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A Confederacy of Dunces (Essential Penguin)
A Confederacy of Dunces (Essential Penguin)
by John Kennedy Toole
Edition: Paperback

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unlike Anything You've Ever Read Before, 23 Nov. 2006
I'll admit, I usually don't read 'Pulitzer Prize' winning books, which are usually literary and often academic and 'nuanced' (which is another word for 'boring') -- so it came as some surprise for me to pick up a copy of this book and get sucked right in.

Frankly, this novel is like nothing I've ever read before; Ignatius, the main character, is described as a beast, with 'paws' and elephantine thighs, a misanthropic psuedo-intellectual loser who doesn't have a clue -- and who is finally forced to get a job by his doting but fed-up mom.

This is truly an outrageous book, full of broad strokes and over-the-top characters. Just a great hilarious slapstick riot. You'll laugh! It's really fun and subversive. And it's strange to come across a protagonist this strange. Talk about a misfit. You're both disgusted by Ignatius and morbidly fascinated by him. Really, it's a courageous novel. Don't let it scare you that some call this "literature." Kick back and have a good laugh. Call it a farce, call it satire, it's enjoyable once you give it a chance.

A Clockwork Orange (Penguin Modern Classics)
A Clockwork Orange (Penguin Modern Classics)
by Anthony Burgess
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Book!, 21 Nov. 2006
I'm glad I made this purchase! This is a great novel. A tour-de-force of inventive word play -- "A Clockwork Orange" is about Alex and his droogs (gang members), and it follows the arc of his wildly violent gang-banging days to his 'rehabilitation.' The book is full of inventive street slang and dazzlingly beautiful passages (you'll want to read again and again). This is truly an amazing book. It's been a while since I was this excited by a book. Don't miss picking up a copy. It now easily ranks in my top 5 books of all time. So brilliant. Don't let the language intimidate you -- you'll adapt to it in no time. Manic and intense and wonderful. Great literature that isn't boring, for once.

The Losers Club
The Losers Club
by Richard Perez
Edition: Paperback

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Flawed But Lively Little Book, 14 Nov. 2006
This review is from: The Losers Club (Paperback)
Of my recent Amazon purchases -- including A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby and Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs -- this book falls at number two. I enjoyed Running With Scissors only slightly more because of the more polished writing, but I actually liked it better than the latest Nick Hornby Book, which I found lacking. (I'm a big High Fidelity fan, so it pains me to say this.)

The Losers Club is a rough (sometimes roughly written) comic love story of sorts involving Martin Sierra, a Spanish American protagonist whose only goal in life is to be a poet in the vein of Charles Bukowski. But as the novel opens we understand that things aren't exactly working out for Martin.

Stuck at a tedious dead end job (one of the many sacrifices for his "art") he is demoralized and left feeling empty. One of his few pleasures appears to be the East Village, which at the time of the book (pre-9/11) was still a happening place.

In the East Village, Martin bangs around the clubs and bars hoping to find meaning and possibly a romantic connection, when we're introduced to Nikki, who plays a central role in the book.

In many ways The Losers Club embraces, albeit humorously, the cult of failure. That's primarily what this book is about. Martin has feelings for Nikki, who, quite realistically, doesn't know what she wants. This launches Martin back into the world of the Downtown personals, through which Martin relentlessly meets and dates a host of unconventional prospects. If you're at all familiar with the scene, these artsy, experimental, somewhat damaged individuals are drawn with surprising accuracy; and the author has a gift for swift and often funny dialogue.

Decide for yourself, but I found The Losers Club enjoyable, often funny, and easy-to-read. It's not literary in the typical sense, yet there are eloquent passages and moments of true feeling. I was definitely moved on an emotional level at certain parts. You may not enjoy this novel if you typically enjoy high-toned literary bestsellers, like Atonement or anything by John Updike. But if you want a fast, fun, sometimes crude read in the vein of High Fidelity, this book is definitely for you.

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