Hello all, and welcome back to Reading While Female. I just got back from a lovely vacation at the beach, and just yesterday I arrived in Alaska, where I am visiting my parents. As you can imagine, all of this travel means that I've had lots of time to read. Today I'm going to do some short reviews of three books I read while on vacation.
I was really looking forward to The Remains of the Day. Not only did it win the Booker Prize and get turned into a movie, but Ishiguro's book Never Let Me Go is one of my all time favorites. You can imagine my disappointment when The Remains of the Day turned out to be mediocre at best, a warmup for books like Never Let Me Go. Both of these books were introspective, told through flashbacks, and didn't have much in the way of plot. While Never Let Me Go had both character development and some final meaning or conclusion, The Remains of the Day lacked both of these elements, and ended up flat and boring. I still believe that Ishiguro is a good writer, and his prose is always lyrical and contemplative, but I cannot in good faith recommend The Remains of the Day.
Rating: 3 stars
Writing style good, lack of plot, lack of character development. Would not recommend.
I don't usually read YA books. They just aren't my thing. But, I do love Sherman Alexie, so I decided to try his book Flight. While his book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian was thoroughly enjoyable, I found Flight to be a bit more pedantic and not quite as realistic. I think it might be for a slightly younger audience than I thought, but it was definitely a bit more trite than I was expecting, especially since many of the reviews I've read of it called it gritty or dark. It wasn't a bad book, and it was definitely better than many YA books I've read, but I would restrict it to the intended audience rather than recommend it for people my age.
Rating: 3 stars
Accessible writing, slightly trite and pedantic, intended for a younger audience.
First of all, I have to say that I love Bill Bryson. He has a sort of honest childlike enthusiasm for knowledge that makes him an excellent teacher of any subject, and Shakespeare is no exception. Though it is a very short biography, it does what many Shakespeare biographies fail to do: it sticks to the facts, and is honest about how little we can know about Shakespeare's life. He gives us the basic facts and separates the supposition from the easily proven. While it isn't exhaustive, it is definitely an accessible, honest, and accurate picture of Shakespeare's life, as much as we can know it.