This is one of my favorite books, and its one of those that remains open-ended and debatable, which I like if done well. A great read for anyone who f...moreThis is one of my favorite books, and its one of those that remains open-ended and debatable, which I like if done well. A great read for anyone who finds religion, gender roles, current affairs, the state of the world and alternate realities interesting.(less)
This book is a worthwhile read I would say for just about anyone. Arthur Golden's style flows so well and is so engaging and clear that even if you kn...moreThis book is a worthwhile read I would say for just about anyone. Arthur Golden's style flows so well and is so engaging and clear that even if you know virtually nothing about Japan, WWII, or geisha you'll be able to understand and enjoy this book. Sayuri is a character that remains with you, that you can never quite get enough of.(less)
I really liked this because it seemed effortless, and the connection between the beginning and the end -- how your perception of the story is played w...moreI really liked this because it seemed effortless, and the connection between the beginning and the end -- how your perception of the story is played with -- is really interesting. Also, the characters are great, which can always suck me into a book no matter the story.(less)
This is one of those "stunner" books that you fly through and are thoroughly impressed with when you are done, and then want to read again immediately...moreThis is one of those "stunner" books that you fly through and are thoroughly impressed with when you are done, and then want to read again immediately to savor it. Haddon creates a completely realized and unique narrator, and deals with autism and dark themes with finesse and humor.(less)
I am a Margaret Atwood fan, and I am trying to do a "best of sci-fi summer" and I wanted to read this book for the simple fact that she wrote it, but...moreI am a Margaret Atwood fan, and I am trying to do a "best of sci-fi summer" and I wanted to read this book for the simple fact that she wrote it, but didn't think it fit the bill. Fortunately it did (I would have read it anyway), and I liked it more than I expected to. In true Atwood fashion, there is no resolution, no happy -- or unhappy -- ending [Edit: there's a 2nd book, so there is a resolution. Ish.], but there is a lot of thought-provoking material and all-around great writing that just sucks you in. The story is of a man who seems to be the last authentic homo sapiens on Earth, and it switches back and forth between the present and the past events that have gotten him to where he is now. Really interesting ethically and scientifically. (less)
Initial thoughts: This is probably just under a 4 for me. Good fun. Will review later.
Later: Chris is a normal teenage boy doing normal teenage things...moreInitial thoughts: This is probably just under a 4 for me. Good fun. Will review later.
Later: Chris is a normal teenage boy doing normal teenage things until he finds himself the center of attention to a vampire about to be executed. Suddenly, things take a turn for the bizarre when Chris is visited by a man claiming to be Chet, Celestial Being, avatar of the Forces of Light. Chet tells Chris that, sadly, puberty has triggered his vampirism, and that he is doomed to either eat his friends and be executed, or starve to death. But, if Chris acts now, he can do Chet a favor and help him with a little task that requires going into a den -- the den -- of vampires and overthrowing their schemes to free their vampire god. Now Chris is on a deadly and seemingly impossible mission, when all he really wants to do is stare at Rebecca Schwartz.
There's something I love about M.T. Anderson that is one of those loveitorhateit things (anyone who has read Feed will know what I'm talking about, though that is an extreme case). His writing is super simplistic, and you could almost suspect it of being amateurish if you didn't think it was intentional (at least, I think it's intentional...). It can be frustrating to get into sometimes, but it's very effective in achieving a "teen" voice. And it's not the cheesy, "I'm going to make my characters curse a lot and use slang" kind of teen voice. There is an immediacy to everything, and a complete self-interestedness that feels so teen, so self-absorbed and in the now.
The rest of my review and some silly bonus material can be found here.(less)
This is an interesting book because I can honestly say I haven't read it before. I know that sounds obvious, but with kid's books, they can all blend...moreThis is an interesting book because I can honestly say I haven't read it before. I know that sounds obvious, but with kid's books, they can all blend together and lack originality, and this did not. I think that was partly because Gaiman didn't try to hold back and keep it gently creepy, kid appropriate. This is a genuinely creepy book, with a girl who is held hostage basically by her "other mother" who is certainly not human, and wants to sew black buttons into her eyes, and who devours souls. The main character has a nice, distinct voice, and the book is easy to read (age appropriate) without being dumbed down. As I am a quote person, here are some of my faves:
"Small world," said Coraline. "It's big enough for her," said the cat. "Spiders' webs only have to be large enough to catch flies."
"She kept us and fed on us until we've nothing left of ourselves, only snakeskins and spider husks."
"I swear it," said the other mother. "I swear it on my own mother's grave." "Does she have a grave?" asked Coraline. "Oh yes," said the other mother. "I put her in there myself. And when I found her trying to crawl out, I put her back."
The sky was a robin's egg blue, and Coraline could see trees and, beyond the trees, green hills, which faded on the horizon into purples and grays. The sky had never seemed so sky, and the world had never seemed so world.(less)
I'm going to get straight to the point: I love this book. Wholeheartedly, in retrospect. It came highly recommended shortly after its release from a f...moreI'm going to get straight to the point: I love this book. Wholeheartedly, in retrospect. It came highly recommended shortly after its release from a friend, and I was dubious. It wasn't the type of book I read at that time, and from the first 20 pages or so, I didn't think I was going to like it. And then something clicked and I found myself falling in love. With Yelena. With Valek. With Ixia and the Commander, and every little detail of the fully-realized world Maria V. Snyder created.
It's one of those I've never fully reviewed because I don't even know what to say or where to begin. I can't talk about it, I can only discuss it. About a year and a half ago, my book club (devoted Snyder fans, all) got Maria to come to town for a couple of events, and we hung out with her and had a rollicking good time. At our first dinner with her, this big, loud, lovely affair, we abandoned our polite Company Behavior and devolved into our normal book club selves, yelling over each other about our favorite characters and how things should happen, and who was clearly right and who was hopelessly wrong...Maria sat back and watched it all like the cat who'd eaten the canary. It must be a heady experience to see people get so involved in your writing.
And that's the highest recommendation I can give. We cared. We still argue about it. We still have a tendency to turn roughly 1/2 of our monthly meetings into animated discussions about Maria's work (generally, the Glass series, in which we most disagree on things). When someone new joins and asks us what to read, we all say "Poison Study" like Stepford Readers. So what should you read?
I am going to start by saying I am an Austenite. I do not take sequels and adaptations lightly. I had yet to meet one that satisfied me in more that a...moreI am going to start by saying I am an Austenite. I do not take sequels and adaptations lightly. I had yet to meet one that satisfied me in more that a minimal, it-keeps-the-story-going sort of way, until I read this book (which I did today, not stopping once I started). LOVE. This is the only thing I have ever read in this genre that even comes close to making me feel the way I feel when I read my favorite parts of P & P. I love this book, I can see reading it multiple times the way I do Austen's books. Brilliant.(less)
This is a retelling of the little known Grimm Brothers tale "Maid Maleen,' but fairly drastically reworked. Dashti was born a mucker girl on the Asian...moreThis is a retelling of the little known Grimm Brothers tale "Maid Maleen,' but fairly drastically reworked. Dashti was born a mucker girl on the Asian Steppes, but when her mother dies and she has no family left, she finds work as a ladies maid for Lady Saren, daughter of the ruler of Titor's Garden. But when Dashti arrives to begin her work, she learns Lady Saren is to be shut up in a tower for seven years for disobeying her father and refusing to marry Lord Khasar; and Dashti must be shut up with her if she is to fulfill her vows as a ladies maid. What follows is the Dashti's telling (via a diary with brush-and-ink illustrations) of her entombment with Saren, and their adventures there after, from the terror of Lord Khasar to Dashti's healing mucker songs, to Khan Tegus, the nice, funny and out of reach ruler who may hold the keys to the girls' freedom.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. In fact, I stayed up half the night reading it (just one more page-ing myself to death). There was a slight magical realism feel to it. Dashti ia an intersting character, very intelligent and strong, but also very meek and hyper-aware of her "place." It is enjoyable to watch her grow and come into her own. Lady Saren, who is very troubled and somewhat annoying, is also an enjoyable character, even in spite of her "unenjoyableness" because it is equally pleasant to watch her grow and heal as well. Lord Khasar is truly terrifying; so many of the characters are fully realized and engaging, as is the world.
Hale's reworking of the tale is fascinating, and expands beautifully on the original (which I looked up and read when I finished). The changes she makes make sense and add to the story wonderfully.
The only drawbacks for me were: -- there are times when Dashti's storytelling is too sedate. -- The Lord Khasar thread is tied up a little too quickly and conveniently. There are things I really liked about it, and I liked what it brought out in Dashti, and the choices she made, but I would have liked a little more build-up and tension in the actual resolution. -- on a personal note, the names of places sometimes got to me. I don't know if they were traditional or made-up, but the constant repetition was a bit irritating.
Overall, though, I would definitely recommend this to fans of Hale, fairy tale retellings, strong female characters, etc.(less)
I am not going to lie, I fell in love with the cover and that was a big reason I had to read it. I am glad I did. The book takes place in Iran (Persi...moreI am not going to lie, I fell in love with the cover and that was a big reason I had to read it. I am glad I did. The book takes place in Iran (Persia) around 100 yrs ago, and centers around a young carpet-weaving nomad, Anahita. When her father tells her that it is time for her to marry, and that the local khan (a boorish, crude man who holds the villages fate in his hands) is interested in her, riddle-loving Anahita comes up with a plan to weave a riddle into her wedding carpet, and marry only the man that can solve it. Her father is at first against it, but the idea takes on a life of its own, sweeping up the villagers and far-flung strangers. Some are shocked by Anahita's boldness, some envious of her chance at a choice in who she marries, but spirited Anahita (though she at times feels the contest has gotten away from her) cannot make her self submit to a life where she has no choice, and where her talents, personality and intelligence are not prized. The book changes perspective from Anahita to some of the men who pursue her and enter her contest, and though there are times when this can get a little frustrating, it is interesting none the less, and allows the reader to make a choice as well: who do we want Anahita to marry? I am not sure how likely the story is (a young nomadic girl in a culture and time when women do not have much of a say about anything), but there are always exceptions to rules, and there are always people who stand out and stand up for what they want. I think young girls will enjoy her journey and her fiestiness, and they will get a dose of culture as well.(less)
A Certain Slant of Light is the story of a ghost who attaches herself to human hosts to avoid going to what she assumes is hell, for a crime she does...moreA Certain Slant of Light is the story of a ghost who attaches herself to human hosts to avoid going to what she assumes is hell, for a crime she does not remember. While attached to her current host -- a high school english teacher -- she realizes that a boy in the classroom can see her. She eventually learns he too was once a ghost, and is now inhabiting the body of an overdose victim. This begins their romance and her realization of herself. I liked this book for its breezy style and interesting premise, which was handled nicely and thoughtfully. I wasnt too pleased with the heavy-handedness of the religious aspect at the end, but overall would recommend this as a fun, somewhat thought provoking read, with the caution to parents that there is sexuality in the book, and a not always pleasant view on religion (for those of you whom that concerns).(less)