Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Aviator's Wife

My Rating: 

Method of Reading: Harcover novel, 448 pages
Dates of Reading: January 1, 2016-January 3, 2016
Author: Melanie Benjamin
Publication Year: 2013
Recommended to: Personne.
Quotes: 
Movie: No.

Wikipedia Link: N/A
Link: http://www.amazon.com/The-Aviators-Wife-A-Novel/dp/0345528689

My View: I have some choice words for this book. Lucky Lindy is unexceptionally repulsive. Self-centered, demanding, anti-Semitic, conceited, controlling, gloating, dictatorial, distant, unimaginative, cold, and flippant, he comes off as a one-trick pony who kicks the stableboy offstage. The book was belittling to the real Anne Lindbergh, probably unfair to the real Charles Lindbergh, and tasteless to write during the lifetimes of their children. It simply feels like a quasi-researched fantasy of Benjamin's, heavily influenced by reading too much Twilight and possibly 50 Shades of Gray, and poorly edited (so. much. repetition.). A cheap shot.

Always,
Your Bibliomaniac

Bibliography:
Benjamin, Melanie. The Aviator's Wife. Bantam, 2013. Print.

The Girl on the Train

My Rating: 

Method of Reading: Hardcover novel, 336 pages
Dates of Reading: December 29, 2015-December 31, 2015
Author: Paula Hawkins
Publication Year: 2008
Recommended to: Oh. Brave people who already like thrillers.
Quotes: 
Movie: Yes'm. Maybe it'll become Leo's Oscar-winner.

Wikipedia Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Girl_on_the_Train_(novel)
Link: http://paulahawkinsbooks.com/the-girl-on-the-train-by-paula-hawkins/

My View: This is the first "psychological thriller" I think I've ever read, and I didn't really get hooked. Nevertheless, Paula Hawkins is a really good writer.

Always,
Your Bibliomaniac

Bibliography:
Hawkins, Paula. The Girl on the Train. Thorndike Press. 2015. Print.

Silver Linings Playbook

My Rating: 

Method of Reading: Personally owned paperback novel, 289 pages
Dates of Reading: December 24, 2015-December 26, 2015
Author: Matthew Quick
Publication Year: 2008
Recommended to: People who like Catcher in the Rye, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, The Great Gatsby, or The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
Quotes: 
Movie: Yep, but my understanding is that it was considerably modified from the book. Also, I do not see Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in these roles. Whatever.

Wikipedia Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Silver_Linings_Playbook
Link: http://www.amazon.com/The-Silver-Linings-Playbook-Novel/dp/0374533571

My View: Great. I had never actually known what this book was about, so when I picked up my gifted copy at the start of Christmas break, I was really (pleasantly) surprised. Quick knocked it out of the park. Convincingly narrated, well-paced, and lovable. An interesting treatment of mental illness, sports mania, and relationships. One thing I truly appreciated was the livability of the characters--literally. They could live. Nobody was a "bad guy," but nobody felt totally reliable either. I've recommended it to readers who enjoyed Catcher in the RyeThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the NighttimeThe Great Gatsby, or The Perks of Being a Wallflower because of how excellently this unreliable narrator is portrayed. Really excellent debut novel.

Always,
Your Bibliomaniac

Bibliography:
Quick, Matthew. Silver Linings Playbook. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008. Print.

Year in Review

Happy 2016!
During 2015 I had the great fortune of reading some unusually awesome books in class, either in their entirety or in small snippets selected by professors. A partial listing is included here.

GK Chesterton and Catholicism (A theology course about the expansive Christianity of the prince of puns; the following works are all his, except where noted)
  • The Napoleon of Notting Hill
  • The Ball and the Cross
  • Tremendous Trifles
  • The Blatchford Controversies
  • Heretics
  • The Well and the Shallows (incl. "My Six Conversions," "The Return to Religion," "The Ascetic at Large," "The Last Turn," "Babies and Distributism," "Church and Agoraphobia," "Reflections on a Rotten Apple," "A Century of Emancipation," "Sex and Property")
  • What's Wrong with the World (incl. "Family and the Common Man," "The Superstition of Divorce," and "Eugenics and Other Evils")
  • Orthodoxy
  • Everlasting Man
  • St. Thomas Aquinas
  • St. Francis of Assisi
  • Where All Roads Lead
  • The Thing: Why I am a Catholic
  • The Size of Chesterton's Catholicism by David W. Fagerberg
Christian Theological Traditions I (Another theo course, this one focusing on pre-Reformation Christian writings)
  • Early Christian Writings, ed. A. Louth
  • St. Anselm of Canterbury's Prayers and Meditations
  • On the Incarnation of the Word by St. Athanasius of Alexandria
  • St. Augustine's Confessions
  • St. Benedict's Rule
  • St. Bonaventure's Journey of the Mind to God
  • On the Sacraments by Cyril of Jerusalem
  • Sayings of the Early Christian Monks, composed of sayings of the Desert Fathers
  • St. Gregory of Nazianzus's On God and Christ
  • St. Irenaeus of Lyons's On the Apostolic Preaching
  • Select Writings of Origen, ed. R. Greer
  • Paul Evdokimov's Ages of the Spiritual Life

This Side of Paradise

My Rating: 

Method of Reading: Personally owned paperback novel, 261 pages
Dates of Reading: August 1, 2015-December 22, 2015
Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
Publication Year: 1920
Recommended to: Readers who enjoy or are interested in the 20s, anyone who liked Catcher in the Rye.
Quotes: 
   "[Tom declared,] 'I want to go where people aren't barred because of the color of their neckties and the roll of their coats.
   'You can't, Tom,' argued Amory, as they rolled along through the scattering night; 'wherever you go now you'll always unconsciously apply these standards of "having it" or "lacking it"'" (77).
   "She made her goodness such an asset" (129).
   "Oh, Lord, what a pleasure it used to be to dream I might be a really great dictator or writer or religious or political leader—and now eve a Leonardo da Vinci or Lorenzo de Medici couldn't be a real old-fashioned bolt in the world. Life is too huge and complex. The world is so overgrown that it can't lift its own fingers, and I was planning to be such an important finger—" (199)
   "'But I have to have a soul,' he objected. 'I can't be rational—and I won't be molecular'" (213).
   "... sacrifice was no purchase of freedom" (230).
   "I soon found it made me morbid to think too much about myself" (243).
   "However the brans and abilities of men differ, their stomachs are essentially the same" (255).
   "I know myself ... but that is all" (261).
Movie: Yes, and apparently there's another one coming!

Wikipedia Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/This_Side_of_Paradise
Link: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/805

My View: Excellent. I'd say it's a little more accessible than Gatsby (even if there's slightly less glitter and gold), especially for school-aged readers. The format is really interesting, making me surprised this isn't considered Fitzgerald's chef d'œvre.

Always,
Your Bibliomaniac

Bibliography:
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. This Side of Paradise. New York: Barnes and Noble, 2005. Print.

The Great Divorce

My Rating: 

Method of Reading: Personally owned paperback novel, 146 pages
Dates of Reading: December 23, 2015-December 24, 2015
Author: C.S. Lewis
Publication Year: 1945
Recommended to: Any C.S. Lewis fan
Quotes: 
   "Ask for the Bleeding Charity" (28).
   "...the Blessed will say, 'We have never lived anywhere except in Heaven,' and the Lost, 'We were always in Hell.' And both will speak truly" (69).
   "There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says, in the end, 'Thy will be done'" (75).
Movie: Looks like there's one in the works which has been repeatedly delayed over the past two years.

Wikipedia Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Divorce
Link: http://www.cslewis.org/resources/studyguides/Study%20Guide%20-%20The%20Great%20Divorce.pdf

My View: Incredible. Loved it, especially interesting in light of the course I'll be taking on eschatology this semester and my most recent theology course on the works of C.S. Lewis's inspiration, G.K. Chesterton. And it's a tiny little thing you can read in a day or two!

Always,
Your Bibliomaniac

Bibliography:
Lewis, C.S. The Great Divorce. New York: Macmillan, 1946. Print.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America

My Rating: 

Method of Reading: Personally owned paperback book, 390 pages
Dates of Reading: August 1, 2015-August 7, 2015
Author: Erik Larson
Publication Year: 2003
Recommended to: Chicagoans! Especially architecture, history, or, y'know, psychopathy buffs.
Quotes: 
Movie: They just announced a Holmes biopic starring Leo DiCaprio which seems to be based around this recounting of his life (which, Larson notes, is one of many possible stories surrounding the serial killer).

Wikipedia Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Devil_in_the_White_City
Link: http://www.crownpublishing.com/sites/erik-larson-devil-white-city/

My View: Great book, expertly and uniquely intertwining history and storytelling by comparing two amazingly different and yet overlapping stories of the best city on earth (no bias) at a pivotal moment in history. Engaging, fast paced, and inciting giddiness and a vague sense of haunting alternately.

Always,
Your Bibliomaniac

Bibliography:
Larson, Erik. The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America. New York: Crown, 2003. Print.