Friday, March 10, 2017

GoodReads Review of Homegoing

3.5/5 stars
The writing, imagery, and the characters are top-notch in this one. The challenge lies in the design: each chapter beginning anew with the another character from the family tree given at the beginning of the book. It is an interesting premise, but ultimately one that seems artificial in a way. Also, covering hundreds of years and thousands of miles in barely 300 pages forces Gyasi to just give a nod to each character and situation before moving on. Perhaps if it were marketed as a collection of interrelated short stories, it would feel better.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

NetGalley Review of Pachinko

An excellent work of historical fiction that begins in Korea in 1910 and follows four generations to Japan in 1989. The view of an immigrant family's struggles with identity and cultural acceptance seems especially poignant for a reader in the USA of 2017. 4/5 stars

NetGalley Review of Remains of Life

For an American reader, Remains of Life is reminiscent of Faulkner and Joyce as well as the postmodern metafiction writers of the 1960s and 70s. The cultural commentary can be difficult to find due to the artistic choices; it is unclear if this is an effect of the cultural divide or the translation.  Regardless, the English version effectively  conveys  the complexity of the social situation at hand and skillful blends cerebral stream-of-consciousness contemplation with gritty, real-time characters and episodes.

Popular fiction readers should be prepared for the experimental nature of the text.  I can see it appealing to a small demographic of academics. 3/5 stars

NetGalley Review of An Ishmael of Syria

The book shows the angst and brutality of the political situation in Syria, specifically for innocent civilians. It is difficult for a Westerner to follow the many characters and references, and the tone of the book swings wildly between raw, graphic, disturbing imagery and prose that is highly cerebral and academic. Thematically, the concept makes sense, but in execution, it is difficult to read and comprehend. 2/5 stars.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Goodreads Presidents' Day Readathon

I am in a group on Goodreads (75 Books) that is having a readathon this weekend. Many members committed to reading books that they already own to work towards a clear spot on a shelf (like it will stay that way ;)

As most of you know, I adore a good readathon, so I jumped into this one with both feet. At 2:00 this morning, I finished The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald, and I am currently about 25% through Maus by Art Spiegelman.

I have finally seen the light regarding the motivational factor of short reads during a readathon. A finish on the first day is pretty exciting!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, January 22, 2017

24 in 48 Hour Forty-two Challenge

Here is the challenge:

That’s your next challenge: which five bookish people (or animals, I’m not picky) would be around your perfect literary dinner table? 

And here is my response:

Hobie from The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Myrtle Clover (from the cozy mystery series by Elizabeth Craig) to keep these men in line
Oliver Twist (because no matter how bad my cooking is, he will ask for more)

24 in 48 Hour Thirty-six Challenge

Here is the challenge:

So this hour’s challenge is to post a comment with your favorite #ownvoices recommendations. If you’re not familiar with it, #ownvoices describes books written by authors that identify with the same marginalized group as the protagonists that they’re writing. This could include authors that identify as and are writing characters that are POCs, disabled, LGBTQ+, non-cisgender, etc.

And here is my response:

Louise Erdrich and Sherman Alexie (Native American)
Amy Tan and Lisa See (Chinese American)