As a kid, I grew up watching Michael Flatley's amazing Irish dancing, and I adored it with a passion I doubt I even realized, even all those years agoAs a kid, I grew up watching Michael Flatley's amazing Irish dancing, and I adored it with a passion I doubt I even realized, even all those years ago. As a reader, I was almost terrified at the onset of starting this book because, in truth, I knew nothing, in detail, of Michael Flatley. Oh, sure enough I knew his basics, his Glossed Over resume, but I knew nothing of the man, except what I had heard from the media. The funny reality about stardom is that it creates the idea that we, as the fan, have a right to know all the intimate details of our idols. Knowing this, I knew the book, Lord of the Dance, would either satisfy all my curiosity, and leaving me hating the man, or it would be an obvious falsehood, leaving me cold.
Thankfully, Flatley's autobiography was capable of being so much more, so much better, than any of the above feared expectations. This narrative was humanistic in that, much like the people we know in our lives, there are aspects about them that we love, and that we hate, but that we fundamentally accept, and move on. In many ways, this is the aspect of which I was most impressed. I found Flatley's book to be neither a narcissistic "look-all-at-what-I've-done-and-how-awesome-I-am" telling, nor was it overly ridden with an overreaching "see-how-I'm-so-misunderstood" tone.
Fundamentally, Lord of the Dance accomplishes two goals; it tells the story of the man, and it proves that Michael Flatley, like the rest of us, is human. Prior to hearing his story, with his own words, I always imagined Michael to be more myth than man, more fantasy than reality. An odd imagining, no doubt, but ironically true nonetheless. The intimate tone, the personal nature of this work does phenomenally well in conveying the fact that Flatley is a complexly, insanely talented, passionately driven man. The view the reader gets of him is so unexpectedly personable that, at times, I felt as though Flatley were telling his story for me, to me.
It was unexpected, too, at the almost isolated quality Flatley seems to have lived for the large portion of his life. Despite the obvious positive relationships in his life, both platonic and romantic, I often felt Flatley lived forever adrift, both because of his sexuality, and his art. Additionally, while I knew he was determined, I never comprehended the level of will he harbored. I understood, quite well, that he was a talented dancer, but after finishing this book I'm left almost breathless at his skill as a choreographer, a musician, a dancer, a directer, the list is endless. I'm almost sad, truly, that the work ended, because upon its final page I felt as though I were saying goodbye to a friend. This is in no way typical for me, ever, when reading biographical nonfiction, but the depth of feeling, the struggle, the triumph, the torture, the hells and downfalls of the man came roaring through the pages and into my consciousness. I had almost expected to find this book dull, dispassionately wrote, and overall dissatisfying, either from the aspect that I would hate all I had learned about Michael Flatley, or that the book's structure would be dully written. Thank God, truly, I was wrong, because it has been some time since I last enjoyed a nonfiction to the depth I found myself loving Lord of the Dance. I have so much more appreciation for the man, as well as the art....more
Damn what a book! Call that a quaint opening line for a book review segment, I know, but such is completely adequate nonetheless. It shouldn't be tooDamn what a book! Call that a quaint opening line for a book review segment, I know, but such is completely adequate nonetheless. It shouldn't be too surprising, though, that such a book entitled You Might Be a Zombie and Other Bad News turned out to be completely engaging. Even more so, considering the authors who compiled this manuscript were none other than the writers at Cracked.com and it's no wonder the book was astounding!
Trivia is always fascinating, and expounded upon trivia is even more so. When such is delivered in a comedic and sarcastic way, the greatness of this particular book was all but assured. The writing was witty but informative, making this book a fun, quick, and informative read. ...more
Damn...no, really, damn! This book was a three course, scrumptious intellectual read to one hell of an extreme. Loewen's research on the most prominenDamn...no, really, damn! This book was a three course, scrumptious intellectual read to one hell of an extreme. Loewen's research on the most prominent history high-school works(dated,1990s) was an intimate and in depth study of the published falsities which exist within the most heavily used teaching aid; the textbook.
Sadly, because I took a temporary sabbatical from reading to spend time on other projects, it is quite impossible to give a thorough, expounded review upon all issues this particular research publishing addressed. Overall, though, I must admit that Loewen impressed me most extensively, delivering information to me I had not previously known. Such data covered from the true selfish, sadistic, greedy nature of Columbus extending to Helen Keller's Socialist party afflictions and America's true opinion and demographic reflections of the Vietnam War.
For the most part, this book was prefect. The research was fascinating, intimate and readable, but intellectually stimulating to the fullest measure. The pace was gradual but understandable. My one and only criticism lies in the utter false stance Loewen takes on President Kennedy.
In Lies My Teacher Told me, Loewen suggests that Kennedy's assassination was actually a revenge slaying enacted by the Cubans as a result of the number attempted assassinations made on Fidel's life. This is complete and utter nonsense! The sheer laughable logistics of this theory are enough to make one's head spin. When considering all the issues in which the Cuban government would have no power to alter or affect, such as the unexpected change in parade route made by officials (which in turn allowed for a triangulation position for the predators and their prey), the vastly reduced Secret Service which was never given adequate explanation, and the decision to utilize a convertible rather than a covered car, it is quite obvious that if the Cubans were responsible for Kennedy's murder then they were greatly assisted by the federal government. All, of course, under the demand and command of J. Edgar Hoover.
Which, of course, brings me to my issue taken with the statement Loewen lodged about Kennedy's supposed demand that African American civil rights activist leaders (mainly Martin Luther King, Jr.) be placed under surveillance. This is intolerably infuriating, for anyone who knows the least bit about prominent power figures in Washington during the early 1960s knows that J. Edgar Hoover, the director of the FBI, was batshit crazy! This was a man who placed everyone, and I mean everyone, he deemed a nonconformist or a non-racist to be either a Communist or a sexual deviant.
Hoover was a man who was essentially untouchable in Washington, having uncovered so much dirt on so many powerful leaders that he could not be stopped. This was a man who placed the entire Presidential family, including the President himself, under surveillance! This was a man who did not wait for Presidential or Congressional approval to do anything, and ordered his FBI minion troops to do precisely what he wished they to do. So, he was, assuredly, responsible for the wiretapping of King and Malcolm. As far as Lies is concerned, it's interesting that the lodges against Robert and Jack Kennedy about such issue were not documented with an indexed note, and thus stem more like opinion that point.
But, I digress, while I took issue with some of the points this author choose to make on the Kennedy administration and his apparent stance on said President's assassination, overall I note that such book was entirely fascinating! Alas, my only regret is that it took me so long to finish this particular work....more
So this book kicked hella amounts of ass. We've got Steampunk, Paranormal, Alternative History, Science Fiction, and Mystery all crammed together intoSo this book kicked hella amounts of ass. We've got Steampunk, Paranormal, Alternative History, Science Fiction, and Mystery all crammed together into one big smacking pule of awesomeness.
Seriously, people. Very rarely do non-standard adventure romances pull me into a story, because mostly, and sadly, they bore me. Often I'll get very bored, very quickly, with romance-ish books; either make it a romance, or make it something else is my mentality. However, I gotta say, Gail Carriager is just a phenomenally damn good writer.
The characters were, in a word, sublime. Outside of just a likable, realistically relatable leading woman, Alexia, we have an interesting hero, Lord Maccon, who functions, initially, more as a secondary protagonist. Added to that is the rather fascinating Lord Lycon, the irrestiably compelling Lord Akeldama, and the craptastic mother and half-sisters to Alexia. Every character that arrived on-page, from the predominate individuals of the story, to the supposedly disposable antagonists and background characters had presence in this book. Every single one of them felt believable, realistic, and lifelike. Holy crap on a cracker, did they ever!
The plotting of this book took a little while to attain momentum, but I'm more of the mindset this slow build was done with intent, better to acquaint the readers with the cast, and Alexia, specifically. Despite that, once the ball got rolling, I was hooked. Even though the reading time for this novel was a bit longer than my standard, I was still amazingly engaged with the plot. I find it interesting how the actual events of the story line are paced within the context of the book. Some might say "rushed," and while I can see that argument, I think it felt more realistic as a result.
While it may seem redundant, I have to admit I was astonishingly impressed with the quality of writing this book contained within. Gail Carriger mastered the art of picturesque detail, when appropriate. The scenes were painted in fine consideration, when necessary, and left to the readers imagination when not. The dialogue, likewise, was snappy when appropriate, informative when needed, and always fluid and relevant. The pacing of the book, as a whole, was almost geniusly constructed, so much so that I doubt there is one single purposeless scene in the book.
Very rarely do I proclaim that a book can have everything a reader could ever want within, but Soulless unquestionably proved me wrong. This book could entertain just about any literate person on the planet, I believe. I am absolutely going to be seeing to the rest of the series, and I only pray the subsequent books carry the same amount of entertainment quality as Soulless....more