Friday, June 17, 2016

I Have Much Left to Tell

Little Is Left to Tell
by Steven Hendricks
366 Pages
Publisher: Campanile Books

Readers enter a narrative rabbit hole through bedtime stories that Mr. Fin, a man with dementia, conjures for his long-lost son. Virginia the Wolf writes her last novel to lure her daughter home. A rabbit named Hart Crane must eat words to speak, while passing zeppelins drop bombs. Mr. Fin tries to read the past in marginalia and to rebuild his son from boat parts. The haunting fables in this lyrical first novel trace the fictions that make and unmake us. 

I'm not really sure where to start with this book. I had a very hard time understanding exactly what was happening, and even deciphering who is a person or a rabbit or a fish. I was intrigued by the concept of this novel, but I had a hard time following. The book jumped back and forth between narratives so much that I had trouble grasping what was actually happening, what was real and what was fictional.

I did, however, really enjoy the beauty of the writing. I can tell that Hendricks spent a great deal of time laboring over each and every word and phrase because it is absolutely beautiful. There was one line that stuck out from the entire book, it said "he wandered into that small place where breath cannot follow." I actually spend a few minutes every day just pondering how beautiful of a euphemism for death that is. I honestly would give this book 5 stars just because Hendricks came up with that line. It has been a great deal of time (or at least since AP Lang was in full swing) since I've read such wonderful and thought provoking writing.

While I really wanted to fall in love with the characters, I felt that they were a tad lackluster (especially compered to the writing that created them). I had a fun time reading about each of them, but they all ran together, and without vivid descriptions of every character, I had trouble picturing them especially early on.

This book was just the adult form of a bedtime story (funny that I always read it at bedtime), and it was highly enjoyable. If you are looking for a fun and intriguing read with fantastic writing, I would recommend this novel.

Belle <3

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Coffee and Books: All of Our Favorite Things

Literary Starbucks
by Jill Poskanzer, William Josephson, and Nora Katz
256 Pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Ever wonder which intricate, elaborately-named drinks might be consumed if your favorite authors and characters wandered into a Starbucks? How many pumpkin lattes J.K. Rowling would drink? Or if Cormac McCarthy needed caffeine, which latte would be laconic enough? Look no further; LITERARY STARBUCKS explores such pressing matters with humor and erudition. Set over the course of a single day, and replete with puns and satirized literary styles, the three authors go darker, stronger, and more global than the blog in book format, including illustrations by acclaimed New Yorker cover artist and cartoonist Harry Bliss.

I cant say this book did it for me. I found it to be highly repetitive, especially because every page started with "___________ went up to the counter." Maybe I would have liked it more if I knew more about some of the authors that were mentioned, but I just found this so surface level.

For most of the authors, the reference was to the most famous book (or the magnum opus), and I would have appreciated a higher knowledge of the authors mentioned by the authors of this book. I understand the purpose of only mentioning the most well-known work, but my impression of it was that the authors didn't know that much on the topic they were writing about.

For the references that I did understand completely, they were all so very basic. When Holden Caulfield (the love of my life) went up to the counter, he wondered where the ducks went and thought the barista was a phony. I personally think it would have been more meaningful to mention loss of innocence or some thing from Franny and Zooey or the Glass family. That's just one basic example that I remember clearly, but the whole book was that way. Yes, of course, I liked the interactions between authors that never had the pleasure of meeting, but I wanted more of that.

I can tell that this book came directly from a Tumblr blog due to the lack of cohesion of it. There were a few pages that were interconnected, but the majority of it was random literary authors or characters that bought things from Starbucks and did something typical. If that appeals to you, then this book is from you 100%.

The Rating:

I'll be back in a few weeks,
Belle <3