A fascinating and disconcerting look at the young childhood of French-Syrian Riad Sattouf, as his family shifts between Paris, rural France, Libya, anA fascinating and disconcerting look at the young childhood of French-Syrian Riad Sattouf, as his family shifts between Paris, rural France, Libya, and Syria. In each location, he is expected to behave according to new rules that he does not understand. The adults around him seem compelled to share only the oddest and most terrifying family stories - What is a four or six year old to make of them? Sattouf's father comes off badly - he appears capricious, selfish, and unwise, as well as leaning towards abusive. His mother, in this memoir, is silent and nearly without opinion. What version would each of them tell? A window into the mind of the very young, without context or adult perspective. Lots to think about....more
This is a road-trip thriller about a researcher who treats his dying granddaughter with an experimental medical procedure against the wishes of her paThis is a road-trip thriller about a researcher who treats his dying granddaughter with an experimental medical procedure against the wishes of her parents and the will of the federal government. The FBI, a hit man, and a super-secret military base are involved. As she gets better, he gets younger (he is using the inverse of her treatment on himself, as he is is 75 and needs a boost to manage on the run). Bova asks readers to believe that medical doctors and PhDs can speak and behave so stupidly, and that a young, beautiful medical professional would willingly start a romantic relationship with an old man with prostate cancer because he can suddenly get aroused (hello, male fantasy). If you love Clive Cussler and similar, maybe this is for you.
I always thought that Bova was a well-known and respected science fiction writer. (I have not read any of his other books.) Though most of the characters in this story are doctors or scientists, there is very little science. That was disappointing.
Speaking of the characters, holy stereotype! The capitalist is baldly unscrupulous and controlling, the mother is helpless and whiny, the father a violent bully, the granddaughter questions nothing and is chipper as a tv commercial, the Native American FBI guy is quiet and stoic, and everyone is described by their physical attractiveness quotient and ethnicity. It really was tiresome.
At the end, Luke makes a grand case about freedom for medical research to proceed unhindered and driven by the best interests of humanity rather than economic interests. That was nice....more
This was my first Martin Amis - I knew the intriguing idea behind the story - love in the death camps, from the pov of the killers and commandants. SoThis was my first Martin Amis - I knew the intriguing idea behind the story - love in the death camps, from the pov of the killers and commandants. So, it wasn't the theme, disturbing as it is - it was the short short choppy half-breath sections and chapters with no rhythm and no opportunity for the reader to get involved. Amis absolutely could not get me to care about these people even in a sick or voyeuristic way. Amis is famous, yes, and I had wanted to be impressed by this. If I had never heard of him, I would have said he was a horrible writer. Someone, recommend his best and I'll give it a try....more
Not a review. Just points I found useful or interesting.
Author recommends starting college planning in 7th grade. (Yaaaaaaag!)
Keys to choosing the rigNot a review. Just points I found useful or interesting.
Author recommends starting college planning in 7th grade. (Yaaaaaaag!)
Keys to choosing the right colleges: self-awareness personal values, aptitudes, needs
Teaching and learning are sometimes better at schools you have never heard of.
Parents: Know your child. How does she make decisions? What are her needs and interests? Help her find what she's looking for. Listen. Do not do the applications for your child. Do help keep track of deadlines.
From the start of high school, kids should work with their guidance counselors to craft college-bound course schedules that also reflect their interests.
Author advocates taking PSAT for practice prior to junior year. Advocates SAT subject tests.
Gifted means more than good grades. If there's something unusual about you, if you have a talent that's not reflected in your transcript, write about it. If you have a way of learning that has conflicted with school expectations and getting good grades, explain how it can be a strength in other arenas.
There's a good checklist on p. 57-58 that is worth photocopying and having your college bound kid think about.
Huntington-O'Shea Career Decision Making System revised Career Occupational Preference System Self-Directed Search Barron's Online College Search Engine College Board Big Future Princeton Review Career Quiz What Can I Do with This Major?
(Some of these charge a fee. Maybe ask if the school already makes these available to students.)
A good section on questions to ask when touring colleges....more
A tale of two runaways, told in chapters that alternate between main characters and 'then' and 'now.' One girl is escaping poverty, filth, and abuse,A tale of two runaways, told in chapters that alternate between main characters and 'then' and 'now.' One girl is escaping poverty, filth, and abuse, the other a constricted life and a future she is not sure she wants. Both take a lot of drugs, go to basement punk shows, have sex with the people they meet, shoplift, and swim. They both also have disturbing dreams featuring the same tall man with very dark eyes, though they see him differently, and his significance is only briefly revealed. Why they have the same dreams and what they think about it is never explored.
Atmospheric, poetic, slow. Not for the impatient reader. A little cliched. Cass' chapters are better written than Maia's. Especially at the beginning, Maia's chapters are clunky, stiff. Everything about her family is a stereotype. (And Oscar, though French and worldly, sounds a bit too much like Yoda.) When the author describes something as "cheesy," it feels to the reader that the author has an awareness that Dirty Wings dips towards cheesiness, too.
The jacket flap speaks of Dirty Wings as a modern retelling of Persephone, but it takes forever to get there. This is really just a story of 2 runaway girls with good intentions who make a few key bad choices.
I haven't read Metamorphoses #1, but I will - reviews from those who did are much more appreciative than from those of us who didn't. Maybe it will change my opinion.
I do not understand what the big deal is about this book. I experienced it as more annoying than great.
There are sloppy discrepancies within the textI do not understand what the big deal is about this book. I experienced it as more annoying than great.
There are sloppy discrepancies within the text (Ex: Lylie tells the reader that Credule Gand-Duc is a father figure to Marc, someone who has been a consistent presence in Marc's life. And yet, Marc has to use his influence in his workplace to get Grand Duc's telephone number? Wouldn't he have that already?)
It also defies too much belief that none of the bodies of any of the other passengers were found, that no one tried to recover the remains of their family members who perished in the crash. The body of the 'second' baby would have been found & comparisons could have been made.
What is the author trying to convey in creating so many characters who are completely bonkers and degenerate, and not in an endearing way? Why so much depravity? And, (spoiler), the fact that any relationship develops between Marc and Malvina is insane. Any real person in his position would have taken his child and run as far as possible away from her poisonous self.
I get that both Bussi, the author, and Grand-Duc, the teller, want to create some suspense in the telling - but the tale is too slowly spun out. What is supposed to be craftily suspenseful, I experienced as manipulative and unnecessary. I also saw the big reveal chapters and chapters before the writer spelled it out. ...more
In this book, former president Carter looks back at his childhood, time in the Navy, and his political career. The last third or so of the book is dedIn this book, former president Carter looks back at his childhood, time in the Navy, and his political career. The last third or so of the book is dedicated to various national and international issues that he worked on during his administration and through the Carter Center, and his assessment of their progress and how subsequent presidents have dealt with them. Throughout the book are reproductions of President Carter's paintings and poems he has written over the course of his life.
President Carter has written many books, most on more specific topics. This one ranges widely and some chapters have the understandable vagueness of a 90 year old man looking backwards many decades. He's at his best here when writing about his White House years, no doubt improved by having access to his presidential diaries and, therefore, details. Towards the end of the book, the sections become quite short, with 2 paragraphs on abortion, three on North and South Korea, 4 on his opinion regarding the efficacy of economic embargoes, and so on. It has the feel of the writer wanting to be sure that all his thoughts on every topic get handed down before time runs out. Most of them are interesting and informed by so much experience; so very worth reading, even if I don't agree with every word.
It's a revelation to read histories and memoirs written about times one has lived through. Jimmy Carter was president when I was in elementary school. His daughter, Amy, was roughly my age. Everything I knew about the Carter presidency came via snippets of tv news and what I heard from the adults around me. In our eyes, he was a good guy who was dedicated to peace and energy conservation. He was a dad who wore sweaters. To us as New Yorkers, he was a peanut farmer and maybe a yokel. (Interesting to learn that the press carefully cultivated this view of Carter as a hayseed.) Did you know that, when he was running for president, the fact that he was religious was widely held against him. Now, candidates fall all over themselves trying to prove just how pious they are. Did you know Carter was an avid reader and classical music aficionado who served in a leadership position on one of the U.S.'s earliest nuclear subs? Did you know Carter had three adult sons when elected, two of whom lived in the White House during his presidency? And that the oft-told tale of Carter installing solar panels on the White House roof is true? (As is the one about Reagan taking them down.)
Also interesting in this book is his recognition of shortcomings - Alliances he failed to make, as with Ted Kennedy, resulting in some major losses such as when Kennedy withdrew support for Carter's proposals for free and universal pre-natal care. And in his relationship with his wife, in which he repeatedly made major decisions without informing her until afterwards.
I don't understand when people say Carter's was a failed presidency. So many of the things he stood for are still regarded as important: peace, land conservation, alternative energy, diplomacy. And, in his career post-presidency: free and fair elections, disease prevention, affordable housing, equitable food distribution. All good stuff, and hard to argue with. ...more
Like everyone she interviewed for this book, I only saw St. Marks in my era as its topic. I love that she started withThings to love about this book:
Like everyone she interviewed for this book, I only saw St. Marks in my era as its topic. I love that she started with pre-colonial lower Manhattan and spent so much ink on the Stuyvesant family. Just the simple fact that Bowery comes from bouwerie, which is Dutch for a self sufficient farm. Who among us who thrashed at CBGB ever even saw a self sufficient farm? Tear up the concrete and show me the roots of Pegleg Pete's pear tree!
Peter Cooper's vision of a more humane NYC through education: "Cooper Union's idealistic mission was to offer a free education in the arts and sciences to both men and women." This was back in the 1850s. Yay, Peter Cooper! Night classes for the working class, free public readings on Wednesdays favored women's rights and opposed slavery. [p.15-17]
Don't let the thickness of this book scare you - It's a fast and very enjoyable read through the politics, landscape, and crazy characters of St. Mark's Place. All throughout, I could easily picture the addresses and street corners of my teenage years, transformed by an earlier era. I wish I'd known this stuff while I lived there. Reading this makes me want to go back, book in hand, and look at all these places again....more
Barry and Tommy grew up under hard conditions in 1940s and 50s Tennessee. A father who died early, plummeting the family from comfort to worry, some pBarry and Tommy grew up under hard conditions in 1940s and 50s Tennessee. A father who died early, plummeting the family from comfort to worry, some physical and emotional cruelty, turbulent times and confusing social roles - white, racist, and yet their mother's dearest friend was black. On top of that, they experienced the brutal pecking order of military school and some learning challenges. The boys did not get along.
Strange, indeed. A young boy is imprisoned in the basement of a library and is forced to memorize texts about tax collection in the Ottoman Empire soStrange, indeed. A young boy is imprisoned in the basement of a library and is forced to memorize texts about tax collection in the Ottoman Empire so that a villain can eat his tasty brain. ...more
An important book very well done. True vignettes of children, men and women who faced sexual and emotional violence from strangers and people they truAn important book very well done. True vignettes of children, men and women who faced sexual and emotional violence from strangers and people they trusted. The illustrations are perfectly evocative of the confusion, shame, and hurt, and also, in later segments, of bravery and strength. A very quick read that I hope many people will pick up....more