Thursday, February 4, 2010

Current books.

Memoirs of a Geisha
By Arthur Golden
Read by Bernadette Dunne

Also known as
“The cave, the eels, and destiny.”
Or
“To geisha, and back again. And to geisha.”


Rating:
The contents of the book> 8/10

Memoirs might be called a historical novel, based in the early 20th century Japan. The story follows the life of a girl, all the way through her (somewhat deceitful) removal from a poor fishing village, to becoming an entertainer of sorts, or geisha.

Well-written with a good attention to detail, the book contains a rather large amount of metaphors and cultural quirks that makes you want to keep reading, along with truly hate-able adversary characters. The protagonist, for the record, comes off as somewhat sheltered and weak-willed, strewn left and right in an involuntary dance of fate. (Nope, no full-length summary here!)

I’m surprised I haven’t read this book earlier, with how popular it was at the time of its release. The only reason why it’s not getting a 10 out of 10 is the controversy over its accuracy. The majority of the details/events in the book are based off of a series of interviews by Golden with Mineko Iwasaki, a retired geisha.

Apparently, Iwasaki agreed to this under condition of confidentiality, a condition broken by the author. Furthermore, she was offended by the historical inaccuracies (especially the ones dealing with ritualized prostitution) presented within the book.

Iwasaki later wrote an autobiography, Geisha of Gion, which I would dearly love to read before making further judgment on the author of this little gem.

The voice-acting> 9/10

Dunne has a good voice for the job, and her intonation lives up to the intense moments within the story. However, her pauses leave much to be desired. (Generally, one should be able to discern a pause between one sentence and another from pauses in the end of a paragraph.)

Other books:
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Overall- 9/10

AKA “Noah on the budget.”, or “It was believable until the carnivorous seaweed.”

A tale of a son of a zookeeper, stranded on a lifeboat. With a tiger. About a third of the book is dedicated to Pi’s life before this life-changing event, and his wading in faith(s). I especially enjoyed the ending interview.


"Confessions of a Shopaholic" by Sophie Kinsella (AKA Madeline Wickham)
Read by Emily Gray
Overall- 6/10
Audio- 10/10 (One great performance, for the subject.)

AKA “Denial 101.”, or “Financial irresponsibility for dummies.”
The book follows the life of a financial journalist with a serious financial problem. A light, witty read that some girls might find enjoyable. Half way through the book, I sort of lost patience with it, however.

The story follows this format:
1. Main character realizes that she has a problem with her finances.
2. Main character finds ways to resolve this problem.
a. Without doing any extra work
or
b. Without knowing what the heck she’s doing
3. Main character ends up in deeper debt than before.
a. While making a large fool of herself.
b. And dodging her bank manager.
It was funny the first 5 times, but then it wasn’t. Even a moderately decent ending doesn’t make up for that fact.


Elrin’s book:

"The Last Founding Father" by Harold G. Unger
Overall- 9.5/10
…Apparently, he liked it.