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abookaweek: week thirty-two

2011 August 15
tags: ,
by Romy

A Moveable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway

I can’t believe I only paid around $5 or so for this book. When you think about it, that really isn’t enough of a reward for a piece of writing like this.

This collection of short memoirs paints the picture of Paris life in the 1920s, when every genius/crazy writer was living there. I loved it mostly for the romanticism – Hemingway did an excellent job of describing how poor they were, then talking about spending entire days writing in caf├ęs while drinking wine and eating lavish things. He discusses his displeasure with the way F. Scott Fitzgerald supported himself (by writing stories he knew would sell well, rather than stories he knew were good) and apparently managed to keep his own family afloat and spend entire winters in a nice chalet in Austria, by writing only the best stories, even if they would not sell.

But the real reason you need to read this is because it offers a peek behind the curtain, and you discover that Fitzgerald was a hypochondriac, married to a jealous woman, and insecure about the size of his penis.

Best $5 I ever spent.

Beauty Queens, by Libba Bray

I was so glad I could read this on my kindle because I could not face the outside world carrying around a book with a cover like that.

Never ever would I have read this if it hadn’t been for this, and I’m not sure that I’m glad I did. The book club itself was a lot of fun – it was nice to talk to like-minded people, but I still don’t like this book. The major flaw for me was how lazily Bray tries to bring her point across: that we live in a consumerist society where girls have to live up to inane expectations. Sure, we all know that’s true, and it is fun to read a story based on that, but because it’s a YA novel aimed at younger girls who do not possess the wealth of knowledge that I have, everything is dumbed down to the point that I felt my brain cells running away as I read on.

The characters are stereotypical and not likeable, the side stories distract and detract from the main plot line, and a whole bunch of irrelevant characters and plot devices are stuffed into the book in an effort to make the story meatier.

The only redeeming point is the plot itself, which is crazy entertaining, but it’s not enough to redeem the book for me.

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