Mini Reviews: March 2010

Another month of my short reviews from before I started this blog. Hopefully they’ll be able to give you an idea of what I thought of the book!

So Many Books, So Little Time: A Year of Passionate Reading… by Sara Nelson

I actually started this book years ago but didn’t finish it. Looking for something not very demanding to read on public transport, I picked this up again. Then I remembered why I put it down.

1. The author and I don’t really have similar tastes in books.
2. If I’m reading about books, I don’t need to read and reread bits about family, friends, family, friends blah blah blah
3. If you need to justify something, don’t write a book about it.

The premise- read one book a week for a year is good (hey, I do it) and would probably make a good blog (this book was written before blogs became wildly popular) that you could dip in and out of. As a book though, it portrays the same feelings (I love reading a lot! I need to justfiy why I love reading!) over and over.

While this did pass the time on the train, it’s not much more. I didn’t get any book recommendations as the author describes the majority of books in scant detail. 4 out of 10.

Their Finest Hour And A Half by Lissa Evans

I’m not really sure what it is about this book, but something just didn’t seem to work for me. Maybe it was that the blurb on the back makes it seem that it’s all about Catrin when really, she’s not the main character but just one along with Edith and Ambrose. Maybe it’s that you couldn’t see the characters linking up until halfway through. Perhaps it’s the lack of description and horror of bomb strewn London. I just know that I wanted to desperately like this (out of a sense of patriotism perhaps?) but it didn’t come together.
The idea of making a positive wartime English film as a plot is great but the characters seem to come off as cold, in particular Catrin. Perhaps it’s a stiff upper lip. Ambrose was probably the highlight of this book. It seems a little unfinished, rough around the edges. 6.5 out of 10.

House Rules by Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult’s books are kind of formulaic of late:
– controversial subject (tick)
– crime been committed (tick)
– struggling parent (tick)
– big trial (tick)
– surprising outcome (tick)
I found it a little strange that the last section is titled ‘My Brother’s Keeper’…um, is Ms Picoult deliberately making a joke or are we meant to see the similarities between House Rules, My Sister’s Keeper and Nineteen Minutes?

Despite all this, I enjoyed the book. No real surprises (even I guessed the twist early on). The characters are familar, the multiple first person view points the same. 8 out of 10.

Saving Grace by Ciara Geraghty

Not your standard chick lit. Saving Grace is in the league of Marian Keyes, with a more ‘thinking’ type of book- we cover relationships and grief with a wedding and drunken nights out. It’s fun, yet serious at times. The last 70 pages I read in a greedy sitting, the finale was spectacular. Ending was yes, kind of predictable, but you’re happy that all the characters got what they deserved. 8.5 out of 10.

Cold Spring Harbor by Richard Yates

Although not long (178 pages), this book has kept me thinking about each of the characters and their future long since I finished reading. Yes, it has similar themes to Revolutionary Road, but there’s something about the way Mr Yates writes… he perfectly captures the annoying traits of your mother-in-law, awkward adolescence and the way you still can’t figure out where you’re going even when you’re an adult. Everything is beautifully and succinctly put. A fantastic read. 9.5 out of 10.

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7 thoughts on “Mini Reviews: March 2010

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    1. I love Richard Yates’ work, but I don’t think I could read them back to back – they’re brutally honest but strangely fascinated. Will look forward to your review of Easter Parade.

  1. I covet the Yates book! 🙂 I’ve only read two of his works, but they were amazing and make me want to read everything else he wrote.

    The Nelson book wasn’t my favorite book either. I really didn’t like that she gave the endings away!

    1. The Nelson book was a prize so I guess I shouldn’t complain too much about it – but there are much better blogs out there!
      I am slowly collecting Yates’ books – I want them all in Vintage paperback, so it’s taking some time!

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