Category Archives: Reason: LitHub Bingo

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

The author of The Color Purple is a genius at writing in dialect. There is a very obvious difference between the main character’s writing and the letters from her sister, who is described as more intelligent and better educated. The story is told completely through letters, some written by the sister to the main character and the majority written by the main character basically as diary entries. There are no quotation marks, but it works for this book due to the way it is written. Conversations are clear even with the lack of quotation marks. Sometimes the story is tough, but reflects the life of poor blacks in the early 1900s. I can see why it won the Pulitzer Prize.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 120
Pages Read in 2019: 30,979
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Filed under Realistic Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo

The Appointment by Herta Muller

The Appointment is pretty much just stream of consciousness random drivel. It jumps from one memory to the next with no real unifying theme. I suppose it is realistic in that that’s often how we think about our memories, but reading it in a book it’s just awful. There are no quotation marks. There are a lot of colons setting off what people said, but no quotation marks. It’s really a pointless and rather dumb book. I had to force myself to keep reading, thinking for sure it would get better. Nope. The end was just as bad as the rest. I do not recommend reading this book to anyone.

1 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 119
Pages Read in 2019: 30,677
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Filed under Realistic Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo

Gangsterland by Tod Goldberg

With a gangster assassin main character who you can’t help but like, Gangsterland follows Sal Cupertine as he is shipped out of Chicago after making a huge mistake and becomes Rabbi David Cohen of Las Vegas. It’s a little bit slow to get started, but once I got into the story, I really started caring about many of the characters and what happened to them (side note: don’t get too attached because a whole lot of the characters die before the end). There is a fair bit of bad language, but no more than I expected from the author having listened to a bunch of episodes of his podcast, Literary Disco. If you like crime/mafia novels, you’ll love this one!

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 118
Pages Read in 2019: 30,449
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Filed under Annual Wrap-Up, Realistic Fiction, Reason: I Like the Author, Reason: LitHub Bingo

Drown by Junot Diaz

Drown is a collection of short stories about growing up in the Dominican Republic. They are told in a stream of consciousness sort of way with absolutely no quotation marks. Usually lack of quotation marks bugs me, but because of the conversational way the book is written, I think it worked okay not to have them. Sometimes the stories are quite crass and there’s a fair bit of bad language. I didn’t dislike this book, but I didn’t really like it either.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 116
Pages Read in 2019: 29,936
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Filed under Memoir, Reason: LitHub Bingo

The Diary of “Helena Morley” by Helena Morley

Helena Morley, born in 1880, kept a very detailed diary from 1893 until 1895 when she was an early teen growing up in Brazil. It was originally published in Portuguese and then later translated into English. It’s an interesting glimpse into the life of a young teen. There are numerous footnotes explaining words that weren’t translated, who people and places are, and anything else to aid in understanding her diary. The translator always wrote I and Anotherperson instead of Anotherperson and I and that pretty much drove me crazy while reading it. If you are looking for a translated book to read, this is a good enough choice.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 114
Pages Read in 2019: 29,583
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Filed under Memoir, Reason: LitHub Bingo

Aztec Curse by EM Stone

Aztec Curse was kind of a frustrating book to read. The storyline was great. I loved the chapters that went back in time. I loved how the translation of the Codex went along with the story told in those chapters. But the dialogue. It didn’t sound at all like normal conversation. There was a lot of monologuing to explain things and sometimes it didn’t make any sense. For example, explaining archaeology-related things to her father who is also an archaeologist. The sex scene was sudden and weird and not necessary. I suspect it was stuck in there as a plot device to allow the main character to see another character shirtless. There are other ways to get a man shirtless and it really didn’t totally fit the characters to do it how the author chose. It was extremely gory in places. Often overly so. There was a lot of extra stuff that was totally unnecessary. I suppose those scenes helped with character development, but they didn’t move the story along and could have easily been cut. The wrap-up chapter was ridiculously full of monologuing that just recapped in detail what happened in the previous few chapters. It was like the author wanted the other characters to find out what happened and forgot it is boring to go over something the readers already know. The way the main character guessed what was in the Codex was often a huge stretch. Of course she was always exactly right (as proven by the chapters from the past). I did care about most of the characters and what happened to them. As I got near the end I wasn’t sure how the author would possibly be able to wrap it all up in such a short time (she did, and very well other than the recap at the very end). So this was a good book, but it had very definite issues. I almost feel like a bit of its potential was wasted.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 110
Pages Read in 2019: 28,510
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Filed under Reason: LitHub Bingo, Thriller

The Witch of Lime Street by David Jaher

The spiritist movement swept the US and Europe after World War I prompting Scientific American to test mediums to determine if they were the real thing or just performing magic tricks (Houdini was on the committee because he would be very likely to recognize tricks when he saw them). One woman, Margery, seemed promising. That is until Houdini unmasked her as no more authentic than any of the others they had tested. Parts of the book are very fascinating and parts are utterly dull. It’s drawn largely from transcripts of seances, most of which went pretty much the same with minor differences in the details. Because of this, the book is extraordinarily repetitive. If you are very interested in the spiritist movement, The Witch of Lime Street is a decent book to read. You just might want to skim during the boring, repetitive parts.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 107
Pages Read in 2019: 27,276
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Filed under Non-Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo