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review 2017-10-17 14:04
Better narrative elsewhere.
My (Part-Time) Paris Life: How Running A... My (Part-Time) Paris Life: How Running Away Brought Me Home - Lisa Anselmo

The book isn't quite what it was marketed to be. Woman decides to change her life and begin living in Paris part-time. Isn't it great? She gets to discover a new language, a new life, new people, etc. while learning about herself and coming to terms with her life, her career, her history, etc.

 

Yeeeeah, not so much. I'll admit that perhaps I remembered the marketing incorrectly but I thought it was a much more upbeat book. That it was not is not a problem but in this case it's a detriment.

 

Author Anselmo begins the book by talking about the relationship she had with her mother. When mama was happy, everything was great. When her mama wasn't happy, nobody was happy. Her mother appears to have had some sort of issue although what it is appears to be not named (maybe not identified at all by the mother or the author). But this sets the tone of the book: the author grew up with an apparently co-dependent (personally I think there's far more to it than that but I'm not a doctor) mother who she is unable to let go of even after her mother's death.

 

Coupled with the changes in the magazine/media industry, she is at a crossroads of sorts. So she buys a Paris apartment. 

 

It seems like a whimsical sort of purchase and we then learn what it's like to buy housing in Paris, the differences in culture, language, food, etc. as these stories often go. Some of it is quite hilarious, some of it is cringe-worthy, some of it isn't interesting at all. And beyond that point it just got a bit tedious. It was hard to sympathize with someone who clearly has the money/flexibility in work/time to travel back and forth when really, what perhaps actually needed was/is therapy instead of thinking traveling back and forth would help. It just got hard to relate to after being in a friendship with someone who was similar: she kept moving to a different place every few years after college partially due to life circumstances (graduation, contract job ended, relationship failed, graduate school, new job in a new country, etc.) She said it was because she loved traveling but just like with this author I suspect there's something else to it that neither admit to. 

 

That said, the book does have its positive points. The author seems to be a bit obnoxious but her story was still intriguing. The very first few pages had me identifying with the author more deeply than I had expected. It was still enough to keep me at least skimming to see how it resolves (if at all).

 

Overall, though, I wouldn't recommend it. I enjoy travelogues but other books have done it much better. The Goodreads ratings are on the mark and I kind of regret buying this as a bargain buy/used. If you enjoyed 'Eat, Pray, Love' (which is mentioned in the flap) then this might be a really good fit for you. Otherwise, library if you're really interested or a bargain buy if you really want.

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review 2017-10-16 17:27
Use of Weapons / Iain M. Banks
Use of Weapons - Iain M. Banks

Cheradenine is an ex-special circumstance agent who had been raised to eminence by a woman named Diziet. Skaffen-Amtiskaw, the drone, had saved her life and it believes Cheradenine to be a burnt-out case. But not even its machine intelligence can see the horrors in his past.

 

Somehow, I had come to think of Iain M. Banks’ Culture as a pretty ideal society. This book shattered that somewhat for me, as it contains a lot of war & violence, plus a really cruel twist as the end of the novel. What can you do if you live in the Culture, but you’re not an easily entertained, peace-loving guy? Well, you can sign up for Special Circumstances and become a sort of super-soldier, getting horrifically injured, revived, regenerated, and going off to fight another battle. Even some of the Machine Minds in this one seem to be destructive and cruel.

But Banks accomplished what I think he wanted to—making his readers rethink what the Culture is all about (and maybe rethinking some the assumptions about their own culture). I look forward to tackling State of the Art next.

Book 265 of my Science Fiction & Fantasy Reading Project.

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text 2017-10-15 22:55
My Dad Wrote a Porno wrote a book*
My Dad Wrote a Porno - Jamie Morton,Alice Levine,James Cooper,Rocky Flintstone

I just saw this today and hadn't noticed it had come out.  Because school.

 

*If I remember, this will be the title to my eventual review.

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review 2017-10-14 05:52
Quick Holiday Read
Underneath My Christmas Tree (Love in a ... Underneath My Christmas Tree (Love in a Small Town Book 6) - Tawdra Kandle

Underneath My Christmas Tree by Tawdra Kandle is a fairly short holiday read, perfect for those with limited time for reading.  Ms Kandle has delivered a well-written book.  The characters are sweet and lovable.  Elizabeth is a lawyer and not a fan of Christmas.  Trent is selling Christmas trees from the parking lot of her law office to help his uncle. Their story is a holiday romance with bits of drama, humor and sizzle.  I enjoyed this story but I think I would have enjoyed it more if it wasn't written in first person.  This is a complete story, not a cliff-hanger.

 

I voluntarily read an Advance Reader Copy of this book that I received from NetGalley.

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review 2017-10-13 16:36
Body armor
Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body - Roxane Gay

Today I'm going to attempt to form some coherent thoughts about my experience reading Roxane Gay's newest book entitled Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body. Some of you might have already had this book on your radar because of the huge amount of press that it got right after its release. This is an extremely personal account of Roxane's experiences as an obese woman in our society (which is obsessed with being skinny as you know). However, it's less a commentary on that than a self-exploration of her relationship with food and her body. You might recognize Gay's name from my review of her frank assessment of feminism and how she identifies herself (not just as a feminist but all-around human). I thought that she had pushed the envelope with her openness and willingness to 'go there' with that book but reading Hunger was a whole new experience. For one thing, this isn't a book about the trials and tribulations of being overweight in America and how she's planning on using this book as a tool to get her life back on track. No, this is a cathartic exercise in purging some of the darkness that she has had buried inside for too long. (I'm trying to not give away too much because her writing of the events of her life is kinda the whole point of the book.) This book will make you rethink the way that you look at your own body and how you make assumptions about other people based on their bodies. It is not meant to be preachy or shaming. It's one woman opening up about a horrific experience in her life and how that changed her forever. I think this is the kind of book that everyone should read because it opens your eyes to yourself, to others, and makes you think. 9/10 definitely recommend

 

What's Up Next: The Book That Changed America: How Darwin's Theory of Evolution Ignited a Nation by Randall Fuller

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Close Enough to Touch by Colleen Oakley

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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