A compact, thorough book that follows the DKs from their formation in the San Franciscan punk scene to the completion and touring of their album Fresh...moreA compact, thorough book that follows the DKs from their formation in the San Franciscan punk scene to the completion and touring of their album Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables. Ogg adds quotes from the DK members as well as notable people like Jennifer Egan who talk about how formative the band's music was for them. (Which encourages me to try reading A Visit from the Goon Squad again.) The book is also filled out with plenty of photographs, collages and flyers created during this specific time in the DKs history, adding extra color to the oral history-like approach. A quick, cool read that at the very least makes me feel a little vindicated that I'm not the only one who thinks Biafra sings like an aggressively hyperactive Bryan Ferry.(less)
The chemical factory in Clarence, that specializes in manufacturing drugs for mental disorders, catches fire releasing the chemical deletrium into the...moreThe chemical factory in Clarence, that specializes in manufacturing drugs for mental disorders, catches fire releasing the chemical deletrium into the air. The town slowly comes under the drug's spell and the restraints of memory are released, rendering Clarence residents nonfunctional.
An ideas novel with some beautiful meditations on memory with a hit-or-miss execution--similar in style to Kevin Brockmeier. There are many interesting routes this story goes down. The solitude of the individuals as they combat their memories is poignant. The care that people try to provide one another while they succumb and the repeating theme of children learning to become the caretakers for their adult guardians in unexpected circumstances is very moving. However, readers may get the feeling that more of these themes could be explored if the tone wasn't a little too pleased with itself. For example, events in the narrative are referred to by chapter length within the book. There are many darker places the story could go especially since it seems Clarence suffers from all its bad memories first. But the book firmly steers us clear, despite it being hinted that there were some citizens that suffered badly, off-page. Also, there is something essentially gross about the character Todd that makes my skin crawl every time he's on-page.
On the whole, an interesting debut novel with moments that will spark a reader's daydreams.(less)
I read Imago first & while I enjoyed it, I thought perhaps that the Xenogenesis series would be like a proto-Fledgling. Dawn, however, completely...moreI read Imago first & while I enjoyed it, I thought perhaps that the Xenogenesis series would be like a proto-Fledgling. Dawn, however, completely changed my opinion for the better. Despair and loss resonates deeply through the book and the initial conflict between human kind and the Oankali is much more tense and, at times, horrifying. The novel imagines what our struggle to live would be like once everything familiar is stripped away (culture, environment, society, and how we connect with one another) and another species comes along to put the pieces back together. Despite being classed as sci-fi, there is true body horror in Dawn. The Oankali are completely alien and have decided to take charge of humankind, including breeding, in order to halt our self-destruction. Butler outlines her aliens so well, readers can appreciate their forensic-like study. But there is plenty of squirm-inducing sexuality, including the "your mouth said no but your body says yes" reasoning or Lilith being unable to decide for herself when she will have babies. Dawn is an opener to an amazing series that is still relevant and interesting and is begging for a mini-series adaptation.(less)
A classic sci-fi epic that blends recognizable conflicts, adventure tales and politics in a complex, interesting story. I picked up Dune for two reaso...moreA classic sci-fi epic that blends recognizable conflicts, adventure tales and politics in a complex, interesting story. I picked up Dune for two reasons: because it was an influential novel in its genre and because I had seen the David Lynch adaptation. Dune plays upon the coming-of-age story of a Chosen One by illustrating the conflicting influences and powers that center on the young Paul Atredies, who is possibly the Kwisatch Haderach foretold by the powerful Bene Gesserit. Herbert makes this typical story interesting by studying what happens when a hero gains too much power too quickly and must negotiate his own internal struggle for control as well as meet the expectations of those around him. Dune is a dense book written with detailed care, but it also moves at a decent pace. I was also surprised that it is not all that different from Lynch's adaptation. While the movie does compress much & has a specific vision, the choices Lynch made have their seeds in the story. While I did enjoy reading this entry in the series, I don't feel the immediate need to keep following the story.(less)
Living is the first Ehrenreich book I've read, even though I've been aware of her other books like Nickled and Dimed for some time. I will say I strug...moreLiving is the first Ehrenreich book I've read, even though I've been aware of her other books like Nickled and Dimed for some time. I will say I struggled with the first few chapters, mainly because of the author's distant tone. She outlines many reasons why she struggles to speak about the events she experienced: aloofness as a defense mechanism against her chaotic upbringing, her idea that one cannot speak about something until you have the proper language for it, her scientific drive to leave no ambiguity untested. But, I stuck with Ehrenreich through her story, mostly because I recognized her habit of using her reading life as a basis for questions to research. By the end of the book, I found myself rewarded with a passionate and inspiring closing argument about the metaphysical.(less)
Sandman Overture #2 start bringing together the pieces of the story laid out in issue #1. The time jumps in the story now extend forward to include Da...moreSandman Overture #2 start bringing together the pieces of the story laid out in issue #1. The time jumps in the story now extend forward to include Daniel Hall as the current incarnation of Dream & reveal small consequences that hint at what happened. The most enjoyable thing of Overture so far is Gaiman's use of the prequel to deepen the readers' understanding of Dream's world. The "concatenation of Dreams" not only grants insight into Dream's incarnations but also hints to Despair's own backstory & Dream's dealings with Lyta Hall. I felt a sense of completeness reading this issue--the convergence of Dreams is also a celebration of Gaiman's character. Dream argues with himself repeatedly before addressing himself, "Am I always like this? "Self-satisfied. Irritating. Self-possessed, and unwilling to concede center stage to anyone but myself?" When one of his selves answers yes, he responds, "Ah. Fascinating." Classic.
With this being my first time reading Sandman as a comic (instead of a graphic novel), I also enjoyed holding the issues side-by-side & comparing the design elements of each page. A distinct series of shapes open & close each series. Story elements line up too: two pages of panels that take place against the Corinthian's teeth from issue #1 match another two pages in issue #2 that arrange panels around viscera braided with disembodied mouths. Dream's discussion of the rules made by "the First Circle" is Overture #1 sync up with the same section in issue #2 where Dream brings up invoking the First Circle when his selves are in conflict. One illustrative choice I keep coming back to is the representation of Shekinah (the Glory of God) as male. Shekinah, in Jewish tradition, is female. On the other hand, this symbol of Glory stays stable while Dream's personas dance erratically around it, giving a reader plenty to ponder over.
Mysterious, compelling, & lovely, i can't wait for the next issue to come out!(less)
A quick, enjoyable tale. Tanaquil is the sensible, insightful yet completely non-magical daughter of the sorceress Jaive. Ignored & lonely for com...moreA quick, enjoyable tale. Tanaquil is the sensible, insightful yet completely non-magical daughter of the sorceress Jaive. Ignored & lonely for company or purpose, mechanical-minded Tanaquil finds a skeleton in the desert surrounding her mother's fortress and reassembles it. By doing so, she inadvertently resurrects a bold, untameable unicorn. Tied to the beast's fate, Tanaquil follows it to an exotic city that holds the key to secrets in her own past.
Published in the early 90s, this story is worth rediscovering by readers. Tanaquil's relationship with her mother and sister are given particular focus. This story would fare well if it were adapted for film, especially given the success of movies like Brave & Frozen.(less)
With this entry in the series, I feel like I finally get something about the series. With Adams playing with a conventional, happily-ever-after ending...moreWith this entry in the series, I feel like I finally get something about the series. With Adams playing with a conventional, happily-ever-after ending, he lifts the veil on what he was trying to do with the story. Arthur Dent returns home to Earth (which had been blown up), finds love, and realizes that his adventures aren't over. And Ford Prefect travels through the chaos of the Universe just so he can pester his friend Arthur, who hasn't picked up the phone for his intergalactic call. While Adams acknowledges many questions readers might have (literally outlining a few of them in later chapters), the author is determined to tell the stories he's interested in telling. I'm struck by the last passage of the book that talks about how a dreamer inadvertently stops a war with his whimsical creations. The last sentence states (roughly) that there was a point to telling the story but the narrator has forgotten what it was. Relating the absurdity and wonder of the anecdote was enough.
In my reader's experience, So Long feels somewhat similar to A.S. Byatt's Whistling Woman. The author is very firmly establishing the fact that there are many other stories to be told with these characters but is insistent that they've accomplished what they've set out to do & this is where they're stopping, thank you very much. Books like these not only make me curious about the continued lives of the characters, but also make me wonder about the circumstances that caused the author to take such a firm stance within their own work. Perhaps, in the light of the different approach of So Long, Adams was struggling with keeping his story from running away from him.(less)