Mon, October 27, 2014

Mini Reviews – Adult Books

I just plowed through a few adult books, and wanted to share my thoughts!

The Goldfinch book cover

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

About the book:

It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

The Goldfinch is a novel of shocking narrative energy and power. It combines unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and breathtaking suspense, while plumbing with a philosopher’s calm the deepest mysteries of love, identity, and art. It is a beautiful, stay-up-all-night and tell-all-your-friends triumph, an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.

My thoughts: LONG. But good long. There were such strong and interesting characters in this book that I just couldn’t put it down and was totally engrossed in their insane lives. The writing was fabulous — I could picture it all and just felt like I was really “there” throughout the book. My only downside? The ending was a total clunker. Whomp wha.

The Rosie Project book cover

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

About the book:

An international sensation, this hilarious, feel-good novel is narrated by an oddly charming and socially challenged genetics professor on an unusual quest: to find out if he is capable of true love.

Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a “wonderful” husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and he embarks upon The Wife Project. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which he approaches all things, Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical—most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver.

Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fiery, intelligent—and on a quest of her own. She is looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might be able to help her with. Don’s Wife Project takes a back burner to the Father Project and an unlikely relationship blooms, forcing the scientifically minded geneticist to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie—and the realization that love is not always what looks good on paper.

The Rosie Project is a moving and hilarious novel for anyone who has ever tenaciously gone after life or love in the face of overwhelming challenges.

My thoughts: Funny and awkward and moving, this novel was a total win for me. Highly, highly recommended, especially for anyone who likes books like Attachments. The sequel comes out at the end of December and a movie is in the works. Again: SO GOOD.

The Fever book cover

The Fever by Megan Abbott

About the book:

The panic unleashed by a mysterious contagion threatens the bonds of family and community in a seemingly idyllic suburban community.

The Nash family is close-knit. Tom is a popular teacher, father of two teens: Eli, a hockey star and girl magnet, and his sister Deenie, a diligent student. Their seeming stability, however, is thrown into chaos when Deenie’s best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class. Rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through the family, school and community.

As hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families and the town’s fragile idea of security.

A chilling story about guilt, family secrets and the lethal power of desire, The Fever affirms Megan Abbot’s reputation as “one of the most exciting and original voices of her generation” (Laura Lippman).

My thoughts: One of those book club books that sounded great in the description but didn’t deliver at all. The plot was slowwwww-moving and a lot of things that seemed cool or could lead to crazy plot points just never went anywhere. A big bummer.

The Dinner book cover

The Dinner by Herman Koch

About the book:

A summer’s evening in Amsterdam and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant. Between mouthfuls of food and over the delicate scraping of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of politeness – the banality of work, the triviality of holidays. But the empty words hide a terrible conflict and, with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened… Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son. Together, the boys have committed a horrifying act, caught on camera, and their grainy images have been beamed into living rooms across the nation; despite a police manhunt, the boys remain unidentified – by everyone except their parents. As the dinner reaches its culinary climax, the conversation finally touches on their children and, as civility and friendship disintegrate, each couple shows just how far they are prepared to go to protect those they love.

My thoughts: If you are looking for something to read after Gone Girl, The Dinner is a great one to try. It’s got the same slow-revealing plot but (unlike The Fever) totally pays off as things are revealed. And it’s pretty disturbing/twisty. So it’s hard to say it’s the type of book you say you love…but definitely worth the read for the ride it takes you on.

Have you read any great adult book lately? Any recommendations for me or titles to stay away from? Happy reading!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

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Posted by: Anna   •   In: donna tartt, graeme simsion, herman koch, megan abbott, mini reviews
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5 Comments

  1. Bailie @ The Hemborg Wife said:

    I recently read The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters and would highly recommend it. It is also a bit hefty but the story draws you in and in the end I was wishing there were more pages.

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Mon, October 27, 2014

  2. Lauren said:

    I read The Fever this summer and was kind of disappointed. I think I wanted it to be more than it was. I’m adding The Dinner to my must-read list!

    Adult-wise, I just finished Liane Moriarty’s The Husband’s Secret, but I know a million people have already read and loved that! Next up on my adult-reading-list is Diane Chamberlain’s newest book, The Silent Sister. I love pretty much everything Chamberlain’s ever written so I’m really looking forward to this one.

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Mon, October 27, 2014

  3. Busy Brunette said:

    Have you read any Jojo Moyes? I just finished Me Before You and am absolutely in love with her writing- not to mention she is a very down-to-earth and gracious person!

    I haven’t read The Dinner yet but did read his newest book, Summer House with Swimming Pool. I really enjoyed the writing style but it was definitely different! Might have to check out The Dinner and see what I think…

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Mon, October 27, 2014

  4. Kay @ It’s a Book Life said:

    I wasn’t a big fan of The Fever either. I do however plan to read The Dinner at some point so I am glad to hear it was good!

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Mon, October 27, 2014

  5. Deyse said:

    I really want to try “The Goldfinch” but the sinopses somewhat didn’t seem like a me book and it’s also so long, seeing that you liked it I may give it a shot.
    And I NEED “The Rosie Project” in my life, is already on my (sorta) reading schedule!

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Mon, October 27, 2014

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