Review: Dune by Frank Herbert

20 Books of Summer 2022: Book 6

I’m split on how to feel about Frank Herbert’s Dune. I attempted to read it a few times over the years, but it never pulled me in. I only finished it now because I was impressed by the film. Arguably, the book ends on an even bigger cliffhanger than the film, but I’m not curious enough about this world or its characters to read further. It’s a classic and I’m glad to have read it, but it wasn’t as entertaining or engaging as expected. read more

Review: A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami

20 Books of Summer 2022: Book 5

A Wild Sheep Chase is the second book I’ve read by Haruki Murakami, and once again I’m struggling with a review. This book is considerably stranger than After Dark, even if it’s easier to summarize. A Wild Sheep Chase follows an unnamed narrator after he uses a friend’s photo in a print advertisement. This photo includes a sheep with a star on its back, and the star is soon noticed by people searching for this particular sheep. They hire the narrator for an all-expense-paid quest to find the sheep in a month’s time. Or else. read more

Review: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

20 Books of Summer 2022: Book 4

This may be an unpopular opinion, but Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles is a lukewarm rehashing of The Iliad, devoid of the spark and creativity that Miller showed in Circe. As I wrote in that review, I enjoy retellings of myths. I don’t feel especially attached to any particular version, and new twists and angles on established characters are a fun way to keep old stories fresh. Madeline Miller’s Circe and The Song of Achilles share a common theme. In Circe, the titular character is a side character from Homer’s Odyssey and Miller flipped the old narrative on its head: Circe becomes a main character with her own motives and passions and story arc. The Song of Achilles follows the same initial premise, this time with a side character from The Iliad, but the narrator, Patroclus, quickly becomes the least interesting character in his own story. read more

Review: The Invisible Circus by Jennifer Egan

20 Books of Summer: Book 3

When I culled my bookshelves at the start of the summer, Jennifer Egan’s The Invisible Circus shifted into and out of the “keep” pile. I’d read Part One several times and loved it, but consistently lost interest somewhere in Part Three. I didn’t want to keep a book that had landed in the DNF pile several times already, but I had such fond memories of Part One. And now, at last, I have finished it. The ending did not live up to the promise of Part One.

This review will contain spoilers for the end of the book. read more