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Book Reviews - Recent Reads

Book Title Mr. Vertigo (293 pgs.)
Author Paul Auster
Link Find at Barnes and Noble
Genre Fiction
Rating B+
Who would be interested in this book?
Warnings Slight Racism, Language, and Sexual Content

Summary

A rollicking story of a child, his master, and the Vaudeville circuit, which serves as a metaphor for the American experience in the 20th century.

Publishers Weekly

It will come as no surprise to the gifted Auster's (Moon Palace, The Music of Chance) many fans that walking on air, the implausible premise of his marvelously whimsical seventh novel, is treated with convincing gravity. Walt Rawley recounts his life: an orphan born in 1924 with ``the gift,'' he was seized by his master, Mr. Yehudi, a Hungarian Jew who taught him to levitate. Yehudi takes the boy from St. Louis to his own Kansas menage, which consists of Mother Sioux and Aesop, a young black genius. (Also influencing Walt's life is classy, henna-headed Marion Witherspoon, a seductive mom figure from Wichita.) After harsh training, Walt tours with his mentor as ``the Wonder Boy,'' aka Mr. Vertigo. Crammed into this road saga is the potent Americana of myth: the 1920s carnival circuit, Lindbergh's solo, the motorcar, the ethnic mix, the Ku Klux Klan and the Mob, baseball and Kansas, ``land of Oz.'' Diverse mishaps descend, but eventually Walt glides into old age and writing. The characters speak a lusty lingo peppered with vintage slang, while a postmodern authorial irony tugs their innocence askew. The prose grows particularly electric when demystifying ``loft and locomotion.'' Implicit is an analogy between levitation and the construct of fiction: both require fierce discipline to maintain a fleeting illusion.


My Thoughts

I liked the book a lot, it was well written, and really kept my attention. I was always kept wondering what would happen next, and surprised as to what actually did happened. Mr. Vertigo does have some pretty sad parts in it, and the end could have been better, but all an all a great book.


 

Book Title The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (411 pgs.)
Author Tom Wolfe
Link Find at Barnes and Noble
Genre Literary Biography
Rating B
Who would be interested in this book? Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey, and Naked Lunch: The Restored Text by William S. Burroughs.
Warnings Strong Language, Drug Reference, Sexual Content

Summary
Tom Wolfe's much-discussed kaleidoscopic non-fiction novel, chronicling the tale of novelist Ken Kesey and his band of Merry Pranksters. In the 1960s, Kesey lead a group of psychedelic sympathizers around the country in a painted bus, presiding over LSD-induced "acid tests" all along the way. Long considered one of the greatest books about the history of the hippies, Wolfe's ability to research like a reporter and simultaneously evoke the hallucinogenic indulgence of the era ensures that this book, written in 1967, will live long in the counter-culture canon of American literature.

My Thoughts
I loved the book, it was a long read, but a good one. The book was confusing a lot of the time, but was written as if were on acid. The book was in the perspective of one on drugs, and was well written.
 


Book Title Sharp Objects (254 pgs.)
Author Gillian Flynn
Link Find at Barnes and Noble
Genre Fiction
Rating A
Who would be interested in this book? Beautiful Lies by Lisa Unger, Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk
Warnings Strong Language, Sexual Content, Adult Situations

Summary WICKED above her hipbone, GIRL across her heart

Words are like a road map to reporter Camille Preaker’s troubled past. Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, Camille’s first assignment from the second-rate daily paper where she works brings her reluctantly back to her hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls.

NASTY on her kneecap, BABYDOLL on her leg

Since she left town eight years ago, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed again in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille is haunted by the childhood tragedy she has spent her whole life trying to cut from her memory.

HARMFUL on her wrist, WHORE on her ankle

As Camille works to uncover the truth about these violent crimes, she finds herself identifying with the young victims-a bit too strongly. Clues keep leading to dead ends, forcing Camille to unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past to get at the story. Dogged by her own demons, Camille will have to confront what happened to her years before if she wants to survive this homecoming.

With its taut, crafted writing, Sharp Objects is addictive, haunting, and unforgettable.


My Thoughts
I started this book while at work, and I couldn't put it down. This book, was simply amazing considering it was her first book. I loved the writing style, kind of similar to Palahniuk's style. In the middle I had kinda guessed what direction the book was headed to. Then, at the last minute it completely surprised me. This is definately a new favorite of mine.



Book Title Invisible Monsters (278 pgs.)
Author Chuck Palahniuk
Link Find at Barnes and Noble
Genre Fiction
Rating A+
Who would be interested in this book? Chuck Palahniuk fans, Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
Warnings Adult Situations, Language, Drug Use, Sexual Content

Summary
She's a fashion model who has everything: a boyfriend, a career, a loyal best friend. But when a sudden freeway "accident" leaves her disfigured and incapable of speech, she is transformed from the beautiful center of attention to an invisible monster, so hideous that no one will acknowledge she exists. Enter Brandy Alexander, Queen Supreme, one operation away from becoming a real woman, who will teach her that reinventing yourself means erasing your past and making up something better. And that salvation hides in the last places you'll ever want to look.



My Thoughts
Invisible Monsters is by far, one of the better books I have read. I read it non-stop because I couldn't put it down. I loved the way it was written, and the suspense of it all. It was written different than any other book I have read, and that is why I loved it. Invisible Monsters is the book that made Chuck Palahniuk my favorite author.

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  • 3 comments
I enjoyed Mr. Vertigo when I read it last year. It wasn't particularly memorable (as in, I can't remember much of the plot anymore), though.
Yeah, I just read it about a month ago. I loved it, any recommendations?
To be honest, I haven't read anything that wasn't for class in months. I'm stockpiling books for summer vaccay.