A surprisingly honest and entertaining love story exposing and contrasting the “two truths” based on your sexual orientation. Required reading for sinA surprisingly honest and entertaining love story exposing and contrasting the “two truths” based on your sexual orientation. Required reading for singles that just don’t get it. Told with humor, a good light read. (99)...more
The brief story of a brief young life, told with vigor and perhaps a little morbid curiosity. The subject is a wealthy, educated, but disenchanted, 25The brief story of a brief young life, told with vigor and perhaps a little morbid curiosity. The subject is a wealthy, educated, but disenchanted, 25 year old boy-man who willfully chooses to separate himself from family, friends and society yo test his metal in the great wild's of Alaska. He survived alone for over 6 months, taking refuge in an abandoned bus. Krakauer pieces together his story through the boy’s eerie and increasingly desperate journal along side a series of interviews with anybody that could shed light on his decisions and motivations (a tragic experiment with survival). The story, which first appeared in Outside Magazine, is well researched and well written. This book kick started Krakauer's career, but it should have remained a feature article, not a novel. Throughout this book I kept asking myself, "why am I choosing to read about a naive 20-something who chose to put himself way out and into harms way?"...more
An interesting take-away. In his opening essay, Wallace was first sent to the East Coast to cover a local Maine Lobsterfest and he came back with a chAn interesting take-away. In his opening essay, Wallace was first sent to the East Coast to cover a local Maine Lobsterfest and he came back with a challenge to meat eaters everywhere. Proof of where a field story just might take you. All his essays within this collection are personal and approachable. He reveals the heart of the everyday man and makes the common uncommon. Wallace has the unique ability to create for his reader a fleeting impression that is, intelligent, true and emotionally searing. In other words, a sound-bite that will stay with you awhile.
Note: Wallace's early collection (found here) is some of his commercial best. I've read pieces from him as he matured and experimented with the outer range of both sexual subject and voice. They are honest and more then creepy (at least to my mid-western beliefs). His recent suicide was the ultimate expression of a desperate artist and a restless soul. We lost a true talent. ...more
Ehrenreich brought to bear a subject of great importance -- America’s chronic under-employed. She did not do so with high prose or rich story telling.Ehrenreich brought to bear a subject of great importance -- America’s chronic under-employed. She did not do so with high prose or rich story telling. In fact, you will find yourself mincing her every approach and questioning some of her tinged conclusions. Still, you have to give her credit for throwing herself into the living realities of the clock-punching, shift-changing American minority. For 6 months, she went under cover attempted to live on a salary scratched from minimum wage jobs across the US. Her experiment in trying to live right at the poverty line failed, both for her and for the millions of real under-employed Americans. What tripped her up? short term: availability to cheap, safe housing (something I never considered) and long term: lack of medical coverage. Her short, quick book stays with you, because she manages to make you think long and hard about the invisible but real socioeconomic class system in America. It will make you think twice as you purchase fast food and shop at your favorite retailer. Where do these guys go at night? How do they feed their kids? ...more
Blood Meridian represents a master at his most morbid; Poe in sparse, western poetic verse. It must take McCarthy a full day to craft each spectacularBlood Meridian represents a master at his most morbid; Poe in sparse, western poetic verse. It must take McCarthy a full day to craft each spectacular paragraph. An exercise in reserve, restraint and hard editing. I assume that he hand-picks only the perfect words, the rest must remain scattered on his cutting room floor. He is a classic minimalist - in subject and description. By the way, this is a brutal western war story. It is hard to imagine that a brilliant writer, such as he, would willfully choose to stay in that pitch black and bloody cloud for what has to be several months (... or years). McCarthy is certainly in full body contact with his own primal anger and rage. Lets just say, it could not have been good for his marriage(s). This book felt like the precursor of “The Road,” which was toned down... just a bit... and thankfully, a wee bit more digestible because of it. June 26.07...more
Juxtaposed against shiny day Americana, McCarthy’s last two books seemed too maudlin, too desperate. So, he literally leveled the playing field and crJuxtaposed against shiny day Americana, McCarthy’s last two books seemed too maudlin, too desperate. So, he literally leveled the playing field and created the perfect setting for his dark talents. In “The Road” he set the glimmer of light and promise very, very low – right where he likes it. The nameless “Man” and “”the boy” are traversing South through a blackened and burned out America, the last few human survivors. We are instantly engaged and are emotionally vested in the survival of our own humanity through the lives of these two people. His prose is exquisite and sparse, his characters are clever and caring and his story telling is at a master’s level. Lord, I’ll miss this book. 4/27/07...more
Bryson and his tag along friend “Cat’s” unsuccessful attempt hiking two-thirds of the Apalachen trail from early Spring to late Fall. They cover grounBryson and his tag along friend “Cat’s” unsuccessful attempt hiking two-thirds of the Apalachen trail from early Spring to late Fall. They cover ground by foot from Kentucky to Maine. Full of wisdom, humor and a little mix of light historical geology and ecology. The two find new respect for the woods and a shared disgust for urban sprawl. Travel writing at it's best. (99)
Since this first book, I have read the larger body of Bryson's work. Many are stunning successes and a few are simply phoned in....more
An American hardship epic personified. We’ve all heard the story of the migrating families that lost their farm during the great climactic dust bowl oAn American hardship epic personified. We’ve all heard the story of the migrating families that lost their farm during the great climactic dust bowl of the southwest and the double punch of a national depression without a fail safe switch. But what about those sod-busters that stubbornly never left their newly turned land and just watched it blow away with their family futures and fortunes? Egan tells a desperate but necessary story about those that stayed behind. Their personal stories of death and survival read like a bitter war story. Egan also dives deep into the first national man made environmental crisis. An unheeded early warning sign of how man radically and irreparably changed the landscape and national weather conditions — sadly, at his own peril. The seeds of so many government problems and solutions were first dreamed up by Roosevelt and planted to help stem this early tide of misery. The hot button list goes on and on; land grants, farmer subsides, Indian reservations, government work programs, water conservation and the labor migration from farm to industry, etc. A lengthy and depressing story that strongly foreshadows our current ecological crisis. Alas, we did not learn from it (so, as the story goes) we are destined to repeat a version of the same grave error. This time it is called Global Warning caused by the same reckless greed and stupidity as the first... "worst hard time." And as the new crisis term indicates, we have mushroomed the mistake from a national to a global level.
Update: As I reread my old review with fresh eyes, it appears that I have depicted Egan's epic as a sad, dank affair. His writing is far from desperate. His character sketches elevate the noble, proud and ingenious characteristics of the men and women in his book. Egan's writing style is clever and crisp. For all the hardship presented, this book moves at a very fast clip. Throughout Egan has a modest flair for sarcasm and dry wit and an eye for the quirky nature of humans and towns. Trust me, he will charm you with his story. ...more
A very strong mix of travel and adventure writing - apparently if you live in Alaska, you can not do one without the other. Jenkins has a contemporaryA very strong mix of travel and adventure writing - apparently if you live in Alaska, you can not do one without the other. Jenkins has a contemporary, lighthearted journalistic approach that is certainly intimate, almost conversational. You might swear that you spent an afternoon fishing with the man. His interviews, character sketches and descriptive details mainline the fresh smells of the ocean or the clarity of a frigid arctic night. As you might imagine, most Alaskan’s march to a very different drummer, so does Jenkin's quirky book. What a nice side trip, thank Jenks! I'll now have to go back and find your (reported classic) travel log documenting your walk across America....more