Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Review: Flaubert's Parrot

Flaubert's Parrot
Flaubert's Parrot by Julian Barnes

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Flaubert's Parrot has been on my "To Read" list for YEARS. To my delight, it was available on audiobook from the NYPL, and I downloaded it to my phone to listen to whilst walking about the city, riding the subway, and doing laundry in the evening.

I hesitate to even write that I hated it because I know it's supposed to be a great book. I'm sure it IS a great book. I tried. I really, really tried. I listened to just about half of the book before giving up completely in boredom.

Okay, okay, I know this book is about Flaubert, but I didn't expect it to really ONLY be about Flaubert. I usually find Julian Barnes to be an exceptionally interesting and engaging author that could make a housefly interesting, so I was disappointed to be increasingly annoyed at Flaubert, instead of, say, interested or engaged in his life and story. I feel that either this book should've had more framing (I did enjoy the little framing there was about the doctor who was interested in Flaubert and his story), or Barnes should've just written a biography on Flaubert. Random lists of quotes and dates just didn't do it for me.

If you're interested in Flaubert (I really am not) and don't mind more of a history lesson than a novel, you'll enjoy this, I promise. Please disregard my low-brow analysis and find a copy for yourself.

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Monday, July 15, 2013

Review: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Vol. 1

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Vol. 1
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Vol. 1 by Denise Mina

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

You've read the books. You've watched the movies (and are waiting with anticipation for the second and third American installments). A graphic novel series too? Yes, please.

The artwork is fantastic, the main plot is represented well, and Stieg Larsson's original magic is present. I highly recommend this to any fans (or if you're just too lazy to read the books - you know who you are...), just be aware that this is Part I of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and so does not represent the full book.

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Monday, July 1, 2013

Review: You Make Me Feel Like an Unnatural Woman: The Diary of a New Mother

You Make Me Feel Like an Unnatural Woman: The Diary of a New Mother
You Make Me Feel Like an Unnatural Woman: The Diary of a New Mother by Judith Newman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have very mixed feelings about this book. It made me laugh and laugh - Judith Newman is an incredibly funny writer and has a wonderful way with words. While You Make Me Feel Like an Unnatural Woman is a humorous read, and it was evident that Newman was struggling with her new role as mother, with her finances, and her marriage, she never really went too deep below the surface. She allows you glimpses of her actual thoughts, but doesn't write with any depth. There is nothing wrong with this, necessarily, just don't pick it up if you're looking for a mothering memoir that deals with the meat of being a mom and how it changes your identity.

I originally read this for my thesis (I'm reviewing a number of mothering memoirs) specifically because she is an older mom, and there aren't many mothering memoirs out there dealing with age. I'm not sure I can use it though as Newman never really went to any deep emotional place. I'm not sure how I didn't know it wouldn't be more serious, certainly the title should've tipped me off!

This is a thoroughly enjoyable read, and you'll certainly have fun if you're a parent yourself, especially a new(ish) parent living in NYC.

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