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AlexandraS

AlexandraS

Currently reading

The Mad Scientist's Daughter
Cassandra Rose Clarke
The Master and Margarita
Mikhail Bulgakov, Diana Burgin, Katherine Tiernan O'Connor
Chaos: The Making of a New Science
James Gleick
Staring At The Sun
Julian Barnes

Pădurea norvegiană

Pădurea norvegiană - Haruki Murakami, Angela Hondru I see this book as being a long writing exercise on the subject of death and sex (will Freud ever get uncool?), mainly because the author made sure we see both of these themes in the character's lives. And only these two themes.
As any writing exercise you sometimes come across an epiphany that actually makes sense and this is what kept me going but, overall, I was very disappointed with the simplicity of this book. Everything was about death and about sex in ways incestuously connected. It seemed like the meditation of a teenager faced with tragedy but still raging with hormones.
The pieces concerning death were (obviously) better written and more carefully prepared whereas the subject of sex was very trivially portrayed and it ruined the atmosphere of the book, frankly. The book gives you the impression of a heavy dream, touching all of those painful experiences that you don't want to think about mixed with the even sadder experience of unfulfilled sex (unfulfilled for the girls; Toru was always having fun).
Now, I do have a problem with the obvious masculine view of things (which Murakami never fails to deliver) but that's just the reality, we can't expect all male writers to be capable of assuming a valid feminine point of view and some writers, even when they're sexist, can deliver a perspective that is of importance in a book.
There are countless Toru Watanabes in the world and this is how they think, we still need to know that even if it's uncomfortable.
Annabel - Kathleen Winter Annabel is mostly about the way a remote community chooses to deal with a breach in the normal way of things: Wayne, the child that was born with both male and female genitalia. While it is a good book, with deep characters that suffer minor changes across the story, thus being relatable, and writing that's obviously apart, I had a problem with the book going...nowhere. We follow Wayne's story, we live a lot with him only to be left with an anticlimactic finish line from where Wayne/Annabel walks alone, not allowing us to find out what's next for him.
It reminded me of Eugenide's Calliope, but only because of the subject, they don't have much else in common. I guess I wanted more from Wayne's point of view, and this book centers more on how Wayne's story is not only his, it also changes all the other lives from the community.
Fifty Shades of Grey  - E.L. James I wish I could give it only one star but I can't say I didn't like it at all. If I wouldn't have liked it, I wouldn't have finished it, but I did, and now I feel as guilty as one would feel after a five day journey into junk food.
The writing is bad, it's actually very, very bad. Just what you'd expect from fan fiction. It's weird, though, that there are actually parts when the book is entertaining - those would be the linguistic quarrels between the two - but they don't last for long. The problem with the book is that it's so simple, it's so clearly just an unrealistic fantasy of the author, that it's embarrassing, really. It's more embarrassing that a 22 year old girl thinks, speaks and acts like she's from another time period, and I'm not talking about her assuming the language of classic damsels from the books she reads. I'm talking about saying the "Oh sh*t!" and "Oh f**k!" all the time, like she's a twelve year old suddenly finding the power of forbidden words. Really, is this how people believe we 20-somethings talk?
Also, everybody has respiratory problems in this book. They gasp and they gape, and frankly it's just unhealthy for one to stay with their mouth open all the time.
Monster Love - Carol Topolski Monster Love is one of the rare books that actually presents a structure and a complete view of a subject, explaining it via different characters. We have "an event", and for the sake of the spoilers I won't name it. We also have the participants at this event, from the beginning to the end. They will all tell us their experiences, subjective as they are, but adding to a complete story nonetheless.
The author is a psychotherapist, and it shows through the realistic exposee of the characters and their motivations, presented like they would be part of an anthropological study. The fact that she can create diverse personalities in only a few pages (because each character gets only a few pages to explain themselves and how they contributed to "the event") is pretty remarkable.
This was an interesting read, but it loses points because the characters have too much drama going on. The book wants to explain why such events happen, which is not something that a study would do, a study only presents facts without drawing conclusions, but the book clearly wants to draw on the psychoanalysis view of the parent-child relationship and its effects, and I don't care much for the "Parents are always to blame" idea, perpetuated by most of this book's characters.

The History of Love: A Novel (12 Copy Display)

The History of Love: A Novel - Nicole Krauss Weirdest thing happened. I watched the movie Extremely loud and incredibly close (after a book by Jonathan Safran Foer) and after it I chose to read History of love from my library without knowing anything about these authors or the subject of the book. While i was reading it, I realised it has the exact same atmosphere like the movie; then I realised how there are some patterns in both the movie and this book. Then i finish my book, i rate it on my goodreads account and read that this girl and Jonathan Safran Foer are MARRIED? Whoa. I wonder who copied who, but i searched and both these books were published in 2005. I feel a bit dissappointed because i wouldn't buy two books that are similar (the subject isn't similar, actually, just the style which I happen to consider very important).
The Magus - John Fowles I don't know where i stand with this book. Altough i liked it's way of always reinventing the story (you can never get bored with this kind of plot), there's only so far i can go. I find that leaving the end open doesn't help, because after a 600+ pages affair, you want to know where you're left.
The plot was interesting, but not very hard for anyone with some basic Psychology knowledge and some intolerance to spirituality.
What baffles me is the choice to make Urfe a central character: he annoyed the hell out of me. It's rarely that i find such an immature character, insecure, hedonistic and plainly childish. ALL of the other characters were more interesting than him (well, except for Mitford). I agreed completely with the psychological evaluation that they made for him at the trial.
All in all, it has been an interesting experience, but not one worth the fuss that everybody creates around this novel. It might have been spectacular at it's release, but a few decades and some "Eyes wide shut"-type movies later, it ain't that interesting anymore.

Intriga matrimonială

Intriga matrimonială - Jeffrey Eugenides I've waited so much for this book, and i felt such joy by reading it that i feel a bit like a traitor for not rating it a 5 star book. I've realised only at the end of it that i'm not content with the density of the characters. There are only three main characters, so why not give them your best? Madeleine got the smallest span of attention, and she was depicted only superficially; we weren't allowed into her depth. Mitchell got the most complex characterization, and he was also the one that has actually grown up during the book. Both Leonard and Mitchell were interesting characters because they were vastly explained throughout their life experience, their choices and feelings being precisely described, whereas Madeleine seemed to live whatever life threw at her. As a woman , i am a bit disappointed. As a reader, i can only be grateful for this wonderful book, not so much for the story (i don't think the writer is the kind that tells good stories) but for the art of narrating it. Even for that only, the book would be simply worth it, as Eugenides always is!
On the other hand, most people won't like the part that ressembles a college lecture because they're just not interested in semiotics. But it's a shame, because it kind of comes with the teritory, when you love books you ought to get yourself mixed into some theory, critique and what not.

Monştri invizibili

Monştri invizibili - Chuck Palahniuk, Mircea Pricăjan I've been reading a lot of beauty-related books lately, but none in the Palahniuk style. He always puts it so bluntly: you are not a perfect and unique snowflake.
What i liked were the cliches that made so much sense within the story. You are what you eat, and when you eat mashed food it means you're pulverised. When you eat junk food or some of those pre-cooked meals you find in supermarkets...you're a joke. We are all jokes but it helps to be shaken once in a while, even if via words and not real, honest-to-God slaps.

Give me a slap to reality.
Flash!
Give me stupid, empty, first world problems like ooo, i'm too pretty to be interesting.
Flash!
Give the whole, uncensored definition of felching.
Flash!
I think that pretty much says it all.
I put it in the Recommendable, it's actually highly recommendable even if the shocking violence of words that characterises Palahniuk isn't for everybody.

Ce mică-i lumea!

Ce mică-i lumea! - David Lodge, George Volceanov Just a mix of small stories about a bunch of characters that meet everywhere around the world. A lot of critique, most of which i didn't understand (who would, that's not specialised in it?).
A small dissapointment from one of my favorites. Or maybe i'm just not that impressionable anymore.