Tag Archives: up to no good

Lists: Worst Books Read in 2011 – # 4

Worst Books Read in 2011

4. Leaving the Atocha Station by Ben Lerner

Wonder if Ben Lerner points to his own book when teaching his students what a Mary Sue is?

Original Review

5. The Man Who Couldn’t Eat by Jon Reiner
6. Boneshaker by Cherie Priest
7. Stolen World by Jennie Erin Smith
8. The Black Company by Glen Cook
9. A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
10. The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale


Lists: Worst Books Read in 2011 – # 7

Worst Books Read in 2011

7. Stolen World: A Tale of Reptiles, Smugglers, and Skulduggery by Jennie Erin Smith

All stories of abused animals. Awful. I couldn’t even finish it, I was so upset.

Original Review

8. The Black Company by Glen Cook
9. A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
10. The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale


Lists: Worst Books Read in 2011 – # 8

Worst Books Read in 2011

8. The Black Company by Glen Cook

As I suspected at the time, The Black Company proved utterly forgettable. I also hated the naming convention and it felt like I was reading an idea for a book rather than the book itself.

Also, the big, bad wizard people had flying carpets. Seriously. Shame on you, Glen Cook. Shame on you.

Original Review

9. A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
10. The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale


Review: American Psycho

American PsychoAmerican Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Well, I have now read American Psycho. I now feel completely justified in my previous suspicion that Bret Easton Ellis is not the author for me. Oh, when it isn’t taking itself seriously, the book is very well-written. Even the originally incredibly irritating repetitive detailing of brand names and prices and food became a part of the rhythm of the book in a way I was not expecting. Patrick Bateman is certainly a psychopath, whether his crimes are only in his head or real. With all of these things though, I would still love to give this one star. The reason it gets three is because of the way a consistent crawling horror was maintained. There was no respite, even in the seemingly innocuous sections. This takes talent. I still found it anything but enjoyable, and towards the end became annoyed when Ellis tried to make it somehow meaningful in a greater sense. Oh, and it’s certainly gory in every sense of the word, in case there was someone who missed that. I need a stiff drink now.

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Review: The Maltese Falcon

The Maltese FalconThe Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

I began reading The Maltese Falcon with every expectation that I would enjoy it. I have heard so many comparisons of Dashiell Hammett to Raymond Chandler that anything else seemed impossible. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Try as hard as I can, I cannot see where the brilliance supposedly lies. All of the ingredients are there: beautiful, lying and tragic woman; hard-boiled detective; copious amounts of booze and coffee; evil men slapping the beautiful women in the face. (Seriously, what is up with all the slapping in noir?) Somehow, despite everything, it came off less compelling than a third-rate Alistair MacLean. What’s up with that?

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Review: The White Queen

The White Queen (The Cousins' War, #1)The White Queen by Philippa Gregory
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I suspect that, had I read The White Queen first, I would have understood and enjoyed Richard III far more. I do not find Philippa Gregory to be a particularly compelling author, but the subject matter fascinates me. I cannot say where this fascination with the Tudors and now their Yorkist and Lancastrian ancestors first began, but it seems to be quite persistent. I will almost certainly read more of these books. They are a pleasant diversion from anything serious. Well, pleasant other than all of the dying. And children being used as pawns. And children dying. What happened to the princes in the Tower anyway?

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Review: The Lies of Locke Lamora

The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard, #1)The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Locke Lamora is what Oliver Twist could have been, had he not been so impossibly perfectly naive to the point of stupidity and dull innocent. Actually, I suppose one would have to say Locke has more in common with The Artful Dodger. An orphan who becomes a skilled thief, but with far more intelligence and skill. And burning down of large inns. In The Lies of Locke Lamora Scott Lynch creates a cast of characters who you’ll love and who will make you laugh. An equisite work of fantasy that overlaps heavily with the action genre, I highly recommend this work to anyone who likes their characters to be badass and have questionable motives.

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Review: The Turn of the Screw

The Turn of the ScrewThe Turn of the Screw by Henry James
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Forget cabins in remote wooded places or suspicious small towns; I am convinced that English country houses, particularly in cloudy areas, are the most dangerous places to live or visit. At best, you’ll be robbed of something valuable. Maybe something you own will turn out to be cursed. Most likely you or someone else in the house will be brutally murdered. If you’re lucky, that is. The characters in The Turn of the Screw do not get off so lightly. The book is narrated from the point of view of a governess who may or may not be insane and includes such staples as precocious and creepy orphans, possible ghosts, mysterious pasts, and a handsome but distant master. A very good book to read for Halloween and one which will likely be argued over until the end of humanity.

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