A cute and very specific book regarding the homes and habits of Georgian and Regency gentry-class UK citizens in general, using the extended family of...moreA cute and very specific book regarding the homes and habits of Georgian and Regency gentry-class UK citizens in general, using the extended family of novelist Jane Austen as a jumping-off point.
Some really beautiful photographs here of homes from the period, either as they are now or reproductions of how they would have been then. Some little trivia that I didn't know, and a couple of good recipies. Not as much fun as other reference books for the era like An Elegant Madness or as straightforwardly encyclopedic like What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew, but useful and pleasant to read.
Frankly, late 18th and early 19th century history and culture so far as the British Empire is concerned is sort of my "thing." Everybody needs a hobby. The point is: I'm not at all subjective about it. I liked this book because I'm very interested in its very specific subject matter, but some people would probably find this book very, very dry.
Recomended, if you're in to this sort of thing.(less)
I was sent this as a gift and finished it in an afternoon. The story itself is okay: a young man discovering that he is special and is recruited into...moreI was sent this as a gift and finished it in an afternoon. The story itself is okay: a young man discovering that he is special and is recruited into a group of like-wise special young people to fight in a battle against a creeping evil who wants to take over the world for non-specified but thoroughly evil reasons in a black-and-white type of way.
That's the broad-strokes. Not breaking any ground here. The details are a little better, but not by much. "Story" is not the reason to read this.
What really makes this book enjoyable are three things: first, the language. The writing itself is lovely and well-paced. Excellent word-usage, sentence structure and nuance. Sentences tend to capture one's eyes and drag them to the end of the line. It is neither dumbed-down nor pretentiously verbose. It is excellent writing in and of itself. Hats off to "Ransom Riggs" for that, at least.
Secondly, there are the characters. While several of them are rather rote, there is life inhabiting all of their words and actions. The less-central characters tend to fair a better than some of the central ones for some reason, too; especially the few that suggest that the heroes of the book might be just a little evil themselves, making multi-faceted and highly realistic personalities.
The third reason, and, I have to say my biggest reason, is the pictures. Oh, lord: the pictures. I am right in the sweet-spot demographic audience for this book just because of the collection of odd, black-and-white and sepia-toned photographs that illustrate this book. Weird, lovely, eerie ... shots that look like they range from about 1880 to around 1955, their subjects floating or on fire or just oddly positioned and the like. I collect old photographs I find at various junk shops and this book was apparently inspired-by similar (but much better) collections of old, out-of context pictures. Without the pictures this book is a slightly-better-than-run-of-the-mill YA fiction. WITH the pictures the books becomes almost transcendent.
Recommended, if you're into this sort of thing. (less)
This collection is the second, third, and fourth sets of Holmes stories, plus The Hound of the Baskervilles. While it IS missing my favorite collectio...moreThis collection is the second, third, and fourth sets of Holmes stories, plus The Hound of the Baskervilles. While it IS missing my favorite collection of stories, the first set which runs from A Study in Scarlet through The Sign of Four; and it DOES have the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad fourth set entitled "The Return of Sherlock Holmes" (the series should have ended at The Final Problem), this book gets four stars because the good stories are excellent and the bad stories are made-up-for by the original artwork that accompanies all the adventures.
This book is also set up so that it appears in the same fashion (layout, typeface, etcetera) as it did when the stories first appeared in The Strand. More points in its favor.
So, recommended. I suppose. If you are already a fan and have an interest in late 19th century art work.
Naw: just "recommended" in general. Everyone should read the adventures of Sherlock Holmes.(less)
An art book with text. The story revolves around a pseudo-religious text outlining the creation and evolution of life on Earth via fantastic, allegori...moreAn art book with text. The story revolves around a pseudo-religious text outlining the creation and evolution of life on Earth via fantastic, allegorical poetry which was found in a dead spaceship orbiting the planet right around the year 3000.
Sort of. It's complicated.
The pictures are beautiful and the mythos interesting. The cosmology created by the author is complete and authentic-sounding. I've heard weirder creation myths before today, most of which some people actually believe.
The sequel to Jumanji, although I had no idea that it was until I read it. I'm a sucker for children's books, especially well-drawn picture books of t...moreThe sequel to Jumanji, although I had no idea that it was until I read it. I'm a sucker for children's books, especially well-drawn picture books of the sort that are actually written for children and not for some adult idea of what children should be like.