This is by no means the strongest volume in the series (nor my favourite) -- think The Hobbit in comparison to the rest of The Lord of the Rings -- bu...moreThis is by no means the strongest volume in the series (nor my favourite) -- think The Hobbit in comparison to the rest of The Lord of the Rings -- but I gave it five stars anyway because it is the book that launched Roland on his unforgettable, addictive quest. It's a teaser, but absolutely integral to understanding everything that comes after. Don't miss that experience.
And my absolute favourite opening line (say it with me Constant Readers): The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed. (less)
Do not overlook this series!! It is not just for kids; in fact, I've had one parent say to me she would think twice about letting her kids read these...moreDo not overlook this series!! It is not just for kids; in fact, I've had one parent say to me she would think twice about letting her kids read these books because of the nightmares and sleepless nights that would surely result. I've been reading horror (the good, the bad, and the ugly) for over 20 years and I can honestly say that Joseph Delaney has created something spectacular and sinister with his Last Apprentice books. The imagery is startling and unforgettable; you will hear the thumps in the cellar and feel that cold hand grab your arm. Certain scenes unfold like the best film sequences and burn into your mind. And the witches! These are some scary ass witches...not the namby-pamby Disney version.(less)
I always thought of Lois Lowry's The Giver as the little book that could. Written almost like a parable, its deceptively simple story delivers some he...moreI always thought of Lois Lowry's The Giver as the little book that could. Written almost like a parable, its deceptively simple story delivers some heavy, reverberating hits. I consider this little book to be a significant contribution to the genre, ranked right up there with such dystopian classics as Brave New World, The Handmaid's Tale, Fahrenheit 451, 1984, and Soylent Green. I love it because of its simplicity and accessibility; it's the perfect way to introduce younger readers (especially reluctant younger readers) to some pretty powerful themes.
It's a book that can only generate discussion and debate amongst the young and young at heart on the importance of personal choice. You fight for it. You don’t ever let it be taken from you. Sameness, calmness, serenity... these may sound like lofty goals, comforting words, but they should never come at the cost of the individual’s right to explore, question, challenge, choose.
Some readers may be left unsatisfied by the ambiguous ending; I have to admit, first time reading it I was a little frustrated. But like any good parable, the ending is probably the best launching off point to a passionate debate of "what-ifs" "maybes" and "for sures". Other readers might be put off by Lowry's lack of detailed world-building; this is a teensy book - a long short story really - and with such a small canvas there really isn't room for answers, mostly questions. There is a lot we don't know - the how and why this community came to be. But the mystery inspires some addictive speculation, especially in the context of other dysptopian tales which surely influenced Lowry here.
The Giver is a chilling bedtime story, as good at warning us and teaching us a lesson, as it is at entertaining us. That's a magnificent book that can do those things all at once. (less)
What an amazing journey ... I just loved this book! For fans of dark fairy tales, quests, and coming-of-age stories, this is a must-read. The book is...moreWhat an amazing journey ... I just loved this book! For fans of dark fairy tales, quests, and coming-of-age stories, this is a must-read. The book is so hard to describe, but the reading of it reminded me of Pan's Labyrinth and the other Labyrinth starring David Bowie and a young Jennifer Connelly, with a twist of Neil Gaiman's Coraline thrown in. The novel stands as a great adventure tale, full of harrowing and terror-filled moments. But it also offers some twisted versions of established fairy tales while rejoicing in the power of childhood imagination and the art of storytelling. Where would we be without the stories we tell each other? Isn't that what separates us from the animals? This is not a children's book. Connolly has accomplished something remarkable here. Bravo! Recommended Readalike: The Talisman(less)
Weird, wild stuff. I'm not sure if I'd be able to read a full novel by Gahan Wilson, but these stories were definitely a unique reading experience. A...moreWeird, wild stuff. I'm not sure if I'd be able to read a full novel by Gahan Wilson, but these stories were definitely a unique reading experience. A little Hitchcock, mixed in with some Night Gallery, served up with a twist of Twilight Zone. I especially liked the one where a young boy steals the finger from a kid's corpse, and the kid comes back looking for it!(less)
Sigh. I hate when this happens. I should have loved the shit out of this book. It's Bradbury, it's vintage horror, it's Stephen King recommended, it's...more Sigh. I hate when this happens. I should have loved the shit out of this book. It's Bradbury, it's vintage horror, it's Stephen King recommended, it's a coming-of-age tale about young boys and a creepy carnival, and it's been on my reading list for years. This book and I should have hit it off like gangbusters. The chemistry should have been overwhelming and indisputable. But we got off to an awkward start. I kept putting it down and picking up other things. Finally, with the day off work, I took it in hand this afternoon with a desire to just dive in and -- for better or worse -- finish the damn thing. Alas, it was for the worse.
No doubt, some of the writing is charmed and gorgeous. Bradbury's descriptions of the library in particular are wonderful. But the rest for me... imagine cracking open a freezing cold can of pop and expecting that sharp, satisfying bite of carbonation at the back of your throat and instead what you swallow is flat, warm, syrupy water.
To me, no one writes children (especially boys) like King. He can catch, like lightning in a bottle every time, the way kids talk, think and act. I didn't experience that here. Jim and Will feel too archetypical of all boys rather than boys genuine to their unique story. Will is childish on one hand, and too mature on the other. And I don't know ... quite frankly I was bored. The mirror maze was sort of interesting, as was the carousel, but nothing ever felt really creepy and perilous.
Ah shizzle. I can only conclude the book didn't fail me; I failed it.
Truly excellent, un-put-downable storytelling. Loved Janie and fully sympathized with her plight (and Cabel is the boyfriend we wish we all had in hig...moreTruly excellent, un-put-downable storytelling. Loved Janie and fully sympathized with her plight (and Cabel is the boyfriend we wish we all had in high school) This is a short novel, and McMann's spare prose is a marvel -- that she should tell a story so rich in conflict and emotion in so few words shows staggering talent. (less)
Neil Gaiman weaves a tale in such a way that he transports me back to a state of childhood wonderment when being transfixed by a story seemed so much...moreNeil Gaiman weaves a tale in such a way that he transports me back to a state of childhood wonderment when being transfixed by a story seemed so much easier and so much more pleasurable. Gaiman reminds me of why I love to read and I love him for that.
First-line-fever: There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.(less)
This book left me gutted and absolutely speechless. It is the kind of book that we can only hope to see once or twice in a generation. And that’s if w...moreThis book left me gutted and absolutely speechless. It is the kind of book that we can only hope to see once or twice in a generation. And that’s if we’re lucky.
Narrating The Book Thief is Death, who confesses he is haunted by humans — our beauty, our savagery, our contradictions. I, on the other hand, will remain haunted by Liesel’s story for the rest of my life (and little Rudy Steiner). There is really no way to describe this book that will come anywhere close to doing it justice. It defies all regular categorization and usual comparisons.
There are only a handful of books that after the reading is done I want to run out and buy copies for everyone I know and plead with them to drop whatever it is they are doing and read it immediately (before they get hit by a bus or a comet smashes into the Earth) — this is one of those books. The words lyrical and profound, spiritual and uncompromising are quite often overused, to the point where we’ve rendered them almost meaningless and that’s too bad -- because I want to use them here and have them mean something.
Zusak’s prose is staggeringly gorgeous both in its simplicity and in its complexity; his choice of words is flawless and inspired. I am humbled by such immense talent. The Book Thief is a gift for the ages, a love song to words, books, and what it means to be human. It is a story that will steal (and break) your heart.
Summer came. For the book thief, everything was going nicely. For me, the sky was the color of Jews. When their bodies had finished scouring for gaps in the door, their souls rose up. When their fingernails had scratched at the wood and in some cases were nailed into it by sheer force of desperation, their spirits came toward me, into my arms, and we climbed out of those shower facilities, onto the roof and up, into eternity's certain breadth. They just kept feeding me. Minute after minute. Shower after shower (The Book Thief)