Tag Archives: Samyu Y. ’15

Luck of the Bodkins by P.G. Wodehouse (review by Samyu Y. ’15)

Luck of the BodkinsLuck of the Bodkins by P.G. Wodehouse
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Monty Bodkin is happily engaged to Gertrude Butterwick – for the time being. The same can be said for actress Lotus Blossom and writer Ambrose Tennyson. Reggie Tennyson hopes likewise for him and spitfire Mabel Spence, sister-in-law of the successful movie producer, Ivor Llewellyn. Llewellyn hopes Customs won’t catch him smuggling his wife’s pearl necklace into the States. Amid hysterical misadventures and droll misunderstandings, Wodehouse injects a measure of social criticism, focusing mainly on the idle rich. While Wodehouse’s tale of well-intentioned blackmail, broken engagements, and happy endings – complete with a full cast of vivid, strong-willed characters – proves amusing, it lacks plot. However, witty prose and lively, humorous language make all three hundred fifty-eight pages of this delightful, light novel worth reading. – Samyu Y. ’15

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Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (review by Samyu Y. ’15)

The Night CircusThe Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This clichéd novel begins with the sentences “The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it.” The excitement of the circus’ arrival dominates the first few pages, and the detailed description of the opulent and mysterious circus portends an interesting novel. Instead, the reader finds a hackneyed tale of forbidden love, complete with feuding fathers, lovelorn maidens, and an overload of the supernatural. Celia and Marco, pulled unwillingly into the enduring rivalry of magicians Hector and Alexander, make the circus the venue for the great and terrible challenge envisioned by their mentors. Secret enmity, hidden motives, and unknown consequences lurk in the shadows of the circus tents, where each rustle of a fortune teller’s skirt or a patron’s red scarf signals a sinister conspiracy. Into this world of enigma strolls Bailey, a young boy who is exasperated with his family and delighted and intrigued by the circus. While colorful description, an occasional murder, and the fearful atmosphere redeem the book, the banal nature of the plot is ultimately disappointing. Night Circus is most certainly not literature, and even in the less intellectual world it does not shine. Readers of fantasy may enjoy the novel as a light read. – Samyu Y. ‘15

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The Luxe by Anna Godbersen (review by Samyu Y. ’15)

The Luxe (Luxe, #1)The Luxe by Anna Godbersen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The year is 1899, and the place is New York City. A glimpse of satin, silk, taffeta, or lace is visible around every corner of each gilded mansion, and fine carriages dominate the roads where the wealthy live. Gossip follows every eligible young person like a cloud – a cloud that others are only too delighted to darken. Illicit affairs, social impropriety, and scandal are the entertainment of the day. In this world, the Holland family works to elevate two daughters to perfection: Elizabeth, seemingly pious but secretly defiant, and Diana, an outward rebel but romantic at heart. Godbersen’s language weaves its way elegantly around thwarted romances, atrocious rumors, and secret abhorrence to reveal the unhappily tangled lives of the 1900 New York elite. A light read, this first novel of the Luxe series is expressed in pretty but unremarkable writing — though the description of the dresses and the parties is extravagant. Readers of Gossip Girl and The Clique series or watchers of Pretty Little Liars will be swept away in this bracingly different version of catty cliques and damsels in distress. – Samyu Y. ‘15

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The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande (review by Samyu Y. ’15)

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things RightThe Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Harvard doctor’s perspective on medicine, The Checklist Manifesto offers a unique and workable way to make medicine safer and more efficient: checklists. Like his previous two works, Gawande’s third book deals with the shortcomings in the practice of medicine and, more importantly, simple ways to fix them. Having observed the benefits of checklists in other professions, such as airplane piloting and construction, Gawande moves to bring it into medicine. Gawande uses a sophisticated, crisp writing style. His, suspenseful narrations of medical cases paint the vivid scenes and his suggestions are well founded in research, and personal experience. Though his book is compiled as a series of essays, it reads like a gripping novel that sets the reader to serious consideration not only of medicine, but also of the little mistakes in everyday occupations and how a simple checklist can save lives. Any reader will enjoy this refreshing, probing, and eloquent discussion of the modern workplace. – Samyu Y. ‘15

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