"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read." Groucho Marx

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

Henry's story is touching. Ford did a good job of moving smoothly between Henry's youth and the time of his adult maturity. I thought it was a little strange that Henry's son was such a prolific patron of the world wide web in 1986. That would have been VERY forward thinking of him. I'm not sure that I was even playing Oregon Trail using the dinner-plate sized floppy in 1986 but I never have been a computer whiz kid. That minor detail aside, the story was touching, though a little grim. I would have liked a little humor. I shed the requisite tears but a little joke every now and then wouldn't have hurt anything. There isn't anything funny about this novel though. If you want funny you'll have to move it over to Tina Fey or Erma Bombeck. Jamie Ford isn't having any part of it.       All said, this was a very average read for me. Neutral. Like the color taupe.

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Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris

I used to read a Sookie Stackhouse novel at random intervals amidst heavier reading. When I finished all there was of Sookie I began the search for another series to take the 'break' time spot. The idea was that the creator of Sookie must be the best place to find a Sookie replacement but I'm thinking I'm still on the market. Harper, Grave Sight's main character, isn't funny. I know, I know- how could that be? I've asked myself the same question over and over again. But she's just not. And she's not a strong character either. She's weak and dependent and kind of a pain in the ass. But-I didn't like Sookie at first either so I'll give Harper another go and hope that she gets her spine straight and finds her clearly missing sense of humor. 

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Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Son of the Circus by John Irving

I'm breaking up with John Irving-effective immediately. I've tried. Since the movie adaptation of Cider House Rules, which incidentally, I loved, I've tried. I struggled through A Prayer for Owen Meany and 158 Pound Marriage and nearly half of A Son of the Circus and I just can't do it anymore. I don't know what the point of the story is and I can't even stay interested long enough to figure out who the people are and what part each of them plays in this maniacal collection of nonsense and pointlessness. I read an interview Irving did about this book and he thanks his wife for reading every draft of this novel. God bless her heart-how did she manage it? I hope he did more than thank her. She deserves diamonds for that one. 

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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Still Missing by Chevy Stevens

Holy cow! What an incredible novel! I had to continually remind myself that the book I have been white-knuckling for two days was NOT a true story but an amazingly raw and realistic work of fiction. I've never read anything like this before. The writing style was completely new to me. What a talent Chevy Stevens is to tell a story from what appears to be the ending first and still keep you glued to every word through the last punctuation mark. 
No cheating when you're reading this one! I promise you-you will heartily regret taking an early peek at the last page. Let Stevens wow you in her time. I guarantee that you will not be disappointed. There were a few parts of Still Missing that were very difficult to read because of the raw brutality but if you're looking for suspense-here it is. 
One reviewer said that some of the psychological results of main character, Annie's, experience were 'so typical that they were almost trite, but...blah, blah, blah'. How the hell did she notice something like that? I was so busy being in awe and trying to catch my breath I didn't have time to cast about for triteness (I guess triteness is a word since autocorrect is leaving it alone...). I have short listed this to one of the books I will recommend. For me, Still Missing keeps company with books like The Hunger Games, The Help, The Gargoyle and My Sister's Keeper. And that's saying something.

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Saving Rachel by John Locke

Sitting here trying to think of what to say about this book I kept thinking of that part on The Grinch where the Grinch (Jim Carey) is going through the phone book, "Hate, hate, hate. Hate, hate, hate. LOATHE!" I was not a fan and I will not be looking for any more by this author. The writing was sophomoric and the details of the plot are disorderly and confusing. And the end.... The last sentence just stops right in the middle of the scene. There's no closure at all. The attempt to get you to buy the next one is too obvious and it makes the last page resemble a choose-your-own-adventure novel. 

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