Just as good as I remembered. I love how different this feels from LOTR - brighter, easier, shallower - it's such a great introduction to the triology...moreJust as good as I remembered. I love how different this feels from LOTR - brighter, easier, shallower - it's such a great introduction to the triology and Bilbo provides what I like to think as a glimpse as someone who is much more hobbit-like than Frodo can ever be.(less)
I re-read this story in anticipation of it's movie adaptation that came out recently. I knew that if I didn't read it again I wou...moreYep - still loved it.
I re-read this story in anticipation of it's movie adaptation that came out recently. I knew that if I didn't read it again I would be able to see how horribly (I'm assuming) Hollywood butchered Gruen's story. I'll have to get back to you on that part once I go and see it, so for now I'll focus on the book itself.
Maybe it's because I grew up in Baraboo, Wisconsin - a small town where the Ringling Bros museum and winter headquarters are - but this novel is like gold to me. Circus stuff fascinates me and Gruen puts together all the deeper, darker parts to make this a story completely for adults.
The images are brilliant without being overwhelming. It's told from the eyes of an old man named Jacob looking back on his life as a young man. Because of this, I feel like we see things precisely the way humans remember them. I noticed Jacob's feelings: his anger, frustration, confusion, compassion, and helplessness the most throughout the book.
Another reviewer mentioned their frustration as the two-dimensionality of some of the characters, particularly Marlena. I have to disagree. It's true that we don't really get to pick her brain, but I feel like that is because Gruen really stays true to being in Jacob's head. It's a 3rd person story written like 1st. We know Jacob and only Jacob and see people only through his eyes. He cannot explain his draw to Marlena anymore than he can explain the craziness of August. Although part of me wants more, I actually find the blindness appealing. As great as the love story could be, this is really about the changing point in the life of Jacob and his reflection on it.(less)
I believe Garth Nix to be one of the most brilliant authors I have ever read. His creativity is phenominal and I am eternally envious of it. I highly...moreI believe Garth Nix to be one of the most brilliant authors I have ever read. His creativity is phenominal and I am eternally envious of it. I highly suggest reading each and every one of his books - especially this trilogy.(less)
I read this book the summer before my freshman year at college - it was a group read for the honors program and I later got to hear Tim Tyson speak ab...moreI read this book the summer before my freshman year at college - it was a group read for the honors program and I later got to hear Tim Tyson speak about his experience with the events in this book and writing the book itself. I was definitely floored by this piece of work. As others have said, it is beautifully written and all together alarming. I felt like I got to see events in a historical fashion, but also a personal one. It's impressive when an author can make you *feel* history (and things that really aren't far enough away to be history at all.
This book was a fantastic one for me to read after having spent four months in Spain recently. This book (written by the magnificent Richard Wright) s...moreThis book was a fantastic one for me to read after having spent four months in Spain recently. This book (written by the magnificent Richard Wright) showed in a vivid and entrancing manner a Spain very different from the one that I had experienced. It shows a Spain under Franco and Wright does a phenominal job of highlighting people and how they lived during the time of his visit. If you are interested in Spain at all, I definitely recommend this book.(less)
This is one of those books that I considered rating 4 stars because I felt that it ended too quickly - however, I quickyl re-evaluated that thought as...moreThis is one of those books that I considered rating 4 stars because I felt that it ended too quickly - however, I quickyl re-evaluated that thought as that could only mean one thing: it was so well written that I wanted more. Ishmael Beah told his story straight up - this is what happened and this is what I felt. This is one of those stories where I had to keep reminding myself, "This is a memoir, this is not fiction." I honestly can't say much about this other than that you should read it. It is one of those books that really means something and even though I wanted to learn a lot more about how he made it to the US and how he managed to integrate into New York, I realize that those really aren't the parts we should care about most and that, frankly, they may be things that are still too recent to talk about. Great memoir.(less)
I had heard from /numerous/ people that this book was 1) nothing like the musical and 2) bad, however I decided to give it a try myself and found that...moreI had heard from /numerous/ people that this book was 1) nothing like the musical and 2) bad, however I decided to give it a try myself and found that, while I wasn't nearly as disgusted with it as most people seemed to be, I didn't really like it either. I genuinely found the first 1/3 of the book interesting. I thought that her experience in Shiz was interesting, exciting, and I liked where it was heading. However, after Madame Morrible talked with the girls... the book definitely went downhill from there. I felt lost as a reader - Maguire declared that a ridiculous amount of time passed but the problem was nothing really changed. It was hard to read about so little progress. The things that seemed to important at the beginning of the novel went unresolved and characters went back and forth from having no importance to having loads, or vice versa. I am glad that I read it, however, I can't say that I would recommend it.(less)
Stephenie Meyer definitely gets her jollies off with self-sacrifice. I'm just putting that out there. Allow me to explain.
(view spoiler)[The main char...moreStephenie Meyer definitely gets her jollies off with self-sacrifice. I'm just putting that out there. Allow me to explain.
(view spoiler)[The main character, a parasitic life form named Wanderer, is put into an human body belonging to a woman named Melanie. As you might expect, it wasn't the so-called normal experience and Melanie sticks around and the learn from each other until Wanderer decides to abandon her entire life and go find the one Melanie had before.
Melanie, of course, had a lover and a younger brother, both of whom she would die for. Becuase of this, Wanderer decides she would die for them too. From the first moment she is able to find her family she is constantly throwing herself in front of them and generally willing to die at any moment to keep them safe. This is pretty much the main theme of the book and is just adjusted into different scenarios throughout - first it's the divided humans in the cave that are the threat, then it's the Seeker searching for her that's the threat, then it's a raging infection that's a threat, and then of course it's her own guilt for taking Melanie's body that is a threat and the last one where she finally decides she really will sacrifice herself.
Oh - but that's not all. Wanderer's selflessness is not nearly enough for Meyer. Instead she decides the others are full of self-sacrifice too. Jeb, the leader of this clan, immediately decides he'll take the fall for her without even knowing her. Then, Wanderer is such an amazing "person" that everyone loves her once they are willing to open up to her. Before you know it you have people jumping out at her left and right with the intention to kill her, but not without a storm of other people leaping inbetween, ready to take the fall. My guess it's supposed to be touching and show that love conquers all, but really it just gets annoying. (hide spoiler)]
Because, let's face it, this is Twilight all tied up in different wrapping paper. Make that tissue paper. Wanderer is Bella. Straight up. She's an innocent girl who doesn't want anyone to do anything for her and who attaches herself to people she doesn't even know but would die for them anyway. And somehow everyone loves her. Even though they shouldn't because she's really just kind of boring.
I just don't get it. Meyer is an author unlike any I've read before. Because, lets face it - her storyline are interesting. This one is a parasitic life form her turns against her people and is probably actually improving the human race. Admittedly interesting. Then of course there's twilight - good vampires fighting against their own kind, not to mention against bad ass wolves. And of course both talk about star-crossed lovers which is also a good story sell.
But the problem is her writing SUCKS. Meyer can't write a good character to save her life. The thoughts are repetative and annoying. Her characters are unnaturalled flawed in ways that don't matter - instead of coming up with interseting personality development she makes "flaws" like clumsiness or shyness. Those aren't flaws they are traits and they're not enough.
If I had read this before Twilight I probably would have liked it better. As it is now I've basically already read the same story before with all the same issues. Meyer really needs to take a couple of writing classes. She also needs to cut back on the use of "chagrin."["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
For being a book that revolves around religion - and for being a very non-religious person - I actually really enjoyed this. It's a quick read and the...moreFor being a book that revolves around religion - and for being a very non-religious person - I actually really enjoyed this. It's a quick read and the characters have very unique characteristics.
I remember this book like I remember a dream. Certain, relatively useless parts really stick out to me - the walk up the mountain in the snow, the silence in the car, the crazy woman in Madrid. It's not so much a story with a plot as it is watching someone transfer - maybe a little unrealistically but a transformation none-the-less.
I'm fascinated that only the main character has a name; it gives the piece an interesting twist. Even though Pilar is in love with this man who seems to take over the whole book, by not naming him, you realize that this story really isn't about /him/, it's about her, and I think that's what makes it enjoyable.(less)
I read this book while on study abraod in Barcelona, Spain - which I felt was an absurdly appropraite time in my life to be doing so. However, I wasn'...moreI read this book while on study abraod in Barcelona, Spain - which I felt was an absurdly appropraite time in my life to be doing so. However, I wasn't quite able to relate to Mary as I thought I would be able to as very little of my adventure comes close to hers. I came on a program, went to a school, am living in a normal-class society. What Mary did is something I could never do - live by myself in poverty, travel to unknown stretches of the earth with diseases, danger, and more. However, I admire her very much and appreicate learning about her adventures. I enjoyed the book very, very much and feel that I really grew with her as she went through her experiences. My only complaint is that I wish she w0ould have elabiorated more on some experiences than others - if you read the book (which you should) you should understand what I mean.(less)
I believe most of the enjoyment that I got was from the descriptions of Spain - of being able to say "I've been there" - specifically the restaurant B...moreI believe most of the enjoyment that I got was from the descriptions of Spain - of being able to say "I've been there" - specifically the restaurant Botin that was mentioned in the last few pages. But, that aside, I honestly had a hard time grasping a lot of the story. I understand and appreciate what Brett is and what Jake is and what they are and are not together... but the rest of the story, to me, falls flat. I get lost in too much detail, thinking that it's important, only to discover that it's a way to pass the time. I appreciated reading about things I am currently enjoying, but otherwise I believe I would have been downright disappointed in the story.(less)
It's honestly hard for me to say whether I enjoyed this book or not. It's one of those reads where I honestly didn't enjoy it unti labout the last two...moreIt's honestly hard for me to say whether I enjoyed this book or not. It's one of those reads where I honestly didn't enjoy it unti labout the last two or three chapters, but since I had committed myself to reading it, I decided to finish it. The book, essentially, had no plot except for follow the life of a man that I couldn't entirely connect with - his conversations seemed too "intense" to be real, I couldn't truly believe that he talked with so much passion to everyone he met. Maybe that's my own personal flaw, but I didn't find the characters entirely realistic. Too ready to reveal themselves.
However, I do feel that I learned a thing or two from the book and, although it's not one that I feel I would ever discuss or reccomend to anyone, I have a feeling that certain parts of the book will pop into my head from time to time. It's not one that I will readily forget.(less)