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Search tags: its-not-about-you-dude
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text 2018-05-06 19:08
DNF: Absurdistan, by Gary Shteyngart
Absurdistan - Gary Shteyngart

DNF not quite halfway through. In the beginning I was impressed by the fine line this book walks between annoyance and charm. The word I thought of to best describe it was "rambunctious." Then I thought, "Will this 'rambunction' get old?" And it basically did. Or maybe I'm just not in the mood for satire of life 15+ years ago when the present is even crazier. Like, we're living a satire right now. I will say I enjoyed the physicality that Shteyngart revels in; that's rare. On the other hand, I could do without the meta quality, references to an author with a name like Shteyngart's who published a novel that sounds like his debut novel.

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review 2017-12-22 21:43
Not enough spider
So I'm a Spider, So What?, Vol. 1 (light novel) (So I'm a Spider, So What? (light novel)) - Okina Baba

I wanted to like this book a lot more, however there's a male POV in it and of course he gets his Japanese name and a bunch of skills. He is basically the protagonist of the book even though we spend time with Spider Girl, who is not named.
The other girl in this book is also a monster and Katia of course is one of Shun former male classmates.
Basically women get screwed in this book. Could have had a female POV for the person that is going to be the hero.

It's no wonder that Yen Press even translated it as it's listed as Seinen. Since Yen Press hates women and hasn't even looked into any shoujo novels to bring over like Saiunkoku Monogatari, Earl and Fairy, etc.

I'm going to give this story one more book to get better. Otherwise I'm going to drop it.

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text 2017-12-16 05:19
Reading progress update: I've read 422 out of 491 pages.
Another - Yukito Ayatsuji,Karen McGillicuddy

So the mom had a stillbirth that made her unable to have any more children? Dude wrote this?

I mean I'm reading that yeah temporary infertility can happen but permanent? It just sounds like the author pulled something out of his ass because "women so mysterious!11" added to the fact that Japan has some of the BEST maternity care in the world and this just sounds fucking hokey.

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review 2017-09-03 18:32
The Discreet Hero, Mario Vargas Llosa, trans. Edith Grossman
The Discreet Hero: A Novel - Mario Vargas Llosa,Edith Grossman

This book put me in a bind: while I found the story and characters engaging, fun, even, there are aspects that offended me. As I read, I would wonder: "Is this attitude or behavior endorsed by the author, or just described by him in depicting this place and these personalities?" By the end, I decided that there are definite ideologies at work here, including the beliefs that when it comes to family, blood is all; that the younger generation is responsible for squandering the hard work of their parents'; and the conservative viewpoint that if one only works hard enough, one can be successful. Other troubling attitudes that are questioned by characters but nevertheless feel condoned by the narrative: blaming victims of rape or sexual coercion; treating women as objects; racism; masculine pride as more important than the lives of loved ones.

 

After I finished the book, I read several reviews as I tried to work out my opinion of it. These mention that Vargas Llosa won the Nobel Prize for Literature but that this may not be his best work; that he used to be a social progressive but became a conservative who ran for president of Peru; that some characters appear in other books of his; that some elements are based on real events and his own life.

 

The book is divided between two alternating and converging narratives with separate protagonists, both fitting the "discreet hero" label of the title. The stories take place in two different areas of Peru, one Lima, one provincial, and their plots appear to have no connection. When they link up, it's very satisfying, even though the connection is quite minor. Each plot has elements of a mystery-thriller that propel the story; I found it hard to put down. The characters are often charming and easy to root for (until they're not). In story one, a man who worked his way up from nothing and owns a transport company is anonymously threatened unless he pays for protection; he refuses. In story two, a man on the verge of retirement and a long-awaited trip with his wife and son finds his life upheaved when his wealthy boss decides to marry his servant to punish his errant sons; at the same time, the protagonist's teenaged son is being approached by a mysterious stranger who may or may not be real, the devil, an angel, or just the kid fucking with his parents (this last mystery is left ambiguous).

 

Other elements I enjoyed included the relationship between the second protagonist and his wife, his feelings about art's role in life, the police sergeant from the first story, and learning about Peruvian life across two settings.

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review 2017-06-14 17:55
Out Soon
Surfer Dude: The Legendary Stallion of Chincoteague - Lois Szymanski,Linda Kantjas

Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an unbiased review

 

                To be honest, this is the time of horse book that I normally hate.  There is a bit too much romanticism to be honest, and the ending sequence is bit too sugary.

                Yet, and it is a big yet.

 

                Yet, this is actually pretty good.  Part of this is the afterword where Szymanski acknowledges that the story is romanticized This furthered not only by a summary of actual facts but also a page identifying the other horses, each with a brief biography.  There is even detail about other animals on the island with a challenge presented to find them in the illustrations.  These last few pages carry the book from a 3 or 4-star book to a 4 or 5. 

 

                The basic story is that of Surfer Dude, a stallion on the island of Assateague.  He was popular among residents and tourists because of his good looks.  His life is a little atypical, in particular in regards to one of his sons. 

 

                The artwork is quite lovely and fits the story quite well.  The animals are well drawn, and the ponies look like ponies as opposed to well-groomed thoroughbreds.  It is quite easy to imagine prints of the illustrations on a wall.

 

Despite the sometimes-romanticized tone, Szymanski doesn’t shy away from horse herd behavior, in particular the rejection of older colts by stallions. 

               

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