This book made me laugh out loud. The thing I love about Carl Hiaasen is his ability to evoke places and people seemingly effortlessly. His descriptio...moreThis book made me laugh out loud. The thing I love about Carl Hiaasen is his ability to evoke places and people seemingly effortlessly. His descriptions of old, weird Florida are spot on. And hilarious.(less)
Like others have said, I enjoyed this book far more than the last couple of Anna Pigeon mysteries from Barr. Unlike those last two books, this one ret...moreLike others have said, I enjoyed this book far more than the last couple of Anna Pigeon mysteries from Barr. Unlike those last two books, this one returns to Anna Pigeon's wry interior monologues, occasionally grumpy outbursts, and the characteristic physicality of the early Pigeon mysteries.
The description of the Texas border country is lovely, as always. It makes me want to go on a rafting trip tomorrow. The mystery is also well-drawn; the twist and reveal isn't totally unexpected, but it's also well done.
Mostly I'm happy that the relentless darkness of the soul that characterized the last two Pigeon mysteries has lifted slightly. I don't mind some darkness (that's why I like Anna Pigeon in the first place!).(less)
It took me way longer than I expected to read all three of these classic spy novels by Le Carré. I read T,T,S,S last year, but ended up reading it aga...moreIt took me way longer than I expected to read all three of these classic spy novels by Le Carré. I read T,T,S,S last year, but ended up reading it again, just so I remembered the back story for the second and third novels.
The good news is that these are great books, full of fascinating detail about the Cold War spy world. The characters, especially the secondary characters, are subtly drawn, but they're memorable for sure. Le Carré doesn't spend a lot of time on straight-up description, but each character grows more into herself/himself throughout the stories.
The stories are great, but are pretty slow moving. If you're not prepared for the cerebral nature of these novels, you might be unpleasantly surprised. I think that their slow quality is reflective of what most Cold War spy work was: brain work and research. I hadn't expected it, and it took me several chapters to settle into the slow pacing of the stories.
The first novel, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, tells the story of George Smiley, a retired member of the British MI-6 who is called back to investigate the possibility of a mole in the service. The second and third novels continue the story, as the uncovering of the mole only turned up more questions.
I enjoyed these novels very much. Recommended if you like mysteries, British novels, cerebral novels, and spy stories.(less)
I gobbled this up as fast as I could. Not because I loved it, though. I *liked* it quite a bit, but I had a similar reaction reading to "The Pillars o...moreI gobbled this up as fast as I could. Not because I loved it, though. I *liked* it quite a bit, but I had a similar reaction reading to "The Pillars of the Earth." Basically, the story and its characters are super-compelling: you HAVE to find out what happens.
But when you find out what happens, it's almost always bad. Just when you start to like a character, he is beheaded, she's raped, a dog is dead, a baby is dead, etc.
The world of the book is fantastic, though. That's the first part of writing great fantasy: having a complex, believable world. The detail in this world, all of its history, is wonderful.
The sheer size of this book meant that the tension ("what's going to happen?!") and the constant bad things ("oh, he's dead now") made it totally exhausting to read.
I might want to read the next book in the series, but I can't do it yet. I have to recover first.(less)
For a book that starts with an ugly triple murder, this book is remarkably sweet and touching. I really enjoyed Bod, the main character, and his guard...moreFor a book that starts with an ugly triple murder, this book is remarkably sweet and touching. I really enjoyed Bod, the main character, and his guardian Silas. But all of the ghost characters are wonderful.
I've always meant to read something by Graham Greene, and I saw the 2002 movie adaptation of this book, so I thought I'd read it, though I barely reme...moreI've always meant to read something by Graham Greene, and I saw the 2002 movie adaptation of this book, so I thought I'd read it, though I barely remember the film. The Quiet American, published in 1955, was condemned in the US as anti-American, as you can imagine, since the story deals with the earliest meddling of the United States in Vietnam.
The main character and narrator is Fowler, a jaded and cynical British journalist who has lived in Vietnam for quite some time. Pyle, the young, idealistic American who arrives at the beginning of the story, pushes most of Fowler's buttons, but they form an uneasy friendship. Uneasy because of their differing political beliefs, but also because Pyle falls immediately in love with Fowler's Vietnamese girlfriend Phuong and is determined to win her for himself.
Others have described how the book is both a story about a love triangle, and at the same time a metaphor for US and UK involvement in southeast Asia. Fowler represents the aging and jaded colonialist UK and Pyle is the idealistic and go-getter USA. Both desire Phuong (Vietnam), but for different reasons. Pyle admits that he sees her as a child and wants to protect her. Fowler's desire for Phuong is more complex, but they each offer something that the other needs. She needs material comforts; Fowler needs her body and her presence.
I really enjoyed reading this book, for both stories. I found it eerie that Greene published this book in 1955, which means he wrote it earlier than that. He managed, however, to predict and foreshadow the disastrous US involvement in Vietnam that didn't openly happen until ten years later.
I also enjoyed Greene's descriptions of his three main characters: Pyle, Fowler, and Phuong. Fowler's quiet resignation, Phuong's complete inscrutability, and Pyle's set-my-teeth-on-edge fervor are all represented in a spare style. This is a very short book, but each word carefully contributes to setting the scene, the characters, and telling the story with as much efficiency as possible.
I received this book as a gift from my dad when I had chicken pox when I was ten. I read it cover to cover as fast as possible, then turned back to th...moreI received this book as a gift from my dad when I had chicken pox when I was ten. I read it cover to cover as fast as possible, then turned back to the beginning and started again. I loved Mary Lennox because she was so contrary, I loved the idea of a secret garden, and children having secrets from adults.
I recently read it again and was still enchanted by the descriptions of spring in the English countryside, the gardens opening up, and the little girl making friends.
Good memories of good books are the best ones.(less)
I liked this book very much when I was a child. I suppose the children-against-adults theme is very appealing when you're nine or ten. I still like th...moreI liked this book very much when I was a child. I suppose the children-against-adults theme is very appealing when you're nine or ten. I still like the book and enjoy the descriptions and the inevitably happy ending, but I find myself liking it less than The Secret Garden.
The main character, Sara Crewe, is a little less contrary and a lot more perfect than the protagonist in the Secret Garden, and for that reason wasn't as endearing. I find myself preferring imperfect main characters, but I still love the book.