Literary ladies, mental bent-al gentlemen, and chapter-chomping children of all ages; I come to you to apologize. Still Life With Woodpecker has a ratLiterary ladies, mental bent-al gentlemen, and chapter-chomping children of all ages; I come to you to apologize. Still Life With Woodpecker has a rather dismal view of critics, and it would seem that it has no intention of giving us permission to review it. We tried to curry its favor with convertibles, cocaine, and concubines, but it seems perfectly content with its Twinkies and dynamite. Which is somewhat surprising, because it really doesn't seem like a Twinkies-and-dynamite sort of fellow. Or maybe that's just my own personal bias talking; perhaps I haven't really given Twinkies and dynamite the kind of respectful concentration (less analysis and more bosom camaraderie) that they duly deserve. Especially the dynamite. Definitely gotta respect the dynamite.
So yes, that's it folks, sorry to disappoint. Feel free to treat yourself to some five-finger-discount wedding cake and champagne, and if you'd like to get over the loss of my second-rate critiquing, I'd suggest picking up the dang book and reading it yourself. It's short, it's kinky, and it's got a fabulous little crinkle to its pages that'll set your heart a-flutter....more
Drop City is a book, above all else, about adventures. You could say that Drop City is a book about hippies, a surprisingly sober insight into the innDrop City is a book, above all else, about adventures. You could say that Drop City is a book about hippies, a surprisingly sober insight into the inner monologues of a gaggle of full-fledged flower children as they celebrate free love under the summer sun of California and in the dead serious beauty of the Alaskan middle-of-nowhere. You could say that Drop City is almost as much about trappers, about a society of hard men and women who live off the grid, driven there by fear or stubbornness or madness, surviving and thriving in a place most civilized folks actively avoid bothering with. You could say it's about the wacky, tragic Far-East-philosophy-meets-American-North-West-Wilderness antics that the book promises early on and delivers in spades in the second half, but the sense of adventure that runs through it, of life's little hopes and great expectations and the sudden shock of carrying through with any of them; its grasp on the monotony of downtime and the uncomfortable disbelief of the morning after; of the scattershot miracles and tragedies that come time and again, and the fragile fear and anticipation that accompanies a conquered goal when you suddenly understand that you're expected to defend it now, and the way some people treasure that peace above all else while others seem unable to trust it or are even sickened by it...
Yeah, adventures. Woo.
Give it a go. It's an excellent and endearingly written novel by someone I've been told to attempt half a dozen times from just as many sources. Expect love, drugs, sex, bears, beauty, tragedy, and all that jazz....more
A more substantial summary: One of the best alternative history novels I've ever had the pleasure to read, The Handmaid'In short: The feminist "1984."
A more substantial summary: One of the best alternative history novels I've ever had the pleasure to read, The Handmaid's Tale is the agonizing, fascinating story of a woman who has spent three years dissolving in the militant, ultra-zealous theocracy the USA devolved into late in the twentieth century. Like all good dystopias, it skirts the border of plausability, and although it was published in 1985, the issues covered within are still alive and well and horrifying today. I absolutely recommend this book, so long as you can enjoy something that leaves you hurting after the fact....more
Blacksad arrived on my front porch with little fanfare several days after a drunken Amazon.com splurge which netted me a weird pile of comics with aniBlacksad arrived on my front porch with little fanfare several days after a drunken Amazon.com splurge which netted me a weird pile of comics with animal people in 'em. This is not the most dignified entrance a book which wants me to read it might provide, but eventually I sat down and gave this furry film noir detective short story collection a shot.
Things started off with as everyday a private eye tale as you can get: a gorgeous woman (with kitty ears) lying dead in bed, a single gunshot marring an otherwise perfect face, and the detective John Blacksad, an old lover of hers, hot on a case that's all too personal. The art was immediately top-notch, kind of a Goof Troop-style enhanced with a terrifically un-cartoony level of attention to shading, body language, and facial expressions, so I read on. And on. And on. I was technically on vacation that weekend with a bunch of friends, but the book was more compelling. What I expected would be an anthropomorphic run-of-the-mill Dick Tracey actually packed some seriously aggressive social commentary on '50s America, covering the civil rights movement, McCarthyism, and the Russian nuclear threat. Brilliant character design supplements the occasionally hokey dialogue, and the end result is a comic with plenty to hook you in and make you eager for more....more