28 October 2012

How not to read: harnessing the power of a literature-free life – By: Dan Wilbur (Humor)

If nothing I’ve ever posted has appealed to you, it might be because you don’t like to read. If that’s the case, this book will teach you how to continue with your life without having to read all those pesky “classics”. With tongue in cheek humor, Wilbur pokes holes in the idea that literature is important to a well balanced life.

The best section is the “better book titles” with the covers of famous novels, and their more appropriate titles. To see examples, check out the authors blog betterbooktitles.com .I couldn’t stop laughing.

Bookwyrm Rating: Dessert

16 October 2012

OLDIE BUT GOODIE: Anna Karenina – By: Leo Tolstoy

This has been my favorite novel for a long time. So it gets to be the very first of my new segment "Oldie but Goodie". These venerable books have already stood the test of time, but sometimes they get overshadowed in the excitement and hype surrounding the new stuff. 

Part of what I love about Anna Karenina is its pace. It’s not a thriller; you actually have to slow down and try to understand the characters. They’re loveable and frustrating, despicable and fun; usually in those pairs. In all of the grandeur of aristocratic Russian life, it’s the life of the family that really takes center stage.
This book has it all; love, lust, betrayal and the most underrated characters of all time (Levin and Kitty). If you haven’t read it yet, do so now. And if you have read it, Bravo! Now go read it again.

Bookwyrm Rating: Meat & Potatoes

14 October 2012

Before I go to Sleep – By: S.J. Watson (Fiction)

Chrissy can’t remember why she woke up in a strange house with a strange man, but soon everything is explained to her. There’s been an accident and every night she loses all the memories made during the day. It’s only been going on for 20 some years. It’s nothing to worry about. Through the strategic use of her journal she begins to realize that not everything is what it seems.

So many stories use amnesia as a cheap plot devise (soaps anyone?), or it’s used to get the writers out of a jam. This is one of the few times that I can recommend a book because of its use of amnesia. I loved the narrative; it reminded me of the movie “Phonebooth” in the best way. It’s slightly claustrophobic since every entry relives a similar day, but the anxiety builds in this very small space.

With such fantastic writing on a debut novel, I hope to see more from this author. It’s a great thriller, but be careful when you pick it up. It’s hard to put down.
Bookwyrm Rating: Appetizer 

11 October 2012

Anna Dressed in Blood – By: Kendare Blake (Horror)

It’s true, I’m a wuss; I just can’t do ghost stories. But this one barely gave me nightmares. Also, it’s for teenagers really, so it shouldn't be that bad. Our hero’s job is to stab murderous apparitions with his magic knife and send them to hell (which is where they rightfully belong). He finally meets his match and maybe an ally, in ghostly Anna.  When people in her vicinity end up gruesomely dead the plot’s just kicking off.  There’s blood and guts in abundance and a really nasty baddie.  So despite the genre, or somehow because of it I actually did enjoy the story. 

P.S. – If you like this, don’t forget to check out the sequel! Girl of Nightmares

P.S.S. – Don’t get too attached to the cat.

Bookwyrm Rating: Appetizer

08 October 2012

Slaughterhouse Five – By: Kurt Vonnegut (Fiction)

I cannot believe that it has taken me this long to read something by Vonnegut; I am well and truly ashamed of myself. Yet, despite the guilt trip, I loved this book. It is unlike any other narrative style out there. You’re told everything right in the beginning, so there is no plot. Really, no plot. The narrative jumps between episodes in the protagonist’s life, each one commenting on what’s happened before and after that episode. It's more like an explanation of snapshots from a life. We also get little asides from the author himself, which can be a little disconcerting. When he comments on an episode he spotlights the reality of the scene. And since he was actually a POW in the type of situation described, it's impossible to ignore his aside. So, the whole thing ends up as more of an experience than a story. And I liked that, a lot.

Bookwyrm Rating: Meat and Potatoes