Wednesday, October 10, 2012

2 Book Reviews, Including Gone Girl (are you happy, Laur?)

My review of Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn, is going to be very short.  It's not because I didn't like it, but, rather, because I can't take a chance of giving any of the story away.  I had been told by Donna that she loved the book, and that it really picked up about half-way through.  Phil agreed but not as wholeheartedly.  They're both right.  As you know, the only reason I read it was because of the guilt (administered publicly, I might add) that I got from Lauren.  She "pointed out" that as a book blogger, I "perhaps" needed to overcome my own prejudices and read something that a lot of my own readers had read and liked - and that many others were planning to read.  To show how much attention I (have to!) pay to comments, I agreed.  So here we are.

Let me give you a very brief synopsis:  Nick and Amy Dunne have been married 5 years.  The first 2 years were spent in New York.  Then, Nick gets a call from his twin sister, in North Carthage, Missouri, that their mother has contracted a deadly disease, and he needs to come home.  On the celebration of their 5th anniversary, and after 3 years in North Carthage, Amy disappears.  That's it.  That's all you're getting.

Let me just say this and move on.  The 2nd half of the book DOES justify the 1st half.  The twists and turns are truly awesome.  The 1st half was okay/decent.  I wasn't bored, but I wasn't jazzed either. The 2nd half simply takes off.  If the 1st half were anywhere near as good as the 2nd half, then I would definitely put it in Volume IV of Fiction for the Non-Fiction Reader.  As it stands now, it's a toss-up.  The bottom line is:  Read the darn thing.

The next book is called Rules of Civility by Amor Towles.  I know I've said this many times, but this is a book that I would never have read if it weren't tied to a particular book event.  Since I am not available to go to the Books, Inc. book club meeting in October (I will be at Center for the Performing Arts to see Memphis!), I decided to attend my first book club meeting (this book club thing is starting to grow on me) at the Los Gatos Library.  Rules of Civility is their choice for October.

I liked this book, but I'm not sure why it was selected.  The story revolves around Katey Kontent, a young, mid-'20's woman in New York City.  She is a native New Yorker that comes from a very modest upbringing and ends up flirting with high society.  This all takes place in the year 1938 (the book is divided into 4 sections, corresponding to the seasons).  The book actually begins with her and her husband in an art gallery, 28 years later (1966 for those who have questionable math skills), looking at a series of photographs.  2 of them depict an affluent banker that Katey knew very well during the year that the book takes place.  Seeing the pictures takes her back to that year.

Maybe after the book club meeting (October 16) I will better understand why the book was selected (I'll concede the possibility that the librarian had reasons for picking this one that I, even with my super-abundant knowledge, don't get).  As for now, I would say it's a good book and would recommend it for those who like to read about strong, independent women.  Maybe the combination of that and a depiction of New York high society in the late '30's is enough for you.  It was enough for me to like it but not necessarily enough for me to say you have to read it.

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