Book Reviews: 2/5-2/11

The Vagina Monologues
by Eve Ensler

I found this an interesting book, with some of the stories being heartbreaking as equally as others were inspiring. Of course, it’s very cis centered, but considering what it’s really focused on (i.e. the reclaiming of the vulva/vagina as an acceptable body part, one that deserves to be talked about without censorship), I think it’s ultimate message is a good one. It’s a very short book, so it’s an easy read that way, although some of the stories just make you want to cry the way these women have been shamed against their own bodies. I think it’s a worthwhile read, although I’d love to see an update that features trans men and intersex people as well.

King Zeno
by Nathaniel Rich

This was an odd book for me. It has three major storylines that all end up converging into one rather dramatic ending. The first plot line deals with our detective character as he tries to recover from WWI and his act of self-preservation that may have sacrificed the lives of others. You’ll know this because he constantly harps on it throughout every single paragraph as he (badly) does his job. The second plot follows Zeno, a young Jazz player whose scrapes with the law come to a head one night when his pal and partner is arrested for robbery. The third line is about a mafia family run now by the widow and her large and largely incompetent son. There’s also an ax murderer running around. And the 1918 Spanish flu hits town.

It’s very complicated.

The prose gets easily bogged down by repetition and the CONSTANT WHINING of our police detective. There’s tons of interpersonal subplots that get far too much time considering there’s a literal ax murderer running rampant in New Orleans killing grocers. Body parts keep showing up in the new canal being dug. Jazz is building in popularity.

There’s not as much “period typical” racism as I would’ve expected (the author being a white guy) so that was a plus, although there’s still plenty of it around. The plots don’t so much weave together as they crash wildly into each other and mug the others. Overall, I still enjoyed it. It’s more of a popcorn read if you skim read it (which you might have to just to get through the CONSTANT WHINING).

Force of Nature
by Jane Harper

Ah, this was a breath of fresh air after King Zeno. A straightforward murder mystery with one of my new favorite detectives, Aaron Falk. After The Dry, I knew I had to read Harper’s next novel, Force of Nature. The Dry was just that good. Force of Nature did not disappoint.

We follow five women on an easy trail hike through the Australian bush who get lost after their first day and return missing a member of their party. Interwoven between the current investigation for the missing woman is the story of the party, how they interacted and how they got lost. It’s an absolute page-turner that I only stopped because I knew I had to sleep; I would’ve read straight through if I could have.

I can’t wait for Jane Harper’s next book, which I’m sure will be just as satisfying and mysterious as her previous two.

The Disaster Artist
by Greg Sestero

What is there to say about The Room that hasn’t been said already? A total cinematic catastrophe? A film nope? Everything that’s wrong with making a movie? Well, it turns out that the making of The Room was just as terrible as what got caught on screen.

The book alternates chapters between making the actual movie and how Greg and Tommy met and formed their strange friendship. When I just wanted to focus on the chapters dealing with the movie, this became frustrating, but it was a very interesting peek into the life of a very… interesting man.

I couldn’t recommend this more if you love terrible movies like I do. Understanding just how many takes it was until they got the “Oh hi Mark” scene finished is just amazing. It’s also interesting getting a brief look into the possible back story of one of today’s most secretive celebrities (because, let’s be real, by now everyone knows Tommy Wiseau). The only side-effect I must warn you about: you will feel compelled to watch The Room anew just to see all the things you read about in their full horrible splendor.

That’s my current reads for this week. Stay tuned for next week! (or, this week…)

About Fleet Sparrow

Writer, Reader, Critic, Bear.
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