Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A pile of book reviews

The Long Secret by Louis Fitzburgh

This is the sequel to the precocious tale of Harriet the Spy, which I had read some time ago. I like Harriet the Spy, this one, not so much.


Harriet the Spy refuses to become ruffled when an unidentified person starts leaving disturbing notes all over the quiet little beach town of Water Mill. She’s determined to discover the author of the notes. And she drags her best friend, mousy Beth Ellen, into all kinds of odd and embarrassing situations in her efforts to reveal the culprit. Observing in her own special, caustic way with her ever-present notebook, Harriet the Spy is on the case. But will she be ready to face the truth when she finds it?


The Long Secret

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I like the book towards the end. When the characters shows more heart and emotion. I appreciate the ending.

However, this book felt bland . I like the first book well enough, but this one, I need to force myself to continue reading it.

I have no idea why I have a hard time imagining the story. Usually I have no difficulties in building the world the characters live in, in my min. However this book, make me feel dull and without imagination. Whenever I pictured the character it is against a white canvas. They interact with nothing. They only have emotions which we are not given glimpses of. Yes, even emotional Harriet, feel lifeless to me.

Maybe I am the only one who feel this way. Maybe I am just depressed when I am reading this book. But joy, is not what this book bring forth in me.


The Rest of Our Lives by Jeannie Johnson

The Second World War is now over and people must count the cost. Three women from very different backgrounds meet when they find themselves on Bristol Temple Meads station waiting for the return of their loved ones. Edna's fiance Colin comes home crippled. Charlotte's doctor husband, who was a loving and gentle father, returns a violent, disturbed man with no love for her and even less for their children. Polly, who is waiting for her GI boyfriend Aaron, is once again disappointed when he doesn't arrive. Adjusting to men who are very changed and, in Polly's case, to no man at all, is the core of this story. However, during the war years, the women have had to cope. They too have changed, and they harbor secrets that would be best kept


The Rest of Our Lives

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed the book wholeheartedly and it was a fast read. Manage to finish it in 2 days.

I'd always been interested in the stories regarding women during the war. The one that were left behind and kept waiting . I like the characters setup, though Edna pisses me of with her indecisiveness. The writing is simple and no nonsense which I appreciated.

I guess towards the end, I felt like there's could be something more. Whatever that is I don't know which is why the 3 stars.

All in all, it was an enjoyable read.


Waiter Rant by Steve Dublanica

In this book, the pseudonymous Steve Dublanica (a.k.a. Dan John Miller) achieves for waiters what Anthony Bourdain did for cooks in Kitchen Confidential. By the evidence of Waiter Rant, not even his seminary classes or job as a psychiatric worker could prepare Dublanica adequately for what he would experience pulling shifts at an upscale restaurant outside New York City. He tells story after entertaining story about customers, co-workers, and bosses who range individually from the imperious to the clinically insane. Along the way, the author-waiter delivers sound advice on proper tip etiquette and the art of getting good service

Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip-Confessions of a Cynical Waiter

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I had been a fan of the Waiter Rant blog. Nowadays after the publication of this book, his update had been sporadic.

Anyway, on this book, I enjoyed reading it, but as a person who had read all entries in his blog, I guess, it feels redundant. Except for a few chapters, I felt like I had read most of the sordid true tales in the blog, and it was rehashed with more words in the book. The flow of the book is a bit uneven, felt disjointed from one chapter to the next. Like many other reviews before this, it felt like you are reading a collection of blog entries. I wouldn't say he is not a good writer, his style of writing is entertaining, though at times it feels like it is trying a bit too hard to be too philosophical (whenever he start waxing poetic philosophical stuffs, I tend to skip those paragraphs) and at times trying too much to be funny, when a simple fact should suffice.

I guess if you have never read his blog before, you might find it interesting and an enjoyable quick read. If you had, like me, it feels like revisiting entertaining entries while feeling is my money worth spending this much when I can just reread the blog?

(Though I have no regret buying this book as I got it cheap at a warehouse sale. My recommendation is: Anthony Bourdain, Kitchen Confidential for a raw tale of the restaurant industry. ).

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