Do you have to like an entire book for it to have merit? Big books, our love and lament. Shirley Jackson and Chip Kidd’s new book on graphic design.
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Giving a book partial credit
This week’s question is from Kathy, who asks: “When talking about a book, how do you keep your “feelings” about it from coloring the discussion? Lots of books I’ve read lately have had many fine points – strong plot, great descriptions, thoughtful issues – but if there is something a bit off–don’t get me started about endings..authors seem often to run out of steam 3/4 the way through– or characters who all of a sudden act implausibly – I find my reviews get more critical than helpful. Do you have to “like” an entire book for it to have merit?”
What do you think? Can you overcome one flaw if the rest of the book is strong?
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Ann chose this week’s book: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, narrated by Dan O’Grady.
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Tomes, doorstops, and big books (12:43)
We recently got an email from listener Lisa: “ I just purchased Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch and Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries, both novels well over 500 pages each. And I got to thinking about how much I have loved big books over the years. The longer the better especially if written by a favorite author. Now I am a teacher and have to begrudgingly store them beside my nightstand until Christmas break or summer holidays. What are some tomes you, Michael and some of the Books on the Nightstand listeners have enjoyed over the years? ”
Some of Michael’s favorites:
- Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
- Some of the books in the Harry Potter series
- Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenidies
- The George RR Martin books in the Song of Ice and Fire series.
- The Cider House Rules by John Irving
Soem of Ann’s favorites:
- The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
- Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander
- Stephen King‘s novels
- The Passage by Justin Cronin
- The Prince of Tides and Beach Music by Pat Conroy
- I am planning on reading The Orenda by Joseph Boyden, an important Canadian novel that will be published in the US this spring that is close to 500 pages.
- Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel are on my nightstand, but honestly, the length is preventing me from picking them up.
What are some of your favorite books over 500 pages? Leave them in the comments… (Note: if you are receiving this by email, please click this link to go to the blog post and leave your comments (just click the words that say “Share Your Thoughts” or “x Brilliant Comments” at the top or bottom of the post) so that others may see them. Thanks!)
Two books we can’t wait for you to read (23:36)
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson is a book that I should have read years ago, but I’m happy that I’ve finally gotten to it. It’s phenomenal. Most people know Shirley Jackson from her short story “The Lottery”, but this novel deserves more recognition from modern readers. First published in 1962, it’s the story of a two sisters who live in a grand house and are shunned by the people in the town where they live after most of the family members die by poisoning.
Michael tells us about Go: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design by Chip Kidd. It’s aimed at kids and teens, but can be enjoyed by anyone who is interested in graphic design. It covers the basics of graphic design and includes 10 projects. It’s easy to understand and filled with visual examples, including many of the book jackets that Kidd has designed, so it’s perfect for book lovers as well as graphic design enthusiasts.