Book Review: Sourdough by Robin Sloan & A sidenote on a change in my review blogs

Since the last book review, I have decided to change my rating process. I have been reading a lot lately, and I have been wanting to write my own book since a very long time. But I can never come up with a story, or a subject that I want to write about, that people might be interested in reading. And then every month I read these books , most of them amazingly written, with various plot lines, various characterizations, and I realise, how talented every author is and how special every book is! I may not enjoy every book that I read, but I’m sure someone else might love the books that I haven’t enjoyed, and I suddenly feel like I have no right or qualification to rate books and authors. So, starting from this review, I have decided that I’m going to just post my thoughts on the book, and whether I enjoyed it or didn’t enjoy it. What worked for me and what didn’t work for me. And the readers of my blog can just decide if they would be interested in reading the book based on these observations. I will not be giving numbers or stars anymore:)

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Now that we have that out of the way, I’ll tell you my thoughts on this book. Sourdough was the April book of the month on one of the Goodreads book club I’m a member of. I started reading it last week I think, and as others in the group mentioned, the book was a quirky, fast paced read. The initial reviews from others who had already read the book were that they enjoyed it, but the ending fell flat or was too strange to comprehend. I kind of agree to that sentiment. That said, I really enjoyed reading this book. It almost felt as if this book was written for me. To clear out why I say that, is because I have been working in the IT service industry for over a decade now- first as a tester and now as a designer/consultant, and I’m bored. I’m seriously bored and having a mid life crisis with respect to my job. The only thing saving me are my books and my blogs. The only reason I continue to stick to this job is because I don’t know anything else yet, and I have bills to pay- yes, really lame.

The work culture and the change in the lead character- Lois’s life when she joins the big robotic company in San Francisco, eerily resonates that of my own. It feels boring and soul less. Now that is where the similarity to the book ends, because Lois comes into possession of this mysterious starter, that helps her bake really delicious Sourdough bread. The story takes on from there and goes on to various heights- how Lois’s life changes, how her health and her confidence changes, how even her ambition changes and in the end, how she realizes what she really needs from life and her career, without falling into the pitfalls of hubris. It was funny, entertaining and a fast read.

What didn’t work for me in this book:

  • That strange chapter in the end- what was that? It was as if the author went on this weird journey to outer space to write that chapter. It felt totally over the top to me..lol! I can’t say more about it without divulging details, but beware of that chapter towards the end..
  • I didn’t get the point or the purpose of the Lois club in the book- I felt it added nothing to the overall story line, except for telling the readers that such a club exists. I also wondered, how come there are so few Lois’es in San Francisco? If a Prachi club existed in India, there would be a queue of Prachi’s waiting to even enter the club! Lol
  • This really half hearted attempt to put in some romance in the book..oh why, why even put that suggestion in? I felt that was unnecessary and we should have just left the conversations between Lois and Beo the way they were

What I really enjoyed in the book:

  • The fact that the leading character works as a software programmer in a what feels like a soul less Corporate company and is facing a career crisis- bang on! That totally resonated with me. Oh, how I wish I knew how to bake and code that well too..haha
  • The mix of science fiction and a traditional art like baking in a story- so cool! I love science fiction and eating (nope, I haven’t learnt how to cook yet, I dabble at best)
  • The underground market- again, brilliant
  • The fact that the book is based in San Francisco. I have travelled there and could relate to a lot of the places the author mentioned, which brought this book more to life for me
  • The ending, or the overall message of the book- at least what I thought the book’s message was, maybe other readers will differ (and I will love to hear your views as well). But for me, the message that came across from the story was that you have to find your balance in order to be happy with your career, or job, or livelihood- whatever you choose to call it. You can have a skill and a passion, and both of them can be different or the same. But when we find a way to mix our skill and our passion, we have a possibility of burning ourselves out too quickly, because success comes faster this way, but there is also the danger of wanting to go higher up and do anything to become even more successful faster. It is good to realize how much is enough, so you can do what you enjoy and are good at, and also have a life šŸ™‚ I still need to figure out that perfect combination career for myself šŸ™‚

So, have you read the book? What were your thoughts about the book and the underlying message?

In other updates, I am doing the ‘12 days of bookstagram‘ challenge by Anne Bogel, from Modern Mrs Darcy on Instagram and it’s so much fun!! Have you seen it? If not, and if you would like to participate, then all the details would be available under the hashtag- 12daysofbookstagram on Instagram, or or Modern Mrs. Darcy blog as well:)

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