April Review

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Aprill 2017

Tough month with reading, but I just barely got it in under the wire.

Books Read

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First read this month: Jo Nesbo’s Snowman. This book comes with a lot of acclaim; many saying it resembles the Millennium Trilogy. However, I disagree. Though it had all the elements of a good crime story—misdirection, a hardened protagonist, an unusual killer—all the parts fit too perfectly for me. It went along exactly as you would expect, with bumps along the way. Ultimately, I don’t think I’ll read this author again, especially if this is his keystone piece of work.

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Next came A Study in Charlotte. It is hard to describe this without falling into the normal irksome rebuttals and/or complaints I have for YA. First of all, the main character—Charlotte, a Holmes rip-off—isn’t very likeable or interesting. She’s just a jerk all the time. Secondly, her sidekick, the narrator, is annoying in his incessant commentary that moves nothing along and is quite obviously there just to throw us off the path of the true culprit, which isn’t even very imaginative when we do finally find out who’s behind it all. The only original idea was to make Sherlock a girl. The rest was drivel. Clearly, I hated it.

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My next book was a biggie: Here I Am. Wow! A monster of a book, not only in size but proportion of where the plot skews. It goes everywhere. I don’t know what it is, but I like a good Jewish book by a Jewish writer every so often. They have such a unique outlook and flavor that is unbelievably different from other writers. In that way, the characters are ridiculous funny and reverential. If anything must be noted, that would be that the story doesn’t quite clench onto a specific idea. It seems to maybe need a little more editing in that way.

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Then there’s my reread with students: Neon Bible. I read this first almost 15 years ago and remember the gist of it. Despite all that time, I still see the draw of the story, but I obviously forgot how simplistic it was, especially the writing style. For that reason, in certain parts, it was dry, but even at 16, Toole had enough knowledge to jump back into interesting parts when it lagged for too long. Still good in my book.

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This month I joined a book club as well, and had to read The Sellout. I’ve never read this author’s works before, but found this one awesome. He has a very overly elaborate style which I noticed, reading some reviews, turned people off, but having read DFW’s Infinite Jest, back-breaking sentences overloaded with detail comes as no problem to me. On top of that, his humor was very identical to mine, list the unusual combination of similarities—or differences—things have. In the end, a work of genius and fun, even if the ending isn’t absolutely straightforward.

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Lastly, I read the second volume of Amulet. Like the first one, I was underimpressed. The plot is exactly what you expect with each character spewing out lines that sound straight from an action movie. It’s trite and hackneyed in all the worst ways, but all of my students seem to love it, so despite YA follow the same trope, this one at least makes sense. The comic is aimed for kids. In that case, YA—what’s your deal?

Progress on 2017 goals

  • Finish Crasher: Done
  • Read Life: A Manual: 250 pages

The Fountainhead: Done

Here I Am: Done

  • Send ‘All the Things in the Unknown World’ to agents: 151. Still zero more this month, but I got a whole lot of rejections. Yeah!

Next Month’s Agenda

I finished Crasher this month and hope to get to some major editing next month. Otherwise, I’m plugging away at my reading. So far, so good.

 

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