Recent Reads Vol. 8

Confession: Sometimes this awesome, literary, fast-reading group of bloggers that bands together every month for Show Us Your Books makes me feel super inadequate. Especially right now when I'm reading slower than ever before—due to a combination of poorly-timed title selections, general apathy, laziness, and time crunched-ness. All this to say there's not much here, but here's what I've finished reading since last we linked.

The Rules of Attraction by Bret Easton Ellis
I'll venture to say this was my favorite by Bret Easton Ellis so far. And I stupid love Less Than Zero and quite liked the others I've read, so that's saying a lot. Maybe it's because the privilege barrier didn't exist so much here (versus others by him) so I could connect a little better with the kids I was reading? (As if they could ever read like "kids" in the true sense...) I found it to be very obviously his, which I find to be a good thing because I love Ellis and his writing and his mind. He will definitely not be a hit for others, but if you've read and enjoyed something by him, I think this has to be on your list.

Recommend? — If you're inclined toward this slightly sinister genre, yes!

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
Ugh—I'm sorry, there's no other way for me to start than this. This was more annoying than anything. I kept on reading hoping the narrative would circle back to the place where it started—the place the title implied the book would go, the place set up by the narrator and jacket copy and everything else. But less than halfway through the book, the author seemed to forget about the entire premise she'd started building and talked about something completely different that I had no reason to care about because she'd set up a completely different story and expectation. And also, magical realism is a lot more in-depth than giving random people whack-ass "super powers" that they don't utilize or utilize in dumb ways. It was lazy and completely unfinished and a waste of time.

Two more specific gripes: I went audiobook on this one, so I didn't know this until reading Goodreads reviews, but apparently the author abandoned accepted punctuation rules around dialogue too. That probably explains why every other sentence ended with "I said," or "he said." Said, said, said, said, said. Holy crap, that was grating to hear 50 times per minute. Also, the author had a bad voice for audiobook, in my opinion, and paused for WAY too long between sentences. It made it drag on even longer than necessary.

(More anger about this one in my Goodreads review.)

Recommend? — Definitely not missing anything here. Skip it.

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
I'm pretty sure I read this early on in college, but considering my memory for narrative details is utter crap, it was pretty much new to me except for the overall concept. I haven't seen the movie either, so that helped it feel like new to me. I'm pretty sure most people have read this book already, or at least most people who want to have. If you're holding out though, you can stop. Pick up this book and give it a read. It's a unique story by a talented author, rich and well-written, imaginative, emotional, compelling. Well worth your time, not that it will take you much to get through this moving story.

Recommend? — Absolutely (barring the possible trauma trigger).

Still reading:
The Casual Vacancy

And that's where I'm at. What are you reading, finishing, and loving lately?

Linking up with Steph & Jana.

Comments

  1. I've actually never read a brett easton book so I feel like I'm missing something in my life!! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

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  2. I love your review of Lemon Cake... I think I considered it for one of the book challenges that needed a book about food, but I felt iffy about the synopsis-- and now I'm definitely glad I skipped it!

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  3. The Casual Vacancy was so unlike Harry Potter but so good in it's own way, a little dark and twisted but still an interesting read.

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  4. I loved The Lovely Bones when I first read it and have reread it a few times since. Other than Stanley Tucci playing the bad guy, the movie can be completely skipped. It just adds a weirdness to Heaven or where ever it is the main character goes that completely distracted from the rest of the story for me.

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  5. you are so the opposite of inadequate. but i get it. i feel that way a lot about other things that people blog about - social things, career things, exercise things.. i am inadequate in all of those things compared to others, but not at reading. because i devote more time to it than those other things lol. anyway. rambling. you are the least inadequate person i know.
    i read the lovely bones YEARS ago and love hated it. i read it because the author of one of my faves had a quote on the front of the book that said it was a good read, so i just assumed it would be exactly like my fave... NOPE. haha. i think it was because i wasn't expecting what it was about and it really did mess with me. that being said, it's one of the only books that i have continued to think about several years after i read it, and i was younger then (obviously) and now that i am slightly more mature and older, i can see that i did enjoy it, i was just disturbed by it.
    i am not going to read the lemon cake book, but i saw your review, depending how you are listening to your books, you can speed them up. i don't know who teaches people to narrate audiobooks but i always have to speed them up just a wee bit because they talk too slow and pause way too long.

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  6. Haha, I totally felt inadequate this past month too! I always think I read a fair amount until this link-up comes around!

    It's been years since I read The Lovely Bones, but I agree - such a great book! I really enjoyed the movie too.

    Audiobooks can be tough - the narrator can make or break the story. If it's a crappy narrator, it's hard to review the book adequately because all you can focus on is the bad narration.

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  7. I read The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake in 2 different book clubs, and we all hated it! Such a weird one.

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  8. I read the Lovely Bones a long time ago, but it was a great book!! I'd love to revisit it someday.

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  9. You are not inadequate, but I get the feeling. I had quite a few books this month but BOOM if everyone else didn't have more. But I enjoy finding new books so I like this linkup. Lovely Bones is so well written but so sad.

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  10. I don't have any feelings about how many books anyone has read, including myself. I read at my pace and assume everyone else does as well.

    I adored The Lovely Bones but good Lord was that a hard read. I remember my heart hurting and my eyes just involuntarily leaking.

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  11. I haven't read The Lovely Bones yet, so clearly I need to get on it. I didn't read nearly as many books this month as I usually do either. Let's just say because it was a short month? lol

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  12. You don't have to read a lot of books, you just have to read one super interesting or popular one and then everyone will still have plenty to say about it. :P Most of my reads are typically fantasy stuff that no one else is interested in, so most of my comments tend to be the one self help or celebrity memoir that snuck in there.

    I am almost tempted to read The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, just out of curiosity to see if it's as bad as you said. Almost. I won't, though.

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  13. I thought The Lovely Bones was incredible, too! I listened to it in the car as I drove to and from grad school everyday and didn't want to arrive home because I wanted to keep listening!

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  14. I need to re-read The Lovely Bones -- I literally cannot remember a single detail of it, haha. I've never read anything by Bret Easton Ellis, so now I feel like I need to add this book to my list right now. Thanks for the recommendation, lovely! xx

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  15. I don't understand how everyone else can read so many books in one month either. So you are not alone. The Lovely Bones is one of the heart breaking books that made me think differently about the world. I remember reading it at like 3AM, bawling my eyes out.

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  16. I read The Lovely Bones forever ago, before I had a kid. I don't know that I can handle reading it again.

    Bret Easton Ellis is another author I've never read but probably should.

    If it helps, I don't think I read as fast as many other bloggers, either. And I read pretty fast.

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  17. I felt the same way about The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. Ugh pretty much describes it! Haha.

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  18. I preach it over and over and over again. Never be ashamed of your reading habit (or feel inferior). I am a big supporter of any and all reading, even if it is just the daily news or a monthly magazine favourite. Sometimes, I feel inferior when I read all the blogs about fitness and running.

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  19. Don't feel bad about how much you read! I think I read more slowly than some people, so I'll probably never be one of those people who reads 15 books in a month. I also realized earlier this year that audiobooks are probably not for me, so I can't utilize my time in the car or at the gym to listen to a book either. At least we're all reading and sharing what we liked and didn't like!

    I liked American Psycho a lot when I read it years ago, and I always think about reading more Bret Easton Ellis books. I don't know why I never have. I'll have to pick this one up, and probably also Less Than Zero. Have you read Lunar Park? That one has been on my "To Read" list forever, and I'm curious what a fan of his work thinks of it.

    I actually liked The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, but I didn't love it. (I think I gave it 3 stars.) I hated the lack of quotation marks (I think I even mentioned that in my review), and there were definitely some subplots that either didn't feel like they belonged or felt incomplete ... But it was enjoyable overall. That being said, I don't have a lot of experience with magical realism so I didn't really have anything to compare it to.

    I am in the minority, but I hated The Lovely Bones. Okay, "hate" is a strong word. I loved the beginning. It started out so strong, and I remember thinking, "Wow, this book is going to be amazing!" And then it just went downhill. This is kind of a spoiler (so hopefully people won't read it if they haven't already read the book), but the final straw for me was when she "came back" into her friend's (I think? I read this like 5 or 6 years ago) body so she could hook up with some guy she liked before she died. It just felt wrong to me on so many levels. I'm pretty sure I threw the book across the room in disgust after I read that part. Haha.

    And this is why I love this link-up. Not only do I find great recommendations, but I also have an opportunity to discuss why I did or didn't like a particular book with someone else. It's always interesting to see when someone hated something you loved (or vice versa), and to learn what made it so good/bad for them.

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  20. The Lovely Bones has been on my bookshelf since high school, but I don't know if I will ever read it. It seems too sad.

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  21. I have not actually read a Bret Easton Ellis book, although American Psycho is one of my favorite movies. :) I should actually read one of his books, although perhaps not The Rules of Attraction. I am one of the few who haven't read The Lovely Bones, mostly because I avoided books like that at it's peak but now I want to give it a try - when I'm in the right mood to deal with an emotional read.

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  22. I remember reading Lovely Bones in high school, but I think it's one of those books that I didn't appreciate at the time because it was being forced down my throat, but would really enjoy reading it a second time around. I've had The Casual Vacancy since it first came out and don't think I've ever gotten past the first chapter! How are you enjoying it so far? Is it worth trying again?

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  23. Oh mylanta, I read The Lovely Bones in high school and it has always stuck with me. I should probably rereadd it sometime though--I find that the novels that I say are my favorites and that shaped me in my youth I don't remember enough about. Now that you've reread it, you should see the movie. I really liked it a lot.

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  24. I've only tried reading Bret Easton Ellis once and that was American Psycho. I couldn't get through the excessive descriptions from the perspective of the main character / killer. I was hoping I would like it because the movie was all kinds of weird and fascinating, but it wasn't for me. Oh well, I will continue to enjoy his weird ass movies. I've seen The Lovely Bones movie and thought that Peter Jackson did a beautiful job with it (for something so disgusting, but perfectly done from her perspective), so I may read the book at some point. I was so creeped out by the man in the film.

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  25. I think I made it 2 pages into The Casual Vacancy and was like, NOPE! Bring back HP and I'll buy everything. The Lovely Bones is such an amazing book. I want to watch the movie but the guy ho plays the killer is a favorite of mine and I don't him tainted.

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