Everything is Illuminated – Jonathan Safran Foer

everything-is-illuminatedEverything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer truly did not really appeal to me all that much. It had two plots basically, they didn’t clash, however did not make it very easy to read or follow along closely. Firstly, the book itself is written by one author, who within the text, essentially splits himself into two characters. One of them is an American, Jonathan (also called the Jew in the text) and the other is Shapka, or Alex as he prefers to be called of Ukrainian origin. Together they embark on a journey like no other, searching for a person who may not even exist, and in turn, gather material for the Americans book. They treat this book as a joint kind of project, hence the choppy English throughout moments in the story, as some is written in the voice of a non-native English speaker. It ends slightly abruptly leaving the reader slightly confused as to what happened, but the mystery that the two protagonists searched for is in turn revealed quite well and the book the two create leads to an ending.

The book wasn’t quite what I had expected, I thought it would literally “illuminate” me but it did not. I think It just kind of confused me really. The author goes into some history of small villages in Ukraine and it puzzles me as to whether or not these events actually occurred or not. I don’t know if I would recommend it to a young teenage audience. This text is rather suited for sitting down each day and really paying attention to the details as you are reading. I personally did not find it amazing and it is not something I would recommend highly.

I gave this book 2 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.

Quotes and phrases:
aristocratic smile (4)
the best decision is no decision (21)
We must go backward in order to go forward. (37)
wise and truthful enough to lie (83)
the young and old are lonely in different ways, in their own ways (87)
Why are the painful things always electromagnets? (104)
God is the original plagiarizer.(206)
The more you love someone, the harder it is to tell them. (234)


The Casual Vacancy – J.K. Rowling

casual-vacancyThe Casual Vacancy by definition occurs when a high council member drops his status or dies, and in this book, everyone wants that one council chair which was so casually vacated. It is the first book by J.K. Rowling written for adults, very different to that of Harry Potter. Overall it is a great book, but it does take it’s time to read. The plot is easy to follow, but it is a 500+ pages book overflowing with descriptions and plot twists and jumbles. I gave it 3 stars not because I thought it wasn’t that good, it was simply a lot of text to get through. I do recommend this book to older teens and adults though, it is gripping and not hard to follow and has characters from ages 16 up. It’s a pretty smooth read that engages you, and really fits the genre of tragicomedy, there are some quite tragic moments as well as there being comedic ones. Harry Potter fans may not be as pleased with this book as they are with the series for this is a one time read that will not spark the needs of creating a fandom.

I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.

Quotations from the text;
“forensic cruelty” (23)
“a twitching pile of catastrophe” (47)
“they drifted, half asleep, through life” (75)
“closed in around the gaping vacuum left by death” (98)
“the papers fell, didregarded, in a smooth white waterfall onto the floor” (100)
“cocooned in concentration” (120)
“he was spider-like in his awkwardness” (170)
“disintegrate into fragile black flakes” (242)
“Things denied, things untold, things hidden and disguised.” (288)
“staring stonily into space” (371)