Yes it took me 9 months to read the book, but it was worth the effort. It is probably the most comprehensive biography written about Walt Disney, andYes it took me 9 months to read the book, but it was worth the effort. It is probably the most comprehensive biography written about Walt Disney, and was by no means a flattering depiction of the man. Disney is shown to be a man with fierce ambitions who sometimes trampled on people in his way. He dreamed big, had a big ego, and strove for perfection but often had to settle for less. Neal Gabler's biography is a fascinating study of the man behind the image known as Walt Disney....more
What a very long and tedious book. It's similar to "The Bridges of Madison County" in that it's about a married woman who meets her soul-mate and hasWhat a very long and tedious book. It's similar to "The Bridges of Madison County" in that it's about a married woman who meets her soul-mate and has an extramarital affair with him during the war, but fate keeps them apart and she spends the rest of her life cherishing the memory. However "Bridges of Madison County" brilliantly swept the reader away with a brevity of words, whereas "The Shell Seekers" droned on and on for 500+ pages!...more
I've not read a lot of murder mysteries, however my late mother was a voracious reader of murder mysteries and particularly those by Agatha Christie.I've not read a lot of murder mysteries, however my late mother was a voracious reader of murder mysteries and particularly those by Agatha Christie. I think she loved trying to predict "who done it" from the clues. As a boy I remember her praising this particular book because of the twist and surprise ending. Yes she even revealed the secret to me (view spoiler)[ which was the murderer turned out to be the narrator of the story! (hide spoiler)] So all these years later I decided to honor my mother and read this book. Even knowing the outcome I was still able to enjoy it very much and admire the skill that Agatha Christie has in unraveling a mystery. (view spoiler)[ The first person narrator is completely truthful. He never lies to the reader, but simply omits a few facts until the very end, so it really isn't a cheat when you find out he's the murderer. (hide spoiler)] Agatha Christie is undeniably one of the best mystery writers that ever lived. I look forward to reading more of her books. Thanks Mom!...more
My impression based on the first few chapters was not good. I thought the author’s first-person narrative was all over the place and I just was not inMy impression based on the first few chapters was not good. I thought the author’s first-person narrative was all over the place and I just was not in tune with his writing style. But then I adjusted to the style and I have to admit that there was quite a bit of charm and a whole lot of really funny, dry wit.
The story revolves around a gay couple who never planned or wanted to have a child, but through some unusual circumstances became guardians to 11-year-old Scot, who was the son of the girlfriend of the brother of one of the couple. (Got that straight?) Scot’s mother was a drug addict and had just killed herself by OD-ing, and her boyfriend was too irresponsible to take the kid, so he pawns him off on his gay brother, Sam. Naturally Scot is pretty emotionally mixed up and he’s a quirky kid who is a bit of a sissy and seems destined to become a drag queen.
The narrator of the story is Ed, Sam’s partner. Where the charm comes in is through Ed’s hilarious observations, his feeling of being overwhelmed by a situation he never wanted or planned for, and then gently being won over to love and understand this peculiar child, and finally becoming so attached that he couldn’t imagine life without him. Once I became acclimated to Michael Downing’s writing style, I found the characters to be endearing, and I really enjoyed this book.
Speak Its Name is a wonderful collection of three historical gay romances set in England that are very different from one another and yet complement eSpeak Its Name is a wonderful collection of three historical gay romances set in England that are very different from one another and yet complement each other quite well. The first, Aftermath by Charlie Cochrane is set in Cramner College in 1920 and features two students – popular Hugo Lamont and socially awkward Edward Easterby. While they both are enamored with one another, neither has the courage to act upon his feelings. The story is a simple one with very little in the way of plot, but rather a character study of the complications of a burgeoning romance in a repressed time.
The second story, Gentleman's Gentlman by Lee Rowan is a delightful escapade of an English Lord and his Valet. Lord Scoville has dalliances with temporary male lovers and this is accepted by Jack who carries on a few clandestine affairs of his own but manages to fool his employer into thinking that he’s a ladies man. During a secret mission for the government in which Scoville is to retrieve secret papers involving plans of the Germans, things get a little complicated and in the chaos the two men finally reveal that they have actually been carrying a torch for one another. The nice thing about Rowan’s story is that it really is an exciting adventure and the romantic feelings between the two leads were always just below the surface creating dramatic tension, because the reader feels that the truth could erupt at any moment.
The third story, Hard and Fast by Erastes is the crown jewel of the three. The somewhat feckless Geoffrey Chaloner is a pawn in his father’s plans to match him with a lady of some standing, Miss Pelham. However in order to court her, Geoffrey must first win the favor of her cousin, Adam Heyward. Adam is an enigma. He’s scathing and yet he also manipulates Geoffrey into doing what he wants. Geoffrey and Adam eventually have a torrid encounter and Geoffrey has to make some radical decisions about the direction he chooses for the future. Written in the first-person, the story has a style that is sumptuous and precise. The formality and structure of the language are spot-on in reflecting the rigid, polite society and the dry humor and subtle digs that Geoffrey makes toward his father and society in general are deliciously rich. This is first-class writing and I predict the name Erastes will soon be much wider known. ...more
Gerry Burnie's Two Irish Lads is a quaint tale of second cousins Sean and Patrick McConaghy who migrate to Canada from their homeland of Ireland in thGerry Burnie's Two Irish Lads is a quaint tale of second cousins Sean and Patrick McConaghy who migrate to Canada from their homeland of Ireland in the year 1820. With their life's savings they intended to buy some land in "upper Canada" (the area now known as Ontario) and make a good life as farmers with the hope of prosperity.
Once they arrive they visit the land office and select a choice piece of property. With a few supplies and a tent, they take on the task of clearing the land, hoping to build a shelter before winter. The two lads eventually realize they are in love. One of the settlement's wealthy leaders, Nealon, takes them under his wing, giving them advice, arranging a cabin-raising for them, and even getting Sean a job as a schoolmaster. It is soon revealed that he has an ulterior motive in that he hopes they might marry his two daughters.
There are a few harsh realities through which they must persevere, before all the dust settles, but I won't spoil it by revealing any more.
The story is written in the style of Sean's daily journal. While the first few chapters do indeed read like an authentic journal, thankfully Burnie then shifts to more of a first-person narrative than how a real journal would read, but that is simply to accommodate the storytelling process.
Burnie's knowledge and research shine through in that the story beautifully describes 19th century Irish customs and decorum. He even uses a few Gaelic phrases, always with translation, and the dialog sounds so right you can practically hear the Irish brogue.
I thought the characters were well-developed and exuded a great deal of charm. Sean was the leader and sensible one, whereas the younger Patrick was more carefree and daring. While he yearned to be able to be open and proclaim his "secret love" to the world, he deferred to Sean's wisdom and together they balanced each other out. The details of frontier life were also well researched, and the descriptions were vivid enough to give us a good picture of the landscapes and the settlements.
My quibbles are minor - I'd have liked to see more of Sean actually teaching the children, and I felt there were a few times some of the characters were just a little too perky for my taste.
I really enjoyed Two Irish Lads. It suits my personal taste of an upbeat depiction of frontier life, and I especially like stories where people come together to help each other and fight against the evils that threaten them. I look forward to reading more from this gifted author.