Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Book Shelf

Originally published at my other blog, I thought it was more mousehouse style to have a book review section. Since books take up so much room in my house, it seems natural that they should have a home here on my blog too.

I am the type of person that reads at least 5 books at once! Blame it on an inability to focus, a need for variety, or a passion for learning new things, but I actually enjoy reading a number of books at once. Usually I read one or two main books, often a novel, and have other usually non-fiction books that I rotate through in the background. I wrote this entry a while ago, and have since finished this book, but thought I would share my thoughts regardless.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer.
This is currently my main book, a novel. It is written from three different perspectives, and different time periods. It also includes first person narratives and letters which are also first person narrative obviously.

When first starting this book it was a little confusing who was speaking and what time period we were in. But as I read on and realized what the separate threads were, I started to get into the book and read more and more in one sitting which always helps to increase reading comprehension. ;)

The story mostly told from the perspective of an unusual boy whose dad died in the world trade center on 9/11. It's also about his family, his grandparents voices are in there heavily. Comparisons are drawn between 9/11 and ww2, and also the personal tradgedy that is life and living. "We spent our whole lives making a living." Things like that, quesitons about the way life ends up. How did we get here from there? What the hell happens in each day that is so small that leads to something that you are living in the present that is nothing like what you thought you would be doing. It has a very poignant feeling, I want to say bittersweet, but that's not quite right.

It is actually quite well written, there are particular phrases that absolutely glow. My favorite chapter so far has been the one about the Dresden bombing. The way it was written was intense, fast-paced, and punctuated with red circles like someone had edited the page, which at first I thought was distracting, but then thought it added to the velocity and fierceness. Somehow red marks all over the page really fits with a chapter where the narrator sees horses on fire galloping down the street swirling with smoke and screams.

Pros: Pictures, unique book layout, includes blank pages, colored pages, etc...immersive, a few excellent passages that really show off some great writing.
Cons: The narration can take on a conceited & irritating tone sometimes. Sometimes the way its structured makes me wonder how "real" it is (if that makes sense), like he was trying too hard to be clever or innovative.

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