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review 2018-01-20 15:00
The First Person and Other Stories
The First Person and Other Stories - Ali Smith

I find it incredibly hard to rate a short story collection, since the stories tend to be either a hit or miss or for me. And the same is the case with Ali Smiths short stories. Some of the stories were a miss for me not because they were badly written, but because I didn´t get the point of these stories or I simply couldn´t relate to the topics in them. So I´m not afraid to admit that Ali Smith at times might be too smart for me or it might be that I´m lacking certain life experiences to enjoy this collection to the fullest.

 

I´m glad that I read this collection, though. I loved the story with the baby, who suddenly appears in the shopping trolley of a woman and no one believes her that this isn´t her baby. And it´s been great to dip my toes into Ali Smiths writing. I´m definitely intrigued enough to check out one of her novels in the future.

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review 2018-01-16 02:19
Paris for One and Other Stories ★☆☆☆☆
Paris for One and Other Stories - Jojo Moyes

Et tu, Jojo?

 

I've found books by Moyes to be light escapist romance-ish fiction, always good for lifting my spirits. So imagine my sense of betrayal to find that she's jumped on the First Person Present Tense bandwagon. 

 

Just say "no", Jojo. Please. 

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review 2017-11-21 17:34
The 13th Gift ★☆☆☆☆
The 13th Gift: A True Story About a Christmas Miracle - Joanne Smith

 

Ugh. Within about 5 minutes of listening to this audio, I could only wail Nooooooooooooooooooooo. I didn’t expect much from this one, so the bar was set pretty low. I expected a bit of light Christmas glurge, a memoir about a family dealing with the loss of a loved one, who found their Christmas spirit when their friends/neighbors/whatever got together to leave anonymous gifts to remind them of The Meaning of Christmas. Sounds like the perfect story to get you into the season, if you go into it without a cynical heart. I was even willing to overlook the amateur quality of the audio narration, because it’s a memoir read by the author. But I simply could not overlook its pushing my biggest button with respect to writing style, the dreaded First-Person-Present-Tense, further committing the egregious sin of mixing past tense inner monologue directly in with the present tense narration of story events. No. Nope. No way.

 

DNF at 5%. Ordinarily I wouldn’t rate a book after less than 20 minutes of audio time, but FPPT always gets a 1 star from me unless the writing and story are so fantastic that I don’t even notice it enough to be annoyed by it.  

 

Audiobook, borrowed from my public library, read by the author.

 

I was attempting to read this for The 16 Tasks of The Festive Season, square 4: Book themes for     Thanksgiving Day:  Books with a theme of coming together to help a community or family in need.  –OR– Books with a turkey or pumpkin on the cover. I don’t have any other books lined up for this task, so I might have to use my other Light Joker for it.

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review 2017-11-20 13:08
First Person
First Person: A novel - Richard Flanagan

by Richard Flanagan

 

Penniless Tasmanian writer Kif Kehlmann is hired to ghost write a memoir for a corporate criminal, Siegfried Heidl, in six weeks. His research to write the autobiography takes a frustrating form when his subject is reluctant to answer questions that might only further incriminate him when he's already facing prison.

 

The need for money keeps Kif on board, even when his better judgement tells him to walk away. The story is told in first person, in a style reminiscent of old detective noir, yet portraying a man who was anything but in control of his own destiny.

 

The story takes a while to get to the meat, but slowly Kif starts getting inside the mentality of a professional con man who doesn't really want the actual details of his life story displayed so much as a comfortable fiction that will serve his purposes.

 

As the struggle to glean details goes on, Kif starts to question everything he thinks he knows about his world, even who he is, why he got married, how he feels about having children and why he calls himself a novelist when he's never managed to finish a novel. Worse, Heidl begins to tell the truth.

 

This is a real psychological mind bender that falls into place gradually, the details of what physically happens secondary to the play on perceptions. I found it interesting, but depressing.

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review 2017-10-21 00:00
Spy of the First Person
Spy of the First Person - Sam Shepard Spy of the First Person - Sam Shepard https://msarki.tumblr.com/post/166647928548/spy-of-the-first-person-by-sam-shepard

The death of Sam Shepard creates a sudden void in the landscape of contemporary literature. This talented writer, dramatist, horseman, actor, and musician leaves as his final gift to those of us fortunate to have known his body of work a thinly veiled memoir of the first rank. In prose reminiscent at times of his good friend Patti Smith, Shepard eventually recounts the last of his precious days on earth surrounded by his loving family and friends. In one poignant sentence Shepard affirms that in a span of one year he went from being a fiercely independent and private wanderer traveling in his pickup truck to a man in a wheelchair who can barely raise his head and cannot possibly wipe his own ass. There is nothing sentimental or self-serving in this book. Shepard’s honesty on the page remains as seething as his life. A testament to one great artist, and for some, a very good friend.
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