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Posts tagged ‘fiction’

Love it or Hate it: Atonement

Have you ever noticed how some books seem to drive a wedge between people? You check the reviews and find almost no middle-of-the-road ratings. Instead people either seem to love it or hate it. Well, welcome to the new Love it or Hate it post category! Each month, we’ll pick one book to review. Two contributors will battle it out to convince you to pick it up or throw it out. Our February book is Atonement by Ian McEwan.

Special thanks to guest contributor Nicole R for writing one of the points of view this month!

Make sure to read to the end and cast your vote. And to celebrate our first Love it or Hate it category we are giving away a gently used copy of the book to one randomly selected person who writes in with a comment saying “I want it.” Read more

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore By Robin Sloan

mrpenumbraMr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
Published: Oct 2012
Reviewed by: Jen
After losing his job in web design, Clay Jannon accepts a position as a clerk for the overnight shift at a 24-hour bookstore. He soon discovers that not all is what it seems in the bookstore. Discovering one clue after another, Jannon gets pulled into an adventure with secret societies, hipsters, and the search for a mystery hidden within books. The adventure is one that highlights the conflict between new technologies (ebooks, etc) and the old (print books).

I sometimes feel like I’m the odd person out when I read certain books. This book gets amazing reviews almost across the board. The New York Times writes that it is “eminently enjoyable, full of warmth and intelligence.” NPR writes, “One of the most thoughtful and fun reading experiences you’re likely to have this year.” That was not my experience. Okay, so I read much of this book while struggling with the flu and wasn’t really in the mindset for having fun. However, I had read almost 120 pages before I started to feel terrible and I was bored out of my mind for most of those pages. So what were my issues?

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Ulysses by James Joyce


4/5 stars (2 stars for overall enjoyment)

Ulysses is considered to THE modernist novel. Divided into 18 episodes, the novel is loosely based on Homer’s the Odyssey. Events and characters from the Odyssey are transformed into events and characters within a 24-hour period in Dublin in the early 1900s. The majority of the novel uses stream-of-consciousness and follows protagonist Leopold Bloom who represents Odysseus. However, each episode uses a different type of technique and much of it seems chaotic and unstructured on first read. Within the book you’ll find an episode written in the style of a play, one episode written as a series of questions and answers, one written as a series of hallucinations, one in a pompous, old fashioned style, and one episode representing the gestation of the English language –where Joyce starts off with more archaic styles then ends with slang all within the same chapter.

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