I read an excerpt of this in Entertainment Weekly, about just how badly the first run of the pilot went (it's all in the fine balance between mean andI read an excerpt of this in Entertainment Weekly, about just how badly the first run of the pilot went (it's all in the fine balance between mean and funny when it comes to discussing the pros and cons of spunk), and it was so interesting - the small things that can make or break a show....more
"Hey," I said, to a very sweet and somewhat shy woman I work with. "I just read this great book, and someone else has to read it too, so I can talk to"Hey," I said, to a very sweet and somewhat shy woman I work with. "I just read this great book, and someone else has to read it too, so I can talk to them about it."
"Okay!" She exclaims, enthusiastically. She had recently lent me the first in the The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax series, about a sweet older lady who becomes a spy. We were book friends now! "What's it about?"
"Whaling and cannibalism!"
Because, really, how else do you sell this book? "It's about New England whaling culture! It's about always bringing navigational instruments with you when setting out in rowboats in the middle of the Pacific! It's about how believing those nasty stories you've heard about various Pacific islands can get you into real trouble! It's about not angering creatures that are bigger than the vessel you're traversing an ocean in! There's some mentions of homemade ... toys ... that sailor's wives had around the house!"
Yeah. I know. Whaling and cannibalism.
If the cannibalism doesn't sell you on it, and the "true story about cannibalism!" doesn't sell you on it, than all I have to fall back on is that it's by the excellent Nathaniel Philbrick, who consistently brings lots of dead Americans of varying degrees of notoriety/notability back to life in the pages of his books.
He's super good at this, you guys. And if you're not into true stories about cannibalism or whaling or unpublished memoirs being discovered in attics (spoiler alert!), than I'm not sure we should hang out anymore....more
I am so disappointed in this book. I went looking for it (and it was later given to me as a gift) in part because Julian Fellowes, creator of DowntonI am so disappointed in this book. I went looking for it (and it was later given to me as a gift) in part because Julian Fellowes, creator of Downton Abbey, cited it as an inspiration. Now, I love Downton Abbey because of the well-spun insights into characters whose lives are only 100 years removed from mine, but seem so dramatically different, and was excited to see if I could find hints of Cora or Mary or Bates in any of the real people MacColl highlighted.
This book contains lots of information about people of that era (real, in this case), but thrown together in such a maddening way as to negate any benefit from the stories it tries to tell. No sense of continuity, no story telling ability, and whoever formatted this book should be put out of their misery because there is clearly something very wrong in their life that they are taking out on the readers.
Two page long mini-info-dumps appear every 20 pages, often just when you turn the page, mid-sentence, so you must choose whether to turn ahead to finish the thought (paragraph?) and hope you remember to turn back, or read the new section and then turn back to figure out where you were previously, which I know is my favorite way to try to track 87 or so characters, half of whom share names.
And if you would like to try to track the progress of any girl (or girls) in particular, you will need to take notes. The book moves chronologically. Unless there's a theme the authors want to focus on, in which case: screw timelines! Sisters, cousins, in-laws - just list them off, of course people reading this book in the 21st century will know who they are and will remember these people when they are suddenly referenced again, out of the blue, four chapters later. In a caption of a fuzzy picture. In a two page mini-section that has nothing to do with the sentence you were just reading.
Also, there might or might not have been half a dozen young girls named Consuelo running around. Or they might all have been the same young woman. I just remember that name and then some divorced woman who caused a scandal when she married a man half her age. And that might have been Consuelo, I honestly don't remember.
My take away from this book: just watch Downton Abbey instead. And if you don't buy all your dresses from Worth, no one will speak to you....more
Hey, I enjoyed this one. For all that it ends on a bad note (the Red Sox lose, Tito "resigns"), it's also this goofy look into life in a majoAh, Tito.
Hey, I enjoyed this one. For all that it ends on a bad note (the Red Sox lose, Tito "resigns"), it's also this goofy look into life in a major league baseball clubhouse. It's weird. I'm sure you live that way long enough and it makes you weird too. Throw in lots of money, lots of pressure, and - for most of these guys - 9 months with very few days off, and suddenly divorce and arrest rates among professional athletes make slightly more sense.
But more importantly, when Pedey won the AL MVP award, Tito bought him a powder blue Vespa with a personalized pink helmet. And Pedey drove it to work. The end. :)...more
Eh. There wasn't much to this book, so there won't be much to this review.
Basically: modern day woman buys old book, finds what might be a letter fromEh. There wasn't much to this book, so there won't be much to this review.
Basically: modern day woman buys old book, finds what might be a letter from Jane Austen referencing a lost manuscript, engages in lots of awkward exposition with various other characters, goes searching for said manuscript, meets fine-looking gentleman, finds manuscript, reads manuscript, small drama to justify modern-day framework, neatly wrapped-up bad-rom-com ending.
The only reason this book got more than one star out of me is that the "missing manuscript" was halfway decent. No Jane, mind you, but since the modern day framework sets up the manuscript as an early try, before any of her actual published works, the less polished and over dramatic storyline almost works.
Instead of reading a poor imitation of Jane Austen, see, you're just reading Jane Austen before she was the real Jane Austen.
Except for the return to the modern day framework, which ruins the illusion and reminds you that you really are just reading a poor imitation of Jane Austen....more
A beautifully written novel - completely absorbing and engagingly dreamlike. Morgenstern did a wonderful job balancing multiple timelines and POVs - IA beautifully written novel - completely absorbing and engagingly dreamlike. Morgenstern did a wonderful job balancing multiple timelines and POVs - I had no strong favorite, so I was immersed enough in each story to avoid skimming, but I was also happy to move on to the next section when it was time.
More than anything, I remember the atmosphere of the book, not the characters or their stories. I loved reading it, and my copy is currently in it's fifth set of hands, but I can't say I see this being a favorite or something I will reread. So four stars it is....more