I'm a GoodReads user testing new waters after the serious website changes. I mostly read fiction, usually Anglophone classics/ modern classics; I like nonfiction (mostly social and cultural history), good fantasy and graphic novels. For guilty pleasure, I read advice and how-to books. I made at least two reading resolutions recently; 1. read less, live more; 2. read books which give me more pleasure. I have poor filters, and books I find stylistically pleasing tend to be depressing, so I need to do something about that; if you think you know a book that is very well written, but won't make me weep, please drop me a line.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close - Jonathan Safran Foer 2 stars - I probably wouldn't have finished it if it were not an audiobook.

The book is not without its strong points - I did appreciate some technical aspects, even though they felt a bit gimmicky at times - but I had some serious issues with how emotionally manipulative it felt. Foer is pushing all the buttons: a number of phone messages from the father trapped in WTC on the morning of 9/11, revealed as the story progresses; graphic, first-person description of the bombing of Hiroshima; the Falling Man; the first-person description of the bombing of Dresden; the accounts of some very private, very emotional moments. Too much, too often, too predictably.

Another thing - and this was something I found distasteful - was that this American book about 9/11 makes extensive references to the bombing of Dresden, and quotes vivid eyewitness accounts of the bombing of Hiroshima, but never addresses the fact that these bombs did not drop themselves. Not once. (I think one of the reasons I took the time to listen until the very end was to make sure it never happens.) This might be History 101, but probably not to everyone; I'm not saying Americans should live in permanent guilt, but at least do own your mistakes, even if shared; do not whitewash. Nifty references to [b:Slaughterhouse-Five|4981|Slaughterhouse-Five|Kurt Vonnegut||1683562] just won't do.

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