Book Chat - TGWW Reading Challenge March Recap


This year, I tried to honor National Reading Month as much as I could by really committing to this challenge. I've always been a fast reader, but even I was surprised by how quickly I blew through books in March! 

I was able to polish off four more books off our TGWW Reading Challenge list! It's hard to believe that I'm already almost halfway through this challenge...

Sadly, I know heading into the next couple of months, between trips and a busier time at work, I won't be able to put this much of a dent in, so I'm glad I got ahead. 

Without further ado, here's a quick look at March's topics:

7.    A Book By a Male Writer - The Heat of the Sun by David Rain (Find it on Amazon Here)
8.    A Book Over 100 Years Old – The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (Find it on Amazon Here)
9.    A Book With a Name in the Title – Barbara the Slut and Other People by Lauren Holmes (Find it on Amazon Here)
10.    A Book From a Genre You’ve Never Tried Before – The Age of Wire and String by Ben Marcus (Find it on Amazon Here)

I liked David Rain's The Heat of the Sun much more than I expected I would at the outset. The fact that this is Rain’s debut novel is somewhat shocking to me.

In a sense, the novel continues the story that many of us remember from the opera Madame Butterfly. U.S. naval officer Pinkerton becomes a powerful 20th-century political figure through his marriage to Kate, scion of an influential family who raises as her own her husband’s illegitimate son, Ben, known as “Trouble.”

The entire story is narrated in the second person by Trouble's hapless and less fortunate friend Woodley Sharpless and tracks the lives of both men from the speakeasys of Harlem, to the baths of Nagasaki, to the missile training zones of the Southern US. 

From the get go, it is easy to recognize that Rain is a talented writer, and “The Heat of the Sun” is never dull. Unfortunately, there are also plenty of over-the-top plot twists that pull you out of the narrative.

David Rain has a beautiful vocabulary making the read interesting and engaging. I finished this book feeling quite heartbroken, and unsure why. To be honest, this book isn’t for everyone. Opera lovers will probably find the novelty of the Madame Butterfly connection interesting for awhile…but it’s definitely a book that fails to capture your attention all of the way through.

This is not the first time that I have read The Picture of Dorian Gray. It's not even the second time I've read it and I still have mixed feeling about this one.

On one hand, I like the witty and ironical style of Oscar Wilde and the idea of the central theme : the relationship between beauty and morality which initially captures the reader's attention.

On the other hand, I found the book to be inconsistent, flowery and the character development does not really help to hold the reader's attention for a long period of time.

The entire book is brimming with wit and excellent prose. But the story itself takes a backseat to brilliant writing and concepts that are fascinating and yet horrifying. 

And…if I’m being completely honest, there are sections of this novel that bored me to tears and frustrated me.

Ultimately, the literature-nerd in me says that everyone should read this book at least once in their life. There is no denying that Wilde deserves his place among other literary masterminds.

Barbara the Slut and Other People – Lauren Holmes

I wish you guys could hear the audible sigh that comes from mouth every time I think about this book. After hearing nothing but positive reviews following release of this novel, I wanted so badly to love it.

"Barbara The Slut" is a book for twenty-somethings, about twenty-somethings. Lauren Holmes attempted to give each character has a unique voice and story...but to be honest, it all comes off as a monotonous mess...

The plot line to each story had such promise! There’s a boy struggling to find love and sex after just moving to New York City. One story is written entirely in the perspective of a dog. 

But, if I'm being brutally honest, I flat out hated this collection. Each stories was a brief peek into various moments in the character's lives, but with no character development and endings that were abrupt to say the least. There was little to no plot building or denouement and they just felt flat in general.

I kept waiting for something more, though, a message or a kernel of truth that would resonate with me. Don't get me wrong: there are some really good stories in here. But the collection as a whole isn't particularly strong. 

I could have loved Barbara the Slut, if only there was a bit more punch to the story, a little less mundane near-complaints regarding the female sexuality. 

If you happen to read this on your own, and you love it, please let me know in the comments below. I'd love to talk about this one more with people who enjoyed Holme's debut collection. 

Stop what you are doing and pick up this weird and wonderful book.

This "book" definitely earns it's experimental genre name. I love the way Marcus plays with language.

He creates his own universe complete with physics, religion, architecture.

Now, I will admit that this one requires some patience on your part if you've never dabbled in experimental fiction before. But I promise that the payoff is big.

I'm sorry I don't have much more to say about this.

The reason is it is almost impossible to describe.

Having talked to a couple other people who've read this collection of stories for themselves, each person walks away with an entirely different read on this.

Fact is, I think you are doing yourself a disservice is you don't read this book at least once in your life. 


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