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Cristofori's Dream
Robert Italia
Your Inner Fish: A Journey Into The 3.5 Billion Year History Of The Human Body
Neil Shubin, Marc Cashman
The Enchanted Wood
Enid Blyton
The Sparrow
Mary Doria Russell
The Ghosts Of Evolution Nonsensical Fruit, Missing Partners, And Other Ecological Anachronisms
Connie Barlow

Life After Life

Life After Life - Kate Atkinson When I first heard of the premise of this book, I like so many others, was instantly keen to read it. What would happen if a person had to repeat the same life over and over until they got it right? This idea has the potential for greatness. Unfortunately, the young lady of many lives in this story, Ursula, has no discernible personality. She’s an empty vessel that empties out over and over, leading the same boring life over and over with minor variations. The only excitement happens when she entangles herself with abusive men (the only people besides Izzie with any glimmer of a personality in the whole book). And even those entanglements are too short-lived to be interesting. Just when you think the story is going to take a turn for the interesting, the plot line fizzles out. I would suggest that if you read Ursula’s first 2 or 3 lives and find yourself bored with them, it’s not going to get better. Just put the book down quietly and run far, far away from it. The ending is as anticlimactic as the book (if one could actually call it an ending). Don't be fooled by the blurb that says that the "fate of civilization" rests in her hands. It doesn't.

Now, there are plenty of people who like this book. Perhaps they have a higher tolerance for prolonged boredom than I do. Or perhaps their fascination with the idea behind the novel kept up enough magic for them to enjoy it in all its 529-paged glory. I personally found it a chore to read and actually developed a phone game habit as an excuse not to read it. Yeah, I liked it that much. It took me over a month to finally kill the thing. And still Ursula lives on. Die and stay dead already.

I’d love to read a book created with this idea in mind by an author with more imagination. I’d love to see this idea written by someone who writes strong characters and who could write each life to be wildly different than the life before it. It’s a 5-star idea that needed a 5-star writer to do it justice.