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07-03-2011
  46
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Little Bee by Chris Cleave [3.5/5]

I think this book had potential but it somehow just missed the mark for me. A story about a young Nigerian girl who fled a sure death in her country to become a refugee in England (it's much more complicated and involved than that but a bit too much to get into).

I just found that even when suspending disbelief, the threads of the story didn't mesh for me and the things that the characters did just didn't make sense – certain behaviors or interactions weren't cohesive, meaning the character would behave in an unexpected way that didn't jibe with everything we were told about them and their experiences. And, the end left me a bit cold to be honest... I hate coming away with a "seriously, that's it?!" feeling.

Other than those apprehensions, it was a relatively quick and easy read and highlights that atrocities continue to take place all over the world today... even if we're not hearing about it


Last edited by ChrissyM; 07-03-2011 at 12:35 PM.
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09-03-2011
  47
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fiction:

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Voltaire - Candide - 5/5

Brilliant. I'm very impressed by humour that stands the test of time and this was very, very funny.


non-fiction:

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Jake Adelstein - Tokyo Vice - 4.5/5

Really excellent, it's about an American who travels to Japan and becomes a journalist for a Japanese daily newspaper, covering crime which he does for a period up until he finds himself threatened by the yakuza. Really fascinating as well as well written and funny. There are some quite sobering moments and chapters though, particularly those on the sex trade, and the supposed fate of one of the 'characters' left me quite upset, doubly so when you realise it's non-fiction and therefore not actually a character. I seldom feel like that when I'm reading.

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10-03-2011
  48
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Hey guys, I wanted to say that I'm loving the reviews and this thread

I take book reviews to heart. Going to a bookstore/library is very intimidating, where to start?

I read a lot of modern fiction/humour. My absolute favourite is office comedies or workplace comedies, so if anyone knows any go ahead and mentioned them!

I've been reading a lot, so I'll be coming back with reviews as soon as I can. Should we only review books we've read in 2011?

I'm big on humour so I was thinking of reading a Bukowski -- anyone read any recently they'd care to review?

It's very interesting to read the reviews because you guys seem to be into post-apocalypse and science fiction I've always wanted to get into futuristic sci-fi and other sci-fi but have not started yet. I'd love to read more time travel fiction (Time Traveler's Wife is a big favourite). Anyway the diversity of genres here is great, mind-opening.

This thread is clearly going to encourage posters to read more, and for that I applaud you... Sorry to ramble on.... Thanks again.


Last edited by mint condish; 10-03-2011 at 04:02 PM.
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11-03-2011
  49
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^reviews can be from any book you've read, not just in 2011, I guess. But you should check out the "50 books challenge" thread (if you haven't already)- it's also a great inspiration on what to read and a very good motivation to read a lot more

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13-03-2011
  50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mint condish View Post
Hey guys, I wanted to say that I'm loving the reviews and this thread

I take book reviews to heart. Going to a bookstore/library is very intimidating, where to start?

I read a lot of modern fiction/humour. My absolute favourite is office comedies or workplace comedies, so if anyone knows any go ahead and mentioned them!

I've been reading a lot, so I'll be coming back with reviews as soon as I can. Should we only review books we've read in 2011?

I'm big on humour so I was thinking of reading a Bukowski -- anyone read any recently they'd care to review?

It's very interesting to read the reviews because you guys seem to be into post-apocalypse and science fiction I've always wanted to get into futuristic sci-fi and other sci-fi but have not started yet. I'd love to read more time travel fiction (Time Traveler's Wife is a big favourite). Anyway the diversity of genres here is great, mind-opening.

This thread is clearly going to encourage posters to read more, and for that I applaud you... Sorry to ramble on.... Thanks again.
a couple humorous books i've read in recent years that have the workplace feel were... then we came to the end by joshua ferris... i don't remember all the details but it was about a company that kept laying people off (i think it was an ad agency?) and they have a chance to redeem themselves/save the company/theit jobs with a mysterious project

the other that i found to be a funny, quick read was how i became a famous novelist by steve hely, about a guy who basically wants to get revenge on an ex-girlfriend by becoming a best selling author so he writes a completely absurd book that incorporates aspects of things themes that continually turn up on best seller lists (the title of his book turns out to be the tornado ashes club... you can pick up on some poached themes right there :p)

and i agree with kate_is_goddess.. definitely check out the 50 book challenge thread if you haven't already. it's a great motivator and there's lots of interesting discussion about books/reading in there as well

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13-03-2011
  51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mint condish View Post
I read a lot of modern fiction/humour. My absolute favourite is office comedies or workplace comedies, so if anyone knows any go ahead and mentioned them!
in this case you must read: Jpod & Microserfs by Douglas Coupland (in that order, I liked Jpod much more though)

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Last edited by kate_is_goddess; 13-03-2011 at 04:51 PM.
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14-03-2011
  52
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Thanks so much for your reviews but funnily enough I've read all those books!!!! Except JPod. I told you guys I'm always on the lookout for comedic books or workplace books......

Quote:
Then We Came to An End by Joshua Ferris
This is an incredibly hyped/hip book right now. It won some kind of award and critics just love it. One unique thing about this book is the narration, the point of view is "We" rather than "I" or "He/She". The entire book is told from the point of view of a collective, and as far as I know, you don't ever get to know the specifics about this collective, beyond that they are employers of an ad agency, while every employee surrounding them is either getting laid off or going through some kind of life crisis.

The tone is also somewhat unique, in that you think the book will be light-hearted fare about the workplace, but it delves into darker material, most notably about one of the higher-ups and her struggle with cancer. I didn't really understand the hype about this book. I just didn't find it that interesting. It was somewhat funny at times, but not nearly as funny as other books I've read. The reason I think critics are going nuts over it is simply because it's timely, in that it's dealing with the recession and layoffs (like the 2009 film, Up in the Air) but so what? That doesn't make it exactly 'good' for me. About 2/3rds of the way through -- somewhere during the cancer interlude -- I put the book down and stopped reading. I'd give it a 2.5 out of 5.

Quote:
how i became a famous novelist by steve hely
I actually love this one. It's creative, it's hilarious, it's innovative, it's witty, it's sardonic, it's well-written ... what else can I say? It's an incredibly interesting idea for a fictional novel, in that the narrator is outlining his quest to make the Great American Fiction Novel -- not the ones that are respected, like Everything is Illuminated, or The Corrections, but rather the trite, treacly, heartwarming 'crappy' books that nobody respects but people like Oprah or stereotypical bookclubs might push -- "Middle America" -- no offense to anyone meant by using that term! The author sets out to create one of these hugely profitable 'crappy' non-respectable books and tries to figure out the perfect formula to do so. I thought it was great, and very funny, so I'd give it a 5 out of 5.


Quote:
Douglas Coupland
He's a Canadian author who is credited with coining the term "Generation X" and as a Canadian I so want to like his books, but so far, it hasn't worked.
I've tried Microserfs (thought while some themes were of interest, it was sooooooooooo dull) and I've tried All Families are Psychotic (again, I like the idea of dysfunctional families, but it was a bit on the gross side for me, kind of disturbing and the tone didn't make me feel good, and basically, I have no idea how I'm better off after having read it). The thing is, I read the backcovers and his books always SOUND like they're going to be of huge interest to me, and then I read them and I am just so not moved. It's like books totally devoid of emotion. Like a robot has written them. They're just words on the page. I don't get him! But yet again, his book covers/titles/descriptions have pulled me in, and I recently bought Generation A (but haven't read it yet). I can't believe I'm giving him ANOTHER chance. I'd give Microserfs 2 out of 5. I'd give All Families are Psychotic 1 out of 5.

Hope these can be of use to someone
Again, thanks for the recommendations, more are always welcome.


Last edited by mint condish; 14-03-2011 at 02:44 AM.
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14-03-2011
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^I actually loved Jpod, I found it hilarious and entertaining and I can read it over and over again. since I started with it, the other books were different and not as funny, but I liked most of them nevertheless.

So far I've read:
Jpod
Microserfs
The Gum Thief
(another workplace comedy, if I remember correctly)
Hey Nostradamus!
Generation X
Generation A


I'd definitely give him a try if you don't know any of his books, but I can see that his style isn't for everyone.

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19-03-2011
  54
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The Odyssey by Homer [3/5]

I probably wouldn't have picked this book for myself to read if it wasn't a university allocated text, but I'm glad I did manage to get through it because it is a classic. In a nutshell it's the tale of Odysseus and his journey back to his homeland after being stranded and kidnapped by the goddess Calypso. It wasn't the easiest of reads, and it was slow at times (quite a few times actually) but I can appreciate it for what it is. I probably wouldn't re-read it again in the future.

Recommended for: Those interested in greek mythology, and fans of classic literature.

cover source: bookdepository.co.uk

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19-03-2011
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The Dead Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan [4/5]

I'm really growing to like Carrie Ryan's 'forest of hands & teeth' books, and I found this book to be a lot more enjoyable than the first in the series. This book continues the series with the introduction of a new character - Gabrielle. She is living in the same zombie infested world as the first book, but her life and village is a lot different to that of Mary in book 1. As with the first book, it's a coming of age sort of story and the main attraction for me was definitely the whole aspect of the zombie infested world and forest in which Gabrielle & Mary live in. I am looking forward to reading the third and final book in this series when it's released.

Recommended for: Those who like young adult fiction, and fans of stories that involve zombie infestation.

cover source: bookdepository.co.uk

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20-03-2011
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Gregory David Roberts- Shantaram

I actually did read this while ago. This book is huuuge, lotīs of pages to read and it took some time but it was so worth of it. This is epic, I loved the story and I even found one of my favourite charecters of all time.
This book made me fall in love with India and someday in future I have to visit there.
Oh and what makes this even more interesting, it is based on Gregoryīs life, well ofcourse there is fiction ofcourse but that fact makes this book even more special.

Everybody should read this.


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21-03-2011
  57
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^ Thanks for the review Jenna-Maria, that one has been on my list of books-to-read for awhile now, might have to push it towards the top.

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28-03-2011
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It, by Stephen King



The first thing that caught my attention in this book was the cover, did not know that the movie of the clown belonged to a novel by Stephen King. I had never read a novel by this author and I must admit this was the first horror novel I really provoke me terror.

The story is about a supernatural force called "It", that feeds on children's fears, takes the form of a clown named Pennywise. A group of children, calling themselves "The Losers Club" decide to act against this force, and at the end take an oath to return if "It" comes back again. 27 years "It" returns, determined to continue terrorizing and vowing revenge, The Losers Club, who have now become adults, must return and fulfill the promise.

Although many of us are familiar through the movie (bad bad movie compared with the text), I will not give many details, is a complex but digestible novel, full of dark moments that explores children's fears, but also explores the boundless faith of a child and how this faith is lost as we grow. One thing I liked was the contrast between the "magic "and the joy of children againts the most frightening moments (reaching gore). One of the best horror novel ever.


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29-03-2011
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The Woman In Black by Susan Hill [4/5]

I didn't really know what to expect before reading this book, but I figured it would be a rather quick read as it's a relatively short at only 160 pages. Essentially it's a ghost story, told from the perspective of Arthur Kipps, a young solicitor who repeatedly sees the vision of "an emaciated young woman, dressed all in black" in the town he is visiting for work. It's an old-school ghost story, and I was pleasantly surprised at how chilling it was (especially as horror doesn't always translate well to text when you've become desensitized to it after years of movies and tv). The ending left me rather unsettled for a while after finishing the book... Which to me is always the sign of something that is well written.

Recommended for: Fans of classic style literature, and those who enjoy subtle and creepy horror stories.

cover source: bookdepository.co.uk

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29-03-2011
  60
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^^i'm not even particularly a big fan of the horror genre (i actually kind of hate horror movies), but you've kind of made me want to read that B!

i think horror/thriller can be much easier to digest in book form because you're not so assaulted by all the gruesome visuals

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