I wish I knew how to get people to read this book. This book is fabulous. It's very much speculative fiction, told in a Victorian style, a what-if rom...moreI wish I knew how to get people to read this book. This book is fabulous. It's very much speculative fiction, told in a Victorian style, a what-if romp through what might have happened if space had been like people of the 19th century had imagined and the British took their colonization ideals out into the far reaches of the solar system. It is amazing and creative and so full of imagination I am not quite sure how all the fantastic elements Reeve devised actually fit in one tiny book. That is how full of awesome Larklight is.
Larklight is the story of young Art Mumby and his sister Myrtle, who live in a huge, rambling house called Larklight just near to the Moon with their father, who is constantly caught up with his research of space-life. They don't get many visitors, until one day, a Mr. Webster send notice of an impending visit, and everything in Art and Myrtle's life changes.
"Among my mother's books I had once discovered a volume of stories by a gentleman named Mr Poe, who lives in Her Majesty's American colonies. There was one, The Premature Burial, which gave me nightmares for weeks after I read it, and I remember thinking that there could be no fate more horrible than to be buried alive, and wondering what type of deranged and sickly mind could have invented such a tale. But as I lay there immobilised in a jar on the wrong side of the Moon with only a ravening caterpillar for company I realised that Mr Poe was actually quite a cheery, light-hearted sort of chap, and that his story had been touchingly optimistic."
I fall hard for lots of books, but that hard fall usually mellows out into a warm, cozy love. I've done this through my reading career. A Wind in the Door fits this bill, The Book Thief is another, When the Emperor was Divine also fits the bill. But with Larklight, I have fallen hard and I haven't reached the bottom yet. I think there are some reasons for this, as Larklight contains:
- Pirates. - PIRATES. IN SPACE. - Hijinks and escapades! - Spiders in bowler hats. - Hilarious and reflective social commentary over the imperial ideals of the 19th century. Complete with accompanying shenanigans and mechanical doodads! - The gracefully handled romance! - JACK HAVOCK.
However, Mr. Reeve did have quite an ideal of Mr. Richard Burton, I'm sorry to report.(less)
This book is a series of interviews from various survivors of the Zombie War that takes place in the future (and not too far, it seems). It goes from...moreThis book is a series of interviews from various survivors of the Zombie War that takes place in the future (and not too far, it seems). It goes from Patient Zero in China through how people fight to survive, then to fight back and finally, the clean up.
I hate zombie movies. I don't even like parodies of them, which makes me really surprised I enjoyed this book so much. I think it's the notable lack of zombies (they were shoved into the background). I don't know a lot about politics or economics, and I'm sure someone more learned in those areas might have a problem with what Brooks did with global politics and economics, but it worked for me. I have a feeling Brooks had a fun time with the breaking down of various countries and organizations. People who follow politics will probably get more out of the clever things slipped in. Or at least, be more annoyed by them.
I hooked a friend on to the audio book version and he pointed out to me something I missed about the description of Yonkers, where men faced down countless zombies and were defeated. I went back and reread and I laughed for five minutes. Because, no, it is horrific, but the people Brooks mentions that die--I don't know how I missed it, but I don't watch much Fox News, either. I do think it's easy to make this book political commentary, but I also think it depends on what the reader brings to the table. I missed a lot of the digs at the left and right because I don't pay attention to some of these people. Caricatures are what they are. People will exploit them, but I don't think it has to ruin the book, unless someone lets it. It was the stories of the people that drew me, in the end. I think the most horrific interviews were the ones where there are holes or silence. The interview about Korea was an example of this.
The relation between the zombie virus and the avian flu is pretty pronounced, and I think my experience of the book was a result of listening to a friend talk about his History of Medicine lectures with me over the subject. I am fearful of outbreaks.
This isn't a novel in the standard sense. Actually, it reminded me a lot of The Laramie Project, how through interviews you piece together a horrific event and the aftermath of it. I liked the book, but I also liked the audio book version since it gives you more of the individual "character" in each piece. It was my first time listening to an audio book all the way through, so it was interesting.(less)
I originally picked this book up because of an excerpt I caught about how the author read, and I thought, "wow, that kind of sounds like the anal rete...moreI originally picked this book up because of an excerpt I caught about how the author read, and I thought, "wow, that kind of sounds like the anal retentive way I read things!" I think the part that stuck with me the most was how Prose talked about how students read in some of the classes she taught. It was all about what the authors motives were instead of the words the author provided and the story. I suffered through this, especially with Kafka in World Literature a few years ago. The book breaks down quite a bit of literature I've never read. Plus side: I got more book recs! The other side: I was afraid I didn't get quite as much out of the examples as I could have if I had read the pieces beforehand.
This isn't a book that has a lot to do with writing directly and I don't think much to do with learning how to write. It's geared toward classics (and maybe a few contemporary pieces). If I hated reading book excerpts, I wouldn't have liked this at all. And the entire book is excerpts, where Prose takes pieces of various works to show how authors formatted things to flesh out a story. My favorite sections were "Close Reading," "Words," and "Narration" and all of these occur very early on in the book, which says it all. Other sections the examples given lost me. Prose complimented a sentence I read over ten times and couldn't understand, saying that "careful readers would have no problem understand this."
I think that means I've met my match in close-reading. Hee.
I wish there had been nonfiction, too, since it was mentioned in the excerpt I read. But every one of the books explicated is fiction. There's a lot of wanking of the "greats" here, which is sort of the biggest disappoint for me because I expected, "This is why I think this works." and not "This works because Author A is great at writing amazing sentences."(less)
I was recommended this book by Sarah, my WWII geek, who spoke so highly of it I had to read it. This book is narrated by Death. Death tells the story...moreI was recommended this book by Sarah, my WWII geek, who spoke so highly of it I had to read it. This book is narrated by Death. Death tells the story of Liesel Meminger, The Book Thief, a German girl living in Nazi Germany, in Molching. He outlines the events of Liesel's life, her career as a book thief, and takes us along on her journey with words. I worried initially that this would be like other WWII fiction I had read, but it turned out to be so different. It's rare I don't know what what to say about a book I've read, but this book does that. I don't think I've been so moved by a book in a long time. I was at first startled because I'm not the biggest fan of first person narrative, but once into the story I didn't notice it at all. Perhaps because the narrator is Death.
The story-telling is beautiful. I don't know how else to describe it. In Reading Like a Writer, Prose talked about a concept my Intro to Fiction professor mentioned once--changing the meaning of a word, using a word differently, trusting the reader to understand. It's hard to do. In The Book Thief, this is done so marvelously as to make me wide-eyed at phrases made new.
But then again; it's Death. What's language to him, if humans are going to keep changing it each generation?
I loved this book. I think the horror of it for me was summed up in one sentence, when Death says about 1942:
It was a year for the ages, like 79, like 1346, to name just a few. Forget the scythe, Goddamn it, I needed a broom or a mop. And I needed a vacation.
So clearly I loved this book and want everyone to read it. DO IT, GUYS(less)