Hi book fans! Fun fact: I am perpetually behind the times. Even, it seems, in my own life. As an example, I present you with the fact that the 100th post of Witless Witticisms  was… five posts ago. Oops. Well, we shall celebrate now and pretend like we planned it this way.

I think I’m going to try to make this blog more visually appealing. I’ll add photos of books I’m reading. Maybe shots of lines I like? I haven’t worked out all the kinks yet, but I think it’ll be a fun adventure.

So here’s the first photo of a recent book haul from the Philadelphia Free Library.

bookhaul

You’ll get reviews eventually.

I think I’m going to try to make the book haul photos a regular thing. They’ll appear on my instagram (which will then push to my twitter and tumblr). Clearly you should follow me on all these other social media things to make sure you don’t miss anything. I’m Poindextrix on everything because you’ve got to stay true to your brand (or I’m lazy, but let’s go with the brand thing).

But really, you should follow me on instagram to see lots of pictures of my cat and follow me on twitter to see retweets of library-related stuff. I don’t actually understand tumblr, I’m just pretending.

Anyway, this was my celebratory 105th post/shameless plug to get more followers on social media/trying to add more visual appeal to the blog.

Reviews will recommence forthwith!

 

This book is expansive. It is the kind of historical fiction that I love — the kind that spans multiple time periods to put into context the journeys and the characters. 

This story initially struck me as unexpected and I liked the portrayal of the bizarre friendship. Sometimes it moved a bit too slowly — the author took pains to get the details right and while it certainly added to the atmosphere, it was, perhaps, heavy-handed at times. 

Interestingly, as the book progressed and action built, parts began to fall a bit too predictably into place. Or perhaps I’m just good at putting together the pieces?

All the same, I really enjoyed this book. The characters, their motivations, and their interactions were refreshing. 

The Golem and the Jinni has gotten a fair amount of bookish buzz in recent months and it is well-deserved. It is a sweeping, poignant tale that will appeal to many readers. 

In the Woods — Review

March 9, 2014

In the Woods by Tana French is mysterious and dark and twisty.

In 1984 three children go missing one summer afternoon in Dublin. One is found hours later in a terrifying state with no memory of what has happened and the other children are never seen again.

Twenty years later, Detective Rob Ryan and his partner are called in to investigate a crime chillingly similar to the case that marred his childhood.

French spins this tale masterfully. In the Woods is extraordinarily complex and full of false starts and twists and turns.

One of my friends had been telling me to read this book for ages. I finally did and it was a truly gripping read. There are certain things for which I’ll never forgive her, but, well, spoilers.

The characters and their relationships are well-developed and it’s interesting to see how everything plays into the larger plot of the story.

I’d recommend this for a lot of readers, though it does have it’s gruesome and creepy moments, so if you’re particularly sensitive to those things you might want to skip this one. This is not one of those cookie-cutter mysteries. It’s atmospheric and character driven and will enthrall a wide audience.

This wasn’t my favorite book. It did, however, produce a truly, well, spectacular line: “Embrace the weird.” Now, is it wrong of me to want that tattooed on me somewhere even though I didn’t particularly like the book? (I didn’t dislike it) or fid it super profound and meaningful? 

I do think that it is possible that had I read this book at a different point in my life it might mean something different to me. It might have felt more solid and relatable. As it is, I was left feeling somewhat flat. 

In The Spectacular Now we meet Sutter. He’s a teenager that’s kind of just flitting through life. He parties, drinks, and doesn’t have much of a direction planned. Nobody takes him seriously. Then he meets Aimee. She takes him seriously and he starts to think about things differently.

All the characters bother me a bit at different points.

Since story is told from Sutter’s point of view, we see the good in him, but sometimes he’s really frustrating and I really just want to shake him.

Meanwhile, his friends manage to simultaneously be a little bit awesome and spectacularly sucky. And Aimee is intelligent and naive and a pushover.

But here’s the thing (and I realize that it’s kind of ridiculous for me to bring this complaint to the table, but this isn’t fantasy or sci-fi or dystopian, this is straight-up YA): it doesn’t feel real enough or believable or genuine. Because I’m sorry, but if there was a kid going that far off the deep end as Sutter, someone would take notice (more than one teacher noticing a lack of homework). I’m not saying it’d be handled well, but there would be some glint of recognition. And these kids show a bizarre amount of self-awareness in one scene where they’re able to talk about real-life shit, but then turn into these flat, unrespoinsive characters in the next (one could argue that it mimics adolescence, but I’m a fan of consistency).

But Aimee. Oh Aimee. I find her characterization so incredibly bizarre. That she would create this whole other dream world fits; that she would go a bit too crazy with the partying even does, but her complete inability to detach herself and her sense of self from those around her is troubling. Even in the end, Sutter is still “saving” her by essentially prolonging the connection. Though he never vocalizes it, he recognizes this trait. I just find it a perplexing one given her other characteristics. She has a strongly deliniated identity and goals and dreams laid out, yet she hitches all her dereams on a guy? Yes, he helped her gain the confidence to stand up for herself, but she still needs to pursue her goals on her own. One with such lofty dreams should be able to grasp that concept fairly quickly. And yet…

So I was underwhelmed by this book. But I think that some of that might just come from being an “adult” reading YA. This book didn’t resonate with me like it might with its intended audience, and that isn’t really anyone’s fault. Not every book is going to speak to every person. I would still recommend it for some readers even though it didn’t do much for me.