Bittersweet. Miranda Beverly-Whittemore. 2014. Broadway Books. 381 pages. [Source: Blogging for Books.] How far will you go to fit in? What secrets will you seek, and what secrets will you keep?  Those are the perennial questions that Mabel Dagmar faces as she finds herself immersed in the lavish lifestyle of her wealthy roommate for a summer. Mabel is a simple girl from Oregon who has the (mis)fortune of rooming with wealthy, party-girl Genevra their freshmen year of college.  Theirs is largely a relationship of indifference, wherein Ev tolerates Mabel’s presence while mildly hiding her disdain for her.  A turning point is Ev’s 18th birthday, in which she follows family tradition by donating a Degas to their college (how disappointing that it wasn’t The Met).  Mabel’s invitation to the celebratory affair marked the first time the two women have any real personal interaction. The result is Mabel’s invtation to vacation with Ev in her family’s estate, Winloch, in Vermont.

Pay What You Owe?
Not the Review / June 22, 2015

Amazon quietly introduced a new “program” Kindle Unlimited Pages Read, that is billed as a response to author feedback. Specifically, there were concerns about the fairness of payment in relation to length of books and reader completion of said books. The result is a program that pays authors proportionally based on the number of pages that readers complete. Seeing this from the reader’s perspective (I subscribe to both Amazon Prime and Kindle Unlimited), I do NOT approve of this program. I realize that I don’t pay any additional money to access each book under these two programs, but I find it problematic.  This new payment scheme unnecessarily penalizes authors for something not only beyond their control but also irrelevant.  When I purchase a physical copy of a book, I don’t pay the retailer for what I read. I pay for access to a full product. Whether I read it or let it sit on a shelf is not material to the transaction.  Just the same, when I purchase an e-book, I do so knowing I have full access to the book, regardless of whether I complete it or the timeline in which I do so. This new program is meant to more equitably compensate authors, with…

Gone Girl
Fiction / June 13, 2015

Gone Girl. Gillian Flynn. 2012. 432 pages. Broadway Books.  [Source: Personal copy.] I wanted to like Gone Girl, really.  And I enjoyed most of it, if I’m honest. But sometimes, my enjoyment of a book can crumble in moments, and that’s exactly what happened to me when I finished reading. Gone Girl is the story of Nick Dunne and his wife Amy, who goes missing on their fifth wedding anniversary.  What follows is the investigation into her disappearance but also a retelling of their courtship and married lives.  Amy’s perspective is presented in a series of diary entries that bounce around, but usually start from that past forward.  Nick’s perspective is presented day by day, starting from Amy’s disappearance.