Monday, August 31, 2015

Where Is Your Bookmark? (09/01/2015)

I am reading two books at the moment: Fredrik Backman's tale of a girl tasked by her dead grandmother to deliver letters of apology to various people her grandmother has wronged, which is aptly titled, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry; and also Lilith Saintcrow's The Demon's Librarian, about your typical demon hunting librarian. Because all librarians hunt demons on their down time, right?


First Paragraph of My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman:

Every seven-year-old deserves a superhero. That's just how it is.

Anyone who doesn't agree needs their head examined.

Teaser at 4% (Elsa and her grandmother are waiting at the police station): 

"I didn't want you to remember this day because of the scarf. So I thought instead you could remember it as the day your Granny broke into a zoo--"


First Paragraph of The Demon's Librarian by Lilith Saintcrow:

She ended up knee-deep in slick rotting garbage with one hell of a shiner and a stitch gripping her side, holding a glowing-blue knife while something with tentacles thrashed toward her in the foul stinking water.

How the bloody blue hell do I get into these situations?

Teaser at 5% (after a patron demands The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn be removed from the library)

"Mrs. Pembroke, not a week goes by without you coming to my office or bothering my staff about something you feel is indecent. If this library is such a sinkhole of filth and corruption, why don't you patronize the parish library on Twelfth Street? I'm sure they will have texts more to your taste."

What do you think? Would you keep reading?  

These are two very different books, and both are the second books I have read by their respective authors.

What are you reading at the moment?  Is it anything you would recommend?

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely ladies at Broke and Bookish.

This week's  Top Ten Tuesday theme is Ten Characters You Just Didn't Click With, and yet, for many of the books in which these characters appear, I liked (loved, in some cases) them still! That says a lot, wouldn't you say? To be fair, some of these characters are supposed to be unlikable--or at least, not easy to like.

1.

Melanie Middleton from Karen White's Tradd Street series. I like so much about this series, especially the setting and the writing, but I just can't seem to completely warm to Melanie the way I wish I could. There's just something about her that annoys me.

2.

Mike Chapman from Linda Fairstein's Alexandra Cooper series. He's one of the top secondary characters and cleary the main character adores him.  Then why don't I? Still, I do enjoy this series quite a bit.  And sometimes I find myself liking Mike. At least for a brief moment, and then I'm back to being annoyed by him.

3.

I loved the novel We Need to Talk About Kevin, and in some ways, I could identify with Eva Khatchadourian, the narrator of the story, but she was not exactly an easy character to like.  I felt empathy for her. And sorry for her too. I don't think she and I would have ever been friends though if she'd been a real person.

4.

Thomas Covenant is an anti-hero. He is part of a fantasy series by Stephen R. Donaldson' of which I have read the first book, Lord Foul's Bane.  Generally, I have no problems with anti-heroes, but Thomas did something unforgivable early on in the book that made it impossible for me to warm to him on any level. I can look past or forgive a character for a lot of things, but not what he did.

5.

Owen Meany from John Irvings' A Prayer for Owen Meany. I wanted to like him--so many people do--but I found him more annoying than anything else. This is one of those books I did not care for when all was said and done.  And part of it was because of Owen's character.

6.

For this one, I am cheating. Humbert Humbert of Lolita fame. I am so glad I finally took the plunge and read Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita. This is one of those books I ended up loving, in spite of or because of how much I was disgusted by the character of Humbert. There is nothing redeemable about the man.

7.

Walcott from Someone Else's Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson. Walcott, a secondary character, is Shandi's best friend. Shandi being one of the two main characters in the novel. I didn't care for him much at all, finding him annoying (annoying seems to be the key to hurting a character clickability with me).

8.

Anna from The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.  I cannot say any of characters in the novel particularly won me over, but I at least had sympathy for Rachel and Megan. I never warmed to Anna though. She wasn't a very nice woman.

9.

Dr. Annick Swenson from Ann Patchett's State of Wonder. Beautiful writing and a compelling novel, I enjoyed Sate of Wonder quite a bit.  I never did warm to the main character, Dr. Annick Swensen, though. She is gruff in manner and spends more time pontificating than she does listening.

10.

Rachel from Sharon Bolton's Little Black Lies. It would seem as if Rachel would be the easier character in the novel for me to relate to given my history of depression (mine took on a different form, admittedly).  And yet, I found her the most difficult to connect with in the novel. In fact, at times I found myself actually disliking her. She rubbed me the wrong way.

Are there any particular characters you didn't click with that stand out in your mind? Did that make or break the book for you?


© 2015, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

60 comments:

  1. I'm really intrigued by The Demon's Librarian...I'll be on the lookout for it.

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    1. Catherine - I'm enjoying it so far, although I still have reservations about it. It's fun though that the main character is a librarian. :-)

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  2. This list was hard and I had to really search around for characters it seemed, because I overlook faulty characters quickly in favor of ones that I really like anyway. My TTT is a mishmash for sure.

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    1. Beth - I tried to mix my list up in terms of characters I just didn't connect with and those who I'm probably not meant to connect with. It wasn't an easy list to make, that's for sure!

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  3. I didn't really connect with Anna from The Girl On The Train either. Great choices! :-) My TTT!

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    1. Chrissi - She got on my nerves. I would cringe every time I'd get to her section. LOL

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  4. Well, let me say, I am relieved that you couldn't relate to Humbert Humbert. (What a creep)

    My TTT

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    1. Anne - Ha! I actually felt physically ill as I read certain parts of Lolita.

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  5. I do like the sound of My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry, definitely intriguing. As for the TT, I quite like it when books have unlikeable characters in them and agree with many on your list including Rachel from Little Black Lies - she wasn't easy to feel compassion towards was she?

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    1. Cleo - I thought so too! I loved the author's other book, A Man Called Ove.

      I don't mind an unlikable character now and then. They can be quite interesting actually. The hard ones for me though are the characters I am probably supposed to like, but just don't.

      Yes, there was just something about Rachel from Little Black Lies . . .

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  6. I've to read Fredrik Backman's books since I've heard nothing but good things about them.

    Well, I didn't like Anna from The Girl on the Train too. The same goes to Humbert from Lolita; he's simply creepy!

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    1. Melody - I hope you do read them and like both of them, Melody! His books are good. :-)

      Humbert is such a horrible man, isn't he? Anna just rubbed me the wrong way.

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  7. The interesting thing for me was that though neither opener grabbed me, I was interested by the teaser portoin that you shared. Just goes to show you it can take more than a paragraph to fall for a book. :)


    My beginning is over here if you're interested: http://www.bookpunks.com/so-it-begins-signal-to-noise-by-silvia-moreno-garcia/

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    1. Nikki - Yes, sometimes the opening paragraph isn't enough on its own to pique someone's interest. :-)

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  8. I'm not sure I'd pick up The Demon's Librarian just based on the cover/title, but that blurb makes me want to read it!

    I haven't read any of the books from your TTT, though I do have The Girl on the Train in my TBR. I've had others tell me also that the characters are hard to feel sorry for!

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    1. Martha - I went back and forth about posting the old cover for The Demon's Librarian (which has a more horror feel to it--the bookcover link above actually takes you to the older cover) or this newer one. While there is a romance element in the novel, the newer cover definitely capitalizes more on that. Which does a disservice to the more prominent supernatural and mystery elements in the book.

      The characters in The Girl on the Train are very flawed. I didn't have much trouble at all feeling for Rachel, especially the more I learned about her life. She's such a sad character.

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  9. My Grandmother ... sounds good and the Demon's Library sounds like it has some good humor mixed in with the action. I **loved** Owen Meany

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    1. Beth F - I'm enjoying Backman's novel so far. I admit though the narrator, the girl, gets to me after awhile, which is why I decided to read it alongside another book. Yes, The Demon's Librarian does have a bit of humor in it. I am enjoying to so far, although I admit at first I wasn't sure about it.

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  10. I tried my best to be completely different from Eva in We Need to Talk. Scary to think a mom could be like her....

    Here's my Characters I Just Didn't Click With.

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    1. Deb - I had mixed feelings about Eva ultimately. Early on, I suspected she had postpartum depression, which colored those early years in her son's life. But yeah, I definitely don't want to be like her as a parent. Nor do I want my daughter to be her son.

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  11. Wendy, I read this one and liked it, but not as much as Ove. Hope the rest is a good reading experience for you.

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    1. Diane - It's still too early to tell whether I will feel the same way about Backman's second book. I can't imagine liking it better than Ove, but you never know.

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  12. Great list of characters. I agree with you on most of them, especially Eva from We Need to Talk About Kevin - she was tough to figure out and relate to.

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    1. Kathy - Thank you! Yes, Eva was a difficult character to figure out. I did feel for her though, ultimately.

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  13. Hi! I should have put Owen Meany on my list, too!

    My TTT: http://lesliehauser.com/2015/09/01/top-ten-tuesday-fictional-characters-ive-unfollowed-on-instagram/

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    1. Leslie - I know we were supposed to like him, but I just didn't. :-(

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  14. Away to add My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry to my wish list - it sounds amazing and what a lovely cover.

    Just about to begin Blood Moon by Alexander Sokoloff. I've just finished the first book (Huntress Moon) in the series which was great.

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    1. Tracy - I am enjoying the Backman book. He's got a way with writing characters that find their way into your heart.

      I am so glad to hear you liked Huntress Moon! I hope you will like Blood Moon too.

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  15. I just downloaded the same for Beckman's A Man Called Ove and have heard such great things...so I'd continue reading the first one for that reason. I can tell by the cover that the second one isn't for me.

    LOVE your top 10 list! I thought about including Melanie Middleton in mine too, but had too many...she drove me crazy with her stubbornness and tendency to just run out of the room instead of asking obvious questions as it related to Jack. And, annoying characters tend to rub me the wrong way as well - there are a bunch on my list!

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    1. Sarah - I imagine The Demon's Librarian wouldn't be for everyone. I really like Backman's novels!

      It's nice to know I am not the only one annoyed my Melanie. Especially when it comes to Jack!

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  16. I would continue with "my grandmother....". Probably not the other one. I don't do demons! As far as your list of unlikable characters, I have not read any of the books you listed. But I can list an unlikable character, Bernadette in "Where'd You Go Bernadette" I know , I know , I'm in the minority! "shrug"

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    1. Judy - My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You I'm Sorry is a good one!

      I haven't "met" Bernadette, although I have heard about the book. It seems to be quite popular, although not one I find myself wanting to read. I am not sure I'd like her either.

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  17. I loved the excerpts from The Demon's Librarian...and the way the librarian put that woman in her place...LOL.

    I am curious about My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry (Whew! What a title!); I have The Man Called Ove and planned to read this one afterwards.

    Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog.

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    1. Laurel-Rain - It was a funny scene! I'm sure a lot of librarians would love to lecture patrons who are asking to ban or remove books from the shelves. :-)

      Backman's book does have quite a title--so long! I hope you enjoy A Man Called Ove and this one!

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  18. I like the beginnings of both of your current novels. As a person who usually reads two (or more) books at the same time, I see why these two are paired together. There's no way you're going to mix up these narrators or storylines. Enjoy.

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    1. Margot - Yes, they are very different books from one another! :-) And that makes it easier to keep them separate in my head. Not to mention each one calls to different moods I may be in.

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  19. The Demon's Librarian sounds like a fun read! I agree with you about the mom in We Need to Talk About Kevin. I didn't like her much either. I thought she was too passive. I agree that Humbert Humbert is a completely horrible person too. Here's my teaser. Happy reading!

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    1. Kim - I'm enjoying The Demon's Librarian. I kind of like the Lilith Saintcrow I read before it better, but that could change.

      I felt for Eva in many ways. I just never quite clicked with her. Humbert Humbert was such an interesting character--and so easy to dislike, wasn't he?

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  20. Ah! Lolita is gorgeously written, and endlessly thought provoking about the power of language and "smooth talking" I really want to read more Nabokov, and reread Lotita soon!
    Thanks for stopping by the The Local Muse

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    1. Mallory - Yes! I loved that about Lolita. I haven't read anything else by Nabokov at some point too.

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  21. I need to read My Grandmother--I've skimmed a couple of reviews because I want to read it, want to know what people think, but don't want to know too much. :)

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    1. Jenclair - I have been avoiding reading reviews of it too--at least other than to know if someone likes it. Hopefully we both will like it!

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  22. I hope you enjoy the Backman book. I liked it, not as much as A Man Called Ove but it was still wonderful. Elsa is a wonderful character.

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    1. Athira - It doesn't have the same pull that A Man Called Ove had, but I am enjoying it so far. I quite like Elsa. :-)

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  23. I haven't read any of these but several are on my TBR list! My TTT

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    1. Carrie - They are all good. Well, except the ones I didn't like. ;-)

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  24. What a great teaser! Sounds like a great book.

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  25. I don't think I was a fan of Owen Meany, either. It may have been John that I clicked with less, though.

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    1. Kaitlin - I didn't mind John so much, but I really didn't see what he saw in Owen Meany.

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  26. I haven't heard of The Demon's Librarian, but I'd definitely keep reading!

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    1. Monica - It's being re-published, from what I understand, under a different publisher this year, but it came out a few years ago. I heard it was one of Saintcrow's earlier books.

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  27. BWAHAHAHA Such a perfect response to an overly fussy library patron. I don't see the problem with Huck Finn though :p

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  28. I cannot believe I haven't read ANY from your list :( But I agree with you- it says a LOT about a book if you can dislike characters and still like the book. I am quite bad at that!
    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

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    1. Shannon - I think it's easier to like a book when I'm not supposed to fall in love with or like the main character and harder when I don't like a character I'm supposed to like.

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  29. The Demon's Librarian sounds interesting. I hope you enjoyed it.

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  30. Your two current reads couldn't be more different!

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