This is the only book I have ever purchased solely based on the hype surrounding it. In fact, I hadn’t seen any of the hype, only the discussion of the hype. But I was intrigued, especially by the fact that it started out as a NaNo and features a magical circus, so I picked it up. I finished reading it month and a half ago but school killed my blogging habits.
I had hoped this book would live up to the hype and in many ways it did. The prose is fantastic. Morgenstern’s style is lovely; she chooses precisely the right words in the right amount. It is for this reason that I will likely read whatever else she chooses to publish.
The many characters had lots of promise (I loved the twins and Chandresh), but none of them were quite as developed as I would have liked to see them. Frankly, I despised Celia and Marco. Well, perhaps despise is a strong word, but they were such flat, dull characters, I didn’t feel any hint of romance between them with was the central point of the story.
Which brings me now to the reason why I was so disappointed by this book…the plot. For me, the plot was nothing interesting, nothing exciting. I felt no suspense or worry for the characters caught up in it. As I mentioned, the romance between Celia and Marco was greatly lacking and so prevented the final climax from being interesting or dramatic whatsoever. I found the final events to be a little confusing and rushed (but perhaps it was because I was getting sick of the story and rushing through the end of the book…)
I think I would have enjoyed this novel a lot more had I been able to connect with Celia and Marco. I enjoyed Celia’s introduction and thought she would be a character I would like, but unfortunately, no. The prose is the redeeming aspect of this novel and why I would recommend you give it a shot if you’re looking for something to read.
Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist by Stephen Batchelor
Published: June 2003
Genre: Non-fiction memoir/religion primer
Why I picked it up: Label of ‘Buddhist Atheist’ may apply to me, wanted to read about the guys ideas
This book is sort of a sequel to Buddhism Without Beliefs. I knew they were related, but it wasn’t until I was a great deal in to Confessions that I realized how much of a follow up Confessions is to Buddhism. I think I would have been more comfortable with this book had I read the first book first!
It was hard for me to swallow a lot of what Batchelor wrote about, even if I logically agreed with him. However, I’m not familiar with Buddhist texts (I’m still a novice here) and I can’t just accept whatever he decides to pick out from the texts and whatever he decides to ignore because I don’t know what’s accurate.
The purpose of this book is to explain how he came to his beliefs in his first book. I am interested in reading his first book, and I think that might help aid my understanding in this book.
I like the memoir segment of the book, where the author illustrates his progression through Buddhism.