Posted in Book Talk

Try a chapter

Like the way my s.o. will start a new character of every class in a game and play them until level 20 or so to see if he likes the style, I’m reading the first chapter or so of a stack of books that have been sitting unread on my shelves for a while. I also recently bought a ton of new books and am running out of shelf space, so it’s a practical issue to make room as well! 😁 I recorded my thoughts as I was reading each, so you can see the way I fluctuate in the process. Here’s what I ended up deciding for each…

Some of these are staying on my shelves for sure, but I included them in the picture a) for visual balance and b) because they’ve been around a while and I haven’t read them yet 😡

The Last Bookaneer by Matthew Pearl

Honestly I was only about two paragraphs in when I noted that I really like the way this is written. I was drawn in pretty effortlessly. By Page 3 I had a quote that I loved, and already thought about how I would make that into a photo for my collection. So I’ll keep reading the rest of this chapter, but this is a great surprise since this was in my less likely to enjoy list and now I’m very excited about it!

“Books could function in two different ways, he told me one time. they can lull us as would a dream, or they can change us, atom by atom, until we are closer to God. One way is passive, the other animated — both worthy.”

“New York is hard for everybody; that is what makes it what it is.”

Verdict: keep

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers

Well it’s definitely a unique style, and the rules for enjoyment of this book intrigued and entertained me. However after reading in the preface some of the aspects that were removed, I feel that this might be more literary than I’m looking for as an independent read.

Okay. Well. I’ve just read / skimmed about 30 pages of preface and acknowledgements. The style has some promise for me, but overall seems like too much. Very rambling though self aware of that rambling, and I’m not sure if that helps or makes it worse. Rambling about how you’re rambling is not really my thing. I’m slightly intrigued in what are apparently the true aspects of this story, but I have zero idea what it’s about. Judging by style I’m not reading this.

Verdict: donate

Hotel on the Corner or Bitter and Sweet

This is one I think will be staying on my shelf but hopefully will be read soon or rather than later. It seems like it would be a fairly quick read with a lot of value to it, though it also seems like I’ll need to pick it up when I’m okay with something a little more melancholy.

This is also a book that I keep seeing pop up on lists of great reads, or as recommended books for me on Goodreads, and just generally as a book that’s worth reading. If for no other reason, I’ll read it to be part of that crowd and see where I fall with it.

Verdict: keep

Breaking Her Fall by Stephen Goodwin

Breaking her fall by Steven Goodwin. it wasn’t until I read the first page or two that I realized I’ve actually started this book before but stopped because it was pretty depressing and I just wasn’t in the mood for it. oddly, I think I might be at the moment because I’ve gone pretty far in and forced myself to stop to move on to the next book to try! So this is definitely staying.

Note – I’m noticing that a lot of these books have more serious or dark themes to them. It makes sense that they would linger unread on my shelves, because I generally seek things that will make me happy, not… depressed.

Vedict: keep

Snow by Orahn Pamuk

I’m deeply interested in the character and the setting, and the writing style is just poetic enough that I enjoy it without it being overwhelming. Frankly I have very little idea what this will end up being about in terms of plot, but I am nontheless intrigued. That alone is quite a feat; to make me want to read this after just a chapter or two simply because of how much I like the main character is deeply skilled.

Note – in posting this, I also just learned that this book won a Nobel Prize for literature. Now I’m extra intrigued – I imagine it will deliver some profound moments.

Verdict: keep

Gone Bamboo by Anthony Bourdain

Well, the introduction he wrote starts off by saying he wrote it when on a beach a vacation where you don’t do much of anything and feel like you’ve somehow transcended. And I happen to need a book for *my upcoming beachy vacation. When the last line is literally and please. Get sand between the pages. I feel like I might have a contender.

I take it back. It’s really hard for me to get past the mob talk, and even though I know the whole book won’t be like that, it was a really difficult intro. I’m thinking the whole style of this is just not what I’m really going to be interested in.

(*Note: this was read back in late feb, before my vacation… not going anywhere for a while now.)

Verdict: donate

I’m most interested because I’ve heard Amy Tan’s name so often; I feel like I should read something by her. I also tend to love stories with a focus or some aspect of East Asian cultures.

Well, I really don’t want to stop reading this one, so it’s an obvious win! What a fascinating turn it took. I certainly wasn’t expecting this to diverge into a sort of mystical / supernatural element. Thinking on it, though, it also makes a bit of sense with what I know of Amy Tan’s works.

Verdict: keep

Well, that certainly started off with a bang. (Is that a pun?). It’s interesting that this begins later on in an invasion/apocalypse since many are the story of the start, the how of the world going mad. That or they’re way after when people have regained some form of order in some crazy new way.

I don’t know why I haven’t read this one yet, as I’ve had it for a while and I’m pretty confident I would enjoy it. Just haven’t been in the mood I suppose! But it’s a keeper for sure.

Verdict: keep

Not quite as planned

Ok… so I admit, I sort of thought I would end up being able to part with more of these. I bought 7 books and only got rid of 2!! But at the same time, that means I had good taste when choosing those other ones, and that I have that many more options next time I’m not sure what to read next.

Verdict: buy another bookcase!


Reader, traveler, photographer, and always looking to learn!

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