In an otherwise painfully bad reading weekend, I enjoyed this enormously. Strong, if aimless, YA characters; keen sense of place; a little mystery; aIn an otherwise painfully bad reading weekend, I enjoyed this enormously. Strong, if aimless, YA characters; keen sense of place; a little mystery; a lot of suspense; an appropriate resolution. I love a story about someone trying to be a better person....more
There's no point telling what the book is about, because the whole thing is too unlikely. But the Spouse saw a documentary on the subject, which was eThere's no point telling what the book is about, because the whole thing is too unlikely. But the Spouse saw a documentary on the subject, which was excellent, and my response to hearing about a great narrative is always to read a book. And then, there's nothing like reading about a shipwreck to put your own troubles into perspective.
So, seventeenth-century shipwreck off the coast of Australia turns into a scenario that makes Lord of the Flies look civilized. Read it because Dash gives you enough of the background to place the historical events into context. Read it because the whole time you'll be yelling out "no WAY." If you read this first you'd understand why the European stories of the day were full of unlikely incidents and implausible timing. The subtitle points to the narrative focus and I disagree with the author's conclusion of "mad", but at least they're upfront about the body count.
When they say "worse things happen at sea" I always thought the meant slowly starving as a castaway on a desert isle, I never realized it was in reference to other people. Way.
This is a book about zoonoses, diseases that come to humans from other animals. It is scary, sure, because there are always new microbes out there reaThis is a book about zoonoses, diseases that come to humans from other animals. It is scary, sure, because there are always new microbes out there ready to go rampaging through our vast society. It is also rather comforting, both the methodical search for vectors and reservoirs, the details of transmission and treatment, the stream of breakthroughs that enable researchers to locate and sequence. And through it all, Quammen maintains a casual, light conversational tone, reassuring the reader that sure, horrible new diseases can (and will) spring up seemingly out of nowhere to spread around the world, but that also we have been pretty good at controlling those sorts of outbreaks.
There's quite a lot about Ebola here, written before this summer's outbreak. It should prove very comforting to everyone whose loved ones are not currently infected. I heap praise upon him for pointing out that it isn't nearly as grotesque as Preston painted it in The Hot Zone.
The only part I really disliked was the pure fiction of The Voyager, which was too long and added nothing. This was particularly annoying as I was nearing the end and racing to finish quickly before the future biologist usurped in entirely.
I don't usually comment on covers, but I will say that Chip Kidd managed to make a very disturbing one....more
Another entry in the up-all-night category. Three girls celebrating their last day of school, staying out all night looking for love, adventure, excitAnother entry in the up-all-night category. Three girls celebrating their last day of school, staying out all night looking for love, adventure, excitement. Do they find all this and more? Of course. Are there ominous bad guys? You betcha. Lives are changed, relationships are begun and ended, and there's plenty of time to talk about art, too. Lots of visual art, and poetry as well.
I love this kind of story, and this rates up there with Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist and Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick. And let me just say that I'm happy to see that in the more recent novels, it isn't the Manic Pixie Dream Girl who's causing all the trouble (although I love those 80s movies, too, like Into the Night and Desperately Seeking Susan).
Adorable. Veronica read it first and thought it was very like Sarah Dessen, and I agree. Amy Lee is sixteen, living with her mother after the divorceAdorable. Veronica read it first and thought it was very like Sarah Dessen, and I agree. Amy Lee is sixteen, living with her mother after the divorce in a second-hand shop, hanging with her best and only friend Rebecca. And then she finds a locket, meets a ghost and everything is changed.
Well, of course I loved the extensive references to the 80s: the music, the movies, the clothes. Fun stuff. And I loved the relationships: Amy's devotion to Rebecca, her interactions with other Asians at her school, her closeness with her mum (despite the lack of hugging). But even more than that, I loved the skeptical approach she takes toward the new ghost in her life. I love that her friends and her mum seeing her going through a weird phrase and do something about it, I love that she questions the existence and motives of the ghost as much as Hamlet does.
There is charm here, and the sweetness of daily life, and the difficulties, and an ending that doesn't try to tie up everything in a bow. I didn't actually get to blow out any candles, but for my birthday wish I want a new book by Marr every year....more
AS a life-long cat-lover, I had a hard time getting going here. The author is a journalist/features writer in New Zealand, and she tells how it was thAS a life-long cat-lover, I had a hard time getting going here. The author is a journalist/features writer in New Zealand, and she tells how it was that she, definitely NOT a cat person, acquired a small kitten, and how that kitten brought her family through the trauma of losing a child, and then a marriage, and growing-up, and finding love, and illness.
Cleo, the cat, living a surprisingly long time, so Brown is able to hit many of the great emotional events in life through her lens. Established cat lovers will totally understand the role Cleo plays in her life, and the not-yet-confirmed will, I think, see how important a loving pet can be to helping one weather the slings and arrows.
My only complaint with the book (other than the slow start) is that the photo on the cover is of an adorable kitten, nothing like the big-eared, bug-eyed, ratty little creature they adopt. I suppose not everyone has the foresight to take baby pictures of their hideous new pets.
It's a good book to remind us, all of us, of what is important, and how to get through. Nonetheless, I expect it is particularly popular as a gift to anyone going through an especially rough patch.
Loaned from my mother (who's cat companion is named Blaze)....more
Nobody else writes quite like Moriarty. They are very realistic, believable stories about a fairly ordinary cast of high school students, and then graNobody else writes quite like Moriarty. They are very realistic, believable stories about a fairly ordinary cast of high school students, and then gradually you realize something is really wrong, and ride along with the characters as they figure out what's wrong and what to do about it. Although there is a mystery at the core, it isn't a conventional mystery format. Likewise her characters will face serious issues in their disparate lives, but it never becomes an Issue Novel. And somehow she manages to throw a little romance and a lot of good strong friendship in there. And the humor, too.