Tag: Picador

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.

Revenge by Yoko Ogawa

Posted January 17, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Short Stories / 0 Comments

Revenge by Yoko OgawaTitle: Revenge (Goodreads)
Author: Yoko Ogawa
Translator: Stephen Snyder
Published: Picador, January 29, 2012
Pages: 176
Genres: Short Stories
My Copy: ARC from Netgalley

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

An aspiring writer moves into a new apartment and discovers that her landlady has murdered her husband. Years later, the writer’s stepson reflects upon his stepmother and the strange stories she used to tell him. Yoko Ogawa weaves together a collection of short stories to create a haunting tapestry of death.

While this is a collection of short stories, Yoko Ogawa has managed to link each story with the last with recurring images and motifs. Apparently this is an old tradition from classical Japanese poetic collections. This is an eerie and very sinister novel but there is a real beauty within it too; not just in the writing, but in the imagery.  Yoko Ogawa takes the reader on a clever journey of life and the afterlife.

I love what Ogawa does in this book, not only looking at the human psyche but plays with it a little to mess with the mind.  From the very start of this book, I was planning my next dip into the world of Yoko Ogawa, I was hooked and I wanted to explore her writing more. It was just the combination of beauty with the sinister tones of the stories that really worked for me.

If this book is anything to go on, Yoko Ogawa is an amazing writer; showing the reader the beauty behind the dark and disturbing. Each story is macabre but the best part of the entire book is the way the stories link together and the beautiful tapestry Ogawa weaves.  Highly recommended for lovers of short stories and the dark and disturbing, you won’t be disappointed by how Yoko Ogawa captures your attention.