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)
Dogsbody was first laid before me by my first librarian in elementary school. She offered me the book, what with the c...moreAh, well, we meet again my love.
Dogsbody was first laid before me by my first librarian in elementary school. She offered me the book, what with the chilling rendition of the cold dog on the cover. Fur as white as snow, ears as red as blood, in mid leap towards the front of the cover. I devoured the book more quickly than anything, and left with a part of me stolen by the story. I could relate to Leo, to Sirius, to whatever you choose to call him. I had my rages, had my temper. Rereading it all these years later, yes, I've had my ill-chosen love. I felt I understood him, and understood the love that Kathleen had for him and the emptiness she felt towards the end.
Rereading it now, I understand the subplot of the Irish Troubles, the prejudice that I missed completely when I first read it innumerable times. I understood the mythology of the Hunt, and better the desire to chase and destroy and mourn and love that was all wrapped up within it. I understood the difference between the wild and the tame, the intelligence and the cruelty. There is so much in this book that just... it's almost like we were given only a brief snapshot of what could have continued on for ages. The world built was beautiful, cruel, confused and haunting. We were given so much in this book to explore, and so much was just viewed through inadequate eyes.
I think I'll always love this book, and I know it will always have stolen a large part of who I am. It's my favorite for a reason, and I spent years trying to find it for a bigger reason still. This book is an under-appreciated classic, and one I'll always hurriedly recommend to anyone who asks me. (less)
I'm a big fan of Hyperbole and a Half, and from that knew well enough that I would be a fan of this book. It collects some o...moreWonderful, wonderful book.
I'm a big fan of Hyperbole and a Half, and from that knew well enough that I would be a fan of this book. It collects some of the most memorable stories from the blog, and adds several new entertaining ones. While I would love to see a book that collects all of the posts, this is still a very good start.
Allie Brosh's artwork is distinctive and hilarious, her writing both poignant and clever. While the subject matter at times does get dark, this book is still one of the funniest and most truthful ones I've ever read.
This book is an excellent collection of Peanuts comics, and the comics themselves are added to by the beginning Foreward and In...moreGosh, I love this book.
This book is an excellent collection of Peanuts comics, and the comics themselves are added to by the beginning Foreward and Introduction that relate a number of anecdotes about Charles Schulz' life and writing/drawing techniques. Where he got his inspiration, what he wondered about his own characters - it's fascinating, and I'd love to read a biography of the fellow I admire so much.(less)
Now and then one comes across a writer whose every word titillates and entices. Readin...moreHarlan Ellison, I have the deepest of writing crushes upon you.
Now and then one comes across a writer whose every word titillates and entices. Reading their stories, regardless of what they are, is a pleasure: even their 'just ok' writing makes you think, makes you wonder, makes you hungry for more. I've a handful of authors I can think of that do that for me. Unquestionably, Mr. Harlan Ellison is one of them.
Spider Kiss is a rock and roll fable, effortlessly splicing together the various stories of a down and out kid and his meteoric rise to fame. Where Spider Kiss differs from other stories of this nature is not only the fact that it predates the now cliche trope becoming trope... it also is nowhere near the heartwarming story one is used to hearing. Real life often isn't that way, and Ellison certainly doesn't shy away from depicting real life.
Character flaws are abundant, and for that the character's come off as rather more human. The fable is a fable, and as such the stereotypes do exist within the text. All the same, the stereotypes reinforce what audiences have been sold for ages now. It's incredible to think that this book was written in 1960, and it's more incredible that this book isn't better known.
Music fans? You gotta read this, if only for how well it mirrors the stories we all know so well.(less)
Steven M. Wise lays out the case for increased rights for animals from a scientific standpoint. Bit by bit he examines the cognitive abil...moreAmazing book.
Steven M. Wise lays out the case for increased rights for animals from a scientific standpoint. Bit by bit he examines the cognitive ability of various animals (honeybees, dogs, great apes, birds, and cetaceans) in a rather rigorous and thorough way. He doesn't shy away from controversy (though he failed to bring up some of the questionable claims involving Koko) where it arises (especially in the case of the care of dolphins) and meets a lot of the questions that would be raised head-on.
While Steven M. Wise makes an excellent case for animal rights, he also acknowledges the trouble it will take to put those rights in place. He acknowledges and even postulates why people find it hard to grant rights to animals, and compares it rather compellingly to the trouble America had in granting both slaves and women increased rights in their respective times of emancipation.
Fascinating read, highly recommended to anyone and everyone who has ever loved a pet.(less)
Reading the collected edition, it includes "Cinderella Libertine" which I hadn't read before. I have to say the bit with the pumpkin at the end was surprising and incredibly disgusting. Nice touch with the Napoleon statue, as well... Man, I love this series.
"March of the Wooden Soldiers" is right up there with "Storybook Love." It's from the former that the famous (well, geekily famous) statue of Snow White and Bigby comes from. One of these days I'll probably get one of those for myself, I love them so.
The story picks up, more questions are raised than answers, and the pace is just.. perfect. I really want to find the next installments and get more up to date on Fables. This series is just perfect.
Where else do you get to see Mr. Toad riding the cow that jumped over the moon whilst lobbing grenades at wooden soldiers? I mean, come on...(less)
I think "Storybook Love" is really where the series begins to pick up... "The Last Castle" really seals it for me, the series...moreAnother re-read of mine.
I think "Storybook Love" is really where the series begins to pick up... "The Last Castle" really seals it for me, the series catching its stride and beginning to deliver on both character development and even more beautiful artwork.
This was a reread for me, but a very good one. I love the artwork, the characters.. well, everything about it. It's only...moreBetween three and four stars.
This was a reread for me, but a very good one. I love the artwork, the characters.. well, everything about it. It's only rated three because the first story is a bit weak, and the second one more on the predictable side. The series itself is a solid five for me, and will most likely continue to be so.(less)
This book I got many years ago from Quarwood of all places. It's one of the books I own from John Entwistle's personal library, and it is an exception...moreThis book I got many years ago from Quarwood of all places. It's one of the books I own from John Entwistle's personal library, and it is an exceptionally beautiful book. It is worth five stars for the pictures alone, but the accompanying text makes it all even better.
The book is a broad survey of the Arthurian Legends, and how they changed over time. Each section focuses upon a different period in Arthurian literature and is complete with a survey of what was focused upon during that time, and selections from each piece of art/literature. It begins with a selection from Mabinogion and ends with one from The Once and Future King, to give an idea of how thorough it is.
All in all, a beautiful book, and from the personal collection of a wonderful man. One of my most prized possessions.(less)
I first learned about this book through the release of the films (Let The Right One In, and Let Me In.) There was a good deal of buzz regarding the mo...moreI first learned about this book through the release of the films (Let The Right One In, and Let Me In.) There was a good deal of buzz regarding the movies, as culture had been saturated with the Twilight phenomenon, and along comes yet another vampire story...
The writing is fluid, and the characters as thoroughly developed as those in Stephen King's best stories. The historical grounding in the book (Sweden, 1981) adds to the tension in the story, as politics are discussed in passing time and again. The vampire mythos is thoroughly delved into without it being overdone - mixed with the cruelty of children, and the deviant desires that pass in and out of characters... well, this is a recipe for a horror book unlike any other I've experienced.
This book frightened me most genuinely, it disturbed me, grossed me out, repelled me, and drew me back in. Oskar is not a lovable main character at all, but he is one that is easy to understand and surprisingly his actions are believable for someone of his age. Eli, as well, ends up being quite believable and sympathetic time and again.
I will say that having finished the book I'm a bit uncertain as to whether or not I want to see the films... the images in my mind of some of the less savory points in the book are bad enough, don't know how well I'd deal with it on screen. Then again, it could be a bit like A History of Violence but somehow I doubt any blows will softened.
This is hardcore horror, and a wonderful, wonderful ride.(less)
I was given this book by the author, Russell Mardell, when he had an extra left from the Goodreads First-reads giveaway. So, I suppose I won this one...moreI was given this book by the author, Russell Mardell, when he had an extra left from the Goodreads First-reads giveaway. So, I suppose I won this one through the give-away. Once more, I am extremely happy that I had a chance to read this book.
The comment on the back reads "Long live misanthropy!" and the book is comprised of twelve short-stories that take place in a "town a bit to the left of reality." Mewlish Lull, said town, is indeed just a bit to the left of reality. The stories occupy the same sort of space that the more realistic Jonathan Carroll stories do... everything makes sense, and then it doesn't. You think this is realism, but it still feels slightly off... by the time I was on the third story, "Farringdon" I was madly in love with this book and the strange feeling reading it gave me. This is very British, very odd, and not a little sad. It left me feeling a bit chafed, a bit off, and yet grinning like a fool. The book is not without is humor, though its humor tends towards the morbid.
For the record, the title story is also one of the creepiest stories I've had the joy of reading.(less)
I'm a fan of self-help books, generally because I enjoy improving myself. A good number of self-help b...moreI won this book through the first-reads program.
I'm a fan of self-help books, generally because I enjoy improving myself. A good number of self-help books, though, tend to focus upon immediate improvement and immediate gratification. Well, immediate results tend to be rare, and don't last. Luckily, this book not only acknowledges that fact, but celebrates it.
This book is divided into 52 different short tips that you can execute fairly easily. Everything from napping (Einstein did it) to slowing down your practice is discussed, and in such short snippets that it never feels pedantic.
I, for one, know that I'll be taking these tips to heart... one at a time, and probably for 8 weeks at time waiting for it all to sink in. I think this is a helpful guide for just about anyone, though. Who doesn't enjoy improving their skill sets? :)(less)
Here's a horrible confession: I liked Year Zero more than Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. There, I said it. I enjoyed it more, and I felt that it resonated far better with my generation. The book was hilarious, truly inspired, and had enough geeky references that I'm certain it'll cause even the most cynical Farker or Redditor to laugh out loud.
The book was fast-paced, intricately woven, and irreverent as hell. It had me laughing, and thinking about it even when it wasn't in my hands. Seriously, get this book as soon as possible and read it. You will enjoy it. I guarantee it. I can't think of a single person who wouldn't laugh at this book.(less)
I won this book through first-reads, and from the very mention of Firefly on its cover knew it had a lot to live up to. Compa...moreOh, dear lord, this book!
I won this book through first-reads, and from the very mention of Firefly on its cover knew it had a lot to live up to. Comparing a book to Firefly? Having to review something compared to Firefly when I consider myself a pretty devoted Browncoat? Well. I opened the book with a dose of skepticism, pretending that I hadn't just texted my sci-fi (and fellow Browncoat) loving boyfriend that I just got that ARC I'd been telling him about. I hyped it up sufficiently in my mind.
This book delivered beyond my wildest of expectations.
The book was fast paced with a healthy underlining of wry humor. This is one of the few books that has made me laugh out loud on more than occasion... Every character is lovingly crafted, they each have their quirks and their tongue-in-cheek moments - it's incredible that it never comes off as false or heavyhanded. Katy Stauber has faultlessly delivered on a nearly impossible task: she's given us a novel that draws upon the cult classic of Firefly without being mere fanfiction - in fact, she's created something lovingly unique.
That this is a scifi adaptation of The Odyssey is also apparent, as if the cover doesn't give it away. She's morphed the tale into something that encompasses Rasta Nation colonies (marijuana bombs!), entirely creepy genetic splicing experiments, rogue orbitals, and everything else under (and on level with) the sun. She's made The Odyssey freshfaced and deadpan, and Cesar Vaquero is a much, much more lovable protagonist than the cunning Ulysses.
I can't praise this book enough, nor how many people I want to throw my copy at so I can chat with them about it. I can't wait to pass this book on, and only hope that it will get the recognition and acclaim it well deserves.
Keep writing Katy Stauber! I'll be reading your every word for certain. You've found a great fan in me!(less)
My only complaint about the Locke & Key series is that each new volume is just too short. I want these stories to go on forever, but alas, the qua...moreMy only complaint about the Locke & Key series is that each new volume is just too short. I want these stories to go on forever, but alas, the quality would probably deteriorate if they did. Either that or I simply would be incapable of processing the sheer cleverness of such a fantastic series. One or the other, I'm sure.
The third entry is both darker than the last two and a bit more fantastic. The incredible artwork of The Tempest performance in Volume 2 is formed into the evil shadows in this entry. Duncan, my favorite character thus far, is absent - but enter Scott Kavanaugh, a character that harks back to, say, Cassidy in the Preacher series. In characterization, at least, as I am fairly certain he's not going to admit to being a vampire anytime soon.
The pace of the series is picking up, even as the content becomes a bit less dense. You can almost feel the world of Locke and Key become larger and larger, even as the focus becomes narrower and narrower and the characters deeper. I can't wait to pick up the next volume, and only wish that they were being released far faster than they currently are. (less)
Preacher can do no wrong. Seriously. It's the Tarantino of comic books, when that was still a compliment to pay. Preacher can imitate nothing but itse...morePreacher can do no wrong. Seriously. It's the Tarantino of comic books, when that was still a compliment to pay. Preacher can imitate nothing but itself, and it is not even close to running the risk of being overly cliché.
I should probably begin by saying that this book isn't for everyone. While the language is easily accessible to laypeople, therefore making this one o...moreI should probably begin by saying that this book isn't for everyone. While the language is easily accessible to laypeople, therefore making this one of the few books focusing on cognitive ethology that gears away from more specialized language, that doesn't mean it's going to appeal to the general public. While this book did see high sales, a quick perusal of the different GoodReads reviews shows a great number of people who found themselves bored to tears. Personally, I found this book both enthralling and difficult too put down. Comparative psychology is also one of the topics I find most interesting.
This book is written with a keen wit and a loving attention to detail. Alexandra Horowitz intersperses anecdotal evidence culled from her sixteen years with her mutt Pump along with case studies from both prominent scientists in the field of ethology and up-and-comers to explain the umwelt of a dog. Earlier chapters primarily deal with separating the truth from fiction behind canine evolution (i.e. just because dogs evolved from wolves doesn't mean they still view the world the way that wolves do) while later chapters delve into... well, more doggy-ness. Eventually the book makes strides towards explaining just what it is that dogs do know, while not doing dogs any disservice for, well, being dogs.
This book marks the first step towards a more scientific understanding of man's best friend, and hopefully will spearhead more thorough analysis in the years to come. I am as surprised as Alexandra Horowitz was that more studies haven't been done on dogs, though she does make a very fine point towards the end that there are some things that simply can't be studied objectively. Nonetheless, the bond between dogs and humans is very well explained in this book. I certainly will be looking at the dogs I see with a keener attention and doing what I can to interact with them on their own terms more often in the future.
It never ceases to amaze me that we can interact with animals as well as we can.(less)
To begin, I tend not to enjoy fantasy as much as other genres. Somewhere around the tail end of middle school I got t...moreIt's about time I read this book.
To begin, I tend not to enjoy fantasy as much as other genres. Somewhere around the tail end of middle school I got thoroughly burned out on fantasy. As a kid, I read every fantasy book I could possibly get my hands on, and somewhere along the line I discovered what Joseph Campbell refers to as The Hero's Journey. I grew very tired of formulaic fantasy. I never stopped reading fantasy, as my Goodreads account shows, but I grew a bit jaded and weary in regards to the genre.
Then I met my good friend Mars who laughed when I sheepishly admitted that I felt fantasy was formulaic.
Lev Grossman builds his own mythology within The Magicians. While it isn't as diverse as the world built within Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, it doesn't need to be. He stands on the back of authors such as C.S. Lewis and J.K. Rowling to create a world that is both familiar and foreign. The book doesn't depend upon the Fillory mythos as much as it does the fact that fantasy books tend towards the formulaic. He wants the reader to recognize the stagnant nature of fantasy, alongside the very reason that readers crave the genre in the first place.
Quentin Coldwater is an obnoxious protagonist. He has all the faults of Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye and then some, and very few redeeming qualities. Luckily, Quentin is the sort of obnoxious that one is likely to come across. He doesn't make the book unbearable because he is so familiar, just like the story of the English children making their way to a magical kingdom. There is a certain reprieve in the familiar, and while all the characters change and develop around him, Quentin stoutly refuses to grow. Quentin's abilities change, but his mindset stoutly refuses to. Like Jack Shepherd in LOST, this is believable, if maddening.
Fillory is a delight, as is the way magic is done. The villains are a terrifying reminder of just how far one might go to escape themselves. The book is a startling treatise on escapism, even as the reader may use the book for just that. It is meta, without being obnoxiously so. A friend of mine stated that Lev Grossman delivered the book she had been waiting for ever since reading Harry Potter, Earthsea, and the like... and personally, I have to agree. The sex, drugs, booze, and swearing are all surprisingly believable. The ennui is a natural extension of the abilities that the characters have.
The Magicians is a brilliant book, and one that I would highly recommend, as my friend Dave has, to Anyone, Anyone, Anyone. Yes, it is just that good.(less)
This book, like previous installments, was a bit more filler than it was pushing the story forward. You get Bigby with some World War I...moreBack to Fables.
This book, like previous installments, was a bit more filler than it was pushing the story forward. You get Bigby with some World War II flashbacks, and the awkward banishment of Snow White and her children to the Farm. While it was intriguing, had some nice twists, and beautiful illustrations it just didn't... hold up as well as previous installments.
I know it'll improve shortly though, so there's that. Also, it hints at the start of Jack of Fables which should be a fun read in and of itself.(less)
This is my second time reading the first volume of the series, a sort of catch-me-up since I got the res...moreOh, PREACHER. Where have you been all my life?
This is my second time reading the first volume of the series, a sort of catch-me-up since I got the rest now. Rather than the official collection, I've been reading the original releases (editor columns and all) and oh man, what a pleasure this is.
The story is wonderful enough, but the letters are just golden. From the "send in your favorite curse word" to the "Arseface lookalike contest" this stuff is plain fantastic. I can't wait to read the rest of this run, and quickly hunt down everything else Ennis and Dillon have done. (less)
Normally, I would begin this review with a summary and then go into what I liked or disliked about it. This time, I don't quite feel safe summarizing...moreNormally, I would begin this review with a summary and then go into what I liked or disliked about it. This time, I don't quite feel safe summarizing anything. Suffice to say, yes, this is a post-apocalyptic book about vampires. Yes, this is the first book in a series. It is horror, it is sci-fi, a lot of comparisons can be drawn between Cronin and Stephen King.. and yet? This is something entirely different.
Justin Cronin does not avoid the tropes of this genre, and in fact plays into them on several occasions... only to sidestep the stereotypical way of bringing it off and deliver something new and exciting. This is a book that you have to trust going into it. It constantly surprises, and every time I was tempted to put it down, it brought out something new to keep me thoroughly engaged. The pace is quick, and then it drags, lulling you into a false sense of security before excitement strikes again. In a lot of ways, it is a perfect horror novel.
Don't be dissuaded by the fact it is horror. Unlike the stereotype of this genre, the book is perfectly literary. It has something to say, and it does so with a distinct lack of pretension and bluntness. It never delves into the realm of inaccessible language or layered meanings, but rather, delivers on a more subtle scale. The book was well researched, well delivered, and is as respectable in its content as it is intimidating in its size.
I recommend this book one hundred percent to anyone who feels up to the challenge of its 766 pages. I recommend this book even to those who don't feel that they could read something of this length; this book is deceptive, and in the best way possible. This book has given vampires back their balls.(less)
The skill with which Carla Speed McNeil weaves the world of Finder never ceases to amaze me. Every installment in this series brings out new informati...moreThe skill with which Carla Speed McNeil weaves the world of Finder never ceases to amaze me. Every installment in this series brings out new information, new cultural information, and elaborates upon old characters that we may only have met for a second three volumes before. McNeil's imagination is vast, and I feel truly blessed to be given the chance to delve into it through these volumes.
Unlike previous volumes, Voice focuses more heavily upon the Llaverac clan and the way in which one becomes a full member of it. Rachel is the focus, much as Marcie was the focus of Talisman and the Llaverac beauty pageant is something that would put Toddlers in Tiaras to shame. The questions of beauty, of authenticity, and of personal identity are all delved into.. as are certain questions of societal mores. The footnotes that I love so in these comics also have grown more confident, and elaborate.
Also: how can't you love a comic book that questions why society is increasingly finding it all right to wear underclothes as normal day to day clothing (i.e. t-shirts.)? I love that she thinks of these things.(less)
"No matter how hot you are, no matter how rich, how smart, how cool you are, somebody, somewhere is sick of your shit." Thus begins Five Crazy Women.
I...more"No matter how hot you are, no matter how rich, how smart, how cool you are, somebody, somewhere is sick of your shit." Thus begins Five Crazy Women.
It is difficult to describe the experience of reading Carla Speed McNeil's Finder to someone who has yet to read it. The story's wrap themselves around you, the characters whisper in your ear. The phrases make you smile, make you do a double take, and finally, make you laugh out loud. The first fifteen pages of this one alone had me laughing to the point of tears.
If you've not yet read Finder, take the opportunity to pick up the collected Finder Library.. if you have already read Finder.. then friend me. Immediately. Seriously. Pass the book along. Let the wonder that is this graphic novel series fill up the vacancies that series such as Preacher used to occupy.
Yes, yes, I'm a massive fan of Finder. I've not met a volume in this series that I haven't loved, and this is no exception.
This volume largely dealt w...moreYes, yes, I'm a massive fan of Finder. I've not met a volume in this series that I haven't loved, and this is no exception.
This volume largely dealt with the internal politics of the Anvard clan societies. When a semi-public figures son is kidnapped, and found dead by Jaegar, there's a question of what is to be done. Ascani testimony is no good in court, and the 'official' detectives lack the skills needed to solve the crime.
The intricacies of the society are fascinating, and at no point interfere with the characters and the plot of the story. Info-dumping just doesn't happen, the facts are revealed as it goes along. McNeil is a master of speculative fiction, and truly an inspiration when it comes to writing about any world or culture.
Vary, a prostitute in training, is in love with two of her professors, one of which happens to be a laeske (a sentient winged lizard), and the other m...moreVary, a prostitute in training, is in love with two of her professors, one of which happens to be a laeske (a sentient winged lizard), and the other may or may not be blind and has prosthetic laeske legs. Welcome to the sixth book of Finder.
Honestly, this series has never failed to deliver. As someone who adores anthropology, this book tickled me in a myriad of ways. Without spoiling anything, a lot near the ending will crack up anyone with even a passing interest in other cultures.
As always, McNeil has expanded her world and made it even richer than before. Her characters all have become better and better developed as the series goes on, which is saying a lot, because they were well developed from the start. My love of this series knows no bounds.
So get it. Read it. Enjoy it, and pass it on. I've said it before - this is the only graphic novel I know that's got footnotes, and it needs them. This is literature, folks, and it doesn't get much better than this.(less)