Although I haven’t posted much this month, I’ll be posting everyday this week up until Friday! So to start off this week of blog posts, I thought I would do a few mini reviews of books I’ve read this year. I have made a few blog posts at the beginning of my blog all about mini book reviews. It allows me to write what I want to say about these books without writing an essay about it. Sometimes my views on a book are not long enough to warrant a long single review, so this is what these posts are for! They’re short, and they’re to the point.
Love and Freindship by Jane Austen
The version of Love and Freindship that I read is a collection of short stories and novellas written by Austen when she was still a teenager. (I didn’t just read the story in which the collection is named after). The anthology is a really great collection of work, with added content from editors about Austen’s life, and her beginnings as a writer. I felt that the collection gave a great insight into how Austen wrote, and where her inspiration for story telling came from. None of the stories are edited to today’s standard of editing, so a lot of the time, things were choppy and awkward. Sometimes her stories felt incomplete. However, since this is a collection of her first writings, it makes a lot of sense that they aren’t her best work. I gave this anthology a 4/5 because I thought it was an excellent collection of Austen’s early work, but not all of the stories impressed me.
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
I can confidently say that this novel was the biggest let down of the year (so far). The story isn’t necessarily bad, but it lacks a lot of things that I find important in a novel. For example, there’s this huge mystery about why this bookstore exists, and why it appeals to certain customers. Once the reason is revealed, it seemed like the plot was going to become suspenseful, and adventerous. However, the twist at the end of the novel is extremely anticlimatic. So anticlimatic that I literally felt like Sloan wasted an opportunity to shock his readers. I’m sure to some, the plot twist is great the way it is, but for such a fun book, it should have had a better ending.
Another thing I was disappointed about was the love story in the novel. The relationship between Clay and Kate lacks chemistry. They seem to have a pretty normal relationship considering what the book is about, but nothing they do seems naturally human. I know that sounds strange but imagine if a robot was trying to express its feelings toward someone. That’s how their dialogue and relationship felt. It was cute, but didn’t feel natural at all. Whenever Clay and Kate had dialogue, or when Clay was thinking about her, I always wanted to skip those pages. That is when I know that the book might become a miss for me.
Although I was very disappointed with this novel, I still gave it a 3.5/5 because I thought the novel was funny and unpredictable. I never read a book like this, and the good parts about this book were good. So, if you like books about books, or books that are not predictable, definitely check this one out.
H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
I originally read the first half of this book in university, but I never gotten around to finishing it. You know how it is. During school, how often do you have time to finish a book completely? I usually was able to, but not all the time, especially when it was my final year in school. The book was assigned in my class where literautre and pyschology intersect. It was a really amazing course, and definitely gave me a different perspective on this book.
H is for Hawk is, to put it simply, a memoir about Macdonald training a goshawk. However the memoir is more than that. It is structured around the goshawk, but delves into how she coped with her father’s death, her childhood, and her struggles with depression. The way Macdonald weaves these stories together allows the reader to see how she copes with things, and how it has an effect on the mind. She also relates a lot of her training and coping with the author T. H. White. He wrote the King Arthur books, but also wrote about goshawks. She acts like a psychologist and tries to understand White through his writing in fiction, and his diaries. It’s such an interesting read to see all of these things connect when you’re reading about one person training a hawk. I feel like if you have background knowledge of psychology, you might enjoy this book more than the average reader. I think you need to have that bit of base knowledge to truly appreciate what is going on in her memoir. I also think a love of the literary tradition will be a bonus too. I gave this memoir a 4/5.
Have you read any of these books? What are your thoughts on them? Let me know if I should do more of these mini reviews.