Saturday, December 3, 2011

Wham Bam Book Reviews - Did Not Finish

I like what Tales of Whimsy did with her Wham Bam reviews (see here). Thought I'd try it for my Did Not Finish books - would help me catch up sooner!

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers

Another book club pick.  I was turned off by the Introduction section of the book - the author sounded arrogant and self-centered. I read the first couple of chapters and while the first chapter wasn't bad, it just didn't hold my interest. Some paragraphs were VERY long, and yet some pages were filled with just single line dialogs. If I didn't read the Introduction (which was long), I might have actually read a few more chapters of the book. In this case, first impression definitely made a difference, and it wasn't a good one.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline 

I know there were many good reviews of this book as many readers could reminiscent the 80s culture. While it started off interesting and I wanted to find out what happened, the 80s references were too much for me. I didn't grow up in the western world in the 80s (despite Hong Kong had quite a bit of western influences since it was a British colony) and I wasn't into gaming at all (I only played Prince of Persia and Breakout for a little bit), so I couldn't really relate or be nostalgic about it. I did like the main protagonist's voice, but just was not interested in the content. There were quite a few footnotes which were distracting. Also, if this was set in 2044 (33 years in the future), would people still be blogging or emailing and using laptop? Maybe people would still blog or email, but somehow I doubt laptop would still be in use...

Mirror Image (Daniel Rinaldi Mystery) by Dennis Palumbo

Found this while browsing the library. I thought I'd be interested in this one because the main protagonist, Dr. Daniel Rinaldi, was a psychologist who consulted with the Pittsburgh Police. But I had to stop around p82 - I didn't hate him, but he didn't grow on me and I just didn't really care what happened to him. Many characters were introduced but that was just it - no development. Granted, I didn't read that many pages but it was only 250 pages long so I'd already read 1/3 of it. It was actually the first in a series but it read as though you should already know who the characters were. Most reviews were good though and said it had good twists... but I was impatient.

The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta
I was intrigued by the premise of this novel - "What if—whoosh, right now, with no explanation—a number of us simply vanished?  Would some of us collapse? Would others of us go on, one foot in front of the other, as we did before the world turned upside down?" I stopped about 60 pages because I got bored. It seemed to speak in a monotone. I also didn't really care about the characters I read so far... and the people who joined the cult after the Rapture all took up smoking even if they were totally against it before? It just didn't seem to make sense. I decided to checkout some 1 Star Goodreads review to see why people didn't like it, and to see if it was worthwhile to continue reading. I found a review that confirmed where I think the book was going, so I decided it's not worth my time... That's too bad, great premise, but not the execution style I like.

Best Kept Secret: A Novel by Amy Hatvany

Many reviews said this book read very real, even though this was fiction. I found that the author was a recovering alcoholic, so this was based on her own experience. It started off well, I could understand her guilt and pretense and avoidance, her love for her child, the fall out with the husband, and her relationship with her mother. However, I read about 1/3 of it and still nothing much happened... if you had follow my blog for a while, you know I prefer plot-driven than character-driven novel. I appreciate good characters, but I still need SOMETHING to happen instead of just their feelings and all. Also the story went back and forth between pre- and post- rehab without any clear indication of where the story time line was, and it got a bit confusing.


  1. I like the wham bam reviews for DNF's and Juju actually. Can I just say I'm excited I wasn't a recommender this time, lol. I had considered Leftovers but it never officially made my Wishlist.

  2. @Marce - hahaha I don't discriminate who recommends :) I was hoping the Leftovers would talk more about why it happened, and not just what people do after it happened... I think since I like the murder/mystery genre, I need to know the why/how and not just what :)

  3. @Marce - forgot to say, I like the wham bam too - esp for DNF since I can't talk much about the book apart from why I couldn't finish. Some other books I have more to share... maybe for those I don't have too much to share I'd do wham bam.

  4. I had heard of Dave Eggers in his capacity of McSweeney's editor but I hadn't heard of this book and so was interested to find it was one you couldn't finish. I headed over to Goodreads to check out the reviews and I have to say I don't think I've ever seen such mixed bag. It seems this one is a book people either love or hate. I checked out the first couple of pages but they didn't tempt me to read any further. It has to be said I don't particularly 'get' McSweeneys either, although their covers are way cool.

  5. @Susan Bennett - if you want to give Dave Eggers' book a try, I suggest NOT to read the introduction section because it sent off an arrogant tone. Many people in our book club liked it, so it's probably just me. I thought the premise is really interesting, but I just don't like his style.