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Sex and the City

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This was so bad that I couldn't even finish it!
Lucky

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Rape is never a pretty subject, but if you have a strong stomach, Lucky is a great literary choice. Sebold graphically describes her rape while at Syracuse University in the late 70's/early 80's. She brings the reader through all of it - the attack, the police line-ups, the trials, and the ways in which her relationships and self perceptions were forever changed. The last chapter or two could have been omitted, but overall Lucky is worth reading.
Cosmopolitan: A Bartender's Life

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Am I the only person who has trouble turning off a bad movie or just not finishing a not-so-great book? I always do this to myself; I'll keep plugging through either the film or novel feeling like there has to be something of a redemptive quality lurking somewhere in the end, something to make the mediocrity worth it, make sense, and leave me with something enlightened in the end. By now, I know that nine times out of ten, this never happens; watching Bloodsucking Freaks from start to finish only made me feel worse in the end for wasting all that time.While Cosmopolitan: A Bartender's Life by Toby Cecchini is certainly nowhere near as bad as Bloodsucking Freaks, I really do think that it's time to throw in the towel and move onto something a bit more...well, interesting. I had heard about Cosmopolitan, and I was instantly taken in by the idea - what stories a bartender must be able to tell! I thought, wow, interesting stories, and maybe I'll be able to learn something in the process about alcohol...I must admit that once I win the lottery, I'd love to learn a bit of anything concerning mixology (and really should know more about wine). Even cooler - Cecchini had originally published parts of his memoirs in Slate Magazine, which is where David Plotz, the author of The Genius Factory, is from.Cecchini can write, arguably better than Plotz. The main difference, however, is that Plotz kept my attention. Cecchini - not so much.While I'm sure Cecchini did fabulous on his SAT's and can mix a great drink (he reinvented the Cosmopolitan as we know it, hence the title), his "stories" blend from one to the next and all in all just aren't very interesting and come across as horribly pretentious. I'm made it to page 105 and have been through his "learning to tend bar" days, his fascination with hotel-bars, obnoxious American drinking habits...and I just can't help but wonder: what the hell is he going to talk about up to page 238? I'm not even half way done?Insofar as learning about drinks? My best bet is the five-drink recipe appendix. Otherwise, I saw and then instantly forgot lots of expensive, French, no-so-typical wine names.The overwhelming majority of user-written reviews on Amazon and Barnes and Noble seem to mirror my complaints (pretentious, monotonous, dull, and tepid, yet well written), with a few people particularly enamored of the novel, for whatever reason. I do not think that I would recommend that anyone run out and buy Cosmopolitan, but I wouldn't necessarily crinkle up my nose and/or roll my eyes if you said you were reading it. I think that the time has come for me to move onto something else.
Gossamer

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You may be familiar with Lois Lowry from Number the Stars or The Giver (I missed the fact that Messenger, the third book in the Giver trilogy came out...so I'm going to have to track that one down); while I don't remember much of Number the Stars, The Giver remains one of my all time favorite young adult novels. Lowry has a very distinct writing style; her sentences are short, but they create a minimalist alternate reality with an obvious ranking system (elders instructing the young) and clear rules to follow.Gossamer explains why and how we dream by intertwining the stories of an elderly woman, an angry boy, and the creatures that gather memories and then bestow dreams. While the short novel (140 pages) is steeped in vagueness, as is Lowry's style, the story and outcome is much more defined and hopeful than the first two Giver books. The Littlest is a mischievous dream giver, studying under the direction of the elders. She is responsible for fluttering through the house of an elderly woman and collecting memories from every day objects - a photograph, afghan, dishes, buttons, and then weaves these memories together into a pleasant dream for the woman. The Littlest is constantly full of questions - what are we? why do I do this? why can't I do this? Her questioning and mischievousness are initially met with disdain by her first trainer, Fastidious (what a shock for a Lowry book), but, surprising to me, the Most Ancient recognizes that these are good traits to have and reassigns her to the more understanding Thin Elderly. The elders even approve her breaking the rules in order to achieve good!The elderly woman takes in John, the angry eight year old boy, who has been the subject of awful abuse. While some of is dialogue/actions were upsetting to me (lots of violence...but he is an eight year old boy...), he is unknowingly the subject of a battle between the good dream bestowers and the evil nightmare-bestowing Horde.Gossamer is a quick read and, surprising for me, ended up answering nearly all of my questions about what was going on. If you are a fan of Lowry's work, you will enjoy this one.
Joe College: A Novel

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Joe College was not nearly as good as Perotta's Little Children, but brings the rider along on the Roach Coach for an amusing ride. While the ride provides some interesting Yale scenery, the destination leaves a lot to be desired.
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