Quick Thoughts: LoveStar

13533771 Let me first clear the air… I did not finish this book.

That is my confession, so you know now, this will not be a “review”. These are my thoughts only.

LoveStar was the March book club pick for our participation in the Critical Era book club.

LoveStar is a novel firmly placed in the science fiction genre. I knew that going in. Completely. I continue to say that I appreciate and lovingly participate in the Critical Era book club. Many, many times they have expanded my reading list and some of those times the choices have been a fantastic and surprising success, others, not so much. LoveStar falls in the “not so much” category for me this time around.

As a very young reader, fantasy and/or science fiction never appealed to me. Especially those futuristic fantasies warning of impending doom or end-of-the-world stories that took place well, well off in to the future. I just never got in to it. But I also have to say, knowing this, I did pick up 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami for what was then called Opinionless book club. It was bizarre, absolutely, but I enjoyed much of it, truthfully. And the discussion following was some of the best and funniest talks we’ve had in the club. So again, knowing this, it was not that difficult for me to attempt LoveStar.

The underlying, dooming message of the book emerges easily from the start. Yes, our dependence upon technology and our ever increasing obsession with consumerism is nothing but to our detriment. Absolutely. I was readily willing to discuss and interpret these opinions and warnings, however, it was the presentation of these warnings that for me, were just far too outlandish and downright silly for me to wish to continue to the novel’s end. From the ability to “rewind” your children for better efficiency, to growing new body parts for special occasions and hooking oneself in to the REGRET machine and some such I could not proceed further. This presentation only reaffirmed my dislike in reading from this genre. It began to feel like an obligation to continue. That’s not a good approach to my reading.

So, this is not a “review” of LoveStar, no, not at all, this is merely my putting my thoughts down and a way to, I suppose, make myself feel at rest with my decision to put it away (far, far away). You may wish to read very convincing and wonderful reviews, you know, ones that did make me feel a (very brief) twinge of doubt about putting the book away…but I do encourage you to read Karli’s and Aaron’s reviews from Typographical Era.

Jackie, I believe, is perservering and will continue to the end, so perhaps more positive thoughts will follow next week from a different Literary Hoarder. But for this Hoarder, there is no love for the LoveStar and I’m moving forward with my reading schedule. (Already, a dozen more have appeared like shiny objects to distract me, but I will beaver on with the original list first!)

From Goodreads: LoveStar, the enigmatic and obsessively driven founder of the LoveStar corporation, has unlocked the key to transmitting data via birdwaves, thus freeing mankind from wires and devices, and allowing consumerism, technology, and science to run rampant over all aspects of daily life. Cordless modern men and women are paid to howl advertisements at unsuspecting passers-by, REGRET machines eliminate doubt over roads not taken, soul mates are identified and brought together (while existing, unscientifically validated relationships are driven remorselessly asunder), and rocketing the dead into the sky becomes both a status symbol and a beautiful, cathartic show for those left behind.

Indridi and Sigrid, two blissfully happy young lovers, have their perfect worlds threatened (along with Indridi’s sanity) when they are “calculated apart” and are forced to go to extreme lengths to prove their love. Their journey ultimately puts them on a collision course with LoveStar, who is on his own mission to find what might become the last idea in the world.

Steeped in influences ranging from Italo Calvino, Jorge Luis Borges, and Kurt Vonnegut to George Orwell, Douglas Adams, and Monty Python, Andri Snær Magnason has created a surreal yet uncomfortably familiar world, where the honey embrace of love does its utmost to survive amid relentless and overpowering controls.

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Book Review: The Drowning House

13512660Thank you to Net Galley for providing an advanced copy of The Drowning House by Elizabeth Black. They actually provided access to this last year, but the release date wasn’t until this week.

The synopsis (from Goodreads): A gripping suspense story about a woman who returns to Galveston, Texas after a personal tragedy and is irresistibly drawn into the insular world she’s struggled to leave.

Photographer Clare Porterfield’s once-happy marriage is coming apart, unraveling under the strain of a family tragedy. When she receives an invitation to direct an exhibition in her hometown of Galveston, Texas, she jumps at the chance to escape her grief and reconnect with the island she hasn’t seen for ten years. There Clare will have the time and space to search for answers about her troubled past and her family’s complicated relationship with the wealthy and influential Carraday family.

Soon she finds herself drawn into a century-old mystery involving Stella Carraday. Local legend has it that Stella drowned in her family’s house during the Great Hurricane of 1900, hanged by her long hair from the drawing room chandelier. Could Stella have been saved? What is the true nature of Clare’s family’s involvement? The questions grow like the wildflower vines that climb up the walls and fences of the island. And the closer Clare gets to the answers, the darker and more disturbing the truth becomes.

Steeped in the rich local history of Galveston, The Drowning House portrays two families, inextricably linked by tragedy and time.

 

Unfortunately, I could not finish this story. That creates such a sadness in me. I hate it when I start reading a book that I can’t get through! I even put this one on the “schedule” and everything! As I read the first dozen pages all I kept thinking was how all over the map it was. One paragraph would say one thing and then the next paragraph had absolutely no connection to its previous one at all. It resulted in a very choppy and confusing read. This is a haplessly written first novel and it pains me to criticize it. I had a moment where I sent an email to my fellow hoarders criticizing myself for saying this was terribly written. But I was talked off the ledge when I was reminded that while I may not have written any novels myself, I have read countless and I can easily identify a “bad” one. Okay, okay, that’s true.

I tried to continue last night with it, but again, it’s so all over the map with very choppy thoughts and details scattered on every page. I have so much to read that I decided it was time to abandon. Man, do I hate to do that!

So, overall, the very choppy thoughts and details that skipped here there and everywhere, and those thoughts that didn’t take the time to flesh out their idea, the character, the sense of place has me putting this one away. Far too many times I went “huh?” and  had to re-read sentences only to still come up with the “huh?” reaction.

It makes me sad when I read a book I don’t like. I want every book to be a great read, but I’ll just come to terms with the fact that this one wasn’t one of those “stellar debuts” and move on. No more needs to be criticized or dissected, that’s just not appropriate. For me, it just wasn’t good and I’ll be leaving it at that. 😦