Month: May 2016

This is a fun little book. It’s not exactly useful. It’s rather silly book of tips on being more Parisian. The advice ips it gives should be taken with a grain of salt and I felt it was written with a tongue in cheek style.

It will be amusing if you are a Francophile or a Parisphile. It plays on a lot of French stereotypes. I do not mean it’s all laughs or that all the tips are useless. I do appreciate a certain insouciance and minimalism that the Parisians extol. The book is a nice reminder of it.

The book even quoted the same quote I did in my review for The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides.

All in all, I’d recommend this book if you are someone with a sense of humor about their love of Paris.

Read May 16-28, 2016.

When I was a kid, I enjoyed Charlotte’s Web so I wanted to read another E. B. White book. I have not seen the Stuart Little movies either.

This was a nice little children’s book which is written more of a series of short stories on the adventures of Stuart Little. I liked most of the stories. The characters were sweet and I liked the New York City setting too. Margola the bird and the Little parents were lovely.

Stuart has a big personality too and it borders on being egotistical. It was amusing until one of the last stories where he develops a crush on someone. It is relatable but he then becomes defeated when things don’t go his way. The story ends there and rather abruptly.

The novel too ends on a bit of a cliff hanger. You can tell White was done with the character and stories by then so he just gave up without much of a ending.

All in all, still a sweet and nice children’s novel.

Read May 15, 2016.

I read this on Free Comic Book Day except I didn’t want to queue for that so I read this manga instead.

Reading this again naturally reminded me of the novel and the many other adaptations I’ve seen. This is such a grim and tragic story. There are a lot of characters in the book who were treated very poorly and dealt bad hands. Pip was also really ignorant of things for most of the book and it was cringe worthy sometimes. This does not translate as well to manga where the humor is lighter and this novel is not light. I am glad that Dickens did change the ending from its original one because this is such a mirthless book.

The manga adaptation itself did a good job with the material and did make it lighter than it was. It did seem to rush through the last few bits though. It had to because even though this is one of Dickens’ shorter novels, it is still a long one.

I would recommend it only to people who like this novel and manga in general.

Read May 8, 2016.

This is the sequel to Me Before You. If you read the previous review, you’ll know I did like the novel even if I didn’t fall in love with it as some others have. I did like the last book enough to read the sequel the day after.

I did not enjoy this book. In fact, I wish there was not a sequel. I’m aware the fans wanted a sequel, but I think in this case, she should have just let the story end there. I felt the ending of the last one was bittersweet and hopeful. The opening of this novel ruined that right away.

I had criticized the previous novel’s prosaic dialogue and prose, but it was not as bad as this. This novel felt like mediocre fanfiction of the first one. The characters did not feel particularly real. It was depressing and contrived. At times, it felt like an After School special. The first book was dramatic and even a bit melodramatic, but this novel was a soap opera.

It introduces a new pivotal character to the lives of the characters and she is horrible. Lily is an annoying, two dimensional teenage brat raised from an even horrible mother. Her mother is such an awful parent that the character became a caricature.

I also became frustrated with Louisa again as it felt like she had regressed. Even more annoying, Louisa gets more chances in this book than anyone else that is humanely possible. She’s a damn lucky character and if I did not like her, I would have hated this book even more.

Worse with these new characters and events, I felt manipulated as a reader. Characters make speeches and monologues in this maudlin way that felt disingenuous. Bad things happen to the characters to move the plot forward, but it all felt forced and far fetched.

I kept reading hoping it would get better, but I became indifferent and wanted it to be over. Thankfully, it was easy to read too.

As someone who gave the last book only 3/5 stars, this sequel did not work for me either. Some ardent fans felt the same, but there are others who love Louisa Clark so much that they want more from her. You may get that here.

I do think this novel is a cautionary tale about sequels. I am going to watch the movie and forget this novel happens after it.

Read May 4, 2016 on Kindle.

I read this book because the trailer for the upcoming movie adaptation looked like something I wanted to see. The reviews for the book were good. I was more or less spoiled for the ending once I read the summary. As a result, I did not cry, but that does not mean I did not like it.

I did like this book because while I didn’t love the characters early on, this is a novel with definite character development. It is overt with the plot, but it’s definitely there. The protagonist is shaped through the process and so are the other characters. I will say that some of the characters were flat and I was indifferent to most of them at the start including Lou. She was not easy to relate to at first. Secondly the dialogue and the prose were serviceable, but not noticeably special.

Still, the strength of the novel is its characters and its relationship. Lou grows on you. Since I knew Emilia Clarke would be in the role, I had no problem imagining her when I read the book. I think Clarke’s Lou will be more funny and charming.

In fact, I have a feeling I may like the movie as much if not more than the book. This plot is very typical of a sappy romance movie. Based on the trailer, it seems that they made all the characters from the novel more likeable. The best part is that Clarke and Sam Claifin look like they have a lot of chemistry which I would buy. This is a romance novel and the story hinges on that relationship.

I know the sequel will probably not be as good, but I still look forward to see Lou’s life after the events of this novel. Furthermore, I am eager to see the movie.

Read May 3, 2016 on Kindle.

Beyond the Lights (02-03 03 2016) – Gugu Mbatha-Raw is a chameleon. She really sinks into her roles. She is beautiful too and it’s amazing seeing her range from Belle here. Nate Parker is very handsome in this, but it’s all Gugu. Goodness they had great chemistry.

Ant-Man (16-18 04 2016) – Watched this movie on and off for three days because my schedule was packed that weekend. I liked this. The humor worked all around. Good dialogue. I adore Paul Rudd and have since Clueless. I like that his was a heist movie in a lot of ways. I look forward to see more of the character.

Flax Seed and Oat Sourdough

With this entry, I have gone off the one sourdough recipe I have been making and found others. Basically, I am doing the turn and fold method with the long bulk fermentation for all my breads now. It is mostly working too and I love eating my sourdough. I bake it about once a week now, often prepping the dough in the morning and evening for first and second proof, then baking at night. I do not cut the bread until the next morning.

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