So this is entirely Mo centric. I don't know if you've seen the post about how men write women (try searching boobily titted down the stairs),Oh boy.
So this is entirely Mo centric. I don't know if you've seen the post about how men write women (try searching boobily titted down the stairs), but .... yeah.
No woman in her forties is unaware of the difference that clothing makes to how she is perceived. For that matter, no girl out of her teens is unaware and there is convincing research that girls of under ten are also conscious that femininity is a performance and woman are judged by their bodies and their presentation of those bodies. Yet Mo muses, with some amazement, on how looking grungy means means a different kind of guy gawps at her.
Every time Mo had moments of introspection she sounded like a middle aged man's idea of how women think. I mean, it wasn't offensive, and he's clearly been trying to think through how women experience the world differently from men, but it also wasn't right. It didn't at all ring true to me, not for how many women feel about body image and the performative nature of femininity, and not true to the character, who by and large in previous books (and sure, Bob could be super unreliable as narrators go) as someone who wields her looks like a weapon: with precision, forethought, and very infrequently.
To be honest, I'm not up for Mr Stross mansplaining age and the female condition to me, a woman in my forties. It felt clunky to me, but I wasn't the target audience. It's a pity, because I would have *loved* to be the target audience. Really great women protagonists are few and far between, and Mo had a lot of potential. For me, this book was a miss....more
Complex worldbuilding; interesting characters; sweet protagonist (stubborn and earnest and adorable); ridiculous amounts of exposition carried of withComplex worldbuilding; interesting characters; sweet protagonist (stubborn and earnest and adorable); ridiculous amounts of exposition carried of with style plus a bunch of interesting sidelights on the problems of inheriting an empire that behaves like most empires do i.e. problematically, when you've been shat on from a great height all your life, bullied, erased and ignored. Plus, a bunch of politicking (but not too much). Maia's social progressivism is the kind that a 18 year old would have -- and he has the power to back it up. I really hope the author does write more stories in this 'verse.
I rarely read a book more than once any more. I read this at least eight times over the last six months. Note perfect....more
Solid read, really good world building. Have read more than once (three times I think, which is by no means a record, but certainly means the book wilSolid read, really good world building. Have read more than once (three times I think, which is by no means a record, but certainly means the book will be staying with me). The romance felt forced in, and I genuinely didn't feel it added to the story. The ending left me with a strong desire to know more -- what happened to the kids, to the kingdom -- the final events seemed like the set up for a massive civil war or an invasion from Rosya. Or both.
Additionally, glanced at the book jacket, and author photo and was very amused when the description of the protagonist matched up with it. Conscious? unconscious? Who knows?...more
Depressing, and very much of its time. There are better Nevil Shute books, but none perhaps that so neatly encapsualte the sense of inevitable creepinDepressing, and very much of its time. There are better Nevil Shute books, but none perhaps that so neatly encapsualte the sense of inevitable creeping doom that the cold war of the fifties and sixties engendered....more
Fast paced, pointed, very funny to small children.
Re-read as an adult, Willy Wonka is a bigoted maverick who uses sadistic and abusive measures to elFast paced, pointed, very funny to small children.
Re-read as an adult, Willy Wonka is a bigoted maverick who uses sadistic and abusive measures to eliminate the competition (i.e. small children). More than that, Charlie's success is diminished because his victory is rigged.
I much prefer Matilda, with its themes of resilience and internal strength against adult cruelty than this. C&CF's 'karmic' retribution is just ugly, violence against cardboard cut-outs. ...more
I waited for the paperback of the Attenbury Emeralds, and my only regret is not leaving it a little longer and just buying it second hand. The word thI waited for the paperback of the Attenbury Emeralds, and my only regret is not leaving it a little longer and just buying it second hand. The word that comes to mind is shoddy.
Jill Patton Walsh's Peter Wimsey is unrecognisable, self-indulgent, self pitying and out of touch with his core of moral rectitude tempered by feudal sense of obligation and duty.
The opening pages dive straight into anachronistic discussion of 'flashbacks' to the first world war, forgetting apparently, that he was also in the Second. The similarly anachronistic preachiness of toleration and diversity, and the guilty admissions of racist behaviour 'back before the war' is not merely anachronistic guilt about bigotry but inaccurate depictions of bigotry. Anti-Semitism was a worse problem than racism in that period, and yet, it's unlikely that a mixed race woman would be a lecturer at LSE in 1942.
The story itself is involuted, ridiculously dependent on coincidences and silly behaviour, and despite all its twists and turns of seeming complexity, painfully obvious as to who committed the crimes. I admit to a certain incredulity that the person concerned did not find the later murders rather difficult to accomplish given their advancing years. My incredulity is further strained by the self-indulgent tripe based around the problems of insurance claims and death taxes. Peter, we are given to believe by Dorothy Sayers, is a concerned, financially savvy landlord -- but not in this book. Here, apparently he hasn't bothered rebuilding the bombed out land he owns, and the death duties will require all his money, all Denver's money and to sell most the land besides. IHT was high then, yes, but not that high.
Hanging a lantern on the fact that the story requires a series of coincidences, a piece of amazingly poor judgement by Peter in the first section of the story (who has no problem questioning children on other occasions) does not make those instances any better. Indeed, they just make it apparent that the author was well aware of the laziness of her storytelling, but just couldn't be bothered to fix it. Execrable....more
**spoiler alert** Not entirely impressed by Bill Bryson's book on private life. The frame gets lost too often, and to be honest, there should be pictu**spoiler alert** Not entirely impressed by Bill Bryson's book on private life. The frame gets lost too often, and to be honest, there should be pictures of the damn house since he's talking about it so exhaustively. His history shows gaps -- the discussion of orphanages and children misses out completely the charity schools and Coram's Fields (London Hospital for Foundlings). While the detail about the workhouses is good, the elision of previous arrangements is just ignorant. He cites a single example when a study of local parish records for practically anywhere would show a much more pragmatic and non-judgemental set of precedents.
He misses an opportunity to mention the cost of dyes, and the huge industry in mordants and chemical dyes. He touches on sugar, but doesn't really look at it, and its impact in the slavery/cotton/tobacco trade, choosing instead to focus entirely on the cotton gin and its impact on slavery and international trade.
It's an odd melange of a book, the raconteur's after-dinner collection of random facts, figures, people, places and anecdotes. The house's first owner, Mr. Marsham is left as a cypher, anecdotes are given the weight of statistically relevant observations, and stories are presented as 'self-evidently' to be interpreted in a particular way. The bias towards sensationalism is slight but present, and it undermines an otherwise entertaining mish mash of trivia....more
**spoiler alert** It's difficult to think of what to say about Cryoburn. On the one hand, there's plenty of the usual Milesian plot and conspiracy, ac**spoiler alert** It's difficult to think of what to say about Cryoburn. On the one hand, there's plenty of the usual Milesian plot and conspiracy, accidentally uncovered. The kid who is the protagonist for large parts of the story is something of a cypher, I mean, I can't even remember his name. The problem is the book's ending.
For me, the single most affecting bit of the book is the last page, and that has nothing to do with the story, really, except in so far as the whole story is in a somewhat warped sense a kind of dress rehearsal for the ending. The drabbles at the end also really moved me, but they did rather obliterate the rest of the story for me. To a reader unaware of the significance of what was happening, I'm sure the rest of the story was a very serviceable thriller about the perils of cryo-preservation, over-powerful corporations and the abuse of power and corruption of democracy by an unchecked monopolistic free market....more