Tuesday, October 11, 2016

book talk

This post is coming to you from day two of a cold medicine induced haze. It's probably a good thing that I didn't read much this month because I don't think I could handle a longer post.

My guess is that the combo of new TV shows, getting up more consistently to go to the gym (which eliminates my nighttime reading time), and nothing good coming up at the library has contributed to my weakest reading month yet. Such is life - more to come this month, I'm sure.

(A) I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections - I read another Nora Ephron book a few years ago and really liked it. When I saw that this one was narrated by her (she wrote When Harry Met Sally and You've Got Mail, among other things), I thought it would be a fun audiobook. Unfortunately, it came across in many places like a cranky old(er) woman was complaining about the next generation. Some parts where poignant and made you think about aging as a whole, but that would have come across much better in a print book. (3 stars)

(A) Calling Me Home - This one may have been recommended by another link-up person. It isn't something I would normally read. A 90 something white woman asks her hairdresser - who is in her 30s and black - to take her on a road trip from Texas to Cleveland to attend a funeral. The story is told from the POV of the older woman, telling the story her forbidden first love with the black son of the woman who cleaned her house and from the POV of the hairdresser dealing with her own love life and children in present day. I hated the audiobook narrators for this so, so much but I was just curious enough about where it would go to keep listening. Had I been using my free time to read this myself, though, I probably just would have quit. Am I the only one more lenient with audiobooks since I use them along with my more passive time? It was fine, but no need to rush off to grab it. (3 stars)

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - I started reading Harry Potter books in high school, right around the time book four came out, and anxiously awaited each subsequent book like everyone else. I wasn't sure how to approach the play - JK Rowling has very specifically asked people not to post spoilers - but I really liked it (plot elements follow - if you consider that a spoiler, stop reading). Cursed Child basically picks up at the end of the 7th book, with Harry and friends dropping their kids off to head to Hogwarts. Harry's middle son, Albus, is the titular Cursed Child. It's strange to see Harry as an adult, especially as a flawed parent rather than a clever boy who can work his way out of everything. The play is missing Rowling's trademark descriptors (since it's meant to be acted out and not read) and it doesn't quite carry the magic of the seven books. But, overall it was a fun little visit back to Hogwarts, like seeing an old friend you've missed. I would love to see how some of the wizarding world elements are put on stage, so if Cursed Child ever travels, I definitely want tickets. (4 stars)

The Hopefuls - I saw this book described as hilarious but it didn't make me laugh at all. All of the main characters seemed mostly miserable and unhappy with their lives with only one really willing to do something about it. I think the thing that really bothered me, though, was that a large portion of the book takes place in Sugar Land, Texas, a suburb of Houston (and where I spent a lot of my teen years). The home in Sugar Land is described as having a basement (we don't have basements in this part of Texas as it floods all the time and we're too close to sea level!) and a big deal was made of Torchy's Tacos, which wasn't in Sugar Land at the time this book took place - a detail that just annoyed me. Overall, though, the book didn't have much of a point or tell a story that was all that interesting. I kept thinking there would be a big reveal, or something that someone was hiding, but the thing to cause conflict that happened at the end was over so fast that it was almost inconsequential to the reader. It's an easy read, and maybe I missed something since I mostly read it while I was sick, but I think it's one that's safe to skip unless you're really into DC life (3 stars).

I just got The Light Between Oceans and I'm Glad About You from the library - any suggestions as to which to read first? Congrats to Steph and Jana on two years of Show Us Your Books and here's to many more!

18 comments:

  1. I'm definitely more lenient with audiobooks, mostly I'm just happy for anything that vaguely holds my interest during boring drives or train journeys! I think I need to be more selective though, especially as mine are usually through Audible and their returns policy is very good. I wasn't sure what the new Harry Potter was all about as I was never a huge fan in the first place, but it sounds like it's worth reading.
    Inaccurate books make me cross. Fact check, people! How hard is it?!

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  2. I keep going back and forth on The Hopefuls, and annoyingly think the main thing pulling me in is the cover! I tend to get annoyed when an author takes the time to put in little details like that, but then they're not accurate? I'll probably skip it. I hope you're feeling better soon!

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  3. I'm mad when they don't get local details right in books set near me. It makes everything feel off.

    Yet another reason why I don't think listening to a book is the same as reading one: the tone of the narrator controls too much of your experience. In your mind, only you control your experience.

    Feel better my friend!

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  4. I have to agree that I am more more lenient with audiobooks too! That stinks that Ephorn's other book isn't as good. I have Cursed Child, Chris got it for me for my birthday and I haven't read it yet. I want to go watch all the movies first I think.

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  5. Colds are the worst. Hope you're feeling better. I enjoyed The Cursed Child because I was just so thrilled to back in the world of Harry Potter, but I definitely think it is probably best onstage, where it was intended. I've heard the play is fantastic and hope that it eventually makes it way to the States too.

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  6. i am absolutely more lenient with audiobooks, though i don't know why. calling me home was in my library pile, but it's just not screaming out at me right now, so eh. might skip it. i haven't read the other one, but i did like The Light Between Oceans - though i know a lot of people didn't. it made me think, which is always a good thing to me.
    even though those details might seem small, how hard is it to do research or check? surely they should think that one day a local will read their book, and don't they want it to be correct? i cannot stand when an author gets something wrong like that because it totally takes me out of the book and makes me hate it, i don't care how silly it is.
    hope you feel better!

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  7. I feel similarly about that particular Ephron book, but enjoyed it more than I Feel Bad About My Neck. I love her movies, but her personal reflections seem to lack the charm that I love. I love D.C. so I'm probably going to read The Hopefuls, but it really bothers me when the author / the entire publishing team miss glaring errors like basements in a location where you can't actually have one. Fact check people!

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  8. Hope you feel better soon! I love the way you described Cursed Child...it definitely wasn't the same as the other books but I enjoyed being back in the Hogwarts world.

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  9. Light between the oceans is on my TBR! I've heard it's a great book.

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  10. I still haven't read Harry Potter yet! I need to get on it! And I'm totally with you that if it travels, I'm totally getting tickets, like I hopefully will when Hamilton comes to town next year!

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  11. I think I'm going to pass on The Light Between Oceans after reading Tex-Erin's review last month. I don't like sappy stories and I tend to stay away from stuff that is "too" popular.
    Low book count for me too. Oh well.
    Hope the cold medicine does its job!

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  12. You've Got Mail is one of my favorite movies of all time, so maybe I'll give this book a try.

    I took a lot longer than most people to find the magic, and actually just read Harry Potter for the first time two years ago. (A series re-read is in my near future.) But I do want to read Cursed Child, though I'm not climbing over tables to get my hands on a copy. I will read it eventually, probably after the re-read, but will know to not expect it read in the same style as the original 7.

    Oh, and I would totally be annoyed about that Sugar Land detail too!

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  13. I am really curious what you will say about The Light Between Oceans. I think I only know of two booklovin' bloggers that didn't enjoy it, and I'm one of them.

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    1. Oh, and I'd be annoyed by those Sugar Land details too. I had a book that I read this month (Life or Death by Michael Robotham) where I wrote a whole post about those small details and edits that bugged me.

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  14. It irritates me when books get local details wrong.

    I don't listen to audiobooks because I feel like a bad narrator can ruin a good book (it might work the other way around but I'm not confident in that).

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  15. I hope you feel better soon!

    My dad once watched a TV series that was set in North East England. In one scene, a character walks down a street and turns a corner into another street. My dad recognised both locations and was shouting at the screen "Those two streets are miles away from each other!" (they're at opposite ends of the town where it was filmed). I imagine it's the same with local details in books.

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  16. It sucks when you think you're going to identify with a literary place and then it's a total let down :(

    I wasn't a fan of The Cursed Child. Honestly, it felt like I was seeing all my friends again but they just weren't the same people. It just didn't feel like Jo. That said, my love for a certain Slytherin family grew.

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  17. I listened to Calling Me Home maybe two-ish years ago. I actually didn't mind the narration. I found the old lady voice to be refreshing---maybe because no audiobooks use that voice. I liked the story overall, BUT I really didn't like the young Isabelle.

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