Me Talk Pretty One Day

img_5683Book: Me Talk Pretty One Day By David Sedaris

Date Read: January 21, 2018 to February 8, 2018

Rating: 3 (of 5) stars

I kept thinking that I needed a little more time to think about this book before putting my thoughts into writing, but a week after finishing, I still wasn’t quite sure what to say. So I waited a little longer. And I still don’t feel like I’m quite sure what I want to say.  I suppose that in itself says something.

I have read some polarized opinions on Sedaris. People either love him or hate him. I have to honestly say that this confuses me. This book was sort of meh for me. I have a hard time imagining his writing to invoke such strong feelings, positive or negative. There were some stories that I very much enjoyed, and some really great moments. However, the rest of the book left me… unenthused. This sounds a bit petty, I suppose. I really don’t expect that every book is going to blow me away. Part of my issue is that Sedaris does not really present himself as particularly likable. Again, I don’t expect that every book is going to have a narrator/author that I like. I guess I just feel that if I am going to take the time to read about someone that I do not particularly like, I need to get a little more out of it than a couple laughs. I do have another of Sedaris’s books on my to read list, and I will keep it there, but I’m going to let this one set a bit longer before reading him again.

Boris’s thoughts: “Chapters of reasonable length for snuggle sessions. 3 paws.”

Tacky the Penguin

img_5718Book: Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester

No blog that belongs to me could ever be complete without some at least some picture books, and I certainly can’t think of a better place to start than with Tacky. While it may be said that I am a bit biased toward penguins in general, Tacky is most definitely one of my favorite characters from children’s literature.

I suppose I should start by saying that if it were possible to have a fictional spirit animal, Tacky would probably be mine. (There is another character I also relate pretty well to, but we will just have to save that for a future post!) Tacky is a bit odd. He does not quite fit in with the other pretty penguins. He marches to the beat of his own drum (1-2-3, 4-2, 3-6-0, 2 1/2, 0). Nonetheless, Tacky always turns out to be a good bird to have around.

While I wouldn’t exactly call it a “series,” there are several books featuring the adventures (or perhaps more accurately, the mis-adventures) of Tacky and his penguin companions. I have not read all of these, but have enjoyed all of those that I have encountered. Tacky is a great character for showing kids that it’s okay to be different– and sometimes even advantageous.

Never Let Me Go

img_5731Book: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Date Read: August 5, 2016 to August 15, 2016

Rating: 3 (of 5) stars

In trying to come up with the words for my feelings on this book, I think I just have to say that I found this book both interesting and annoying. The primary reason for my mixed feelings is that the reasons for each of those words are exactly the same.

The way the story is told often feels very disjointed. The narrator has a hard time getting to the point, and very often goes on tangents. There are bits and pieces that are not explained, but then resolved a few pages later after going off into something seemingly unrelated. While this was sometimes confusing and annoying, in some ways I felt that it made it seem more real. That’s often how people think and talk, especially when they are relaying a complicated story. I found myself wondering if this was intentional, or possibly the result of poor editing. Either way, I feel like it does work for the story – although not necessarily in a way that I am fond of. Overall, despite the wanderings and ramblings, I felt the story did come together at the end, and that there was sufficient resolution to everything that was brought up (or at least to my own wonderings as I was reading the story… I’m sure if I really dug into it, I could come up with something).

Another part that I feel uncertain about is the voice/emotion used throughout the story. It some ways, I feel like she is describing things as being emotionally charged, but I don’t ever really feel that in her own voice as she tells the story. Again, I can’t pinpoint if this is intentional, or just poor writing/character development. Kathy’s voice seems somewhat sad, but mostly indifferent, when reflecting on her past. Is that because she is supposed to be indifferent? Does she feel that, like is mentioned in the story, it was all pointless if her life was always going to end the same way? But if that’s the case, then why is she even sharing the story? Or is what I read as indifference merely her acceptance of her life as it was?

So with those thoughts, I certainly don’t love this book, but I also certainly can’t say that I hated it or that reading this book was a waste of time. Would I recommend it? Maybe. The world created in the book is an interesting one, although somewhat puzzling and sad for these characters.

Under the Dome

Book: Under the Dome by Stephen King

Date Read: November 21, 2017 to January 20, 2018Under the Dome

Rating: 4 (of 5) stars

This book was a bit of an undertaking for me. I have read a few Stephen King books before, but this was the first lengthy novel that I have taken on in quite some time. Initially I was a bit concerned about the length of the book– I worried that I get bored with it and end up stretching it out even further than necessary. I was pleasantly surprised with the pacing of the story. While I would not necessarily say that there was “nonstop action,” the plot moved along well and was intricate enough that I wanted to pay attention to the details of what was happening without feeling overwhelmed by the complexity. I liked the set up of the novel, broken up into named “parts” with numbered chapters in each.

Overall, I did really enjoy the book. One piece that I feel a little torn about is the number of characters, and how they were so easily dispensed of. I suppose I should say this is a spoiler alert, but I also think this should be fairly obvious: there is a huge death toll in this book. Many characters are introduced and named only to be killed within a few pages. While I did not necessarily keep track, I would guess there were nearing 100 named characters in the course of the novel, and only a small number of these remaining at the end. I suppose some of this is to be expected. This is a novel by a noted author of horror. But at the same time, some of it felt excessive and unnecessary. There are tons of developing problems throughout the novel, several of which are simply dealt with by the death of one or more involved characters. I suppose this is at least efficient.

Finally, I feel it appropriate to address one of the top criticisms that I have heard in other reviews of this book: that the distinction between good and evil is too clearly made, making the characters too “black and white,” and perhaps a little flat. I will say I both agree and disagree with this. Yes, the main good guys vs. bad guys situation set up here is fairly straightforward, and this really does not have much to do with the presence of the dome. The bad guys have always been bad, and the good guys have, generally, been good (or at least reasonable and decent people). However, I think leaving it at that is an oversimplification. There are myriad other characters that do not strictly follow those lines. Sure, sides end up being drawn fairly easily, but I wouldn’t say that any of the “good” characters are presented as infallible. I also personally really enjoyed some of the characters who didn’t clearly fit in either of those categories: like Andy Sanders and Chef Bushey. By no means would either of them fit into the “good guy” category, but both also find themselves opposed to the “bad guys” at several points along the way. They are the wildcards, which I don’t think can be left out when considering the book as whole.

And as a truly final note, I did write down one quote to remember:

“When dawn was still long hours away, bad thoughts took on flesh and began to walk.”