I love taking a look at a book cover and description and then coming up with my own idea of what the book will be about. Sometimes I’m right, sometimes I’m so wrong it’s almost funny. So I’ve decided to launch myself off of WWW Wednesday, a bookish meme run by Sam@Taking on a World of Words, and write about my first, middle, and last impressions of each book I read.
The first impression is based solely on the cover and description. What do I think it will be about?
The middle impression is kind of a check-in on how the story is going about halfway through.
The last impression is my final thoughts on the book, what I’m left thinking.
I hope you have as much fun with this as I will!
Neruda on the Park by Cleyvis Natera – Fiction
First Impression: This isn’t my usual kind of read, but I chose this for deeply personal reasons, so I’m expecting an interesting experience when I write my review. But I’m expecting it to be a story of family, race, class, and even generational differences between parents and children.
Middle Impression: Well, I finally know what hot yoga is! In all seriousness, I’m really enjoying how this story is being told by a Dominican mother and daughter in turns. I love how their culture and the differences in generations and upbringings play a big role and heavily impact the mother-daughter relationship. It’s fascinating to see how skewed their views of each other are, though much of it is done with love. So far, Eusebia, the mother, just seems to love too much, and Luz, the daughter, is struggling to sort herself out after being laid off.
Last Impression: This turned out to be a story of family, culture, identity, and finding oneself. It’s the story of a mother and daughter starting to understand each other. I loved how their stories circled around each other, how they never seemed to completely understand each other, but wanted the best for each other.
Piano Zen by Thomas Rheingans – Fantasy
First Impression: I’m not sure, especially since the cover isn’t really detailed at all, but I understand it’s a combination of piano instruction and fantasy elements, so I’m excited to see how this turns out.
Middle Impression: This is a fascinating interplay of a piano teaching method, an actual teaching method, and fantasy complete with fun talking animals and beautiful settings. It does get really repetitive in terms of names of characters who have already died and their relationships to each other, and there’s far too much background given to minor characters that don’t seem to add much, though. This book follows three different timelines, which is sometimes confusing, but mostly easy for me to keep straight. I’m intrigued to see how they’ll ultimately be wound together.
Last Impression: I found this to be a fascinating story, an interesting cross between a piano teaching method and children’s fantasy. Unlike in most novels, there are no problems or crises to solve or overcome. It really is all about a young boy learning mindfulness techniques in order to better learn to play the piano through a method called Piano Zen, which does actually exist. The story, unfortunately, suffered from too much information and background stories for minor characters that didn’t end up adding much to the story, but, as a former piano student, I really enjoyed it and wish this method had been available to me all those years ago.
The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah – Fantasy
First Impression: This is inspired by One Thousand and One Nights, so I’m expecting a fun, adventurous story full of magic and stories in a desert setting.
What about you?
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4 thoughts on “First, Middle, and Last Impressions – May 18, 2022”
Piano Zen sounds fascinating!
I love the idea of stating where you are in understanding a book at the beginning, middle, and end.
I never pause when reading to evaluate expectations or progress, so I’d have to put a note to myself in the actual book. Or at the point of abandonment, you could stop and think why. I don’t finish most books these days.
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Thank you! I’m not quite sure what sparked the idea, but I did start to notice that most of the books I read seemed to reach a turning point about halfway through, so I guess I thought it would be interesting to pause and take stock of my thoughts and it’s just become a habit. It would be interesting to consider why you wouldn’t finish a book. There are so many reasons, and I really enjoy reading why readers chose to DNF a book.
Mine is always that in the first pages, possibly longer, I’m finding the kind of grammatical errors or typos or neologisms (alright instead of all right) that set my teeth on edge.
I have extremely limited energy – I have to be picky to get maximum enjoyment out of the time I spend reading – so I’ve learned to identify early what has, in the past, led to me disliking a book.
I’m not advocating others DNF – but I’ll often go for an old favorite instead of trying something, because I know what I’m facing AND can put it down when I need to sleep. Irritating, but I have little choice.
And always, if I can, I’d rather be writing.