Unfinished Books (#3)

Earth: A Visitor’s Guide to the Human Race, by Jon Stewart

The eagerly awaited new book from the Emmy-winning, Oscar-hosting, Daily Show-anchoring Jon Stewart–the man behind the megaseller America (The Book). 

Where do we come from? Who created us? Why are we here? These questions have puzzled us since the dawn of time, but when it became apparent to Jon Stewart and the writers of The Daily Show that the world was about to end, they embarked on a massive mission to write a book that summed up the human race: What we looked like; what we accomplished; our achievements in society, government, religion, science and culture — all in a tome of approximately 256 pages with lots of color photos, graphs and charts. 

After two weeks of hard work, they had their book. EARTH (The Book) is the definitive guide to our species. With their trademark wit, irreverence, and intelligence, Stewart and his team will posthumously answer all of life’s most hard-hitting questions, completely unburdened by objectivity, journalistic integrity, or even accuracy.

My Thoughts:
I really wanted to like this story. I actually bought this for someone as a gift YEARS ago when it was released and now that I listened to part of it, I regret buying it for them. I can’t say that I watched a lot of Jon Stewart, but what I have seen was pretty good. I guess I expected this to be funnier. It was really goofy and silly, but not in a funny way. I smirked at certain points, but nothing was really “bust a gut” funny. MAYBE reading the book is different. The audiobook has a wide cast who all have varying volumes, and I found that Jon himself would start off talking clearly, but then mumble the rest of a sentence off. It was very annoying to try to listen to in the car – it was either too loud or too quiet. If you’re a big Jon Stewart fan, you might like this, but it just wasn’t for me.

Past Midnight (Past Midnight, #1), by Mara Purnhagen

Let me set the record straight. My name is Charlotte Silver and I’m not one of those paranormal-obsessed freaks you see on TV…no, those would be my parents, who have their own ghost-hunting reality show. And while I’m usually roped into the behind-the-scenes work, it turns out that I haven’t gone unnoticed. Something happened on my parents’ research trip in Charleston—and now I’m being stalked by some truly frightening other beings. Trying to fit into a new school and keeping my parents’ creepy occupation a secret from my friends—and potential boyfriends—is hard enough without having angry spirits whispering in my ear. 

All I ever wanted was to be normal, but with ghosts of my past and present colliding, now I just want to make it out of high school alive…

My Thoughts:
I love a good grim reaper story, but this one didn’t cut it for me. I was very interested in the beginning, but it seemed that whenever I picked up the story to read, it would take forever for me to try and get into it. This made the book way too easy to put down. The story itself does sound really interesting, but unless you plan to sit down and read it all in one go, I think I would skip this one. It’s a very short read, but I had hoped for something that would keep my interest, even if I had to put it down for a while.

The Casual Vacancy, by J. K. Rowling

When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock.

Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…Pagford is not what it first seems.

And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?

The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults.

My Thoughts:
I know what you’re thinking – I probably got this because I thought it would be Harry Potter, right? In fact, that’s not the reason I got it. I do love J. K. Rowling’s writing and thought that it would carry over into her new adult novel, but this one really didn’t grab me. I should’ve known from the instant I read the synopsis that it wasn’t a novel I’d like because I couldn’t figure out the point of it. I’ve read plenty of adult novels in my time, but the first 100 pages of this took forever to read and by the time I finished those 100 pages I realized that I didn’t really care about any of the characters. Also, once I put the book down for a break, I realized that I had no desire to pick it back up again. I did learn my lesson though: Just because I love the author, doesn’t mean I’ll love everything they write. Lesson learned.

Two and Twenty Dark Tales: Dark Retellings of Mother Goose Rhymes, by various authors

In this anthology, 20 authors explore the dark and hidden meanings behind some of the most beloved Mother Goose nursery rhymes through short story retellings. The dark twists on classic tales range from exploring whether Jack truly fell or if Jill pushed him instead to why Humpty Dumpty, fragile and alone, sat atop so high of a wall. The authors include Nina Berry, Sarwat Chadda, Leigh Fallon, Gretchen McNeil, and Suzanne Young.

My Thoughts:
It seems that there are a LOT of fairytale retelling these days. I have liked a lot of the retellings I’ve read, so when I saw that this book contained retellings of Mother Goose Rhymes, I was excited. But it just didn’t cut it. I read the first 3.5 stories and didn’t really like any of them. Maybe it’s just me, but the stories seemed too rooted in fantasy and I guess I wanted a book that was set more in this day and time, rather than something taking place in other worlds and other times. I wanted to connect with the stories a little more. This might just be me being picky, but I think I’ll stick to the fairytale retellings instead.

© 2012, Reading In Winter. All rights reserved.


26 thoughts on “Unfinished Books (#3)

    • Me, too! And that’s when, if I want to try a book, I get it from the library. After The Casual Vacancy, I have learned my lesson! And the funny thing is that I still haven’t met anyone who has FINISHED that book!

  1. I hate when books just don’t live up to your expectations!

    I liked Past Midnight, but it sounds like you were expecting a grim reaper type story…and it isn’t that at all. Charlotte’s family just looks into paranormal phenomena to try and disprove them…and then they have an experience that shows them it isn’t all fake. I liked it, but the series is more of a middle grade one, so it’s not as exciting as it could be. 😛

    I’m still looking forward to The Casual Vacancy myself! There have been so many mixed reviews, but I’m still going to give it a shot. I’m hoping to read it during my Christmas break. 😀

    • Well, I hope you like The Casual Vacancy! I donated mine to my library — well, to two people at the library who both gave up and then we just put it in circulation. The request list is HUGE!

  2. I appreciate DNF posts because I like knowing why someone didn’t like a book. I am going to try Casual Vacancy and try to pretend it’s some author I’ve never heard of. Trying to decide whether to do the audiobook or just put myself on the list at the library.

    • Yes! Me, too! Because sometimes a reason that I don’t like it might be a reason someone ELSE likes it!

      I should’ve just kept my name on the list at the library and left it at that … $25 wasted!

  3. Ugh, I cannot DNF a book. I will finish a book even if it takes me SIX MONTHS. I have issues though and I feel bad for the book and I always think, “but what if it gets better or what if the ending is worth it?!” I know, I know, life is too short!! Lately, I haven’t had to *force* myself to finish a book though, so that’s good….but should I start reading something down the road that I’m not enjoying, I’m going to try really hard to just let that one go 🙂

  4. I liked Past Midnight, but I’ll admit it wasn’t one of those “absolutely must read” books. It was entertaining, but not much more. There are certainly more books to be more passionate about on your shelves!
    As for The Casual Vacancy, I still haven’t given it a try. It’s on my shelf, but I’m a little scared of it.

  5. I’m still learning how to DNF a book (although thankfully, the books I choose tend to be books I end up really liking). But I will say that it’s admirable that you can at least point out the things that you liked/didn’t like/weren’t expecting/were expecting from them.

    I’m still itching to give The Casual Vacancy a try. I know it’s going to be verrrrry different from Harry Potter, but I think that might not necessarily be a bad thing. My fiance has read it and liked it, so I’m still going into it with hope!

  6. I’m afraid of reading The Casual Vacancy even more now… I hope she returns to Children’s lit, or more fantasy based books..lol Although, it will be hard to top Harry Potter I think.. 😛

  7. It took me a bit longer than 100 pages to get into The Casual Vacancy. But once I did, it made me feel ALL THE FEELINGS. Oh, I just loved it! But yeah, I can definitely understand that you don’t feel like it should take that long to get into a book and were eager to move on to something else.

  8. Can’t say I’m surprised about The Casual Vacancy, but that’s still disappointing. I like that you’re posting about books you DNF, because I’m always curious why people don’t finish books! I think I might do a similar post at some point. 🙂

  9. Pingback: Clock Rewinders on a Book Binge (16) | Reading In Winter

My home is where my books are. - Ellen Thompson

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