ebookclassics

Three Mini-Reviews (While Cloud Atlas Keeps Me Busy)

mini

* CONTAINS SPOILERS

Serena by Ron Rash (2008)

Newly married George and Serena Pemberton arrive at the North Carolina camp where they will operate their timber company and barely blink at the pregnant young girl and her father waiting for them. Both Pembertons quickly make it known to everyone they hold the power and no one better mess with them. Something stirs in George about the mayhem he and Serena are creating, but it may be too late.

GOOD: I enjoyed how right off the bat the atmosphere of the story was tense and full of dread, and then the drama slowly unfolded to the very violent end. As much as I disliked the two main characters, there was something mesmerizing about their eerie coldness.

BAD: The pace was a little slow, so you have to be patient with the story.

4/5 Stars

* * *

David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell (2013)

Through various life experiences and moments in history, Malcolm Gladwell explores how what logically could be considered an advantage may really be a disadvantage, and vice versa.

GOOD: I spontaneously decided to listen to this audio book and I’m glad I did because the stories Malcolm Gladwell shares were quite captivating and his ideas were easy to follow. I felt like I gave my brain a stimulating workout trying to think through his theory and how it would apply to my own life.

BAD: I suspect the author’s theory is oversimplified (pretty sure I couldn’t have understood it otherwise) and full of holes, but I don’t think he has ever claimed to be a scientist or to have all the answers.

3.5/5 Stars

* * *

Stone Mattress: Nine Tales by Margaret Atwood

A collection of stories I would describe as having dark undertones, but with the author’s trademark clever wit. The stories center on the themes of life, death, regret and revenge, so there’s definitely something here for everybody.

GOOD: I was impressed with how imaginative and playful some of the stories were, and yet didn’t spill over into silliness. As if Margaret Atwood had a thought and decided to run with it just for fun. My favourite story was “Torching the Dusties” for its commentary on how the elderly are perceived and treated.

BAD: I didn’t connect with the Alphinland series of stories and since they start the collection, it took me some time to get comfortable and feel settled with the book.

4/5 Stars

What did you think of these books? Share your thoughts with me.

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13 comments on “Three Mini-Reviews (While Cloud Atlas Keeps Me Busy)

  1. Naomi
    April 22, 2015

    I loved The Stone Mattress, but some stories more than others. Touching the Dusties was also one of my favourites for the reason you mention, The title story was another one I really liked. It’s been long enough now that I can’t remember them all. She is good at writing about the absurd without making it sound silly.
    Serena sounds good!
    What was the best message you took away from David and Goliath?

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      April 24, 2015

      The title story was probably my second favourite. I guess the best message I took away from David and Goliath is something that is a disadvantage can still have a positive outcome. For instance, Malcolm Gladwell talked about how a disproportionate number of CEOs and business execs had dyslexia growing up. They developed other skills to compensate, worked hard and became extremely successful. Gladwell said of course no one wants their kids to have dyslexia, but the point is that there is always hope for a happy ending.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Brian Joseph
    April 23, 2015

    Thanks for the review of Stone Mattress. I really like Margaret Atwood and I plan to read more of her work soon. I might add a few short stories to my reading and these sound like they are worth a try.

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      April 24, 2015

      I have to admit I’m still not entirely comfortable with short stories because I feel like I need more details, more time with the characters or sometimes I don’t understand what happened. But I really enjoyed Stone Mattress, especially because a majority of the stories were interesting and had a finality to them. Have you read The Dubliners? I’m just thinking of it because of Ulysses. 🙂

      Like

  3. janceewright
    April 23, 2015

    Isn’t Serena a movie now? Have you seen it?

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      April 24, 2015

      Serena is a movie! I’m not sure if it has been released yet. I definitely want to see Jennifer Lawrence play this cool, deadly blonde.

      Like

  4. Amber O (AmberBug)
    April 23, 2015

    I loved that story from the “Stone Mattress” collection, you just brought it back to my mind and now I feel like reading it again. I need to purchase that one, I can see myself going back from time to time to read a few over (plus the cover is gorgeous).

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      April 24, 2015

      I really like the cover too and would like to know the story behind the stacking. Does it mean anything? I liked Torching the Dusties because it was not only charming, but the plot about society turning against the elderly seemed plausible. Thinking of the baby boomers and retirees I know, they wouldn’t go down without a fight either.

      Like

      • Amber O (AmberBug)
        April 24, 2015

        Exactly! I don’t think I would have imagined that exact scenario myself but after reading it, I could definitely see it happening.

        Like

  5. I’ve read one book by Atwood and I’m not sure I want to read anymore. Have you read The Handmaid’s Tale? I didn’t like it. I felt like it was the middle of the story, no real beginning and no real end. She never explained how that world because the way it did. Is this book anything like that?

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      April 24, 2015

      I read The Handmaid’s Tale when I was in high school, so I can’t remember the structure of the story. Lacking a clear beginning, middle, end (or just plain making sense) is one of the problems I have with some short stories. This collection had stories with structure and others that left me muddled, so this not might not be the bet read for you.

      Like

  6. Charlene @ Bookish Whimsy
    April 25, 2015

    I’m so interested in reading Serena before seeing the film! I’m a little nervous about unlikable main characters though – I don’t tend to enjoy that, but I plan to give it a try, and I’m glad it was a good read for you!

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      April 25, 2015

      Even though the main characters were heinous, the story kept me interested. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the book.

      Like

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This entry was posted on April 22, 2015 by in Reviews and tagged , , , , , .

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