Just to clarify: I have the 2013 edition that, for whatever reason, needed to be re-printed the week school started. The publisher took ages getting t...moreJust to clarify: I have the 2013 edition that, for whatever reason, needed to be re-printed the week school started. The publisher took ages getting the book to the school (it was week 3 before everyone had the text).
However, this book has made it easy to show students that writing is not a thing that has a formula, something I've been working on demonstrating for ages. Why do some professional writers have their thesis at the end of the conclusion, but we're telling students it has to be the last sentence in the introduction? Why does a paragraph have to look like X when some authors have a paragraph made up of one sentence? This book addresses all of that, and gives students LOTS of options. I love that.
I like the way the text offers lots of "Learn by Doing" ideas, or things like "Quick Starts" to do in class. This way, teaching becomes easier. The book makes simple connections between the material and ways to learn it, which saves me time.
My students are struggling with the e-readings. E-readings appear everywhere and anywhere. Students have to log on to a special URL for your class and then put in an access code located in the back of their books. Except the access code keeps telling them they don't have access. This has screwed up more than one of my class periods, as not a soul in the room could get online. The content of the book isn't bad, but the design created by Bedford is just the worst I have ever seen. When I call tech support for help, no one there knows anything about Launch Pad or the differences between LP and LPSolo (by the way, LP wasn't even finished when school started despite the book being published in 2013). This has been a terrible semester. (less)
Lauren Becker's book is quite tiny. I have to say right away, this is something I really enjoy--that ability to stick a book in my purse or pocket and...moreLauren Becker's book is quite tiny. I have to say right away, this is something I really enjoy--that ability to stick a book in my purse or pocket and go. The only thing I love more than the tiny book is the tiny book that comes with the ribbon bookmark attached to the binding (even though it looks like a book with a tampon). Those are the best! Though small, the quality of paper and binding of if i would leave myself behind is excellent. Curbside Splendor makes books that make you happy to hold in your hands.
The content of Becker's book is quite interesting. Rather than a novella + stories, really what we have here might be more aptly called a story + flash fictions. The longest piece, the title story, is 28 miniature pages. Such brevity makes it easy to ingest Becker's book in one sitting, as I did. This is not to say the collection is an easy read. Becker's lines often lean toward the poetic. Example: "We do not know safety. Though I should know, I look to him for guidance. He looks to a bottle and climbs into the bottle and becomes the bottle and comes out another boy." The rhythm and repetition lead the reader to a conclusion, one that need not so many words to reach, but would be boring and cliched if said in straightforward language. I admire this manipulation of simple ideas into lush images.
For some reason, I didn't relate as well to this book as I did Fool. Moore admits that many of Shakespeare's characters seem the same throughout his d...moreFor some reason, I didn't relate as well to this book as I did Fool. Moore admits that many of Shakespeare's characters seem the same throughout his different works, most likely because they were written for the same actors to play. Moore pairs these characters in Serpent of Venice, which makes it a bit confusing...not because I don't get what's going on, but because I'm not sure who I feel is the morally incorrect person, or who is the hero. It becomes tough to root for someone. The ending scene, with the trial and the verdict, nearly jumps the shark, which made me question how closely Moore stuck to historical context (he actually tries to--the whole afterward discusses the research he did of Shakespearean plays, the historical context of them, and how to adjust when those plays were set to match the time period he started in with in Fool). Overall, a good read made great by the fact that I was reading it aloud to my husband before bed, and the excitement on his face makes anything an excellent read.(less)
The awesome, gritty descriptions that make Ellis's graphic novels, like Transmetropolitan, so cool do not translate well to fiction and all-typed page...moreThe awesome, gritty descriptions that make Ellis's graphic novels, like Transmetropolitan, so cool do not translate well to fiction and all-typed pages. I find the images are necessary to make the prose seem plausible rather than...well, silly, like something an outsider in high school might write to be "edgy."(less)
I'm not sure how most people ingest audiobooks, but I take mine in the car. Fowler's 7 CDs went with me to Virginia, and so following/paying attention...moreI'm not sure how most people ingest audiobooks, but I take mine in the car. Fowler's 7 CDs went with me to Virginia, and so following/paying attention to new directions surely affected the way I heard the story.
The beginning of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves struck me as confusing. The narrator, Rosemary, starts her story by telling listeners how to tell a story. The best way? Start in the middle. This confused me at first because I missed the age of this narrator who was telling me how to tell stories; I was under the impression she was a little girl. But really (I think), she is an adult talking about being a little girl who would get tucked in at night by her father.
The plot jumps to Rose in college. A young woman, Harlow, is fighting with her boyfriend in the middle of the school cafeteria. In a strange moment in which Harlow and Rose connect, both women are arrested for causing a disturbance, because after Rose watches Harlow throw and destroy glassware, Rose catches herself--almost without thinking--smashing her own milk glass to the ground. It kind of made me wonder what was going on. Is Rose so boring or so easily influenced that she, too, must make a scene?....
Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore is an interesting read! It is one that is very rooted in the time that it was published. I got my husband listening t...moreMr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore is an interesting read! It is one that is very rooted in the time that it was published. I got my husband listening to the audio book with me, and there were times when he had to share with me what the acronyms and jokes meant (husband works in IT). Mr. Penumbra's really crosses into that unique territory of convincing readers that computers and books can work in tandem; one does not need to replace the other.
The characters are convincingly modern; they know computers, pop culture, and technologies that go beyond computers. One part I would have struggled with was the Google campus. If I had not seen The Internship (yes, the one with Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson) to help me visualize the company's headquarters, I would have thought the descriptions were unimaginable, but the things the narrator describes on the Google campus (including the food and nap pods) are real.
I have to admit I may not have enjoyed reading this book as much as listening to it. The voice actor is fantastic, giving life and humor to the narrator and creating unique voices for each character. While the writing describes the characters' voices, the voice actor actually does does the inflections described. Matt, Oliver, and Mr. Penumbra were my favorite voices.(less)
This collection is ridiculously hard to listen to. It has a lot of moments that surprise, the kind that would cause me to reread a sentence or two if...moreThis collection is ridiculously hard to listen to. It has a lot of moments that surprise, the kind that would cause me to reread a sentence or two if I had it on paper, but backing up the CD constantly was a pain. Also, the group that put the audio book together didn't consider adding a little bit of music or a sound effect (like many audio books do) between stories, so there were times when I wasn't sure if I was on a new story or not. Granted, the stories are read by different voice actors, but many would change voices for characters, so it would take me a moment too long to realize one story was over and another had begun. "Were those two different men reading two different stories, or was it one man reading one story and doing a new voice for a new character? Crap, I missed the beginning! Rewind..."
I don't want to have to work so hard just to pay attention to the execution of an audio book, let alone focusing on difficult stories.(less)
Since this is an "oral history," I figured there would be no better way to experience it than in audio format. Author Max Brooks voices the journalist...moreSince this is an "oral history," I figured there would be no better way to experience it than in audio format. Author Max Brooks voices the journalist who travels the world and gets the stories of people who survived World War Z. A huge cast is the result, including the voice talents of Simon Pegg, Martin Scorsese, and Alan Alda. All continents are represented (I kept thinking, "Come oooooon, Australia," then there it was).
The audio version is laid out nicely, with an ominous noise played before each new interview. The journalist tells listeners where he is and who he's with before they begin. The interviewee does the most speaking, even going so far as to ask questions and basically answer them (stuff like, "Do you remember the horror of X? Of course you couldn't you weren't Y."). Each interviewee is voiced by a different actor, with the exception of 1-2 characters, so each experience is unique, as if you really might be listening to interviews post-WWZ.
While listening to the audio book was made easy for readers using the different actors and tone before new interviews, the content of the story could be muddy, depending on the interviewees story. The last quarter, if not third, of the book focuses more on the different military experiences. Interviewees were from France, the U.S., Japan, China, etc. There are a lot of acronyms in these sections, some of which are explained, others that are not--I can only assume the ones not explained are common military abbreviations? It also helps to have some current and historical knowledge of the conditions of the military in these countries to understand their behavior and choices during WWZ. The absolute best interviews, in my opinion, were actual stories of things happening, as opposed to a soldier trying to describe a whole battle (weapons and strategy used, how many died, how many days, etc.). My favorite story, the one I loved best, was actually about a woman who knew military training and would drop supplies around the U.S. She tells of the plane exploding, of everyone being killed except her. She has to make it to a pick-up point, but her leg is injured and "zack" (or zombies) are all over the place. She makes it with the encouragement, instructions, and as a result of the shaming of a woman on a radio nicknamed "Mets." There was also an interview from a man in a wheelchair who was part of a neighborhood watch that I remember being pretty cool. Early in the novel, the story of a doctor who gives a man an organ transplant made a big impact on me. Black-market organs that have infection in them (no one knew and the organs couldn't be tested because no one knew what the zombie infection was) are being put into people who reanimate, though they have not been bitten. Gives you a good idea of how the disease could spread world wide.
Overall, one of the better audio books I've listened to!(less)