Monday, December 19, 2011

I am the worst blogger ever. Actually, that's probably not true. Especially since I technically wrote this December 9, but due to unfortunate computer charger issues I haven't had time to post it. 

Anyway, I've discovered that this whole "being employed" thing really cuts into my reading time. Which is ironic since I work in publishing. I'm seriously considering taking a week of "vacation" and just staying home and reading. This is my life.

So since selling my soul to Scarecrow Press (Monday-Friday, 9-5) and BCCRS/MCFRS (any other time period, occasionally overlapping), I haven't had as much time to read as I'd like. Nevertheless, I have managed to fit it in here and there and I have a few backlogged reviews.
Not too long ago I finished The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet. I found it to be a pretty interesting read. It wasn't exactly what I expected, but that's perfectly OK. There are certain books (and this one definitely falls into the category) that I hear such rave reviews for (on goodreads and the like) that I eventually just shrug and put on my list and then pounce on them once I stumble upon them on the library shelves. Oftentimes I end up diving into these books without really knowing what the book is about. It's bizarre and occasionally really confusing, but for the most part I think it's an advantage because your mind is an (almost) blank slate.

Another book I just finished also kind of falls into the same category, though there's been less chatter about it is Her Fearful Symmetry. It's by the same author that wrote The Time Traveler's Wife. Between that and the intriguing name, I had to pick it up. 

I have to say, I really enjoyed Her Fearful Symmetry, but reading it was truly an exercise in the unexpected. Or it was for me anyway. It starts off as an intriguing enough story with interesting characters and you want to keep reading because you want to see how things develop. There's also a sense of mystery to it, even before you know that there really is a secret. Then, 1/3-1/2 way into the book the author just starts throwing in twists and turns. Many a time did I stop, think "huh. that was unexpected" and then continue reading. 

Overall, I think I liked the first part of the book more than the latter part. The beginning and the end are so far apart — but somehow everything between ties them together. It certainly didn't go in the direction I expected it to as I got further immersed in the story. I can't even describe it as the complete opposite since it was in a whole other world. It was mildly perplexing, but definitely a good read. 

I will say though, if you're one of those people who reads the ending of a book first, you may want to skip this book if you can't manage to restrain yourself because knowing the ending without the middle and then trying to start from the beginning will be confusing as hell and you'll cheat yourself out of the full experience of reading this. Just saying. 

Moving right along, after Her Fearful Symmetry I started Super Sad True Love Story. I really did have high hopes for this book. There was a ton of hype (and I try not to let that lead me astray since I sometimes find the public literary opinion worrying *coughtwilightcough*), but it seemed like an interesting work of social commentary with amusing-ish characters. 
In the world of Super Sad True Love Story, language has devolved, everyone speaks in abbreviations and thinks books "smell." Social media is everything. This is the portrait of the world Shteyngart paints us. As disturbing as I find this concept, it does provide a perfect setup for a dystopian novel.

Except it isn't one. It's kind of about government and society, and kind of about people — flawed, mediocre, generally uninteresting people — and while, again, these seem like they should be good jumping off points, it just doesn't work.
I finished reading it due to my unfortunate compulsion to finish all books that I start. I also kept hoping that I would like it more as the story progressed. No such luck.

That's pretty much it for my book life. The only other thing of note is that I am (still) impatiently waiting for the Hunger Games movie. It looks AWESOME and I'm absurdly excited. I'm pretty sure that I'm going to reread the books sometime before the movie comes out, but since I have until March, I've got time. I pretty much read each book in a day or so. Yep. Excited.

No comments:

Post a Comment