The title’s teasing proverb might be redeployed as the title of this review. "What is the What", is an uneven effort. On the pro side; this is a despeThe title’s teasing proverb might be redeployed as the title of this review. "What is the What", is an uneven effort. On the pro side; this is a desperate, African adventure story with a noble and honest hero (perhaps too noble in some of his confessions). To it's credit, I also thought that the majority of the dialog seemed to capture an authentic African voice and banter. Further, at times, the author’s attention to detail is truly riveting. On the con side; just as often, the authentic English African translation is a little stiff and dispassionate. I believe this very good book could have used a very hard edit. It is spread too thin, attempting to capture too much of the Lost Boy’s journey and struggle....more
**spoiler alert** A noble Southern family has not been immortalized and seared in my heart since perhaps “Plain Song.” In the fine tradition of, “To K**spoiler alert** A noble Southern family has not been immortalized and seared in my heart since perhaps “Plain Song.” In the fine tradition of, “To Kill A Mockingbird” and “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter” this book is a throwback to the days of the steady build, embracing vivid, strong and poetic prose. Enger has a flair for intimate confessions from the narrator and scatters nuggets of wisdom throughout (a few times stepping well over the line). I have two real criticisms with this fantastic find. First, the ending foray into heaven was just too much for me to take (up until then, I had accepted and embraced the level of faith and miracles). And second, his sister’s epic old west poem that was meant to foreshadow the current day story just got in my way, by the end of the book I was skipping over it. I found it more than a little silly. I imagined the inclusion of the device to be a fetish of Enger’s. Something he was compelled to include, like a good friend that can’t stop himself from occasionally reciting bad limericks on a road trip. 4 stars, could have 5. 09/08...more
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