I picked this book up off of the display shelves at the library, basing my decision 99% on the cover. I did read the summary a bit and that helped me...moreI picked this book up off of the display shelves at the library, basing my decision 99% on the cover. I did read the summary a bit and that helped me decide but a book named "Conjured" with pins coming out of a heart....what could go wrong?
The answer...absolutely nothing. Granted, I'll give it that for most of the book I have no idea what's going on and it reminded me sort of the Maze Runner, where you are invited along to go with the main character while they work out the confusion they are experiencing. But, I must love that particular formula because like The Maze Runner, I loved this suspense of never knowing what was coming next. Keep in mind that Conjured is not even remotely a similar telling of The Maze Runner and I only use that comparison to explain the sense of confusion we enter and sustain for a large part of the story.
I love a little magic in my books, and it was sprinkled in, a little misunderstood and volatile which evidently for me is a good combination.
My favorite part was the catharsis. The explanation of all that is going on in Eve's life defies any expectation or anything else you might have been able to imagine along the way. Even better, there were no insidious "hints" dropped that make you feel stupid once you find out the truth. It's just BAM, there...and you're totally reeling. Awesome.
I loved Durst's writing style, descriptive with nothing annoying, no insta-love, insipid flowery cliches or self-indulgent author soap-boxes. Just an amazingly creative story written out in a way that made it hard for me to set the book down.
This book is appropriate for 12+ with some killing imagery and smooching. Nothing too hard-core.
Oh and best of all! This is an actual stand-alone book! Amazingly harder and harder to find these days!(less)
This book is like some bad satire about teenage angst, snowball lying and socialite pretensions. Satires blow bad situations into the possible worst t...moreThis book is like some bad satire about teenage angst, snowball lying and socialite pretensions. Satires blow bad situations into the possible worst to exaggerate and make fun of a particular situation, behavior, etc. That is this book. Take 4 pretty, spoiled, socialites with no morals, boundaries or rules. Mix in lots of things that teenagers lie about and put it in the blender with revenge. What you get is a bunch of wacko girls who turn into nearly sociopath liars with an unwarranted lack of trust in adults (not to mention an exaggerated misunderstanding of the justice system) which ends in death...and more lying.
Much as I want to know the identity of "A", I'm becoming really bored with these girls' lives going in the toilet because they're so ridiculously scared to just tell the truth. What they don't get is that The Truth, in the whole scheme of the universe is idiotic and juvenile. They might get a slap on the hand, maybe a little misdemeanor, and they may be the topic of the rumor mill for a while. Their lack of connection with reality makes these things a big deal. Sad.
By the end of this book, at least the four have figured out (wow, did it really take this long) that Allie was a total hypocrite, backstabbing snob? What ever made them think she was a good friend (ok, they were 12 - ya 12). If my twelve year old daughters even do HALF of what these twelve year olds were doing ("I think I want to date a bad boy" wait, did she say date a bad boy? Why is she even dating at twelve?) I'd ground them for eternity! Yikes!
Guess I'm hoping this really isn't some reality somewhere. I'm scared if it is.(less)
I was pretty skeptical at first about this book. Jillian Michaels is well known for her role as a fitness guru, super tough but goal-directed and she...moreI was pretty skeptical at first about this book. Jillian Michaels is well known for her role as a fitness guru, super tough but goal-directed and she gets results, but as a self-helper? Where does she get off? But I have to say after reading the whole book, a lot of her advice made a lot of sense and I even found myself wanting to slow down my audiobook so I could take a few notes or maybe even do a re-listen later.
The thing is, at some point in Jillian's career (and quite possibly from her own experiences of weight control), she probably found that weight loss is not about just weight. It's an emotional battleground fought in our minds. And if she were to be truly successful at helping people through this battle, she'd have to have a whole different battery of "tools" than just, "get your butt on the treadmill" so to speak. She needs to get inside her clients and help them overcome their issues. So what if she doesn't have a doctorate in psychology. I'm a huge believer in on-the-job training, you-live-you-learn type stuff. And so what if she's probably not worked through all of her issues; sounds like she's got a few left but then hey, who doesn't? I believe she is well-meant and that says a ton. She's obviously successful so she's obviously helping some people through their crap.
Most of this book is definitely a regurgitation of a ton of self-help books but for someone (haha, this would not be me) who has never spent a lot of time in the self-help section, this book is definitely a great jump-in-head-first book. Literally it spans the gamut discussing everything from religion, to self-talk, to communicating with others. Pretty good stuff but probably a bit beneath hard-core self-helpers. I also felt that the actual "work-it-out" sections were a bit trite and too simplified to be of lasting help. Perhaps taking some of these principles and doing more research into them might make more sense.
Anyway, good book. I am very much interested to read her book about Metabolism and think her advice for going to the experts on issues you have is very good advice. It just makes perfect sense.(less)
I am going to suspend my knee-jerk reaction here, which in other words is my first impression and dig a little deeper.
I'm not a great foodie, nor do I...moreI am going to suspend my knee-jerk reaction here, which in other words is my first impression and dig a little deeper.
I'm not a great foodie, nor do I watch The Food Network regularly (ok, I don't watch TV regularly). My passion does not lie in the food realm unless its pure unadulterated sugar and then I suck mine through a straw. So Anthony Bourdain was relatively unknown to me...sue me. I could normally care less about current events, the Who's Who of whatever freakin' world because hey, I'm a narcissist and I'm the only one important here! So, my first encounter with Anthony Bourdain was not on a foodie show...it was with the show Parts Unknown, a relatively new television series where Bourdain travels to exclusive destinations that most people either don't regularly want to go, or don't feel otherwise safe to go anyway. While there, he photographs, narrates and generally shows us what we're missing. I really liked the show but the reason why I stopped watching it were because of Bourdain himself. At the time, I felt like he was in essence, rubbing it in the face of those mediocre couch potatoes at home, what an awesome life he has and if we ever got off our butts here in the States, we could see some awesome places too. However, after reading Medium Raw, I realize this is in truth, not what he was trying to accomplish at all. He genuinely loves his job and there is no crime in that whatsoever. He also genuinely wants to share what he has experienced, with the rest of us have-nots. He realizes he has a distinct advantage over the majority and really just wants us to see these great places from his eyes, and he works hard at that and takes pride in the process and product. For that single bit of knowledge alone, I am grateful to have read this book. I can potentially go back to watching Parts Unknown with a new appreciation for the "character" that hosts it. While reserving my "judgment" of Bourdain and his personality quirks (because let's just face it, his life is so completely polar opposite from my own that I am bound to find him confusing to say the least), I must say that after having read his latest book, I do understand what makes Bourdain tick. And...to take a step further in the cosmic group hug, in order for us to respect and withhold disdain, we must try to understand a person. I had not accomplished this goal by even 1/2 way through the book. I had to read nearly the entire thing before I found that balance. But, I did.
So, I could critique Bourdain and his style in writing this book, the stuff he wrote about and a whole lot of other random thoughts that traveled through my noodle as I read his ramblings, but I finally decided to just post what I learned.
1) Anthony Bourdain was a chef for 28 years. I did not know this. 2) Bourdain has a personality much like many chefs we have seen on TV. 3) Bourdain likes wine. A. Lot. 4) Bourdain bristles at mediocrity but also amazingly contradicts himself many times with his ideas of the future and his own personal tastes. Don't mess with his great American burger but he'll eat his in a remote out-of-the way place that the have-nots haven't reached yet. 5) The American culinary scene takes themselves very seriously. 6) Being a food critic will always get you a free meal. 7) I know who Anthony Bourdain detests in the food industry or at least who he holds in contempt. 8) Knives do not always need to be super sharp or else you will get blood on the fish. 9) Rich girls don't pay for their own hotel rooms. 10) There are many spices I have never heard of. 11) The minute you take cheese out of the wrapper I guess you should just chuck the whole thing. 12) Bourdain swears. A. Lot. 13) America's Top Chef is not rigged according to Bourdain who was a judge at one time. 14) Never say no to Grandma when she gives you some turkey. Bourdain will kill you.
and last but not least...
15) Fat kids can't be chefs. Just don't even think about it.
Ok. So a lot learned here. Thanks Bourdain for not boring me. It was a trip.(less)
I'd started this book a few times but the beginning was just so hard to slog through for me. I always have a terrible time when it comes to sequencing...moreI'd started this book a few times but the beginning was just so hard to slog through for me. I always have a terrible time when it comes to sequencing detailed events and people who have otherwise no meaning to me. Even with the audiobook, I had to go back and listen to the first 30 minutes of it after I received a little more context.
I liked and did not like the book in the same respect. I give a lot of kudos to authors who can pack this much punch into one book. The AMOUNT of stuff going on this book blew my mind! And the overall end result was so far from what I expected, especially when it came to Martin that I had a hard time keeping up. The bit going on with Millenium and Vangstrum (sp...I listened to the audiobook so haven't a clue how anything is spelled) was a little sideshow that just kept giving and giving.
I liked the characters a lot especially the main characters. I did not like the narrator in particular how he did female voices. It sort of ruined that side of it for me but then again, I could never have gotten through this book having had to read it for myself. I would have lost interest early on. The audiobook only kept my attention til the end because I could tune out when I was bored...which was sort of frequent. Course, then I'd miss something critical and have to rewind...also happened frequently.
I'm not sure I'd necessarily recommend this book to anyone in particular that I know. It's not like it had some special meaning or message. The mystery was good although I really REALLY have a hard time buying the fact that a large scale investigation manned by literally hundreds of hours AND people went nowhere in the weeks, months and years immediately following the incident but 30 years or whatever it was (losing the facts here...been a couple weeks)...a regular old journalist with um, journalistic skills only and not necessarily detective skills can uncover the truth by his humble little lonesome...from a conveniently overlooked photo. Hmmmm. Like I said...convenient...just a tad too convenient for my taste.
Well anyway a motivated mystery lover would probably love this book. I am not a huge mystery lover but kept hearing what a great book this was. So now I've "read" it. Check!(less)
Fast read and not difficult either especially the edition I read. It had references to all obscure mentions in the back where one could look up everyt...moreFast read and not difficult either especially the edition I read. It had references to all obscure mentions in the back where one could look up everything period that was unknown. Very helpful although context still alluded me at times. And that is the problem I believe.
Voltaire wrote this book as a political backlash to all sorts of philosophical rhetoric that was being published at the time. It also spoke to many of the current events including natural disasters etc of which the reader of 2000 is not privy to unless one is a natural historian. I am not. I get my history from reading books like these, not delving into the history behind books like these. It's a lazy if not altogether effective method for historical self-education.
Can I just say that Candide had some rotten luck made worse by the fact that he was a complete dolt? I mean, you leave Nirvana in search of your lost love only to 1) lose your vast fortune in frustratingly inane ways and 2) find that your lost love is a nagging hag and that it was all for naught. Seems to me that with the vastness of Nirvana (El Dorado), Candide surely could have found a suitable replacement for Cunagonde who in the end, wasn't worth the wait anyway.
And it was all "for the best" or in 21st century terms, "it was fate". Intelligence and luck have nothing to do with a person's outcome. Is this what philosophers of the age were trying to say? I assume Voltaire didn't agree with this. I know I don't and it doesn't take a totally outlandish satire to convince me although it was funny to read Candide's inexplicable stupidity. And the only word I can associate in my mind with Cunagonde is vapid, lol.(less)
Ahhh Vanity Fair...you took me two weeks to read you, you naughty thing. You entertained, you bored, you persevered. You relayed your point to me vigo...moreAhhh Vanity Fair...you took me two weeks to read you, you naughty thing. You entertained, you bored, you persevered. You relayed your point to me vigorously. Am I a better person for having read you? I don't know. Am I glad I read you? Sure, why not. I compare it to the way in which college professors create a tedium of obstacles to bounce through in order to pass a class. You did it! You passed through the obstacles! You are smart and awesome and amazing and have the mental fortitude to pass tedious obstacles. This is how I compare reading Vanity Fair. It shows mental fortitude and perseverance.
Ok. We know I'm not big on Classics. I read them [grumble] when I have to. Vanity Fair made it to the list of cerebral books I am forcing myself to read this year in order to get myself out of the mind-numbing genre that has so recently been clogging my bookshelf. You know, open my mind...realign my intellect so to speak. Haha, Vanity Fair didn't renew my love for classics. Nope! It made me promise to never read War and Peace (based loosely on Vanity Fair).
There's like a gazillion pages in this book and we follow this series of characters through about 20 years of their lives. These lives come together, drift apart, come back together etc. etc. Not a lot happens to them which is sort of the point. They are part of the elite sophisticated social circle and Thackaray wrote a satire on this group's less than stellar virtues. It's funny. It's snort milk up your nose funny if you can appreciate dry humor that sneaks in the back door. I want to quote this book forever but sadly did the audiobook so don't have access to my favorite lines anymore.
The thing is, there's a lot of opinions and write-ups, critiques and analysis about books in this genre. Once I had formulated my own thoughts on VF, I went out looking at others. Basically there's not a lot of analysis on this book because what holds true in the introduction/prologue is basically what the whole book is about. People are self-centered, selfish and essentially rotten and never change especially when money is concerned. The "good" people aren't really and are just as apt to get kicked in the head as the "baddies" so who cares what you do. Neglect your kids, murder your brother-in-law friend guy (Jos what the heck relation...guess none), lie to your aunt so she leaves you tons of cash, never pay your bills, ruin someone else's life because you won't pay their salary of which you most certainly owe...it's ok! You're totally fine! We're all like that so be base and show your humanity!
I read somewhere that Celia and Dobbins is based on Thackeray's own life, that he was actually in love with his friend's wife. I thought these two were the best characters in the book but even Thackaray found fault with them (maybe he finds fault in himself then). And, despite Becky's compromised ethical system and her sneaky, conniving nature, it's clear Thackaray wants us to find her redeeming as he calls her "our sweet Becky" right up until the very final chapter I believe. Personally, she just reminds me of a modern day Madonna (the singer, not the Saint, lol).
I pretty much just wanted to kill myself this whole book. It was very long and slooooooow. I think I'm of a generation where I want things to happen a lot faster. Hunger Games...now that's action and a story that gets us places. But then again, I'm also used to smartphones, freeways and deliver my groceries within the hour kind of stuff. 100+ years ago, they were used to waiting things out. For goodness sakes, this Vanity Fair book was written as a Soap Opera...bits and pieces published one at a time like a little mini-series of sorts. Nowadays, this type of thing would never fly. I wonder if I could slow myself down if I could appreciate a book like this better. Don't get me wrong...I do like a long book...just one that tells the story faster. Blame the times, I do.(less)
This is the very first graphic novel I have ever read. I found all four books in one book and read it in one night. I took me about 1/4 of the book to...moreThis is the very first graphic novel I have ever read. I found all four books in one book and read it in one night. I took me about 1/4 of the book to get in the groove of reading a graphic novel but once I was used to it, it went fast.
Persepolis is the ancient capital of Persia or Iran in the old days. Persepolis was one of the richest countries on earth back in the times of the Greeks and involved in many wars. In my limited understanding, it was the Greeks that destroyed Persepolis, burning the majority of it as it was made almost entirely of wood.
Marjane Satrapi wrote this graphic novel about her young live in Iran as a child and then moving at aged 14 to Austria to finish her education. It explores in some depth her emotions at "abandoning" her country during a very complicated time in its history (the 1980's) and her personal identification issues when it came to owning her country vs. moving on. She finally did go back at to Iran after some personal relationship problems but still had trouble integrating.
I found it interesting that her book focused on her growing up self-image and identification challenges but ended the book at aged 24. Personally, at my age I felt like those challenges usually extend into your mid to late 20's but maybe she had it more together than I did.
Having no education or understanding of the Iranian history, I found it difficult at times to follow the politics outlined here. They were not necessarily extensive but definitely the main point here. I wonder if Iranians innately understand their politics at a higher level because they are so closely woven into the everyday lives of its citizens. Americans, on the other hand, have fairly limited exposure to the hard, cold realities of war and thus focus more inwardly (much to the mirth, I guess of Iranians when we discuss the ramifications of war). Anyway, I understood enough to glean that most Iranian citizens live(d) in a state of contention, fear and constant worry about the future. I was especially intrigued to learn that Satrapi, even at a young age, was introduced and had a fair understanding of her country's politics. Was this normal or was she rare in this?
I think that during the teenaged years and early twenties, it doesn't matter where you live, development into a mature, responsible person is difficult. The challenges one face can span the gamut but it still results in chaos within a person as they learn to navigate adulthood. This girl's challenges were certainly atypical and worthy of this book as it also sheds light on her experiences in a world I am not familiar with and so I learn. However I am not surprised that she experienced personal angst as she grew. I'd be surprised if she didn't; especially with the experiences she had. (less)
I know this book was written in some measure to expedite the author's healing process. What we don't find out...moreEnlightening, tragic and heart-stopping.
I know this book was written in some measure to expedite the author's healing process. What we don't find out is if it did. I hope he has found some resolution. However if no one ever lost their life on Everest, the thrill would be gone and no one else would make the attempt. It goes to show you what humanity is like. We always want what we can't have. But we'll sure try. Well, I won't try because it sounded super scary and far more cold than I ever want to be. Hypoxia just sounds a lot like the way my brain works anymore anyhow. But anyway, amazing book, sad, sad story. (less)