Okay, so, this is a young adult novel about a boy who has to decide whether to let the world get destroyed, and he's given this choice by these aliensOkay, so, this is a young adult novel about a boy who has to decide whether to let the world get destroyed, and he's given this choice by these aliens who abduct him regularly.
Yeah, you read that right. You're probably thinking what I thought -- this story has not one but TWO giant warning signs that this is going to be a load of cheesy crap. But you'd be wrong! The book manages not to allow any kitsch to enter, and the narrator is sarcastic enough not to let cliches and platitudes get the best of him. In fact, the only part that seemed to border on the melodramatic and/or maudlin is the narrator's grief and guilt over his boyfriend's suicide -- of all the parts of the book, this felt the most overdone.
The only thing I really didn't like about the book is the ending, which feels rushed, and the very final chapter, which feels a bit too gimmicky. (I also don't like the non-resolution about the end of the world... but I'm a sucker for resolutions. Sequel, please?)
One of the best things about the book is the random scientific facts that are interspersed throughout the narration... and the way the narrator always relates them to his life and, by association, our lives. Miranda, for instance -- one of Uranus's moons -- is alleged to be the result of a prior moon exploding and then, through the force of gravity, clinging back together... and that is how he feels after the climax of the book. Things like that! For people who like science (like me) that's pretty cool....more
This book is pretty much the happiest thing I've ever read.
Actually, this book is pretty damn bleak. You know it's going to be -- it has "Sorrows" inThis book is pretty much the happiest thing I've ever read.
Actually, this book is pretty damn bleak. You know it's going to be -- it has "Sorrows" in the title for crying out loud! But I found out that apparently lots of people who read it then go and commit suicide right afterwards. Makes a lot of sense!
This is all about poor young Werther, who falls in obsessive, unrequited love... and can't handle it. The writing is beautiful, helped I think by the amazing translation by the two translators, one of whom was a poet in her own right (Louise Bogan). The most beautiful passages are not about love or sorrow, though -- they're about nature! Strange, I know, but there it is!
The attached story, NOVELLA, is also good. I think I liked it a little better than Werther, actually. It felt more immediate, had more action, and didn't make me want to kill myself at the end.
You should read this. You should hide all sharp objects, poison, guns, and nooses first, and maybe up your dose of whatever antidepressant you prefer, but you should definitely read it....more
Cute book. This is a cozy mystery, not a *real* mystery, so people looking for murder and police and danger should look elsewhere. Perhaps a bit too cCute book. This is a cozy mystery, not a *real* mystery, so people looking for murder and police and danger should look elsewhere. Perhaps a bit too cozy, really. Everything is perfect and beautiful, and even the mean people aren't mean for long. That didn't really bother me, although the random "war- is bad" preaching towards the end got kinda old. I'll read the next one, though....more
So the thing with poetry -- at least with me -- is that it's either a home run or a complete shut-out game. I either love it or I hate it. Sadly for mSo the thing with poetry -- at least with me -- is that it's either a home run or a complete shut-out game. I either love it or I hate it. Sadly for me, this book was a swing-and-a-miss.
Nearly every poem in the book made me feel as if I were trying to get a glimpse through a shaded window of a fabulous party to which I hadn't been invited. I just didn't get these poems! I read quite a few of them more than once. I did some research on the long sequence, "Thirty Thousand Islands," that makes up the second half of the book. I begged for an invitation. I pleaded! I tried to sneak in. But no luck!
I'm still not entirely sure why. This is the first work of Prikryl's I've read, but she seems more than competent. Perhaps it is her style, which doesn't necessarily eschew "proper" grammar and punctuation but it certainly doesn't embrace it, either. She's also very fond of repetition, which is not my favorite literary device -- but lines like "Having desired little / more than the // arrival of the little more / that arrives" are not uncommon, and for the most part, they just made my eyes cross.
Perhaps it's the sheer erudition of the poems, the allusions and the references that fly over my head. Several of her poems reference philosophers or paintings or literary works in their titles -- not to mention the poems themselves! And as I said, the entire last half seems to be a meditation on life in the Thirty Thousand Islands region of Lake Huron, to which I am sadly not privy.
But then again, shouldn't a poem, even if the allusions aren't caught and the experiences haven't been lived, provide something to the reader, no matter how ill-prepared he is? Perhaps you don't think so. Perhaps there is no real answer, perhaps a poem simply has to be. But me? I like poems that mean, and I didn't find many of those in this book.
(There was one poem, "The Moth," that I really enjoyed. A shorter poem, it meditates on the scientific hypothesis that some butterflies and moths bring "baggage" with them from their larval stages. For whatever reason, I got an invite to this poem, and I really enjoyed it... which made the time I invested in the book worth it. Hence the two stars!)...more
So good! Xas is an amazing angel. Twists and turns that actually catch you off-guard, incredibly powerful three main characters (that stand out even mSo good! Xas is an amazing angel. Twists and turns that actually catch you off-guard, incredibly powerful three main characters (that stand out even more because so many of the other characters are barely felt). Easily one of my new favorite books... liked it so much, in fact, I ordered the sequel... despite the negative reviews AND despite the fact that I had to get it from amazon.co.uk, where the shipping cost more than the book.
My name may be Matt, but for a moment I'm going to be frank: I decided to read this book based entirely on the cover: Dude is hot, amirite?!?! I'd alsMy name may be Matt, but for a moment I'm going to be frank: I decided to read this book based entirely on the cover: Dude is hot, amirite?!?! I'd also just bought a new Kindle Voyage, and I really wanted to give it a try, so I settled into bed one night, expecting to read a chapter or two... and I read half the book.
Quick read. Some good quotes, amazing insight into the characters' minds, but ultimately left me feeling a bit... unenthused. Cunningham is VERY literQuick read. Some good quotes, amazing insight into the characters' minds, but ultimately left me feeling a bit... unenthused. Cunningham is VERY literary and has a VERY big dicktionary, and he never lets you forget it. The best part of the book is the scene in which Beth wanders through a snowy New York street -- it's about halfway through, and it alone makes this book worth the read. I think if Cunningham could let go of the "literariness" of literature, he'd be great....more
Great book. I really couldn't put it down! Which is saying a lot, because I'm not usually into YA chicklit, but I gotta say, this was very well-writteGreat book. I really couldn't put it down! Which is saying a lot, because I'm not usually into YA chicklit, but I gotta say, this was very well-written, and I absolutely loved the characters. It was also a really eye-opening look into fanfiction writers, too!
The ending, though, hit WAY too fast... I feel like she could've kept going, because the story wasn't really done. Way too many loose ends... you know how it goes!...more
Ah, so good. I love these comics. Wiccan and Hulkling are so adorable, and Loki is my new favorite character. I just wish they could make a YOUNG AVENAh, so good. I love these comics. Wiccan and Hulkling are so adorable, and Loki is my new favorite character. I just wish they could make a YOUNG AVENGERS series that actually STAYS a series an doesn't end after a year or so.
Disclaimer: I'm a thirty-something gay white American male who happens to be a vegetarian -- and has been one since before I was born. (Eating meat maDisclaimer: I'm a thirty-something gay white American male who happens to be a vegetarian -- and has been one since before I was born. (Eating meat made my mother sick while she was pregnant with me, and I spat out anything even close to meat when I was just a baby.) That said, when I heard about a book that talks about obsession and understanding others that revolves around one woman's choice to become a vegetarian, well -- you can imagine my excitement!
I finished the book last night, and I wasn't as excited as before I'd started it. As I'm sure you've read, this book has three parts, each told from a different point-of-view: first the vegetarian's husband, as she starts her curious journey; then from her brother-in-law; and finally from her sister, as her journey comes to an end. Let me tell you this: the second and third parts are infinitely better than the first.
The vegetarian's husband is a despicable, unpleasant character whose actions are -- to me, anyway -- revolting. Early in the book, we're given a memory of the vegetarian's from her childhood, one that shows the punishment of a dog that had bit her. I can't handle violence -- that's partly why I've stayed a vegetarian -- and this scene, barely a full page, was so troubling I nearly quit reading the book. But I didn't, and I plowed through the husband's loathsome sixty pages.
I'm glad I did. The second and third parts, as I said, are infinitely better. I think my favorite is the second part, narrated by the vegetarian's brother-in-law as he develops a pseudo-sexual obsession with the vegetarian herself. The writing is riveting, and I really must offer my congratulations to the translator, whose prose is smooth and beautiful. (I often felt as if the dialogue is a bit stilted, but I have a feeling that may be intentional.) The third part, too, is captivating, but in a very different way than the second part -- imagine passing a beautiful autumn forest and then, later, passing by a horrendous car accident. Both captivate, but for very different reasons.
That said, though, I tend not to like depressing, opaque novels. I never connected with any of the characters, again perhaps intentionally, and the only character I really wanted to connect with is the vegetarian herself -- we never truly hear her voice, which perhaps is the ultimate statement the book is trying to make about whether we can ever truly understand someone else. Will I read this again? No. Am I sad or angry or regretful that I read it this time? Nope, can't say I am.
Also, I just wanted to shout out to the cover artist: amazing work. As you read, as you finish each section of the novel, glance at the cover. It's almost as if it shifts as you read. You notice the girl at first, then the image of the decapitated head...which slowly turns not into decapitation but uprooting, the blood and veins turning to soil and roots. It's truly impressive....more
Really amazing. Reminds me of a grittier Mark Doty: they have the same way of merging and elevating several commonplace occurrences into a single epipReally amazing. Reminds me of a grittier Mark Doty: they have the same way of merging and elevating several commonplace occurrences into a single epiphanic moment. Intellectually stimulating, emotionally riveting, aurally titillating... some great poetry.
(I read his second book, APPETITE, when it came out awhile ago and don't remember being impressed. I'm going to have to revisit it soon.)
A lot of the poems take place in Pittsburgh, which is where I'm from, and it's crazy hearing him talk about bars like the Eagle and Pegasus, both of which I used to frequent in their heyday. And he called a vacuum cleaner a sweeper!
Imagine a cloudless sky. Black out the sun: now it is night, completely dark. Allow your eye to follow a line across the sky. Now revel in the singleImagine a cloudless sky. Black out the sun: now it is night, completely dark. Allow your eye to follow a line across the sky. Now revel in the single point of light that appears as your eye moves. Revel in the next one and the next one and the next, these small, bright dots in a vast endless black, until you get to the end.
That trip across the sky — putting up with a bunch of black so you can see the stars — is a metaphor for life, at least according to Hanya Yanagihara’s latest epic, A Little Life. But here’s the thing about Hanya Yanagihara’s latest epic, A Little Life: it’s a little too black. But, man oh man, are the stars bright!