Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Second Summer of the Traveling Pants

I read the first one earlier and I loved it. I watched the movie and I loved it. I was in absolute eager anticipation to read the second book in the series of four books that I just knew in my heart there was no place to go but down.

The story follows the girls as they are on a new summer with different goals and issues. Tibby is at video camp finding out who she is and whether she will stand up for what she belives or follow the crowd. Her crowd may be different and more "rebel" but she still finds herself a follower and has to deal with the challenes that accompany this. Carmen is at home and seething in anger at her mother's new love (which really does make me want to puke, Carmen, i feel you!). The Lena is still in love with a guy she exchanged two words with in the previous book and spends the entire time in angst and then in a few awkwardly written secnes, and Bridget is visiting her grandmother loosely disguised and learning about her past. Perhaps her story, or at least a few parts annoyed me less than the book in general.

In general this was a terrible book that made me cringe as I read it. Here's the deal. I hate adverbs. You may as well take long fingernails and run them down a chalkboard while I sit immobilized. This is adverbs for me. "She happily sat down as her mother admiringly pulled a light blue sweater gingerly over her head as the car lazily hummed in the driveway" GAG! Not just that but the story was just bad. It was just bad and lazy.

Furthermore I dont know if you've heard of the Kaavya Scandal. She wrote a book and it turned out it was plagiarized but also the rest of it was co-written by Alloy publishing. They basically outlined the story for her and wrote the first four chapters of the story. Well, I was checking the copyright of this book and it was identical to the copyright of Kaavya's book. The writer of this book isn't as original as she claims. A factory book mass produced to keep young girls money rolling in. This is disappointing as there are many writer slike JK Rowling, and Jhumpa Lahiri who are truly gifted, dont use adverbs like a four year old would stickers (though JK's latest is adverb crazy), and write their own stuff.

For these reasons I dont think I'll be getting a third helping of the traveling pants....

Sunday, June 25, 2006

A Long Way Down

This book is a snapshot in the lives of four VERY different strangers who found each other on a rooftop on New Years Eve preparing to commit suicide. One is a no name American rocker who went to deliver pizzas and took a detour to the roof. One is a mother of a mentally disabled child who has cared for him for 20 years and now can't take it anymore. The other an 18 year old girl with melodramatic issues who feels jilted and just can't bear to live, and finally Mark who just finished a prison sentence after having been a famous tv talk show host in England until he cheated on his wife with a fifteen year old who lied about his age.

They each go utterly convinced that it is their last night on earth but they all happened to choose the same place to top themselves. Finding each other on the roof top they get distracted, argue, and somehow find themselves off the roof though all of them consider this "coming down the ledge" as merely a temporary thing, infact, they agree to simply wait a little while and then meet again to see if they still want to go through with it.

The book follows them as crazy but perfectly believable series of events happen and we watch. It's told in the first person with each person getting a chapter a time to explain things from their perspectiv. I like that, it's pretty neat because there are times you will be reading through one character's eyes and completely loath another character. Then the next chapter is the character you despise, and the chapter helps you understand why they are they way they are a little bit better.

My only hesitation with the book is that I feel its trying TOO hard to be "non-cliche" and though I normally adore Nick Hornby's writing this book was a little too... vernacular? for me. For example there is a lot of "yeah you probably think this will be a happy ending but its not" and other sorts of dialogue. I feel nick hornby is trying so hard to not be be cheesy and trite such injections sound defensive and not contributing towards the feel of the book.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

A cute story about friends apart for a summer and bonded through jeans they wear from a week subject to self created rules and then mail off to the next friend as they share their summer stories.

I watched the movie and decided to read the book and I loved it. Infact I'm going to buy the second one tomorrow for my trip to Brazil. But one thing concerns me. Y'all know about the Kaavya Scandal? Well you can read about it here. But apparently the ppl that helped her do what she did are the ones who are on the copyright for this book too. For example, Harry potter the copyright says only Rowlings name. Interpreater of MAladies? only Jhumpa Lahiri, but Kaavya's book had Alloy publishing next to her name....and so does this one. This concerns me because it makes me wonder if this is an authentic book or if its just a formula novel? that troubles me.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Amateur Marriage- Anne Tyler

I finished this book four days ago but the characters and the story still haunts my unguarded thoughts. What an amazing writer. I have not read a book so well written in a very very long time. For me a good writer is one, that when you're reading, you dont even realize it. You are experiencing what she writes, seeing what she sees and most importantly feeling what she feels. This story did just that for me. The story follows Michael and Pauline who meet by happenstance, have a hurried wartime wedding and proceed to spend thirty years loving one another, raising a family, and arguing. Arguing a whole lot. Ordinarily I do not like such stories of a family as it goes through life but like I said the writing is what sets this book apart. Here are just a few thoughts I had one some of the characters in the book...

***warning: Spoilers***

1. Why did Lindy get to come back and no one confronted her?! I was so furious with her when she came back again and I just didn't understand why even George who felt frustration said nothing. She knew where PAGAN WAS and didn't come for him! How did she account for that? She was sobered up for a while!

2. The love that Michael felt for Lindy choked me up because it was so real. How we want to love our children and think theyr'e special and will desperately hold on to our hopes tha tthey are more good than bad. Even when Pagan was found dirty, filthy and abandoned he tried to find signs that he was cared for.

3. I liked how they didnt even talk about changing his name. I think I might have done that if my kid's name was PAGAN but they didn't do that from him as he had very little identity as it was when they found him. Showed their humanity.

4. I was very sad for Paulline that she was all alone at the end. Actually thi sbook really really gave me a new perspective on aging and growing old. I see older people differently now and it makes me afraid of growing older. She was so alone in the end. Unable to even fix her water heater and stifled in so many other ways.

5. The way Lindy turned out gave me fear. How can you guaruntee that your children will end up being good and stable people when they grow up. how much control do you have? I do think they argued so much and were, as Karen said "such a couple" perhaps they didn't make child rasiing as active a priroity as they should have?

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Wifey- by Judy Blume

I walked past the sales rack at my school bookstore and in my usual rummage for a cheap diamond in the rough I came across Wifey. I grew up loving Judy Blume books and so the child in me could not resist purchasing a book for the grown up I now was. Hmm... The book was okay. Sandy is an average stay at home wife in the 60's married to a man who is not bad by any standard but wants the traditional gender roles enforced to a tee. He brings home the "bacon" she raises the kids. In this rut she begins to day dream and fantasize and soon acting upon her fantasies. The book is very dialogue driven if that is up your alley and at times you feel you are with her experiencing what she is experiencing. Personally it was a bit too explicit for my liking and the writing was fine, just not the best I'd ever read.

Book Reviews

I love books and I figured I should have a seperate blog that updates the books I read for pleasure. If you'd like to support me in my book reading adventures please feel free to check out my wishlist!