Books Read Week of October 29
I stayed busy with non-reading activities this week, so I was up late finishing up my second book last night. I would hate to disappoint my 4 readers by only having a review of one book for the week. No fun!
Bitter Orange by Claire Fuller
This novel was a highly anticipated "seductive psychological portrait" that I'm sure will really satisfy a huge chunk of readers. On the plus side, Claire Fuller is a beautifully descriptive author ("George smiled and I saw how his gums had withdrawn from his teeth such a distance that they could at any second have come loose and dropped into his empty bowl with a clatter.") and I really enjoy how she unfolds her story here. For me, though, the story unfolds a little too slowly and the characters were unlikable. Thus, I didn't care what happened to them. I also felt like I've read too many versions of this book. Awkward single woman befriends intriguing couple only to find out that they are not what they seem. Yawn, moving on.
Note: Nothing seductive. The psychological portraits abound, though.
Pair with: The characters do drink tons of wine, which may make you desire a glass or two (without the hangovers they experience.)
Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
Much like Bitter Orange, this novel will have readers who will rightfully love it very much, but for me, this book started out kinda cheesy and evolved into a cheese-fest akin to the Macaroni-N-Cheese at Noodles & Company where they pile an unnecessary and artery-clogging heap of grated cheddar on top of their already cheesy mac-n-cheese. Similarly, I could eat it up with a spoon in the right frame of mind. Alas, I wasn't feeling it this time. It tries to be Harry Potter, a John Green YA novel, and a light science fiction all at once and fails at all.
The author uses a method of description that I have been noticing all the time lately and it's really been grinding my gears. "All." As in, "My office is all loose papers and half-used notebooks." or "My kitchen is all empty boxes of cereal and wine corks." "My 3 pm work face is all smeared mascara and bitten-off lipstick." You get the idea. Annoying!
Also, halfway through the book, Mr. Penumbra doesn't say a sentence without including "My boy!" before or after sharing his thought. Cuz that's how old men talk, okay?
However! There are definitely some laugh-out-loud one-liners. Maybe you'll really like it and then we can fight it out in the comments.
Pair with: At one point the main character grabs a lunch from the Google headquarters, and included with his delicious meal were several perfect spears of asparagus, which I've been craving ever since. So instead of reading this book, let's go have some asparagus, which I assume is no longer in season, although I don't know much about seasons/food/produce. I bet we could find some!
Next up: I just started this month's book club book. I'm really excited, because book clubber Angie, who has lovely taste in books, just gave it 5 stars on Goodreads and added a really long review which I won't read so I can go in blind. ALSO I accidentally ordered my library copy in LARGE PRINT so I'm going to feel even more like a senior citizen than I already do, my boy!
11/5/2018 02:19:26 pm
I am pretty sure I might be in the right frame of mind for a cheese fest. Would the 2nd book be appropriate for young adults? I'm all question marks and anticipation.
11/5/2018 02:23:42 pm
Very appropriate for young adults! Easy on the language & naughtiness.
11/5/2018 06:26:30 pm
These reviews really inspire me to dig into a good novel of some kind. I have so many pending but have been doing other things as well. You have been spot on about the ones you told me I would like so I trust your reviews to lead me into something comfy and just right.
11/5/2018 06:58:35 pm
I would love for you to read Jane Smiley's Some Luck trilogy that is a family saga covering 100 years - it's incredible and really stuck with me and I know you would love it. I would also like for you to rip through Educated by Tara Westover if for no other reason than we could look at her family's facebook pages together! Plus, it's a solid read.
11/10/2018 09:24:11 pm
I actually gave it 4 stars (assuming I'm not being presumptuous in thinking I'm the Angie from book club LOL), but I'm looking forward to discussing this one! I tried not to include spoilers in my review... I am always hesitant to post reviews of our book club selections, because I don't want to influence anyone else's opinion, but I also want to write up my reactions while they're fresh in my mind!
11/12/2018 09:56:41 am
Yep, it was you! Fabulous review! And my mistake for initially seeing that as a five star rating! I can't wait to discuss it as a group. I hope that you can make it to Book Club - we'll hold a spot for you!
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Mom of four, wife of one. By day I fund-raise with coffee, by night I read with wine and chocolate.