Taibbi's analysis of the many elements that led up to the economic collapse (read: greed) is extremely powerful. Of course, at times he gets carried a...moreTaibbi's analysis of the many elements that led up to the economic collapse (read: greed) is extremely powerful. Of course, at times he gets carried away with his own editorial commentary - but this is exactly what makes his book fun to read. My only complaint is that the book doesn't reveal anything new or complex about Taibbi's opinion that hasn't already been made clear in his "Rolling Stone" articles. (In fact, the last chapter of the book is just an updated re-print of his acclaimed piece on Goldman Sachs, "The Great American Bubble Machine." At the same time, this book is perfect for people who are fired up and angry and want to know how a bunch of greedy accountants playing with imaginary money got away with what was essentially a heist of the American taxpaying public.(less)
I originally bought this book hoping that it would provide insight into the most unique position in baseball - pitching.
And it did have insight, plent...moreI originally bought this book hoping that it would provide insight into the most unique position in baseball - pitching.
And it did have insight, plenty of it. The problem was that the insights were occasionally dull or common sense (so, I guess, not technically an insight), or the information was hidden under piles and piles of other information.
The book claimed to follow two pitchers through one full season. In that, it succeeded. It's success weighed it down, though, as going almost pitch-by-pitch, inning-by-inning with these two pitchers meant that there are whole pages of unnecessary detail. Some of this detail relates to specific games, but others relate to routines and habits of pitchers - which could have been interesting, but the author chose to waste it on tedious details such as what the pitchers eat for breakfast during spring training. (And if you're into that kind of thing, I won't spoil it.)
There was plenty of interesting information, though. I was especially intrigued by the relationships that develop between pitchers and umpires, as well as what exactly pitching coaches do when they "visit" the mound during a game.
It's also important to note that the book did cover a very special moment - Tom Glavine's 300th win.
Overall, though, there was simply too much detail to keep my attention.(less)
Finally, things are happening! Which is, to say, this book picks up the momentum where "Wolves of the Calla" left off, both literally (in terms of plo...moreFinally, things are happening! Which is, to say, this book picks up the momentum where "Wolves of the Calla" left off, both literally (in terms of plot) and figuratively (in terms of storytelling).
The ka-tet has been shattered. Susannah has been "kidnapped" by her Mia persona, and taken through the Unfound Door. Roland, Eddie, Callahan, and Jake (with Oy) are in hot pursuit, but when they pass through the Unfound Door, they are scattered across time and reality. (And if none of this makes sense to you, don't worry. It will when you read the book.
There's a lot of action in this book, as well as a lot of suspense - both of which were lacking in books #2-3. There's also some forward momentum in regards to the larger plot (Roland's quest to find the Dark Tower) - which was lacking in Books #2-4 (and to some extent in #5).
Most of the novel centers on Susannah and Mia and their story. There's also quite a bit of Roland and Eddie, and a strange meta-post-modernist appearance of Stephen King himself. Alas, not much of the book is dedicated to Callahan and Jake, although their small section is probably the most suspenseful. Along the way, we learn that Flagg / Walter (of the earlier books) is behind the planting of the Susannah's Mia persona and her ensuing pregnancy. We also learn who the baby's father is and what his purpose is. Finally, for a brief moment, we get to see the Dark Tower, even if it's rather abstract.
One thing Stephen King will never be accused of is a lack of verisimilitude. He goes out of his way to describe what some guy who walks past Roland had for lunch three weeks ago. In some cases, it can enhance the reading experience. In this case (and for most of this series), it causes some scenes to drag on to unnecessary lengths. I'm almost certain that this book could have been cut by at least one-hundred pages, and that the whole series could be shaved to about a thousand (though his estimate is made without having read the final book).
In any case, this book, unfortunately, ends on a cliff-hanger. And I, frankly, don't have the will to power through the last book just yet. Roland and his quest will have to wait a little while...(less)
This is, at this point, the best book in the "Dark Tower" series. There are still a lot of dry spells, especially when introducing new characters. Ult...moreThis is, at this point, the best book in the "Dark Tower" series. There are still a lot of dry spells, especially when introducing new characters. Ultimately, though, there is a lot more action and a sense of progress towards the ka-tet's ultimate goal.
This is also the best book in the series (again, since the first book, at least) that creates a clear setting. Most of the book is spent inside one small town and King gives us a good sense of the mythology and culture of that town. We meet a nice cast of minor characters in the usual Stephen King detail who, surprisingly, return in important situations.
Plot-wise, the larger story arc moves forward a few steps (which is still more than the other books), but it is clear with Susannah's "complication" that the climax of the quest is approaching. Meanwhile, this book is also plotted pretty well as a stand-alone story. I wouldn't recommend jumping in to the middle of this series, but if one were to jump in, this book would be the best diving board.
I'm looking forward to taking a break from this series for a bit, but will return to Mid-World soon enough in hopes to see Roland the Gunslinger find the Dark Tower.(less)