Commander Vimes of the city watch is sent to Uberwald (the homeland of vampires, werewolves, and other darkOne of the very best Discworld books, IMO.
Commander Vimes of the city watch is sent to Uberwald (the homeland of vampires, werewolves, and other dark creatures, as well as the Dwarfs) as a diplomat, despite the fact that he hates vampires, and only just tolerates werewolves (Sargent Angua withstanding). He is quickly sucked into a political battle between the Dwarfs and a reigning werewolf clan who just happen to be Angua's family.
If you don't love Vimes yet, after this book you will. His relationship with Sybil is increasingly touching, and some of the in-jokes (Uncle Vanya's trousers) are absolute corkers.
This book is packed with vampires, werewolves, wolves with a little human in them, dwarves, trolls, assassins, and political intrigue. What's not to love?...more
This is one of my most beloved Pratchett books. I re-read this one often.
If you think elves are beautiful and sweet, you are in for a surprise! When tThis is one of my most beloved Pratchett books. I re-read this one often.
If you think elves are beautiful and sweet, you are in for a surprise! When these devilish creatures cross over into witch territory, you know Mistress Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, and Magrat will have something to say about it. Of course, soft-hearted Magrat thinks the elves are wonderful, until the Elf Queen sets her sights on Magrat's soon to be husband, King Verence. Suddenly, Magrat has to learn what she's made of. And beneath those watery eyes and romantic heart is a will as strong and cold as steel....more
Overall, this is an enjoyable book. I was attracted to the idea of reading a Westerner's view of a Tibetan Buddhist centre from the point of view of sOverall, this is an enjoyable book. I was attracted to the idea of reading a Westerner's view of a Tibetan Buddhist centre from the point of view of someone other than a newly ordained monk/nun, or a simple visitor.
Although I think the author has a good voice, I find myself holding back on rating this book highly due to a few issues that I find it hard to overlook. Namely, I thought her 'play', which makes up one chapter, was disappointingly racist; playing on the stereotype of the fat, black, voodoo practicing female chef, complete with broken English and stereotypical, racist 'black speech' (dis, dat, dem dere, etc).
I was also disappointed at her assumption that feminism had changed fundamentally for the worse, based on her being interviewed by three women who run the Women Studies course at a single university. Snow discusses her disappoint at how 'cold and bitter' feminism has become since her departure from her teaching days. Deciding to judge an entire movement based on one experience is irrational, not to mention disappointing considering that Snow clearly identifies as a feminist herself. It smacked a little too much of 'good feminist, bad feminist', where Snow's version of feminism is clearly the better, and the 'new' feminism is clearly the worse.
These issues aside, it's a relatively good read. I did feel I learned more about the Tibetan Centre from Snow's viewpoint, and it is an interesting one considering how many books such as this are written by newly ordained Western monks/nuns. I didn't learn anything new about Buddhism in the sense of bare bone facts, but it did provide a number of insights, and really reawakened my interest in Tibetan Buddhism.
I've been toying with the idea of going on retreat for a while, and this book has made me seriously look into it....more
I guess I should start with a quick summary: Bella is a 17 year old who moves from sunny Phoenix to a**spoiler alert** Where to begin with this book?
I guess I should start with a quick summary: Bella is a 17 year old who moves from sunny Phoenix to a tiny town called Forks in rainy Washington state. After she enrolls in the local high school, she finds herself fascinated with the Cullen family, all of them beautiful and mysterious. As she grows closer to the youngest, Edward Cullen, she discovers their secret (they're vampires), and falls madly in love.
Okay, that done, let's get on with the main review. . .
Confession: I only bought this book to make fun of it. I'd read a lot of hilarious parodies, as well as a few painful excerpts, and decided it would be amusing enough to keep me interested. To be fair to Meyer, it wasn't quite as awful as I'd heard. My guilty pleasure has always been wangsty supernatural romances, after all. That said, it still has a long list of faults and parts of it were absolutely laughable.
To begin with, until Bella explicitly stated her age, I thought she was 15. She's shallow, mean (her casual, often condescending criticisms of her classmates and the small town make her seem like a total brat), and generally just feels incredibly young. I don't think Meyer really remembers what it's like to 17; that's the only explanation I have for this flaw. Although I fully admit to being shallow when I was that age, I wasn't quite as shallow or dim as Bella and so my overall first impression was how immature the so-called heroine is.
She's also stupid. Really, really stupid. There's a section of the book where Edward, once Bella knows his true vampire nature, takes her far away from the town to a secluded forest, and basically tells her that he chose this place in case he loses control and murders her. He even warns her that she might never return home, and insinuates that his family is preparing to clean up after him. Bella's response? Oh, she doesn't care! She KNOWS he'd never hurt her! I mean, she's only known this weird boy for a few weeks/months (and for most of that time he avoided her), and he's only a vampire fighting against his base nature and living on a knife edge, so obviously she's, like, totally safe! I suppose we, the reader, are supposed to think that this is already Twu Wub even though barely any time has passed, and that Bella is just, like, SO brave, but she just reads as a total moron. I was also really uncomfortable with how abusive Edward sounds during these scenes where he warns her that he might just murder her where she stands. He MIGHT kill her but only because she just smells so scrumptious! It's totally her fault! It's just far too reminiscent of 'I only hit you because I love you, baby'.
As if that isn't bad enough, we're told that (aside from her delicious scent) Edward is drawn to Bella because she's the only person whose mind he cannot read (yes, he reads minds as well as being super fast, strong, and immortal), and because she 'responds so differently' to everyone else. She does? When? As far as I could see, she acts like a typical shallow American teenager up until she starts telling him that it's okay if he kills her, because she knows he loves her oh so much! So basically Edward loves her because she's a victim.
Speaking of Edward, he's not without flaws either. Although Meyer paints him as a typical angsty vampire; fighting against his thirst for human blood so that he can love again, he's often boring and expressionless, and his constant drama was absolutely sickening. By the end of the book, I thought I'd throw up if I had to hear, yet again, how torn he is as he looks into Bella's eyes. Not to mention how he's just SO beautiful and perfect and angelic. Hell, he's so angelic that he freakin' sparkles in direct sunlight.
HE SPARKLES, PEOPLE. Enough said.
The romance, once you get passed all the angst and purple prose over Edward's incredible beauty, is only okay. Bella and Edward can never have sex, apparently, and can barely even kiss, so there are lots of scenes where Edward teases Bella with his light touches whilst her heart stops. No, really; at one point Meyer actually writes that Bella's heart stops so noticeably at Edward's touch that the EKG machine she's hooked up to picks it up, which is actually a sign of a major cardiac condition. Oh, he also makes her faint at least once. How realistic! Either his touch is really magical, or Bella has a heart problem and will die by age 30 from massive cardiac arrest.
When there's about one third of the book left, Meyer seems to realise that she'll never get published if something doesn't actually happen, so she throws in a villain and has Bella being hunted by another vampire, one who does not abstain like the wonderful, all-American baseball playing Cullens. Suddenly, Edward's family, who has only met Bella a handful of times, races to save her from this evil man, and even goes on to tell her they love her, even though they hardly know her. D'aww! She's just so speshul. This is, however, my favourite part of the book because the pace actually picks up for the first time, and eventually Bella has the shit kicked out of her. YAH! I was cheering the baddie on but, boo, Edward rushes in to save her, and in her haze of pain she believes him to be an angel because he's JUST SO BEAUTIFUL. Meyer just wants to drive that home, as if we didn't even know from the previous 300+ pages of her going on about this.
The book ends with Edward taking Bella to prom. Yes, really. And, suddenly, Bella knows she wants to be a vampire, because it's true love and it will last forever! It's not as if we ALL thought our first love would last forever back when we were kids/teenagers, but Bella KNOWS this because Edward is just so special and beautiful and hawt! She gives absolutely no thought to how this will change her life. In fact, she's so needy that she panics when Edward mentions leaving her to protect her from further attacks by rogue vampires, and is so disgustingly upset by the mere insinuation that I think she borders on the deranged. However, considering Edward's confession to stalking her earlier in the novel (he watches her sleep and follows her everywhere, just like a 'normal' boyfriend!), I shouldn't be surprised. Edward, however, is not willing to inflict upon Bella the PAIN and SUFFERING that is his undead life. And so the book ends.
As much as I dislike this book, I do understand why some people are so nuts for it. Meyer is unabashedly over the top with her depiction of Bella and Edward's love, and it has everything that every other vampire book has ever covered; angst, mortality vs immortality, bad vampires vs good, beautiful characters, the heroine being supposedly 'special', etc. Over all, though, it cannot hold a candle to previous books of this genre and is just a shoddy rehashing of a very old story. And when I say 'shoddy', I mean it. The prose is clumsy and stilted, and there were a number of what I hope were editing errors, because otherwise Meyer has the worst grammar I've ever seen printed.
Big thumbs down from me. But fun if you're willing to laugh at such drivel!...more
This is the first manga I ever read, so I am going to think fondly of it.
I really like the art, and how the author switches so effortlessly between meThis is the first manga I ever read, so I am going to think fondly of it.
I really like the art, and how the author switches so effortlessly between melancholy and lightness, but I found the layout of the frames a little awkward to follow.
The plot is also a little difficult to ascertain but I get the distinct impression this is worth sticking with. I absolutely love the artwork and characterisations, and I do want to learn more about the fighter units and their relationships to the shadowy organisation known as 'Septimal Moon'.
Oh, and if you like cat-boys, you'll want to give this a read!...more
When I reviewed the first volume of this series, I mentioned that I found the layout a little confusing. Loveless vol 2 has none of this confusion, anWhen I reviewed the first volume of this series, I mentioned that I found the layout a little confusing. Loveless vol 2 has none of this confusion, and is much more adequately laid out, in my opinion.
I also found this volume more exciting, and a lot seemed to happen in a short amount of time. I particularly enjoyed the growing relationships between all of the main characters, and found the fight scenes much less strange. Once you get used to the 'fighting with words' idea, it really starts to work and becomes quite enthralling.
I'm definitely sticking with this series, and I cannot wait to get my hands on volume 3!...more
This is an invaluable volume for any dog owner. Primarily, McConnell tackles how we can learn to notice emotion in our canine companions, as well as tThis is an invaluable volume for any dog owner. Primarily, McConnell tackles how we can learn to notice emotion in our canine companions, as well as the biological basis for these instinctual responses. Her scientific references are varied and fair, and she handles the complicated subject matter with aplomb, without making it noticeably dumbed-down for those of us without a rigorous scientific background. That said, I was occasionally frustrated with her reference to particular cases, which she did not source. I would have liked to look into them further to verify them and it was a minor nuisance to be unable to do so.
Overall, this is a wonderful book, and I particularly enjoyed the personal anecdotes that centre on her long career as a canine trainer/behaviourist. Scientists and/or biology students might be a little frustrated with her writing style as it is not extensively referenced, and some of her summaries of complicated biological processes are incredibly simplified. However, it's well worth a read and extremely fascinating.
Patricia McConnell's fame in the dog world is very well deserved....more
I found this book to be a loving look at raising young dogs, and there is certainly a lot of information and advice in this book that I can imagine myI found this book to be a loving look at raising young dogs, and there is certainly a lot of information and advice in this book that I can imagine myself using. However, I was uncomfortable with the recommendations for physical corrections, particularly the 'scruff shake' where you're encouraged to physically seize and lift your puppy off the ground before shaking it. Although I realise there's a lot of debate over physical corrections, I personally feel that they should only be a last resort, and having worked at a rescue shelter as a volunteer, I've seen too much fear biting to recommend these methods to anyone....more
This is a great book for anyone interested in clicker training. It is written in a 'question and answer' format and, because it tries to tackle so manThis is a great book for anyone interested in clicker training. It is written in a 'question and answer' format and, because it tries to tackle so many different aspects of clicker training, the actual step-by-step training portion of the book is relatively brief. However, because it so clearly explains why and how clicker training works, some of its history, and its comparison to other training methods (like dominance theory), I consider it a must-read for anyone who is interested in using this training method. ...more