I don't believe in the perfect novel. They are just too long and have too much space to fill to be perfect, which is fine because perfection does not...moreI don't believe in the perfect novel. They are just too long and have too much space to fill to be perfect, which is fine because perfection does not equal greatness. However, I do believe in the perfect short story, because in this shorter form, the writer can focus on one or two elements (technique, symbolism, characterization, etc.) and knock'em out of the park.
Salinger does this in "Bananafish", "Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut" "For Esme- With Love and Squalor" (my favorite, and one of my favorite all time short stories), "Pretty Mouth and Green My Eyes", and "Teddy" whose main character felt a little like the literary grandfather to the kid in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I won't get into too much specifics within the individual stories, but "Pretty Mouth and Green My Eyes" was a lesson in how a story can manipulate the reader, and "For Esme-With Love and Squalor" is picture perfect use of the story within a story technique.
One aspect of Salinger's writing does standout in every story and that is his use of dialogue. You see it in all of his stories, this certain naturalness and sharpness that feels more real than real dialogue. Not sure if that makes any sense, but I'll explain myself like this: I don't know anyone who speaks like the characters in the Nine Stories (it was written before I was born), but I feel like we all should speak like the characters in the stories.
This collection was so good that it is going to make me re-read The Catcher in the Rye, which I read in high school and liked in only bits and pieces. Maybe I needed a certain maturity to appreciate Salinger, maybe a second read won't change a thing, but it'll be worth a try after reading Nine Stories.
The Remains of the Day was my second journey into the world of Kazuo Ishiguro. This time went much better than the first foray. For an accumulation of...more The Remains of the Day was my second journey into the world of Kazuo Ishiguro. This time went much better than the first foray. For an accumulation of reasons, I left Never Let Me Go (my first Ishiguro novel) feeling empty and frustrated. Luckily, this did not carry over to Remains of the Day, where Ishiguro’s style was met with a likable character.
Ishiguro writes with a beautiful, but subtle prose that in this instance does well to initially mask the narrator’s (Mr. Stevens) lack of reliability. As a reader ingesting this novel, all the fat has already been trimmed, and what’s left is an extraordinary amount of emotion packed into an unwavering English voice and very little action.
The novel follows Mr. Stevens on his short vacation where he constantly flashes back to his last thirty years at the employ of Darlington Hall. With Stevens narrating, this novel follows in the canonical voice of the Austen’s and Bronte’s, though with less romance than the former, and less insanity than the latter. And true to form, there are injections of comedy (the birds and the bees scene was funny, and its incorporation into the scene with his father was amazingly well done), hapless romance and metafictional addresses, though the main theme of the novel is regret, and the ideal of ‘dignity’ that Stevens wields as a shield against all emotions and people.
Between Ishiguro’s beautiful prose and Stevens’ ‘dignified’, but unreliable characterization, the novel The Remains of the Day did to me what most of my favorite novels had previously done: it made me empathize. (less)
As previous reviewers have said, if you get sinus infections, this is the book for you. However, I would like to extend that to people who are sick wi...moreAs previous reviewers have said, if you get sinus infections, this is the book for you. However, I would like to extend that to people who are sick with symptoms that range from dizziness to fatigue to rapid heart palpitations (and scores more), and have had the gamut of medical tests run on them, only to have the doctor unable to come up with anything conclusive. What you have may be in this book, and Ivker will tell you how you got it, and how to combat it.
While the books premise deals with sinuses, Ivker develops his holistic and self-help ideals beyond the sickness, which is why the book isn't less than a hundred pages. I enjoyed this section, but I can see how it can turn some people off.
The only issue I have with the book is the current data behind the issue of sinuses is lacking. It seems as though we (society) have only started to understand this illness, which makes the book feel like a rough draft, rather than the sinus prevention Bible. (less)
When I finished this book, I knew that I wanted to review it, but I wasn’t sure what I had just read. I flipped through other goodreads reviews and so...moreWhen I finished this book, I knew that I wanted to review it, but I wasn’t sure what I had just read. I flipped through other goodreads reviews and some people called it a memoir; it is. Some called it a scrapbook; it is. Some called it a tabletop book; it is. I guess that’s why I found it so hard to categorize, because it was all of these types of books contained in around 300 pages, but what is most important about this book that the covers these different mediums is that it works in each one, and it works as a collective.
To be honest, before even reading this book, I think I was inclined to give it five stars. I mean, it's Jay Z, Hov, Jigga man, Reasonable Doubt, Blueprint...and on and on. I remember when “Hard Knock Life” came out with the little orphan Annie chorus (I was in high school). I can recite every line from The Blueprint and Reasonable Doubt, along with individual songs from other albums. I can even remembering hooking with Jay Z on the radio. So yes, I was biased going in, but I’m glad that Jay’s book was as well put together as his music is.
If I were to specifically recommend this book, it would be to two types of people: Those who love Jay Z and those that hate hip-hop because they believe it is misogynistic, violent, etc. If you love Jay, then you'll love how he breaks down the lines of his songs. You'll love the looks into his personal life, especially as a public figure that guards his private life as well as he does. The book is a glimpse through hip hop history through the eyes of one of the greatest that ever picked up a mic. This is Mozart talking about classical music, Jordan talking about basketball, Shakespeare talking about literature; you may or may not believe that Jay Z belongs in that company, but in hip hop, he stands on that mountain top.
I've always analyzed lyrics on my own so much of what he said was known to me. However, the way he analyzed the sounds and the breakdown of rhythm (such as Run and his percussion like rhymes) really got to me. I tend to listen to rap for the lyrics, so I’ve always loved the Jay Z’s Tupac’s, Biggie’s, and Outkast’s while looking past the rappers who were lyrically challenged. However, after reading this book, I have a new perspective in which to view hip hop, which is amazing because this is something that I’ve loved and studied for so long.
For the people who dislike hip hop, I think this is a book they would enjoy and a book that would clear some preconceived notions. It will not, however, make someone like hip hop if they already don’t. Instead, the book will showcase the reasons why people love hip hop, and show that it is more than just thugs talking about shooting each other and having sex. Whether or not you come away from this book liking hip hop will be relative to the individual, but after reading this book, you will have respect for the craft and for the man at its forefront: H-O-V. (less)