Buddy Read – Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

June 2018 – Mel’s choice

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

by Jonathan Safran Foer

Published 2005

Genres: Fiction / Historical Fiction

 

In a vase in a closet, a couple of years after his father died in 9/11, nine-year-old Oskar discovers a key….

The key belonged to his father, he’s sure of that. But which of New York’s 162 million locks does it open?

So begins a quest that takes Oskar – inventor, letter-writer and amateur detective – across New York’s five boroughs and into the jumbled lives of friends, relatives and complete strangers. He gets heavy boots, he gives himself little bruises and he inches ever nearer to the heart of a family mystery that stretches back fifty years. But will it take him any closer to, or even further from, his lost father?

 

Mel says…

I think anyone who is old enough to remember 9/11 and where they were on that day can agree, it is an event that we will never forget for as long as we live. This is why I chose this book, as it delves into the psyche of direct loss from that act of terrorism, albeit in a  fictional sense, however I found Oskar’s story of discovery and mourning intriguing.

Oskar was an extremely quirky 9 year-old, and the trauma that Safran Foer so cleverly portrayed through Oskar’s personality was both brilliant and heartbreaking.

The format of EL&IC was interesting with letters, narrative and images that made each chapter different from the next. There was a large amount of chapters that I skimmed through, due to lack of interest. Generally these were chapters from the Grandparents past which I felt were slightly confusing and uninteresting.

By the end of EL&IC, I was waiting for answers and closure that never came, but after a bit of thought felt that this was consistent with how Oskar would feel throughout his journey for closure.

Although I did enjoy EL&IC, I didn’t love it and was happy with a 3/5 star rating.

Rating:

Did not like it  –  It was ok  –  Liked it  –  Really liked it  –  It was amazing

 

Janelle says…

I went in to this book not really that interested in reading it, but I thought I’d give it a go and hope to be pleasantly surprised.

Like Mel, I found the story told from Oskar’s point of view to be incredibly sad, all the more because of the fact that this trauma was and is real for so many people. But I also didn’t really care about the flashbacks of the earlier generation scattered throughout, and by the end of the book it still wasn’t obvious to me why they were necessary. I also felt a sense of “Ok…..aaaaand?” with the ending.

Frankly I struggled to get through this one, I didn’t learn anything new from it and it was all just a bit ho-hum. I gave it a 2-star rating on Goodreads, but the more I think about it post-read, the closer to a 1-star my opinion gets! There’s not really much more to say about it, other than don’t bother.

 

Rating:

Did not like it  –  It was ok  –  Liked it  –  Really liked it  –  It was amazing

 

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Yoga Book Club – Yoga School Dropout by Lucy Edge

 

 Yoga School Dropout

by Lucy Edge

 

Published 2005

Genres: Non-fiction / Travel & Adventure / Spirituality / Memoir

 

“Today asana has been made into a photograph,’ he said. ‘There is no difference between this and gymnastics. We see calendars with photographs of someone balancing on a rock in handstand, the sun setting between their hands, yoga in front of waterfalls, even naked yoga. But asana is not a performance, asana is what happens in the posture and afterwards. A circus man can do many postures – this is not asana.’

Lucy decides to leave her advertising job in London behind for a spiritual and yogic journey through India. Along the way she meets yogis from all different walks of life, tries different lineages of yoga, receives teachings from gurus, and learns things about herself that she never expected to.

 

Janelle says…

I’ve been mostly AWOL lately due to starting a new life chapter as a yoga teacher which, what with all the training and the practicing and the teaching and the reading and the studying, has really put the brakes on my reading and blogging time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m loving it and am super happy…but I do wish I had more like 48 hours in every day sometimes.

The good news though is that my yoga buddies and I have started a yoga book club. This is good news because 1) it’s my first ever book club and I’ve always wanted to be in one, and 2) instant book blog material! So here we go.

For our first book club read we chose this travelogue/memoir about a woman who travels to India to find authentic yoga and her true self. I found I really couldn’t warm to the main character until right near the very end. She was not well introduced at the start so I felt no connection with her whatsoever, as the story jumped straight in to her leaving her metropolitan life and job in advertising in order to run away to the other side of the world. I spent a lot of the book wondering who this woman really was, what was her deal, and did she even care about yoga or was she just there to be able to say she’d done it?

I did enjoy the tour through yogic India and the different people she met along the way, both from Indian and Western cultures. The topic of how yoga is viewed and practiced in India vs how it is portrayed in the West came up a few times and was intriguing, and I continued to think about it and try to form my own opinions even after putting the book down.

I also thought that there were a lot of yoga terms and Sanskrit words used, which, if you had little to no knowledge of yoga philosophy, would likely have gone straight over your head and supremely frustrated you. I don’t think this book is friendly to those with only a mild interest in yoga, it’s written with a lot of assumed knowledge and I think that let it down in making it less accessible.

Overall, I wasn’t expecting to absolutely love this book but I thought I would like it more than I did. If you’re really into yoga and you’ve done some reading on the history and philosophy behind it, you might enjoy this if the premise sounds good to you. For everyone else, give it a miss.

 

Rating:

Did not like it  –  It was ok  –  Liked it  –  Really liked it  –  It was amazing

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