Summer Crossing by Truman Capote
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
This is technically Truman Capote's first novel. Thought lost for many years, it wasn't published until 2005, several years after his death. Maybe for a good reason? As I read about Grady McNeil, the heroine of Summer's Crossing (and I use the term heroine loosely), I kept thinking of Holden Caulfield, the hero of Catcher in the Rye. Two main characters both teenagers, both set in the same time period (late 1940's). I came to one conclusion: Holden would definitely think Grady was a phony. I didn't really finish. I just sort of skimmed and then skipped to the (really lame) ending. Don't worry Mr. Capote, I won't judge you on the basis of this one novel you never intended to publish.
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. Truly one of the most incredible stories I have ever read. Hillenbrand is an incredible writer. Zamperini is inspiration from beginning to end. I read this in less than 24 hours.
NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children by Po Bronson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was a GREAT read. SO interesting. Two journalists compile studies/research on new insights into parenting. Best part about this book was that each chapter stood on it's own. (It wasn't like a Malcolm Gladwell book where on theme is discussed throughout the entire book. I love Gladwell but sometimes it gets a bit tedious.) My favorite chapters: praise, sleep, science of teenage rebellion, and teaching children self control. REALLY insightful, made me re-think some of my parenting. Warning: you'll probably want to talk about this book with everyone you come in contact with.
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Dear Mr. Steinbeck,
Honestly, I've tried. And I'm just not a fan. You should know first of all that you write beautifully. It's your subjects I don't like. Specifically in this case, sociopaths. I'm really not interested in reading a book about sociopaths, first Charles and then Cathy. I have no frame of reference for these characters. I can't relate to them at all. They creep me out.
I know, I know, it's an allegory. It's referenced from the Bible. It just doesn't interest me.
And here is a free tip: when you have a story that is good vs. evil the reader should like the character that is "good." I didn't like Adam. I didn't relate to him either. I can't relate to anyone in this book.
One last thing, and I hope I can describe this correctly. I don't like the immediate finality with which you describe your characters. For example Samuel is the friendly, happy guy who is a genius but will never be able make a living. You know this from the very beginning. You leave nothing for the reader to guess, wonder, or watch unfold. Every character was trapped by themselves, unable to change.
I short, I think we have a completely different philosophies on life and human nature, which is probably why I didn't really like this book.
(Disclosure: I didn't finish it. Maybe it got better after the first 200 pages? I didn't care to find out.)
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