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