This is probably the most cohesive Vonnegut book I've ever read. It was brilliant in its message, and though it contained less of the dark humor punch...moreThis is probably the most cohesive Vonnegut book I've ever read. It was brilliant in its message, and though it contained less of the dark humor punch statements that I love Kurt for, the ones it did have were real doozies. I really loved this book. (less)
There is something really satisfying about getting through a dense Russian classic during the winter. I don't know that I can add anything worthwhile...moreThere is something really satisfying about getting through a dense Russian classic during the winter. I don't know that I can add anything worthwhile to the wealth of criticism on Dostoyevsky, so I won't say too much. Crive and Punishment was interesting to me because of how easy it was to sympathize and even relate to its desperate antihero, Raskolnikov, as well as the range of other disparate characters. The story is a full immersion into another time, place, and circumstance; and what more can you ask for from a novel than to be taken somewhere you can't actually go?(less)
You ever have a vague impression of a book and then start reading it and have trouble really getting the mood b/c you thought it was going to be somet...moreYou ever have a vague impression of a book and then start reading it and have trouble really getting the mood b/c you thought it was going to be something completely different? That was my experience with Lolita in that I didn't realize she's 12. I thought she was 16 or so. Nope. 12. I felt like I could get arrested just reading it, or if anyone was to see me reading it they'd think i was a pederast. For the most part I liked Lolita. I didn't love it or enjoy all of it, but I liked it ok. What I thought was odd was that the main character was so interesting in a completely mental-case sort of way, but once he got his Lolita he became boring. The build was excellent, the apex was waaaayyyy too long to be captivating. Somewhere along the line the characters ceased to seem real. They seemed like stylized prose characters instead of actual people, which of course they were. The end, which I won't blow for you, I thought was far-fetched and inconsistent with the characters' previous personalities and motivations. I guess I felt like after the first say quarter of the book it was all just hifalutin prose with not a lot of actual story and worth. I know I'm going to now be excommunicated by literary society, but I just don't care about Lolita.(less)
A zombie book that takes itself completely seriously. Brilliant. It's written as an oral history of when zombies almost took over the world and there...moreA zombie book that takes itself completely seriously. Brilliant. It's written as an oral history of when zombies almost took over the world and there is not a grain of sarcasm in it. It's written as if it really happened, making it very engaging and realistic. The book was creepy and gory and disturbing and gross, which I happen to love. My favorite part is when someone is talking about how they hear a little girl in the apartment above them begging her father not to eat her, followed by muffled cries and a thud. So scary. There were a lot of cool elements in the book, every single angle was addressed, and every implication of zombie takeover was revealed. Very thorough.
So why only 3 stars? Because I didn't think it was that well written. It's supposed to be a collection of eye witness accounts but almost every account has the same voice. There wasn't a lot of individuality. It seemed like one guy telling a bunch of people's stories in his own words instead of a bunch of people telling their own stories in their own words. I know it would be hard to create hundreds of voices, but that's the task the author took on, and he fell short of doing it right. Also, WAY too long. It took me forever to get through this thing and I felt most of it was unnecessary. I guess that's what happens when you don't want to leave a single undead stone unturned. BUT again - lot's of totally kickass zombie gore, which by its very nature is kickass. Think of Shaun of the Dead as told by Walter Cronkite.
The best word for this book is choppy. It is flashes of brilliance surrounded by a multitude of metaphors that are sometimes poignant and touching, bu...moreThe best word for this book is choppy. It is flashes of brilliance surrounded by a multitude of metaphors that are sometimes poignant and touching, but often flat and feel as if they're there for shock value. But being that this is only Tom Robbins' first novel, you can tell how he would grow to become brilliant. The characters are intriguing and captivating, but there were many, many times when I found myself wishing the author would stop describing their minute nuances and just get on with it already. And even when he would get on with it, he would get lost in the details of something or other and you'd be reading a laundry list of items in a room or food at a dinner when the story was right there, waiting for you. You could call it suspense, but it felt more like irritation to me. But I feel like I'm being to harsh on this book. One of the best gauges I have for a book is how engrossing it is when I'm on train. If I forget I'm standing on a packed train and am even surprised when I get to my stop, then there is no denying that I'm completely entranced in a book. And that happened frequently with Another Roadside Attraction. The pleasure in this book was the journey, not the destination. I'm perhaps more of a destination reader, so it's not particularly my taste, but if you read for poetics over plot, then this book is brilliant.(less)
This book was meh for me. I get that at the time of publication it was probably a revolutionary look at the mind and of a woman, but I found the main...moreThis book was meh for me. I get that at the time of publication it was probably a revolutionary look at the mind and of a woman, but I found the main character to be whiny and spoiled, and on top of that she treated people poorly. It was hard to sympathize with her constant indecision and self-pity. I did, however, think her total honesty was brave (and/or exhibitionist), especially since I'm pretty sure this was a thinly veiled memoir. (less)
Brilliantly written, but I'm not so sure I saw the humor in it. It was clever and dry, but the darkness of each of the subjects far overshadowed the h...moreBrilliantly written, but I'm not so sure I saw the humor in it. It was clever and dry, but the darkness of each of the subjects far overshadowed the humorous elements. (less)
Murakami is always an interesting, almost anxiety inducing read for me, because I can almost never identify with the characters or predict what they'l...moreMurakami is always an interesting, almost anxiety inducing read for me, because I can almost never identify with the characters or predict what they'll do or how they'll feel. I don't mean this negatively, in fact it's one of the things I really enjoy about his work. There's always a foreign, other-worldliness that is absolutely fascinating. The Wind-up Bird Chronicle is no exception to this. The narrative runs mainly through one man who is almost a vessel through which events happen. Sub-stories wind in and out of the main storyline, proving that at heart Murakami is a short story writer and yet can't be contained by the limits of a short story. What I mean is that almost all the pieces could stand alone as engrossing and elegant stories because they are all so complete and so seemingly removed from one another, but Murakami has a larger plan in which he spins them altogether. But for all the characters, there was not one whose actions I could identify with. It was amazing. They were outlandish but convincing. Far-fetched yet plausible in the terms Murakami set for them. Overall, this made for page turner at times, though sometimes a slow and a little a tedious, but such is the curse of multi-line novels. You have the storyline you're attached to and the other ones sometimes feel like they're just taking up space, even when you know it's necessary for the overall coherence and beauty. Unfortunately, I do have to say that I found the end dissatisfying. I did not feel like all the ends were tied up well enough. I felt like the final climax of action was lacking in depth. A lot remained unconnected (at least in the way I read it) or worse, the connections that were finally made were weak. This surprisingly did not detract too much from the overall good feeling I walked away from this book with. It was a solid read with a lot of imagery and scenes that will likely stick with me for a long time. The ending, however, I've almost forgotten what it was already.(less)