Reading update – the Damned, the Old, the Magical, the Hygienic, and the Seafaring

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Damned (Damned #1)Damned by Chuck Palahniuk

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love Palahniuk.
That seems like a good way to start this review.
This is the third book I’ve read by this guy and he does not disappoint. I laughed my eyes out and then, of course, he made me stop and think really hard about life, death and everything in between. This book is sometimes shocking (the main character is 13 after all), but it is also honest in a way that Palahniuk excels at.
He manages again to hold a mirror to his reader in this book. He makes us wonder what would happen to us if we were to die this moment, why we would end up in hell, and, of course, would our shoes be sensible enough for the awful things that cover the ground in hell.
I am not sure still how to answer any of the questions above, but I do congratulate myself on my insistence on wearing sensible shoes 99.5% of the time.

Chuck’s Devilish Delights

  • “In Hell, it’s our attachments to a fixed identity that torture us.”
  • “In Hell, hope is a really, really bad habit.”
  • “I may be me – but at least I have the good sense not to be YOU.”
  • “If you can go to Hell for having low self-esteem, that’s why I’m here.”
  • “What makes earth feel like hell is our expectation that it should feel like heaven.”
  • “Actually, watching television and surfing the Internet are really excellent practice for being dead.” (I’m getting a lot of practice, I’ll do great in Hell)

The Castle of OtrantoThe Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wasn’t really expecting much from this book, don’t know why.
The thing that bothered me here was the speed at which things happened and the way the plot was presented. It did not feel like I was reading a book, it felt like I was reading a play. (complete with the ridiculous “three unities” idea)

That’s about all I have to say about this.

Storm Front (The Dresden Files, #1)Storm Front by Jim Butcher

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was such a fun to read. A couple of my friends recommended this book to me and it took me a while to start reading it – there are LOTS of books on my “to read” list. But when I started it, it just made my day. I laughed so hard people around must have thought I was crazy!
There are many elements in this book which are fun – Harry’s general demeanor, his dealings with women, his wish to just do his job without being threatened and /or hunted down by mob bosses and demons… and then there’s that skull he has in his lab. The skull is hilarious and it reminded me so much of the skull in the Curse of the Monkey Island 🙂 so much fun.

I should start on the second part as soon as I can cause my friends tell me it only gets better (considering the fact that they gave the first books in the series 3 or 4 stars, and the double digits books 5 starts says it all!)

and for the end – some pearls of wisdom:

  • “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean that there isn’t an invisible demon about to eat your face.” – so completely true!
  • “I adore children. A little salt, a squeeze of lemon – perfect.”
  • “I tallied the score for the evening. Enigmas: lots. Harry: zero.”
  • “Harry, what you know about women, I could juggle.”
  • “Have you ever been approached by a grim-looking man, carrying a naked sward with a blade about ten miles long in his hand, in the middle of the night, beneath the stars on the shores of Lake Michigan? If you have, seek professional help. If you have not, then believe you me, it can scare the bejeezus out of you.”
  • “So I have a problem with creepy, dead, poisonous things. So sue me.”

Hygiene and the AssassinHygiene and the Assassin by Amélie Nothomb

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Good book, interesting idea, although the ending disappointed me a bit.
I like how the dying author was able to pinpoint the exact thing to do to push his interviewers over the edge, but then had his skill turned against him.
The thing I wish Nothomb had done better was the mirror image of the writer and the last interviewer. They are so similar in many things, but then in the end the interviewer disappoints a bit by not truly being like the writer.
I’m not sure if it would have been better if she had killed him or not, but this way I still have a feeling that something is missing.
This might be due to the translation which in my opinion is not very good. The language seems forced somehow. The sentences are unnecessarily heavy, and the idiomatic expressions are not English – you can almost taste the French behind the English, and I don’t really care for that.

There are some nice thoughts in this novel however:

  • “We are as old as our memory”
  • “I am so kind that if I met myself, I would vomit.”
  • “How can a writer possibly be modest? It is the most immodest profession on earth: whether it’s the style, the ideas, the story, the research, writers never talk about anything but themselves”
  • “If a writer manages to be fascinating about his own novels, then there are only two possibilities: either he is merely voicing out loud what he wrote in his book, and he is a parrot; or he is explaining interesting things that he didn’t discuss in his book, in which case the book in question is a failure, since it does not live up to its claims.”

Captain Wentworth's Diary (Jane Austen Heroes, #3)Captain Wentworth’s Diary by Amanda Grange

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I understand that this book was written as a “companion” of sorts for Persuasion, but this book lacked so many things that I almost did not finish it.
While reading this book I don’t think that for one moment I believed it was written from Wentworth’s point of view. This whole book read like a drivel written by a teenage fanfiction writer. There was none of that strength of character that made Wentworth a good character originally.
Also the plot progression and the depiction of scenes were just plain boring. Grange added many things which frankly irritate a person who has read Persuasion as many times as I have.
There are also certain moments missing or are left unclear and only my knowledge of the original novel prevented me from being utterly confused.
I must admit I was expecting more, sadly all I got was this.

View all my reviews

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