Extra Books – to November 27

  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
    • Published: September 2011
    • Genre: Magical fantasy
    • Why I picked it up: Intensely hyped book with a premise that intrigued me
    • Rating: 3.5 stars
    • Challenges: 100+
    • My Thoughts: 
      • 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
    • Rating: 3 stars
    • Challenges: 100+
    • My Thoughts:
      • 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.