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review 2016-12-03 00:00
The Goldfinch
The Goldfinch - Donna Tartt imageAudible



«Whatever teaches us to talk to ourselves is important: whatever teaches us to sing ourselves out of despair. But the painting has also taught me that we can speak to each other across time. And I feel I have something very serious and urgent to say to you, my non-existent reader, and I feel I should say it as urgently as if I were standing in the room with you. That life—whatever else it is—is short. That fate is cruel but maybe not random. That Nature (meaning Death) always wins but that doesn’t mean we have to bow and grovel to it. That maybe even if we’re not always so glad to be here, it’s our task to immerse ourselves anyway: wade straight through it, right through the cesspool, while keeping eyes and hearts open. And in the midst of our dying, as we rise from the organic and sink back ignominiously into the organic, it is a glory and a privilege to love what Death doesn’t touch. For if disaster and oblivion have followed this painting down through time—so too has love. »

I feel overwhelming, speechless, dazzling...

I cannot stop thinking about HOW Theo's life could have been if

...his mother hadn't died in the explosion
...he hadn't put this bird into his bag
...he hadn't met Hobbie
...his father hadn't brought him to Las Vegas and hadn't died in the car accident (or was it a suicide?) later
...many many tiny and significant IFS...
But the biggest, the most important, the most fateful IF-


I love this book so much.

This fantastic review tells you everything I feel about this book, everything I wanted to say, but wasn't able to find the right words...
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review 2016-11-17 00:00
The Secret History
The Secret History - Donna Tartt First off I have to say that reading a book that consisted primarily of a bunch of rich kids (almost all characters, not the main one) not wanting to own up to something terrible they did because who would that benefit was mind boggling to me. I just read most of the book feeling pretty much appalled by everyone through the end. The backstory to how things even got like this made me laugh though. I mean, it didn't make a lot of sense and felt a bit too handwavey to me. Let's blame everything on Bacchus seemed to be the group think.

I think telling the story in the first person via Richard was a good idea. We are able to mindwalk into what happened to him when he goes to college and pushes until he is accepted to a Greek course that causes him to meet some of the students he has become fascinated by. Richard's interaction with the professor (Julian) and other students (Henry, Camille and Charles (fraternal twins), Bunny, and Francis starts to shape how Richard thinks of things and causes him to hide his background from them. What I thought was done very well and one of the reasons why I gave it 3 stars is you can start to see how one person can end up influencing a group of people. And you can see from Julian (the professor) to Henry how many people just cowed under them.

I think all in all not one of the secondary characters had any redeeming qualities besides maybe Francis. Everyone else was pretty terrible from beginning to end. Maybe that was another reason why I liked the book enough to give it 3.5 stars. Usually the author would have done something to excuse the actions of some of the characters or the main character, but she doesn't in this one.

The writing in parts didn't work for me at all but that was due to the sprinkling of Greek throughout the book. Also not everyone has a background in Greek literature or even with some of the works from people like Homer or Plato so the asides thrown out every five seconds (it felt like to me) doesn't work unless you have background in those things. Some things I understood, others I did not and had to go looking them up (thank you to my in book dictionary).

The flow of the book was off after "the big incident". Everything felt thrown in after that point. I think the book should have ended much sooner. It felt like a lot of side plots were just thrown in that ultimately did not work. I kept reading and reading and it felt like the book decided to go and just one more thing every step of the way. Before the big incident everything was working perfectly to me. I do wish that the author had not revealed the big incident since I spent most of the book waiting for it to happen. Maybe it would have been better to just start with all of them in the hotel room and then going backwards from there to see how they all ended up there.

The setting of this school in Vermont felt a bit wrong for what was going on in the book. I think I would have gotten this rich entitled thing a bit more if it was a school where everyone was rich and running around acting above it all. But the kids in this book excluding Richard, stuck out weirdly at this school. I know this gets handwaved away later by them saying no other school would want them, but for things that played out later, it would have been better if they all had some knowledge of each other before they started college.

The ending felt like a mishmash. We get an epilogue on most characters in the book and Richard apparently feeling like he is stuck. I did not feel bad for Richard.
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review 2016-09-12 11:29
The Goldfinch - Donna Tartt

Didn't quite live up to the hype for me. 

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text 2016-09-02 17:10
The Secret History - Donna Tartt

A bit too long, and although it is never dragging, there are parts that seemed irrelevant. Such as, the whole chapter where Richard is alone and almost dying of cold while the rest of the group is on vacation. I wonder what was the necessity of that... Also, the beginning. It took a while for Richard to join the class.

The story was good and engaging; the characters were all nasty. Let's start with Bunny's parents. His mother, zero feelings. His father, bipolar. Then, the side-buddies: Cloke, Judy... all druggies. Bunny, how bothersome. The rest of the group, all f***k up. There wasn't real friendship, their relationship was destructive, but they were very tied. So tied that they all had a sort of sexual relationship (homosexuality, twincest...). The narrator had a dead-kind of voice. Although we read from his POV for more than 500 pages, I never knew what he was really feeling (except for his crush on Camilla maybe). In fact, in more than 500 pages we barely know the characters. All we know that they are living the Sex, Drugs and Rock&Roll era. Barely any studies, huge amounts of booze, drugs... this bunch of kids is elitist because they are studying ancient Greek, totally separated from the University; they do what they want, they spend money and more money, they don't have any remorse for what they done, they are all highly unlikable. Still, I was pretty immersed in the story. I am not sure if I could recommend it to anyone, though.

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text 2016-08-19 17:00
Friday Reads 8/19/16
The Lost Hero - Rick Riordan,Joshua Swanson
More Happy Than Not - Adam Silvera
The Secret History - Donna Tartt
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