Ugh this one rubbed me the wrong way from page one. I only finished about three chapters. Eagerly awaiting other people's reviews, though--maybe I misUgh this one rubbed me the wrong way from page one. I only finished about three chapters. Eagerly awaiting other people's reviews, though--maybe I missed something. ...more
More of a 3.5, but I'm bumping it to four because if you view it as a second half of the first book, it's a very satisfying ending.
My favorite part oMore of a 3.5, but I'm bumping it to four because if you view it as a second half of the first book, it's a very satisfying ending.
My favorite part of this book is the role that Vivian's best friend Harp plays. Once she gets in front of a computer, she completely changes and comes into her own in a way that she never does in the first book. Also she made me laugh a lot, which goes a long way with me.
Definitely worth reading if you enjoyed the first book in the series. ...more
This book is fantastic. Somehow, from the book description, I didn't quite get how complex the issues dealt with in the book actually are--Vivian's paThis book is fantastic. Somehow, from the book description, I didn't quite get how complex the issues dealt with in the book actually are--Vivian's parents disappear in the Rapture, as the description says, but it's after converting to a huge new religion, one that takes over much of America. The religion is all the more horrible from how familiar it sounds: it encourages the rich to get richer ("God loves capitalism"), traditional gender roles (women are even expected to walk BEHIND their husbands), and the inevitable combining of church and state.
Coyle uses the success of this religion to explore what's happening right now in America. When Vivian heads across the country on a road trip with her best friend, the story barrels forward, introducing a slacker culture opposed to religion, a very wise Believer working behind the counter of a Burger King, and a country ripped apart by global warming (or is it the wrath of an angry God?). When Vivian arrives in California with her friends, the story becomes an adventure story and a mystery to solve. I finished this one in a day, and started the sequel immediately. ...more
This is the first book I read in 2015, and it is DELIGHTFUL.
The concept might sound a little tried and true: American girl moves to Oxford, where sheThis is the first book I read in 2015, and it is DELIGHTFUL.
The concept might sound a little tried and true: American girl moves to Oxford, where she meets and marries the Prince. Completely traditional romance trope, which it is, but in a delightful way that reminded me of Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones Diary.
But it also isn't at all traditional. Heather and Jessica start the book on the day of the wedding, so the focus in the writing is on the characters, rather on "will they or won't they."
And the characters are fantastic. Bex, the American who marries the prince, has a twin sister Lacey. Their friendship is the emotional core of the book and rings completely true. It's mirrored in the Prince's brother, Freddie, the spare to the heir. This foursome is surrounded by a group of wonderful, and FUNNY, friends, all of whom have their own plot lines and relationships.
It was frothy, it was smart, it was funny, and it was a great read. Be prepared to ignore your plans and stay in bed to finish. ...more
Ugh, it feels awful to give this book a bad review. I adore Amy Poehler and I love the work she does--Parks and Rec is one of my favorite television sUgh, it feels awful to give this book a bad review. I adore Amy Poehler and I love the work she does--Parks and Rec is one of my favorite television series.
But this book just felt like it came out half baked, and I was so disappointed. Amy complains constantly about how hard it is to write a book, while writing a book. The first time she mentions it, I thought, well that's kind of funny. The joke is considerably less hilarious by page 200. Her behind the scenes stories about Parks and Rec are primarily written by the show's creator, which is great, but maybe not what I was looking for in an autobiography. Amy relates a story about a sketch she did that turned out to be incredibly offensive to a real live person, and I feel like I read that entire chapter cringing.
It was pointed out to me that Amy is, first and foremost, a performer (unlike Tina Fey or Mindy Kaling, who are primarily writers) and that did make me take the book with a grain of sand. I hope to hear more from Amy in the future, maybe in a different format. ...more
This book is exactly what it claims to be: a study of the people who decide to become archeologists, and not what they've discovered or devoted theirThis book is exactly what it claims to be: a study of the people who decide to become archeologists, and not what they've discovered or devoted their lives to. Somehow I missed that in the book description and came away disappointed. ...more
There is some truly excellent, spare writing in this back country mystery, and some truly indelible images. David Joy tells a brutal story so beautifuThere is some truly excellent, spare writing in this back country mystery, and some truly indelible images. David Joy tells a brutal story so beautifully that sometimes you forget you're reading a story about drug-dealing murderers (until someone gets acid poured on their face, or the guns come out). The violence and drug use that permeates the story are simply a way of life for Jacob McNeely, told unflinchingly, and it's only in glimpses that Jacob's humanity comes out--first a little bit, then all at once.
While I liked the story and the writing, this book probably would have been a three-star review for me if it weren't for the ending. The last five pages of this book are AMAZING, and provide an incredibly satisfying and insightful ending for the story. It's worth reading the whole book for the ending alone, which will probably make you want to go and re-read the whole book again.
Recommended for fans of Daniel Woodrell and The Rolling Stones. ...more
This is probably the best known of Lehane's Kenzie and Gennaro books, but it's actually the fourth in the series. PreviousHoly cow, what a gut punch.
This is probably the best known of Lehane's Kenzie and Gennaro books, but it's actually the fourth in the series. Previously I'd read this book before I saw the Ben Affleck film (excellent), and sure it packed a punch. But it is nothing, nothing, nothing like the emotional wallop that comes from reading the books in order and arriving at the conclusion of Gone, Baby, Gone. It's heartbreaking.
(If you've seen the movie these aren't spoilers for the book, but I include that just in case, since it is a mystery novel.)
Patrick and Angie, from book one, are something of star-crossed lovers. Patrick has been in love with Angie since their teenage years, but somehow wound up in an ill-fated marriage to her sister. (I know. That one's on Patrick.) At the start of the series, Angie's married to an abusive husband, someone she and Patrick grew up with. In the first three books these two are engaged in a sort of back-and-forth about getting together. It's not easy but by the end of book three, their coupling feels real and it feels earned.
In some ways, book four can be as bleak as it is because the reader has the backbeat of this great relationship between Patrick and Angie. They've had rough childhoods, and even rougher adulthoods, but they have found each other and in a pretty great relationship. They drink less. The sex is great.
So at the end of the book, when Patrick decides to follow the letter of the law and return a child it her unfit parent, and Angie leaves him over it--the breakup becomes so much more than just a walking away. It's about the way they were raised, and what they cling to as adults to bring order to the world. It's about losing the one chance both Patrick and Angie see for happiness. It is very, very very dark.
The emotional impact of this ending is going to stick with me for a while. Dennis Lehane is this year's big "discovery" for me. ...more
Look I feel like at this point someone needs to intervene. All of Dennis Lehane's Kenzie and Gennaro series are free to read with an Oyster subscriptiLook I feel like at this point someone needs to intervene. All of Dennis Lehane's Kenzie and Gennaro series are free to read with an Oyster subscription and I wish I had never discovered that fact, but I *did* and apparently I am reading all of them with no breaks at a terrifying rate.
From here on out, the act of realizing it's 12:30 PM and you're only halfway through a book, but you know you're not sleeping until you finish that boFrom here on out, the act of realizing it's 12:30 PM and you're only halfway through a book, but you know you're not sleeping until you finish that book will be called "Lehane-ing." ...more
I absolutely loved the first half of this book, but the dramatic shift in perspective halfway through really didn't work for me--and I gave up. I hopeI absolutely loved the first half of this book, but the dramatic shift in perspective halfway through really didn't work for me--and I gave up. I hope a smarter reviewer than me will be able to pull out a meaning from the shift. It reminded me of Geoff Dyer's Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi, which I also struggled to parse. ...more
More like 3.5, but I'm rounding up because it was so much fun to read.
A truly unique take on dystopian--the disaster has happened, many years before,More like 3.5, but I'm rounding up because it was so much fun to read.
A truly unique take on dystopian--the disaster has happened, many years before, and the characters in the novel are dealing with the fallout. All children are born as twins--one the alpha, who is born whole, and one the omega, who is born either physically disfigured or with psychic abilities. Omegas are scorned as outcasts, with one twist: if one twin dies, so does the other.
The writing is sharp, the main character tough without being a cliche, and the romance element is played lightly and not the focus of the story. Recommended if you like futuristic stories that make you think. ...more
I love Girls, and I am consistently impressed by how well Dunham handles herself in interviews and hIt is really hard to review the Lena Dunham book.
I love Girls, and I am consistently impressed by how well Dunham handles herself in interviews and how everyone seems to leave meeting her by whispering "SHE'S SO NICE." But a book? Of essays?? Hmmm.
The good things first: the writing in this book is tight, tight, tight. If the gracious, inclusive publicity weren't enough to show you that the author is really behind this book, the writing will. Unsurprisingly, her turns of phrase are amazing, and man, did I laugh out loud more than I expected to.
There are a couple essays where the sentiments expressed were so close to my thinking it was creepy. On dieting:
Every pound lost made me giddy, but at the same time a voice inside me screamed, Who is this lady you've become? You are a potbellied riot girl! Why are you plugging your caloric intake into your smartphone!?
Her entire chapter on what men in Hollywood say to her, called I Didn't Fuck Them but They Yelled at Me, is entirely quoteworthy. It's in these moments that Lena Dunham became her own person, fully removed from Hannah Horvath and the whole Girls oeuvre. In it Dunham eviscerates a certain type of Hollywood bro, and the whole thing just reads a little *sharper* than normal. A little more witty, in a Dorothy Parker kind of way. A little bit tougher, in a Cheryl Strayed kind of way. I want a whole book just of these essays.
But a lot of the other parts of the book felt derivative from the content of Girls, and while it's always enjoyable to spend time with "Lena Dunham," it felt like things I'd seen before. Which is totally ok! The woman is in her early 20s, she's gonna repeat some ideas. I can even picture the publishing meeting where her editor said something like, well we need to keep the fans happy!
Even with those issues, well worth a read. ...more