Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

The Art of FieldingThe Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jaime, Michele, and I started a virtual book club, and Michele picked this for our first book in April. [Lot's of spoilers below.]

Here's what I liked: he tried to write a book about male platonic love. Not friendship, but love. He contrasted it to male romantic love, though he didn't necessarily do a great job with that, maybe because it was unclear if one of the gay characters was actually gay, and their was no part of the book from the perspective of the actually gay character. The least compelling relationship was the heterosexual romantic love which seemed opportunistic at best.

I also liked how he layered Moby Dick, and the fictional book that President Affenlight wrote about Moby Dick, and the fictional book called The Art of Fielding. Male platonic love, obsession, and introspective panic are all layered on top of each other.

Harry is infinitely more interesting after he starts freaking out. The line about how he expected life to improve little by little, but that that was not reality could have been my own diagnosis, and has stayed with me.

I also like Pella eating her earrings, because why not?

Here's what I didn't like. There's some problem with the pacing of this book, it goes very very slowly for the first 60% or so of the book, and then it moves quickly and somewhat unbelievably towards the end. My biggest problem with the plot is that Schwartz forgives both Harry and Pella. In real life, I think he could forgive one of them, either one, depending on how passionately he felt for one or the other, but not both.

The ending also felt like forced drama. Otherwise, no one is forgiven, nothing in particular happens, and everything just ends. But the baseball ending was forced drama enough- the rowboat scene is just too much. Oh look at us! Our friendship is so deep that we can rely on each other to grave rob! Sure.


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Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Magician King by Lev Grossman

The Magician King (The Magicians, #2)The Magician King by Lev Grossman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So fun! I read through it voraciously. I liked it much better than the first book, The Magicians. I am now holding my breath for book 3. This one was more Chronicles of Narnia than Harry Potter. Note that these books are not for children. There is explicit sexual violence in this one.

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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Ajax Penumbra 1969 by Robin Sloan

Ajax Penumbra 1969 (Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, #0.5)Ajax Penumbra 1969 by Robin Sloan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Cute back story of Mr. Penumbra. His adventure makes more sense than the one in Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore.

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore (Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, #1)Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this, it was cute. I liked the bookstore and library settings, and I would have given it 4 stars but the ending is a bit blah, and the characters outside the main character are not my favorite. (The roommates are more interesting than the best friends.)

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women (Little Women, #1)Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What we now call Little Women (400 pages) was originally “Little Women” (200 pages) and “Good Wives” (200 pages).

Little Women, Part 1, ends with Meg’s engagement and nothing very memorable happens except: Amy gets in trouble for pickled limes, there is a terrible fight between Amy and Jo, there is a bad run of scarlet fever, and Meg gets engaged. The only love story is Meg’s and it is not very moving.

Everything you remember being great about the story of the March girls actually happens in Part 2, Good Wives, when all the women are grown up. Meg is suffering from being a new mother (there are blogs for that now, Meg!), Beth is doing the thing for which Beth is famous, and Jo and Amy are having exciting artistic pursuits and love stories. It's missing a little depth but it's a wonderful and moving story as well as highly entertaining.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Superfudge by Judy Blume

Superfudge (Fudge, #3)Superfudge by Judy Blume
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I didn't like this as much as the first one. Nothing especially funny happens, and the many kids in this story seem fairly mean-spirited.

Not for kids that believe in Santa!

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Monday, April 8, 2013

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

The Autobiography of Benjamin FranklinThe Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's totally absurd for me to give this book the same number of stars as I gave The Magicians but I'm not using the stars to compare the books to each other. This is an important book full of history and life lessons, but it stops before the American Revolution, which is arguably the most important period both for his life and for the times in which he lived.

*The digital version is available for free on Amazon for Kindle (and other places online): The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

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Sunday, April 7, 2013

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing (Fudge, #1)Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Recently reread this- along with a bunch of other children’s books. It’s in the awful-little-sibling genre, but it’s the best of its kind. I really enjoyed it!

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Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

The Magicians (The Magicians, #1)The Magicians by Lev Grossman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is a guilty pleasure for people who like Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia. The first half is Harry Potter goes to college. The second half is some sort of Narnia epilogue. A lot of the reviews said that the ending is depressing, but I thought it was pretty standard for magically-themed books. It was more like 3.5 stars but I read it voraciously, and I'm really looking forward to reading the sequel.

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