Review: Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice (1976)

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My Rating: 5 stars                   Read: 3/5/2017

Challenges:

  • Lifetime Challenge (1976)
  • 1001 Books to Read Before You Die Challenge
  • My Horror Challenge  (Best Horror Novels list)

Review:

I read this book for my Lifetime challenge (1976). It’s also on the “1001 Books to Read Before You Die” list. I mostly listened to the audiobook narrated by Simon Vance.

I first read “Interview” back in the 70’s shortly after it came out. I was a college student then. I adored it completely at the time, and read all the sequels avidly. However, I feel the cheesiness of the movie negatively impacted my memories of it, because it was far better, in book form, than I remembered it being. Continue reading “Review: Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice (1976)”

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Review: Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut (1973)

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My Rating: 5 stars          Read: 2/24/2017

Challenges:

  • My Lifetime Challenge
  • 1001 Books to Read Before You Die Challenge

Blurb:

In Breakfast of Champions, one of Kurt Vonnegut’s  most beloved characters, the aging writer Kilgore Trout, finds to his horror that a Midwest car dealer is taking his fiction as truth. What follows is murderously funny satire, as Vonnegut looks at war, sex, racism, success, politics, and pollution in America and reminds us how to see the truth.

Review:

I read this for my lifetime challenge (1973). I listened to the audiobook read by Stanley Tucci.

This is such an odd book that it’s hard to know what to say in a review. First, it’s very entertaining. It kept my attention throughout and it felt short. I believe the audio book is around five and a half hours and I listened to it in one evening and, when I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore, the next morning. Continue reading “Review: Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut (1973)”

Review: The Spy Who Came In From The Cold by John le Carré (1963)

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My Rating: 5 stars

Challenges:

  • My Lifetime Challenge (1963)
  • 1001 Books to Read Before You Die Challenge
  • Cloak & Dagger Challenge

Review:

I read this book for a “Lifetime Challenge” wherein I’m to read a book for each year since my birth. I picked this one off the NY Times bestseller list from 1963. Although I’ve seen a fair number of spy movies, I’d never read one of the original novels.

I listened to the audiobook narrated by Michael Jayston. The narrator was excellent with a mature, smoky, gravelly voice that fit the main character quite well. His acting was often cold and aloof, which fit the character too, but could be quite angry and passionate when the scene called for it. There were times when I got a bit lost because I usually listen to audiobooks whilst doing something else, such as cleaning or driving or working on a puzzle. This is a very “thinky” book where you really have to pay attention. But I never got too lost. This is the sort of plot, in any case, where you are supposed to be a bit confused at times because you’re not given all the facts until later. Continue reading “Review: The Spy Who Came In From The Cold by John le Carré (1963)”

Review: High-Rise by J.G. Ballard (1975)

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I read this book for my lifetime challenge: Year 1975

Well that was interesting. This book is on the “1001 Books to Read Before You Die” list and the blurb had me curious. It’s described as “Lord of the Flies for adults”, in which life in a high rise breaks down and the tenants begin to attack each other based on social strata (here social strata= the higher up in the high rise you live, the higher your social standing). I like thrillers and horror novels, and this isn’t a long book, so I thought I’d give it a try.

This is not a thriller or a horror novel. Those plot is thin, the ramblings more existential, and, most of all, there’s no logic to it what happens. However, I did enjoy it. Review under the cut. Continue reading “Review: High-Rise by J.G. Ballard (1975)”

Review: The Summer Book by Tove Jansson (1972)

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Challenges:

  • Books of Our Lives (1972, 1001 Books to Read Before You Die)

Review:

This is an absolutely delightful book. I enjoyed every word. It’s a short book written in short, themed chapters that are so quaint and funny I kept wanting to read “just one more”.

There isn’t much of a plot or linear narrative in this book. Instead, it’s about the adventures and incidents of a young girl spending summers on an island in the Gulf of Finland with her father and grandmother. The father is a very remote figure in the book, present really in name only. But the characterization of, and relationship between, the little girl and the grandmother is so much fun. Continue reading “Review: The Summer Book by Tove Jansson (1972)”

Review: The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (1970)

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Challenges:

  • Lifetime Reading Challenge (1970)
  • 1001 Books to Read Before You Die challenge

Review:

I read this for my Lifetime Challenge for the year 1970. I read this book long ago (in my teens) but didn’t remember many details.

This is not a plotty story, with a linear narrative. Instead, it’s a serious of vignettes about various people’s lives, people around the central figure of Pecola, a young black girl living in Lorraine Ohio who believes herself to be ugly and who longs for blue eyes. We see the story of her mother, Pauline, her father, Cholly, and many others in her circle. Each story is melancholy and filled with rich details of poverty, of misfortune, of blessings, and of the small joys of every day life. It is bleak, but the bleakness is very ordinary (that is to say, within a framework of everyday reality) and there are delicious moments too. And there’s such glorious detail that you can see and feel moments in time such as the bare large feet propped against the porch railing. Continue reading “Review: The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (1970)”