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review 2017-05-17 00:23
Incoming Rant
The Sun Also Rises - Ernest Hemingway

You know, I'd read in some posh literary review that Jake and Brett were two of Hemingway's most lovable characters, but I really can't see how that could be. I get he was painting an era, but I had the same difficulties I had with Fitzgerald's "Great Gatsby": I was bored by the characters misery (first world high class problems, people, that's what you have!); and I was enraged by the chaos and destruction they sowed all around themselves with their callow carelessness. Stupid egotistical brats.

And that's the other thing: they ARE reacting like brats. "Our parent's culture and ideology crumbled down and betrayed us! Let's rage and get drunk, and screw everyone around!" Except, you know, they are in their middle thirties. I don't say you have to have your shit together by that time or any other, God knows you never really do, and life has a marvelous way of sucker punch you when you think you have it balanced, but the over the top woe-is-me shit you are supposed to learn to manage after the hormones of puberty stabilize.

Every generation has challenges, and I reckon those that were born around the turn of the 20th century had a suck-fest of a raw deal, but what I saw inside this book was not just depression and insecurity over lost direction and of self, but a total lack of care for other people. I saw the phrase "moral bankruptcy" around, and I think that's and exact description, but it was treated as an excuse for how these particular characters act, because apparently it was a pervasive thing all around. News-flash: if everyone is a terrible person, and you act like everyone, you are still a terrible person.

 

So no, I have no love for these characters. Now, do I have any use for this book? *sigh* Thorny issue. If it was an accurate representation of the generation, I have to loose any surprise at seeing them fall right back into war; they all felt suicidal to me, and self-centered enough to blow up the world along with themselves.

 

So here's what I think: maybe it's useful, but I did not like it.

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review 2017-04-19 18:50
Hmmmm..
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle - Jay Rubin,Haruki Murakami

I received this book as a Xmas present and started reading it in early January. For one reason or the other, I put it down, and only recently picked it back up again. Today I finally finished it! I must admit that this was a very strange read, perhaps even stranger for me than 'An Invitation to A Beheading' by Vladimir Nabokov. Needless to say, I found it very eccentric and to be honest this is my first time reading anything by Murakami. So I could just not be used to his writing style. But based on what I've read from this title, this is what I think. From the beginning, I was fascinated by what was happening, charmed even. Even if some of the events going on in the book were a bit odd, it was enduring. However, that eventually grew old and I found myself not being able to pay attention.

 

A lot of the book dragged on and on and was very long winded. I hated to say there were several parts that I active was saying 'Get to the point already!' Yet at other parts, I would find myself drawn in and there I was immersed once more. But the same feeling would return and I felt like this continued to be an endless cycle. I'll be the first to admit there were several times, that I didn't have a clue about what was going on. Whether it is mine lack of understanding of what the author was trying to bring forth, or whether it truly just filler, I don't know. But the overall book felt very manic pixie dream to me. But I can't dislike this title either because there were parts that I thoroughly enjoyed. Maybe someday I'll go back and re-read and change my stance, but for now, I'm not totally in love with this title.

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review 2017-04-19 11:31
DNF: Wayfarer
Wayfarer (Passenger) - Alexandra Bracken

I didn't like the first book in this series much, but this is one of my auto-buy authors, and I snagged a copy from Netgalley with my Hatchette Children's auto approval. And even bought a finished hardback (despite the fact that this is not a series I really like, the hardback is really pretty). Sometimes I've found second books better than first books. 

 

Unfortunately, I only made it 250 pages or so before calling it quits. Following on from Passenger, Nicholas and Etta are now separated and struggling to find each other and deal with the changes brought about by the events of the end of Passenger. More secrets are revealed, more plot twists. However, I just can't seem to get into this series at all. 

 

It's beautifully written, plus points for diversity in the characters, and there is clear attention to detail and a phenomenal amount of historical research must have gone into plotting the novel, but I just don't like it. It's long winded and boring and not capturing my interest at all. 

 

Not for me. 

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review 2017-04-18 20:59
Review: Last Seen Leaving
Last Seen Leaving - Caleb Roehrig

 

I snagged a copy of this one from Netgalley when it was a Read It Now title. I do rather enjoy YA mysteries. I’m a sucker particularly for missing person mysteries. The plot of this one drew me right in. The mystery aspect was what kept me reading.

 

Overall, I just didn’t like the main character Flynn much. I found him annoying and boarding on obnoxious. He had zero personality, and seemed kind of self-absorbed. Which is not exactly unusual behaviour for a teenage boy. He was so wrapped up in his own issues he barely noticed the problems his girlfriend January was having.  January had a friend at the toy shop she worked at, Kaz, who was a few years older. All of course the reader hears from Flynn in the beginning is what an ass Kaz is.

 

Kaz actually turned out to be my favourite character in the whole novel. Who is nothing like Flynn first assumes. As the novel progresses I found as a reader I had a lot of empathy for January, who has lived most of her life in the same town, has the same friends as Flynn, and then her mom married some up and coming Congressman who was fabulously rich and had a certain image to maintain and an asshole of a wayward son of his own, Anson. January was forced to move from her comfortable existence into this new world of fabulous rich political people where January and her mom were supposed to dress and act a certain way. While her mom lapped it up, January not so much.

 

As the novel progresses through flashbacks of conversations and moments that happened between January and Flynn, the reader learns about some of the problems that January was having with her situation, the ones that she told Flynn about. As Flynn starts looking deeper into January’s disappearance himself, he learns about a side of her he never really knew. Which makes him feel confused and guilty.

 

There are lots of questions and very little answers and information and everything new Flynn learns is something surprising. Flynn’s other major conflict throughout the novel is he’s gay and struggling to deal with it. He doesn’t seem to want to really accept it. Kaz is a big help here, and part of what makes Kaz such a wonderful character. He was a voice of reason and someone who really seemed to want to help Flynn and cared about him.

 

While Flynn himself…urg. I just found Flynn dull and boring and hard to connect with. He seemed very two dimensional.

 

The mystery of what happened to January was enough to keep my interest to the end of the novel, and to be fair, I didn’t guess who the bad guy was. There was a twist at the end – which was kind of a bit unbelievable to me, but left a possible question hovering.

 

Just an okay one for this reader.

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review 2017-03-15 16:06
Bland seed
Wraiths of Time - Andre Norton

This is my first try on Andre Norton, a hugely prolific author striding the barrier of fantasy/sci-fy, and (I hear) an icon of the genre. I'm likely to dip in again; I finished this one in little time, as much because it was short, as because it was very easy to read.

 

I would have loved (as in capital letters, LOVED) this book when I was about 13. This could be taken as indictment or praise, and I guess I'm wavering between the two. On one hand, my taste has... I don't know if matured is the word, it sounds presumptuous, but having read several run-of-the-mill, I search for the exceptional now, so maybe I've become picky. This book doesn't meet that standard. On the other hand, I'm also reading "On Writing" by Stephen King, and in a clear case where one read influences another, I find that the story, while not amazingly written, was entertaining, the premise just what I'd been searching for and the execution serviceable.

 

So I'm not left with book hangover, but it's a good imagination launcher. Not meaty, but opens a world where you'd like to revel in and keep adding on, daydream or fanfiction style.

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