I bought this book at Carmichaels in Louisville, one of the best small indies around, half because it survives without changing the essential formula....moreI bought this book at Carmichaels in Louisville, one of the best small indies around, half because it survives without changing the essential formula. The employee who handed it to me over the register said, "one of the best books of all time.". I had unreasonably high hopes, then, because I couldn't muster any interest in the book - even in dandelion wine weather.
This book is simply many short stories set in Green Town, Illinois, with one quasi-autobiographical story reoccurring. (Douglas Spaulding) Unlike the Martian Chronicles, where the stories make sense together even if they have different characters - variations on a mission to Mars are genre-tied well enough - these stories were written and published separately and do not make sense together, except for the location and general theme of "time.". I guess the easy sum up is: the Douglas Spaulding/Lonely One story is not worthwhile, but the disconnected stories are very very good. Bradbury writes old folks brilliantly. The three stars is my weak balance of the mix. (less)
OK, I've been saying this for a while now, but WHAT IS UP WITH THE MASS AMOUNT OF NOVELS ABOUT CHILD SAFETY. I really cannot handle them. Who can read...moreOK, I've been saying this for a while now, but WHAT IS UP WITH THE MASS AMOUNT OF NOVELS ABOUT CHILD SAFETY. I really cannot handle them. Who can read plots that are based on progressive imperilment of children?? It's horrible.
I thought Lean on Pete would be triumphant, would show me the inside of a 15-year old mind, would teach me something new. Instead it is the story of how many cans of spaghetti-os he steals in order to survive. His strategy for defense when he goes to a guy's trailer to beat him with a tire iron. I thought: OK, he's sleeping in the park. Maybe we'll read about some little trick he's figured out that he's proud of, like how to stash his blanket so another park-sleeper won't find it. Maybe, he'll think of his dad and get sad, and remember a better time with him. But no. Instead, I feared to turn the page and see what new awful thing the kid would be subjected to.
I do not see the supposed comparison to John Steinbeck. Steinbeck has clean prose, sure, but his writing is laced with enormous metaphorical power.
Since I read this book, I give people on the street money. I guess that's the upshot.(less)
I liked this book more and more and I read. I enjoyed spending the first five pages of each chapter guessing at who was talking now. The last 100 page...moreI liked this book more and more and I read. I enjoyed spending the first five pages of each chapter guessing at who was talking now. The last 100 pages are brilliant. Reminded me of William Gibson's talent for writing fiction that naturally extends into the future of technology - not too unbelievable, very like our world now, but our children are fluent in powerpoint and handsets. My only complaint is that she has trouble stepping beyond the cliche of NYC life. Manhattan, the rich suburbs of NYC, Naples, or California (SF, LA, or extreme desert). Everything else is too boring to write about? Even Sasha tells Alex - "there is nowhere else," - which first he takes as a joke and then realizes she is serious. But, terrific and highly recommended work.(less)
This is a great book, and if I weren't so stingy with the five stars it would be a top-rated book on my shelf. I am in a Western reading frenzy but I...moreThis is a great book, and if I weren't so stingy with the five stars it would be a top-rated book on my shelf. I am in a Western reading frenzy but I think that it would be simple to put this novel in that camp, when it is so funny, so dialogue focused. It took me a while to stop guessing at hidden meanings or double identities and just enjoy the bizarre events as they unfolded. There are many characters left unresolved and unanswered, and the moments of whimsy - those Intermissions, as though this were a play! - somehow seemed very magical but also honest? Not sure how to review this book other than to recommend it.(less)
The book is cartoonishly historical but enjoyable. Who cares about realism when the parchment-making process is so thoroughly researched? Lots of sex...moreThe book is cartoonishly historical but enjoyable. Who cares about realism when the parchment-making process is so thoroughly researched? Lots of sex and female battery and non-linear progress... but that's expected.(less)
This book is full and big, a wonderful book. My main complaint is that the pace goes from 400 pages of crawling through a woman's young life to skippi...moreThis book is full and big, a wonderful book. My main complaint is that the pace goes from 400 pages of crawling through a woman's young life to skipping her last 50 years and wrapping up key events without much explanation. I also reject the idea that you should find a heroine in Iris. She is sympathetic but I do not feel responsible for liking her. I did feel very sad when I finished, the book is so sad. Don't look for redemption at the end.(less)
The stars are for the whimsy of this book, its occasional poetry in prose: the magic of a man living in trees, having lovers, battling pirates, foster...moreThe stars are for the whimsy of this book, its occasional poetry in prose: the magic of a man living in trees, having lovers, battling pirates, fostering revolutions. I loved passages of this book immensely. But the words and stitching together in what appeared to be a plot was not as charming or interesting. Calvino is a tremendous writer, but I would not recommend this book among his other works.(less)
Well, this book is a classic. I wish I could have read it in 1950 when all the imagination about the future was before us. But today, it is challengin...moreWell, this book is a classic. I wish I could have read it in 1950 when all the imagination about the future was before us. But today, it is challenging to imagine because his guesses are so far from the known. Scientifically, we know Mars is uninhabitable and that computers - not radio - are a primary form of communication (!). Socially, we know that (legal) civil rights came only twenty years after the book's publishing, and that women and ethnic minorities are no longer in the background of our history.
With this, his stories were strange to read, some kind of limbo past/future that never happened.
Recommend reading this book differently, then. More as a social critique of America, a conversation about xenophobia and "otherness," and thoughtful about how we invade and recreate landscape. One can't help but sympathize with Spender in the end. If there were a real Mars and native, advanced Martian population today, would it play out much the same as it does in Bradbury's imagination?(less)
I have to agree with many other goodreads reviewers: this book is way too long and underedited. For each witticism there are ten flat metaphors and fo...moreI have to agree with many other goodreads reviewers: this book is way too long and underedited. For each witticism there are ten flat metaphors and fourteen tired phrases. I also agree with the reviewer who pointed out that a better job of telling the story of a secretive group of private school teenagers has been done better in Donna Tartt's The Secret History.
But, to truth, I didn't love that book either, because I am not a fan of moneyed teenage intellectualism. And this narrating sixteen year old genius was particularly uninteresting, because (a) she was a very reliable narrator, which no sixteen year old outcast would be, and (b) had such an extreme puffed up self-concept of brilliance that she was absolutely annoying.
The constant notations were also really gimmicky.
Credit goes to Marisha for prolific work and certainly skill with the pen.(less)
We bought and read this book because the guy at the comics store melted when he recommended it. And, having little background in graphic novels or sel...moreWe bought and read this book because the guy at the comics store melted when he recommended it. And, having little background in graphic novels or self-realization of artistic process, I wasn't in any way tired or comparative on the subject matter. Just wholly wrapped up in the constant beaming warmth of being a sympathetic accomplice to the story: from being set down *gently* by the Thing in the Chest at the beginning of the book to the amazing imaginary tea gnome blessings I can optionally enjoy for the rest of my life. And I won't soon forget the laugh-out-loud Commercial Breaks, the motorcycling giraffe, the opening compositions that are always on the precipice of action, or my favorite - the deer princess decorated in eyes on p.98. I hope sometime that I do feel like that's my true self, if only others could see me properly. Hooray, Theo! Wonderful work. And thanks to the comics guy for giving us such a heart-magnificent recommendation.(less)
**spoiler alert** I never knew I would give a Rushdie book 3 stars.
This book is wonderful fantasy, reminded me of Michael Chabon's recent book Gentlem...more**spoiler alert** I never knew I would give a Rushdie book 3 stars.
This book is wonderful fantasy, reminded me of Michael Chabon's recent book Gentlemen of the Road, only Enchantress is far more authentic and more adult.
Places and empires have ancient, beautiful names; some discernible into modern names and territories, some not. Rushdie's bibliography shows that 90% of his references are in regard to Florence, not to Akbar or Persia or the Ottoman Empire. Since the book is hardly 90% Florence, I wonder how much of the extra-Italy action is memory/knowledge that Rushdie carries around and delivers so fluently. This is why I (we) love to read him - he brings us a vivid perspective, truth, and body of historical/cultural knowledge to which we are not otherwise exposed.
Three reasons for three stars: - Trying to do too much. I think I groaned/hollered out loud each time the book tried to fit another historical figure into the narrative. The point, I think, is to show the commonality of these great people - at one late point Niccolo "Mogor" says as much and I immediately highlighted it as the theme of the book. Worthwhile, but really - Elizabeth I, Machiavelli, Amerigo Vespucci, Akbar the Great, Mehmed II, Vlad the Impaler... some are obviously connected, but otherwise this feels like a reach.
- The theme. We are all the same, all nationalities and faiths. Only we are not asked to examine whether emperors and commoners (rich/poor) are the same. The only "commoners" are brilliant men (Dashwanth, Birbal, Tansen) with incredible talents, or slaves to emperors. Ago is the closest sub for a common person. He has no birthright or talent other than being in the right place at the right time, and his total submission to carrying royalty on his back.
- The answer/twist in the last 20 pages. We are all the same, and this is proven because the brilliant foreigner and the emperor are both the victims/perpetrators of incest. Whoa. What?
I am not sure how to think about Beauty in this book.