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I believed that with everything going on this past month, I would never have time to read anything. However, thanks to [god-awful] audiobooks, I was able to finish a few more books on this year’s reading list.
The Castle of Kings by Oliver Potzsch
I expected to like this book much more than I did. I enjoyed how it
discussed issues we don’t often hear about, or at least, not in books I’ve previously read. It takes place in pre-Germany, when the land was full of feudal lords and starving peasants. However, it takes place during a time of transition. The monk, Martin Luther, is putting the Catholic Church in its place, causing unrest across the entire land.
I felt the book was too long, and couldn’t decide what it was trying to portray. The story moved along fine, but at random times, you would hear about Luther and the church, but also about the declining power of knights and swords. Much of the book focuses around a young peasant gunner and the noble girl he is in love with. They have to run away because their world is falling apart, and a dark secret is emerging around them. Much happens to them as they try to answers questions circling a mysterious ring that appeared one day. See what I mean when I say there was a lot going on? Again, the story was interesting, but I struggled to read between the lines on what the author was trying to say.
It wasn’t a bad book. Anyone who enjoys historical fiction will value it for what it is. I simply went in with too high of inflated expectations.
The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro
This book takes the cake for the worst read on my list thus far. It was so dumb. I don’t care how many awards this guy has won for his writing; I hated everything about the writing style. The plot was dumb. The title is dumb. I haven’t been this disappointed in a book since reading The Alchemist. I was able to read it in one day because it’s simple and quick. However, save yourself a day and devote it to anything else. This one isn’t worth your time.
The Fair Fight by Anna Freeman
I enjoyed this book. I half read/half listened to it. It follows three main characters and shows you the details of their lives from childhood into adulthood. It also shows how they are all in the same place at the same time without really knowing one another, and their lives slowly intersect. Mostly, I enjoyed the idea that females from the “lower class” could gather their strength and be boxers (rather than prostitutes) and make good money at it.
It showed a part of society we don’t often hear about. It did stray from the females’ viewpoints at time, and I wish the author had spent more time fleshing out characters I actually cared about. However, it was a great read with an excellent plot. I would recommend it to anyone.
An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin
I wanted to love Steve Martin’s writing, but it felt stuffy and forced. Maybe his writing is an example on his personality? He is not a bad writer… I just didn’t enjoy the book. Actually, the story line was a bit boring and the characters stiff. They weren’t relatable or fun like in a common chick lit novel – and I was expecting An Object of Beauty to be a bit girly. It wasn’t. It was very matter-of-fact.
It was enjoyable to see random images of art placed throughout the book’s pages. This did help me relate a little more to the main character’s role and career in the art world of NYC. Twas an interesting and clever way to break up the monotony, and I enjoyed it. His book earns 3/5 stars from me for solid effort.
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
I don’t know what the big fuss is about. Rand is a philosopher and writer who prefers to portray her philosophies through fiction narrative. The Goodread reviews on this book are so far on both sides of the spectrum. Some people hate Rand because in this novel, she portrays capitalism as the holy good and socialists as the satanists of her time. Maybe I’m not deep enough, but I enjoyed the book for what it was… a fiction piece of writing. So what if it had political undertones? Sure, there are some intense moments in the novel – but while reading it, I kept thinking about American Gods by Neil Gaiman and how everyone labeled it such a dark and horrorific novel about society.
Maybe Ayn Rand did think she was hot s*** and it was up to her and her counterparts to change the world and keep it spinning. Who cares!? Lots of people are egotistical, but they do play a large role in how are society functions and progresses.
I cannot see what the big deal is. Maybe it’s because I’m a capitalist at heart? But really, this didn’t push the boundaries of my mind or make me realize anything about myself except that I still believe people are way too emotional and politically correct. I guess that previous statement proves that I am indeed a Capitalist, and possibly the spitting image of Dagny Taggart, a main character in the novel. I could be completely evil based on the scathing reviews you’ll see on Goodreads about Dagny Taggart and her selfish, conceited manner. But I digress.
One particular quote stuck with me as I read, and I wonder if it should be shared, as it will further incriminate me as a selfish and ruthless capitalist. Oh well,
“…Whatever we are, it’s we who move the world and it’s we who’ll pull it through.”
I like this quote not because it proves that the characters think they’re amazing and the world depends on them, but because it inspires me to be a “world-mover” in my own little circle and life. Is it so bad to want to be awesome and impress everyone? I guess so, according to Rand’s critics.
Anyways, I’ll leave it there! Look how much progress I’ve made. Rand writes some hefty books and I still soldiered through. I’m so proud of myself. What have you been reading lately? Have you read any of Rand’s controversial pieces?