.

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review 2018-04-20 16:11
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry - Gabrielle Zevin
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

This is a really hard review to write. Overall, I liked the book, but it is kind of hard to put into words what I did and did not like. 

I found the book interesting enough. The story was unique in it's overall arch, although it utilized a lot of not-so-creative story concepts (the cheating husband, grumpy old guy who knows sorrow, accidental pregnancy). It was full of overused plot devises, which was annoying, but they were put together in an interesting way. 

It's not that I didn't like the book, but to me it just didn't live up to the hype. That's the problem with books that become really popular. You start getting unrealistic expectations and the thing itself just can't compete. The book was in no way bad, but it felt surprisingly slow-paced despite all of the interesting concepts. 

I did like the focus on short stories and A.J.'s recommendations of them to Maya. I think it was an interesting way to structure the novel by having A.J.'s notes on the story to open each chapter. 

Having said that, it felt like it was trying too hard to appeal to book-lovers. At first it was kind of cool for The Book Thief recommendation to pop up or for Maya to be holding Where the Wild Things Are, but after a while all of the literary references felt strained. Mostly, I just wanted to get on with the story. I absolutely love books, but I don't want to necessarily read a book about how much other people love books. Sometimes it works, such as when fictional, non-existent books are mentioned (The Series of Unfortunate Events) or if real books are used, to have them further the plot of the story (Book Scavenger). This one just kind of made a lot of tangents to discuss books when what I really wanted was to continue the plot and hear the story of this book. 

I think for the most part, I just didn't care about a lot of the characters. Most of them just kind of floated from page to page, letting things happen to them. Tamerlane is stolen. Maya just shows up. Things happen, because that's the way they're written. It felt more like the characters let things happen rather than the characters actually doing anything. 

Also, the characters are annoying woven together. The cast is surprisingly small and they are all connected. I get it's set on an island and it's a symbol for how A.J. isolates himself and all that, but I got tired of hearing about the same characters over and over again. I longed for some side character to pop up for a bit. 

There's a bit of a twist near the end, which was interesting, but I don't think it was enough to "save" the rest of the book. By the end, I was just irritated by the annoying way that everything came together so perfectly and obviously. I wanted something to not work out quite right. But every piece has its place and the tight-knit group of characters stays tight-knit until the end.

Overall, it was a good read, but it was a bit drawn out at times. 
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