Several months ago, Book Worm and I tried to make our way through the 2015 Man Booker Longlist books. Book Worm finished Did You Ever Have a Family a while ago and has been patiently waiting on me so we could post a joint review. Now I’m done. Find out what we both thought about his book and let us know what you thought. Read more
The next stop on our world tour of reading is Wales! This month, we have a special guest contributor: Louise. Louise is from Wales and runs the wonderful blog book a week. You should check out it! She will be sharing some fun facts about her country, Welsh literature, and her personal recommendations for books to help immerse you in your “travels.” I’m especially excited to feature Wales as it is home to the book lover’s paradise Hay-on-Wye. I’ll hand it over to Louise to tell you more…
There is no such thing as a universally loved book. Each month, we’ll feature a book from Time Magazine‘s list of the best 100 English language novels of all time. From the mean to the funny, to the downright absurd, we will highlight some of the strange reasons why some people hate these great reads. This month’s book is 1984 by George Orwell. I have to admit that I last read this in high school and it wasn’t my favorite book, but it certainly merited better than some of these 1-star reviews from Amazon. Keep reading to see why some people hate this book. Read more
Broken April by Ismail Kadare
First Published in: 1978
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by: Jen
Find it/Buy it here: Broken April
In the last three weeks I’ve been reading a lot of books set in the Balkans, but none have stood out as much as Broken April. Ismail Kadare is Albania’s most well-known author and in 2005 he became the first winner of the International Man Booker prize. Broken April is a powerful novel about Albania’s tradition of blood feuds. Read more
This month’s featured author is one of my (Jen) favorites: Jeffrey Eugenides. Next month we will feature one of Book Worm’s favorite authors.
Once again BookWorm and I find ourselves at different ends of the spectrum in our opinions about our latest 1001 read. Find out what we thought and let us know which one of us is more in line with your views about the book. Read more
The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon
Published in: 2014
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by: Jen
Find it/buy it here: The Word Exchange
I received a copy of The Word Exchange in my Book Riot subscription box for the technology theme. It’s not a book I would have chosen on my own and only ended up reading it because it was assigned for a reading challenge. Ultimately, I was pleasantly surprised by the book and probably should retract my earlier comments about how awful I found that particular Book Riot box (although the book extras were still pretty lousy). Check out why I think it’s worth a read. Read more
Journey to the end of the Night by Louis-Ferdinand Céline
Published in: 1932
Reviewed by: Book Worm
Find it here: Journey to the End of the Night
Synopsis from Goodreads: Louis-Ferdinand Céline’s revulsion and anger at what he considered the idiocy and hypocrisy of society explodes from nearly every page of this novel. Filled with slang and obscenities and written in raw, colloquial language, Journey to the End of the Night is a literary symphony of violence, cruelty and obscene nihilism. This book shocked most critics when it was first published in France in 1932, but quickly became a success with the reading public in Europe, and later in America where it was first published by New Directions in 1952. The story of the improbable yet convincingly described travels of the petit-bourgeois (and largely autobiographical) antihero, Bardamu, from the trenches of World War I, to the African jungle, to New York and Detroit, and finally to life as a failed doctor in Paris, takes the readers by the scruff and hurtles them toward the novel’s inevitable, sad conclusion.
Book Worm’s Review: I really struggled with this book and it felt much longer than its already long 600 odd pages. The main problem I had was that this was a first person narrative told from the point of view of French man Ferdinand Bardamu who I just couldn’t relate to. The narrative jumps around and lacks narrative consistency consistency. Unfortunately, it really comes down to the fact that I found most of it boring.
The book is jam packed with footnotes which were all essential to understanding the story. For example, many of the footnotes revealed the “in” jokes that Céline was using — references that would have gone unnoticed by those of us not familiar with Paris. For the reader who understood those references this is probably a very amusing book.
I gave this 3 stars due to the fact that while I may not have enjoyed it, it is nowhere near as bad as some of the books the 1001 list has forced me to read so far.
I think the kind of reader who would enjoy this book would be someone who is very knowledgeable about France and Paris in particular. It would also suit those with a dark sense of humor as some of the darker events could be viewed as humorous.
What do you think? Want to try it for yourself? You can find a copy here: Journey to the End of the Night
We want to hear from you! Have you read this book? What did you think?
We initially wanted to feature this book for banned book week, but unfortunately we were not able to complete it in time. The Blind Owl is considered perhaps the most famous literary work of 20th century Iran. It was written in the late 1930s and was originally published as a limited edition that was banned from publication in Iran. Find out what we thought about the book. Read more
There is no such thing as a universally loved book. Each month, we’ll feature a book from Time Magazine‘s list of the best 100 English language novels of all time. From the mean to the funny, to the downright absurd, we will highlight some of the strange reasons why some people hate these great reads. See what we picked for our first book. Read more