On Reading the Tough Stuff

Brilliant and well written. Reflections On Reading the Tough Stuff.

Book Guy Reviews

There are two reasons we read: to entertain, and to educate. I understand the generalization, but most, if not all motivations behind reading can adequately be loped into one category or the other.

Let me just say that reading for pleasure is my bread and butter. I do it everyday. I love Dan Brown, and Harry Potter. I read Stephen King, not for its artistic merit or intellectual weight, but for its gruesome plot lines and staggeringly detailed worlds. It’s bloody and explosive and awesome, and I love it. I’ll say the same for Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and the smattering of other best-sellers I consume. They’re wonderful pieces of escapism, but just that–nothing more.

72_1By the same token, reading for inspiration and enlightenment is equally important in our quest for knowledge. We should try to read the histories, biographies, essays, and fictions of the thoughtful and profound, in attempt to intersperse escapism with…

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The Goldfinch-An Audiobook Review

goldfinch

Unabridged (32 hours and 29 min)

Author: Donna Tartt

Narrated by: David Pittu

Rating: 3-stars

Listened: April 1, 2015-April 7, 2015

About 3 months ago, a friend persuaded me to start listening to audiobooks. In all  fairness, in the beginning I was a bit reluctant. My experiences with audiobooks were lukewarm at best. I found that I would get distracted half-way through the narration and would end up having to go back and re-listen to an entire segment because I spaced out.

So when about a few weeks ago I started a membership with audible, The Goldfinch was one of the first titles to grab my attention. The Goldfinch had already been in my TBR list for quite sometime, and I had plans to read it, but since I was already reading another book, and I had a five-hour trip to California; I decided to give the audiobook version a try and here are my thoughts.

From audible: The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling force and acuity. It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

I have to say that I was extremely excited about this book. There was so much buzz about it and the synopsis sounded very promising. This was my first audiobook and what I really enjoyed about this book was David Pittu’s narration. Pittu does a fantastic job narrating in different accents and voices ranging from teens to young adults. This was a very long book both to read as well as to listen. I’m more accustomed to reading seven hundred or so pages, versus listening to a thirty-two plus hour audiobook.

I would recommend this audiobook despite the fact that the book fell a bit short of my expectations. Especially after having read all the raving reviews, and indeed Donna’s prose is beautiful, but too wordy. You can easily fast-forward the last two hours of the book. The dialogue with Theo by himself in a room in Amsterdam felt interminable. The characters were rich and compelling, but Boris, the Russian friend, was a richer character than Theo–in my opinion.

I believe that this book could have removed a good two hundred pages and it would still have been an extremely compelling novel. As for the audiobook, thanks to the excellent narration by David Pittu my trip to California was an audible delight.

Signature

3 star

Review: The Daughter by Jane Shemilt

The Daughter

Title: The Daughter

Author: Jane Shemilt

Pages: 352

Genre: Fiction, Mystery/Thriller

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks

Rating: 3-Stars

Read: March 3, 2015-March 10, 2015 – I own a copy.

Jenny is a successful family doctor in England, who seems to have everything, a perfect job, perfect marriage, and the perfect family. When Jenny’s fifteen-year-old doesn’t return home after a school play, Jenny’s life starts to crumble. Naomi seems to have vanished, and the authorities have no clue how to find her. As the weeks and months after Naomi’s disappearance go by, Jenny starts to discover information that shows a very different Naomi from the girl she thought she’d raised.

My thoughts: 

The Daughter is Jane Shemilt’s debut novel, and for a first novel it did not disappoint. While the book was a suspenseful page-turner that kept me up until late hours of the night, there were a few problems for me. The flow of the narrative was not continuous. Shemilt switched back and forth between the days/weeks leading up to the daughter’s disappearance to a year after her disappearance. My problem with that type of narrative structure was the fact that all the leads and suspects that you learned about in the days and weeks coming up to the disappearance, if they were still present in the novel a year later, then you knew they probably weren’t involved in the disappearance, so that broke the flow of suspense to me. Although I enjoyed the book, I did not really like any of the characters and could not truly sympathize with any of them. I couldn’t stand the mother’s naiveté about her children’s lives to the point of denial. The father’s cold and detached personality, and the twin brothers’ rich and spoiled behavior. As for Naomi, we only get to know her initially by Jenny’s eyes, and obviously the mother was oblivious to Naomi’s lifestyle and affairs. Naomi being such a central character was never truly developed, and her actions at the end of the book seemed random, leaving the reader begging for more explanations. The daughter is a novel that ponders on topics of betrayal, guilt, truth and family, and asks the question: “Can we have extremely busy careers and still be truly involved in our families’ lives?

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3 star

Hello world!

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This is my first post on my brand new blog! 🙂 I’m very excited to start a blog. I love to read and I have been reviewing books on Goodreads and Amazon, but this is my first time posting my reviews on a blog.  I’m currently reading “Big Little Lies” by Liane Moriarty, and I’ll be posting my review of this book shortly.

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