Dy's Take

March 7, 2011

Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire

Filed under: audiobook,LitFic — Dy @ 14:26

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I liked it better than Wicked (which I read years before it was a musical). It wasn’t a bad listen, but his prose drives my brain crazy; I can’t read it without gritting my teeth.

And I felt thoroughly put out and deceived by the epilogue. Even if the revelations did make the title a better fit…

3.5/5

December 19, 2010

Off Season by Anne Rivers Siddons

Filed under: audiobook,LitFic — Dy @ 13:09

(75)

This made me so mad. It wasn’t a bad book, but the ending just killed it. I spent all those hours listening and getting invested in the lives of these people for THAT?!

Aside from hating the ending with a vitriolic passion it probably doesn’t deserve, I enjoyed this. The narrative jumping through time drove me batty — if you’re going to screw with a linear time there should be a plot-justifiable reason to do so and there just wasn’t in this book.  The writing, though, had moments and phrases of exquisite beauty in the midst of the annoying bits that kept me listening and wishing I was reading the book so I could see those nuggets of lyrical grace in print for myself.

For the moments of beauty I added a star; for the ending I took it back.

2.5/5

December 1, 2010

A Slight Trick of the Mind by Mitch Cullin

Filed under: audiobook,LitFic — Dy @ 14:32

( 71 )

I love audiobooks simply because there are a lot of things I will listen to as background noise in the car that I would never, ever be able to sit through (Moby Dick springs to mind…all that grossly inaccurate marine biology would have driven me mad to read).

This was slow, and a little odd, but not a bad little story. I decided to listen for what I suspect is the same reason the author wrote it.  The “What if” in this story is, “What if one of the greatest minds in fiction lived long enough to see those mental powers decline? How would he react?” In a nutshell – Sherlock Holmes gets senile. But it’s more than that.

It offers a look at the world immediately after WWII, when Japan is reeling, the rest of the world is both awestruck and terrified by this new weapon, and people of every nation are still trying to figure out how to live without all the young men who died in the war.

It’s a little slow, and I still have no freaking clue what a “Glass Armonica” is, but I liked it nonetheless.  Excellent reader, too, though the volume shifted up and down a bit much during the reading.

4/5

November 16, 2010

Dancing with Butterflies by Reyna Grande

Filed under: Book Club,ChickLit,LitFic — Dy @ 23:11

(68)

Populated by stereotypes that made me cringe for women everywhere even as I enjoyed learning more about folklorico. I could have cheerfully throttled ALL the female leads in this book.

Reading about abuse victims who don’t stand up for themselves drive me crazy.  As a woman fast approaching middle age and shocked at how my body has changed since high school it is all too easy to my own potential in the plastic surgery addict. The illegal…that’s hard. I live in a border state and it’s hard to look at that issue from the other side. I appreciated the glimpse into the mindset, and, particularly, the look at what many illegals are running from (profound poverty) but I can’t bring myself to approve. The school teacher? No. Just no. I’ve been where she was and there is no excuse for that behavior. Period.

This was a good book for book club because it was something I never would have chosen on my own. I just didn’t like the story/characters.

The language though? I don’t know if it was a translation issue, or just that author’s native language is Spanish, but there were moments when the beauty and lyricism of some of her phrases took my breath away.

Still, I doubt I’ll read any more of this author’s work, unless my book club makes me again.

August 3, 2010

Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns

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I slogged through read this whole book. Even though I missed the book club meeting where it was discussed.

Oh how I wish I had the hours spent reading it back so I could read something not boring with an over-emphasized regional dialect that made me want to edit my copy on the spot.

Of course that’s just me.

August 2, 2010

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Filed under: Book Club,LitFic,Series I Like,Thriller — Dy @ 17:53

(44) Millennium trilogy, book 1

I agree with a friend of mine that they should have retained the original Swedish title for this, “The Man Who Hated Women,” because it was more accurate.  Read this for book club and bought the 2nd one.  I just… It didn’t stick with me the way I expected it to after the rave reviews some friends gave it.  Maybe I’ll re-read it before I tackle volume 2 which (a) I bought so I could read more and (b) the book club is doing some time next year because the female protag intrigued several of us.

March 10, 2010

The Secret of Lost Things by Sheridan Hay

Filed under: LitFic — Dy @ 21:56

(16)

I started this book last April and finished it tonight.

It was a bit slow going, but underneath the literary claptrap there was a mystery and I wanted to know how it was resolved (unsatisfactorily, fyi).  I plugged away a page or two here and there–I literally didn’t open it for months at a time– for almost a year.

It was a slog;  the only book I’ve read for ‘pleasure’ in 20 years that had me running for my dictionary. I thought I hated it, I really, really did.  Then I finished it tonight, closed the book, and found myself staring at the cover thinking, “You know, that wasn’t bad.” It wasn’t good enough to save it from being listed on PaperbackSwap before I started this post, but once it was over it turned out to be better than I thought it was.

March 8, 2010

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Filed under: LitFic,Magical Realism,Short Stories — Dy @ 20:32

(15)

I was surprised how much I enjoyed this sad, lyrical, beautiful little story.  I tried to sit through the movie and fell asleep. The short story is much better. It was poignant and wonderful in a way I didn’t think Fitzgerald could be after having Gatsby shoved down my throat TWICE in high school by virtue of switching schools between semesters my junior year.

Ignore the movie and read the story.

PS – I heart Stanza (and their awesome library of free content that doesn’t suck the way so much of the free stuff from Amazon and B&N does!)

February 11, 2010

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Filed under: Book Club,Historical Fiction,LitFic — Dy @ 12:37

(12)

This was okay. Like most litfic I don’t really get what all the fuss was about. I guess I’m a genre girl. It was not a bad book, but I didn’t feel like I’d wasted my time when I finished it.

What I found most surprising was getting to the end and realizing the author was a woman. She really captured a male voice, and for that I applaud the book.

October 9, 2009

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Filed under: Book Club,LitFic,Sci-Fi — Dy @ 13:06

( 85 )

This was a re-read for me since my book club read it for October.  I read it for another book club about 5 years ago, and just as I finally bought my own copy last December, someone picked it as one of our 2009 books.

I loved this book the first time I read it. I still really, really love it, but not quite as much. After a second reading I see why some people consider it a romance, but it never struck me that way. I was always obsessed by the time travel aspect of it (caught a continuity error this time—the editor in me is simultaneously gloating and disappointed).

Still, I recommend this book to people all the time and will continue to do so.

September 22, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays – The Secret of Lost Things

Filed under: LitFic,Teaser Tuesdays — Dy @ 06:47

teasertuesdays31

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

Grab your current read

  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Tease?

“At least you had one, I thought, but didn’t say. My own self-pity struck me as sentimental when I was with him, and his seemed an extraordinary admission.”

p. 155, The Secret of Lost Things by Sheridan Hay

August 20, 2009

Black Ships by Jo Graham

Filed under: Alternate History,LitFic — Dy @ 08:17

( 61 )

Okay, I admit it. I never read “The Aenid”.

After reading “Black Ships” I think I may have to read the story that inspired the story. Oddly enough though, based on the author’s notes, while Virgil’s tale may be the first recorded version of the story of Troy’s survivors in the aftermath of the Trojan War, Graham’s is more historically accurate (though still fiction).

I really enjoyed this and never ran into a moment or a line that brought me out of the story.  Highly recommended!

I had a lot of trouble categorizing this book, so feel free to disagree with my choices—and tell me why, I’m starting to think I’m talking to myself here!

July 17, 2009

PS – I Love You by Cecelia Ahern

Filed under: ChickLit,LitFic,Movie Books — Dy @ 06:51

( 53 )

I enjoyed the movie version of this book (okay, fine, I enjoyed Gerard Butler in the movie version…don’t get me bogged down in the technicalities!) but, as usual, the book was better 🙂

Part of that, I think, is the location. To make the movie more relatable for American audiences the writers shifted the characters’ nationalities a bit as well as the setting. I enjoyed the Irish version more.

I think I also prefer the book because there was more character depth.  And less drama and mystery about the envelopes.

*yawn*

Insomnia is catching up w/ me and I have to go get ready for take your kid to work day with no sleep last night. Let’s hope the kid and I survive today!

8/10

June 10, 2009

The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier

Filed under: Book Club,LitFic — Dy @ 13:27

( 44 )

This was a re-read for my book club–my choice even.

I have to say, I liked it better the first time.  I realized, when re-reading it, that what I’d enjoyed most about the book was the basic underlying concept. Said concept is outlined in the preface to the book.  Reading the book is like a long, novelized “What-if”. If the concept in the preface is correct, what would it be like…?

It gives meat to the bones laid out in the beginning, but it’s not necessary.  It took me a long time to slog through this second reading–I doubt that there will be a third.

Or it could be that it’s much too deep for vacation reading, who knows?

6/10

June 3, 2009

Homespun by Nilita Vachani

Filed under: Historical Fiction,LitFic — Dy @ 22:24

( 43 )

I wanted to like this, I did, but the jumping through time and perspectives annoyed the hell out of me and made for a less than coherent whole.

5/10

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