Book Review: October & November Reads

I read four books from completely different genres in October and November. It was interesting because I enjoyed my to-read list better than ever before. 

I have listed the books, along with their reviews, in no particular order.

1. Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King & Owen King

Rating: 3.7/5

Warning: This review is full of spoilers.

Before you even start reading Sleeping Beauties, you know that the story is going to speak indirectly for some of the things happening in the world.

I didn’t really have a problem with the length of the book, but I found myself forgetting the backgrounds of 40% of the characters. Which is surprising because the book includes a little too much detail for every person that exists in the story.

I enjoyed the book and it didn’t bother me that the authors chose not to explain what Evie was and where she came from. However, the conclusion is the part that I wasn’t satisfied with. I guess it isn’t a happy ending when you read about some of the people (Lila, Norcross, etc.). But I kept expecting a twist or something unusual to take place.

Sleeping Beauties begins a promising journey but gets distracted within its world in the middle. Its ending sort of reminds of the English lessons we were taught in high school: don’t include new information in the conclusion. I am referring to the part where Lila can’t stop thinking about shooting Jeanette. That part was sort of … random? I understand the motive behind shedding light on an important movement, but it felt forced with the way it was written. The book took on one social issue, it didn’t need another one randomly placed in the end.

2. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

Rating: 3/5

(Unabridged Edition)

Charles Dickens is a talented author and I have always enjoyed reading his books. But I almost lost my patience while reading David Copperfield.

It took me around two weeks to complete the book and I feel no desire of picking up any other novel. I am tired and it isn’t something which should happen after reading a book. I heard such wonderful things about it and I was able to see why: Dickens is invested in this story. But his attachment to the novel is the reason why it didn’t reach my expectations.

The novel was too long — I love Dickens’ writing but it was just too long. Sure, there are many quotes that will stay with you forever. Altogether, the story is interesting. But even then, it is difficult not to wonder when the novel will end.

I am not sure how to further explain my confusion because this book is a fan-favorite. All I have to say is that finishing it will seem like a heavy burden. Meanwhile, I’ll go re-read some of his other books.

3. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Rating: 3.5/5

Crazy Rich Asians is a light-hearted and entertaining book. It isn’t a page-turner — but it’s not a story that will bore you either.

I can see why this book has received so much attention. It differs from the usual romantic storylines because it introduces you to a completely different culture. Here, your mean girls are none other than the family members themselves: Youngs, Shangs and Tsiens. 

But the main characters, Nick and Rachel, aren’t the ones that will convince you to be on their sides. Reading their chapters would have been a tedious task, but Kevin Kwan managed to avoid it by telling us about Singaporean cuisine and atmosphere through their eyes. 

There are a lot of relatives and you may find yourself trying to remember who belongs to which family. But even then, I praise Kwan for making sure each character’s backstory was added into the book. From the lavish parties and extravagant dresses to the whispering campaigns, this book is an Asian version of Gossip Girl.

Crazy Rich Asians is a book that you can pick up and read whenever you want. It’s the perfect novel for when you find yourself struggling to pass time without worrying about getting lost in the story.

4. Sin and Syntax: How to Craft Wickedly Effective Prose by Constance Hale

Rating: 4.5/5

I am terrified of writing a review for this book. I keep thinking about the words and phrases Constance Hale warned me about. 

I write something and read it out loud — It sounds generic, so I erase it quickly. This is exactly why I loved this book. It made me notice the little mistakes I make in my sentences every day. 

I think every writer should try to read this book. It will help you remember the differences between who, whom, like, as if, that, and which. You will also read some wonderful passages from different books. One of my favorite pieces was from the story “Girl” written by Jamaica Kincaid.

In Hale’s words, in order to start writing well, “you must stop reading”.

What did you think about the books? Let me know in the comments section below!

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