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review 2017-12-03 19:05
True Grit
True Grit - Donna Tartt,Charles Portis

Do you remember the time when I told you that I don´t like children as a narrator or main protagonist? Well, give me a 14-year-old girl, whose story is told in hindsight from the point of view of her 80 year old self, and I totally love that child. Mattie is awesome, her journey for revenge is awesome as well and I just really, really liked this book / western. A highly recommended read.

 

Book themes for Sinterklaas / St. Martin’s Day / Krampusnacht: A story involving children or a young adult book, or a book with oranges on the cover, or whose cover is primarily orange (for the Dutch House of Orange) –OR– with tangerines, walnuts, chocolates, or cookies on the cover.

 

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review 2016-12-03 00:00
Der Distelfink
Der Distelfink - Donna Tartt,Matthias Ko... Der Distelfink - Donna Tartt,Matthias Koeberlin imageAudible





BRILLIANT. EXQUISITE. FASCINATING. STUNNING.

image

«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-

...IF HE HADN'T MET BORIS?


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





BRILLIANT. EXQUISITE. FASCINATING. STUNNING.

image

«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-

...IF HE HADN'T MET BORIS?


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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