Archive for June 2013

Book Review: Anna Édes by Dezső Kosztolányi

Anna Édes by Dezső Kosztolányi An interesting enough look at a slice of Hungarian life after the first World War, focusing on the effects of the class system on how people treat one another. The writing was a bit plodding and heavy-handed at times, and there were a number of mistakes missed in editing this translation. The major event late in the book was a total surprise to me. I expected something to happen, based on how the story was building, but this went well beyond what I imagined.

Book Review: Fever by Mary Beth Keane

Fever by Mary Beth Keane The book started off pretty well, and the idea of seeing Typhoid Mary’s everyday life, beyond just being able to spread disease, sounded interesting. Unfortunately, the book didn’t really live up to my expectations, though I really tried to give it a chance.

I think the biggest problem was that it didn’t feel like Mary’s character was very well-developed, with certain details about her coming out well after she’d been established. Not just the flashbacks, but details tacked on well after it seemed like the right time. I also kept questioning how realistic some of it was, like making Mary seem like a modern chef with the ability to whip up all sorts of fancy dishes, despite having lived with very limited means.

I also felt like the author was trying very hard to make the reader like Mary, but instead I felt like I liked her less and less, along with all the other characters in the book. Eventually, the whole thing felt like a soap opera, and not a very good one at that, so I just quit. I can’t believe I got as far as I did!

Book Review: Doctor Olaf van Schuler’s Brain by Kirsten Menger-Anderson

Doctor Olaf van Schuler's Brain by Kirsten Menger-Anderson This book has a unique approach to following a family through the generations, with each chapter dedicated to a small piece of one generation. This family of doctors offers plenty of medical quackery, mental health issues, and family drama, but only a snapshot at a time.

Unfortunately, some of the chapters are less interesting than others, especially towards the end, and sometimes the characters felt a bit flat as well. The writing is mostly well-done, but I wanted a bit more, maybe focusing on fewer generations and going in a bit deeper.

Book Review: Astray by Emma Donoghue

Astray by Emma Donoghue Just ok. Some of the stories were interesting, others not so much. The writing felt flat at times, like it was just on the surface of the story or of a real emotion.

Book Review: Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery I thought I’d read this once long ago, but reading it now, it felt very new to me. I remembered some parts of it, but others seemed completely unfamiliar. My only guess is that I confused memories of it with the TV adaptation which may have merged multiple books in the series.

Either way, it’s a lovely book, full of wonderful details of Avonlea and the people in it. Anne is quite an imaginative and chatty young girl, but it’s nice to see the world through her eyes. She sees beauty in the smallest things, something that becomes harder the older we get (at least for me).