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10 Second Book Reviews – Stuff I’ve Read Lately

Remember when I said I was going to read 52 books in 2013?

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Bet you thought I quit that noise, didn’t you? Tossed my lofty stack of paperbacks to the side, and said “the hell with it”! – content to do nothing but eat peanut M&M’s and watch Teen Mom in a ball of shame and self-loathing for the rest of my life;

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…..all the while wiping away my tears and spilled wine droplets with pages of my abandoned Infinite Jest.

Well guess what fools? You’re WRONG. Or at least partially wrong. The Teen Mom and chocolate are still happening, I’m just reading books too! (and they’re MILK chocolate M&Ms, so take that haters!!)

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I’m currently on book 36, and since I haven’t done any reviews in a while, I thought I’d catch you all up to speed on some of what I’ve been reading lately- in 10 seconds or less! Kind of like that Nicholas Cage movie…

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……….except nothing like that Nicholas Cage movie.

Iris Has Free Time

by Iris Smyles

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I think a more apt title for this book would have been “Iris is annoying”. (Good one, Breezyk!) Billed by reviewers as “for fans of HBO’s Girls”, the book- which is basically a collection of thinly-veiled semi-autobiographical essays – follows 20-something “Iris” (wonder where she came up with that one), a recent college grad with dreams of becoming a writer, as she gets drunk navigates New York City.

While some of the stories were charming and even funny, I had a hard time relating to Iris. I found her privileged, self-absorbed and desperately seeking attention (not that I would know anything about that).

Listen, I’m all for writing your own memoir as a 20-something who has done nothing remarkable in her life (hellooo.. this blog); but at the very least, find something relevant or funny to talk about besides just your “pink-outs” (which Iris calls being black-out drunk, “because she’s a girl”. Ugh.).

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I give it: 1.5/5  Intellectual Dachshunds

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A Hologram For the King

by Dave Eggers

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After Finishing Iris, this book was a breath of fresh- albeit slightly melancholic- air. The novel follows Alan Clay, a middle-aged divorcee who has been straight up bum-rushed by the recession and can’t afford to put his daughter through college. In a last-ditch attempt to turn his luck around and finally “do something great”, he goes to Saudi Arabia to make a presentation to the elusive King Abdullah in the hope of selling him hologram technology.

 [Insert 2Pac reference here].

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It’s a book where not much happens, but a lot happens at the same time.. which probably makes no sense, but just know that it’s pretty great. Dave Eggers’ writing style is extremely readable, and I was hooked from the very first page. I  also learned that the book is being made into a film starring Tom Hanks, which I’m excited about.  This book would be great to read over the fall, or to give as a gift- particularly for the men in your life. (So I’m giving it to no one). 

I give it: 4/5 Intellectual Dachshunds

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One Last Thing Before I Go

by Jonathan Tropper

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In a word? Meh. I had read his book “This Is Where I Leave You” before and thought it was just so-so, but I thought I’d give him another shot. 

I was underwhelmed. In fact, I actually forgot I even read it when compiling this list. The story surrounds washed-up musician Drew Silver, who after suddenly falling ill, is told that without brain surgery, he might die. Rather than go through with it, he instead takes a long-ass time to “think things over”- and in the meantime we are treated to a heavy dose of his middle-aged malaise and baby mama drama.  I thought when reading it that it could easily become a second-rate romantic comedy- and lo and behold, I find out it IS  going to become a second-rate romantic comedy…. so we can all look forward to that. 

2/5 Intellectual Dachshunds

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Middlesex

by Jeffrey Eugenides

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A.Maz.Ing. One of the top 5 books I’ve ever read. (Which I guess makes sense, since it won the Pulitzer and all). Although it’s really about a lot of things, the book at its center is about a rare genetic mutation as it moves from one generation to the next of a Greek-American immigrant family. I won’t spoil the surprise- because it’s worth discovering on your own.

Although it was long, and a bit of a saga at times (took me over a month to get through) it was well worth it. The word “masterpiece” literally comes to mind when I think about this book. Ok I will stop gushing now and pretending I know anything about literature.. but seriously, Go and read it!

4.5/5 Intellectual Dachshunds

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Question of the Day: What Great Book Have You Read Lately?

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29 thoughts on “10 Second Book Reviews – Stuff I’ve Read Lately

  1. I especially liked the aggressive opening to this post, immediately putting any doubters in their place. Classic keepin’ the peace tactic.

    I’ve been on another WWII run so have read lots of groovy stuff this year. The most interesting one was Spitfire Women of WWII, a book about the 166 female pilots who flew Spitfires, Hurricanes, and all the large bombers during WWII. They weren’t allowed into combat but their job was almost as dangerous in some ways and some of the prejudice they faced was appalling.

  2. I really enjoy Jonathan Tropper’s books. For me they are a good easy read, something to help you forget about your chaotic/boring/meh life for awhile. I have been wanting to read Middlesex but honestly…I am a little scared (lol). I may have to give it a try. Thanks!

    • I can see the appeal to Jonathan troopers books for sure but I guess they just don’t speak to me so much. You should for sure read middlesex but if you’re scared maybe start with Jeffrey Eugenides’ latest book The Marriage Plot which is a bit lighter :)

  3. Way to go! I am glad that you took the time to read, eat chocolate and watch reality tv. Those are a lot of hobbies. I am sure that you can handle it.
    I have read a few books recently all of which I would recommend.
    -Nothing Personal: Seeing Beyond the illusion of a Separate Self- Nirmala
    -Why Not? James Weaver
    -Buddha’s Brain by Rick Hanson
    -Amaze Yourself: Take a Quantum Leap by Dr. Jill Ammon-Wexler
    -Essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson- Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Take a read at one of these sometime. :-)

  4. So Middlesex was a masterpiece and it your top 5 ever and you only gave it 4.5 on your daschound scale? What is it going to take to get a 5? The top 4? In other news, good reviews. I can’t wait to read Iris has Free Time, because I love entitled 20 year old snobs that have pink outs.

    • Haha I actually did that just to get a reaction out of you because you’ve harped me before about never giving 5’s.. Glad you took the bait ;) and good thing you like entitled 20somethings – you’ve come to the right place!

      • I have harped on you about that already? Well good. You’re like that critic on Ratatioue. It’s gonna take someone that writes about their time as a teen in Nova Scotia to get you to give them a 5. Course my reviews are nowhere near top marks either, so I guess I shouldn’t talk.

  5. I like how you do reviews. i struggle to write about the books i read as part of my read every day habit. I worry I’ll say too much and ruin it. I’ll have to check out Middlesex – could be a good follow up to the terrible vampire love story by Christopher Moore that I recently suffered through. Best of my recent reads was Ann Patchetts State of Wonder

  6. Pingback: Friday Five | The Camel Life

  7. Middlesex is definitely one of the best books I have ever read. I have enjoyed it a lot and I have read it twice and I am still amazed every freaking time. Another book that I enjoyed is Evanovich’s Takedown Twenty. A lot of people seem to disagree but I am a huge fan and I found the read very riveting. It is not as great as Middlesex (of course) but I still loved it. Here are some reviews for those who are interested: http://www.bookworld.com.au/book/takedown-twenty/37919094/

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