Nightlife is a fantasy story with creative one-liners and humor on every page. I found myself laughing (in a good way) at the dialogue and interactionNightlife is a fantasy story with creative one-liners and humor on every page. I found myself laughing (in a good way) at the dialogue and interaction taking place between the main character (?) Cal, and his brother, as well as those they meet along the way. The fact, however, that I must question whether Cal, who is clearly set up as the protagonist at the beginning of the book, is still the main character as the book progresses, is one of the novel's flaws. Without delving further into the writing history of the author, my immediate thought while reading the book was that this was their first novel, and it showed.
Issues with seamlessly progressing the plot, issues with creating a concrete plot after setting the scene, a lack of diversity in characters (their dialogue, though amusing, all seemed to blend together and originate from one character personality instead of having their own unique manner of speaking and behaving), and the tendency of falling prey to the writer trap of trying to be unique and switching from on character's point of view to another,led this book to becoming disjointed and confusing. I say it is promising because it is. It has an interesting setup, and a pair of brothers is almost always fodder for complex relationship issues, the stuff that juicy books are made of. As this is the first book of the series, I am curious to see what Thurman does with their characters in the next novel, and whether the writing has evolved. I will say that if you desire to have a strong female lead, or any female character that has a purpose or role in a novel at all, this book is not for you....more
HHhH is, at the surface, a biography of the most terrifying Nazi official to have lived, aka the "Blonde Beast", Reinhard Heydrich. The climax of theHHhH is, at the surface, a biography of the most terrifying Nazi official to have lived, aka the "Blonde Beast", Reinhard Heydrich. The climax of the story revolves around his assassination by the two Czech and Slovak soldiers who volunteered for the suicidal mission. But what the book really is, is a subversive of what it takes to write history. French author Laurent Binet second-guesses his facts at every turn, often giving one detail about Heydrich's life, only to immediately, in the subsequent chapter, take it back. Why? Because the author's internal war with historical narrative, criticizing other writers who take liberties when writing about events in history (fabricating dialogue that is undocumented between real people), while all at the same time betraying himself by doing the exact same thing with his own book, is the focal point of the novel.
At first, I hated this book. I hated the first several chapters because Binet's writing style is completely out of sync (well, mostly) from what I have been taught as the standard template for novels. It's not a clean-cut,well edited narrative. I often felt like I was reading the author's diary. That being said, I eventually found great love for it for that exact reason. Binet is exciting without making anything up. He parallels what is happening in his own life at the time of his novel writing with the events in Heydrich's. We get a glimpse of the man behind the mask - meaning, Binet. Books take on entirely new meanings when we understand the author - who they are, their motivations for writing, etc. His neurotic obsession with not stating anything he didn't know to be absolute fact (otherwise he gave several disclaimers) gave me a great deal of trust in him - unlike most historical novels, I believe Binet. You don't have to worry about whether what you are reading is dramatized or not.
I found his animosity for seemingly any fiction, as well as his repeated mantra of "Czech women are so beautiful; so beautiful. I have a hot Czech girlfriend" a bit boorish, which is why it got 4 stars instead of 5. Still, his innovative approach is to be applauded. Expect to learn a lot about Heydrich, his heroic assassins, political tensions, and human nature when reading this book. And expect - unlike most biographies - for it to be overall, riveting. This is a novel in its most refreshing form, and the slogan for this book could almost be "Binet - The 21st century novelist."
This is my far too long review (I've warned you, now it's fair game, my dears!). Embark on this journey, and you will emerge enlightened and probably This is my far too long review (I've warned you, now it's fair game, my dears!). Embark on this journey, and you will emerge enlightened and probably more than a little weirded out by me. Shhh, that’s okay, that’s a pretty baby.
Since I ramble, let’s narrow it down to three pros, and three cons.
1. “Funny.” You hilarious, bantering fiend, you. I love witty banter almost as much as I love PUPPY VERSES THE VACUUM CLEANER (if you haven’t seen this, I demand you walk away from your computer, putting down the Pringles as you do so, and find a puppy immediately). The point is, without some rapid-fire dialogue like “City of Bones” offers, a book drags you down with it into the long, drawn-out dredges of the crappy, I-published-this-myself-and-I-even-drew-the-cover zone of no return.
2. “Likeable characters.” I don’t know if I’m just a weirdo (don’t answer that), a hipster when it comes to book characters, or if ya’ll are simply nuts, but I like the main characters. That’s right, I’ll say it again: I LIKE THE MAIN CHARACTERS! You know I’m serious, because I bolded it, and as any amateur author would know, you should always blatantly bold, caps, and use exclamation marks to express how you feel. Oh, it’s also good if you include the word “really” in front of everything, so that people really know you mean it. Anyway: TANGENT. Notice I said “main characters”. That being said, other reviewers who are not fans of the characters have a valid point (see below), but for example- Jace? Simon? Even Clary? I felt they were all pretty well fleshed out, and they kept me entertained – which is the point, after all. I didn’t hate the main characters, which is nice, because that’s always immensely exhausting. You know why I didn't hate them? Because they weren't perfect. A lot of reviewers disliked Clary for certain behaviors, or Jace for being a narcissist. But what if they weren't this way? I'd cry because if I liked them for every single moment of every bloody line, I'd set the book on fire. I love imperfect characters. Yes, Bob, occasionally I like when they annoy me. I liked them all, in their own special way. Don’t worry, Simon: You’re still my super special little guy.
3. “Plot development – on with the show!” Books that go nowhere nearly kill me. There was one in particular that I've read that was dreadful (Sounds like: New Duds). You know what type I’m talking about: “Judy nibbled on the end of her fry nervously. She stared at Michael across from her in the faded booth. The small, rickety hand on the clock ticked to three.” And you’re like, “Okay, yeah. Cool, she’s eating fries, man. The clock is ticking. I’m listening.” And then, it goes: “She nibbled another fry. The sound of clock reverberated in her ears. Sweat poured down her cheeks. Michael continued to stare at her, saying nothing, like a painted mime. She pushed her fries around on the plate, before drizzling them with ketchup. The clock ticked-“ Holy cow. MOVE ON. I’m about to take that fork she’s not using on the table there and stab myself in the eyeball with it. Stop ticking, clock! Stop it. Do you not understand the writing concept of “passage of time”? Next scene, please. That’s what I am referring to. I think Clare (the author! I guess she likes to name characters after herself?) did a splendid job at moving the story forward. I never had those fork-in-the-eyeball moments, and that was refreshing. The book is fast-paced but not disorientingly (new word) so. I got just the right of action mixed with descriptor for my liking.
1. “Unlikeable and flat characters.” “Sacrebleu!” You cry, wearing your French beret and stick-on mustache that you purchased online last week – free shipping. Coincidentally, you also shouted this phrase and hocked a loogie when you noticed the tag reading “made in China”. TANGENT. So, how can I list characters as both a positive and a con? (Because I have to give it to the little guy). Actually, because I liked the main characters, yet I vocalized a “meh” whenever Alec or Isabelle were thrown a line. They were flat, which is a little understandable, because they weren’t central to the book. Even still, flat characters of any significance are a big, fat, guilt-ridden whopper sandwich of a no-no. I haven’t read the rest of the books in the series yet, so I’ll have to see how the author handles supporting characters then, now that she’s got one hit-seller under her belt. All I’m trying to say, peanut gallery, is your voice has not gone unheeded. I feel you, I feel you. (I just don’t really care).
2. “The usual plot holes and contradicting physical descriptors in YA novels.” I don’t know why this is, but Young Adult novels are specifically notorious for this. Maybe the editors just don’t give YA readers enough credit and realize that they really are going to notice if someone’s hand is described as “pale” in one scene, and then “brown” in another. So it’s a….pale brown? …What is she trying to say? – name that movie (Rhymes with: Shane Boston). Look, there were issues. I could see them, you could see them, future readers are going to see them. I wasn’t really deterred by it, because nothing in my mind about the little error here or there was central to the plot. They were little things that undoubtedly happen to every author at some point, so if you’re worried you’re going to read this and go “LIAR! LIAR LIAR LIAR!” While jumping up and down in hysterical rage because the author changed your daughter of a wealthy merchant princess-type into a street beggar orphan with a smart mouth half-way through the book, you can rest easy. The small errors in this book are really no big deal.
3. “Please don’t foreshadow me to death.” You maybe-sort-of gave some things away before you were ready for them to be revealed. Oops.
So yes, a long story made obnoxiously longer by moi, I liked the book very (“very” is as effective as the word “really”) much, and I plan on reading the others in the series. I would recommend if you like interesting plot lines and other YA novels, to give it a try.
….Did you seriously read this entire review? “Inconceivable!” ...more
The authors have rejected modern theories for antisemitism and produced their own thesis and evidence for the main cause of antisemitism around the woThe authors have rejected modern theories for antisemitism and produced their own thesis and evidence for the main cause of antisemitism around the world - Judaism. As in, the religion itself, and not the "race". The argument claims that the very religion itself is the reason Jews have been hated throughout history, for their distinctness and declaration as being the chosen people of one God in monotheism. This is in contrast for other proposed reasons of antisemitism - rich Jews, Jews "drinking the blood of non-Jews", Jews being simply used as a scapegoat, etc. After reading the book, I can say that I was fully converted to the logical answer that Jews are hatred for that exact reason - being Jews. During Roman rule, under Islamic reign, etc, Jews were no longer persecuted if they gave up their religion and converted to that region's idealogy. With the exception of Nazis, this is proof that Jews have been persecuted for their religion, and not as a race.
It is a fascinating book, and does not read like a textbook. I would recommend it to anyone who would like to learn more about the history of religion and modern-day antisemitism. There is a small level of bias portrayed in the book, with a few generalizations about other groups of people and/or religions, but I was surprised about how overall un-baised it was, considering one of the authors is a Jewish rabbi. The ending does leave a bit to be desired in terms of solutions to antisemitism, but again, I found the book a very educated, well-thought out investigation of antisemitism. ...more
To those who walk away from reading this book and wonder, "How could anyone like it when Karin Muller is so self-centered? Typical Westerner." I poseTo those who walk away from reading this book and wonder, "How could anyone like it when Karin Muller is so self-centered? Typical Westerner." I pose my own question: Did you read the book in its entirety? There is quite a contrast from the start to the end. The author's primary motivation was for growth and self discovery, and it would be impossible for her to start out completely understanding and accepting of the Japanese at the very beginning.
"Typical Westerner." There is, my dears, no such thing. For, if you were to say that there is a standard type of person that represents all westerners, then you make the very same mistake Karin Muller is accused of doing: generalizing the Japanese. You would understand someone from the west no more than you believe Karin Muller understands the Japanese. If you do not like the book for other reasons, that is natural. It is natural to not like some things, but to do it based off of one's own generalizations is a mistake. I hope that people will not be deterred from reading this book because it was written by a "typical westerner."
In the beginning, Ms. Muller struggles to adapt to Japanese life. Living with a host family that values cleanliness, obedience, and conformity far more than she, Muller feels isolated. Despite this, her book manages to be lighthearted and funny. Her style of writing is easy to read and to follow, and is, in my opinion, written in a way to grab the largest western audience possible. She can be critical and unfair in her opinions, but the longer she spends in Japan, the more she grows and begins to understand that merely because someone does things differently than her does not make it wrong, and her right. I liked reading about her adventures, because she does things I know I would never dare to do. She has sad moments, exciting moments, and learning moments.
The best part about this book was that I was not once bored reading it. I don't believe it gives a good overview of the entire country of Japan, because she visits places and people that are often minority groups, like the geisha, who are not the norm. Despite this, she does make an attempt in her travels to meet all types of people so that she doesn't generalize Japanese as being one certain way. Even though she is critical at times, she is also very gracious. There are numerous passages where Muller expresses her appreciation to her host family for taking her in. She even puts herself at fault for a falling out with one person she meets in Japan, even though she didn't like them. She was, at that moment, beginning to understand that her way of doing things isn't always right.
I recommend this book to individuals who want a good laugh and adventure. I know several people who spent years in Japan who also liked the book, including natives, indicating that despite its possible faults, it is not horribly inaccurate, and some have been led to believe. Give Karin Muller a chance and she'll give you something greater in return....more