Review: The Only Child by Andrew Pyper (2017)


My Rating: 5 stars                                          Read: 3/18/2017

Release date: May 23, 2017


The #1 internationally bestselling author of The Demonologist radically reimagines the origins of gothic literature’s founding masterpieces—Frankenstein, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Dracula—in a contemporary novel driven by relentless suspense and surprising emotion. This is the story of a man who may be the world’s one real-life monster, and the only woman who has a chance of finding him.

As a forensic psychiatrist at New York’s leading institution of its kind, Dr. Lily Dominick has evaluated the mental states of some of the country’s most dangerous psychotics. But the strangely compelling client she interviewed today—a man with no name, accused of the most twisted crime—struck her as somehow different from the others, despite the two impossible claims he made. Continue reading “Review: The Only Child by Andrew Pyper (2017)”

Review: Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut (1973)


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


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


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.


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: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard (1966)


My Rating: 4 stars                    Read:  2/1/2017


  • My Lifetime Challenge


I read this for my lifetime challenge (1966).

I chose this because I haven’t read anything in play format for years and years and I remembered the movie fondly. It’s also relatively short. Unfortunately, I had a difficult time getting into it. It felt like nothing much happened the first half of the page count beyond uber witty dialogue that is sometimes pretentious, repetitive, and rambly. I really had to force myself through the book. The best parts were where the play intersects with Hamlet, but those bits are fragmentary and few and far between. There really is very little plot here or action or forward momentum, it’s more of an existential dialogue. Of course the dialogue is brilliant, but I missed an actual story to the story.

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


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)



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


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 Vegetarian by Han Kang (2016)



  • Tournament of Books
  • New Releases


Hmm. I was looking forward to reading this book because it was set in Korea and because I’m a vegan.
Unfortunately, I found it a disappointing and bewildering read. I liked some of the imagery. There was a vague sense of weirdness and the main character seemed almost to be turning into a plant. I understood the way she pushed back against the authority of her husband and family. But the various perspectives in the book, particularly the sister’s at the end, left me confused and unsatisfied as to what was actually going on.
Continue reading “Review: The Vegetarian by Han Kang (2016)”

Review: An Exaltation of Larks by Suanne Laqueur (2016)



  • Romance Challenge


Wow. This is an amazing novel. This is the best book I’ve read so far this year, which is saying a lot since I’ve been reading a lot of classic lit. I hedged on reading it because it’s over 500 pages. But it read like a much shorter book, because I could not put it down.

This is literature, not romance, though it has some strong pining, sexual tension, and a fair amount of sex (most of it not described in detail). There is not an HEA per se, and, while the romantic in me would have liked to see a menage or other manufactured happy ending, it would have been unrealistic. The ending works just as written. Continue reading “Review: An Exaltation of Larks by Suanne Laqueur (2016)”

Review: The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (1970)



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


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)”