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review 2018-02-24 07:19
How to Get Rich in Rising Asia
How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia: A Novel - Mohsin Hamid

Let's acknowledge right up front that this book is based on a gimmick, a slick writer's gimmick, and that to pull it off it's going to take a bit of work and luck and not a small amount of talent, and even then, it's risky.

 

When I read the opening sentence, "Look, unless you're writing one, a self-help book is an oxymoron." and onto chapter two, where the author of the self-help book asks if all books aren't really "self-help" books:"It's remarkable how many books fall into the category of self-help. Why, for example, do you persist in reading that much-praised, breathtakingly boring, foreign novel, slogging through page after page after please-make-it-stop page of tar-slow prose and blush-inducing formal conceit, if not out of an impulse to understand distant lands that because of globalization are increasingly affecting life in your own?" He goes on to discuss the self-help aspects of pulp novels and winkingly says they're also a form of self-help, and by George, he's right! Of course all books are self-help books. We read to help ourselves in some way, whether it's to please ourselves, educate or challenge ourselves, or actually learn how to help ourselves. Strangely, I still wasn't sure if I was reading satire or a sweeping novel. I decided it's because I was, at least in part, reading both.

 

To be clear, this is never an actual self-help book. Mohsin Hamid has taken the steps to "get rich in rising Asia" as a way to tell a sweeping narrative about a man who starts in rural poverty and works himself through various stages to great wealth in the City. An achingly beautiful love story, a rags-to-riches nameless hero's story, the story of a man who is simplistic about wealth equaling happiness to start who goes through ups and downs, like people do over a life, learning about love and other things in the process. It sounds so basic, and yet because we have this "self-help" writer to comment on and tell a story inside of a self-help book, it's not at all. And of course, toward the end, the self-help writer admits this was not the most helpful book for getting rich in rising Asia. It made me laugh aloud several times, which isn't something one often finds in a tale like the one found in the self-help book's pages.

 

Nothing is ever named, but we can easily feel moved to the place in the novel with tons of sights, smells, touches thrown in, every food tasted is described richly. Equally rich with a grin are some less satisfying sensory experiences. Because we go through the "steps" of getting rich, we feel the poverty and then the isolation of being on the lowest rung in the big city. The socioeconomic landscape is as richly woven as the natural one. Upward mobility and globalization are not glossed over, but they aren't judged either. They are just portrayed as they are, while we follow the "you" of the novel - the main character - through his pursuit of getting filthy rich in rising Asia.

 

There are absolutely gorgeous turns of phrase and light-touch moments of beautiful writing between the purposefully clunky "self-help" sections. The difference is stark, and I loved the way one bled easily into the other, then when the next chapter started, boom, back to the hard language of self-help.

 

If you could see my copy, you would note that as I read, more and more highlighting was done, more pages are turned down in an effort to be able to find important or lovely passages again. I ruined this poor paperback in one read, but I would have it no other way. I was in tears toward the end of this novel, and that's way more than any self-help book could've ever promised me. So for me, the risky gimmick absolutely paid off in a reward I will treasure and return to again and again.

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review 2018-01-15 02:01
Beloved 2: A Yaoi Fairytale (Beloved, #2) by Amelita Rae
Into His Arms: A Yaoi Merman Fairytale (Beloved Book 2) - Amelita Rae,Skyler Thacmis

Too much sex. Too much sweetness. Foot fetish sweetness. Mpreg sweetness. Little mermaid/boy sweetness. Babies sweetness.... Too. Much. Sugar!

Bleach Lysterin for my eyes!!!!

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review 2018-01-14 22:07
The Bunny and the Billionaire by Louisa Masters
The Bunny and the Billionaire (Dreamspun Desires Book 43) - Louisa Masters

Surprisingly engaging read, considering that there is absolutely no angst and boys do nothing but hang around, drink and eat in fancy-schmancy places :)

 

Dani, whose annoying "via iPhone" presence, ruined it a little for me. 4.5 stars instead of 5.

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text 2018-01-14 18:27
Reading progress update: I've read 60%.
The Bunny and the Billionaire (Dreamspun Desires Book 43) - Louisa Masters

Why authors feel it's OK to introduce a nosy, pushy, inconsiderable and overall annoying female character aka "best friend" into a perfectly good if a tad slow story? To compensate for angst? Because it's not working. All I am thinking about right now is how many stars I should take off.


I hope it won't cross Ben's mind to introduce Dani to Malik.

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review 2017-11-29 05:02
Every Move He Makes by Barbara Elsborg
Every Move He Makes - Barbara Elsborg

This was a great book until the last 25% or so. 

Extra points for excellent russian here and there, tho I still can't figure out why stupid typos were left untouched. "Pecherskaya" was spelled "Pe r cherskaya" literally half the time. No matter the language, it's an annoyance. "The band was called "Gryaznykh Angelov"...". Say what? @.@ A minor mistake, sure, but on top of interchangeable peRcherskaya it screamed "I don't really care. they won't get it anyway.", not to mention the name is such a cliche. What else... "'mu'dak' means 'asshole'". Sure if "asshole" means "meany". Let's be nice, I guess. So, that was the minor stuff.

My major complaint - and it's me, probbly, since I like sex in my books in very moderate amounts - is that the last 20% turned into pure porn. I really don't care who topped whom in the end, how many times and how sticky the stickiness got. Both characters, especially Zak, were crazed enough on sex from the very beginning, but by the end the lust came out full force without MCs surfacing for air for 20% straight. I lost all interest in the book and going to DNF it at 93%.

That leaves me with - what? 75% is pure awesomeness, save for the typos. I can easily dish out 5 and more shiny stars. The last 25% tho? A star and a half maybe.

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