Tag: Matthew

The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

Posted March 20, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Romance / 0 Comments

The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew QuickTitle: The Silver Linings Playbook (Goodreads)
Author: Matthew Quick
Published: Picador, 2008
Pages: 289
Genres: Romance
My Copy: Personal Copy

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

Pat Peoples is a former history teacher who moves back home after spending some time in a neurology hospital. He has a theory that every life is like a movie and he is just waiting for his silver lining ending, the successful reunion with his wife Nikki. Pat spends his time on self improvement, determined this will help end ‘apart time’, he exercises excessively and reads great American literature. He meets Tiffany and soon becomes friends because of their similarities; physically fit and clinically depressed.

While this started off reminding me of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, I soon got really bored with this book. Not only was the novel predictable, it was clichéd and failed to hold my interest at all. The narrative felt really dumbed down, like it was trying more to be a YA novel; actually this might be a good example of New Adult fiction. But this really annoyed me, just because someone is clinically depressed, an exercise junky, football fan or any of the other reasons doesn’t mean they are not intelligent. So the narrative felt more like the author making fun of the protagonist and I really had a problem with that.

There are so many great American novels and when Pat sets out to read the entire syllabus of his wife’s class to improve himself you can’t help but be proud of him. The Bell Jar, The Great Gatsby and The Sun Also Rises are all great books but they don’t really fit into Pat’s philosophy on life. I love the way he reacts to The Sun Also Rises in the movie trailer, it was done so much better than in the book, that rage for the ending was brilliant. I know Pat wants a silver lining in every story, so I found it really amusing to think he would read those books that don’t fit his personal philosophy.

Personally I did want to explore more of the depression side of this novel because I felt there were some very interesting elements explored but instead the author was more interested in a clichéd romance. There were two love stories going on here, the generic one between Pat and Tiffany, and then there was the love of Philadelphia Eagles. Personally the Eagles story arc was more interesting because the Pat and Tiffany relationship was painful to read.

I’m not a fan of clichés and reading about Pat and Tiffany become a real problem with me; I knew what was going to happen, I can see it coming from the start but it wasn’t executed properly. Almost like the author was running out of pages and he had to quickly resolve and conflict and have a happy ending before the end of the book. The conflict resolution was done too quickly; you can’t really go from hating a person to changing your mind and kissing a person that quick, it just doesn’t work.

There are small elements of this book that I enjoyed but the overall novel wasn’t worth it. I will say one thing about this book; it will make a great movie. I’ve not seen the adaptation yet but I have a feeling it would work really well in that format, as people just love a happy ending and these types of romance movies. Personally I think the book isn’t work reading and maybe the movie is a quicker way to experience this story.

The Toe Tag Quintet by Matthew Condon

Posted February 2, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Crime, Short Stories / 0 Comments

The Toe Tag Quintet by Matthew CondonTitle: The Toe Tag Quintet (Goodreads)
Author: Matthew Condon
Published: Random House, Vintage, 2012
Pages: 341
Genres: Crime, Short Stories
My Copy: ARC from Netgalley

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

Retirement can be murder! Former Sydney detective recognises someone from his workdays in his retirement home in the Gold Coast. In his hey days, this unnamed detective had to deal with some of the most murderous criminals in Australian history. But in retirement things are so much more deadly in this collection of five novellas originally published in The Courier Mail.

This is a real joy to read but there is something that just doesn’t sit right with me. There is nothing wrong with Matthew Condon’s writing; I think he is great.  I’ve just come to the burning realisation that I’m not a fan of cosy crime. I don’t know why but I can’t seem to find what is cosy about crime.

The characters within this book are great; this old school detective is witty, strong and could have had the making of a hard-boiled character if this wasn’t a cosy crime novel. He was smart and a skilled detective but this was too cosy, I mean who says “Up yours” nowadays and then there is the censored language, it just seems weird.

There are some great elements in these novellas, the humour, the wit and the well-crafted plots. But for me I never could get past the cosiness of these crime stories. They didn’t feel realistic enough and as much as I tried I couldn’t get past this fact. I’m interested to read some more Matthew Condon, he’s skilled writer and maybe he will do better at true crime or non-fiction or the contemporary novels he wrote in the past.

Monthly Review – January 2013

Posted January 31, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Monthly Reading / 0 Comments

As the first month of 2013 comes to a close, it has been amazing to see how much excitement people are having towards both The Shadow of the Wind and the Literary Exploration Reading Challenge. 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.

I’ve been off to a flying start this year, I’ve read twenty books, a feat I’m not sure how I managed, but I’ve had so much fun doing so. Nine of those books go towards the Literary Exploration Reading Challenge and you can find my own record of the challenge here. I’m thinking about trying to read two books for each genre this year and I’m keeping a record of every book and which genre it best fits into on that page as well, just to see which genres need more attention in my exploring.

Highlights of the month for me include; the highly talked about Wool by Hugh Howey, the bittersweet Big Ray by Michael Kimball and the existential The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. But the one I really thought deserves high praise is Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day, a novel of great beauty, decorum and love lost. I haven’t reviewed these books yet but keep an eye out, they will come. So what have you been reading this month?

Monthly Reading

  • Big Ray by Michael Kimball
  • Black Vodka: Ten Stories by Deborah Levy
  • Crooked Little Vein by Warren Ellis
  • Gangster Squad: Covert Cops, the Mob, and the Battle for Los Angeles by Paul Lieberman
  • In the Midst of Death by Lawrence Block
  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
  • Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
  • Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding
  • Revenge: Stories by Yoko Ogawa
  • The Big Nowhere by James Ellroy
  • The Dark Winter by David Mark
  • The Mad Scientist’s Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke
  • The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists by Gideon Defoe
  • The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • The Silver Linings Play Book by Matthew Quick
  • The Sins of the Fathers by Lawrence Block
  • The Toe Tag Quintet by Matthew Condon
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
  • Wool by Hugh Howey