The Basic Eight, Daniel Handler read: 6-7 jul 2008
interesting. not as good as the secret history. barely comparable, anyway. unsure about how i feel, and i was starting to think toward the middle that flannery was completely unreliable, but did not feel that natasha was a figment of her imagination. i have no idea if that's the case with this story, but it's suggest toward the end.
i do not like it when books are so ambiguous with their weirdness that it can't even be reasonably figured out. you're left mired in confusion. that's just a cop out, i think. i understand hinting, but leaving random clues and suggestions and then not pointing toward any kind of logical conclusion? how frustrating.
Interesting! Historical fiction, I guess. I did not like that Kostova chose to tell the father's story through the daughter-- she seemed a secondary character and completely unnecessary. It's supposed to be a first-person perspective from that of the daughter, but the bulk of the book is letters from the father and the father's graduate advisor. There is very little first-person anything from who is supposed to be considered the main character. If I were the editor and I had read this before sending it to press, I would have given Kostova this exact feedback and suggested that she eschew the daughter's perspective altogether.
Is her technique the sign of a weak writer? Can't say. Perhaps. What she did accomplish was not accomplished remarkably.
Special Topics in Calamity Physics, Marisha Pessl read: 20-23 jun 2008
this was difficult. the story dragged at the beginning, but began to gain momentum around p100. truthfully, i think the story dragged so much at the beginning because pessl was being too clever-- quotations, allusions, citations, etc. i complained at first that the book was too smart for me. quite frankly, it was difficult to read because the narrative thread was getting lost in all the cleverness.
the story progressed and through the middle it was compelling and i was very engaged. but then, toward the end, the story began to spiral into ridiculousness. of course, all this could very well be due to an unreliable narrator, but the ending was quite unsatisfying.
i'd say it wasn't as good as the secret history, but it was better than the lake of dead languages (i bring this up because the three books are generally mentioned as recommendations relating to each other).
Vanishing Acts, Jodi Picoult finished: 18 jun 2008
it was alright. i feel that picoult relied too heavily on the mechanism of multiple first person perspectives. picoult was not able to create a genuine, distinguishable voice for all narrators, and therefore had to resort to font changes.
i still read it, though. but it wasn't as good as plain truth.
btw, i gave plain truth to gloria to read, and lamb to my aunt. hope they like it!
i assigned this book for an extra credit project, so i had to read it. i liked it; it was nice and well-written, but i didn't really get the point. still, i liked it! i think many of my students would identify with zinkoff.
a friend recommended this and said that she had loved it. i was wary, but read it anyway. i loved it. it was a hilarious and compelling (sometimes enlightening) tale. christopher moore is very funny. i wouldn't mind reading another book by him.