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16-01-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by modelista View Post
Has anyone else read the new JK Rowling book A Casual Vacancy??

I'm curious to know what you guys think about it cuz i'm kinda.. um.. conflicted
I came in here just to write about this book, to be honest.
It seemed oddly gratuitous at times, like she's trying to prove that she can write an adult book. The story doesn't really pull you in until right around the middle. There's a lack of focus in the character's issues - they don't resolve themselves so much as they are dissipated, abruptly concluded, giving way to their thoughts about other point plots. It detracts from the character's developments.
On the other hand, the scenes are pretty well written. The characters are overall likeable, and most importantly, relatable, understandable. They deepen with every plot point they experience. Everything was wrapped up reasonably well by the end - although there was a focus on certain primary characters, almost all the loose ends were resolved.
I'd give this book 3.5 of 5. I wouldn't stop you if you wanted to read it - except if you have any faith in humanity at all. The ending is too sad.

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17-01-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StoneSkipper View Post
I came in here just to write about this book, to be honest.
It seemed oddly gratuitous at times, like she's trying to prove that she can write an adult book. The story doesn't really pull you in until right around the middle. There's a lack of focus in the character's issues - they don't resolve themselves so much as they are dissipated, abruptly concluded, giving way to their thoughts about other point plots. It detracts from the character's developments.
On the other hand, the scenes are pretty well written. The characters are overall likeable, and most importantly, relatable, understandable. They deepen with every plot point they experience. Everything was wrapped up reasonably well by the end - although there was a focus on certain primary characters, almost all the loose ends were resolved.
I'd give this book 3.5 of 5. I wouldn't stop you if you wanted to read it - except if you have any faith in humanity at all. The ending is too sad.
Actually, i had already read the book before posting my comment:p.. What i was conflicted about was literally EVERY word you written.

It's crazy because i completely agree with you on EVERYTHING. I too felt she was trying too hard to show she could write a so-called "adult novel", which i didn't necessarily find it a "adult book". It pretty much was raw, teen angst & the adults weren't really weren't too interesting enough for me to pay attention or care about so they kinda faded into the background at times.

But i loved how well written & realistic the characters/scenes were.. And the tone of the book was soo familiar it felt like hearing the voice of a good friend you hadn't seen in a while


Last edited by modelista; 17-01-2013 at 05:25 PM.
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17-01-2013
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^Ah, the 'conflicted' led me onto that... I meant 'you' as in everyone who wanted to read the book. That's a mistake I often make

If there's anything truly magic about Rowling's work, it's her ability to ambience. She really knows how to immerse you into a scene, dictate the tone of the ambient, locate the characters into a place, a time, a mood. It's undoubtedly her best asset as a writer.
I very much agree with you about the 'teen angst' thing (which I thought was very exaggerated... never to the point of uncanny valley, but certainly amped up). It wasn't so much of an adult book as it was a young adult one.

I hadn't thought about the familiar tone of it, but you're very right about that... it doesn't feel like you're being introduced to Pagford, but like you're remembering it fondly. I think a good part of that is due to her spectacular work on ambience.
It's not a great book, but it's certainly a very enjoyable read, and one you won't forget so quickly because of how the characters connect to you (at least they did to me).

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14-02-2013
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The Death of Bees by Lisa O'Donnell
5 stars out of 5

This was a rough, disturbing and tragic book. It was one of those "dirty" reads people don't do much talk about, with a weird prolugue, odd beginning and extremely emotional content.

I never, ever thought I was going to like this book when so many people were eager to read it. I thought it wasn't more than another thriller picturing kids who were struggling with grown up problems. It turned out being such a deep and unusual book, starting with the prologue and till it's last page its language amazed me (I even had to look up a few words in the dictionary), one of the best writing techniques and style. Giving (almost) every character a voice and making it no similar to other characters' was was a great idea. The chapters were really short which made it difficult to put it down. There was action, there was emotion, there was love and hate in this book but the most important part would be that it showed a facade of a society which most of us try to ignore.
It was a brilliant book and I hope the author publishes something new soon.

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20-02-2013
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Grace Coddington's new book I would probably give 2.5/5

I was actually offended when I read the part where she says she had only read around 3 books that aren't picture books her entire life.

Also she purposefully leaves the exciting parts out if you read her acknowledgements in the end by saying thanks so and so for telling me when I went too far in my writing. BUT GRACE! I want you to go too far. Too far is cool.

Maybe she should have just waited for her professional life to have ended? So then she could expose her secrets and say what she really feels about the fashion industry. Rather than writing boring dribble that could easily be available on a Wikipedia page. I mean it's not like we live with her, she doesn't need to have any element of surprise to keep the relationship going and eventful.

I just feel getting to the end of the book that it was just light entertainment- I wouldn't even class it as reading to be quite honest.

I feel most factual fashion books are like this. Which is a terrible detriment to the industry.

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01-03-2013
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What I Did by Christoper Wakling (4/10) – This was one of the designated reads for the book club that a group of my friends and I have together. It wasn’t something that I could see myself picking up of my own accord, which is one of the things I love most about being part of a book club. I started out really liking it, but it ended with a terrible anticlimax that made me change my opinion of the book as a whole leading more towards the negative.

Gone Girl
by Gillian Flynn (8/10) – I really liked this book, and I won’t say too much about it because it’s one of those books that the less you know about it the better it will be.

1Q84 (Book 1) by Haruki Murakami (6/10) – I enjoyed this but I found it quite obvious that it was part one in a trilogy. I didn’t feel like there was a complete story in the book, which was a bit frustrating but having said that I was captivated by the story enough to look forward to reading the other two books in the trilogy.


Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (10/10) – A new favourite book. This was such a beautiful story, so fascinating and incredibly well told. It came highly recommended to me and now I highly recommend this to you.

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17-03-2013
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After reading 50 Shades of Grey I got interested in erotica novels, I always thought they were cheap romance novels with Fabio on the cover but only recently I found out they´re a different genre. They´re not masterpieces but I find them interesting the more I read. I guess that 50 Shades got excellent marketing cause -even though the sex is hot- the characters are weak and poorly developed/written. So far I´ve read Sylvia Day´s Crossfire novels, her female character is as strong -if not stronger- than the male counterpart. Same as Tiffany Reisz´s The Original Sinners saga, I´ve read a short novella and The Siren.
Both authors deal with BDSM but the sex is secondary to character development, which imo is all that matters cause if I want fetish sex there´s always the web...

Anyone has other recommendations?

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17-03-2013
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Did someone read Lean in by Sheryl Sandberg? I have just started and so far I don't understand why she has been shot left and center Should I brace myself for the upcoming chapters?

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19-03-2013
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sorry, this is slightly off topic, but does anyone watch "booktubers"? there are a few i follow, but most seem to mainly read young adult books and i'm more interested in seeing reviews of "adult" books or at least a wider variety of genres. any recommendations?

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19-03-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kokobombon View Post

Anyone has other recommendations?
i would look into Tristan Taormino
check out her page on amazon..her books are sold in a lot of fancy erotica boutiques here.

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16-04-2013
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Divergent by Veronica Roth
I'm still not sure if it deserves 4 or 5 stars.

Even though it was a great read, I was still confused when it came to rating it. So many people keep comparing this book to Hunger Games but it was different, though if I compare them, Divergent loses points. First of all I liked the action and the dynamics in the book. I liked that the writing style was not very sophisticated but better than in other YA books. Four's description blew me away, what a hottie. There are some things which made me uncertain. First of all, the main character who was a bit annoying at parts, especially the parts with the kind of action I would describe as 'Terminator meets Katniss' and the fact that the author accorded so much attention to things which were not relevant and killed important characters within a sentence is a bit weird.
Anyway, I liked the book and I think it deserves all its positive comments and if you like dystopian books you should definitely read it. Despite everything I've really enjoyed the it.


Last edited by Niusity; 16-04-2013 at 11:39 AM.
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02-06-2013
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Ten by Gretchen McNeil 4/10 – This was an easy read, I think I managed to get through it over the course of one weekend. Not an amazing book, but good for what it was – a fairly basic young adult thriller.

The Death of Bees by Lisa O’Donnell 5/10 – I had high hopes for this book, and enjoyed how it started out but wasn’t that impressed with where it ended up. Another fairly easy read although I slowed down a little bit towards the end because I just wasn’t that interested in picking it up.


The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald 8/10 – I read this because I wanted to have it fresh in my mind before seeing the film when it came out this year. I love this story, and it’s nice and short so it was easy to devour in a few sittings. I found that while I was reading it I was imagining the characters as the actors playing them in the new film, which was interesting.


Red Dragon by Thomas Harris 7/10 – I’m in love with the new Hannibal TV series that started up recently, and I’m now inspired to read the books that the show is based on. I started at the beginning of the series with Red Dragon. I enjoyed this, it was another easy read and I devoured it (lol) pretty quickly.

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25-08-2013
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WIRED: The Short Life & Fast Times of John Belushi - by Bob Woodward

Bob Woodward is, of course, one of the men who reported on the Watergate scandal all those years ago, so he's mainly known as a journalist.

Anyhow - onto Wired.

I love biographies and I've taught a course on biographies as well, so when my husband brought home this book from a free bin at the local pool I picked it up for some light reading. I remember John Belushi from when I was growing up - mostly from SNL reruns and the Blues Brothers, which was popular with my older brothers.

I found when I started this book, I couldn't get into it. It was all about drugs. There was nothing on John's childhood and nothing about his parents or siblings - except for a few anecdotes about Jim Belushi, his actor brother. There was some reference to high school, and when Woodward started to discuss John's breakthrough at Second City I started to get more interested.

But all the way through I felt like something was missing. I finished the book last night. And while the ending should've been tremendously sad because of the loss of a great comedic talent, it felt more sad because ... it wasn't that sad! Weird.

This caused me to google search John, Dan, Cathy (the woman who administered John's fatal dose), Judy, etc. I wanted to know more and yet I'd just read over 400 pages about Belushi!

Basically there is a sort of cold tone to this biography, and a lack of "reasons" for why things happened as they did. It seems to me that Woodward lacks the psychological sensitivity that I think any biographer needs. Maybe his work in Washington is fine because it's just digging up facts/reporting, although that in itself is debatable, but it doesn't work that way when you're dealing with a human being. I feel like Wired doesn't do John Belushi justice.

What's interesting is that in my google search this morning I found a recent article in SLATE that basically vindicates all the reactions I had toward this book! It's a fascinating read - this article - because it really demonstrates, I think, how incredibly difficult it is to EVER capture a human being / reality via any medium: words, film, whatever. But it's basically impossible without at least some understanding of human psychology and a strong sense of empathy.

Here's the link to the Slate article; I recommend it! As for Wired, I would give it 4 out of 10 stars. There are some interesting details and it's clearly well researched, but it left me sad because I felt no sense of really understanding what drove Belushi over the edge.

http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/c...break_anchor_4

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Last edited by Not Plain Jane; 25-08-2013 at 11:47 AM.
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29-08-2013
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The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith
I decided to write a little review because it seems like this book is very popular nowadays.


First of all it took me so long to read it! (20 days to be exact)

Finally I made it and I must say that I don't understand what all the hype is about. I mean, I've never read Harry Potter or any other of Mrs. Rowling's books and I was very excited to read this one. Unfortunately, it made me even more skeptical about both, Harry Potter and The Casual Vacancy. Since everyone has been saying that this book is way better and easier to read than The Casual Vacancy I picked it first which I now kind of regret because I'd bought Casual Vacancy back in November and now it is hidden in the back of my shelf probably until I decide to read Harry Potter.

I think the whole pseudonym thing made people more excited than the content. Even if J.K. Rowling wrote it, it doesn't mean the book is right off the greatest detective in the world.

It was an acceptable book and I admit that it made me sit at the edge of my chair at times. At the same time it was very boring and sometimes repetitive. We're given way to many details which become ridiculous at parts and which annoyed me so much that I had to take like two day breaks from reading (in the middle of a chapter) and I even considered dropping it a few times.


I gave it three stars at goodreads because of the plot and the whole story.There was a wonderful idea out there and it would make a great TV series. I just wasn't impressed by the writing though I like author's language.

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30-08-2013
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^I'd really like to give the book a read at some point, I grew up reading Harry Potter and I liked The Casual Vacancy for the most part, so I find it interesting to read her work. Thanks for your perspective on it! From what I've found from reading HP and The Casual Vacancy is that J.K. Rowling does have her own unique voice, you can just tell it's her, regardless of the story. So I'm quite curious to see if that's the same with this book as well. I'm not normally a mystery lit fan but I'm curious to see J.K.'s take on it. I'm glad though that she decided to donate the profits from the book to charity though, seems like she knew word would get out at some point and increase sales (whether it is totally deserved or not). Honestly though, I think you should read Harry Potter at some point... maybe it's because I grew up with them so my view is a bit skewed, but I do think it's a great series. The first ones are a bit more childish in writing in someways but as the series goes on, the writing gets fine tuned too. And as for The Casual Vacancy, if you like more complex, 'grown up' plot lines, and don't mind despising yet relating to particular characters at times, then give that one a go too! Personally, it's one of the few books where I really disliked a fair amount of the characters and didn't mind that I did, but thought that J.K. Rowling did a brilliant job with writing them, they were so complex.

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