This book was pretty much made for me. I love epistolary novels (and had played the letter game before reading this), I love light-hearted, humorous sThis book was pretty much made for me. I love epistolary novels (and had played the letter game before reading this), I love light-hearted, humorous stories, I love SF/F, and I love the Regency period.
There are problems with the book, of course - the letter game doesn't make for a perfect novel structure, though I was stunned at how well the two authors here managed to pull it off. And the plot is definitely a bit light. But the voices are delightful and top-notch, and the book is a just a really fun light read.
This is definitely one of the happier finds of my teen years, and a book I still re-read from time to time....more
First, know that I am deeply biased when it comes to this book: it's got time travel, which I love with a love that is more than love, and it's got CyFirst, know that I am deeply biased when it comes to this book: it's got time travel, which I love with a love that is more than love, and it's got Cyril, who I love with a love that makes my time travel love look like a Tuesday afternoon romance. Plus, it's inspired by - and references, oh my god, REFERENCES! - one of my favorite books, Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men in a Boat.
So, you know, I won't even attempt a qualitative review. I'll just say that this is fun, and funny, and it hits my narrative kinks so hard that I would marry it if there was a church that solemnized bibliopolygamy.
This book is a frequent re-read and a joy forever. ...more
Previously, my rule has been that if a book makes me laugh out loud, it gets four stars, period. I value laughter, and comedy is hard. This book made me change that rule, because it was such a weird blend of laughing and, well, cringing. While reading these essays, I found myself really, really hoping this was all an exaggeration, that she was claiming to have said things she only thought, that she didn't really act that way. And even though I mostly think that's true, some of these stories still hit a squick I didn't even know I had, some close kin to my embarrassment squick. "You're an adult!" I kept wanting to say. "You have a job and major debt and a husband! Stop acting like a junior varsity football player who has a really good steroids connection!"
Still. I did laugh out loud from time to time, when I wasn't wincing away from the page. And I probably will buy another book by Notaro; her work is basically the print equivalent of cotton candy, which is, as it happens, exactly what I'm in the mood for right now.
I just wish it was cotton candy that didn't make me flinch every other chapter, that's all....more
I think I'm done with Notaro for right now. It's not that I didn't enjoy this - I did, in places - but I think I'm getting diminishing returns - lessI think I'm done with Notaro for right now. It's not that I didn't enjoy this - I did, in places - but I think I'm getting diminishing returns - less laughter with each subsequent book. I'm also getting sort of tired of Notaro. One book is apparently my recommended yearly dose of her, and now that I've had three times that, I'm definitely feeling like I've overdosed.
The good news is that this book didn't make me flinch the way I Love Everybody did - there's less childishness and less shrieking. Notaro really has refined her voice a lot. It's just that she's kept in some parts I really wish she'd get rid of, and the number one entry on that list is self-deprecation. I have a few friends who can't open their mouths without insulting themselves, and I love them anyway, but talking to them can make me twitch. (And I can insult myself with the best of them, I truly can. I mean, I'm female, of course I can. But I try to keep that from being my primary mode of communication, is all.) Laurie Notaro is just like them - I'm so fat! I'm so clumsy! I'm so dumb! I'm so messy! I'm such a walking disaster of a person! - except here's the thing: she's not my friend. And so, it turns out, I don't love her anyway.
I guess the thing is - I want to laugh with Notaro. Not at her. And after three books, I'm just not doing much of either. Instead, I'm asking myself a lot of depressed questions, like: is this the only way a woman can be funny? By cutting herself down before anyone else gets the chance to?
In short, I need to back away from Laurie Notaro for a while, until I can read her books with more joy than sadness again. ...more
This is an incredible manga series (and, for that matter, anime - although for the anime, I'd really recommend the fansubs, as the English release isThis is an incredible manga series (and, for that matter, anime - although for the anime, I'd really recommend the fansubs, as the English release is agonizingly bad). And the thing is, it shouldn't be this good. It's about a bunch of Go-obsessed people. Who talk about Go. And play Go. And argue about Go.
And yet it's the most compelling, involving, and fun manga I've ever read. Partly, this is because of the characters - Shindou Hikaru, Touya Akira, and Fujiwara-no-Sai are realistic and interesting, and the relationship between Shindou and Touya is, well, very slashy, if you're me. But it's entrancing whether you read it that way or not. The secondary characters are likewise engaging. And the artwork is incredible, especially in the later volumes.
And it has no typical manga elements. There are no battles, just shouting matches over Go games (and refusal to play Go games, and playing Go games with the wrong people or in the wrong way). No one levels up, although they certainly get better at Go. The only really typical manga element is the destined rivalry, and it's between guys playing Go, not ninjas or whatever.
Oh, I'm doing this badly. And that's because I really can't communicate the joy of Hikaru no Go in words. But it's fabulous all the same, and I recommend it to anyone and everyone. ...more