This is the kind of book we should encode into sounds and shoot out to space for the aliens to pick up and understand who we are better. If we want to...moreThis is the kind of book we should encode into sounds and shoot out to space for the aliens to pick up and understand who we are better. If we want to be honest with the aliens.
This is the most illuminating-of-the-confusingly-normal books I've read from the flip-side of my experience as one of the many kids who grew up in divorce and re-marriage.
So real and honest and observant and human, there's no easy arcs or sentiments here, but muddled, at-times cathartic cataloguings of the first five years in the first significant relationship for a mid-to-late thirties working class man and woman since their divorces. Each have a kid around ten that they bring into the relationship, along with their confusions from the last relationship, and ongoing confusions about how to be a person.(less)
You can feel in McClanahan's writing an overwhelming urgency, hyper-focused and honed, that he's writing for one of the primary primal reasons almost...moreYou can feel in McClanahan's writing an overwhelming urgency, hyper-focused and honed, that he's writing for one of the primary primal reasons almost anybody writes -- a willing to keep memories alive and to make sense of things seen and felt -- and McClanahan does it with more honesty and vulnerability than most who try.
"Crapalacia" reminded me a lot of Dito Montiel's "A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints," which is a great book I love that I haven't ever really compared anything to before.(less)
This is the kind of book that makes the world a better place by being in it. Just read it, and pass it on. A perfectly balanced YA book for guys. But...moreThis is the kind of book that makes the world a better place by being in it. Just read it, and pass it on. A perfectly balanced YA book for guys. But by no means limited to young guys.(less)
Playful in tone, simultaneously dead serious, Tanzer, with a degree of refreshing transparency, lies down the essence of what a writer does -- tries o...morePlayful in tone, simultaneously dead serious, Tanzer, with a degree of refreshing transparency, lies down the essence of what a writer does -- tries on other people's lives -- and wades comfortably in, creating a palpable connection between us the collective reader, the author, and the author's subjects: here covering the spectrum from pop celeb to human interest story fodder to cult artistic legend and even a canonical fictional character. Inspiring figures, all, which Tanzer breathes a connective fiber through, looking at what it means to see the same world through all kinds of different eyes, to the effect of all these disparate consciousnesses pulsing through you at once through this great read-it-all-in-one-sitting-and-come-away-with-a-profound-feeling tight little-but-big book.(less)
So what this is is a pretty great novel that fits in the overlapping part of the great Venn diagram containing Lit Fiction and Young Adult.
It's that r...moreSo what this is is a pretty great novel that fits in the overlapping part of the great Venn diagram containing Lit Fiction and Young Adult.
It's that rare contemporary book that has an insightful but still realistically naive and at times unlikeable teen boy narrator -- and the unlikeable isn't an insult here. Name one teen boy who at times isn't unlikeable. That's the greatness in a novel like this that doesn't omit that stuff and make the guy unbelievably thoughtful and an all-around good guy. Kevin in the book does some shitty stuff. But he's got a realistic complexly loving relationship with his older sister and his Mom, and his Uncle Paul who comes out to him.
So we've got a teen guy dealing with his gay Uncle too, and it's handled with care, and Uncle Paul is the kind of cool Uncle so many of us have been lucky to have.
Zero Fade is the best kind of Lit small presses have to offer -- some pretty raw and real voices you might not otherwise get. This one is worth seeking out, bigtime.(less)
Hettie Jones had the fascinating view of being an outsider amongst the band of outsiders that was the beats. She lived in the Village before, during,...moreHettie Jones had the fascinating view of being an outsider amongst the band of outsiders that was the beats. She lived in the Village before, during, and after it was the Village we've all read about. She experienced how the oppressed can oppress, themselves -- and gives fascinating examples of life imitating art, and how living life leads to art in those people that can't live it any other way. (less)
It makes sense that a Daily Show writer would write a brilliant meditation on election process, on hate and the lengths men's feelings of inadequacy c...moreIt makes sense that a Daily Show writer would write a brilliant meditation on election process, on hate and the lengths men's feelings of inadequacy can take them, even when those men are boys -- under the guise of a cartoonishly over the top farce.
It's also about the power fathers have over sons, and how bottling anger churns destruction and makes one's mind a labyrinth of skewed perceptions that erases empathy for one's fellow people.
It's about how real monsters are built, and how they can maybe become people again
-- and all this is done in a silly book for middle-schoolers.
It's brilliant, the best kind of YA/ Children's Lit that transcends categorization, is a great read for an adult, and marketable to the best possible audience -- people at an age just starting to look at all of this election and social contract stuff with awakening awareness.
In short, a great novel. Hilarious and smart, perfectly infused with meaning.(less)
A lot of hating here on this novel for what it isn't, for expectations that weren't met.
I guess that's the life of a runaway bestseller: haters gonna...moreA lot of hating here on this novel for what it isn't, for expectations that weren't met.
I guess that's the life of a runaway bestseller: haters gonna hate (I understand, having made a serious pastime of James Patterson hating myself).
This is a best seller for a reason. It's not what I expected at all. About a hundred pages through I was getting pissed at it. I wanted to judge the narrator. I wanted to read it in a hurry and I was finding it to be wordy. Delightfully, craft-fully wordy. Then I just kind of went with it. And this book is delightful if you do that, I think. Don't project, just let it be what it is: a clever, whimsical, alluring adventure steeped in history , the freakish, the outlandish, and the fantastical.(less)
I wasn't feeling this novel at all for maybe the first forty pages, which is a lot for a YA novel. But I kept reading because I wanted to understand w...moreI wasn't feeling this novel at all for maybe the first forty pages, which is a lot for a YA novel. But I kept reading because I wanted to understand why and how this author blew up.
Then, the novel grabbed me and blew me away -- it's original, unpredictable, unafraid, and captivating. If you're at all interested, give it the chance.
It's got traces of 'All the Right Moves' "we gotta get out of this nowhere town" yearning, 'Martian Child' (David Gerrold's amazing autobiographical novel, not the fun but incredible bastard film version) otherworldly ambiguity, and an ending as shattering as 'Running on Empty''s last frames with River Pheonix watching the pick-up truck drive away to his family singing along to "I've seen fire and I've seen rain."(less)
Hey, so firstly I'm not incredibly religious. I'm not godless either. I think I'm pretty let down by religion in general and hopeful and confused like...moreHey, so firstly I'm not incredibly religious. I'm not godless either. I think I'm pretty let down by religion in general and hopeful and confused like a lot of us in that matter. It bums me out seeing the people complaining about this novel because it has religion in it.
This novel does not proselytize, and the amazing thing is it doesn't judge -- either side. I think some people are uncomfortable with it because we are used to seeing religion dealt with in two ways in novels and media in general: completely sincerely and genuinely (signaling to a lot of us to put the book right back, or, make fun of it) or condemning religion, talking about it's corruption and the double-standards and mocking our perceived desperation of religious folks.
This novel rides the middle ground, and is comfortable in that. There are points it pushes buttons for anyone who has a confused religious past -- which is a lot of us.
The amazing thing about it is how Klauss handles the characters, taps into their gut-clenchingly raw emotions in a genuine representation of what it's like to be confused about living, and growing up, and often religion enters into that: to think one way, then think the other; to embrace ideas and beliefs wholeheartedly; and to reject others assuredly and feel complete.
Phillip is a sophomore who's friend group just went from three to two, all his friends ditched out running track on him, and he's got an infatuation with this gal Rebekah who asks him to an after school meeting. He has a crush on her, so he goes. It is a religious meeting. Philip is religiously ambiguous, and his father is a firm, outspoken atheist -- even before the death of Philip's mother, which casts its shadow over their lives and the whole novel.
This book is hilarious at points. It's charmingly sweet, adorably sincere, infuriatingly ambiguous and non-judemental to its strong core. I couldn't recommend it more.(less)
There's a lot of too-cool-for-schoolness happening in bookstores across the land (I've watched from behind the counter a good chunk of a decade), what...moreThere's a lot of too-cool-for-schoolness happening in bookstores across the land (I've watched from behind the counter a good chunk of a decade), what's so delightful about this book is that it is NOT to cool for school, although it might look like it is, it's the farthest from too cool for school as a book can be. Dan Wilbur is the elementary school kid on the playground engaging in endless pratfalls and eating gross things for pocket change in turn leading you through all the phases of "I'm laughing to be mean," "I'm laughing for real a little," "I'm laughing genuinely now and my day is better," "Okay, it's getting a little old now, I am now laughing to be polite," "Okay, I really can't keep fake laughing much longer you're starting to make me really sad," "your youthful enthusiasm has made me laugh again, and filled me with a slight newfound enjoyment of life."
It's rare to really laugh out loud during a book. This just might do that for you. Just know what it is. It's the whole gamut of low to high brow humor, and if you love to laugh, and you love life, you will probably delight in this book.(less)
I'm super-sensitive and viscerally brutal actions make me wildly uncomfortable and queasy, so I was hesitant to read this, a ready to put it down at a...moreI'm super-sensitive and viscerally brutal actions make me wildly uncomfortable and queasy, so I was hesitant to read this, a ready to put it down at any minute.
From page one it's thoughtfully and well told, and never dips into the sensationalism of a hot topic or problem novel.
The novel brings out incredible empathy, while through the setting details and characters' actions I was reminded of feelings and types of days I haven't experienced since being in my teens and confused and confronted with the bleak realities we all find out about sooner or later.
This is a fantastic novel, it's no surprise it started an illustrious and celebrated career.(less)
This novel is just one-of-a-kind and amazing and profound and hands-down one of the best from last year, period.
Through the first fifty or so pages I...moreThis novel is just one-of-a-kind and amazing and profound and hands-down one of the best from last year, period.
Through the first fifty or so pages I was enjoying it, feeling it was maybe a little slow, maybe a bit too quirky for me, I'd been hoping for a lot from it -- then the damn thing became increasingly engaging and masterful, and at times I had to put it down for a while and think about the things it was making me think and feel.
Like the best science fiction, it's literary qualities should hold people who aren't often drawn to science fiction, but to more literary pursuits. And like the best science fiction and literature, it reveals so much of what it is to overwhelmingly feel through this life, stuck in this body, in this world.
And it's what you would think time-travel science fiction would more often be about but isn't: regret, and how we all get stuck in looking to the future too much, or living in a loop of the past for too long.
This is smart, and playful, and deep. And wide. (less)