Everything you could ever possibly want to know (and never wanted to know) about Kurt Cobain is thoroughly researched and presented in this comprehensEverything you could ever possibly want to know (and never wanted to know) about Kurt Cobain is thoroughly researched and presented in this comprehensive biography.
Mr. Cross is a fantastic writer, recounting Kurt's life in a way that conjures up memories of Truman Capote's In Cold Blood. This book reads more like a novel than any other biography I've ever read. It demands your attention and keeps you involved.
Mr. Cross's research is astonishing, interviewing everybody in Kurt's life, from his parents to college kids who saw him in concert. This biography offers up absolutely everything you could ever want to know about Kurt's tragic, but electric life.
However, therein lies my problem with it. Throughout the book, Mr. Cross cites from Kurt's personal journals. All those who know anything about Kurt would know that he never, ever wanted his journals to be published. And rightfully so. Towards the end of his life, Kurt's journals were the only things he could trust. The only things he could confess everything to.
The fact that his journals are published is completely disrespectful to Kurt's legacy. Though I understand that Mr. Cross had good intentions, he had more than enough information just from all the extensive interviews and research he did.
Mr. Cross has written a fantastic biography of Kurt Cobain: one of the finest singer/songwriters in the history of American music, but maybe it's time we just let Kurt rest in peace. All he ever wanted was to be left alone, so how about we just continue listening to the amazing music he gave us, and let him finally rest....more
If it weren't for the fact that Dan Brown just isn't a very good writer, this would be one of the finest American mystery novelsA flawed masterpiece.
If it weren't for the fact that Dan Brown just isn't a very good writer, this would be one of the finest American mystery novels ever created. Instead, we have a fascinating, enthralling and completely engrossing real-time adventure through Rome and Vatican City, all told with very mediocre prose.
Dan Brown has crafted a masterpiece with Angels & Demons, but he doesn't do a very good job telling it.
A disturbing, impossible to put down detective novel.
The debut novel of Dennis Lehane, possibly Boston's most renowned modern author, is better than yA disturbing, impossible to put down detective novel.
The debut novel of Dennis Lehane, possibly Boston's most renowned modern author, is better than you could ever anticipate from a first book. Lehane's characters are fresh and realistic: they talk like real people, and their dialects perfectly reflect those of their neighborhoods. The story starts out like an ordinary detective novel, quickly turns unusual, and then spirals into a disturbing and almost terrifying tale of political corruption and gangland violence.
By far one of the novels ever written by a first-time author, Dennis Lehane's A Drink Before The War is a masterful and frighteningly realistic depiction of Boston gang crime, the dark secrets of politicians and personal racism. Highly, highly recommended.
One of those rare books that starts off horrible, yet redeems itself in its final act.
Stephen King's technophobia takes on a whole new level with hisOne of those rare books that starts off horrible, yet redeems itself in its final act.
Stephen King's technophobia takes on a whole new level with his own version of zombie horror in Cell. The book kicks into overdrive in the first few pages, dedicating the entire first 50 of them to nothing but gallons upon gallons of flesh, blood and organs. For the next 300, King lets the violence take the backseat in favor of creeping suspense and his trademarked subtlety in character development.
During those first 50 pages, I thought I was in for a very, deeply disappointing read. It felt like King was trying as hard as he could to make the goriest novel ever made. And for a while, he certainly exceeded. However, the next hundred pages were the point-of-no-return for me: I was hooked on these characters. Though Clayton Riddell is as strong a lead character as King has written, it was Tom McCourt and Alice and her "security shoe" that commanded my full attention. The whole second half of Cell is nothing but excruciating suspense as the plot builds and builds to a shocking, explosive climax and a terrifyingly ambiguous final sentence.
As was stated before, those first 50 pages led me to believe that King had lost his mojo. His dialogue and wit had been sacrificed for an all-out gorefest. But as I kept reading, I kept hoping that King would redeem himself and bring the story back to his usual quality. Like the prayer to St. Anthony that the character Denise says several times in the novel, the first half of the book had he praying, Stephen, Stephen, come around, something's lost that can't be found.
There's really not much to say about Devil May Care, the latest addition to the James Bond novel series. Sebastian Faulks tries his best to mimic IanThere's really not much to say about Devil May Care, the latest addition to the James Bond novel series. Sebastian Faulks tries his best to mimic Ian Fleming's voice and tone, but more often than not, ends up blending Fleming's slow-burning suspense with Faulks' own stylistic tricks. In the end, while an enjoyable story, Devil May Care is just too inconsistent to make it a good James Bond novel.
For the first half of the book, I actually thought it was better than its predecessor, Twilight. However, as soon as I gotA lazy and predictable bore.
For the first half of the book, I actually thought it was better than its predecessor, Twilight. However, as soon as I got to the midpoint, I realized that instead of a sequel, Stephenie Meyer was instead re-writing the original book, just with Bella becoming involved with a different mythical species.
New Moon is essentially a re-write of Twilight, and that ended up being the difference between "better than the original" and "worse than the original."
Ian McEwan's novel Atonement is sort of the antithesis of a Dan Brown book: the prose is impeccable, but the storytelA beautifully written hodgepodge.
Ian McEwan's novel Atonement is sort of the antithesis of a Dan Brown book: the prose is impeccable, but the storytelling is subpar. The novel moves at a glacial pace, taking hundreds of pages to describe only a small amount of plot. What keeps the book's head above water is that the writing is sheer poetry: the vivid descriptions recall the best of Victorian literature, but at the same time take forever to read.
The novel is broken up into three distinct parts, each following a specific character or set of characters: 1. Cecelia and Robbie 2. Robbie 3. Briony
The first part is almost painful to read. Mr. McEwan spends almost 150 pages describing absolutely everything in the house, the weather, the characters, what they're wearing and WHY they're wearing it. The plot feels nonexistent for the majority of Part 1.
Part II is where things begin to pick up. For the next 60-70 pages, what used to be an Austenian romance novel becomes a gruesome and realistic war novel, peppered again with vivid details and extreme attention to detail.
Part III is the highlight of the novel, wherein we finally get to see what happens with Briony Tallis after her absence throughout the second part, as well as the conclusion to the story.
Atonement is pure poetry, but that's not an inherently good quality. Ian McEwan sacrifices his storytelling in favor of lush, gorgeous descriptions that grow tiresome after the first 40 pages. Nonetheless, this is a compelling read that gets better as it goes along.
Written in the 60's, Anthony Burgess' unique take on the future is shockingly accurate. A Clockwork Orange easily fit"What's it going to be then, eh?"
Written in the 60's, Anthony Burgess' unique take on the future is shockingly accurate. A Clockwork Orange easily fits into the list of the most disturbing books ever written: featuring extremely vivid and sadistic descriptions of violence, rape and psychological torture. Burgess even invents his own slang language specifically for the novel that adds in a whole new dimension of realism (also not that far off from the slang that pervades America's text-messaged culture).
A difficult read, but definitely one that more than paid off in the end. Oh, and speaking of which: what an ending!
Taking a break from fiction, Chuck Palahniuk turns to something else for inspiration: his inspirations. Stranger Than Fiction is a collection of storiTaking a break from fiction, Chuck Palahniuk turns to something else for inspiration: his inspirations. Stranger Than Fiction is a collection of stories all personally witnessed by Palahniuk over the course of his career as a writer.
The book is divided into three sections: "People Together," "Portraits," and "Personal."
"People Together," by far the best part of the book is a series of stories involving, you guessed it, people interacting with each other. In the traditional Palahniuk way, these stories range from disgusting to hilarious to poignant very quickly.
"Portraits" consists of personal interviews with writers, actors and musicians. This is the weakest part of the book, even though we do get an interesting look at celebrities ranging from Juliette Lewis to Marilyn Manson.
"Personal" is a series of very short memories associated with Fight Club's Hollywood movie adaptation. This section makes up for the slow pacing of "Portraits," allowing Palahniuk once again to stretch his creative legs and show us how real life is always far more interesting than anything fictional.
Stranger Than Fiction is a more than welcome addition to Palahniuk's body of work, and is a fascinating look at the things that inspire one of America's finest and most original authors....more
Howdy there, O happy reader! It is of the utmost and most sincerest importance that you understand what kind of adventure you will bestow upon your self byHowdy there, O happy reader! It is of the utmost and most sincerest importance that you understand what kind of adventure you will bestow upon your self by undertaking and reaping the novel that HOUSE OF LEAVES' very own Mark Z. Danielewski has sown.
Sam and Hailey and Hailey and Sam are two star-crossed lovers driving across America and through time as their love blossoms and grows and yet so do the country and times they invade most irreparably.
It is the ambition and the bravery that makes this labyrinthian puzzle book worth sticking with, but the narrative: a concoction of prose and poetry TOGETHER makes for a story so confusing and surreal so as to render most of the book inexplicable and incomprehensible.
Worth gazing upon for severe interest dear reader, but be warned: it is a book most troubling, and mostly impossible to follow.
What if the life you're living right now is a dream? Take it one step further: What if the life you're living right now is a dream of a dream? Now takeWhat if the life you're living right now is a dream? Take it one step further: What if the life you're living right now is a dream of a dream? Now take it another step further: What if the life you're living right now is a dream of a dream being controlled by an outsider to mask the truth from you to mask the truth from you?
This is the kind of cerebral head-trip that Jeremy Shipp presents in his novel, Vacation.
Mr. Shipp's voice is clear and immediate, almost minimalist, choosing to move you forward at a brisk, terrifyingly urgent pace. The characters aren't very developed, which in a way enhances what seems to be one of the book's points: you don't really know anybody.
"Vacation" is a creepy, intense and very provocative social commentary on the media's impact on public opinion. Mr. Shipp consistently maintains a terrific use of metaphor and simile, making this book even more entertaining and unpredictable.
I'm still not sure if I completely understand everything that went down in this novel. However, the mysterious grip this book had on me kept me reading, kept me fascinated, and left me wanting more.
"Vacation" is a terrific novel, one that deserves your full and complete attention....more
The strongest entry in the Twilight series, which isn't saying much.
The third installment of Stephenie Meyer's über-popular vampire/romance saga is eaThe strongest entry in the Twilight series, which isn't saying much.
The third installment of Stephenie Meyer's über-popular vampire/romance saga is easily the best one out there. Unfortunately, that's not a very meaningful statement. Unlike New Moon, this book actually has a plot to it. Characters interact with each other to move that plot forward, except for the numerous times when the plot halts so Bella and Edward can express their love to each other through eye-rollingly cheesy dialogue.
Jacob Black, still the only truly interesting character in the whole series, gets a much larger role in Eclipse. Sadly, his part is reduced to a pawn in an increasingly predictable and clichéd love triangle.
Eclipse is by far the strongest and most fast-paced novel in the series, but that's not necessarily the most meaningful statement when you take the whole series into consideration.
The most commercially successful fanfiction ever written.
The fourth, and hopefully final, book in Stephenie Meyer's Twilight saga is quite simply oneThe most commercially successful fanfiction ever written.
The fourth, and hopefully final, book in Stephenie Meyer's Twilight saga is quite simply one of the most insultingly vapid novels ever written. Meyer's writing has gotten worse since Eclipse, seeing as she's run out of adjectives to describe her soulless characters.
In addition to her embarrassingly simple-minded writing, her treatment of the characters is insulting and irresponsible. After two books of building suspense, Meyer decides she'd rather resolve every conflict the happiest way possible. This way, the characters gain no lessons from their actions and everybody gets everything they've ever wanted. If only real life was anything like what Meyer treats it.
But on top of everything, Meyer is incredibly sexist towards women. Her portrayal of Bella as a "Mary Sue" has reached an all-time peak. Throughout Breaking Dawn, Bella relies entirely on Edward and Jacob. She has lost all independence and caters to their every need. In fact, in a particular moment, one of her dearest companions pretty much beats her up physically, and she refuses to let him apologize.
I feel bad for all the girls and women who look up to Bella. Stephenie Meyer seems to want to revert women back to the 50s where all that was expected of them was to stay in the kitchen and not speak unless spoken to. As a man, I find her treatment of women more than insulting.
Jacob, always my favorite character, is reduced to a whining, emo stereotype as he comes to grips with Edward and Bella's relationship. I lost all respect for him after this transformation. He used to be a strong, mostly compelling character, and now Meyer reduces him to yet another soulless cardboard cutout.
Here's hoping Breaking Dawn is the last book in this increasingly annoying, cultish and just plain insulting series of books. Remember that phrase: "Well, as long as they're reading something?" Meyer has just made this statement moot.
The most moving, fascinating and beautifully written English-language novel in years.
Though this is Alice Sebold's first novel, you'd think this wereThe most moving, fascinating and beautifully written English-language novel in years.
Though this is Alice Sebold's first novel, you'd think this were her 10th or 15th. She has a knack for poetic prose: beautiful sentences meticulously constructed so you cannot scan over them. The characters feel genuine and whole, all of whom ring true to life in the most personal way.
In my entire life I have only read maybe one or two book that made me cry. Add The Lovely Bones to that list. I spent almost the entire book with tears in my eyes, and I managed to shed quite a few by the end. What Alice Sebold has done is taken an increasingly boring genre and injected brand new life and emotion into it. You can tell each of her characters truly mean something to her, and they all meant something to me, too.
The Lovely Bones is one of the smartest, most moving and most haunting beautiful works of fiction written in years, and will probably be on the list of books my kids will be reading in high school or college. A truly indispensable work of art that will give you a unique and deeply affecting look on life and death.