Posted by Kate O. on Jan 23, 2012 in books, don't read | 4 comments
This Christmas my dad hooked me up with a Kindle Fire; naturally I felt pressure to make my first Kindle purchase a good one! So I pulled up a few best seller lists and every place I looked I seemed to come across “The Marriage Plot” by Jeffrey Eugenides. I have not read either of his previous books, “Middlesex” or ”The Virgin Suicides” so I had no idea what I was in for. If I’ve read a book by a Pulitzer Prize Winner before, it was because it was required reading for a high school or college English class.
This book is about Madeline, an English major/graduate of Brown College in the early 1980s (I say major and graduate because the chronology of this story bounces around quite a bit; in parts she is an undergrad and then at other times she has already graduated), and two love interests: Mitchell and Leonard.
Madeline, finds herself lost in a romance similar to one that could’ve been written by Jane Austin; one of her favorite authors. Madeline wants so desperately to be in love that she is willing to inject herself in the painful life of Leonard, while Mitchell is willing to do anything to have Madeline.
The story begins the morning of graduation and then the reader is taken back in time to learn why Madeline ended up hung over and being woken up by her parents to go have breakfast before her graduation ceremony.
Despite being an English major, I found myself lost at times as Eugenides went on and on about different authors and their works because the detail was so tedious. Let me take a moment right here to pause and say, I was an English major with an emphasis on literature and not grammar. I am sure this is not too surprising of a revelation.
Thanks to the brilliant advertising efforts of Barnes and Noble I purchased and read, Star Island by Carl Hiaasen.
I had never read one of his books and was surprised to discover that this was the man who wrote Striptease, and series of children’s books; odd mix if you ask me.
This was the fifth book I took on my trip to the Dominican Republic a little over a month ago and I have just finished it this past weekend. No it isn’t that long it was just that boring to me. Well boring might not be the right word. Complicated is probably more accurate. There were entirely too many characters and story lines. In fact at the end of the book in the author’s epilogue I didn’t remember who a few of the characters were he mentioned.
Star Island is the story of a troubled young pop star, Cherry Pye, who can’t seem to keep herself out of trouble for more than a few minutes. The entourage around her has hired a double to stand in for her when she is too high or drunk to function, which seems to be the majority of the time. Despite their best efforts to keep Cherry out of trouble she seems to be attracted to it and finds it everywhere she goes.
The range of characters Hiaasen includes is quite impressive.
The most unexpected and intriguing character to me was Chemo. An ex-con with a weed whacker for an arm, hired by her manager to be Cherry’s body guard because he isn’t afraid to do whatever it takes to get his job done.
Ann DeLusia the actress that was hired to play Cherry’s undercover stand and is flown all across the country on a moment’s notice to make sure Cherry’s reputation stays intact in the public eye.
Bang Abbott, a paparazzi with poor grooming habits, who thinks he is entitled to invade the private lives of anyone famous simply because he has spent decades perfecting his craft, building a network of informants to tip him off to the stars whereabouts and networking with top tabloid magazines to ensure his pictures get published for top dollar.
However, my favorite character was Skink, who I hear is one of Hiaasen’s reoccurring characters. He is a colorful and lively old man who was surprisingly a former governor of Florida but is currently parading as a homeless superhero.
This book might appeal to you if you don’t mind keeping a cheat sheet with you so that you can keep all of the characters and story lines straight, but for me it took entirely too much effort to keep up with just a mediocre story.
Posted by Kate O. on Jul 19, 2010 in books, don't read | 1 comment
I started reading “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert because, of course, the movie is about to come out in theaters. I guess I should have realized that this wouldn’t exactly be a peppy, upbeat book because she is dealing with the end of her marriage and going through a tough divorce. With that said, this isn’t exactly a book I want to pick up and read so it’s slow goings for me so far. . .
And to avoid getting too long winded I’m going to split up my “review” into at least 2 parts but potentially 3. The book obviously is divided into three parts but if I make enough progress by next Monday you’ll get the next last portions in one review.
As I began reading the “Eat” or “Italy” portion, I was excited. The notion of leaving your current life behind to go explore the world or at least another city has always been a dream of mine. I regret never having studied abroad in college or moving off somewhere and trying to live somewhere other than Dallas. Not sure what it is but I’ve always felt tied down here, maybe its fear, maybe responsibility, maybe family, but maybe one day I’ll be able to muster the courage to try it.
I was disappointed that the book opens with such a bleak picture of Gilbert’s life leading up to her year of traveling. It was also surprising to me how much history she provides on the city, currency and population of Rome as opposed to elaborate descriptions of her exciting journey into the unknown.
I am about 20 pages away from the end of this first section, surprisingly so far the focus really hasn’t been food. She has talked about the large quantities of pasta and pizza that she has consumed, oh and she has become quite a gelato fan. I think she’s up to 3 times a day?
To be honest the loneliness of this section makes me nervous to keep going because Italy was the section I was most excited to read. But I keep reminding myself that this book has received a lot attention (and Julia Roberts is even playing the main character), so with that in mind I will press on and persevere.
Have you read this book? What did you think? Were you disappointed? What was your favorite section?