I had high hopes for this book - but I was disappointed. The book is a sort of mystery/thriller, set in England in the mid-1800's. Several corpses havI had high hopes for this book - but I was disappointed. The book is a sort of mystery/thriller, set in England in the mid-1800's. Several corpses have been found in the Thames with their hearts and lungs torn out. The story is told by a medical doctor who is first brought into the investigation to help, and then becomes a suspect. Several historical figures play a part (Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Charles Babbage), which is what drew me to the book. However, other than IK Brunel, none of the other historical figures play much of a role. They are just guests or members of "The Lazarus Club", a discussion group of scientific/progressive thinkers. Our doctor gets drawn into the club, and soon gets caught up in the hunt for a mysterious mechanical device create by Brunel, that people are getting killed for, and the doctor finds his own life in danger and begins to suspect members of the club.
It all sounds rather exciting, and, at times, it is. (The entrance of the Lady Ada Lovelace - the first computer programmer who wrote programs for Babbage's Analytical Engine - ranks up there with some of the best scenes from Frankenstein.) But, the problem is the author can't make up his mind what story he is telling. There are too many dead ends, too many sections of the book which do nothing to drive the story forward, etc. I think there could be at least 2, if not 3, GOOD books made from this one book.
Also, the way the story is told, I never really connected with any of the characters - I couldn't really feel any emotion, except in rare passages. Most of the time, the narrator (the doctor) just seemed to be dryly relating what happened. This kept me from really getting into the story. Though the author captures the era well, the dry narrative style is a real shortcoming. (I still remember a high school English teacher I had, who, in the creative writing portion of the class would say "SHOW me, don't TELL me what happens" - too bad Mr. Pollard didn't have her as a teacher!)
Because of this, I can't really recommend this book, unless you are interested in this time period or in IK Brunel. There are other, better, books out there....more
This book is about John Gilkey, the man who loved (rare) books so much he would steal them, and the book seller & detective who tried to catch himThis book is about John Gilkey, the man who loved (rare) books so much he would steal them, and the book seller & detective who tried to catch him. Gilkey is basically a con man, who is looking to establish a valuable book collection, because he believes it will give him the reputation he desires: as an intellectual, rich man of the world. The problem is, he can't afford the books he wants, but he feels it's his right to be able to own them, so he steals them. He has created a morality whereby it's not really stealing when he "gets" his books without paying for them. To finance his 'habit' he steals credit card numbers from Saks, where he works part time.
But Gilkey isn't the only person in this book who loves books perhaps a wee bit too much. We are also introduced to rare book dealers and historical figures, all of whom go to great length to collect books. (One of my favorites was a professor in Nebraska, who died in 1952 surrounded by 90 TONS of books! A man after my own heart...)
It's a tale well-told, with elements of suspense and daring-do. It's also a good introduction to the world of collectible books - what makes a book 'rare' and what makes its price go up.Being a book collector, myself, (albeit one whose collection probably doesn't have a single book worth over $250), I enjoyed mingling with others who also love books. I can so totally relate to the wonderful feeling of seeing shelf after shelf of books for sale in a shop or book fair! There really is nothing like an actual, physical BOOK to delight one's senses. The author sums it up nicely: ...a testament to the passion for books - their content an histories, their leathery, papery, smooth, musty warped, fixed, torn, engraved and inscribed bodies.
And I leave you with this inscription from a medieval scribe: This book belongs to none but me For there's my name inside to see. To steal this book, if you should try, It's by the throat that you'll hang high. And ravens then will gather 'bout To find your eyes and pull them out. And when you're screaming "oh, oh, oh!" Remember, you deserved this woe.
PS I borrowed this book from a fellow book club member, and I'll be returning it to her tomorrow!! ;-)...more
Hey, how could I not like a book with this title?? ;-)
This is a graphic novel, that seems to be a combination of manga and steampunk. Our plucky heroiHey, how could I not like a book with this title?? ;-)
This is a graphic novel, that seems to be a combination of manga and steampunk. Our plucky heroine is being raised by relatives, after the mysterious disappearance of her father. She's studying at Transylvania Polygnostic University, trying to learn the secrets of science, but apparently has no aptitude for it. Events transpire to put her in danger, and bring her into contact with a cute boy (natch) and her hidden talents become less hidden.
A fun story with a girl who has brains and courage. I love the world that the author has created. Looking forward to volume 2!...more
I have heard about this book (series) for a long time and finally decided I'd better read it and see what all the fuss was about. Neil Gaiman is one oI have heard about this book (series) for a long time and finally decided I'd better read it and see what all the fuss was about. Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors, and I've come to appreciate graphic novels these past few years, so I was optimistic that I would like it. And I did.
This book is a series of stories originally published separately. The series is about "The Sandman" - you know, the guy who puts sand in your eyes and makes you dream while you sleep. In this series, he is one of a race of immortals, known as "The Endless" (along with his sister, Death). The set of stories are all sequential, but each one has its own feel to it. Many reminded me of some of the horror comics I read as a child (tho, much better story & artwork!).
The Sandman is an intriguing character, and I plan to read more in the series (book #2 is on order!)...more
Picked this up for fun because Randy and I love the movie. I hadn't realized it was a book until I watched the credits all the way thru. so I decidedPicked this up for fun because Randy and I love the movie. I hadn't realized it was a book until I watched the credits all the way thru. so I decided I'd get the book and see if it was as good as the movie – and it is! It's a great story of a misfit girl (Bliss aka “Babe Ruthless” Cavendish”, in a small Texas town. She's totally indie/punk/emo and her mom is totally into beauty pageants – she wants bliss to be the local beauty queen, just as she was. Bliss just wants out of town.
By accident, Bliss discovers the world of roller derby, tries out for a team and discovers she's really, really good at it! She can be herself, and is surrounded by a bunch of other misfits, who, together, form a kind of family for Bliss. (Unlike her totally 'uncool' real family.)
As with any coming of age story about a girl, there is a boy. There is some sneaking around and lying to the parents. There is some BFF conflict. But even if it is a bit predictable (the book's ending is a little less realistic than the movie), the character of Bliss and her thoughts and observations keep things fresh. There are many laugh-out-loud scenes, and several that reminded me why I'm glad I'm not 16 anymore!
A fun read, and I'd recommend it to teenage girls (or those who used be teenage girls). There are some scenes that some parents may find objectionable - no, the sex is not explicit, but it's there, along with shoplifting – but even Bliss ends up learning about the consequences of bad choices, and also something about the love of parents, even those who aren't 'cool'!...more
OK, I admit, as a native Montanan, I'm a sucker for books about growing up and living there. (e.g. anything by Ivan Doig) But I hdan't heard of this aOK, I admit, as a native Montanan, I'm a sucker for books about growing up and living there. (e.g. anything by Ivan Doig) But I hdan't heard of this author before – my sister stumbled across the book in the Goodwill store in Moscow, ID and brought it home for my dad to read, and then I borrowed it and read it.
It takes place in the fictional town of Bentrock, in the NE corner of Montana. Though the town is fictional, its people and their struggles, prejudices and relations are very real. The author has captured life in small town Montana quite well.
And as any good book about small town Montana, Indians play a role. And in this novel, a critical role.
The narrator is a young boy, from the prominent family in the region, whose father is the county sheriff. Events arise that uncover some shameful secrets in the family, and what happens when those secrets come to the surface. The young boy, as most boys, both idolizes and also feels distant from his father. And sometimes a bit ashamed of him (he doesn't carry a gun on duty, for one thing). Seeing the story through someone's eyes who is connected (by blood) but also apart from (by age) gives us a unique vantage point.
I suppose you could call it a 'coming of age' story, as, certainly, at the end, our narrator is not the naïve child he was at the beginning. It's also very much a 'classic' western story, with much of the tension of “High Noon” or “3:10 to Yuma”. It's also a bit of a myth-buster, showing the sordid truth of much of Western race relations, that many people don't want to hear or believe.
I found it quite powerful and full of truth....more