A Bite-Sized Review: A Movable Feast

Here is little review to munch on this Tuesday morning!  Happy reading everyone!

Vitals-

Title: A Movable Feast; Author: Ernest Hemmingway; Genre: Non-Fiction/Memoir

The Gist- Musings and anecdotes about Mr. Hemmingway’s experience of living in Paris in the early 1920s.

What Stuck- The book struck me as a bit odd.  It’s disjointed and seems random.  And yet philosophical. I mentioned this to my mother who informed me that this was Hemmingway’s style. Since I haven’t read anything else by Mr. Hemmingway I was unaware of this, but not particularly fond of it.

Should you give a flip?- I can’t say you should. I want to say that it’s an interesting read, but I can’t describe why I feel compelled to say that.  I guess it was comforting to read that many of the greats out there struggle as much as the average joe. There…that lack of clarity pretty much reflects the book. Use your own discretion.

An Action Adventure: The Templar Legacy

Happy Friday everyone! We’ve made it to the end of the week. And since there is a lot of Friday-ness to celebrate, I thought a quick little review might be nice just in case you are in need of some weekend reading recommendations.

Vitals- 

Title: The Templar Legacy; Author: Steve Berry; Genre: Fiction

The Gist– An action-packed adventure about lost treasure and the Knights Templar.

What Stuck A new take on a secret brotherhood’s story that never gets old. I never get sick of this tale and Berry gives it a new angle making it all the more interesting.

Should you give a flip?- Yes.  If you liked The DiVinci Code or the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, this is going to be your kind of book.

A Little Extra Love

In my last post, I gave a quick review of The Little Paris Bookshop. I acknowledged that I could go on-and-on about this read and one of the reasons was due to its elegant prose.  Ms. George seems to have the ability to say things in ways that make me envious.

While I loved this book, I almost did not post a review because it’s one of the rare books I’ve read and enjoyed so much that I’m afraid to share it.  I’m afraid to shout to the world about this book for fear that people will not like it nearly as much as I do.  This thought is quite unbearable to me.

However, I feel that not telling the world is just as unjust.  Thus, I wrote the review, and I have decided to take it one step further and technically break my own rule about book reviews and over-pontification.  But what are rules without an exception or two?

I do not wish to spoil the plot, character-development or all the wonderful verbiage, but I would like to offer a taste.

From the very beginning, George sets a standard of striking comparisons.  A character tells the protagonist, “You are cashmere compared with the normal yarn from which men are spun.”  I will fully admit that it’s lines like this that make my eyebrows meet my hair line, and my head cock to the side in interest and intrigue.

The story, as mentioned in the review, is an emotional one and probably relatable for most of us who have loved and lost. Perhaps that’s why for me certain lines seemed to ring so true.

“It’s amazing how unimpressed people are by being loved when it doesn’t fit in with their plans.  Love irks them so much that they change the locks or leave without warning.”

I read this line about four times in utter awe.  We are so thunderstruck when someone doesn’t love us, but we can be so indifferent to being loved.  Perhaps because it’s too accessible and easy.  There is definitely some truth in the idea of playing hard to get.  Just nobody had put it to me quite this starkly.

I will not ruin it by saying anymore; that is the taste I will offer. And if this was intriguing then I would say this wonderful novel is one for you.  I realize this post was in many ways self-indulgent, but I feel that words that strike me like this are rare and deserve some pointed praise.

Oh, Just Read It- The Little Paris Bookshop

Vitals-

Title: The Little Paris Bookshop; Author- Nina George; Type- Fiction

The Gist- A profoundly emotional story of losing love and the process of moving forward.  And how books can be the cure for many emotional ailments.

What Stuck- George is able to concisely and eloquently state some of life’s most emotionally baffling conundrums. I’m envious of this talent.

Should you give a flip?- YES!  This is a wonderful book.  It’s beautiful and elegant.  I get a warm, sunny feeling when thinking of this read.  I’ll shut up now.  Just go read it.

To Read or Not to Read: The Light of Paris

It’s book review time! I have broken them up into four extraordinarily brief sections.  The first called “Vitals.”  It lists the most basic information about the book.  The second called “The Gist” is a two to three sentence summary of what the book is about.  The third entitled “What Stuck” is a sentence or two about what stuck out to me when reading.  And finally the fourth is “Should you Give a Flip?” This is my summation if I would recommend the book and if so, to whom. So here we go!

Vitals-

Title: The Light of Paris; Author: Eleanor Brown; Genre: Fiction

The Gist– A hopeful read that is relatable and inspiring.  It is about two womens’ journeys in order to find happiness by going against high societies expectations.

What Stuck The descriptions were uniquely vivid.

Should you give a flip?- Yes.  Particularly for women who are a little different and feel that they go against the grain of expectations.

 

Should You Give a Damn? My Personal Book Preferences

Naturally, everyone has book/reading preferences and this will influence how they feel towards certain works.  It will determine which pieces they recommend and those they view as hogwash.  I have established that I will be doing minimalistic book reviews every so often because I do not like traditional book reviews. One of the reasons I struggle with these reviews is that book critics and I tend to be looking for different things in our preferences and reading experience.

Obviously, my reviews will not be devoid of my opinion and own preferences, thus I see it as only fair to offer up a laundry list of what my preferences are, giving you the reader, the advantage of knowing how seriously you should take my thoughts based on if my reading ways are similar to yours or not.  I admit some of these have no bearing on book review recommendation compatibility, but I got on a roll and couldn’t stop myself.

  • I believe every book has a reader. If I don’t like it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad.  It just wasn’t for me.
  • I do not like horror or depressing books. Furthermore, books with any sort of incest will be relegated immediately to the donation pile.
  • Bad endings equal bad books.
  • I believe beverage choice can affect your reading experience. (If you’ve ever read Ghost Map while drinking water, you will get what I’m talking about.)
  • I totally judge a book by its cover and title. I know it’s a sin, but get over it.
  • I find book stores a religious experience, but will purchase books online out of necessity.
  • I read only hard copy books. (Yes, I’m that snob)
  • I don’t go anywhere without a book. To me it’s like going outside without bottoms on.
  • Verbose writing is most often laboriously unnecessary.
  • Dog-earring pages is blasphemous! Get a book mark!!! There are a million options.
  • But underlining and writing comments in the margin is completely acceptable, as long as you are the owner of the book.
  • I believe that some books will only be appreciated and liked when in the proper mood and if properly prepared for.
  • I believe books are meant to be shared, discussed, cherished…or loathed. Emotion is important with my reading.
  • I read for entertainment and to learn. If a book does both I get downright giddy.
  • I will give anything a go. I make no promises on finishing, but there are always exceptions to the rules.

This list probably could go on endlessly, but these are probably the main highlights. Are we on the same page or are your preference and mine reading two different books?

Book Reviews: Anew

Every ravenous reader needs a supply line.  They need a place, a person, a group, a site, whatever, to constantly add titles to their never-ending list of books to read. I obtain books through perusal of bookstore shelves, friends, family, following authors whose previous works I enjoyed.  I am also quite lucky, for I have many people who are always adding to my list and several of them send me books in droves. However, there is one method that I don’t use.  I don’t use book reviews. In fact, I don’t really like book reviews.  I tend to avoid them as much as possible.

Why?

Because…book critics and reviewers tend to look at books very differently than I do.  When you have different approaches you probably are going to come out thinking different things. Also, I find the power of suggestion a bit strong.  It’s kind of like going to a wine tasting and having someone tell you that it has a hint of blackberry.  Odds are that when you taste the wine that’s what you’ll be thinking, and you will probably also think it has hints of blackberry.  But here’s the noodle cooker…would you have thought that if they hadn’t said anything?

Books are the same.  You tell me a character was under-developed or came off as a whining man child.  Odds are that’s going to stick in my head and possibly cause me to notice and care about something I wouldn’t have otherwise.  I will grant that some forewarning with books can be nice.  For instance, Crime and Punishment is a tough read.  The Russian names can be very confusing, but stick with it.  It’s worth it.  This still gives me the opportunity at the end to decide if it was worth it or not, but it gets me mentally prepared for the journey and that can be very important.

Book reviews in a traditional format have their place and their purpose.  However, they are not for me.  What I want from somebody when they tell me about a book is a minimalistic approach.  I want to know the title, author, genre.  I want a two-sentence summary of what it’s about.  If there’s anything that was particularly striking (again two sentences or less) and if I should give a flip and read it or not.

So while I don’t particularly care for book reviews, this is a blog that is centered on the written word and books, it only seems right to have a few book reviews.  However, these book reviews will be what I mentioned earlier.  I will supply a brief summary, if something stood out, and if in my opinion you should spend your precious time reading it. The idea is for them to be quick and simple. The books I review will be those that happen to be on my reading list.  They could be brand new, they could be obscure, they could be considered a classic. Most book reviews naturally focus on new works, but I know there are billions of books that have been out there for quite some time that I haven’t met yet that have magical stories to offer.

So fellow ink-lovers, what are your thoughts on book reviews?