I won this book through the GoodReads First-Read program.
I... really didn't like this book, unfortunately.
It was very clear that the book was written...moreI won this book through the GoodReads First-Read program.
I... really didn't like this book, unfortunately.
It was very clear that the book was written with great passion. It was also obvious that the author had put a great deal of work into fleshing out the universe that the characters inhabited. She worked out various hierarchies and built upon a good deal of old mythology to do so. She knew her history (nice shout out to medieval German beliefs!) but that wasn't quite enough to save the book in my eyes.
I can't understand the weakness of female characters. Yes, she was strong in that she was willing to sacrifice herself to save the man she loved. But... she also was killing a lot of other people to save that man when he was her mortal enemy... and when she was a trained soldier and had put all that behind her... and she kept forgiving him for unforgivable acts. I've a problem with this.
Furthermore, why exactly wasn't there more urgency felt in the book itself? You have an army being raised to destroy all of creation more or less. You also have a "seer" going unaccounted for and both poorly hunted and poorly protected.
I just... wasn't feeling this very much. The kicker was the switching of first person perspectives and a failure to differentiate the voices very clearly.
The premise itself holds promise, and the worldbuilding holds promise too. It just needs better execution.(less)
I love this edition. I bought it at Poe House in Baltimore maybe a decade or so ago... and got it signed by a wonderful Poe impersonator. What a great...moreI love this edition. I bought it at Poe House in Baltimore maybe a decade or so ago... and got it signed by a wonderful Poe impersonator. What a great birthday that was. :)(less)
I tip my hat to Beatrix Potter for managing to perfectly capture the benign and industrious nature of the hedgehog and turn...moreBeautiful, beautiful story.
I tip my hat to Beatrix Potter for managing to perfectly capture the benign and industrious nature of the hedgehog and turn the humble insectivore into a cultural landmark for us all to love and cherish.(less)
I wanted to like this book so much more than I did. The Eastern Coyote is a fascinating creature, and one well worth deeper study. This book, while po...moreI wanted to like this book so much more than I did. The Eastern Coyote is a fascinating creature, and one well worth deeper study. This book, while portending to be about just that, in truth was more about the symbolic nature of the creature than anything else.
The book spent far too much time focusing on Catherine Reid and why she wanted to see a coyote, than what the actual coyotes were like. While, yes, she was an interesting person and the symbolic value of an animal is a beautiful thing... I would have much preferred a more scientific or anthropological study of the animal in question. In short, I wanted this book to be to coyotes what Barry Lopez's Of Wolves and Men was to wolves.
This book did manage a fair bit, though. Though in a less interesting way than Daily Coyote did. Catherine Reid did a good job of talking about the designation of Eastern Coyote as a species, and how wolves and coyotes have interbred to a degree in the past. She explained how they managed to carve out a niche and maintain it even in the territory of bigger better predators. I wish it had been a bigger bit of the book.(less)
Recently I attacked the non-fiction section of my library, focusing primarily upon the sections devoted to biology, zoology, and cognitive ethology. T...moreRecently I attacked the non-fiction section of my library, focusing primarily upon the sections devoted to biology, zoology, and cognitive ethology. This was one of the stranger books I picked up there. It looked amusing enough, though not terribly indepth. The title made me laugh, and well, the cover left a bit be be desired... Unfortunately, so did the book.
This book was comprised of a series of lists of odd animal behaviors and why they might act that way. It was written in a conversational manner, each little tidbit followed by an incredulous explanation that tried just too hard to be funny. Let the animals speak for themselves, or their behavior do it for them. No need to throw in puns, amazed silences, or a shrug of the shoulders. Quite frankly, the book came off as mildly insulting. A bit like the friend who just doesn't know when to stop making jokes to fill in what otherwise would have been a companionable silence...
The book would be great for younger children. Maybe middle school or so? It'd probably cause them to want to read more about animals and their behavior, and they might be in a better range to appreciate the humor. As for me, well... Nil nole sub sole. Most of the facts I already knew, and what I did learn didn't particularly surprise me.(less)
Right from the mouth of Doug Sandom, what more could you ask for?
I was lucky enough to talk to Doug before the book was released, and I'm forever grat...moreRight from the mouth of Doug Sandom, what more could you ask for?
I was lucky enough to talk to Doug before the book was released, and I'm forever grateful for having had that opportunity. Doug is a brilliant storyteller, a very sweet man, and indeed the sort of person who not only you can imagine sitting in a pub with while he tells he stories... but a great many of people get just that opportunity. The fame that Doug has only served to define what a wonderful person he is. He's remained as humble as ever, though he's quite open about how he regrets leaving the band to this day.
The book holds within it many stories not heard before, and actually does a far better job of showing what The Who was like at that time than any previous Who biography. Doug captures the exhilaration that was felt as they became more famous, how they dealt with that rise in different ways, and the subtleties of the personalities that soon would go on to a massive stardom. He captures the camaraderie in a way that other biographies tend to glance over in favor of emphasizing the spats - which yes, there were - but the violence was never there from the start.
For fans of The Who? This is a indispensable book. It's right up there with Dougal Butler's recent revision of Full Moon, I'd argue, in terms of capturing The Who from those who were here with the band.
Get it, cherish it. If you've a chance to see the man himself, do so. He's a truly wonderful fellow.(less)
That's the gist of what was going on in Roald Dahl's mind here. The illustrations, lovingly done by Quentin Blake, add a greater...moreHunting is bad, okay?
That's the gist of what was going on in Roald Dahl's mind here. The illustrations, lovingly done by Quentin Blake, add a greater dash of humor to the typically dark Dahl tale. It's short, sweet, and rather to the point. Another fun example of "how would you like it if someone did that to you?" The answer? Well. Not much.
The high rating is less for the title story than it is for the awesome expanded facts in the book. After the story the new publication continued with a brief biography of Dahl, some fun quotes, bits of trivia, and other general madness related to the man. That bumped the rating up to a four from a more general three for a fun quick read.
What an awesome guy. Thus, I continue my "read everything by Roald Dahl" challenge of the year...(less)
I swear I originally heard of Wool through a fantastic review that it got on GoodReads. Or maybe someone had mentioned it briefly in another revie...moreHuh.
I swear I originally heard of Wool through a fantastic review that it got on GoodReads. Or maybe someone had mentioned it briefly in another review? Either way, it looked interesting and the concept intrigued me. The comparison to The Passage truly drew me in, as that book is one of my all-time favorites and certainly one of the best books I've ever read. I didn't happen to see much of a comparison there once I did read it, aside from the superficial likenesses that could be drawn from the social arrangement in the silo and the social arrangement in Justin Cronin's last holdouts for civilization. Both authors seemed to have done a decent amount of historical research there, though perhaps Hugh Howey's class distinctions and analyses come from a more personal place due to his maritime history.
As a book, I found Wool to be incredibly entertaining. I didn't form any terribly close attachments to the characters themselves, but I was interested in what was going to happen to them. The bigger interest for me came in the world that Hugh Howey created and the way that it worked. I wanted to learn more about the silo, the world beyond, and what choices were made there and why. The revolutionary plot didn't hold my interest as much as past choices did. I wanted to sink into more of the history, more of the technology, more of the structure of things than what was happening in it.
The actual plot, characters, and other such features struck me as something a bit hurried. The pacing was good, and reminded me a great deal of the Mystery Shows such as Battlestar Galactica and Lost. At times it was as dry as the failed FlashForward, but at least it didn't halt right when it got interesting.
What drew me in more, made me finish the book and will see me reading the other two collections in the series was the way the book was written. A serialized novel is an interesting beast, and shouldn't be as harshly judged as other works. Looking at it through that lens you could see where the author responded to criticism, how the writing changed and the focus was altered. It's fascinating watching an author transform in that way, and Wool was all the more interesting for it. I'll probably see the inevitable film or mini-series, will read the other books and watch where the story goes.
So for me? It was nothing worth comparing to The Passage but something interesting, quick, and worth a bit of a dig into. It just very much isn't for everyone, and is very much a product of the way it was written.(less)
Hugh Warwick has managed to write a book that is simultaneously informative and deeply entertaining. His passion for the humble hedg...moreWhat a great book!
Hugh Warwick has managed to write a book that is simultaneously informative and deeply entertaining. His passion for the humble hedgehog shines through in every page, and it's impossible to not have some of that rub off on you while reading this book. Indeed, it's impossible not to fall a bit in love with the animal the second you 'do the nose to nose thing' with them.
The hedgehog is an inherently silly animal, but there's something in its industrious and utterly benign nature that attracts both passion and obsession. There's something fascinating in the tiny creature, and what a joy it is to witness that love ignite in everyone I introduce the spiny beasts o. To see those emotions beautifully highlighted in someone else's words is heartwarming. To see it paired with a deeper scientific understanding of the animal was plain beautiful.
I've already passed this book on to two other people, and I honestly can't wait to encourage still others to read it. Save the hedgehog, save the world as the author put it. Any way an animal can be better loved and understood is a good one, and I've seen firsthand how passion for one creature can extend to all the others in our lives.(less)
Jerry Langton decides to delve into why rats have been around for so long, how they coexist with us, and why people decide to have t...moreOH NO, NOT RATS!!!
Jerry Langton decides to delve into why rats have been around for so long, how they coexist with us, and why people decide to have them as pets. He does so with a distinct anti-rat perspective on the world, and a disturbing unwillingness to ever waver in his opinion or seek out people who think differently than himself. That, my friend, is why the book failed for me. The inherent prejudice against rats and rat-owners that permeated every page and the outright disgust that just saturated his language. That was why it got the dreaded one-star.
Langton has some interesting history of rats, he follows the basic run down of "this is why rats are interesting" that any writer would. Their ribs can collapse being the main fact that seems to shock him. He discounts their inherent intelligence when just about all scientific papers rate them as among one of the most intelligent animals out there, and he counts them as viscous and ready to attack when even the rat hunters he talks to admit that they only do so when disturbed. It's disturbing, just not in the way he meant it to be.
The true failing of this book, however, was the way that he wrote about rat owners. I've owned rats in my time. I found them to be very clean, very affectionate, curious and entertaining pets. I was only ever bit by a rat once, and that was when I startled him and truly deserved it. Langton puts rat owners into two groups: people owning a rat for the novelty and attention seeking deviant nature of it, and people owning rats as an apology to the species and taking it on as a burden. What the hell? What about people who just genuinely like the animal and what it offers...? Nevermind the fact he characterized the first group as being largely obese women with multiple piercings and or tattoos. Just... why?(less)
I got this book through Netgalley for reviewing, and boy am I happy I did.
Fox Talk is a fantastic children's book that delves into the topic of domest...moreI got this book through Netgalley for reviewing, and boy am I happy I did.
Fox Talk is a fantastic children's book that delves into the topic of domestication in a way that is easy for anyone to understand. They actually talk about the Russian Fox Experiment, how domestication affects not only behavior but actual genetics, and how you can assess these facts and animal intelligence for yourself.
The topic, while complex, is laid out very well and further resources are also offered throughout the book. The nature of exotic pet ownership is examined in a respectful way that acknowledges both the pros and cons and explains just why legality can come into question.
This is a book that I look forward to using someday for my own educational outreach, and is definitely one that I'll refer many people to while I work in the exotic animal field.
Five stars, no question. I'm so glad that this book came my way. :)(less)
I was able to get this book for an advance review for Netgalley.
I've always had a bit of a fascination with the Louisiana Bayou and the vanishing ways...moreI was able to get this book for an advance review for Netgalley.
I've always had a bit of a fascination with the Louisiana Bayou and the vanishing ways of life attached to it. The hoodoo tradition is one that is misinterpreted about as often as it is referred to in popular culture - fortunately, Will O'the Wisp did a rather good job of showcasing both the traditions themselves and how people tend to view them nowadays.
The artwork for this book was highly reminiscent of the style used in Locke and Key, which is one that I'm especially fond of. There's a fluidity to the landscapes, the swamps, the fire, that is both beautiful and eerie. The bugs and the bones as well are beautifully rendered, and I would say that the book is worth looking at for the artwork alone.
While I'd like to rate the book more than three stars, I'm not entirely certain I could. While the book lends itself to reading for the hoodoo traditions and the artwork, and the story was a traditional tale of vengeance from beyond the grave and uneasy isolation, I felt that overall it was missing something. There was constantly more to the story that I wanted to uncover, but couldn't. I would say that this is the fault of the medium itself and the age of the audience it's intended for, but I've read a great deal of graphic novels and know the medium to be virtually unlimited in the scope it could cover storywise and the YA genre itself is fast accepting more and more titles that delve into what previously may be considered questionable content.
My disappointment with the depth of the story being told could easily be remedied by telling more stories of Aurora's time with Silver in Ossuary Isle, and is offset slightly by the attention paid to the spells of Nonnie, the begrudging respect paid to the hoodoo traditions by Silver, and the beauty of the artwork in the piece itself. It's certainly a title that I know friends of mine would enjoy, and by no means was it a bad read at all. I enjoyed it, and I'm certain a great many others will as well.
Couldn't be happier that traditional Louisiana hoodoo culture is getting treated to some good storytelling for a new generation!(less)
World of the Wolf by Candace Savage is an interesting exploration of the wolf's history and relationship with humans. It openly admits how little we u...moreWorld of the Wolf by Candace Savage is an interesting exploration of the wolf's history and relationship with humans. It openly admits how little we understand the species, and goes on to explain just why we haven't put more time into examining it. The troubles of wolves and men are explored, and a great many wonderful photographs are scattered throughout it.
This is more of a coffee table book than it is one to pick up and read. The photographs in it are huge, detailed, and absolutely stunning. The writing is short, but well researched and well-done. The topics are never delved into too deeply, but what is said is meaningful and memorable.
This is a good book, and very enjoyable collection of pictures. For better information, the bibliography is extensive and includes Of Wolves and Man which is one of my favorite books on the topic.(less)
I first read this book in seventh grade, and although I enjoyed it I can't claim I really understood it. It was a gorgeous read...moreSuch a beautiful book.
I first read this book in seventh grade, and although I enjoyed it I can't claim I really understood it. It was a gorgeous read then, and is a gorgeous one now. The story is a beautiful myth, an exploration of Buddhism and Hinduism that was written before either one was thoroughly understood by the West.
The introduction and the analysis offered at the beginning of the book both enhance the reading of the actual story, and reading Joseph Campbell I can even further understand the text itself. I think this is the sort of book that the more one reads it, the later in life one reads it, the more thoroughly it can be understood and appreciated.
I can't recommend this book enough, but I do know why not everyone would enjoy it.(less)
The illustrations bumped it to a two star book for me, but the writing is unfortunately just one star territory. Each entry c...moreThis is such a fun idea!
The illustrations bumped it to a two star book for me, but the writing is unfortunately just one star territory. Each entry consists of just a number and a brief sentence such as "Karaoke". Nothing more, nothing less. You're just reading a list of silly ideas with no real elaboration to make it more entertaining. Worse, several ideas are repeated multiple times which makes the list just redundant and ridiculous...
What a rollicking ride, indeed! Swashbuckling, rollicking, a fun no holds barred adventure. Classic rescue story, classic intrigue and it's all taking...moreWhat a rollicking ride, indeed! Swashbuckling, rollicking, a fun no holds barred adventure. Classic rescue story, classic intrigue and it's all taking place such a long, long time ago. What's not to enjoy?
Michael Chabon is a wonderful writer. The writing is quick and concise, never taking away from the story. It's the type of writing that just plummets you deep into the story and turns it into a bit of a movie in your mind.
Fun book? Oh yes. It makes me want to read more of Chabon, though I understand that this is a bit of change from his usual stories...(less)
This was a very, very good retelling of the mysterious full family murder of the Robinson's.
Mardi Jo Link meticulously goes through all of the evidenc...moreThis was a very, very good retelling of the mysterious full family murder of the Robinson's.
Mardi Jo Link meticulously goes through all of the evidence in the case, considering each of the theories that came up regarding who might have done it. She relies greatly on primary evidence, turning to secondary only when it's not available. She keeps her notes clear, and keeps herself largely outside of the story. By the end of the book I had drawn my own conclusions, and was genuinely curious whether or not anything new would ever come forth.
My only complaint about the book is the very ending, when she goes back to describing Good Hart and it's current demeanor rather than ending it with the final evidence of the murder. It did serve to lighten the mood, yes, and to show how thoroughly Good Hart was affected by what happened. Still, it would have served better during the initial description of the town rather than being part of the epilogue itself.(less)
Can't get enough of that textual criticism and early Christian history. Yeah, I know how that sounds. Nope, I don't care. I'll continue to litter ever...moreCan't get enough of that textual criticism and early Christian history. Yeah, I know how that sounds. Nope, I don't care. I'll continue to litter everyone's update feeds with my occasional forays into these topics.
Zealot by Reza Aslan got ridiculously popular in a short period of time. I was reading arguments on the internet about its history and sources, hearing occasionally it being touted on popular television shows. It changed lives, or people claimed it did. They used it as an argument for the oft-repeated centurion hypothesis of paternity and other such poorly researched finds. It was inevitable I eventually read it, and lo and behold, the library just happened to have a copy sitting right there.
All in all, I actually enjoyed Zealot. I didn't find it as well researched as much of Bart D. Ehrman's works, nor as in depth. I nearly stopped reading when he argued that authorship wasn't necessarily worth questioning as people often wrote under other's names to imply they were further espousing their ideas (false) and that there was no definitive concept of history at the time (also false.) The idea that a lot of what was written would be known to be historically inaccurate and was meant as metaphor - that could gain better ground. The other two points though... we really need to excise them from our minds. They are patently untrue, and history just doesn't work that way.
Zealot shines not in its early bits, but far far later when his arguments come in about Jesus, his relation to Rome and Paul and James and their arguments for what early Christendom should mean. The book truly shone in the Pauline arguments and James refutation of them. The book would be good reading for anyone interested in Christianity, or simply Christian's themselves. It offers at once a more literal and metaphorical view of what was done, and a more concise view of what Jesus said and meant at the time in which he lived. Bart D. Ehrman's works are a better source of textual criticism, but Zealot was a better way to get a true feel for the history of the times and just how much the Jews went through during the Roman occupation.
The two authors, and their respective works, complement one another wonderfully and together offer a more comprehensive understanding of a vast and heated topic.(less)
Well, it was just a four star book to me. Ratings are subjective, and occasionally I change mine as my feelings change. Or as...moreWhat??? Four stars?? Why?
Well, it was just a four star book to me. Ratings are subjective, and occasionally I change mine as my feelings change. Or as I feel like it. Or when I'm fairly certain I won't get slaughtered for disliking something as popular as Never Let Me Go. Oops.
Anyway, James and the Giant Peach was a movie I rather enjoyed. I retained the basic plot, and was amused enough giving it a read through. The illustrations were fun, the LadyBug lovely, the Silk Worm a deus ex machina if there ever was one, and the Spider charming. The Centipede was an unrepentant pest, but what can you do? I still hope I never see one again in my life. In real life, I mean. In books they're all right, for the most part.
What took this book down from a five to a four was more or less the fact that James didn't really gain much from his journeys. Oh, sure, he realized he was an intelligent human being. (view spoiler)[He gained friends once they got to America. (hide spoiler)] It just didn't feel like quite enough. The ending of Matilda, for instance, felt like enough to me. But this book felt a wee bit unfinished. Not as literally so as Staurt Little was, but still just a bit not fully there.
No bother, though. It's still a rollicking adventure and a delightful film.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
You know, I really enjoy Roald Dahl. In fact, I'm slowly going through just about everything he's written. Unfortunately, when you decide to read ever...moreYou know, I really enjoy Roald Dahl. In fact, I'm slowly going through just about everything he's written. Unfortunately, when you decide to read everything someone has written you come up against a few unfortunate reads. For me, this was one of them. During the World Wars a great number of books were written for children about aspects of military life. This was how The Gremlins was born.
Gremlins are tiny creatures that go through planes (and most mechanical objects) and totally mess them up. You probably have a few messing with your WiFi on occasion. Why do they do this? Their forests were destroyed during the Industrial Revolution and they want revenge. Why else? Maybe for fun, or maybe not. In this story Roald Dahl decides to create a little school for them so they can repair planes rather than destroy them. Which... I guess makes sense? Now the pilots won't have anyone to blame but themselves when things go wrong though. Didn't think that one through, did you?
This book just... bored me. The illustrations weren't enough to keep me engaged, I was constantly confused by who didn't believe in them and who did. I don't understand why they decided to work with creatures that nearly murdered them for fun. It was just a bit of a mess for me. Oh well. I think Disney even got a film out of this nonsense.
No nostalgia here, and no Snoopy to keep me engaged. Alas.(less)