This week I finished all of the books I carried over from 2022! 🙌
- I, Cosmo by Carlie Sorosiak – emotional, but charming middle-grade fiction
- Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen – slow classic literature
- Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari – in-depth study of humanity’s possible futures
A fair mix of genres and a definite mixture in reception. *Reviews contain spoilers*
I had big expectations for I, Cosmo after reading Sorosiak’s latest middle-grade, Always, Clementine, last year and loving it. Cosmo is a golden retriever and the story follows his attempts to stop his family falling apart. But Cosmo is getting older and he’s not as quick, both physically and mentally, as he used to be, so he worries he can’t prevent the worse from happening, Mum and Dad getting a divorce and Cosmo and Max being separated. Sorosiak really knows how to inhabit the minds of animals, Cosmo’s voice is so undoubtedly a dog, from being fascinated by the most disgusting smells, like goose poop, to trying really hard not to eat the freshly roasted turkey sitting right in front of him.
What this book does amazingly well, despite being narrated by a dog, is put you in the shoes of a nine-year-old boy and his little sister while their parents are constantly fighting and finally decide to get a divorce. The moment Max and Emmaline find out that their parents are breaking up I felt such a rush of emotions. I appreciated how heart breaking this would be, which sounds like stating the obvious, but I realised then that I had only ever viewed divorce as something that had happened rather than something that happens over time and this really hit home reading Sorosiak’s words.
Whilst this was a charming and emotional read, unfortunately it did not live up to Always, Clementine for me, but I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing. All of the key elements that I loved in Always, Clementine are there in I, Cosmo, I think Sorosiak’s writing has just got better with time.
Sense and Sensibility
I searched high and low for a copy of Sense and Sensibility last year. I like reading books in order of publication if possible and this was the only book by Jane Austen that I didn’t own. I ended up buying a secondhand copy online and boy was it not worth the wait. I don’t know if I’m missing something or I’m not appreciating Austen’s writing in context, but this was so slow that I could not enjoy it.
About two-thirds of the way through the book the plot started and was then rushed to the finish. Too much time was spent building up the back story for the plot twists, so that by the time the twists revealed themselves, I was no longer interested. The storyline itself was compelling and unpredictable, I just needed a much faster pace. Because of this I am confident that I will enjoy the movie much more.
I would love to hear why others love this book and to find out what I have missed, as there were certainly passages I thoroughly enjoyed. If you are a Sense and Sensibility fan please let me know why in the comments and I will see if I can reevaluate my opinion.
N.B. I think I made a mistake in listening to this so soon after finishing Sapiens. I found myself becoming bored even though I was really interested in the discussions because it was just too much to take in in a short space of time.
Like Sapiens, Homo Deus is incredibly thought provoking and was a great audio book for my daily commute. Pondering the future of humanity on my way home was a great way to unwind and open my mind. Harari is greatly skilled in making highly complex subjects not only understandable, but relatable. The anecdotes and historical events he uses help to easily breakdown much more intricate theories making the reader question who knows their individual self better, them or an algorithm and, therefore, who should they trust to make important decisions.
The key theory in Homo Deus is that alogoriths could very well be the future of all mankind, taking over jobs, politics and personal decision making. Although all of these discussions were interesting and kept me pondering what a future with no human doctors and my own personal Siri fighting it out with other people’s Siris could look like, I kept coming back to the idea that everything being discussed completely depended on who owned this technology, something that was never really discussed.
Overall a fascinating book, I just wish I’d spent a little longer taking it in and that I’d left more time between finishing Sapiens and starting Homo Deus.
So, now that I’ve finished my final 2022 reads I can begin my 2023 project, which you can read more about here, with The Great Partition: The Making of India and Pakistan by Yasmin Khan, and indulge in a book I’ve wanted to read for a while, A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman.
Let me know your thoughts and feelings on any of the above, or just let me know what you’re reading and enjoying at the moment in the comments below.