Blog for Stephanie Bryant, a writer with too many hobbies and not enough time.

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February 2008: Book Reviews

#8:

I read Foer’s Everything’s Illuminated last year and wasn’t a big fan. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close was a much better listen. I know this is a post-modernist book in its presentation, but since I listened to it as an audiobook, the story flowed much more smoothly than it would in print.

This is a story about a child (nine years old, but like most children written by adults, unbearably precocious) who loses his father in the World Trade Center on 9/11, and then embarks on a quest to find… whatever legacy his dad might have left him. The story is good, and there are many moments when Oscar is believably childlike. There were many moments when I cried, though of course that’s in part due to my own emotional baggage left over from that fateful date. There were also moments when I said “Oh!” because something truly surprised me in the storyline.

Overall, I’d recommend this one. Foer isn’t a great storyteller, but he crafts a good character-centered narrative here.

#9:

Victorian-era romance novel. The heroine is the hero’s great-uncle’s widow, a former commoner with a dark secret. It’s a good story, but some of the “my character is a flawed ice queen” moments felt bludgeoning.
#10:

I read this in preparation for embarking on my own novel. I strongly recommend it to anyone considering writing their first romance novel. I doubt it would help an experienced romance novelist, but you never know.

#11:

An impulse buy. I keep hoping that Alladin will lose weight faster if we play with him more, so I got this to help me think creatively about playtime with him.
#12:
I loved the heroine and eventually fell in love with the hero, but the bulk of the action in this novel takes place with their clothes on. Not that I mind, but it’s a bit odd for me to enjoy a romance novel with so few sex scenes (and not even that much reference to their passion; usually if there’s limited physical intimacy, the characters are at least thinking about each other’s physiques as well as personalities all the time).
#13:

I think you have to read about 3 books by Carl Hiaasen to “get” what he’s doing here. This is the third one for me. It’s environmentalist-messaged satire. The message is a bit heavy at times, but the satire is pretty good. Also, if you’re looking for a story that takes a plot and goes above and beyond the boundary between “just enough” and “too far,” this is probably the stuff.
I’m at the tail end of Mount Vernon Love Story, but I might just abandon it. It’s very slow going and lacks character conflict.

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