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AlexThomas

AlexThomas

Joined April 2022

I read a lot of books. Sometimes I write about books for LitHub. Twitter @AlexThomas
review
AlexThomas
The Ambassadors | Henry James
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Mehso-so

This is the first one I‘ve read from James‘ late period and I absolutely love his earlier works but this sometimes exhausted me. The dialogue is often clogged with unnecessary juxtaposition.

The characters are brilliant, Jamesian and you get that feeling only from great books in which you‘ve been in the rooms with these people. So yes, great book, would recommend but as far as Henry James goes, The Ambassadors is on the bottom of my list

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AlexThomas
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Pickpick

my first time with Baldwin‘s fiction and I really really enjoyed this. It‘s plot-heavy but reaches down inside you with the questions it asks. The writing is beautiful but natural the dialogue is so authentic, you‘ll occasionally get goosebumps.

It‘s got a little of the southern gothic feel you get from Faulkner but spares his dry wordiness. And the plotted nature of it makes it a quick read, takes just a few days.

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AlexThomas
The Heart of the Matter | Graham Greene
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Pickpick

I don‘t know if you have to be a Catholic to understand the sort of overbearing way Greene can write about the Catholic God but he knocks it out of the park. This is a different look at that God than in “Power and Glory” and occasionally it‘s a bit overblown awe but it‘s still spot-on.

The women in this were a bit more real than much of his other work and on scenery, he‘s absolutely brilliant, you fall a bit in love.

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AlexThomas
One Hundred Years of Solitude | Marquez, Gabriel Garcia
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Panpan

I‘d tried to get through it years ago, but I wasn‘t able to. Finally finished it today and couldn‘t enjoy it. I‘m not a huge fan of magical realism but I love Saramago & Vargas Llosa so I really really wanted to like this.

The repetition really exhausted me, I only cared about two of the 100 characters and the style was too this-happened-then-this-happened. There were moments of pure beauty (the galleon, the butterflies) but they quickly passed.

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AlexThomas
Man's Fate | Andr Malraux
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Mehso-so

You need a lot of background knowledge on the Chinese revolution to be able to understand the action — of course, it‘s about deeper questions, not the action. The dialogue doesn‘t translate well into English, I‘m sure it‘s much more readable in French.

But it asks the big questions succinctly, if nakedly, you can tell Camus used a lot of it for The Plague. that said, I had to slog through some parts

BarbaraBB Kudos for finishing, I bailed halfway 🤷🏻‍♀️ 1mo
3 likes1 comment
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AlexThomas
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Pickpick

I kept seeing this on the Modern Library list and came across this 50¢ copy at Goodwill and my god, I‘m glad I did. It‘s got a bit of Ulysses and a bit of On The Road but set in the same Mexico as Power and Glory.

The writing is brilliant — powerful and the pace controlled. You get some Dost and bit of Melville on the big questions. You hate the main character and you love him, you want to live in this world and hope to god it doesn‘t exist.

Leftcoastzen Great review! I love this book but understand why some don‘t. 1mo
4 likes1 comment
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AlexThomas
Disgrace | J. M. Coetzee
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Mehso-so

I hadn‘t read Coetzee before but I managed to pick this up for a few dollars at the used bookstore in town. The writing is controlled, absolutely masterful. He‘s every bit as good as Ishiguro. But the main character is a complete piece-of-shit (a professor who is fired for sleeping with a student) who I found it impossible to empathize with. Coatzee humanizes him but the worst qualities shine through — unexamined arrogance, misplaced confidence.

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AlexThomas
Less: A Novel | Andrew Sean Greer
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Pickpick

enjoyed this as a light, quick read that packed a few hidden punches. Greer is a talented writer who is aware of his abilities. A lot of people seem to be going on about the humor in it and it is funny at times but it‘s a very superficial humor. Would recommend reading with a glass of white wine nearby.

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AlexThomas
Portrait of a Lady | Henry James
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Pickpick

I got the Penguin Classic edition (feel like these are usually the best bet for James) but I thought it was beautiful with a few holes — LIKE WHY DOES ISABEL EVEN MARRY OSMOND #HenryJames

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AlexThomas
Mysteries of Pittsburgh | Michael Chabon
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Bailedbailed

Absolutely pisspoor writing here, and I enjoyed Wonderboys. This book reads like an MFA thesis by somebody who read Kerouac too recently. #chabon

CarolynM I stuck it out to the end but it didn't do much for me. I didn't see the point of it. 2mo
2 likes1 comment
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AlexThomas
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Pickpick

I‘ve read this book no less than a dozen times — a few years ago, a friend gave me this beautiful first edition for my birthday #didion #joandidion #playitasitlays #LA