a hologram for the king book cover
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A Hologram For The King was not as advertised. The first two-thirds of the novel focus on the background of the washed-out protagonist, Alan Clay. Clay, down on his luck, is a middle-aged business man who has not seen personal success for the last 20 years. In extraordinary debt, Clay bets his livelihood and daughter’s future on his ability to negotiate a deal between King Abdullah and Reliant Energy.

Despite the many positive reviews for this novel, I found the development of the main character and plot lacking. For a novel focusing on the development of a singular character, I was dismayed to find very few of Alan Clay's traits sympathizable. Instead of heralding a powerful message, he seemed to invite skepticism and criticism. In lieu of representing businessman who came into maturity with outdated business practices, Alan Clay seemed to represent an unassertive character who was unable to react to changes to the status quo, unable to consider issues of the future, and unwilling to bolster his skillset.
anna karenina book cover
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After reading Anna Karenina, I can see how the novel came to be known as one of the best works of fiction of all time. Set in the 1860s and 1870s, Anna Karenina juxtaposes the lives of its two main characters, Konstantin Levin and Anna Karenina. Levin, a farmer, writer, and intellectual, spends the novel simultaneously seeking marriage with the love of his life, Kitty, and rigorously attempting to uncover the meaning of life. Anna, in contrast, originally an admired and beautiful woman of society, spends her time unsuccessfully attempting to maintain a front of propriety while engaging in an affair with a bachelor, Count Alexei Vronsky.

Tolstoy’s unique ability to peer into the mind of his characters and realistically describe their every thought and emotion makes the juxtaposition of these two characters both riveting and timeless. Anna Karenina made me rethink my understanding of humanity, how the world works, and the justice of everything. Though well worth the time, if you choose to tackle this novel, buckle up. Over 700 pages of dense reading, Anna Karenina is not for the faint of heart and will, without a doubt, challenge the hardiest of reading stamina.
elon musk biography book cover
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childhood, boyhood, youth book cover
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art of war book cover
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astrophysics for people in a hurry book cover
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