End of October Review

End of October Review

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A long month of test and other misadventures, but I was surprisingly able to finish more than I expected. I was anticipating to be busier and so to read less, but I pulled off almost an average month. On top of that, I got some editing done on some other writers’ books, and helped one publish his. Overall, not bad.

Books Read and/or Reviewed

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First off, I decided to tackle some unfinished books—those books that you start and for some reason never come back to. The first one was Graham Greene’s The Comedians. Although I’d have to say I’m a huge Greene fan, this book didn’t hit me as much as I’d like. So many people rate it as their top choice, but I just couldn’t get into, though I did finish it this time. Another partly read book was Borges’ Labyrinths. This was not because it sucked or anything. Mainly it’s because it is a compilation of short stories, which makes it very easy to put down when a more gripping book comes along and then forget about it. That being said, it is awesome. The sad thing is it does take an amazing amount of concentration and should not be considered a light read. What Borges packs into a tiny story could be unfurled into volumes compared to other people’s works.

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Next, I hit a YA hit, All the Bright Places. I cannot understand why people liked this book. Luckily, many others felt the same way I did. The only thing was, most of their comments were in regard to people who actually committed suicide and or are manic depressive. For me, that wasn’t it. I finally figured it out with this post. After that I jumped into the highly anticipated movie, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. Ang Lee is directing, so I wanted to read this before the film came out. I enjoyed it, but in no way would I rate it as a phenomenal success. Many critics compared it to Catch-22—a read I just finished a month ago—and I’d have to say: I don’t see it. America has changed a lot since WWII. The metaphor is drawn large in this book and is interesting, but not something I’d rave about.

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Then I tackled some graphic novels. I read Raina’s Ghosts. I was overall disappointed in this fourth solo. I know it is aimed for middle grade readers, but it just stunk of immaturity. The relations were light and never too delved into. I thought after Drama, she’d hit a little harder. Sadly, not true. Following that, I read Yang’s Boxer duology out of order, finishing the second book, Saints, first. Luckily, they are only loosely linked, so the story just added another perspective, which was okay, but not as good as his American Born Chinese.

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Furthermore, I finished Dicken’s Great Expectations. I read this with my students and was happy to do so as I had wanted to read it for years. Having tackled his ‘Hard Times’ before, I was worried if this book would be as dry, but fortunately it was not. Pip was awesome and the twists are classic Dickens at work. I only found out afterwards that this was pretty much his last work before he died which may explain why it always ranks so high. Following this, I read Wodehouse’s My Man Jeeves. I had seen many things about this author and how comedic he supposedly was so I decided to tackle it. Unfortunately, it was painful to get through. The writing is largely dated and the characters are barely interesting. It mainly consists of short stories based around a brilliant butler named Jeeves, but too often the best stories had him nor Wooster in them. On top of that, the language was awful. On an up note, there appears to be a TV version with Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry playing the main characters. It might be slightly redeeming.

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Finally, I tackled a larger tome on my shelf, Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook. This thing was chaotic—as Anna proclaims early on—and hit so many highs and lows, not to mention seemed to span decades, that by the end you feel you’ve lived an entire life. That may sound daunting, but it was awesome, and like all awesome classics, it came with a thousand haters. Most reviews were negative, with quite a lot giving up in the first 150 pages. This book is over 600 pages long, so I find that shocking, not to mention the fact that the beginning is the most coherent. If those staminaless readers could only make it that far, I wonder what they’d think of the mess that was the end of the book. All in all, I know most can’t handled this thing, but I enjoyed it for what it was, and related to quite a bit of it.

Book Reviews Received

Not even worth mentioning, even with a new release (Chewy Noh and the Legends of Spring.) Sad.

Progress on 2016 goals

  • Finish Chewy 5: Done!—75,000 words
  • Read ‘The Recognitions’: Done!
  • Compiling my Editing book: Done!—30,000 words
  • Finish ‘All the Things in the Unknown World’: Done!—85,000 words
  • Send ATTITUW out to publishers: Sent out to 10 publishers

Next Month’s Agenda

 I want to send ATTITUW out to more publishers next month. On top of that, I will try to do more editing and as it is November, I will try to start my next book. Unlike All the Things in the Unknown World, this next one will be much more scripted like the Chewy Noh series, so it should not be as much of a headache. I hope, time willing, I can add some more goals to the list then. If not, the years almost done, so I don’t have long.

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