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READING UPDATE: PLAYER PIANO AND FAULT IN OUR STARS (BOOK REVIEWS)

Is anything as lovely as a sunny spring day? I missed reading outdoors, I can tell you that. Sitting on a bench on a nice spring day, with a nice book in one's lap, now that has to be one of the greatest pleasures in life. Speaking of reading, March has been a good reading month so far. As loyal I am to my favourite writers, I also love to discover new ones. I try to read at least one new author every month. This March I read two American authors for the first time: Kurt Vonnegut and John Green. Naturally I heard about them before. Both of them are quite well know, but this March marked my first introduction to these two. They are not the only 'new' writers I tried this month, but more about that some other time. Earlier this month, I read Kurt's Player Piano and Green's Fault in Our Stars. I liked Player Piano much more that Fault in Our Stars but I was kind of expecting that. I'm happy I read both, though. It is just that Kurt's writing is more my cup of tea. Fortunately it seems I'm still young and eager enough  to be able to read for a half a day without a stop. So, I manage to get a lot of reading done. 
bag: vintage/jeans: old,/jacket: no name/ boots: Peko/ long velvet shirt: Zaful



THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, A NOVEL BY JOHN GREEN 2/5


First of all, let me say I'm glad that this novel is so popular because we need more cancer awareness. The writing wasn't my cup of tea, but there are some aspects of The Fault in Our Stars that I quite liked. In fact, I read this book in what felt like a heartbeat. Did I enjoy it? Well, I liked it. Nevertheless, I have to admit- I wasn't exactly blown away. I did feel engaged while I was reading The Fault in Our stars, but I do think this novel has some writing faults that keep it from being great. I do understand why it means so much to so many people, for it does bring to light some aspects of terminal and chronic illnesses that aren't often talked about. I found the theme quite brave: love in spite of chronic and terminal illness. Unfortunately, while reading I often felt like I was emotionally manipulated into feeling sadness. I did feel sad at times, but I didn't like the way the author seems to achieve that effect of sadness. I don't mind books that make me suffer, but I want these books to be solid literature that breaks my heart with amazing prose, not emotional tricks repeated over and over again. There is a difference. It is a subtle one but it exists. 



While some parts of the book regarding chronic and terminal illnesses resonated with me and touched me, I couldn't tell if the writer just relied on his own experience and research (drew on his work experience and read description on chronic illness and cancer blogs and included them as quotes of some kind), because I couldn't see any character development that would explain them. In other words, I couldn't relate to the characters, only to some parts of this book. Speaking of which, the characters were written terribly flat. The two major protagonists, Gus and Hazel, seem like the same person. They also sound like an older person, someone who majored in literature, not like teenagers at all. Not saying that there aren't eloquent teenagers out there, but they just sounded 'older'. They were also too much alike. Somehow, Hazel doesn't seem like a girl, either. Perhaps both of them sound a bit too much like John Green himself?The parents of the main characters are annoyingly perfect. Nobody is that perfect. I have a feeling they are written in such a praising and idolizing way, only so that we would cry for them and feel even more bad about the fact their children are dying. I know it's probably the worst thing that can happen to anyone and every parent's worst nightmare, but I would have appreciated a bit more emotion in describing them. They don't sound real at all. I'm sorry to say but they also came off as very flat. 


The story itself is a bit predicable and I don't mean the obvious 'sad ending', just the story as it develops. The way they fall in love is super predictable and not very realistic. Their quest to find an ending to an epic novel written by some Dutch guy was not very exciting and I could see it from afar. Especially that Dutch guy's personal history revelation part. Many things in the story didn't feel too credible. Letting a dying girl with oxygen tubes fly over to Amsterdam? Underage teenagers drinking champagne and nobody seeing anything odd with that? There was also a lot of brand mentioning, perhaps the writer is getting paid for it, but it felt out of place. Green's film comments were quite annoying too. I think they were the writer's way of making Hazel seem more like a girl. Green made Hazel dislike movies he thinks are more for boys, which did nothing for her character development.

On the overall, I'm not a fan of the writing. The book reads easy but too easy. There are some big words that seem to inserted in the texts forcefully. Are these big words there for the writer to show off? You know, a way to show how intelligent Green's protagonists are, but I have to say they don't come off as terribly intelligent to me, more cynic in their dialogues then anything else. I would preferred to be shown what makes Hazel and Gus so intelligent apart from their exchanging some random philosophical quotes and metaphors that feel out of place. I mean both Hazel and Gus are likable, but their dialogues often felt too adult, cynic and sarcastic. To conclude, in my view this novel has both its cons and prons. I'm not fan of the writing or the portrayal of characters, but I was touched by the story. If you have imagination enough, you can always make up for the poor characterization. I don't regret reading this book or anything like that, I just wish it was better written.


PLAYER PIANO, A NOVEL BY KURT VONNEGUT 5/5


I do like books that make me think. Player piano really got me thinking about our society and life in general. As it happens that is one of my favourite qualities in a novel. I heard that Vonnegut was a fantastic writer and (what you'd know) it is true. I did enjoy his writing in this novel, it's very intelligent and to the point.

Player Piano is a novel set in near future. It is a dystopian kind of future, set in USA. Most of the labour is done by machines, meaning that only a selected few get to have a real job. Others aren't exactly starving, the state feeds them but that's about it. They are depressed and lack a sense of purpose in their lives. So, those who 'work' are the privileged ones. The plot focused on a young engineer who is increasingly unhappy and frustrated in a society where the work force is composed primarily of managers and engineers. Why is he unhappy? He is young, successful and married. But not everything is as it seems. Our protagonist feels guilty and more than that, he is starting to realize something is terribly wrong with the society he lives in.

This novel is very relevant for today's world, especially if one takes a look at the number of unemployed young people. In the future, even more work will be done by machines. Player Piano asks some really interesting questions, and it certainly got me thinking. Simply said, I was absolutely blown away by this book. I wrote a rather long review for it but unfortunately my laptop shot down in the middle of it and it was all lost. I don't have the time to rewrite that review, so a shorter one will do. Perhaps this little incident is a perfect metaphor for this novel. Technology influences our lives in ways we can't always predict




Have you read these two novels? Are you familiar with these writers?  What was the last book you read? Do you have any book recommendations to share? Do you like this outfit? That would be all for today.  Have a lovely start of the week!


Comments

  1. Non conoscevo questi due libri, considera che io leggo solo thiller ma questi mi afascinano!
    Don't Call Me Fashion Blogger
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  2. Sitting outside with a book is wonderful, the perfect day!! I've read The Fault in our stars and watched the movie too. It was really sad. Not usually what I read or watch, but it was good to see awareness as you say about it. I hope you had a great weekend & new week too xx

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  3. These books look so interesting to read. you look so lovely in this outfit.
    xo Corina
    https://unbouquetdamour.com/parisian-style-outfit/

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  4. Thanks for sharing your book reviews Ivana. I've never read the Fault in our Stars, but I saw the movie.

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  5. I would enjoy the Player Piano. I read My Sister's Keeper and it was so sad. Now I don't want to read anymore books with a terminally ill character. Reading a novel like that stays with you forever and really does increase empathy for those dealing with such horrible illnesses.

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    1. Yes, books with terminally ill characters are often quite sad and you're right that a novel like that can stay with us forever. These kind of books can also teach us a lot about what it is like dealing with horrible illnesses.

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  6. I have read The Fault In Our Stars and I felt the same way as you. The story was engaging enough but I couldn't get into his style of writing. Player Piano sounds interesting and some of the themes certainly do mirror today's society.

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    1. thanks Rowena, his style of writing is definitely not for me. I hope you're having a good day.

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  7. Me too, I love the books that make me think.Thanks for sharing the reviews of these books, Ivana. I'm so excited for Spring, it's my fav season. Have a lovely day. xx

    Nina's Style Blog

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    Replies
    1. thank you Nina. Spring is a great season, it's lovely you're excited about it.

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  8. Thanks for sharing! I haven't read anyone.
    Your look is stunning, in love with your coat <3

    www.luciagallegoblog.com

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  9. Stavolta mi trovi preparata: li ho letti anche io tutti e due questi libri!^^
    E sono contenta che tu abbia fatto una recensione così obbiettiva di "colpa delle stelle" (the fault in our stars) perchè mi ci sono ritrovata tantisimo!
    Molte delle persone che lo hanno letto lo hanno trovato bello e commovente, credo principalmente per il tema di cui tratta, ma io mi sentivo costantemente "manipolata" dall'autore per arrivare ad esser triste per i protagonisti, e la cosa dopo un pò ha iniziato a darmi un fastidio tale che ero tentata di non finire il libro!
    Non so se sia perchè di solito alterno la lettura di un classico della letteratura con un autore moderno, ma al confronto con un classico la storyline, lo sviluppo dei personaggi e la prosa di questo libro mi sono risultati subito piatti e senza spessore....
    Sì triste è triste, ma è solo eprchè l'autore usa degli stratagemmi per indurti a empatizzare (che poi tra l'altro si ripetono sempre uguali): insomma a me non è piaciuto. Non è il peggior libro che abbia letto ma non lo consiglierei, ecco!
    L'altro libro invece mi è piaciuto molto di più, ma ti ho fatto un commento già abbastanza lungo quindi evito ulteriori chiacchiere!^^
    Baci!
    S
    https://s-fashion-avenue.blogspot.com
    Insomma a me non è piaciuto

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    Replies
    1. hai ragione! Si, e' una trieste storia ma anch'io ho sentito mainpolata dall'autore.

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  10. It's funny that you wrote this post. Well maybe not funny, but a coincidence for sure. I was looking into The Fault in Our Stars a few days ago and you just happened to write a review on it. Thanks so much! It was so helpful

    Even when you review books, you are so stylish and beautiful as usual!

    xo, Maria
    https://www.miamiamine.com/

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  11. Wow...hearing you talk about Fault in our Stars made me realize what a good analyzer you are. I just read the books and don't really think twice about them. Which is why I have enjoyed being in a book club. Because I have learned to look at books differently. I read this book many years ago, and enjoyed it. Now you make me want to go back and read it again.
    I added the Player Piano to my list to read...it sounds like something that would be perfect for a book club discussion.
    XOOX
    Jodie
    www.jtouchofstyle.com

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    1. I always wanted to be in a book club. Maybe I should start my own?

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  12. Oh I miss spring we use to have one but it seems we go from it being cold, to lots or rain and then straight to heat and humidity. I am reading a book on real ghosts stories right now. I watched the film The Fault in Our Stars with my French niece in Paris. This created a nice memory for me. Love your coat!

    Allie of
    www.allienyc.com

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    1. that's so lovely. I haven't watched the film myself, I might some day.

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  13. I really appreciate how honest you were with your reviews! I actually own The Fault In Our Stars and I just never got around to reading it. But Player Piano sounds like such a good book! I'll be adding that to my reading list.

    x Kara | http://karascloset.net

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  14. I've heard about "The Fault in Our Stars" but never wanted to read it. It just didn't call to me, but I haven't heard of "Player Piano" although I've read several books by Kurt Vonnegut before and I really like his writing. "Player Piano" sounds like a really interesting book and I'm definitely adding it to my list. Thanks for sharing these reviews.

    Kathrin | Polar Bear Style

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    1. I can't wait to read more of Vonnegut. Can you recommend some books? What was the most favourite book of his that you have read?

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  15. You look so chic babe.
    I love that book too!

    Much Love,
    BLOG | INSTAGRAM | YOUTUBE

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  16. Thanks a lot :D

    seems to be very interesting, my friend!

    NEW REVIEW POST | CONCEALERS WITH IMPECCABLE FINISHES? HERE’S ONE!
    InstagramFacebook Official PageMiguel Gouveia / Blog Pieces Of Me :D

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  17. Hello, thanks for the information. Have a nice day

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  18. Sitting in a garden and reading is perfect happiness especially in the evening, I love sitting on the wet grass and reading books, I have not read Player piano yet but would love to read after reading this.. I have read faults in my star. I still remember it was on a saturday evening that I started reading it did not sleep until I completed the book, I had bawled my eyes out, started from when he is also hit back.... I m a very hopeless, emotional romantic that way though....
    www.stylebasket.in

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    1. It is a romantic story....and I enjoyed the book while I was reading it but I finished it I felt a bit emotionally manipulated.

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  19. Thanks for sharing your book reviews. I haven't read either of them but I think I would find 'Player Piano' really interesting.
    On another note, I love your outfit and your sunnies and reading outdoors is definitely an enjoyable way to spend a few hours!
    Julia x
    https://www.thevelvetrunway.com/

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  21. I truly acknowledge how fair you were with your audits! I really claim The Fault In Our Stars and I just never got around to understanding it. In any case, Player Piano seems like such a decent book! I'll be adding that to my perusing list. If you're a Big fan of captain Marvel than I suggest you to shop captain Marvel Jacket from Jackets Inn.

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All your comments mean a lot to me, even the criticism. Naravno da mi puno znači što ste uzeli vrijeme da nešto napišete, pa makar to bila i kritika. Per me le vostre parole sono sempre preziose anche quando si tratta di critiche.

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