Saturday, May 21, 2011

Book Review - "Suite Francaise"

"Suite Francaise" by Irene Nemirovsky
My grade: didn't finish

Not that there is too much hype over it, but whatever little hype there is over this novel, it is entirely lost on me. This is the second Nemirovsky book that I read (or attempted to read), and although I found the other one to be mediocre at best, it was still manageable. I found "Suite Francaise", on the other hand, to be unbelievably boring, which in itself is quite a feat considering that all of the action takes place during WWII. She does a lot of stating and scene depiction, but there is little emotion in all of it. She seems to be quite a detached observer, so much so that the reader doesn't even get a hint of any emotion.

Nemirovsky was writing the book during the war itself and perhaps at that time, there were few, if any, novels about the subject matter. But today, there are countless novels on this subject, and Nemirovsky's is probably the least poignant account that I have ever read.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Book Review - "The Green Mile"

"The Green Mile" by Stephen King
My grade: A+

In one word, this novel is superb! Truly and honestly outstanding!! This may come as a surprise to some of you, but I have actually not seen the movie; at least, not in its entirety. I had only seen bits and pieces, remembering only Tom Hanks, a jail, and a big black man with kind eyes. Needless to say, the novel overshot all of my expectations and forthcomings.

From the technical perspective, I found not a single flaw in the writing. Definitely a new-found respect for King! Not only does he have an excellent command of the language in written form (which is the only form I can judge), but his application of it is simply amazing and awe-inspiring.

As to the actual content, it is no less impressive than the writing style! He tells a horrible story, but one that is very believable. The narrator is a man in his 100's, and it really is wonderful how King captured his voice so well (although King himself was only 49 at the time of publication): one of wisdom and old decrepit age. The story is likewise told in a very humanitarian way, with a lack of politics (from the narrator himself); I find this also to be very age-appropriate (coming from my 28 years).

I regret that I cannot compare the novel with the movie, but I cannot help but feel that no movie could every do this work justice! I don't think I have it in me to watch the film, knowing what happens in the end and throughout, but I recommend the book to everyone.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Book Review - "The Men Who Stare at Goats"

"The Men Who Stare at Goats" by Jon Ronson
My grade: B+

I'm sure a lot of you have heard of the movie, by the same name, which is based on the book. I have personally not seen the movie, but enjoyed the book (in a kind of way). For those of you entirely unfamiliar, this book is about special agent units within the U.S. army, who have supernatural inclinations. The army attempted, and according to this book, still continues to use supernatural means to fight the enemy and attain information from them (through special types of torture). I found the book quite interesting because I was previously unaware of such tendencies within the army. It is, however, rather disturbing at times, particularly when torture is the subject.

Although the writing is clear in itself, somehow the structure of the book is confusing (if not altogether lacking). I was completely lost during parts of the book and couldn't remember all of the different 'characters' that appeared and disappeared throughout. Overall, a good read though.