Books read in 2014 – Part 2

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by Rita H. Azar on July 8, 2014


In my latest post in the series The road to publication, I said I will keep you updated with the number of words edited in my novel.  I have decided to do Camp NaNoWriMo this month where you can fix your own writing challenge.  I fixed myself the objective of editing 25 000 words of my novel in July.  I figured if I can write 50 000 words in one month, I can certainly edit half of this amount in the same period of time.  So far, 4500 words received a first edit (this is on top of the three first chapters that already received about 7 edits.) 

My list of books read in 2014 was starting to be quite long so I decided to split it in multiple posts.  You can read here the first part with The Shadow of the Wind, The Book Thief, Tsunami and the Single Girl, Picture Perfect Wedding, The Sense of an Ending and Dragonclaw.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Don’t you just love the name of this book!

This is one of the best book I have ever read.  I know I say this a lot but this one was really worth every single minute I took to read it as I had a smile on my face the whole time (excluding at one place where the author described a concentration camp.)

It is set just after the Second World War.  Juliet Ashton, a newspaper columnist, decides to travel to Guernsey after a correspondence she has with Dawsey Adams, a man she has never met, about English essayist and writer Charles Lamb.  There, she will discover amazing people with who she will develop sincere friendship and discover the origins of the famous Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

There are so many things I loved about this book, the fact it’s an epistolary novel (written with a series of letters and notes), the humor, the story, the characters and the incredible power of reading and friendship.

Also, I must mention the amazing story of the author, Mary Ann Shaffer.  At age of 70, she decided to write her first novel.  How inspirational is that.  Her book was accepted for publication but, unfortunately, her health deteriorated at that time.  It was her niece, Annie Barrows, who did the major re-writes requested by the editor.

Mary Ann Shaffer said: “All I wanted was to write a book that someone would like enough to publish.”

This is the perfect book to lift up your spirits and think of the world as a beautiful place.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society


This is the first book I read from author Tim Winton.

I didn’t really enjoy it.  I think I just didn’t get the message behind it.  I read it for my library book club and many members absolutely loved it.

Tom Keely had a reputable name before he decided to do “the right thing” and blow the whistle on corruptions.  Since then, he lives secluded into his flat.  Until the day he encounters in the lobby a woman coming straight out from his past and a strange young boy.  His life will be tested to the limits.

Some of the things I didn’t like in this book include lengthy descriptions and extended stream of consciousness.  Also, the absence of quotations mark annoyed me as I could never picture who was talking and had to re-read some passages twice to understand them.  Many questions stayed unanswered at the end of the book and this is one of the thing I dislike most in some novels.

The thing that made it easier for me to finish the book were the short chapters.

I like books that talks to me and I just didn’t feel it with that book.  Maybe it’s because it was written with the third person.  But, I don’t think this is the only reason why I felt disconnected from the characters.  I think it just wasn’t my type of novel.

Cloudstreet is still on my TBR list though.

I didn’t enjoy Eyrie but I can get that some people loved it compared to the next book I read that was absolutely terrible.


The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

This is the book that made me write the post On being a maniac reader.  I feel terribly bad to write this because I have so much respect for any writer who achieve the goal of publishing a novel.  But, I can’t say anything else than I hated that book.

We follow the life of Edgar Sawtelle starting from his birth.  Edgar lives with his parents on a farm in remote northern Wisconsin.  They raise and train a particular breed of dogs that behave and think almost like humans.  Everything is good on the Sawtelle farm until the day Edgar’s dad die in strange and tragic circumstances.  Then, everything change and Edgar has to escape the farm for his own survival with three of his dogs.  When Edgar returns, he has to face the mysteries he had left behind.   

I felt I was wasting my time reading this novel and I got absolutely nothing out of it.  I don’t want to give any spoiler here but I liked the idea behind the book (let’s just say it was inspired by Shakespeare) and I thought it will be an interesting read.  Ah the disappointment!

There were pages and pages of prose that had only one effect on me, drowsing.  The characters could think for pages before taking any decision or do any action.  And, there were so many unnecessary characters.

When I did my creative writing course, I learned that as a writer, you must learn to cut out the scenes that are not essential to the story.  Well, this book could have easily been half of the actual length (562 pages).  There were constant leads that brought the reader absolutely nowhere.  I was bored like never before by the story.

Let’s just not talk about the end.  I felt the author had no idea what to do with some of his characters so he just left them there, hanging, and left the reader hanging by the same occasion.

Now I surely missed something because this book was actually on Oprah Winfrey book club and ended up being a best seller.  For me, it’s all about the power of marketing.

They are now making the movie.  I can’t guarantee you that’s one movie I won’t go see.

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

The Rosie Project

This is the book that made me laugh out loud even when I was sitting all by myself in a coffee shop.

This is a must read if you just want something fun to disconnect and have a good time.

In The Rosie Project, we meet Don Tillman a very particular character (some will say he has Aspergers but this is actually never mentioned in the book) who puts in place The Wife Project in order to find the perfect wife.  Don’s orderly life will be thrown into many unpredictable directions when he will meet Rosie, a beautiful charming young lady who is also a barmaid, a smoker and a drinker, criteria that are not on Don’s list.  Rosie is also on a quest to find her biological father and Don is the perfect person to help her achieve her goal.

This is a beautiful romantic story, lovable characters and overall a great read.

Part two, The Rosie Effect is due in October 2014.  I can’t wait!


The Rosie Project


You can read my review of Addition here that I’ve written for The Australian Women Writers Challenge 2014.


Charlotte’s Web

I adored this children’s book.  I totally understand why it’s been mentioned as a must have on every children’s bookshelf.  You can have a look at my post on Charlotte’s Web here.

Charlotte's web

What is the worst book you have ever read?  What motivate you to finish a book?

Au revoir!




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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Erin Patel July 8, 2014 at 3:17 pm

Oh my goodness, I loved the Guernsey Potato Peel Pie Society – I kept trying to recommend it to my mum who just didn’t seem to get my enthusiasm. I’ve heard that Eyrie has been a bit disappointing for some. I haven’t ever really loved anything of Tim Winton’s, but loads of people love him.
Good luck with your challenge! My NANOWRIMO book is sitting, unedited on my shelf as we speak. Some day I may get to it. :-)
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Rita Azar July 15, 2014 at 4:15 pm

I adored that book! Everyone who read it in my two book clubs loved it and they are women from different groups of ages. I’m sure your mum will love it.
I understand that it can be difficult tackling the editing process. It happened to me with my 2012 NaNo novel who is still sitting in my computer. But, now, I’m trying to do a little bit every day but it’s not easy.
Thank you so much for visiting Erin.
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My Inner Chick July 9, 2014 at 1:09 am

***I learned that as a writer, you must learn to cut out the scenes that are not essential to the story***

I so agree w/ that statement. Once, somebody asked me about my favorite part of writing & I said “Deleting Unwanted Words!”

And I do love that title, too: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. SUPERB. xxx
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Rita Azar July 15, 2014 at 4:05 pm

You know Kim, now that I’m editing my manuscript, I kind of feel some satisfaction into erasing words and moving them around. But, I still think that my favorite part is writing the story.
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Grace July 9, 2014 at 12:25 pm

I love, love LOVED The Rosie Project! I l found Don Tillman adorably hilarious but I was a little confused by the ending…
So glad that there’s going to be a sequel! And this year too! Woohoo!!!
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Rita Azar July 15, 2014 at 4:02 pm

The Rosie Project was amazing! I don’t want to put any spoiler here Grace but message me if you like to discuss the end.
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Jess @UsedYorkCity July 10, 2014 at 1:20 pm

Ok you totally sold me on The Rosie Project, I can’t wait to read it! Also on my list is Girlboss for the summer, have you read that one? Reading is one of my very favorite activities:-)
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Rita Azar July 15, 2014 at 4:00 pm

The Rosie Project will give you the laugh of your life! And, a part of it is actually in New York!
I haven’t read Girlboss but I’ll check it out. My TBR list is growing longer and longer every day!
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