My Giveaway + Announcements

*My first foray into an Author Interview with Andrew Xia Fukuda is up! (Should I do more?)
*My first manga review for Natsume Yuujinchou V.1 - please let me know what you think

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Triple Snapshots of Jan' 10 - An Abundance of Katherines, Wanting Mor, The Hour Glass

lawl I haven't done this in ages. Changing this to a monthly meme, just because

(Idea inspired by Hyper-Parfait's now defunct Triple Delights)

In which I discuss three novels at the end of the month in quick paragraph snapshots on my general impressions and reactions.

* - indicates POC author

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

You know, after finishing reading this book, I was left with one thought, “If this story was retold in Hassan’s POV I would have liked this novel so much better.” Seriously, while the whole ~*heartwarming*~ road trip left me cold, the fairly standard typical romance had me yawning and Colin’s plight left me mostly unsympathetic (I was dumped by too many girls POOR ME! … You can tell that I’m not really on the dumpee end of the spectrum.), I was completely charmed by Hassan. He was so incredibly geeky (Star Trek references, rofl) and sat around being a school-less, job-less bum with his life’s goal to catch Judge Judy on his tv set, and brought in the funny by poking fun at Colin whenever he went on his angst periods (DINGLEBERRIES. ♥). WHAT IS THERE NOT TO LOVE. The man-boobs can be attractive too. *shifts eyes* I kind of wish I enjoyed it more because I heard great things about John Green, but I’m not exactly tempted to check out his other novels after this one. UNLESS It’s a Hassan novel. I’d buy that in a heartbeat, 1st ed hardcover et all. Ah well, at the end of the day, I did enjoy the novel very much, even if I spent the whole time wishing it was about the side character instead of out protagonist.

Wanting Mor by Rukhsana Khan *

Hmm, my feelings are a bit mixed for this novel. On one hand I enjoyed this book for giving our main girl Jameela agency in her actions. It’s a bit of a Cinderella story sans the prince, wherein the girl rises from her station and comes into her own. She makes her own choices, her own decisions and I very much appreciated that. I particularly loved how she chose to continue wearing a chadri even after she got surgery done on her cleft lip, how she didn’t choose to wear a chadri because of poor self-image but because she wanted to. However, on the flip side, Jameela herself left me a bit cold. I’m thinking it’s maybe because Jameela is rather cold and standoff-ish towards everyone in the story and by proxy I feel distant from her myself? For the first half of the novel I mostly felt, while a lot of pity for what she had to go through, I also felt distant from everything that was happening to her at the same time. I felt for her, but I just didn’t connect with her. In some ways the second half of the novel was a bit better because she elicited a reaction out of me with her actions towards a particular orphan girl, but my reactions were hardly positive. The reasons for Jameela’s revulsions were explained and true to her judging, standoffish character, but it just didn’t make them any more right. Even when her attitudes towards the child changed towards the end, it just didn’t feel enough for me, more like her attitudes changed because she felt like she was obliged to be kind rather than out of fondness for the child herself. Thinking back, I may have remembered this novel more kindly if Khan handled this relationship between Jameela and the child differently. I tend to remember my endings more than anything so the fact that most of their interactions happened in the second half left the stronger impression on my mind.

The Hour Glass by Hilary Spiers

Ugh. My first short story anthology of the year and it SUCKED. Seriously not impressed. The only reason why I actually finished it (thus being able to talk about it) is because 1) it was a giveaway win and I feel like I oughta at least see it through the bitter, bitter end and 2) the lineup to get my transcript stuff was like, an hour long so I just flipped through the whole thing to see how it’ll go. I think I would have remembered this anthology more fondly if I didn’t finish the whole thing, to be honest. When I first started out, most of the short stories were just very meh. The writing was uninspiring and as for the stories themselves, I keep thinking of other short stories I’ve read that dealt with the themes Spiers presented in a far better fashion. All the short stories basically bored me… Until we got to that Bronte family story of FAIL. Seriously, what was that? It wasn’t even like, a fictionalized historical recount of their lives, but like, she just randomly shoves them in some vague “modern” setting and had them talking about non-inspired story plotlines. There was no plot or ANYTHING. And the interactions Spiers wrote in were terrible and (dare I say it) OOC aka Out of Character. Spiers made the Bronte sisters sound like spinster old writer hacks with the most horrendous writer’s block sharing uninspired ideas with one another and that’s just wrong, wrong, WRONG. Okay, so maybe I’m getting defensive ‘cause I love Emily Bronte and Anne Bronte’s works, but still. ARGH. If I wanted crappily faux reimaginings of historical figures I could go around FanFiction.Net. DO NOT RECOMMEND. And, if I were to rate this anthology, I’d give it a 0/5. The only reason why there aren’t negative numbers in there is because I’m trying to tell myself that just because this one story was fail doesn’t mean I should hate on the whole anthology of mediocrity.

3 comments:

ninefly said...

aww, too bad you didn't like abundance of katherines, WAS THE MATH GOOD THOUGH? <-- the most important part, obviously.

Ah Yuan // wingstodust said...

@ninefly,

er, there were a lot of graphs and chart and things that were tied with the story? I dunno if that makes it good or not though.

Well, I *did* like it, but it's one of those 'I liked it for secondary characters' thing. Like you with Demon's Lexicon, for example. =D

Celeste M said...

When reading John Green's books, An Abundance of Katherines is a bad place to start. I thought it was pretty bland.
But Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns are both great, even if all three of his books are rather similar.
But I think you should at least give another one of his books a try. =)