Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Book Report #2

The next five books I've read in my challenge to read 52 books in 2015!

This is Where I Leave You - Jonathan Tropper: A dysfunctional family drama. After their father dies the family comes together to sit shiva (they aren't jewish) and all hell breaks loose. There were parts that were really funny, and parts that weren't so much. I found the characters to be entertaining but pretty over the top. I liked the book, but didn't love it. I enjoyed the movie more than the book, probably because of the actors - Jason Bateman and Tina Fey.

St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves - Karen Russel: I was really excited to read this collection of short stories, but it just didn't do it for me. I actually had to force myself to finish it. Karen Russel's writing is beautiful, but each protagonist, throughout each different story, completely blended together. In addition, and this was an even bigger problem for me, none of the stories ended! It felt like each story just stopped in the middle, no resolution, no completion.

The Bone Clocks - David Mitchell: A mixture of fantasy and literary fiction, starting with a teenager who hears voices and has strange dreams. The book follows her and the characters she meets throughout the decades of her life. It was a very complicated book, but I liked it, although I feel that, since I read it in February, I would need to reread it if I were to write more about it. I will definitely read more of Mitchell's books.

The Martian - Andy Weir: Not many of my friends who have read this book agree with me, but I did not like this book. Let me clarify, I loved the science, I hated the writing and the character development. The story is an interesting concept, an astronaut stranded on mars, with no way to communicate, who must figure out a way to survive. He's a brilliant engineer and scientist and does some amazing things to extend his survival, BUT he sounds like a 16 year old frat boy. I could not get past that.

After Mandela - Douglas Foster: The Struggle for Freedom in Post-Apartheid South Africa. A very interesting book to read, especially while living here in South Africa. As a journalist, Foster manages to get access to some of the highest political figures in South Africa - President Jacob Zuma, two of Zuma's daughters, Mandela's grandson, Helen Zille's son, and the youth of Joburg and Cape Town. It is a great look at the 15+ years since the end of apartheid, from Mandela to Mbeki to Zuma. If you have any interest in South Africa or this region I highly recommend this book.

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