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)
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)
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...
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)
Lord Byron is one of those authors I've read scraps of here and there and always enjoyed. His reputation precedes him, and the allusions to him in oth...moreLord Byron is one of those authors I've read scraps of here and there and always enjoyed. His reputation precedes him, and the allusions to him in other works I've read have always made me laugh. I'd like to read more about him, but never quite know where to start. Hell, my to-read shelf is so huge right now I'd have difficulty even getting to any books I add to it, but... Well.
I had this collection of poetry lying about, and always wanted to get to it. Come to think of it, I've probably read it few several times and forgot about it as the years went on, I first got it so darn long ago. Picking it up again, I was rather taken with the poetry. The sly tone, the shifting affection and amusement. Lord Byron is a deservedly fascinating character, and one I probably should delve more into one of these days. As far as poetry collections go, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. I don't really know enough about the author to have an informed opinion beyond just genuine enjoyment and amusement, though. I'll leave the in depth reviews and commentary to the experts.(less)
Roald Dahl is one of those authors omnipresent during childhood, but slowly fading into obscurity as the years go by. We all know the books he's writt...moreRoald Dahl is one of those authors omnipresent during childhood, but slowly fading into obscurity as the years go by. We all know the books he's written, the films and plays made of them. We all know the basis of the stories, but have we actually read the books? I hadn't, unfortunately, but I've been slowly amending that over the years and trying to understand what exactly I missed during my childhood. Unfortunately, what I missed seemed to be rather a lot. Fortunately, I'm making up for it now and able to more greatly appreciate what would have flown a bit over my head had I read them all during childhood.
Matilda I mostly remember as the film that came out when I was younger and constantly playing on television. I had a distinct image of a child being thrown through a window by her pigtails, and sure enough that did end up happening a bit later on during the book.
The writing in the book is good, wry and told with a bit of a smirk. While the classic idea of children versus adults is at the heart of the story, so is the notion that good adults can and do exist. The nurturing of Matilda's teacher, and the constant seeking of knowledge on her part were refreshing themes that resonated for me at least, as I'd been a child reading at a rather higher level than the rest of my classmates for some time. I also was rather touched by the fact that the children never resented Matilda her knowledge, but rather liked her. She was humble about it, quiet about it, helpful and sweet.
The book was touching, illustrations grand, and the story funny without being too harsh or too vulgar, as some children's books can be. Roald Dahl well reserves his status as a classic children's author.(less)
This concise book is a collection of well known quotations from his work, organized loosely by topic. The beg...moreAh, who doesn't love William Shakespeare?
This concise book is a collection of well known quotations from his work, organized loosely by topic. The beginning features a nice biography of the author, although it does report some stories that are more likely inventions than truth. It does, however, quote some of the better Ben Jonson mentions of Shakespeare.
All in all this book, as previous reviewers have commented, is a bit too PG rated to be truly good fun. It is a good quick reference to various quotations, and a decent introduction to the life of the Bard.
All in all, quite fun, but a bit too whitewashed.(less)
Other reviewers have criticized Graeme Simsion for portraying Aspergers in the most stereotypical fashion, for writing a rom...moreNow, this was interesting.
Other reviewers have criticized Graeme Simsion for portraying Aspergers in the most stereotypical fashion, for writing a romantic comedy where he could have written something much more dark a serious, and even for writing a book where a screenplay could have gone over beautifully. Personally, I didn't take any umbrage at any of those facts.
This book was delightful, entertaining, and actually rather sympathetic to the way that Aspies work. The writing was clean and sharp, amusing and just fantastically ignorant of a deeper analysis of social cues while still providing them wonderfully. It's a bit like a puzzle with the pieces all out and face up on the table. You can see the full image if you look long enough - it's all there - just nowhere near a comprehensible order unless you take the time and effort to arrange them right. And really, do you need to after a certain amount of time? It can find its own incomplete glory, or you could try to get them right with a bit of help...
As someone reading from a similar perspective as the protagonist, I found no real fault with the book. It's a perfect quick read to put a smile on your face.(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)
I was intrigued by this book originally when reading some criticism and praise of it. As a satire, the book sounded like an interesting attack on just...moreI was intrigued by this book originally when reading some criticism and praise of it. As a satire, the book sounded like an interesting attack on just about all of the Shakespeare arguments as well as our tendency as a culture to try to overanalyze things. Sounds good, right? Unfortunately, the book didn't quite come off like that to me.
Is Shakespeare Dead didn't just come off as a misinformed argument in favor of Baconian authorship, but it also came off as just... a rushed and jumbled essay that never found its footing. By the time Mark Twain began to employ his comedic touch the exhaustive arguments and analyses had already soured me to the piece itself. It was just confusing and strange from beginning to end. I feel like I missed something somewhere along the line, but if I did, then a great many readers did over the years as well.
I'm open to arguments, though I am a Stratford supporter overall. This just wasn't even an argument as much as it was a flailing Mark Twain who couldn't make up his mind as to what narrative voice would best support the piece going forward.(less)
This Peanuts collection was a gift to me.. probably from around the time it first came out. I can't even recall how many nigh...moreI got this book ages ago.
This Peanuts collection was a gift to me.. probably from around the time it first came out. I can't even recall how many nights I spent leafing through its pages, giggling at the same old jokes and admiring the artwork. Peanuts, baseball, and the cynical humor of Charles M. Schulz all combine to make this collection, well, a classic. Who doesn't enjoy a good joke now and then? This book is a summer's hot afternoon spent with lemonade by a pool.(less)
Rather than being a collection of strips pertaining to the Snoopy vs. the Red Baron gag this a full length story. Yes, it is a picture book, but it st...moreRather than being a collection of strips pertaining to the Snoopy vs. the Red Baron gag this a full length story. Yes, it is a picture book, but it still includes such wonderful words as "meander" and some minor French. Heck, it even goes on to describe the different fighter planes that are being flown and the tracer bullets being used. What's not fun about some minor WWI history?
The story is amusing, as Snoopy goes about his day imagining he's making his way through the fields of France. It's a charming little story, and one that I can't rightly imagine a little kid disliking. I loved the artwork, the vocabulary that didn't patronize the children, and the traditional Peanuts humor. It's a fine little book. :)(less)
What do you do when your dog is acting outrageously? If you happen to be Charlie Brown, you write a letter to the puppy farm you got your dog f...moreUh oh!
What do you do when your dog is acting outrageously? If you happen to be Charlie Brown, you write a letter to the puppy farm you got your dog from and send him back for a bit of obedience training. When Charlie Brown does just that, Snoopy decides a bit of school isn't in the cards for this World War I flying ace. An overnight stay at Peppermint Patty's on the way to Daisy Hill turns into something a bit longer... and longer... and longer . Patty, tired of Snoopy taking advantage of her good nature, decides to turn the tables on this feisty dog and a good lesson is learned.
Peanuts comics never get old for me, and these little booklets are some of the best. Snoopy's sassy behavior truly mirrors the fox terrier he was based on, and nothing can quash the fond memories of these animated specials in my mind.
I picked it up on a whim, finding the title rather hilarious, and kept it as more of curiosity than anything else over...moreI really didn't enjoy this book.
I picked it up on a whim, finding the title rather hilarious, and kept it as more of curiosity than anything else over the years. Finally sitting down to read it.. well, it was about as good as the title indicates. The male lead was Doctor Nick Necrophiliac and the female lead was Ms. Naive.
The lyrics included the wondrous phrase "Draculame, you don't scare me."