Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Book Review - "The Ask"

"The Ask" by Sam Lipsyte
My grade: C+

Hmmm... I'm not sure what to say about this book. I finished reading it two days ago, and have already forgotten the character names and most of the plot. I think it's because there wasn't much to either. It's a mediocre book, in a genre full of such tales; corporate America, average Joe, pointless life, etc. I often come back to this subject, but it's only because I find it crucial to any successful novel: the protagonist has to either be loved by the reader or hated, or at the very least, be an incredibly interesting persona. If he is just an average Joe, and not very likable at that, you're going to have a tough time winning the reader over. Lipsyte, in my opinion, failed at that. There is no message here, no interesting insight, no wonderful plot; by and large, there's nothing outstanding about this novel, it's simply incredibly mediocre.

Book Review - "The Great Wall of China"

"The Great Wall of China and Other Short Works" by Franz Kafka
My grade: A-

This collection makes me incredibly sad, because Kafka didn't publish anything during his lifetime and even left orders for his friend and literary mentor to destroy all of his writing after his death. That friend, in turn, published his works, much to my appreciation. Some of the stories in this collection are absolutely amazing and very inspirational (from a writer's perspective). All of them, however, are unfinished, often to my great dismay. It was extremely aggravating at times to be left mid-thought, and I was angry at Kafka for leaving it at that. Nonetheless, he was obviously an extremely talented writer and this collection is worth the read!