Book Nymphs

We survived our 50 books in one year challenge. In 2009 we are still reading...

Friday, March 14, 2014

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter (#4, Fiction)

The best part about this book is that it made me want to spend more time in Italy.  Just look at that cover!  Who wouldn't want to go back?

The story had promise, the writing was well done.  But I just didn't love some of the characters and felt the ending was a bit too perfectly put together. 

But, a good book to read on the beach, or for a quick read to get you back into the swing of reading!

2.5 out of 5.

What Remains: A Memoir of Fate, Friendship & Love by Carole Radziwill (#3, Nonfiction)

A book club pick.  As the opposite of a fan of the Real Housewives shows I was a bit skeptical to hear that the author is currently on the Real Housewives of New York.

Luckily, Carole is actually a very good writer.  Her story unfolded quickly and was definitely one worth telling.  But, that said, oh my god it was sooooo sad. 

3 out of 5.

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (#2, Fiction)

I was really excited to read this book.  People had been talking about it for months, and I'd been searching the library for it every week until I gave in and just bought it.  For a long vacation this was at the top of the list and I couldn't wait.

I was disappointed.  It took me much longer to get pulled in to the story than I expected, and while I really like the idea of the "sliding doors" plot, it was pretty confusing.  That all being said, I still liked the book but I think my expectations were just way too high. 

And, of course somehow another book choice revolves around WWII, that theme seems to be the most popular in all my book choices lately.

Would I recommend it to a friend? Yes, most likely.  But mostly because I want to discuss with them all the things I'm still confused about!

3 out of 5.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (#1, Fiction)

I'm a bit delinquent in posting my books for 2014 so far.  I have also been pretty bad about reading regularly, but with my one book a week during Lent challenge I am hoping to get back into the reading swing of things.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao was complex.  There are just so many characters and so many plot lines that weave in and out of the novel that it's hard to characterize simply.  A combination of a coming of age, mixed with folklore and history, with a twist of love all tied together with the supernatural, and ultimately foreshadowed tragedy.

I feel a bit out of line in saying that I didn't love it.  The reviews were great, it won a Pulitzer, it was recommended with glowing praise, all the right ingredients for a five star read.  At the end of the day I think it just wasn't my cup of tea.  I liked it, I get why it was considered great, the writing is fantastic, but I guess I have to accept that just because something is highly acclaimed doesn't mean I also have to love it.  I can see it for what it is, and move on and be glad that I expanded my novel knowledge.

4 out of 5 stars.



Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Land of Mango Sunsets by Dorothea Benton Frank (#30, Fiction)

I had extremely low expectations for this book.  It seemed like it would be a lousy beach read, and I wasn't even on the beach.  But, I was pleasantly surprised.  No prize winning writing found here, but the characters and plot were definitely more complex and interesting than I anticipated.

2.5 out of 5.

That officially closes out 2013.  I will certainly not be finishing the behemoth of a novel I've recently started before the stroke of midnight tonight.  In 2014 I'd like to continue reading a variety of books, and keep the quality and quantity to high levels.  Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson (#29, Fiction)

Talk about a page-turner.  Before I Go To Sleep came highly recommended by a trusted reader friend.  Even when she compared it to Gone Girl (a book that I was not a fan of) I went ahead took the chance. 

I loved it.  It took me less than 24 hours to finish and I was all in from the start.  Because my friend did tell me it was "like" Gone Girl, I think I was reading it with an extra critical eye.  Who was the culprit? Who was the bad guy? No one was free of my questions, very similar to that of the narrator, Christine, who wakes up every day with no recollection of the previous day, week, year, decade--neither she nor I knew or trusted anyone.

I highly recommend this one.  It's an easy read, but also well-written and has a nice conclusion, which I feel often fall short in page-turner type books.

4.5 out of 5.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Devil in the Details by Jennifer Traig (#28, Nonfiction Memoir)

I really hated this book.  Somewhere I saw a review that compared her to Augusten Burroughs.  NO FREAKING WAY.  You want to say they both had fucked up childhoods, sure, but this girl was just damn annoying.

When you write a memoir about childhood, things aren't going to always be 100% accurate, I get it, but I just can't swallow a whole chapter of her talking about how since she was a toddler she looked down her nose at all those who weren't Parisian, or how she wanted to wear makeup since then as well. I'm sorry, a toddler?  I don't remember shit from last year, let alone when I was three.

Another review said her antics were hysterical.  Her antics while certainly OCD, and over the top as she is very much is aware of, were not funny.  Maybe it was cathartic for her to write about a childhood of having to deal with OCD before it even had a name, but gosh, I wish I hadn't been subjected to reading about it.

Terrible.  1 out of 5.