DNF: Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

Eligible (The Austen Project, #4)

Date read: May 28 to 30, 2018

This book has been called the modern Pride & Prejudice all over the bookish blogosphere, and that was the first thing that got me interested in reading it. That is until I actually read it and found it to be… ridiculous.

But maybe I should explain further. I personally don’t think it’s possible to rewrite a P&P suitable for our modern times because the social and economic consequences of marrying outside one’s class no longer carry the same stigma (at least not in most Western societies), and so a modern tale about the Bennet sisters’ plight would not have nearly the same impact as the original. It wouldn’t have any impact at all tbh. That whole “want of proprietary” thing and having mortifying parents wouldn’t work at all either.

Plus, this book is a collection of first-world problems and I could not get through more than 10% before wanting to set it on fire.

I mean…

Liz is a writer for a magazine, and Jane is a yoga instructor; both currently living in New York.

After their father falls ill, they return to their hometown Cincinnati only to find the family a mess–mother still high-strung, younger sisters still ridiculous–and their childhood home falling down around them.

Since Jane is single and approaching 40–OH THE HUMANITY–their mother has to get her married off soon or else… I have no idea what “or else” means. This isn’t Victorian England, and the family estate isn’t entailed. Perhaps a yoga instructor’s salary isn’t as comfortable as one would hope, but it isn’t quite destitution either. So I really don’t get the desperate picture the author is trying to paint here.

But anyhow, back to the story.

Enters two wealthy eligible bachelors.

Bingley is a handsome, charming, easy-going doctor who just moved to town, AND he’s got an equally handsome and bankable (bangable?) best friend. But Darcy is a curmudgeon. More than that though, he’s a neurosurgeon. And this was precisely where I stopped reading. Couldn’t take it anymore.

Curtis Sittenfeld’s modern updates to this classic are surprisingly shallow. I was expecting more, maybe something clever or poignant with a little humor, because of all the praise this book has gotten. But really, it’s like any other contemporary romance out there, and the prose itself is nothing special. I honestly don’t see what everyone sees in this book.

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Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1) by Sarah J. Maas

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Rating: (DNF)
Date Read: August 04 to 05, 2016
Recommended by: the Vaginal Fantasy Group’s alt pick
Recommended to:

DNF @ 38% because slow and boring.

I don’t think this book would have worked for me in any mood. There’s just too much that bothered and not enough to entice. Not even the fae “mythology” was interesting enough to pull me in. Not to mention the meandering writing featuring a young “feisty” protagonist and her long-suffering POV were a huge hindrance.

Plus, there’s an overwhelming “YA-ness” to the writing that irked me: lots of self-evaluating inner monologues; lots of discussion of good vs. evil; lots of self-righteousness; lots of characters to hate; lots of descriptions of lavish clothing and decor; lots of ridiculous “logic.” And to top it off, the “beast” wasn’t a beast but a beautiful cursed fairy lord in a mask–OMG, so frightening–and the heroine was an overly self-righteous, self-sacrificing caricature. It’s hard for me to believe this book isn’t a parody of high fantasy YA.

I completely lost interest around 15% when the main character Feyre killed a fairy lord in wolf form and wasn’t punished for it–because a life for a life made too much sense in this world? Instead she was offered a chance to live out the rest of her life in leisure in the opulent fairy realm. As punishment. That’s her “punishment” for killing a fairy. Rolled my eyes so hard I sprained a muscle.

But I pressed on anyway to no avail. Finally had to give in when it looked like nothing was happening and that Feyre and the beast were just frolicking through the fairy countryside for a couple hundred pages.

Review: The Black Prism by Brent Weeks

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Rating: (abandoned; never to return…?)
Date read: August 27 to October 04, 2013
Read count: Chapters 1 to 3

After more than a month of making very little progress, I think I’m done with this book and, to an extent, done with Brent Weeks.

Prejudices are hard to put aside when you know you don’t like what the author has previously written. With that said, this book isn’t as bad as I thought. It’s actually much better than The Way of Shadows. (That’s a compliment, btw.)

So I am marking this as “read” as a note to myself that I will not be returning to reread at a later time.

— — — — —

Even though I hated Weeks’ Nightangel series (that name will never not be hilarious), a friend suggested I should do away with prejudices and general distaste for Weeks’ writing and give this book a chance. You won’t regret it, he promised. I better not, was my response.

Original review can be found here.

Review: Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire #1) by Mark Lawrence

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Rating: (abandoned)
Date read: January, 2013
Read count:

I got as far as the first rape and pillage scene and that was quite far enough, and then I was told by a friend, who wanted to save me the trouble of reading, that that scene was only just one scene of its “sort” and that more like it were littered across the series. I couldn’t thank this friend enough.

Every year, I stumble over a horrible fantasy book and I’m beginning to believe it’s a quota I have to fill. Good thing I got it out of the way early this year.

— — — — —

I don’t read about rapists, especially not from the rapist’s POV.

This story begins with violence and then it expects sympathy–or at least empathy–for the main character, a vile rapist who goes on to lead a band of equally vile characters. I just don’t buy it. On top of that, the vile rapist is a child, barely a teenager, and readers are supposed to believe that one day he’s going to rule the land. May that day never come.

— — — — —

It was hard to read this book without comparing it to Joe Abercrombie’s The Blade Itself, the first installment of a similarly violent fantasy series which really impressed me. It was Abercrombie’s sense of humor and strong writing capabilities that held the series together and kept it from becoming another dismal violent fantasy. That is the sense that I did not get from Mark Lawrence’s writing, and coupled with what I saw as a writing gimmick–violence for the sake of violence–made this book an unbearable read that I had to abandon (never to return? probably).

Original review to be found here.

Review: Room by Emma Donoghue

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Rating: (abandoned)
Date read: December, 2012
Read count:

Someone saw me reading this book in the lobby and wanted to save me from the hassle of getting to the end by spoiling it. Thank you, random stranger. I guess.

I think I got as far as the child’s first memory of the patterns on the walls or ceiling. Or maybe it was when it was revealed that the room was the whole world to the child. Up to that point, it was an interesting but uncomfortable read, and I couldn’t figure out why that was. Probably has much to do with the feeling of imprisonment. There’s a sense of suffocation I feel as I was reading. And then the story was spoiled and I realized that person had saved me a lot of valuable time because the ending was predictable.

Original review can be found here.

Review: Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades, #1) by E. L. James

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Rating: (abandoned)
Date read: September, 2012
Read count:

There’s bad fanfiction, there’s awful fanfiction, and then there’s whatever this is supposed to be.

On the other hand, it’s almost as if this book was written to be read aloud by uninvited drunk dinner party guests.

I think an audiobook set that’s narrated by Gilbert Gottfried and George “OH, MYYYY” Takei (for the inner goddess monologues) would be a huge hit with the internet crowd.

Original review can be found here.

Review: A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1) by George R. R. Martin

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Rating: (abandoned)
Date read: August, 2011
Read count:

If I had finished, I would have given this book a 4 or 4 ½ rating. It’s that good and well-written, which you don’t often see in fantasy. But sadly, I had to put it back on the self, as hard as that was, because I heard from a friend that main characters have a tendency to get killed off indiscriminately throughout the series. I just don’t see myself enjoying a series that does that so casually, and had I continued, I think I’d end up resenting all the work and effort I put into reading and then I’d probably end up hating the series. So it was best to leave while I could.

Maybe one day when GRRM is done writing and there’s a definite last man/woman standing at the throne, I’d pick up this book again.

Original review can be found here.

Review: We Are Anonymous: Inside the Hacker World of LulzSec, Anonymous, and the Global Cyber Insurgency

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Rating: (abandoned)
Date read: July, 2011
Read count:

The investigation and subsequent expositions started out promising while generating lots of interest regarding the masked anons behind Anonymous. Olson also goes to great lengths to describe what Anonymous and explain its “humble” beginnings. She then focuses on a few main players and delved deeper into their personal lives, motivations, involvement, leadership, and ultimate goals.

All of this was really interesting to follow along at first, but the more I read about the inner workings of Anonymous the less I was interested in the stories Olson was trying to tell. These so-called characters are ultimately selfish and nothing more. Once that realization hit me, I backed off from the book, though I promised myself I’d pick it up again… some day. One of these days.

Original review to be found here.