Cute and rhyming, as Orville Anderson Tarkington Moose begins wondering why on earth his antlers are loose. My favorite bit of this one is that the ow...moreCute and rhyming, as Orville Anderson Tarkington Moose begins wondering why on earth his antlers are loose. My favorite bit of this one is that the owl he goes to for advice quite wisely tells Orville that his antlers are screwed in, duh, and he just needs to tighten them up. (Frances Bloxam, fighting animal stereotypes!)(less)
It has a great premise - for one year, Danny Wallace will say yes. To everyone. To everything. No matter the offer, he'll agree to it.
Wallace is a goo...moreIt has a great premise - for one year, Danny Wallace will say yes. To everyone. To everything. No matter the offer, he'll agree to it.
Wallace is a good writer, and he knows how to tell a good story. With a set up like this one, I expected something fantastic, and he was on his way. Unfortunately, he met the girl of his dreams and things began to go downhill. (For the book, and for me as a reader. I'm sure it was great for Wallace.)
He still produced a very funny book, but he fell short of my expectations, and so he only gets a 3. Sorry Danny!(less)
A well-written and engrossing look at one moment that changed the lives not only of the two men involved, but as the title suggests, the entire sport...moreA well-written and engrossing look at one moment that changed the lives not only of the two men involved, but as the title suggests, the entire sport of basketball.
Feinstein did a great job of looking at the context of the punch, not just the one moment that gets shown every time there's a particularly violent act in professional sports. He told the life stories of both Rudy Tomjanovich and Kermit Washington, giving them both more depth than they get as a shorthand reference in today's sports culture. He neither condemns nor absolves Washington - or anyone else, for that matter - and he gives equal voice to every version of the incident, and there are many.
It's a powerful book, because this one adrenaline-driven moment really did shape the rest of both of their lives, and not for the positive. Feinstein chose the right topic, because there was plenty to talk about, pre- and post-punch.
My one complaint is the odd repetition: he worked his way up to the punch, giving a quick bio and profile of all the people involved, and then repeated himself frequently when he delved further into their lives after focusing on the moment itself in the first few chapters. Especially odd because he not only covered the same information and events, he used the same quotes and the same phrasing as he had before. It felt very copy and paste for a stretch.(less)
Interesting concept, but not so hot in practice. It's awkwardly set up - more often than not, the descriptions and explanations of the cartoons are on...moreInteresting concept, but not so hot in practice. It's awkwardly set up - more often than not, the descriptions and explanations of the cartoons are on different pages than the cartoons themselves, which mostly led to annoyance with all the page flipping. (When will publishers learn? I know this! It's not that hard!)
Also, I think there's a distinct possibility that a lot of these cartoons were "killed" because they weren't funny, or were confusing, not just because they were about controversial subjects and opinions.(less)
A good but not great modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice. I've read worse attempts, but there wasn't anything special here - blah main character (...moreA good but not great modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice. I've read worse attempts, but there wasn't anything special here - blah main character (I can't remember her name, though I'm sure it was a play on Elizabeth), Wickham character who wasn't convincingly mercenary, and a boring Darcy. Eh.(less)
The four words in the title are four of the five that feature in the book, which makes for a neat rhythm to the story. A simple, charming book. Great...moreThe four words in the title are four of the five that feature in the book, which makes for a neat rhythm to the story. A simple, charming book. Great for young kids. Great illustrations and a creative, easily followed format. (less)
A quick, entertaining read, but it's no better than any of the other modern day retellings of Pride and Prejudice. A fellow P&P fanatic bought it...moreA quick, entertaining read, but it's no better than any of the other modern day retellings of Pride and Prejudice. A fellow P&P fanatic bought it as soon as she saw it, and had high hopes. After reading it, she was disappointed enough to give it to me. The plot, of course, is predictably predictable.(less)
I bought it because I love Mike Doughty's music, and I have to say that his music is better than his poetry. The man can write a lyric like no one's b...moreI bought it because I love Mike Doughty's music, and I have to say that his music is better than his poetry. The man can write a lyric like no one's business, so I had very high hopes for this collection. There's some lovely and moving stuff in here, but I think the rest was just too "deep" for me. Sorry, Doughty.
An utterly hysterical book. My favorite of the "Great Lies" is "Milk feels pain." They come with funky illustrations! Great for new parents with a twi...moreAn utterly hysterical book. My favorite of the "Great Lies" is "Milk feels pain." They come with funky illustrations! Great for new parents with a twisted sense of humor.(less)
This review is going to be less of a review, and more of me talking. You've been warned!
I hunted this book down because I read somewhere that Aaron So...moreThis review is going to be less of a review, and more of me talking. You've been warned!
I hunted this book down because I read somewhere that Aaron Sorkin got a lot of his ideas for Sports Night from watching Keith and Dan on SportsCenter. And Sports Night being one of my favorite shows, and my sports mania still in full swing post-Red Sox victory, I figured I needed to get my hands on it.
And it's good. Very, very funny. It makes me cranky that I never actually watched SportsCenter when they were the hosts - I mean, I had good reasons, what with being ten years old then, a girl, a reader rather than a tv watcher, and lacking cable - but, man, was I missing out.
As a terrible storyteller, I appreciate a good one, and these guys are good. They wrote the book in their same back-and-forth banter style that they used on the show, and it worked much better than I expected it to be. Probably in large part because when they interrupted each other, it was usually to mock each other. I can't really remember any one or two stories vividly, which is a good sign: they were all so good that none of them stood out.
Keith's list of baseball players who should be in the Hall of Fame was far more interesting than a list of 100 guys I've never heard of before should ever be. I'm going to have to hunt down some of the names, to see if they ever made it in. (As, of course, this book was published in 1997, and presumably, things have changed since then.)
I suppose I should make it clear that even though it is a book about their lives working in sports, and what they think about sports, their favorite parts of different sports, their problems with sports, their craziest moments in sports, their favorite things said about sports - sports sports sports - you don't need all that much knowledge about sports to read it. It probably makes it more interesting, and you'd get more of the jokes, but it's still a fun read without much prior knowledge.
I especially enjoyed "A Sort of Glossary of Terms", explaining where the catchphrases and sayings they used came from. Very funny.(less)
About 50 pages in, I had already decided it was a five star book. It had already made me laugh, it had made me cry, and it had made me do both in publ...moreAbout 50 pages in, I had already decided it was a five star book. It had already made me laugh, it had made me cry, and it had made me do both in public - that usually indicates a good book. And it was, 50 pages in.
Then, at 200 pages in, I sat back thinking "another story about the woman who kept up the tradition of using an old fashioned printer?" Oh, but this one was different - she published a newspaper instead of her own little newsletter, like the woman earlier in the book. Sure.
That was followed by the fourth or so story about the citizen of the dying Midwest town who became the unofficial historian, able to point out where the old gas station and former post office used to be. That was followed by the third story of the guy who loved his farm, by gum.
The juvenile delinquent who went on to become a hero in Iraq, and the subsequent posthumous presentation of medals? I cried. The brilliant teenage boy who was developing his own personal philosophy? Cried there too, but that happy, satisfied cry, knowing that there are kids like that out there. The couple who spent all their time together (the second one in the book, to be exact), to the point where he couldn't bear to survive her? Heartbreaking. Plus all the happier ones that have kind of slipped my mind. They're good stories!
But why are so many of them the same story?
Check it out if you like the everyone has a story to tell/real people as heroes/finding the beauty in daily life. But jump around, and skip over the stories that don't catch you.(less)
A decent update of Sense and Sensibility, but nothing amazing. I'm clearly a purist, because the things that bothered me were: the awkward and unneces...moreA decent update of Sense and Sensibility, but nothing amazing. I'm clearly a purist, because the things that bothered me were: the awkward and unnecessary Georgie romance, the truly obnoxious text messages, the extremely long set up for the actual story, and the rushed ending. On the other hand, I loved Ellie (Elinor), and was annoyed by Abby (Marianne), which held true from the original.
The Blake (Edward) plot was a bit harder to pull off this time, because while an engagement was for all intents and purposes a legal contract and not an easy thing to pull out of, breaking up with your girlfriend is considerably less awkward, and I was never satisfied with the reasons the author used to delay the whole thing and make Blake look like a jerk. Also, Blake? Really? I like the name, but it strikes me as very romance novel, which I would think she would want to be avoiding rather than embracing.
Then, the strange self-referential moment where Abby thinks about how the small town she's moved to, and specifically the bus driver who stops to talk to everyone about the small town going-ons, is very "Jane Austen". Which struck me as inaccurate and forced. Very Little Town on the Prairie, sure. Very Anne of Green Gables, yes. I think a reference from Ellie, who has undoubtedly read Austen, would have fit much more nicely.
A very quick read (I finished it off during lunch, breaks, and down time during one day at work), and certainly not the worst Jane Austen pretender to appear lately, but nothing worth rushing out and obtaining. Stick to the original.(less)
Let's be honest - I'll read any book that mentions Kevin Youkilis, my baseball husband. Unlike me, the authors control themselves admirably when it co...moreLet's be honest - I'll read any book that mentions Kevin Youkilis, my baseball husband. Unlike me, the authors control themselves admirably when it comes to Youk - but they're very, very excited by large tables of statistics. Yeah, statistics. They usually explain the meaning of the large groups of numbers, which means that it's safe to ignore the actual numbers and just read about why they're relevant.
Nothing earthshaking, but an interesting read, and they have a great sense of humor. (for the Sox fans, anyway. They make a great point when discussing Johnny Damon's importance to the 2004 Red Sox defense in balancing out Manny Ramirez, as "Ramirez's range was limited by his tendency to treat every fly ball as if it were a unique, previously unencountered situation." Hee.)(less)
First: I have the envelope I was using as a bookmark, and written on it (at 3 am last night, when I couldn't sleep) is "I want to marry this man's tan...moreFirst: I have the envelope I was using as a bookmark, and written on it (at 3 am last night, when I couldn't sleep) is "I want to marry this man's tangents and have little half-tangent, half-human babies with them." I love a good tangent, and not only were they plentiful in this book, but they were appropriate, topical, enlightening, funny, and often touching.
But, so was the book.
I'm a sucker for a heroes-as-men story, and this is a good one. Hornig tells the story of the 1975 Boston Red Sox vs. Cincinnati Reds World Series basically pitch by pitch. He interviewed most of the members of the Red Sox team (the focus of his story), giving us not only their background and context for their performance in the Series, but also what happened to them after; there are some fascinating lives that were part of this team, both good and bad.
Hornig does a great job of keeping up the tension, despite all the tangents and, you know, everyone knowing how this one ends. And the ending is just as painful 32 years later (says the girl who wasn't born until 11 years after these games were played).
Hornig's take on the series isn't as poetic as Roger Angell's, which was practically a religious experience for me (and which Hornig quotes several times), but it's much more in line with an actual fan's experience, I think; he frequently refers to watching the Series with old timer Uncle Oscar. (The postscript mentioning that Uncle Oscar passed away in 1992, having never seen a Red Sox World Series win during his lifetime, was a tough read for me, because I had an Uncle Oscar of my own.)
It's also interesting to note that this book came out in 2003, so he's writing from the perspective of a fan who still hasn't gotten a Championship.(less)
An interesting concept (what do the books we as a society buy say about us?), but not very enlightening. I'd have to say that you can't really determi...moreAn interesting concept (what do the books we as a society buy say about us?), but not very enlightening. I'd have to say that you can't really determine much about our society by the books we buy, and that's not a bad thing.*
The authors were clearly enamored with Azar Nifisi, who wrote Reading Lolita In Tehran, but they were relatively upfront about using her ideas and words to form at least part of their theory. They were unimpressed by basically all political books, focusing mostly on the contributions to the national dialogue of Michael Moore and Ann Coulter and their counterparts. They did give props to Al Franken for being funny (because he is), and to Bill O'Reilly for not being as wacked out as the left tends to paint him.
I can't say I enjoyed the book, because I don't think they managed to present any real conclusions from the bestsellers list. Also, I would like to point out that I pointedly never read Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus or Left Behind, and that was in large part to avoid whatever they were about. So, thanks for the long winded summary.
However, points for shoutouts to Julia Quinn, who writes witty and intelligent romance novels, and for reminding me that I should stop making fun of Oprah's Book Club, as my reading tastes often overlap with theirs. My bad.
*(I say that having read only 25 of the top 100 books sold between 1993-2003 according to USA Today, and that includes all of the kids books (5 Harry Potters, 2 Dr. Suess books, The Polar Express, Holes, and The Giver), along with three books I read in school (To Kill A Mockingbird, Catcher in the Rye, and Cold Mountain), which make 13 of that 25. Which should give you a pretty good idea of where I my reading list falls in comparison to the bestsellers.)(less)
I loved the style - funny without being obvious, self-aware, and not afraid to jump around or play with the narrative - and the premise. I guess this...moreI loved the style - funny without being obvious, self-aware, and not afraid to jump around or play with the narrative - and the premise. I guess this is a bit of a cult favorite - those who know it love it, and no one else has ever heard of it. None of the characters really reached out and grabbed me, but I certainly didn't dislike any of them. (though the Doctor's constant singing creeped me out.) A really cool take on a unique idea.(less)
This is the first Sarah Dessen I've read, after much prompting. Her plots always seemed cheesy and melodramatic to me (based entirely on wildly varyin...moreThis is the first Sarah Dessen I've read, after much prompting. Her plots always seemed cheesy and melodramatic to me (based entirely on wildly varying reviews I've read and, you know, the back of the books), the young adult version of Jodi Piccoult (another author I am judging without ever having read her, shame on me). And, well... I don't see myself seeking out any of her others. I finished it off in about three hours, and... The beginning was mostly me rolling my eyes and going "oh, please", because either Dessen or Ruby was trying too hard to make Ruby seem tragic (there are few things I desire less than to get into a discussion over whether or not Dessen's narrator was supposed to be unreliable), and I just wasn't really buying. It could have been built up into real character development, except that it wasn't. Instead, Ruby was cranky and uncooperative (imagine! a real life teenager!) until her sister told her what really happened when Ruby was a little girl, and then she was just... a teenager, but with less real angst.
And then it devolved into "I'm so worried about my boyfriend and what do you mean he's just like me, oh man, he's totally like me, I must have been a huge pain in the ass for everyone around me, yay kissing."
I need someone to tell me if this is her standard book, or if I should give her a second chance, because I wasn't very impressed.(less)