Why give two stars to a book I didn't finish? Why not one? For what it's worth, I found Lewycka's writing style worth the time I did put into the stor...moreWhy give two stars to a book I didn't finish? Why not one? For what it's worth, I found Lewycka's writing style worth the time I did put into the story. Unfortunately, my attention was not held by the story at all. I put it down before going on vacation because I have the paper version and only wanted to read off my kindle during my trip. When I got back, I had literally forgotten who was in the story and what it was about. There was none of that anticipation born from caring that I experience with other stories.
I tried to pick it back up again, but I find my attention drawn to read other things. I've had enough of drooling old men with abusive, loud wives. The main character does little to make me feel for her or her situation, and I simply...do...not...care...if the man gets out of the ridiculous relationship or if his money-seeking-immigration-faking-Ukrainian wife gets booted from the country or not. I was much, much more interested in the history of tractors within the story than the primary story.
Maybe my American mainstream sensibilities just can't see the humor in this. *shrugs* I hope Marina keeps writing, because I think her prose shows promise. (less)
After I got used to the narrator's voice and intonation (think Nixon-like growl)I found this to be a good listen. The only problem with listening to a...moreAfter I got used to the narrator's voice and intonation (think Nixon-like growl)I found this to be a good listen. The only problem with listening to a book like this is that I had to step back often if I missed something while multi-tasking. There was one chart where I just gave up trying to figure out what was going on and waited until the narrative moved on. Otherwise, it's easy enough to parse. I was worried that it would be too technical to listen to, but found the prose quite approachable.
I had never really spent much time thinking about cancer. Sure, I have thought about how horrible cancer is, and have had friends and family survive and die from it. It is not, however, a happy topic and I tend to avoid unhappy things in general. It is only that I saw two of my friends on goodreads had it on their list and that it was featured in audible that I decided to give it a go.
The story of cancer is inherently interesting. It is a mystery--how it develops, why it can present so differently in each individual, and how to treat it. Unfortunately, it is clear that the mystery is really nowhere close to being solved. Little pieces of the puzzle are being put together, but it's not all the same puzzle. Cancer is a generic term for many types of cancer, and the details of which cancer make all the difference.
I wouldn't say the book is depressing, but it's not particularly filled with hope. There have been huge strides made in treating some cancers, but there has been almost no progress with others.
I did really like (can you say anything about cancer is enjoyable?) learning about the history of cancer. The history is presented well and the use of individual patient anecdotes make the book very approachable. Listening to a lot of the technical terms was a little tricky, but I decided I could live without remembering the exact names of individual drugs and genetic terminology.
This was a fun read. It has a very different flavor from Percy Jackson world--well as much as you can get since it is populated with magical kids and...moreThis was a fun read. It has a very different flavor from Percy Jackson world--well as much as you can get since it is populated with magical kids and lots of old gods. Still, we laughed a lot more with this book than the other two series. All in all, not a bad summer time read aloud book. (less)
I gave this book four stars because it was an enjoyable read. It's one of those books that I picked up and didn't want to put down. Even so, I wouldn'...moreI gave this book four stars because it was an enjoyable read. It's one of those books that I picked up and didn't want to put down. Even so, I wouldn't say that the story was as good as the telling. I like Patchett's prose style even though I found myself stopping a lot to consider the logical inconsistencies in the story.
Would a large multi-million dollar corporation really send one of their researches down to the Amazon to check out the reported death of another scientist? Really? Some of the characters were superfluous and others bordered on pure caricature. Dr. Swenson--a bigger than life, god-like professor and teacher--comes across as part House and part Rain-man.
Marina, the main character, however expected, does go through a shift in her personal struggle in dealing with her painful past. While I don't think one successful surgery would completely heal a thirteen year old mistake, it was plausible enough that I let it slide.
I kept telling myself to remember the title of the book is "State of Wonder" and forced myself to just enjoy the story and Patchett's charming voice.(less)
I haven't read any other books on Franklin or Eleanor Roosevelt. I read this as part of my book group list for the year, so you can call it an "assign...moreI haven't read any other books on Franklin or Eleanor Roosevelt. I read this as part of my book group list for the year, so you can call it an "assigned" book more than anything. I found the author's style engaging and the narrative flowed nicely. I learned a lot of history in context of their marriage, and found myself surprised at how much I didn't know from my various history classes. I hadn't really ever thought about the vast cover-ups required to get a man in a wheel chair elected president. It boggles the modern mind to think of a press corps that is willing and complicit in not taking photos of someone being lifted out of a car, carried around or otherwise being shown in a chair.
The focus on the marriage is an interesting one, and I kept finding myself thinking how the Roosevelts must have been polyamorists, but in a time when the term was hardly known and before the world could possibly accept such relationships. Society at large is still unable to look at polyamory without going nutso over it, but in fact, that is exactly what it looks like from the outside. Two people, Franklin and Eleanor, obviously loved and were devoted to each other. They also each had other people that they loved and that both seemed to know about and accept as part of their relationship. It is hard to tell the exact nature of these various relationships, but it doesn't really matter what was happening behind closed doors. The many different and varied living groupings could point to a very different era of big houses and communal largesse, or it could point toward deep and meaningful intimacy amongst many that was kept privately quiet out of a simple sense of decorum.
This was a mostly enjoyable read. I am not particularly fond of memoirs where people process their past pain in such a public way. The whole, "Oh look...moreThis was a mostly enjoyable read. I am not particularly fond of memoirs where people process their past pain in such a public way. The whole, "Oh look at my messed up life and how awful things were" story doesn't do much for me. I generally find it boring and overly self-involved when people don't get past the tragedies in their lives. Yeah, I realize she's using the trail experience to move on, but still, I'd rather just read about the moving forward part.
The author had her fair share of crappy childhood and bad parenting, and, frankly, I found myself skipping some of the writing that was prone to discussing that and looking for the trail chapters. I found those witty and fun to read. I didn't want to keep looking back on the mess of her life so much as find out HOW she managed to hike so much of the Pacific Crest Trail and not kill herself in the process. Let's face it, that alone is a pretty magnificent sort of thing to do. Not only did she manage it, she did it pre-GPS in the pocket. With no experience. That takes some major courage and inner strength. (less)
I'm just going to have to admit this is not the highest priority read for me. My husband and I picked it up as one of our "read-aloud" to each other b...moreI'm just going to have to admit this is not the highest priority read for me. My husband and I picked it up as one of our "read-aloud" to each other books, and only got through 70 pages or so. The zombie bits added in are done with a perfect Austen voice, and there were times where I had to look at the original to figure out what was being changed. However, it has been long enough since i last read Pride and Prejudice, that I was distracted by trying to separate the two. I suspect that someone who has recently read P&P or has it well in their head will have more fun with it. I think it's charming in its own way, and my hubby or I will occasionally call out "Ladies, the Pentagram of Death!" and chuckle when the mood strikes us. (less)
After looking at a banned book list for something to read in celebration of banned book week, I was met with a huge number of familiar books. Resolved...moreAfter looking at a banned book list for something to read in celebration of banned book week, I was met with a huge number of familiar books. Resolved to read something I had never heard of, I picked The Color of Earth without reading any of the descriptions. The cover art looked promising, and, hey, it was a banned book so it had to have something worthy to say, right?
It was both disappointing and surprising to realize I had actually purchased a manhwa--or Korean Graphic Novel. I am not a particular fan of the genre, and I typically only read them if I am promised some payoff that goes beyond a simple romance and pretty pictures. (Think Chicken with Plums.) Or, if I order them by mistake and it is still banned books week and I haven't picked up a book I haven't read before....
So, I sat down this morning to take a look at it and really didn't put it down until I had finished it. I had to take a break for lunch and some errands, but I kept coming back to it as soon as I was done with the immediate task.
The Color of Earth is a fascinating look at Korean culture and moires. While it is clearly of a bygone era, it does not feel dated and I can imagine that the various issues are still treated with the same delicacy and heady euphemisms today. I had close Korean girlfriend when I was growing up, and her shocked sensibilities about anything sexual or boys remind me very much of Ehwa's response.
The drawings are detailed, and in spite of my general tendency toward grumpiness at the form, I was pulled into their charm. It was good enough that I immediately ordered the other two books in the trilogy so I can complete the story.
Why was this book banned? The book is about a girl's coming of age--learning that boys have penises and girls do not, a rather clear image of a boy having a wet dream, of another jacking off in his pants in front of the girl, her finger covered in blood to show she has started her period, and another girl lifting her skirt to show a boy her 'persimmon seed.'. There is even another seen where Ehwa's best friend shows her her 'seed' aka clitoris and offers Ehwa the chance to touch it. They are subtlety drawn, but you can not miss the content. In each case, the images are delicately balanced with the language to support them as human nature and rights of passage. I can see any number of people freaking out at the frank content. But,I thought they were all tastefully drawn and nothing out of the ordinary life experience for most of us.
Ehwa's sense of innocence and wonder is rather refreshing in the face of the rather crude men surrounding her life. But, she has an awesome mother and role model who seems to be bucking tradition in her own way. It was a quick read--being mostly pictures and all--but like any good book, I am certain I will find myself musing on the content for some time to come.(less)