For some time, Into the Wild was one of my favorite books, the book I turned to when I missed the wild Idaho I'd come to love, and the book that helpeFor some time, Into the Wild was one of my favorite books, the book I turned to when I missed the wild Idaho I'd come to love, and the book that helped me romanticize travel and the west long before I came to understand either in the ways I do now. I always wondered, reading about Alexander's Supertramp decision to run, what exactly Jon Krakauer was leaving out.
This helps some in that regard. It also sounds like family stories I've seen and read before, and in that, it's not altogether different than other abusive family stories, except that here's the spotlight that came as a result of the Supertramp story.
It's not my place to judge what happened in the McCandless family, and so I won't. And if this helps someone escape an abusive relationship, then I'm glad it was written. Mostly, though, I find myself wishing that Into the Wild had a different ending, and likewise here.
[3 stars for giving some insight on what was once one of my favorite books.]...more
Oh, Ursus arctos horribilis! I've always loved seeing bears, from the first summers I ever spent in Idaho - and seeing small black bears flee across fOh, Ursus arctos horribilis! I've always loved seeing bears, from the first summers I ever spent in Idaho - and seeing small black bears flee across forest service roads, across alpine meadows, into timber - to the grizzlies spotted this past summer. They're such majestic creatures, grizzlies especially so, and they've such radiant power.
This past summer I'd the chance to watch a grizzly sow and her two cubs dig tubers just below a high alpine pass. It was both terrifying and exhilarating, and though I didn't stay to watch long - I knew better than to be close - its an image that's stuck with me. Black bears have power, too - but nothing like the grizz.
So, Peacock: It took me longer than I'd have liked to get into this book, and had I not already known how much I loved grizzlies, and how curious I was, I admittedly might not have stuck it out. He spent so much time in early chapters talking about Vietnam, and the demons he brought back with him, and so little talking about bears that I had trouble sticking with it.
But: I'm glad I did. For once Peacock really got into exploring his interactions with grizzlies, I was hooked. I've read a few other grizzly books (Rick Bass, in his The Lost Grizzlies: A Search for Survivors in the Colorado Wilderness, does an admirable job of writing about grizzly behavior when he finally gets there), but this was the best I've read at examining bear interactions with other bears and the world around them, at examining individual bear temperaments. I still have a really hard time with Peacock as a person, and especially as an Abbey disciple (how are people still treating Ed Abbey as if he was some great writer and a revolutionary, when really he was just an ass?), but the bear pieces here were fantastic.
[Five stars for bears, bears, bears, bears, and bears, minus one star for Peacock himself.]...more
Kerr flew through this, said it was fun, and the other book on which I was working was such a slog I figured why not. I of course now know the answerKerr flew through this, said it was fun, and the other book on which I was working was such a slog I figured why not. I of course now know the answer why I shouldn't have - it's terribly written - but went for it anyway.
At least it was over quickly.
This is every other character-devoid, plot-driven, predictable dystopian young adult fantasy novel. It's The Giver (except Lowry can write) meets Ender's Game (where Card has his moments) meets a bunch of other less well-written popular series (Hunger Games, Twilight, etc) and is someone just as poorly written as most of them.
Tris is a brat, and not very likable. The rest of Roth's characters are plot pieces, about as interesting as cold spaghetti.
Well, holy shit, that was terrible. I expected bad - Kerr warned me, and I had just read Divergent - but that was an atrocious shit show, a crime agaiWell, holy shit, that was terrible. I expected bad - Kerr warned me, and I had just read Divergent - but that was an atrocious shit show, a crime against the English language, finished only because I refused to believe it could get worse. (And yet, somehow, it might have.)
It was a quick read, because plot, predictable plot, predictably terrible plot, young adult, but still. I want those few hours back.
[1 star, earned only because I only lost a few hours to the damn trainwreck.]...more
Kerr & I have been to Hawaii together twice, and each time have found ourselves wanting to know more, to learn more stories, see more life, know mKerr & I have been to Hawaii together twice, and each time have found ourselves wanting to know more, to learn more stories, see more life, know more history, etc. This book came recommended by a friend who'd also spent a fair bit of time on various Hawaiian islands, and well, it sounded interesting.
I ran into problems immediately. Davenport: Couldn't pick a voice, so she used all of them; Couldn't pick a time or place, so she used several of the islands and covered 200 years; Couldn't develop a likable character to save any of these way too many pages; Couldn't recognize a comma splice if it sat in the middle of every page (no, really, it was that bad); Couldn't decide on an editing style, so she just didn't.
This was, quite possibly, the worst thing I've ever read that wasn't written by someone with an MFA and a head full of pretension. And that doesn't even include all the weird pseudo-mythical stuff or crazy unnecessary sex scenes she throws in, because you know, it wasn't already seven million pages of god, how isn't this over yet.
[0 stars. I should have observed the 100 pages minus age rule and quit before I'd lost so much time to the monster, but I'm a stubborn fool. This would be negative stars if Goodreads allowed such.]...more
Marine mammals are her domain, not mine, but we'd time and I've this love of words well-crafted, and well...into a vast reserve of smite I fell, face-Marine mammals are her domain, not mine, but we'd time and I've this love of words well-crafted, and well...into a vast reserve of smite I fell, face-forward. Hoare's a knack for making this work - concise language to cover a sprawling subject, the largest of the sea creatures, the wise old whales. I'll openly admit the sea's a strange place for me, even after so many years spent on beaches, playing in the Atlantic's surf - it's so vast, so unknowable as to be, frankly, a bit terrifying. The vastness of mountains, ever appealing, is dwarfed by the vastness of sea, in turn dwarfed only by sky and sky by space. Hoare includes physical images of the whales with which he swims, but more so even than photographs are the scenes and stories he paints with his words - from Melville to the Azores, from New England to royal tales, from spermaceti to ambergris. Whales are: Wild, wildly intelligent, intelligently social, socially slaughtered. I fell in love: With right whales, especially, but also humpbacks and sperm whales, blue whales, belugas, mink whales and narwhals. Such mysteries the sea still holds!
And finally, maybe, I've begun to understand what it is she loves, the romance she finds in the sea. I remember her telling me she first saw mountains - really saw them - after meeting me. Likewise am I just in recent years first seeing the sea, seeing it in her tears of wonder as we watch humpbacks from a zodiac, seeing it her cries of joy swimming alongside great sea turtles, seeing it in her breathless explanations of things she's recently read. It's doubtful I'll ever love Melville and his unedited expanses the way she does, but I can appreciate her love in ways I hadn't before. And for that, I have Hoare to thank, for it was his words, and this book, that first convinced me I ought perhaps try Melville again. Not for the story - but for the whales.
[Four stars for science, for marriage, for falling a little bit in love with the sea.]...more
We saw the movie first, and loved it, so that probably affected how I read this. Okay, it definitely affected how I read it, as I kept seeing the corrWe saw the movie first, and loved it, so that probably affected how I read this. Okay, it definitely affected how I read it, as I kept seeing the corresponding scenes in the movie. For comparison's sake: The movie is lighter, more hopeful. The book is darker, has more depth, and in some places, funnier - but sadly funny as opposed to hopeful funny, if that makes sense? Judd is definitely more likable in the movie, but the book feels more real - it's sad, but so often so is life.
All that said, none of the characters are particularly likable in the book, and had I not seen the movie first, I may have well hated it. (Dick lit, I think, could be a fair name for Judd's particular brand of misogyny, or would've been, had I not kept conflating this Judd with the Judd played by Jason Bateman - which, in turn, just made him self-deprecating and sad. Same sort of story with Wendy in the book vs Tina Fey's Wendy in the movie.)
Of course, I did see the movie first, and that did affect how I read the book, and how I thought of the characters, and in that universe, I pretty well enjoyed it.
[Four stars for being the extra depth the movie was missing, even if the characters were far more likable in the movie than in the book.]...more