A few DNFs

>> Thursday, July 07, 2011

TITLE: Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart
AUTHOR: Sarah Maclean

The positive online buzz about this one made me look beyond the cringe-inducing title and give it a try. I quite liked the idea of a heroine with a very scandalous background paired with a really proper, straightlaced duke. If done well, this could have been fantastic.

Unfortunately, it wasn't done well. Or at least, not to my liking. The heroine was a stereotype of what an Italian is supposed to be, to the point of being offensive. She was pretty idiotic, too. The hero was almost as bad, mean and judgmental in the sections I read. Not to mention the clunky, nonsensical setup. I've no interest in continuing.

MY GRADE: DNF.



TITLE: A Fine Balance
AUTHOR: Rohinton Mistry

This multi award-winning novel follows the story of four very different people ("a spirited widow, a young student uprooted from his idyllic hill station, and two tailors who have fled the caste violence of their native village", as the back of the book describes them), who happen to be thrown together in 1975 India.

By the time I stopped reading (about a quarter of the way through, although considering that this one was about twice as long as most "normal" novels on my kindle, it was quite a long way), we'd found out about the widow's past and were halfway through the life-histories of the two tailors. I loved the glimpse of recent Indian history, I found the characters interesting and I wanted to know what happened, but I just wasn't enjoying what, for lack of a better term, I guess I could call the shifting scale of the book.

An example of what I mean by that: I had just spent pages and pages getting to know the father of one of the characters: I knew all about his own parents, his life history since he was born, his training in his profession and his defiance of his rigid place in the caste system, his hopes, his dreams, everything. And then he decides to defy the powers that be in his village and within a couple of paragraphs, bam! they've tortured him to death. That sort of shift from lovingly detailed description to "and then this and this and this happened" glossing over happened way too often.

So, just not my cup of tea. I might have finished it if it had been shorter, but it's a brick of a book, and I refuse to spend that much time with something I'm not enjoying.

MY GRADE: DNF.



TITLE: Poser
AUTHOR: Claire Dederer

Poser is subtitled My Life In 23 Yoga Poses. I guess I was expecting a bit more yoga than I got, at least in the first 50 or so pages. This would not necessarily be a problem, if I'd liked the author's voice and found her life interesting. I didn't. I thought the writing was pretentious -much too much faux deep musings and "poetic" wording which I just found silly. And what she was actually writing about didn't interest me. There's a lot about her feeling pressured to be the perfect mother and how stressful that is, etc. Just not my cup of tea. I didn't care to know what happened, so I stopped reading.

MY GRADE: DNF.

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