Thursday, December 29, 2011

Rapid Fire Reviews!!!!!

title:  In Red
author: Magdalena Tulli
pages: 158
genre: literary fiction
published: November 2011
source:  New York Public Library

Translated from Polish by Bill Johnson, the main character in Tulli's In Red is the fictional town of Stitchings.  Part portrait, part magical realism, Tulli creates a town from which there may be no escape, chronicling the life and death of an ensemble of the town's figureheads.  Chaotic, claustrophobic, and intensely lyrical, Tulli's strength lies in her insane command of language to create the mood and atmosphere of the piece.  

Rubric rating: 7

title:  There But For The
author: Ali Smith
pages: 236
genre: literary fiction
published: September 2011
source:  New York Public Library

One evening, Miles Garth attends a dinner party at the home of Genevieve Lee, and between the main course and dessert, leaves the table, walks upstairs and locks himself in the Lee's spare bedroom.  And refuses to leave.  For about a year.

Smith tells the story from the perspective of four individuals with varying relationships with Miles, and through each, the reader is able to assemble a portrait of the man that is Miles Garth, and Smith's strength lies in her ability to at once create these personal pictures of each character while at the same time examining the themes of separation and connection.  

Rubric rating: 7

title:  The Psychopath Test
author: Jon Ronson
pages: 288
genre: nonfiction-psychology
published:  2011
source:  New York Public Library

Note to the single ladies:  I happened to have this book with me one Friday night as I waited to meet a friend at a bar, and three different men approached me to flirt/ask about the book.  Apparently, this book is a man magnet.  Unanticipated bonus ;)

While investigating the origins of mysterious packages sent to neurologists around the world, Ronson becomes fascinated with the DSM-V and the characteristics of psychopaths.  He wonders:  could some of the most successful and powerful individuals be, in essence, psychopaths?

I really enjoy Ronson's narrative style.  I felt like I was with him in his head as he discovered new information and revised his thinking, which is something readers don't usually get to experience in nonfiction.  Hilarious, thought-provoking, disturbing and insightful, The Psychopath Test is not to be missed!

Rubric rating: 8

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