Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Nick Spalding - Fat Chance

Greg and Zoe sign up to a radio show competition to loose weight (something like the biggest loser) after a number of unfortunate body weight related incidents. We follow them on their weight loss journey through alternating diary entries

This book wasn't great. Besides a few witty comments thrown by Greg and Zoe this was basically a bunch of whiny diary entries. If I wanted to read endless complaining, I'd dig up my old diaries.

I can sum the story up in a few lines (Spoilers ahead. If you could call them that)

First 80% of the book.

Zoe: I'm fat and I can't fit in a dress.
Greg: I'm fat but it doesn't bother me.

20 pages and a broken chair later...

Greg: Ok, maybe it does bother me a bit.

Zoe: 20 pages about a cabbage diet

Greg: 20 pages about his personal trainer experience

Zoe: I'm Fat

Greg: I'm Fat

Last 20% of book

Zoe: 20 pages about allll the different diets she tried and what finally worked for her.... wait for it.... EATING IN MODERATION .... who would have thought people?

Greg: 20 pages about various exercise equipment he bought and what finally worked..... the Treadmill... SURPRISE. (P.S. treadmills don't make shin splints better.... just sayin)

Zoe and Greg: We're now happy

The End

Blekh. It's an honorable message : You can achieve anything you set your mind to. But way too much whining and self deprecating humor. Once or twice is funny, but not 300 pages of it.

Monday, March 26, 2018

How to Stop Time- Matt Haig

It may seem strange falling in love with someone because of a single gesture, but sometimes you can read an entire person in a single moment. The way you can study a grain of sand and understand the universe. Love at first sight might or might not be a thing, but love in a single moment is.

So much feels.

I did not love this book like I loved The Humans, I didn't even really like it. I did appreciate it for the beautiful writing, which was to be expected from Matt Haig. Five stars for the abundant quotes and the beautiful Montaigne references, two stars for the actual story. 

Tom Hazzard does not age like everyone else. He was born in the Shakespearean era and has only just started looking like a man in his 40's. After being around for almost 400 years, one might just lose the will to live, but Tom's search for answers from his past keeps him going and ties him to a cult-like society that "protects"people like him. 

The novel alternates between present day London and Tom's looong past in various locations (London, Paris, tahiti, etc.). I honestly did not care for Tom's past life interludes, sure they were vital to the story, but meh. There was so much name dropping there, Shakespeare, the Fitzgeralds, Captain Cook, I don't care. The ending was rushed, basic and downright bizarre (view spoiler) , it undermined the effort that went into building up the anticipation. 

That being said, Haig has such a way with words and with making his settings come alive, walking past Shakespeare's Globe will never be the same again. Even though I did not like the story, I enjoyed reading this book so much, simply for Haig's talent of creating hopeless broken protagonists then building them back up one beautifully written sentence at a time and giving his readers hope in humanity as he does so. 

I still recommend this book and of course highly recommend The Humans. When you're feeling like everyone is a piece of shit, read Matt Haig.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

The Boneclocks - David Mitchell

This was one weird book.

Holly Sykes has a fight with her mom and runs away from home one day, starting a chain of events that leads us to soul eaters?, soul shifters, journalism, a dystopian Earth, a "psychoteric" fight in another dimension, a murder and lots of other random events.

I really liked where the book was headed in the first half but then it lost me. There was SO much going in, is it an Urban Fantasy? Is it a coming of age story? Is it a family saga? Is it a post apocalyptic novel? It's everything, all jumbled up in one big novel. Which is cool but kind of lost me halfway through. I also found the writing cliche at times, particularly when opposing characters were having an argument. It sounded like the showdown between comic book characters, was a bit odd in the context of the book.

I do want to check out his other works, Mitchell covers interesting themes and definitely has a wild imagination.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Neanderthal Seeks Human - Penny Reid

The cover says " A Smart Romance".....


So what is this "smart" romance about?! Well, from the 200 pages I managed to painfully get through, here's what I gathered:

Jane Morris, your typical clumsy, awkward, insecure, insult to women everywhere, main female character, got fired and dumped her cheating boyfriend all in one day. To get over it, she goes out dancing with her bestie to a hot new club. At the club she runs into Sir McHotPants, a.k.a the "security guard" who works in her old office building and escorted her out of the premises on the day she got fired. Her friend has to leave and against McHotPant's (Quinn) wishes, Jane stays at the club, drinks some dodgy shit and ends up waking up at Quinn's place with absolutely no memory of the night before. Thus begins a post date rape drug romance!

I don't even know where to begin. Shall I list out the plot holes first? Or maybe amaze you with the "smartest" paragraphs ever written in literary history. Let's go for writing first..

Are you guys ready? Here we go..

"I reflected on the resulting debate after the found condom wrapper was smacked to his forehead by my palm"

"Good looking in an adorkable kind of way"

It's not adorkable to use adorkable as an adjective.

"Even after our fight, for it was the closest we'd ever come to a fight, this morning he told me I could stay, that I should stay, that he wanted to work things out."

The Grammar Nazi's called, they want their commas back.

" It didn't matter how certain my head had been that his..."

Oh, those troublesome heads!

"I looked from the hand, now on my elbow, up the strong arm, around the curve of the bulky shoulder, and over the angular jaw and chin, until my eyes met the breath-hijacking sight of Sir Mchotpant's piercing blue eyes. I cringed."


Blekh, as if the atrocious writing wasn't enough, there was also the random ass plot.

Spoiler Alert from here on.. well tiny spoiler alert since I never actually got to the end of the book.

Let's play a little game of what would you do...

1) If you wake up in a stranger's home after clearly having ingested a rape drug, do you:
A) Rush to the hospital to get yourself tested
B) Have a nervous breakdown and attack said stranger
C) Be rational and demand to know what happened last night since the stranger clearly knows something
D) Completely disregard the fact that you were drugged - possibly raped too- and just go get some breakfast with the stranger cause he's oh so hot!

If Jane was a real person, she could potentially do any of the first three. But, since Jane is a clearly unrealistic and unhinged book character, she just went out for breakfast!

2)If a creep manhandles AND threatens you at the park do you:
A) Kick him in the balls and run away
B) Scream for help
C) Freeze from panic until your date saves you, then have a nervous breakdown
D) Apologize to the creep for bumping into him, tell your date that it is totally cool that this guy is manhandling you... you bumped into him after all cause you're, woops, so clumsy! Then forget all about the incident and the fact that this man VERBALLY THREATENED YOU CAUSE HE CLEARLY WANTS TO HARM YOU!!!!

We obviously all know what our intelligent Jane did!

Finally, I say this all the time and will continue saying it, DOMINATING MEN ARE NOT ATTRACTIVE.

It's not endearing when a guy decides what you're going to eat... how is this cute?! I would throw a proper bitch fit if my date ever orders for me without asking me what I wanted. That's the shit that ends relationships and starts wars.. alright.. it's not cool.

Or another weird ass dominant scene was when Quinn just takes off Jane's glasses and pockets them....

DOES SHE NOT NEED HER GLASSES?! Is this romance? " You don't need your glasses when I'm with you"? What the flip guys... has this ever happened to anyone?!

GAH. Goodbye book. You shall stay on unfinished forever.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Man in the High Castle- Philip K. Dick

Unfinished Book

Couldn't get through this.

The idea is brilliant, what if the Axis Powers had really won the war.. what would the world be like then?? I personally don't think things would have been as dramatic is portrayed in this book. And maybe that's what Philip was trying to tell us since "The Grasshopper Lies Heavy" is way more disastrous than the world actually turned out to be.

Basically, any outcome would have been just as good and shit as the other.

The problem with this book was the cringe dialogue. Oh my, it was sooo awkward and uncomfortable. I stand by the statement I made after getting through a Kafka novel " Great thinkers do not necessarily make great writers". Some people should stick to theorizing and philosophy and not venture into the world of novels.

Example of awkward dialogue/scenes:

I don’t understand you,’ she said. ‘What do you believe? What is it you want? You defend those monsters, those freaks who slaughtered the Jews, and then you –’ Despairing, she caught hold of him by the ears; he blinked in surprise and pain as she rose to her feet, tugging him up with her. They faced each other, wheezing, neither able to speak. ‘Let me finish this meal you fixed for me,’ Joe said at last. ‘Won’t you say? You won’t tell me? You do know what it is, yourself; you understand and you just go on eating, pretending you don’t have any idea what I mean.’ She let go of his ears; they had been twisted until they were now bright red.

This is just so weird. Mind you, those people just met. Juliana picks this guy up at a bar, takes him home and he just stays there... He "misses his ride" and just stays in her house. Their interactions are fucking awkward and unnatural.

Then there is the weird Japanese clipped sentences. So all the Japs in the novel converse in broken English but it seems that the Americans have adopted this speech too... with each other.. why? The war hadn't even ended that long ago for this talk to be imbedded in their psyche. It just made the book hard to follow and pissed me off:

‘What else reported by Nippon Times?’ Paul asked his wife. ‘Much confusion and intriguing. Army units moving from hither to yon. Leaves cancelled. Border stations closed. Reichstag in session. Speeches by all.’

Ugh. Shut up!

Gave up on this in the end; not worth it.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

David Sedaris- Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim

I don't like David's narration style but I do like his stand-up comedy style, if that makes sense.

I listened to this as an audio book and most of it were funny stories from David's life. They mostly annoyed me, HE mostly annoyed me, particularly his voice. I didn't like him very much in most of the stories told and it's difficult to enjoy a humorous book about a narrator you don't really click with. However, some parts were read as a stand-up comedy skit and I really enjoyed those, I laughed out loud and appreciated the humor.

This is probably going to be the last Sedaris book I read but I'd watch him on one of the late shows.

Friday, April 14, 2017

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie - Alan Bradley

Flavia, an 11 year old chemical genius, finds a dead body in the cucumber patch. Armed with her bicycle, chemist knowledge and wholly entertaining thoughts, she sets out to solve the murder and exonerate her father who is the prime suspect.
Loved this!! Flavia is such an entertaining narrator, she may be 11 but she doesn't act or think like an 11 year old, except when she's poisoning her older sister's lipstick. The whole de Luce family was hilariously dysfunctional and I loved seeing it through Flavia's eyes. The mystery aspect reminded me of Harriet the Spy, which I loved as a child, so it made me appreciate this book even more.

It's a fun light read that I really enjoyed. Would I be picking up the rest of the novel? hmmmm, probably not, at least not now, I feel satisfied with just the one.