[Novel] Angle of Repose (Wallace Stegner)

angle of repose

book

A fascinating account of the frontier-era USA that’s inspired by real people and even weaves some of their actual authentic letters into the plot.

Positive:
Negative:
Interesting, profound characters
The story isn’t particularly exciting
A relatively interesting plot inspired by real historical facts
Enlightening on the frontier-era USA
Advertisements

[Novel] Journey to the End of the Night (Louis-Ferdinand Céline)

journey to the end of the night

book

A fantastic adventure through early 20th century France, USA, and the African colonies with one of the most entertaining protagonists ever.

Every sentence in this novel is brimming with savage and painfully poignant cynicism that will either make you cry or roll on the floor laughing… or both.

I don’t think I’ve been this entertained by a novel since Catch-22.

Positive:
Negative:
Sarcastic, entertaining prose
Multiple interesting and exotic settings
Fantastic profound, likable, entertaining characters
Involving, relatively fast-paced plot with not a single boring passage
A story that encompasses everything that is wrong with mankind
Genuinely funny and savage cynical humor
Enlightening on the life in early 20th century France, USA, and the African colonies
Thought-provoking on life and human culture

 

[Novel] Norwegian Wood (Haruki Murakami)

norwegian wood

book

Norwegian Wood is a bit more grounded in reality than the rest of Haruki Murakami’s works, but it still offers a bunch of quirky but profound characters, and a surprisingly involving plot despite not that much actually happening in the story.

Positive:
Negative:
Pleasant, fast-paced, easy-to-digest prose
Nothing that much memorable actually happens in the story
Likable, quirky, profound characters
A surprisingly involving plot
Enlightening on Japanese culture
Thought-provoking on the meaning of life

[Novel] Duma Key (Stephen King)

duma key

book

A solid horror story you’d expect from Stephen King.

Positive:
Negative:
Simple, but immersing prose
Slow pace
Exotic, pleasant-to-visit setting
Doesn’t offer anything particularly special
Cool, ominous atmosphere
Doesn’t stand out from the rest of Stephen King’s books
Likable, relatively profound characters

[Novel] Titan (John Varley)

Titan

Book

An exploration of a sentient planet that has a strong start and promises a lot of secrets, but turns out to be pretty underwhelming once you reach the end.

Positive:
Negative:
Interesting setting
Underwhelming, disappointing ending
Likable characters
Doesn’t explore much science, instead opting for a more fantasy approach
Strong start with a lot of mysteries

[Novel] Appointment in Samarra (John O’Hara)

Appointment in Samarra

Book

A nihilistic look at the American Dream from the early 20th century where a relatively successful salesman manages to completely ruin his life through a few unfortunate social missteps.

Positive:
Negative:
Pleasant, fast-paced prose
Doesn’t exactly offer anything mind-blowing
Interesting, likable, profound characters
Relatively involving plot
Enlightening on society in early 20th century USA
Thought-provoking on success

[Novel] In the Night Room (Peter Straub)

In the Night Room

Book

A somewhat underwhelming sequel to Lost Boy, Lost Girl that follows one writer’s eerie eerie adventures where he encounters the characters from the previous book.

Positive:
Negative:
Relatively likable characters
The story feels like it was rethought midwriting
A couple of interesting turns in the plot
Doesn’t offer anything to distinguish itself from other books in the genre