Friday, April 7, 2017

Book Reviews: A win and a fail

I've read two books so far this year. The first book, I'm recommending to everyone. The second, I'll warn people away from.

The first book I read I received at Christmas. I love the idea of books as gifts. They are personal as well as an "experience" gift. When you read a good book, it takes you away, out of your world, into someone else's so much so that you think about returning to the characters' lives when you're away.

The book The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt was an amazing read. It was one of those books I stayed up too late reading in bed each night. Without giving too much away, it's about a teen boy in NYC who loses his single mother in an explosion at an art museum they are visiting together. The story follows Theo in the aftermath as he navigates his formative years without any parental influence (a mother's nightmare!). But what makes it exciting is the undercurrent of the secret he carries with him, which explodes into a thrilling action-packed ending. It was such a page-turner and beautifully written. The wording was just delicious. Tartt used lovely vocabulary with many words going over my head because I didn't want to stop to look them up...which means I wanted to reread it as soon as I finished it to appreciate the prose. Get this book.

The second book I read had big shoes to fill. I was looking for a book to read that took place in New York City to get me in the mood for an upcoming trip. Someone I follow on Instagram has book club and selected the book. I chose it based on the fact that it took place in NYC and the cute cover. (You should never judge a book by the cover, right?!)

The book Rich and Pretty by Rumann Alam was disappointing. It was about friends-from-grade-school Sarah and Lauren. One comes from an affluent New York family and the other, the "pretty" one, is from a typical middle-class family who gets a scholarship to a private school in the city. They became friends as children--one is outgoing, the other shy--and the story picks up when they are in their mid-twenties. And then nothing happens. One has angst, and the other doesn't know why. Heck, I didn't know why. Additionally, the author was a man, which I couldn't help thinking seemed odd...he just didn't seem to get inside of a woman's mind and psyche as this book tried to do. In summary, it was monotonous and didn't go anywhere. ...So I didn't finish the last 20 or so pages of it--which I rarely do--once I figured out it was never going to get better.

Have you read any good books lately? What have you read and loved, and alternately, read and hated? Comments welcome.

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