I enjoyed the main point of this book, which, as the title makes clear, is about the need for humans to slow down and enjoy life.
The problem I had wit...moreI enjoyed the main point of this book, which, as the title makes clear, is about the need for humans to slow down and enjoy life.
The problem I had with the book is that throughout, the whole thing feels dated. Not only in his specific examples of technology (this was published before the iphone, for example), but in his general conviction that this is a "worldwide movement," which it may be, but I've never seen it outside this particular book.
Each chapter is devoted to one facet of human existence that we could slow down: food, sex, child-raising, etc. And in each of these, I agree that there are probably some people out there who are interested in making these things slower. But the only part of the book that I think actually constitutes a "movement" is the Slow Food movement, which has managed to penetrate into general cultural consciousness.
Anyway, I found that dated nature of the book distracting, and it really felt as though I were reading something that was a product of its time, even though that time was less than 10 years ago (!). It really felt as though it was written in the 1990s.(less)
I enjoyed this book a lot, though the occasional scientific diversions sometimes distracted from the narrative.
The author is a great writer, with lot...moreI enjoyed this book a lot, though the occasional scientific diversions sometimes distracted from the narrative.
The author is a great writer, with lots of colorful and descriptive tools in her arsenal. I enjoyed the fact that she wove historical anecdotes and scientific concepts into the book. The main scientific thrust of this book is the effect that climate change is having on Antarctica, which is awful but true. Still, I felt that was a bit too much of a focus.
But when she's writing about the people who live and work in Antarctica, and about the historical figures who have been a part of the story, the book is fascinating.
I enjoyed this a lot more than I expected, though I don't know why I didn't expect to like it. I mean, I do love dystopian novels set in the future, a...moreI enjoyed this a lot more than I expected, though I don't know why I didn't expect to like it. I mean, I do love dystopian novels set in the future, and some of the most interesting of this genre are aimed at the "young adult" audience. (One of my favorites is The Dying Sun, btw.) So, this story was right up my alley.
The main character, Catniss, is everything that a good leading lady should be: strong, funny, capable, smart, and just awkward enough to keep her from being too perfect.
The premise is also interesting: the United States, in the future, is divided into districts instead of states, after a war of rebellion. As a penance for the rebellion, each year the districts have to send children to the Hunger Games, a sort of reality TV show in which the "survivor" is actually the only survivor, having killed off all of other opponents. (This makes the actual TV show "Survivor" even more hilariously silly than it already is.)
The action is believable, the characters are flawed and interesting, the scenario is nail-biting, even though you pretty much know how it will end.
I really liked this book, and though I haven't read the rest of the trilogy, I plan to eventually, though I'm not sure where the story can go from here. It's a brilliant addition to the Young Adult Dystopian Future genre.(less)
This book started off strong, but dragged a bit in the middle. The author is clearly very good at this subject: the world of William Shakespeare in th...moreThis book started off strong, but dragged a bit in the middle. The author is clearly very good at this subject: the world of William Shakespeare in the year 1599. The book is broken up into sections: spring, summer, fall, and winter.
The spring was interesting because of the legal difficulties of Mr Shakespeare and his fellow players, as they moved their theater to a new location, without their landlord's approval.
The summer got a little slow because of the war in Ireland. The war was apparently very important for Elizabethan England in 1599, culturally and politically. The author went to some great lengths to describe the war and its political implications for Queen Elizabeth, her court, and for entertainers such as Shakespeare. I found this section to be pretty dull, however, because it was so long.
The book picked back up in the last section, though. I really enjoyed the view into Shakespeare's writing process, which we can infer based on the revisions and editions of Hamlet that appeared during Shakespeare's lifetime. Learning about the literary influences that went into all of the plays and sonnets was a highlight of this book.
I did learn a lot about Elizabethan England, but I was really hoping for a more day-to-day view of life in Shakespeare's time, rather than the political machinations of Queen Elizabeth's court.
I only gave this three stars, even though I thought the book was great. I reduced the star value because, though the book has a fantastic subject and...moreI only gave this three stars, even though I thought the book was great. I reduced the star value because, though the book has a fantastic subject and the writing is wonderful, the information is necessarily dated. (This is the revised edition, which was published in the 1990s.)
That said, however, the book certainly is food for thought. The author digs into the funeral profession, why it costs so much to die, and how to die without leaving your descendents with a load of debt from the funeral.
Luckily there are more updated volumes about this topic, and I'd recommend reading those, but this is what started it all. (less)