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Thread: What's the last book you read?

  1. #1726
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    I'm almost finished with Portia de Rossi's Unbearable Lightness. It's okay, if a little too solipsistic, even for a memoir. I see myself in it more than I'd like to though...

  2. #1727
    :: dutch oven :: wout's Avatar
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    Sharp Objects - Gillian Flynn
    Loved the setting and the fucked up characters and twisted family relations. It almost didn't even need murders to be solved, somehow that plotline got in the way... But I guess you need a kind of lot, eh?

    The reapers are the angels - Alden Bell
    Ehhh. Zombie novel that got quite good reviews, starts of quite well but really sizzles out near the end. Nice prose at times but as a whole rather forgettable.

    The perks of being a wallflower - Stephen Chbosky
    I'm sure a lot of people will hate it (hell, I can see its flaws as well, it was hella cheesy at times) but I really enjoyed it. Curious incident of the dog in the nighttime meets mtv?
    post28!

  3. #1728
    Is anyone else an Earthsea fan? I just re-read A Wizard of Earthsea for a book club at work, which prompted me to also immediately re-read The Tombs of Atuan (an all-time favorite!). I've never read the other books, though, so I'm taking the opportunity to do so now, when I have the first two books fresh in my mind. The Farthest Shore started off kind of clumsily but I'm getting into it a little more as it goes on.
    "See everything as an illusion, and enjoy it even though you are not of it."
    ~Alanis Morissette, paraphrased

  4. #1729
    Tens Across the Board Banjee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wout View Post
    The perks of being a wallflower - Stephen Chbosky
    I'm sure a lot of people will hate it (hell, I can see its flaws as well, it was hella cheesy at times) but I really enjoyed it. Curious incident of the dog in the nighttime meets mtv?
    I actually liked it better when I thought Charlie had Aspergers, it allowed me to get past the writing. But his is just a childhood trauma that caused him to relate the story the way he does, unlike the boy from Curious Incident, who really does have Aspergers.
    Last edited by Banjee; 04-22-2013 at 08:27 PM.

  5. #1730
    :: dutch oven :: wout's Avatar
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    Hmm, I thought it was both. That he had either Aspergers or some milder form of autism and that trauma. It would explain a few things:



    I'm just going to go on thinking it was both, because him not having aspergers/autism would make the book a lot less good
    post28!

  6. #1731
    ...I have read The Perks of Being a Wallflower yearly for the last decade (it is a favorite of mine), and not once have I ever thought Charlie had some form of autism, nor has it ever seemed to me that relating the experience of an autistic-spectrum person is the intent of the author or the tone of the narrative. To me, it is absolutely NOTHING like The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, whose express purpose is relating the first-person experience of an autistic-spectrum person. Charlie is one of my favorite fictional narrators: he is fragile, he is damaged, he is hyper-observant but socially-clumsy...he's only ever read to me like a super-sensitive teen of the sort that I was and that my husband was and that both of us knew and forged alliances with in those awful teen years, abuse issues aside. I actually think Charlie's closest analogue is Angela Chase from My So-Called Life.

    EDIT: I also really think that saying his childhood trauma is the crux of how he relates to the world throughout the main course of the novel is really, really reductive. It's a factor, but if that's the "point" that you took away from the novel, I honestly think you're overlooking most of the sentiments and observations expressed in the body of the book. (Sorry, this is a super-emotional reaction, but I love that book so much. It is so full of Truth, I don't know how anyone can read it and not come away completely devastated by it. I have an emotional hangover for three days after reading it and I basically have it memorized).
    Last edited by The Markness; 04-23-2013 at 09:48 AM.
    "See everything as an illusion, and enjoy it even though you are not of it."
    ~Alanis Morissette, paraphrased

  7. #1732
    Tens Across the Board Banjee's Avatar
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    I just had a hard time getting into his voice. Something just didn't seem right to me: he's in 9th Advanced English, his teacher gives him extra writing assignments because he sees promise, yet, Charlie's voice doesn't convey this. It made me think that there was much more to the style of writing than just Chbosky trying to capture the voice of a teenager.

  8. #1733
    Quote Originally Posted by Banjee View Post
    I just had a hard time getting into his voice. Something just didn't seem right to me: he's in 9th Advanced English, his teacher gives him extra writing assignments because he sees promise, yet, Charlie's voice doesn't convey this. It made me think that there was much more to the style of writing than just Chbosky trying to capture the voice of a teenager.
    I dunno, I've always thought his voice was super-advanced for a fourteen-year-old, which is part of why I've always loved the book. It isn't sophomoric nonsense. XD

    EDIT: I just told Mario this in a private message, but I apologize for the strident tone in my previous post. I have a massive emotional attachment to this book and I get really defensive when people criticize it. Blergh.
    Last edited by The Markness; 04-23-2013 at 11:49 AM.
    "See everything as an illusion, and enjoy it even though you are not of it."
    ~Alanis Morissette, paraphrased

  9. #1734
    safely on a cloud tully's Avatar
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    I haven't read this one in a long time, but I remember liking it a lot when I read it initially. I'd be interested to see if my thoughts have changed at all since then.
    ... here i am!

  10. #1735
    Quote Originally Posted by Kari View Post
    The Secret History

    Yeah. I just really didn't like it at all. It was plodding, the descriptions were overlong and pointless, the characters banal and unlikeable. There wasn't really anything compelling about it for me.
    They're certainly unlikeable (I warn people about that before I push them to read it, particularly about Richard the narrator), but I don't find them to be banal. They're all deeply sinister to me in their individual ways, even Julian the professor, which is part of what fascinated/fascinates and engages me about it.

    Something I DID notice when I re-read it recently is how much of the action happens off-camera and has to be related later to Richard, especially in the book's last third.
    "See everything as an illusion, and enjoy it even though you are not of it."
    ~Alanis Morissette, paraphrased

  11. #1736
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    Just finished Empire State by Adam Christopher. It was ok. Started SUPER SLOW and the first half is very poorly written. Once the main story really got started and he seemed to get settled in the universe he was creating it got better. But not by much really. The story is interesting and it's a bit sci-fi/semi-film noir which was alright. However, the characters weren't really well developed and in a few places it felt rushed yet muddled. I'm about to start the sequel, Age Atomic. So, here's hoping that the second book gets better.
    You don't have to do everything all by yourself.

  12. #1737
    a little more time, endless time Savannah's Avatar
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    Slow River, Nicola Griffiths
    I found this, weirdly, gripping and tedious in equal measures. I enjoyed the themes of rebirth, self-worth, and survivor mentality, the fragility of identity in the near future. But a lot of the (many, many) scenes with Spanner and at the water plant were repetitive and tiresome.

    Zone One, Colson Whitehead
    Not quite the ~literary zombie novel~ it's touted as and I was hoping for. Whitehead's prose is sharp and unique, but a lot of the post-apocalyptic nostalgia just seemed like an excuse to prove how cynical he is about Starbucks, summer blockbusters, and Twitter.

  13. #1738
    The Drama Queen of Pretentiousness! Ms. Shart O'Nay's Avatar
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    Unlikable characters are fine. The characters in "The Secret History" are flat, blandly sketched stereotypes that we're supposed to find "enigmatic." Tartt forgot the fundamental rule of basically all art: show! don't tell! I felt she resorted to this because either (a) she assumed her readers were too boorish to understand all her ~*~*~high art explorations of this specialized upper-class niche~*~*~; or (b) lazy. Or (c) is just an amateurish novelist. And the novel was about 300 pages too long.

    Sorry. I trudged through the entirety of that one because so many people had recommended it here, and I could not have been more bored by it.

  14. #1739
    she assumed her readers were too boorish to understand all her ~*~*~high art explorations of this specialized upper-class niche~*~*~
    The Secret History definitely thinks it's cleverer than it actually is (i.e. it's not clever at all!), but IMO if you're willing to look past that it's mostly fun candyfloss (with a few dull saggy bits). I think I compared it to Ben & Jerry's last time it came up - I know it's not 'good for me' and full of rubbish, I know it's not artisan or the mark of particularly good taste, but it's good comfort food.

    (For me. But I am a bit of a pleb when it comes to kultcher.)

  15. #1740
    I could not disagree more that the characters in The Secret History are flat or "sketched". They each have a strong central characterization but she goes out of her way constantly to show you glimmers of other facets and feelings and potential motivations lurking under their surfaces. And all of that is "shown" not "told". I take the point that there's a lot of "telling" in parts of the book where Richard is having events related to him after the fact, but as for the book as a whole? I just don't see that. It's a beautifully-written piece of art that certainly implies much more than it directly states. And it's certainly heftier than candyfloss, to me.

    Did we all read the same book, lol? I am not used to this kind of divisive opinion about it. Everyone I know IRL who has read it was as in love with it as I am.

    EDIT: I'm also curious...those of you who disliked Secret History, did you read Tartt's follow-up, The Little Friend, and if so, what did you think of it? Because it's totally and completely different.
    "See everything as an illusion, and enjoy it even though you are not of it."
    ~Alanis Morissette, paraphrased

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