----------- soulful transformation through the stars. -----------

23 Aug 2011

5x5 {books}

Sharing with you the last 5 books I read... for 5x5.
I can get lazy about book reviews, but it's Summer and August Break, so I have the perfect excuse.

In order of reading.


Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: A Novel

I'm unsure why but I wanted to really like this. It held my interest, which is no small feat considering the protagonist was a young boy, albeit an extremely precocious one. I enjoyed the weird interjections, but ultimately felt them more gimmicky than ingenious. They didn't really add to the story. What disappointed the most was that Foer is clearly a good writer. I felt he wasted his talent on gimmick. Also, overall it just wasn't that great a story despite liking it in the process. I will try him again with Illuminated.


The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

A rollicking great ride of seduction, intrigue, manipulation, ambition, sex.... all the goodies of a soap opera. Well written. I believe that I'm sold on historical fiction - the entertaining kind. And that's what this was, jolly good saucy entertainment. Could have done with some snipping, a bit longer than necessary. Thoroughly enjoyable to while away many hours.


Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia

Utterly conflicted. Woman travels the world to find and heal herself at her publisher's expense. Has a mildly interesting time of it. Towards the end casually throws in the fact that she already used 10 days in Bali previously during another writing assignment to heal herself! Incredibly privileged and extremely whiny. However, she shares all the great spiritual sentiments and has got those messages out to more people. Despite forced humour, it did make me laugh out loud. Just never warmed to her. New to spirituality, read it. A veteran, skip it.


A Moveable Feast: The Restored Edition

Yes, Hemingway is known for bringing an economical writing style into our lives after the elaborate writers before him. Guess what, I prefer elaborate to economy. Just like I prefer cream cheese on a rye cracker or jam and cream on a scone. I'm eating for enjoyment not just sustenance. I totally appreciate his contribution which I can see has influenced literature and film. Hurrah. But I won't choose a dry cracker and I won't choose minimalist fiction. Saying that, I will read one more Hemingway. A proper fiction as this was autobiographical.


Cloud Atlas: A Novel

6 stories, vastly different in tale, language, writing style, and genre!! Genius format, compelling, elegant writing. Glad I read it but the enjoyment factor was a lot lower than I wanted it to be. Part of the 1001 reads and I can see why, but I was captivated more by the format and where it was all going to end rather than enjoying the stories. One (the 6th) I completely disliked. Mitchell is an amazing writer to successfully write such variety.


click the button

34 comments:

  1. Sounds like some great (and some just ok) reads! I have a stack of books I'm hoping to go through soon.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I too felt very conflicted about Eat Pray Love. The whining definitely got to me. Oddly, I almost like the movie better than the book--not because it's a great film, or anything, but because it's so visually stunning!

    ReplyDelete
  3. i would probably enjoy the film too Hausfrau. lighter? and would love to see the travel visuals.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I absolutely love eat pray love and the other boleyn girl!

    yes, we visited the palace and the cathedral of prague, too! really stunning :) loved the view on the old town.

    ReplyDelete
  5. The only part of eat pray love I enjoyed was the middle, when she was in India. And I didn't like the movie unfortunately, but that may have been due to Julia Roberts. And I am glad to hear about the Other Boleyn Girl as I have been wanting to read it, haven't heard too much about how the movie faired...

    thanks for the reviews!! always love to read them
    xx oo
    ps. interested to hear what you think of Friday night knitting, reserving my opinion till after you finish :).

    ReplyDelete
  6. Ooooh, I want to read The Other Boleyn Girl! I wish I would have read it, instead of watching the film because it wasn't good at all, in my opinion. Thankfully, that hasn't turned me off from the book.

    I did enjoy Eat Pray Love. Mostly because of Gilbert's travel experiences with food and people. And, boy do I love food. And people (sometimes).

    Have you read The Sun Also Rises by Hemingway? I have not, but I've heard it is an amazing book.

    ReplyDelete
  7. i've read 3 of these. i loved "the other boleyn girl" for the exact same reasons you did. i didn't like "eat pray love" for the exact same reasons you did. and... you already know i enjoyed "cloud atlas" more because it's one of my favorite books! but it has been awhile since i read it... which story was the 6th?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks for sharing Monica. I'd really like to read Cloud Atlas and The Other Boleyn Girl. Someone gave me Eat, Pray and Love and I've never picked it up; simply not interested. Maybe I'll just watch the film one day.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I have avoided Eat Pray Love because I could tell that I would feel that exact way about it. Strange how sometimes you are just so well aware of what NOT to read. The others sound ok0ish, but I would love to give Cloud Atlas a read. It sounds clever, and what more can you expect from a compilation...

    ReplyDelete
  10. i may have to add a few of these to my list. although, i've kind of heard the same thing about eat, pray, love. like if she'd stop crying through the whole that would be great.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thanks for the reviews; i’ll will have to give a try to cloud Atlas and movable feast; the others i have also read and felt exactly the same as you do.. so i think i can trust your book tastes now!!
    xo sandra

    ReplyDelete
  12. This is a great post and I love your reviews.
    Let's talk about Eat~Pray~Love~ shall we? I enjoyed the book, because I am a wannabee traveller (airplane phobia). But I was turned off by the ever-popular western world going to the poverty-stricken east to find "trendy" peace and balance. Exploiting once again the eastern world; romanticizing the ashram stay, while showing a whole 2 minute clip of the realism of Calcutta. Also...who has the opportunity (financially) to just drop all responsibilites and trot the globe to find oneself? But, the idealist in me loved it...just sayin...

    ReplyDelete
  13. Illuminated has been on my short list to read... I'll be interested in hearing your response to it!

    I didn't like The Other Boleyn Girl - it felt typical and kind of trite. I won't be reading anything else by Phillippa Gregory, thinketh I.

    ReplyDelete
  14. WOW. Your assessments of both Liz Gilbert and Hemingway were right up my alley! Thanks for the tidbits, I groove your reading style so much I may have to add a title or two form here to my 2012 list. Love what you said about eating for enjoyment not jsut sustenance, sooo true.

    ReplyDelete
  15. MJ - i'm ok with Ms Roberts, so that won't be an issue :) having said that, i will probably only watch it if someone lent it to me, like the book.

    Jillian, ah that's a shame about the film. i would like to see it. the book is a light(ish) read, so i didn't expect great things, but a film has to at least have decent acting.

    thing about the travel and food in EPL, is that there are soooo many travel and food books out there. she just seemed to gorge really, lol. but yes, i didn't mind hearing about where to get the best pizza in Naples... noted. ;)

    Andrea, the 6th is the middle one, the future future on the island. excruciating to get through. better after that.

    Lisa, Keda, i was lent EPL and somewhat glad i read it so that i know what the hype is based on. :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. amy, oh dear, yes, she cries a fair bit.

    boho mom, i can sure see it's appeal for an armchair traveller, but honestly, there are so many travel writers out there, this was lacking a lot of grit and heart, about the places.
    "who has the opportunity (financially) to just drop all responsibilites and trot the globe to find oneself?"

    i think if it inspired so many people, it has it's worth. but yes, it can also instill frustration, because as you ask, who has thatluxury?
    i used a quote on a previous post that was inspired by reading EPL... lemme find it again...

    ...
    You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.
    Kafka
    ...

    ReplyDelete
  17. hey Mon...check out my blog today - re: your book give-away! :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. Eat Pary Love - she totally irritated me (as you say whiny, and self-absorbed)but I enjoyed the book. Also loved Cloud Atlas but didn't like the cloning chapter. Have his latest to read but haven't been able to do so so far. I haven't read The Other Boleyn Girl but enjoyed the film although it was slated by critics. I haven't read any Hemingway (sorry!)but perhaps I'll give him a miss anyway. If he wrote 'An American in Paris', I started and gave up. Must check out the list of 1001 books to read although 3 year olds don't like you reading! Thanks for the reviews Monica.

    ReplyDelete
  19. the cloud atlas sounds interesting- thanks for sharing : )

    ReplyDelete
  20. I felt the same way about Extremely Loud and Incredibly close. It really started out great and I loved Oskar, but it kind of went downhill as it went along. The writing was impressive though.

    I really hated the sixth story in Cloud Atlas too, but the rest of the stories redeemed it for me.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Interesting. I had a bit of a thing for EPL when I first read it. I think because I kind of "lost" a good 10 years of my life physically because of the back problems, and a whole lot more hopes and dreams, so felt very sorry for myself for a while there. But I have to say, even in that dark place she seemed way too whiny to me lol. And don't bother about the fim, unless you are bored stiff one rainy afternoon- pretty pictures but absolutely nauseating!

    Must read the Other Boleyn Girl and Cloud Atlas.

    ReplyDelete
  22. love this feature post idea... i could read book posts all day long :) i've been meaning to read Jonathan Safran Foer for ages and have never gotten to him yet!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Oh, if you like historical fiction, then you should try "exit the actress" by Priya Parmar, she's such a wonderful writer...

    I was curious about "eat, pray, love", but had read other reviews which expressed pretty much the same views as yours... so, I might watch the dvd if it's in the bargain section... ;-)

    PS: I'm having a little giveaway on my blog, feel free to pop round xo

    ReplyDelete
  24. I love reading your book reviews. I've only read The Other Boleyn Girl - really enjoyed it, but I love reading British history.

    On a different note - I was glancing at your "my vie boheme" on your side bar. Are "weedy ciggies" what I think they are? lol

    ReplyDelete
  25. well i havent red any of these i should look out for them!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hi Monica! I had similar feelings to you about E,P,Love (and I thought the movie was goofy). But oh I loved 'A Moveable Feast'!
    Best,
    Catherine

    ReplyDelete
  27. Glad to hear The Other Boleyn Girl was enjoyable. I wanted to read the book but wasn't so sure after seeing the movie.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I wasn't much of a fan of EPL either...exactly because of the reasons you gave. I haven't read any of the others though, so I will have to check a couple of them out. Have never been a huge fan of Hemingway myself..so I don't think you are alone there. :)

    ReplyDelete
  29. I forgave Foer in illuminated, because i remember feeling like it was just a tad too forced/gimmick. i would say that you'll like it so much more than extremely loud, but you may have already had your fill. I do love me a good hemingway though. I read A Moveable Feast on the chunnel on the way to Paris, and I really liked it then--which was a *long* time ago!

    ReplyDelete
  30. welcome Catherine!

    Kristi, i know, it started of very well and i was excited for it. just peetered out really. shame.

    Carin, man, what does that say about EPl, if you found her whiny when you were low yourself!? lol

    Thanks for the recommendation M. Poirot.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Eat Pray Love, well I am a veteran when it come to spirituality and by the time I got to Bali, I really didn't care about this woman any more. I expected more out of India and Italy and I fell asleep in the movie. Did you see the film of the other boleyn girl?

    ReplyDelete
  32. Great reads! I actually finally broke down and I'm reading Eat Pray Love right now--totally agree with you, but enjoying it. Though I loved A Moveable Feast--I'm not a big Hemingway fan, but I read this while I was living in Paris as a broke student so that probably warmed me more than usual to it.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I love reading recommendations! And I haven't read any of these yet, though after reading your reviews, I think I'll opt for The Other Boleyn Girl and The Cloud Atlas, and skip the others.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Nice reviews, Monica! I felt exactly like you did when I read Foer's 'Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close'. I thought I was the only guy who didn't like the book. I haven't read 'Eat Pray Love' but have seen the movie version of it - because Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem were there :) The movie was enjoyable but was not really exceptional. Hemingway is one of my favourite writers. Sorry to know that you didn't like his minimalistic prose much. Hope you enjoy the Hemingway fiction that you are planning to read.

    ReplyDelete