Tag Archive | Point of View

Book Review: Ocean at the End of the Lane

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I actually bought this book when it first came out. I was excited.OOhhhh…. a new book! An IMPORTANT book, or so all the reviews I read said. One of the Best Books of 2013, so Far… according to Barnes and Nobles.com

Yah. It was good.

It was also freaking 192 pages.

I really need to start paying attention to the length of the work. Sea Change was really good, and disturbing, and I thought it was a little short. This one was a good little story, I enjoyed it… But come on. $10 for 192 pages? 

And ok. I’m gonna get on my writer’s high horse here for a moment. Writing in first person past tense is great. I love it when an author pulls it off effortlessly. Many, many authors do this. For the most part, Gaiman does as well. (Did you catch that~ the phrase “for the most part…”

Sea Change had the magic box that disappeared. The Ocean at the End of the Lane has… a first person, past tense narration where the narrator forgets something he has told the reader. Kind of impossible… when you think about it. Because if it is written in the past tense, how could he forget it within the time frame of the novel? (And yes, I went back to double check it, and it does open in past tense.)

In first person, PRESENT tense, you can do that. Characters can forget stuff, because they are living in the present and people are forgetful. But if you’re writing in past tense, and that little forgetfulness slips in and snakes around the tale… well, if it’s been forgotten, then how come you just told me the story? Huh? How??!! There are no other hints that I found that the narrator was unreliable.

SIGH.

But still.

This book also marks the point in time when I finally realized that I need to check the number of pages before I bought the Nook book. $10.00 was way too much for this book. It was good, don’t get me wrong. But for a Nook Book, at $10, you’d better grip the hell out of me and take me longer than a day to read. Because I work hard for my damn money, and there’s not enough of it… and that’s something that a lot of book lovers are dealing with. I’m not special in that regard.

But you’d think that the publishers would take a look and give us readers a little bit more love on the pricing. With E-Books, especially. I understand that they have to  pay people, and for the printing and marketing and and and…. but I have to pay for things too.

I have no idea where I’m going with this post, so I’m going to sign off now. I know it’s a bit incoherent, and probably I should wait to hit publish… but I’ve been so lax lately that I feel I need to hit that little blue button….

Ch-ch-changes

I mentioned a while back ago that I had unpacked my boxes of books and got them up on a shelf. In no particular order, but up none the less. This gave me a chance to open up and try to read some of my old favorites. Books I have read at least a hundred times, possibly two.

Books that I have hung onto for… gosh…. 20 years.

20 years? Really?

No, really?

Yup. First edition (and yes, this particular romance author’s books are almost always in print) and I checked the pub date after I huffed in indignation.

Huffed. Because I  couldn’t stand the book. Those heroine’s that I thought were so cool when I was in my twenties… They struck me like a teeney bopper. Not merely someone young of years, but someone annoying with it.

Another thing I noticed was the tendency to go from head to head to head. Sometimes within the same paragraph. It drove me batty!  It can be done, and done well… but not, apparently, by her. Then again, I’m holding a book that was written decades ago up to today’s standards.

And I’m a little heartbroken that they just don’t stack up, so to speak. It’s a matter of principle. I brought those dang books through the depths of hell with me. Although, tellingly, I did not read them while going through it.

So. Bottom line. That book that you LOVE SO MUCH that you can’t let it go even though you’ve held onto it for 20, 30 years? Try reading it. If you can still stand it, if you still feel like you’re going to visit old friends, keep the books.

And there are books that do that. They’re called classics for a reason. (As an aside, I’ve noticed that Fantasy– Sword and Sorcerey in particular, seems to fare well with the passage of time, too).

If you’re like me with this author’s books… Pass them on. Because you will make someone, somewhere, extremely happy. And, as an extra special bonus, you will get to have more room for more books. 

Rakes & Protectors

The Rake by Mary Jo Putney (Zebra Historical Romance)

Disclaimer- I was provided an ARC of this novel.

The Rake is actually a reprint of the title The Rake and the Reformer. A lot of times this angers me, because I rebuy it on the basis of the cover art and didn’t pay attention. I hate buying the same book 2,3 times (and I have, with Kristen Brittain). However, this was a lucky chance because although I’d heard of the author, I’d never read her novels before.

Alys and Reggie are perfect for each other, even if they don’t know it. Each has a fatal flaw that they must overcome (and it has to be them to do it, not the other person), which makes it extremely real. The other person doesn’t “fix” the bits, they just enable the other to fix the bits themselves.

At turns heart wrenching and heart-warming, I would definitely recommend this book. It appears it was originally released in 1989, which labels it as a definite classic. Because quite frankly, readers’ tastes have changed so much over the past couple of decades that for one to still be relevant this long… Well. Bravo!

Lady Protector, L.E. Modesitt Jr. Tor Fantasy.

If this one is part of a series, I did not enjoy it any less for not having read the previous novels. It sucked me in and kept me there for the length of the novel. I was upset by only having my normally scheduled breaks because I wanted to keep reading it.

Mykella becomes the Lady Protector moments before the book opens. She has to deal not only with an imminent war but also the nefarious leeching of the country’s coffers. Who can she trust? How does she oversee everything and get to the battle in time? How will her powers help her, and can they harm her?

L.E. Modesitt does something in this novel that I’ve never seen in a novel before. It is written in a tight third person point of view… But I don’t think it ever goes to another point of view than Mykella’s. It is so tight as to be almost first person.

That gave me pause. Why third, even so tight, instead of first person? First person wouldn’t have the effect, it’s a little more casual than third. It is beautiful, though. If you ever want an example of a third person point of view that tightly held together… Use it.

I’ve gotta try that. It has to be so hard. The temptation to pull back and add scenery or pop into someone else’s point of view must be so great. Kudos, Modesitt!

So, over all 2 great books in very different genres. Hope to have some chick lit and an actual regular fiction book for next time!

SIsters Weird

Sisters Weird

 How many of you have sisters? One thing about siblings is that we have a collective memory, a history that transcends the ups and downs of our lives. We also often love eachother feircely even when we can’t stand eachother.

Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown (Penguin Publishing Group, released in paperback 2/7/12.) Not only does it honor the collective memory, it tells the story from a collective first person point of view. I was charmed by many things in the story: characters, library cards instead of televisions, the use of The Bard… but what really rocked my world from both a reader’s and a writer’s viewpoint was the Point of View.

I have never even heard of a plural first person narrative. Nope. I take that back. But that was a split personality, and quite frankly each personality was different.  So, in fact, I have never read anything quite like this novel.

The plural first person perfectly captures the nuances of being sisters. An excellent read, I give it 5 out of 5 stars.  

This week, I’ll be posting on Tuesday and Thursday because I have a bag full of books which is always a good thing… Possibly on Wednesday. Thinking of doing a Writing Wednesday post, and get me honest about that as well.