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My Reviews

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
 
Informative, Dramatic, Insightful
Powerful story

I never in a million years would have selected this book to read. I was never expecting to relate to the story or the characters. In the first 30 pages I was hooked. Hosseini does a fantastic job capturing the voice of his characters. I could not put it down and even more surprising to me I gained an appreciation for a part of the world I will most likely never see and never though I would understand.

 
Inspiring, Informative, Insightful
Great story, but not a great story teller.

I loved this story. I had trouble, however, with the story-teller. I still would recommend it to other book clubs as it provides such a rich subject matter for discussion. My issues with the author's style has to do with his overly flowery prose, his detailed focus on a romantic relationship that was not germain at all to the story but measly details about the hero's wife (I wonder if a female author would have told much differently). As well as descriptive details that seem out of place, or leaves you wondering "how could the author have known that". All that aside, it is a wonderful story.

Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
 
Confusing, Pointless, Informative
Fell short of expectations

I was very exicted to read a Faulks book, however i was disappointed with this particular one. The story spends a lot of time in the trenches and tunnels during WWI, interesting in that i did learn a lot about warfare during this period. However, one wonders why so much time was spent detailing this.

Cloud Atlas: A Novel by David Mitchell
 
Brilliant, Interesting, Insightful
Mental gymnastics

I liked the idea of this book, but it was an exhausting read. I was left with the feeling of "just because you can doesn't mean you should", ie just because the author can craft a nifty new way of telling a story (or 7 or 8) doesn't make it fun to read.
Others in my book club liked it. Perhaps I look for a bit more relaxation in my books than mental callesthenics.

 
Confusing, Adventurous, Slow
Was expecting more

I was excited to read this book, but the addage that you cannot judge a book by its cover is right on the money. The back of the book jacket quotes spectacular reviews, and being half Jewish I was excited about the premise of the book. While I do not have a full command of Yiddish, I do know more than most and I found the prose hard to follow. Not sure if that was due to the heavy Yiddish throughout the book, or something else entirely. In the spirit of full disclosure, I did not finish the book, about half way through I gave up.

In the Country of Men by Hisham Matar
 
Interesting but fell short of expectations

I found "In the Country of Men" a bit disapointing as I was reading it. Perhaps it was not fair to read this book after "Three Cups of Tea", "Thousand Splendid Suns" and Benezir Bhutto's book. The writing was beautiful and author captured the voice of the 9 year old character who tells the story.

The main difference and I think what I found disappointing was this book highlighted how different my culture (western) is from his culture. There were cruel parts of the character's personality and a coldness that made it hard to sympathize with his plight.

All in all I did like the book, I just found it a bit disheartening.

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