Review of Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward

The colors work well here, but I wish the text didn’t overlap the dog.

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward. ★★★★

I would not have picked up Salvage the Bones if it wasn’t assigned for school, but I’m glad I read it. I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected to and got really involved. It has a sort of addicting quality to it.

From the back: A hurricane is building over the Gulf of Mexico, threatening the coastal town of Bois Sauvage, Mississippi, and Esch’s father is growing concerned. A hard drinker, largely absent, he doesn’t show concern for much else. Esch and her three brothers are stocking food, but there isn’t much to save. Lately, Esch can’t keep down what food she gets; she’s fourteen and pregnant. Her brother Skeetah is sneaking scraps for his prized pitbull’s new litter, dying one by one in the dirt. Meanwhile, brothers Randall and Junior try to stake their claim in a family long on child’s play and short on parenting.

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Review of As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

Dull if well composed.

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner. ★1/2

I hated As I Lay Dying. Part of me worries about this, since it’s a classic and presumably there must be something great about it. But whatever it is that makes people like Faulkner completely skipped me by.

I think I should preface the rest of the review with the acknowledgement that I read this as a school assignment. I would not have picked it up otherwise, and I would certainly not have continued with it.

The writing was torturous to get through. Just take a gander at “his pale eyes like wood set into his wooden face”. Thank goodness it was only 260 pages. It was hard enough to get through the writing and the tedium of it, and there was no way I could do so for longer.

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Review of Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Given that this is a free, public domain e-book copy, I can’t really complain about the lack of cover art.

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. ★★★★

With Jane Austen, I think there’s always a lot that I don’t understand but that hasn’t stopped me from enjoying her books.

Unlike when I read Pride and Prejudice, I had no idea what happened in Sense and Sensibility or even what it was about. I’m glad this was the case – knowing that happy endings weren’t assured for the characters made it more suspenseful.

“Suspenseful?” I hear you say, “How can a book about the marriage prospects of two Regency era women be suspenseful?”

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Review of Atonement by Ian McEwan

I love the strong contrast!

Atonement by Ian McEwan. ★★1/2

I would not have read and certainly would not have finished Atonement if it were not required reading for my English class.

Not much happens in Atonement. I can enjoy books were there’s not much happening, but in that case I have to enjoy the characters.

I didn’t enjoy these characters. They were not sympathetic, likable, admirable or even interesting.

Heck, the book isn’t even funny. It’s just dull.

In short, Atonement did not give me a reason to care.

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Review of How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster

Non-fiction is not known for it’s riveting covers.

How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines by Thomas C. Foster. ★★

First off, I would not have picked this up (and certainly not read all of it) if it hadn’t been assigned reading for school. I have little interest in reading a book on how to read, and the idea itself strikes me as nonsensical.

What How to Read Literature turned out to be was pages and pages of examples from books I’d never read before. If your point is “near drowning often represents baptism and rebirth” why can’t you just say that once? Is there really need for an entire chapter on it?

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Review of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

A book like this has so many covers and they all sort of look the same.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. ★★★★ 1/2

Four stars for my enjoyment of it, the half star because I think so much of it went over my head.

Going into Pride and Prejudice, I already knew who the characters were, all the plot turns, and how everything ended up. I was also expecting to struggle with reading it. There was no way, I thought, that I could possibly enjoy a book written over two hundred years ago focused around marriage. If it wasn’t required reading for school, I would never have picked it up.

But against all expectations, I enjoyed Pride and Prejudice.

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