I've liked David Sedaris for a while, now. I've caught his essays in various magazines, I've heard him speak, and I've seen interviews with him. I've...moreI've liked David Sedaris for a while, now. I've caught his essays in various magazines, I've heard him speak, and I've seen interviews with him. I've always found him very funny and quick-witted, but I've never sat down and read one of his books.
When You Are Engulfed In Flames is not as side-splittingly funny as Mr. Sedaris's previous works, but that in no way detracts from its incredible genius. For such a neurotic, self-depracating man as himself, he is just so inherently likable. From the first to the last page, you find yourself completely enthralled by all of his hilariously ordinary adventures across the world.
This particular collection of essays revolves around the theme of death and dying. Growing into middle-age finds Mr. Sedaris reflecting on his life: the events that formed him into the man he is today, and the events that continue to unfold around him. Topics include (but are definitely not limited to) bi-curious truck drivers, modern art, living across the street from a supposed pedophile, rude passengers on airplanes, the continued absurd adventures between Mr. Sedaris and his long-time boyfriend Hugh, and the pains of quitting smoking.
The sardonic tone and deadpan delivery that made Mr. Sedaris famous still feel just as fresh and funny as they always have. Though it's not as laugh-out-loud-funny as a lot of his previous work, When You Are Engulfed In Flames is funny in a quieter, more personally identifiable way.
Under the Dome, Stephen King's latest heavyweight novel, is by far the best book he's written since Bag of Bones.
With a scale this epic, it's hard not...moreUnder the Dome, Stephen King's latest heavyweight novel, is by far the best book he's written since Bag of Bones.
With a scale this epic, it's hard not to compare it to his masterpiece, The Stand. Both novels are well over 1000 pages in length, both feature a large cast of characters, and both have incredibly intense finales that are impossible to put down.
I'm not going to summarize the plot in any way for two reasons: 1. You probably already know what it's about 2. I don't want to accidentally spoil anything you don't know
What I will tell you is that Stephen King has crafted yet another masterpiece of modern horror: one of the best, most compelling and most terrifying glimpses into the darkest corners of the human psyche. I cannot recommend this book any more. But be warned, this is also one of King's most gruesome, brutal and unflinchingly violent novels.
Approach with caution, but please, please, approach it eventually.
"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains."
I had very high expectations for this bo...more"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains."
I had very high expectations for this book, and not all of them were met. Just like Jane Austen's original novel, the book moves very slowly. Even the scenes of graphic zombie violence carry the same thick prose. However, the concept is much stronger than I thought it would be, and the author manages to make the zombie subplot work through the book's entirety.
Not a masterpiece by any means, but nonetheless very enjoyable.
Easily one of the best and scariest mystery novels ever written.
Those of you who know me —or my writing— are aware of my intimate relationship with hy...moreEasily one of the best and scariest mystery novels ever written.
Those of you who know me —or my writing— are aware of my intimate relationship with hyperbole. I love saying "This is one of the best ____ ever" or "One of the greatest _____ of all time." This time, I really, really mean it. You can choose to take what I say with a grain of salt, that's entirely your choice, but I am 100% serious, 0% hyperbolic when I tell you that Dennis Lehane's Darkness, Take My Hand is among the best detective novels ever written.
Picking up where A Drink Before The War left off, Lehane's private detectives Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro find themselves once again investigating a case that seems pretty standard and simple. However, in the world of Dennis Lehane, this couldn't be farther from the truth. The truth, it turns out, is something more disturbing or terrifying than anybody could have ever imagined.
Dan Brown's got real competition: this book is impossible to put down, and it never lets up. The twists and turns are fast and often, barely giving you a chance to get your bearings before the next shocking revelation. Darkness, Take My Hand is an exhausting novel that will take complete control over your life until you've read it from cover to cover. An absolute masterpiece: one that will surely be remembered years and years from now.
A heartbreaking but wholly rewarding celebration of love.
Add Audrey Niffenegger to the list of "Masters of Modern Literature," for she has truly captu...moreA heartbreaking but wholly rewarding celebration of love.
Add Audrey Niffenegger to the list of "Masters of Modern Literature," for she has truly captured what very few authors can do: the power of true love. You would never guess that The Time Traveler's Wife was Ms. Niffenegger's first novel. The story is rich in detail, her characters couldn't be more convincing... Everything about this book screams "seasoned pro."
What truly makes this book a new classic among romance novels is the fact that it doesn't beat you over the head with its message. Is Henry DeTamble, the male love interest, the perfect man? Hardly. Apart from his inability to literally stay in the present, he steals, beats people up for their clothes and abuses drugs. Is Clare Abshire, the female love interest, perfect? Absolutely not. In other words, these characters feel real because of the fact that there are things about them that we hate, and the characters hate, too.
More than anything else, though, Ms. Niffenegger's story is incredibly complex. By page 30 it becomes apparent that this isn't just some little throw-away novel to her. No. Almost every chapter screams of meticulous attention to detail. Ms. Niffenegger has crafted an entire universe of time and time lost.
Ms. Niffenegger has crafted a deeply moving and truly captivating masterpiece with The Time Traveler's Wife. Here's hoping she keeps up the great work: I cannot wait to see what kind of story she comes up with next.
Not being a fan of anime or graphic novels in general, I was a bit apprehensive when several of my friends recommended this Japanese manga series to m...moreNot being a fan of anime or graphic novels in general, I was a bit apprehensive when several of my friends recommended this Japanese manga series to me. After two years of promising that I'd "get around to it," I decided to start reading the first volume. I'm glad I did.
Death Note follows the disturbing adventures of an exceedingly bright young man named Light, who happens upon a notebook during high school. But obviously not an ordinary notebook. If Light knows a person's face, he can write their name in the notebook, and that person will drop dead of a heart attack. Additionally, if he writes down additional details, including a cause of death, that too will happen. As the story progresses, a brilliant detective named L, whose face and identity is unbeknownst to anybody, begins to investigate as hundreds of criminals begin to drop like flies all over the world.
Death Note is a unique and very compelling story, full of vibrant characters, a whimsical plot and a provocative message: Is it evil to murder the world's most evil men?
An amusing little short story about an Amazon Kindle from another dimension. Has some terrific moments that are genuinely scary (including a nice tie...moreAn amusing little short story about an Amazon Kindle from another dimension. Has some terrific moments that are genuinely scary (including a nice tie to King's The Dark Tower series), but mainly just a technophobic monster-of-the-week short story. Still, an entertaining and amusing read.
There's no word that can describe this book better than, "Wow."
Stephen King has crafted a labyrinthian, poignant and extremely spooky ghost story with...moreThere's no word that can describe this book better than, "Wow."
Stephen King has crafted a labyrinthian, poignant and extremely spooky ghost story with Bag Of Bones, and to say much more than that would give away too much of the plot. The book starts out as an introspective and emotionally potent examination of grief: author Mike Noonan has just lost his wife to a sudden brain aneurysm, and now cannot find himself able to write more than a few words without getting physically sick.
What evolves out of his premise is a terrifying ghost story with so many twists and turns that you'll be constantly thinking, "Oh... I get it now!" only for King to slap you in the face and say, "Ha-ha! You're wrong!"
A unique and brilliant novel that is easily one of King's all-time best words.
As I'm sure my friends and family are well-aware of, Stephen King is among my all-time favorite authors, and this boo...moreWhat a beautiful, inspiring book!
As I'm sure my friends and family are well-aware of, Stephen King is among my all-time favorite authors, and this book just helps to reinforce why he became a favorite in the first place. In On Writing, King speaks like a good friend, beckoning you to the next page to listen to the sometimes hilarious, sometimes frightening, and sometimes heart-wrenching stories of his life.
And if the autobiographical material wasn't enough, King also includes a long section about how to improve your writing: useful tips and suggestions that really make a good deal of sense.
There's something for everyone in this book: whether you love King, hate King, or are completely indifferent, you will find yourself completely absorbed by his anecdotes and his writing tips. One of the best, most useful books I've ever read.
Whether you agree or disagree with his policies, you can't deny that Obama truly has a way with words. Having already proved himself a terrific public...moreWhether you agree or disagree with his policies, you can't deny that Obama truly has a way with words. Having already proved himself a terrific public speaker, reading this book shows you what an even better writer he is.
Like any book on political theory, not all of it is fun to read. President Obama's book drags on occasion, opting to explain every little facet of every little detail in his points. Thankfully, the majority of The Audacity of Hope flows very well. The most compelling parts of this book are when the president interjects autobiographical anecdotes of his senate campaign, showing us what a truly grueling process it is.
On the whole, Barack Obama's second book is really only for people interested in reading political theory, but there are still many parts of it that should appeal to all readers.
Barbara Kingsolver's The Bean Trees starts off with a very simple premise: young girl drives off for a change of scenery, when a young mother leaves h...moreBarbara Kingsolver's The Bean Trees starts off with a very simple premise: young girl drives off for a change of scenery, when a young mother leaves her baby with her and runs away. This incredibly simple, and somewhat soap-operaish plot soon develops into a wonderful, vibrant and imaginative character study. This is one of those books where it's best to enter it with as little knowledge of the plot as possible, so I'll leave it at that. It gets kind of sappy at times, but for the most part this is a funny, whimsical and very well-written little book.