Thinking of donating your body to science? Well, this book might make you want to reconsider. In either direction, mind you. As it seems, being a corp...moreThinking of donating your body to science? Well, this book might make you want to reconsider. In either direction, mind you. As it seems, being a corpse doesn't necessarily have to be boring -- and this book is all about explaining how and why.
Okay, so I don't know what's more disturbing -- the book itself, or the fact that I'm enjoying it so much. It's surely not the kind of book you want to be reading next to a Catholic family (or any family) on the airport (trust me on this one)(come to think of it, it was actually quite amusing), but if you're prepared to take the occasional odd look from people who hasn't yet realized the marvel of human cadavers, this is a must-read! It makes you laugh, it makes you think. Sometimes, it grosses you out. It's always interesting. And the best thing is, that I haven't quite finished it.
(On a side note, there's a certain, profound poetic slice in reading the chapter called: "Beyond the black box: When the body of the passengers must tell the story of a crash", while circling the airport, awaiting the fierce thunderstorm to give way so that you can land safely. Mortality in a nutshell!)(less)
The novel is written in the same simple and almost clinical, yet elegant and refined style that you see in works by Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan...moreThe novel is written in the same simple and almost clinical, yet elegant and refined style that you see in works by Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle or perhaps Dorothy Sayers. Just as with these writers, the characters are nicely drawn, without taking up too much space: the plot is the focal point here, and the story moves efficiently and without sidetracks within well set up frames. The magic of mathematics as well as logical enigmas, presented in the story by facts that are neatly intertwined with the plot, without burdening the reader with information dumps (which seems to be the habit of a certain Mr. Brown...) makes it a fun and interesting read. I only picked it up from my shelf yesterday (it's been sitting there for a number of years now) but am already halfway through it. Granted, I'm a fast reader, but it is_ a very easy read. Nothing that will stay in my memory, but nevertheless, it makes a pleasant distrction, and so I recommend it.(less)
I bought this book for my husband to give him something to read. He read it, and was clearly both amused and disturbed by the story, which is always a...moreI bought this book for my husband to give him something to read. He read it, and was clearly both amused and disturbed by the story, which is always a good sign and triggered my curiousity. Naturally, after he'd finished, he recommended it to me, and I obviously couldn't say no.
This is a hugely fast-paced page-turner with lots of surprises, twists and turns, along with a rather high shock factor. It's extremely well written, and the plot original. The main character is very skillfully crafted, and you go from not liking him very much (he's an arrogant, egoistical bastard, for one) to at least cheering him on in the end. And no matter what you think of him, you will at least care about what happens to him, which is a positive thing for a main character indeed. The end is well tied together, with no loose ends, and will leave you amazed. In short, it's a good read. What brings the grade down for me, is that some details are a bit too much on the gore side for me, and some other scenes feel unnecessary and strange. I close the last page feeling invigorated, yet slightly nauseous... but I suppose that's how you should feel after one helluva ride! Conclusion: I recommend this book. (less)
This is a novel by someone who's obviously read Dan Brown and thought "hmmm... I can do this". Angelology does have the ingredients to make a really i...moreThis is a novel by someone who's obviously read Dan Brown and thought "hmmm... I can do this". Angelology does have the ingredients to make a really interesting read - angels, artefacts, young nuns and hot researchers! - but the writer focuses too much on showing the reader that she's done her research and read a lot of books, leaving the characters and plot to dangle. The characters are cliché, their motives unclear, and there are a lot of unanswered questions at the end of this book, which left me quite frustrated. There is a lot of action, but the tension gets lost in the wordiness. The ending is a let-down. Overall, this novel just plain annoyed me. For that reason, I can't recommend it. (less)
This is a feelgood book - and as such, it does what it's supposed to. You feel good when you read it, genuinely good: it's harmless, sweet and thought...moreThis is a feelgood book - and as such, it does what it's supposed to. You feel good when you read it, genuinely good: it's harmless, sweet and thoughtful. Most of the characters ring true and all of them are drawn with warmth and passion as you learn about them, one by one throughout the novel. The language is rich and beautiful and, I think, intentionally sprinkled with similes and descriptive words: it's not an easy task to transport a reader into a world of tastes and smells, but Erica Bauermeister - through her language - does this, and she does it well. There are some nice insights in here, some earthy wisdom, things that will make you smile. Very nicely done.
So... Why not give this little gem five stars? Well... While I liked it, I didn't love it, and this is, I think, because the main character (or rather, the "puppet master" - the planet around which the other characters circle) Lilian is so annoyingly perfect and so in tune with everyone's feelings lives that she puts Yoda to shame. One look at the participants in her cooking class and she knows exactly what they need - and can fix it, too! All the while, she's vague. This is perhaps intentionally done as well, as not to take the light from the others, but to me, it doesn't quite suffice. Does this woman have any flaws? Not that I know of. She smiles her wise smile, heals people's souls with an almost Jesus-like mildness and always says the right, profound things. I'd like to see her lose her temper. Swear. Fart. Do _whatever_ to prove she's human. But no, it doesn't happen. And I'm annoyed - and cut my five stars down to three.
On the whole, however, I do recommend this book. Read it because of the richness, the passion, and because it proves that the zest of life lie in doing the things we love. (less)
After having read "A tiny bit marvellous" - Dawn French's debut fictional novel - I had high hopes for Oh Dear Silvia, but I was also slightly apprehe...moreAfter having read "A tiny bit marvellous" - Dawn French's debut fictional novel - I had high hopes for Oh Dear Silvia, but I was also slightly apprehensive. There was something magical (in realistic terms) about "A Tiny Bit Marvellous" and I feared she wouldn't be able to live up to this. And indeed, this novel is very different from "A tiny bit marvellous"; so much so that you feel slightly confused in the beginning. Is it a comedy? Can you even laugh about this subject (yes, you can, to a certain extent)? Is it a drama? Or a thriller? But I should have known I could relax: Dawn French is an excellent writer, and you're safe in her hands.
Although there is a mystery in this story, I don't feel this is the essence of the story. It's something else, something that is more powerful; yet at the same time very subtle. There is a vast amount of characters buzzing around the coma patient Silvia, and they all contribute, slowly, to build a picture of her; a picture that gets more and more complicated the further into the novel you come. Silvia, who seemingly without reason has rejected her whole family, is not a very likeable person, as it appears. All centred around the now lifeless hub that is Silvia, the characters deal with their grief, guilt and fear, and it becomes clear - to them, and the reader - that humanity is a vital part of moving on in life. And that's really the essence of this book. Absolution. Forgiveness. Loyalty. And love, of course.
Just like in "A Tiny Bit Marvellous", family ties take up a lot of space in this book, and is dealt with in a way that is both raw and true. And just like with "A Tiny Bit Marvellous" you finish the story with a sense of warmth, and also with the feeling that the book couldn't have ended any other way. You take farewell of the characters like they are good friends (it really feels like they are) and even if it's a bit painful, you know it's time to let go.