Tag: Addition

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Posted June 11, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Romance / 0 Comments

The Rosie Project by Graeme SimsionTitle: The Rosie Project (Goodreads)
Author: Graeme Simsion
Published: Text, 2013
Pages: 329
Genres: Romance
My Copy: Library Book

Buy: AmazonBook Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Don Tillman is a highly successful Professor of Genetics, but he is also a very socially awkward single man that believes the solution to all his problems is a wife.  He embarks upon a search to find this wife; The Wife Project is a carefully designed questionnaire to find the perfect match for him. In comes Rosie, not a match, but Don finds himself helping her on search for her biological father.

Chick lit always seems to have a quirky woman looking for love, because apparently the message is that strong independent women are incomplete until they have a partner. That is probably a rant for another day but I have to wonder why Nick Hornsby and Graeme Simsion’s The Rosie Project does not fit into this genre? All the same characteristics are there, the only thing different is the role reversal. My wife jokingly calls the genre dick lit but I don’t know why there is a gender bias in a genre. I thought Seating Arrangements would be considered chick lit but because it had a male protagonist people dismiss it as something different. Not really important but I thought it odd that just because the main character is the wrong gender it doesn’t fall under the same category, which is one of the many problems with trying to categorise books into genres.

Now let’s get back to The Rosie Project; this was an entertaining and quick read that just has too many problems with it. This over hyped book’s major flaw is the portrayal of Asperger’s; much like Addition, a mental health issue (or in this case a pervasive developmental disorder) is the quirky personality. Because underplaying a mental health issue is the answer to making a character quirky; why can’t people just be quirky without having to point fingers? Misrepresenting mental health seems to be the go to move for writers of books, TV and movies and it really isn’t helping people understand these issues. Also while I’m on the topic, why does socially awkward, introverted or quirky have to be considered as problems, why can’t we just be happy for people to be different without having to stick a label on it?

The other major issue I had with The Rosie Project was its predictability; you knew exactly what was going to happen from chapter to chapter and how the book would end. There were no surprises, nothing interesting, just a generic plot. So we have an unpredictable, generic and stereotypical plot; does that leave you with any good points? Not really, just that it was entertaining and there was some decent comedy but in the end I was glad to be done with the book. Remember that old Jack Nicholson movie As Good As It Gets? I have to wonder if this is just a modernisation of that movie, there were so many similarities. I also found a lot of similarities to Addition so I’m not sure if there is anything original left in this book.

For those that don’t mind something so formulaic and predictable, this book is entertaining and you don’t really need to pay attention. I ended up skim reading most of this book and I still felt like I didn’t miss anything, because I guessed what would happen before I read it. I know this book has gotten a lot of buzz lately and I’m still that bitter and cynical old man but I really don’t get it; I don’t see what was so appealing.

Good on Graeme Simsion for taking the world by storm with this novel, the buzz in Australia has started to die down but now the hype is starting around the world. I see it was one of the books been heavily advertised at BEA from Australia (the other being Burial Rites). For that I’m glad it’s doing well, it is nice to see Australian books getting talked about all around the world. Much like The Book Thief, I don’t see why there is so much buzz but I’m still happy when an Australian author reaches the international stage. I’m sure there will be a romantic comedy coming from Hollywood soon, so maybe that is a good reason to read The Rosie Project.


Addition by Toni Jordan

Posted April 15, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Chick Lit / 0 Comments

Addition by Toni JordanTitle: Addition (Goodreads)
Author: Toni Jordan
Published: Sceptre, 2008
Pages: 243
Genres: Chick Lit
My Copy: Library Book

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Grace Lisa Vandenburg is obsessed with numbers; she counts everything. Her whole life is centred around numbers; how many banana’s to buy, how many bits of an orange cake to take, how many brushes to take for her hair or even teeth. Everything was organised but then something went wrong and now she survives on disability checks and tutoring. Here only real connection in the world was a portrait of Nikola Tesla; that is until she met Seamus Joseph O’Reilly who changed everything.

Addition is a quirky chick lit novel of predictability but still has a few elements I was not expecting. Firstly the obsession with Tesla meant that there was a lot of talk about this great twentieth-century inventor, which really was the main reason I enjoyed this book.  She talked a lot about Nikola Tesla and I found myself learning some interesting facts that lead to researching more about this great man. Honestly this might annoy people but I love a book that pushes me to explore more.

Grace’s OCD was also handled really well by the author; I was worried it would turn into something similar to The Silver Linings Playbook but I was wrong. Mental health is a difficult subject to write but I like the way Toni Jordan handled Grace’s obsession with numbers. There was a mix of emotions regarding Graces obsessive-compulsive disorder that were explored in the book from misunderstanding, accepting, desire to change, anger and hatred, as well as many more that I would expect Grace to experience while trying to live with an unusual compulsion. I could not imagine just what Grace would really be going through but I do think this might be a pretty faithful to what might happen.

The main focus of Addition is the quirks of Grace and the romance between her and Seamus; here is where everything starts to feel too much like everything I would expect from a chick lit novel. The romance blossoms in a typical funny and emotional way which I admit I was worried about. Seamus really does not understand this obsessive-compulsive disorder and tries to change Grace.  For a while there I thought he would succeed and this would have killed the book completely but then I realised that this was a chick lit novel and that meant there had to be a conflict to force the two characters to make a decision on if they should be together or not.

There was one major problem I had at the start of the book that forces me to wonder if I should bother continuing or not. This was the poor research, two facts in the book near the start of the book (maybe more) that really threw me. Both felt like really stupid mistakes that I don’t think were intentional that put a major dampener on my enjoyment. One was about the Big Ben using Roman numerals IIII instead of IV and the other was when she called Thomas Edison ‘the telephone guy’.

While I did have some issues with Addition, in the end I did end up really enjoying the story a lot more than I anticipated. It was quirky and funny, even if it was completely generic in all the other aspects. I really think the OCD helped this book the most, it was fascinating to see how Grace handled her situation, to the point where I thought there was nothing wrong with her and this wasn’t a mental health issue just a harmless obsession and quirk.


Monthly Review – March 2013

Posted March 31, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Monthly Reading / 2 Comments

Happy Easter everyone, hope you are all enjoying the long weekend. I hope everyone has had a wonderful month of reading and had time to fit Lolita into their busy schedule. I’ve noticed a lot of mixed reactions to this book which would mainly be a result of the controversial nature of this book but it really is one of those books that have helped shape twentieth century literature, so well worth checking out. Still a lot of action happening with the reading challenge as well; looks like two hundred books been added this month. For those who don’t know about the reading challenge, there is still time to join in the fun, so check out my introductory post here.

A reminder that next month’s book will Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami for our Japanese literature theme. I haven’t read much Murakami but expect some great discussion on this book, hopefully with some thoughts to the Magical Realism genre.

Highlights for my month’s reading included Infinite Jest which I’ve finally finished; the beautiful painting of Painter of Silence by Georgina Harding; Lolita; and In a Lonely Place. I would like to mention two other books that really blew me away. First, Pride and Prejudice which I finally got around to reading after putting it off for far too long (also have you seen the Lizzie Bennett Diaries?). Also Tenth of December; while I’m not much of a reader of short stories George Saunders showed me just enough to change my mind. What have you been reading this month and what were the highlights?

My Monthly Reading