I got goosebumps reading the dust jacket synopsis.
What does it mean to be a friend? To have one?
Ghost Boy and Robot Girl take each other through the...moreI got goosebumps reading the dust jacket synopsis.
What does it mean to be a friend? To have one?
Ghost Boy and Robot Girl take each other through the last year of high school, the last year of dependence on their parents -- Though neither has been able to actually depend on his or her parents for a while. Each one serves as a floatation device for the other as they decide who they might be, struggle to find joy. In the end, though, a friend can't determine the course of one's life; Ghost Boy and Robot Girl must decide for themselves whether to sink or swim.
I haven't even figured out what this book is really about yet but I already know I will love it. Standish Treadwell, bullied 15 year old whose parents...moreI haven't even figured out what this book is really about yet but I already know I will love it. Standish Treadwell, bullied 15 year old whose parents, and then his friend, have mysteriously disappeared, "con't read, can't write, Standish Treadwell isn't bright." He was once lucky enough to have a teacher who recognized the original in him, calling him "a breeze in the park of imagination." Even better, as a kid who cannot make peace with the written word, he has cultivated a love for the sounds and meanings of words. And Gardner writes him with gorgeous language.
"I reckon that was the genius of the seat because you ended up sitting there looking small and less of anything, with your feet dangling and your knobbly knees blushing red." (p. 21)
"There was no barbed wire or anything like that to fence it off. That notice alone had the power of a thousand scarecrows." (p.23)
"I sat down, my heart an egg bumping against the side of a pan of boiling water." (p.24)
"A word to describe that wall would be impenetrable. See. I might not be able to spell but I have a huge vocabulary. I collect words - they are sweets in the mouth of sound." (p.24)
This story is like nothing I have read recently. Wholly original, moving, and bleak. I am very interested to read more from Sally Gardner.(less)
I know this one's been out for a while -- We recently watched the Steve Jobs movie. Sadly, it focused on what a schmuck Jobs appears to have been. I w...moreI know this one's been out for a while -- We recently watched the Steve Jobs movie. Sadly, it focused on what a schmuck Jobs appears to have been. I was hoping to learn more about the development of the personal computer and of apple as a company. Maybe this book does that? Wozniak looks happy in all the pictures.
Reluctantly, I have to agree with reviewers who put the book down because it is written so badly. Truly. It reads as though someone wrote down Wozniak's casual conversation. I wish the second writer had added in historical context and other details. I almost gave up!
But then, around page 100, it gets better! I think it is because Wozniak is writing about times that were very exciting for him. He begins to use place names, dates, the names of the other people involved, and speaks with more detail about the projects he worked on.
I'm not an engineer; there are readers who have said that his claims about his own inventions and firsts are not true. It would have been great, again, if Gina Smith had rounded out the book with contemporary happenings in electronics and computer engineering.
Those were exciting times, though! The best part of the book is when Wozniak talks about using a slide rule, and how revolutionary it was when HP came out with its first home-use calculator. I remember: my dad worked for Grumman in the late 1960s and early 1970s. One Chanukah (and it must have been before 1973, because my parents were still married), he gave our mom a calculator. It was a very nice gift and, as we were told, it was "not a toy."
And, then! Did you know Wozniak was the creator of the Atari Breakout game? My best friend had an Atari system in the 70s and I remember playing Pong and Breakout and oh! how much fun it was! It was worth reading the book for these thrilling moments of nostalgia.
So, I want give this more stars (maybe 2.5) because I did learn some of what I set out to learn. And, I kinda like the Woz. He's a little bit charming, a little bit annoying (much like the glossary in the back of this book.) I do think that I need to be deliberate and choose a well-crafted story for my next read.(less)
It is interesting to find that my favorite character in this book is New York itself. Imagine that the Chelsea neighborhood was once covered in fruit...moreIt is interesting to find that my favorite character in this book is New York itself. Imagine that the Chelsea neighborhood was once covered in fruit trees -- I have only known it as a forest of apartment buildings. It is impossible for me to envision any part of Manhattan or the Bronx as wooded as the place where Coralie first spies Eddie and Mitts.
I long for the photographs described in this book. I know that many of the photographers are fictional characters, but some are not, and the rallies and protests and tragedies Hoffman writes about are real pieces of NY history. She kindly includes some of her sources in the back. I will have to look at them.
Previous reading experiences are leading me to mix-up Coralie's father, Professor Sardie, with the parents from Geek Love, which I know is only superficially a good match.(less)
At first, Bigelow's story is mesmerizing, hypnotic. Then, it is impatient, then tedious, like a winter life without conversation. I'll have to think a...moreAt first, Bigelow's story is mesmerizing, hypnotic. Then, it is impatient, then tedious, like a winter life without conversation. I'll have to think about this one for a while before I know what to say about it.
I've sat on this one for 2 days, trying to decide what to think about The Seal Wife. Here's what I love: What an interesting and unique topic! Weather prediction science in Alaska on the cusp of World War One! Growing boomtowns, the slow sprawl of the railroads. The descriptions, the feel. Harrison gives the reader a near-tangible sense of the cold, the isolation, the big-picture excitement utterly overshadowed by the daily tedium.
Here's what was so disappointing: Bigelow. He's a lump! What drove him to go so far from home? Does he never write to his family in the lower 48? Does he have any interesting thoughts beyond which mute woman is going to lay down for him? Sheesh. Plus, and this one made it impossible to like this book: Even given the time frame, how is it possible that such an educated person who grooves on science, invention, and discovery can desire to choose as his life's partner a woman who has no wish to communicate with him? Bleh.
I was so wishing that She truly was a seal wife, a selkie, perhaps the one who bit him! That would, at least, have put some magic in the story.(less)
I know I'm in the minority here -- Most people seem to be wowed by it. My annoyance while reading thi...moreFour stars for concept, two stars for execution.
I know I'm in the minority here -- Most people seem to be wowed by it. My annoyance while reading this may be more the industry's fault than the writer's: This is another book that was misrepresented by those trying to sell copies. It was portrayed as a fantasy, a combining of the Neverland of Peter Pan and the after-life experiences of children. This is in there; however, the main thrust of this book is parental grief, longing, and moving on. It's not a fantasy. It's not a mystery. It's not a romp. It's bibliotherapy. (Again, I cannot blame the author for my misunderstanding of what the book was going to be about.)
The opening scenes are clunky, the children seem much younger than their stated 10 years, and Stilling spends a lot of pages simply re-telling the Peter Pan tale.
Neverland, as Stilling imagines it, reminded me a lot of Spinelli's Hokey Pokey. Both had that great-idea-but-not-developed-enough feel, and both, (if I'm remembering right), include that concept that any romantic or sexual stirrings mean immediate banishment from childhood. They both also could be read to imply that girls are at fault here. I found that disappointing in stories written in the 21st century.
Still, I could really see this being appealing to readers who are in the mood for some heartstring tugging, or for help with closure following the death of a loved one.
This was a little tricky for me as an audiobook. Not being truly familiar with Russian history, geography, philosophy, art, politics, or language, the...moreThis was a little tricky for me as an audiobook. Not being truly familiar with Russian history, geography, philosophy, art, politics, or language, there were so many places where I backtracked so I could really hear what Gessen was telling the reader. Eventually, I acknowledged that there were too many details I was too un-schooled to pick up on, and decided to go for the big picture.
Basically, Russia is HUGE. It's cold. People are protesting the abuses of the Putin government, and they are not at all surprised when they are arrested under the slimmest of charges. The Russian judicial system and its prisons are as bad as they seemed in any Russian novel you may have read in translation back in high school. As defendants, the members of Pussy Riot were kept in actual glass cages, separate from the courtroom. They couldn't always hear what was going on. They were kept from meeting with their lawyers. They were stopped from asking questions to fully understand the charges, and they were not allowed to speak up for themselves.
P.S. The reader of the audiobook was very good. However, the kid was interested in the politics and the punk aspect, but I stopped listening while we were together b/c the swearing was really rank in places. It didn't bother me on my own, but it is not for family listening.(less)
Four siblings grow up in small town Ontario with strict immigrant Chinese-Canadian parents. They are expected to fulfill their father's goals for them...moreFour siblings grow up in small town Ontario with strict immigrant Chinese-Canadian parents. They are expected to fulfill their father's goals for them. Even their mother is expected to fulfill their father's vision of what it means to become Canadian. The years go by. Adele, Bonnie, Peter, and Helen move in and out of one another's lives, trying to become themselves. Pretty much all of them self-destruct. Sad, moving, very, very ugly at times in its depictions of unhealthy love affairs. Very worth reading but not at all uplifting.(less)