Thursday, September 30, 2010

September Book Reviews: "The Catcher in the Rye," "The Sun Also Rises," and "Elantris"

My Rating System: *OK, **Good, ***Great

The Catcher in the Rye
by J.D. Salinger
Rating: **+

I'd started this book once before and for whatever reason put it aside. After reading this I have no idea why I would have done such a thing! I had no idea what Catcher in the Rye was about before I started reading this... I only knew it was a 'classic.' The book is about a kid who gets kicked out of college and is worried about going back home to face his parents.

Oddly enough... not a whole lot happens in this book. You ever see "The Breakfast Club?" It's kinda like that. A lot of talking and character development... not a whole lot of action, but it works. And it's enjoyable. I found another classic I actually liked!

by Ernest Hemingway
Rating: **

I must have been in the mood for classics this month, what can I say? So this is another book that I knew was a classic yet I had no idea what it was about. And again it was another book with a lot of talking and character development, but not a whole lot of action. I know in my previous post with the cow picture it sounded as though maybe I didn't like this book. I gave the synopsis of it being about "drunk people going to bull fights." Which is true. But there was also a lot of food and traveling involved. As well as a little bit of fly fishing.

So I actually really liked this book. Yes, the characters were a bunch of alcoholics, but somehow it was able to hold my attention. I thought all the characters were mildly insane, but that's what makes it fun! "A Farewell to Arms" will probably find a spot in my reading line-up shortly.

by Brandon Sanderson

As part of my reading goal this year, I've tried to keep the genre of books somewhat varied. I had never read a fantasy book before and thought maybe I should give it a shot. My wonderful mother-in-law Mama Hanson, and niece Arielle, both read Elantris a while back, so that's why I chose it.

Elantris is about a city called Elantris which was at one point a place of intense beauty and life. It was where the god-like Elantrians, normal people who had been transformed and now had special powers of healing, creation, etc., lived. But then one day some power transformed all the Elantrians from "gods" into the literal walking dead. The Elantrians were then shunned and locked up in Elantris, and any who were unlucky enough to be transformed into Elantrians after this day were thrown into the city, forgotten as if they never existed.

Elantris started out well, but lost a little steam here and there in the middle sections... mainly when there was a lot of talking and meetings and such going on. But, as the story went on I got more and more sucked into it. This was a long one... not sure how many pages (around 500 I think?), but there were 24 CDs... so it took me over a month to get through it. The narrator was pretty good and there were a lot of twists and mysteries throughout, so it made for a good audiobook. I wouldn't say the writing was anything spectacular, but it was enjoyable. Enjoyable enough at least to make me start reading another fantasy series... The Wheel of Time.


Paul said...

Karen! I always enjoy your book reviews. This one especially, because I've read a couple of these. First off, I've read Catcher in the Rye and thought I must have been at the wrong place in my life because it was a little hard to relate to Holden. I found him selfish and misanthropic. I think if I had been 15 it would have been perfect. But I do see why a lot of people have a personal connection to the book.

Also (this doesn't relate exactly to your books, but you used the word "genre" which made me think of it) I have a suggestion for you. A Brief History of the Dead, which falls somewhere between SciFi genre and literature. It's told in two parrallel stories; one on earth in the near future and one in the afterlife. I won't tell too much more in case you do read it. One of the best books I've read in the last few years. (Don't tell me if you hate it).

Karen said...

Paul- I don't think I liked Catcher in the Rye because of any sort of relatability towards Holden. I thought he was selfish and misanthropic as well. I can't tell you why exactly I liked it... maybe I just thought he was a little bit crazy.

And thanks for the book suggestion! I'm always open to those sorts of things... especially SciFi... don't think I've read any SciFi yet!

Holly said...

I've read Catcher in the Rye, but honestly don't remember much about it. I think it might be one I shoudl revisit.