Monthly Archives: March 2017

Yesternight Review….or Rant

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There are very few times where the second I start reading a book, I automatically am taken out of the book by an element of the book. I tend to understand that there are things in a book that need to be tweaked to make the plot work. It’s what literature is and is supposed to be. Literature is supposed to take us out of our normal lives and be an escape for the duration of reading and sometimes when not reading. So I accept the out of the normal circumstances. I accept that the romance novel does not always work, I understand that the high fantasy novel is not true. I understand fiction is not real. But sometimes I can’t help but be like you, novel, are not okay and your facts are stupid.

I read Yesternight by Cat Winters. This book is one of the few books that I instantly was taken out of. First of all, I was going to call this book magical realism until I remembered that people, not I obviously, believe in reincarnation and believe people can remember their past lives. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get into it. And, oh yes, there will be spoilers if you couldn’t tell. This book is supposed to take place in the mid-20s. Nope. Not buying it. I’m not a hundred percent sure but I’m going to take a stab in the dark and say that there are very few cases where women would get advanced degrees. I’m going to assume that if a woman did get a degree it wouldn’t be in psychology and work at testing children. There’s no way that Alice would have gotten an advanced degree, work, be single and people be okay with it. Not in the 20s. This book would have worked so much better for me if it would have taken place in the past 20 years ago. It would have made more sense to me that Alice would have been called into a school system then. There’s been developments in psychology in the past 90 years. What was Winters thinking? Seriously. Did she want to take modern technology out of the equation? You can take technology out of a book without it being pre-seat belts in cars. At least at the end of the book they acknowledged that they thought she was going to be a man.

Then we come to the reincarnation part of the book. I was willing to accept the reincarnation in the book. It’s not in my belief system to believe that I can come back as someone or something but for a good part of the book, I did. Like I said before, you have to accept the book’s world. But then everyone decided that they were reincarnated. I wanted this book to be about Janie and figuring out what her deal was not figuring out everyone’s deal. And I’m not familiar with reincarnation but can you choose who you can be born again to?

I liked Michael for some of the book and then the end. Don’t get me wrong, I was angry at both of them for having sex. Alice should have known better, she’s an educated woman. But then Michael went a little crazy and went out the window or whatever and died. That’s not a great plan. Then he came back as Alice’s child. What the hell? Couldn’t she have a child and then that child had a friend named Muhammad and wanted to be called Michael? That would have fit in with how ridiculous parts of this book was. And is Alice that horny that she needs to have sex with a parent? I wasn’t a great teacher but I know not to get involved with a parent. And Alice had an advanced degree. We can’t forget that. And I was not a fan of everyone apologizing for the weather. Stop trying to make the weather a thing Gretchen. (Do I have to explain that reference? Cause I had to explain ‘on Wednesdays we wear pink’ this weekend at work.)

Obviously, not a fan of the book. I have to many problems with it.

The Little Paris Bookshop Review

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I realize I have a problem. I was going to say it’s a minor problem but that’s not always the case. And yes, I realize I have more than A problem. I realize that I, at times, am more interested in someone’s backstory than the actual person. For example when I lived in Budapest, I would pass the homeless and wonder how they became homeless and not how could I help them now. I understand that this isn’t all bad because to know one’s past is to know one now. If you believe in that theory and I mostly do. All this to say is that I read a book by Nina George. If you don’t know who Nina George is, don’t feel bad because I really don’t know much but there is a fact about her that I’m interested in. She is German who lives in both Germany and France. I’ve been reading more translated pieces and most of the time I don’t get invested in an author, I don’t even do that with American authors. I just got fascinated by people who live in two different countries at the same time.

 

The book I read of hers was The Little Paris Bookshop. This book really got me interested in a person who writes a novel set in a country that is not their own. I got really defensive for a while and thought what made her qualified to write a book about France. But knowing after the fact that she lives in two countries makes a lot more sense. For those whose geography sucks, because mine isn’t great, Germany and France are neighbors so it’s not impossible to do. I know for Americans that’s a hard thing to understand sometimes.

 

Little Bookshop is a book, as I took it, that is about forgiving yourself. I feel like this book, that I really didn’t read the back of, came at an interesting time. I’ve had to learn to forgive myself on a lot of things the past few years and I’m still in the process of doing so. It also comes at a time where it seems like a lot of people on Facebook have been posting articles pertaining to letters to a former best friend. Putting that all together and me being let’s say, overly emotional, made this book a very interesting read.

 

This book isn’t a hard read. At the beginning of the book I was a little worried that it was going to be a book of flowery, beautiful sentiments coming from an old man that ran a bookshop and drastically changed people’s lives. I’m glad that it wasn’t and Perdu isn’t that old, he’s 50. Maybe I see that not as old because I’m in the last year of my 20s and since life goes by fast, 50 isn’t that far away. I don’t mind the flowery, beautiful sentiments when used sparsely but at the beginning of this book there was a lot of those lines that make a sentiment person sigh and dwell thoroughly on what they just read. I hesitated finishing this book after the first few chapters because I was worried Perdu was going to become Ove from A Man Called Ove. For those of you who haven’t read that book, Ove is an older man who is in his grief and angry. Then someone is determined enough to pull him out of his depression and makes him more joyful. And yes, that kind of happens to Perdu but you can’t really put his journey on one person.

 

I can’t help but be utterly invested in Perdu. He is broken hearted, has a boat bookstore and is neighbors with an author. Do I have to say he has a boat bookstore again? I’m not a boat person only cause I live in the frozen tundra and there’s a lake nearby but when do I have time to make friends with a boat owner. I’m more interested in the bookstore and how he can pinpoint what book a person needs. I want to do that. Like the whole thing, bookstore and instinctively know what book someone needs. I also reacted strongly to his journey. Like there were people in his life that brought him to a healthier spot in his life and vice versa.

 

I kind of liked Perdu and Catherine’s relationship. Yes, there was the past love that Perdu had to get over but he was also thinking about Catherine. I also think he didn’t conscientiously realize how much thought he put into Catherine. That just makes them better.

 

Manon’s journal entries were an asset to the story. I wish that there were a couple more of them in the book. But I realize that a person’s journal is a very personal thing. I’d have a major problem if someone got a hold of my journal. I understand that the journal was meant for one other person, Perdu. So I get it. I didn’t need to see the whole journal. I’ll respect a fictional character’s privacy. I know to someone who doesn’t read a lot and has actual real life friends doesn’t understand this sentiment. I think Perdu needed to read that journal to bring him to the end of the majority of his hurt.

 

That young author. I can understand why Max hid. I’ve partially hid for the past year and a half because of the same reason he did. I don’t know what’s going to be next. So in that case I understand Max but at least I’m working and I have things I want to accomplish like buying a car and taking a major trip. Max completely hid and isn’t even working. He drove me crazy for the majority of the book.

 

So if we had to sum this book up, I’m like or relate to a few characters. It’s a self-forgiveness, travel novel that people discover things in. Because of the timing that I read this book, I like this book way more than if I had read it at a different time in my life.

 

 

 

Books and Inspiration

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I have read, or listened to, a couple books this year that have inspired other things. A television series and another book. I have read Poldark by Winston Graham, inspired a show on PBS, and Jane Steele by Lindsay Faye, inspired by Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I didn’t realize until now but I have opinions. I’m going to deal with both separately because both are different.

 

PBS has done a fantastic job on taking Graham’s book and turning it into a series. The first book, the only one I have read and there’s 12 total, is the first half of the first season. Why is everyone so good looking and have great hair in that show? I had a friend that saw I was reading and watching this on Instagram and asked me how I felt about it. I told her you had to like post-revolutionary war England and want to know about miners. That’s when I wasn’t feeling season one and only part way through the book. She watched the show, both seasons that are out, and loved it. I ended up loving the second season and we fan girled just a little bit together. I don’t have many people to do that with but that’s how good this gets. I think that the overall story is slow. But there’s details you have to know and characters you need to get to love or hate. It’s so easy with film to change what happens in a story in exchange for time. But it’s PBS so they do a pretty good job.

 

Lindsay Faye, what can I say? You did something. Now, forgive me if I’m a little harsh because Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books ever. The book is structured like Charlotte Bronte novel, exactly like Jane Eyre in fact. She goes so far as to have Jane Steele compare herself heavily to Jane Eyre.  It starts with a child living with cruel relations, goes to school and eventually goes to be a governess in a house with secrets. Mr. Thornfield? HONESTLY? Yes, the homage to the original novel is great. I also know that you cannot write a book word for word because that would be plagiarism and that would end Faye’s career. But could there be a better last name for the guy? I guess it’s cheeky and isn’t so bad. There were historical elements I had to look up. Steele seemed to lose some of her edge when she turned a governess. Maybe because she ended up loving the people and she felt at home. She was not as cold. A part of me wants to say he turned into a woman who almost didn’t know what to with herself. Jane Eyre always made up her mind and knew who she was. Couple other things. Clark just leaves which blows my mind. Steele saves her life and then Clark was just out of there. Yes, it’s more complicated but still Clark. Get your life together. I listened to this and every time the narrator said reader, I heard Rita. There were a few times where I was doing something while listening and I would stop and ask myself who Rita was before I realized she said reader.

 

It’s interesting to see differences and similarities in works of inspirations and they’re offspring. It’s always a good discussion for a book club. You can always find inspirations. Shakespeare’s works has been turned into so many different movies and inspired different works. You could have a whole book club on Shakespeare inspirations and have a lot of material. The problem is, there’s so much out there that you have to go through or weed out the crappy stuff. Then if what you’re reading or watching is a recommendation, you have to be careful about who you take a recommendation from because they might not understand you and your tastes and if you take the recommendation and you hate it, you have to be careful with that person next time you see them. Sorry for that horrible sentence. But I’m not taking it back.