Archive for June, 2011


So Much PrettySo Much Pretty by Cara Hoffman
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Hmm, what to say. I’d title the book SO MUCH UGLY.

This book seemed like an attempt to make a fresh story out of rehashed sad stuff (abduction & murder, Columbine-like tragedy), and I didn’t like it for doing that.

It was decently written but tediously over-detailed, with tons of background that hung there, waiting to become significant or be brought back into the story. The author has a penchant for sentence fragments that grated on me. The characters are fascinating, but Hoffman does not distinguish their voices enough to make them seem individual — Flynn sounds like Constant sounds like Alice sounds like … you get the picture. All that would have been fine, though, had the story been in the least bit satisfying.

When I finished it, I felt *dirty* … I felt like I had watched something atrocious being done to many people, and there was no redemption and no light at the end of the tunnel. Is the epilogue supposed to be upbeat? It’s not — it’s horrifying. The entire book is a huge downer. I was sucked in to care about some of the characters and was given a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions — without the period costume and missing any usable lessons. It’s as though the author invites readers to examine certain ideals, hope for the future, individualism — and then dashes all that against the rocks of ignorance, decay, and rage. I will need to read a new book quickly to get this taste out of my mouth.

Don’t get me wrong – some people might truly enjoy this exploration of what might lie beneath the surface of any ordinary-looking community. Go for it. I just don’t need SO MUCH UGLY in my life – there’s enough on that on the nightly news.

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Kindling for Authors

Saturday night, I was out watching a band play, and between sets, the drummer was actually sitting alone at a table, reading … Thoreau of all things.  I said offhandedly that he ought to get a Kindle so he can carry around as many books as he wants.  He looked at me blankly.

“Kindle? Like the stuff you start fires with?”

My roommate chimed in: “That’s kindling.”

I had thus found the first person I knew living in a civilized metropolitan area (no redneck jokes, please) who had not yet heard of the Kindle and all that goes with it.  But how appropriate, thought I, that the ubiquitous device’s name is so apropos.

Starting a fire indeed.

Here are some interesting articles, with links to additional reporting and blogs.  If you are a writer, a reader, or anyone interested in business (especially its growth at a decidedly non-growth time), these are worth a look.

Future of media: The rise of the million-selling Kindle author

Independent Writers Find New Hope With Amazon.com’s Book Publishing Plans

On the Importance of a Community and On Being a Generous Writer

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Ugh! This ends on a cliffhanger! LOL … what a way to make you immediately buy the next book — which I did — clever, clever!

What can I say that hasn’t already been said? I had heard so many good things about this book that I was actually a bit leery about the hype. But it really is an excellent read. Collins is a terrific storyteller. The action moves, the characters are interesting, and the world she creates seems to be fully formed in her imagination. I would have like a few more details of setting and minor characters, but then it would have been 500 pages long. Um, wait … that would not be such a bad thing. 🙂

OK, I am hooked and ready for part 2 (after my next book club read).

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