Books I picked up and soon regretted.
1. The Taste of Salt by Martha Southgate
Although the premise of this book was incredibly intriguing (about a young woman dealing with alcoholism in her family in the form of her father and brother), I found the characters to be flat, the plot to be sparse and the narration to be dry. I don’t understand why the author chose to tell stories of the other characters through the daughter’s voice, rather than giving each character his/her own voice and perspective. I read a little more than half of the book before setting it aside and moving on to something else. There was too much background and not enough plot to keep me interested.
2. The Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
I actually got into this book when I first started reading it. I read about a good 100+ pages in the first sitting. It’s an e-book, so its downloaded onto the computer. For some reason, I never wanted to pick the book up from where I had left it. Although I am curious to see what happens to the characters, I don’t feel partial towards any of them, and just feel as if they are listless and bored. Not boring, but just bored with their own lives, set in the early 20th Century New York. Towles writes beautifully and this is a good period piece of American history. I just don’t care enough about the characters to want to finish their stories.
Spread the word
I’ve been caught in a reading slump. I don’t know if I’m just distracted with my Child Development classes, or with all the excitement over the Giants entering the World Series, but I haven’t been able to finish any of the recent books I’ve checked out from the library. It took me about a month to finish The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo (which I liked, but didn’t love). One book actually made me really mad that I wasted my time reading 50% of it, and another book just wasn’t as enticing.
There will be a formal review for The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo, but here are my brief reviews of the books that did not make the cut:
How to be a Hepburn in a Hilton World
by Jordon Christy
This is a of a self-help book aimed at the fresh out of college, younger 20-somethings. I found many things wrong with this book, and I had to stop reading it during the chapter of “never let the boys call you, never make the first move because you’ll fail in the relationship” (That’s me paraphrasing the chapter). I found it a bit hypocritical when the author tells the reader to turn off the TV and stop following the media coverage of ditzy celebs, but then every example about poise, dress or anything else is set by some leading celebrity. There was no advice in this book that you wouldn’t find in the current month’s Cosmo magazine, and I didn’t really get the selling point of this book. The goal was to impress upon young women to act with the grace and charm of an Audrey Hepburn, but I felt that Christy got too tangled up in all the celebrity name & quote dropping to actually produce any quality advice.
The Smart One and the Pretty One
by Claire LeZebnik
I don’t normally read chick-lit, but this one caught my eye because it is a story of two sisters. Ava and Lauren reunite in their hometown of Los Angeles after finding out that their mother has cancer. Ava, as the older sister, is the mature lawyer always with a plan. Lauren is the younger sister, more frivolous and adventurous. I connected with the sisters from the start, there are a lot of similarities between Lauren & Ava that correlate to my relationship with my sister. My connection to the book was stranded on just the relationship of the sisters. All the men in the book were either obnoxiously arrogant or the complete opposite. I didn’t develop any sympathy for any of the characters and subsequently my interest in the book started to droop after the fourth chapter. I tried and failed at getting into chick-lit. That’s what I get for falling for a catchy synopsis.
Spread the word
It seems like lately I haven’t been able to keep an interest in many of the books I’ve picked up to read since A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Normally when I give up on a book, it is either returned to the library shelves, or donated to the library for a future booksale.
However, since I’ve been coming across so many books that I just really don’t like, I figure I might as well share my thoughts on these books, especially when these were very hyped and very popular with most other readers out there.
1. Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron
I only read about a third of this book, and I had to force myself to get that far. I never fully understood why a book about a cat who lived in a library required over 250 pages. I love cats and I’m a librarian, but this book did not tug on my heart strings. I felt that the author was very preachy about how small-towns are more superior than large cities. Although the chapters on the community and history of Spencer were meant to give Dewey’s existance more substance, I still didn’t feel any connection to the town, the library or Dewey. I felt that although Dewey was probably an adorable and friendly cat, I didn’t really understand how he was different or more special from any other cat out there. The prose is too flowery and it just didn’t capture my interest.
2. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
Lisa See has garnered some fantastic reviews for her books, particularly Geisha Girls. I picked up Snow Flower and the Secret Fan at a library booksale, because it was highly recommended across the book blog-o-sphere. I didn’t dislike the book. I connected and sympathized with the main character right away, and found the entire foot binding sections to be horrendous and heart breaking. I think in another time in my life, I would have really enjoy this book more. My only complaint, and the biggest, is that I found the pace to be really slow going. Although I cared about the characters, I didn’t have the patience to keep reading this book.
3. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver
I had heard really good things about this book and how inspirational it was towards promoting a healthier lifestyle. This is the story of how Kingsolver and her family moved from the big city to a small farm where they lived on an almost entirely organic diet of food grown on their homesoil. I even chose this book as a book club selection for July. One week into reading this book, all 5 girls in the book club decided to stop reading this book because none of us liked it. I read about 4 chapters and found Kingsolver to be incredibly preachy and self-congratulary. I think one of the major problems is that I am not the target audience for this book. I already shop for produce at the local farmer’s market every Sunday morning. I don’t buy fast food or junk food except on rare occasions. I tried to grow my own plants, but not everyone is born with a green thumb. I ended up killing my plants. I tried, I failed, I shouldn’t be made to feel as if I’m soley responible for global warming because I can’t garden.
Posted in Adult, Adult Fiction, Blogging, Books, Memoir, Nonfiction
Tagged Animal, Dewey, Half Read Books, miracle, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, unfinished books, vegetable