loveallthis’s reviews #1-26: a roundup post!

loveallthis 2013 reads

I read and reviewed 26 books in 2013. Here they all are.

  1. Leaving the Atocha Station by Ben Lerner – 2 stars
  2. Freedom by Jonathan Franzen – 4 stars
  3. Among Others by Jo Walton – 4 stars
  4. The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling – 2 stars
  5. The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell – 3 stars
  6. Out of Oz by Gregory Maguire – 2 stars
  7. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald – 5 stars
  8. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – 5 stars
  9. Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple – 3 stars
  10. Some Things that Meant the World to Me by Joshua Mohr – 2 stars
  11. Consider the Lobster by David Foster Wallace – 5 stars
  12. Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer – 4 stars
  13. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer – 3 stars
  14. Medium Raw by Anthony Bourdain – 3 stars
  15. The Financial Lives of the Poets by Jess Walter – 4 stars
  16. Stonemouth by Iain Banks – 4 stars
  17. Embassytown by China Mieville – 3 stars
  18. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger – 4 stars
  19. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld – 3 stars
  20. Shift by Hugh Howey – 4 stars
  21. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell – 5 stars
  22. Railsea by China Mieville – 2 stars
  23. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – 4 stars
  24. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco – 2 stars
  25. Oblivion by David Foster Wallace – 4 stars
  26. The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt – 4 stars

Phew! On to next year. Happy reading, everyone!

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loveallthis’s cbr5 review 02: Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

cbr5 review 02: Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

Franzen has an interesting ability to make me care about a lot of terrible people. Manipulative, hurtful, thoughtless, awful people. (See The Corrections.)

Yet so delightful!

Freedom follows a Midwestern husband and wife (Walter and Patty Berglund), their kids, their parents, their lovers, and the fallout that comes from living for a while and having dreams.

This book made me think a lot about rock music, overpopulation, roofing, songbirds, basketball, stalkers, teenage sex, motels, and mining. Ambitious.

I can’t help but think, though, when I read a book like this, that someone like David Foster Wallace could do a little better with the same premise. A little wackier. Just as sad, but also more meaningful. So, one point off for what could have been – but still a solid four stars.

Read more reviews from me at my blog.

loveallthis’s cbr5 review 01: Leaving the Atocha Station by Ben Lerner

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First book of the year. Not the best start.

I don’t tend to enjoy movies like Rushmore, or Napoleon Dynamite, or Punch-Drunk Love, where the protagonist is kind of a dick who makes a series of bad decisions, after which everyone ends up uncomfortable or upset. (Including me.)

This is like that, but a book. Adam’s a young American poet in Madrid, ostensibly researching and writing a book of poetry about Spanish history. He spends the book smoking, drinking, and swallowing a variety of stimulants and depressants. He compulsively lies to his family back home, alienates new friends and colleagues, and beds some lovely Spanish ladies. Not much else happens.

I had initially given this book three stars, but in the process of writing the review I talked myself down to two. The descriptions of the architecture and locals are really pretty.

Read more reviews from me at my blog.