So far my favorite of 2012. Lehane's historical fiction based on the Boston police strike of 1919 entertains until the very end. Heros, femme fatales,So far my favorite of 2012. Lehane's historical fiction based on the Boston police strike of 1919 entertains until the very end. Heros, femme fatales, dirty politics, violence, plenty of action, Babe Ruth(!) and more - The Given Day has it all. This is great man-fiction. Not to say women wouldn't enjoy it, but for all the guys out there who claim they don't read - "reading books is dumb/boring" - I say pick up 'The Given Day'. FYI, in case you didn't realize, 'The Godfather' was a book before it was a movie.
TGD reminds me of a David McCullough novel: entertaining, educational, fact-driven and the story moves effortlessly... almost as if it was fiction... Fact: if McCullough wrote historical fiction, TGD would be the result.
Don't let the page count(700pg) discourage you, the pace never lulls. After 100pg I had a feeling TGD would be a new, personal favorite. I was right. As the pages turn Lehane consistently builds character development and momentum through the climax and until the very end.
I've read Lehane's 'Mystic River' and 'Shutter Island'; both were good novels. TGD is better. It definitely exceeded my expectations.
One aspect of Lehane's writing I really enjoyed was his use of regional dialect beyond character dialogue. While offering background information or revealing a character's point of view, Lehane, acting as the omniscient narrator, writes as though THAT particular character were describing his/her own background or point of view in the native tongue. For instance, in the Coughlin sections, Lehane's writing/word selection is decidedly an Irish dialect. This incorporation of dialect is always subtle yet convincingly accentuates the particular mood or setting. This may be a common writers' tool or trick.... but what a great way to involve the Reader and reach the Reader on another level!
As for the title, perhaps I missed something in the text, but I'm certain Lehane never overtly references the title. Is the Reader to assume 'The Given Day' is the actual date the Boston police finally strike? Or is there some literary/religious/historical/social reference I'm missing? Either way... no worries, a minor question. Just wondering. ...more
I loved Cuckoo's Nest. It was the reason I decided to read Great Notion. However, the two books are almost nothing like each other, and in my opinionI loved Cuckoo's Nest. It was the reason I decided to read Great Notion. However, the two books are almost nothing like each other, and in my opinion Great Notion (SGN) is an even better Read.
It took a while to get accustomed to the narrative style in SGN. The characters' voices/thoughts often overlap one another, even within the same sentence. At times as many as 3characters are talking/thinking at once, often within the same paragraph. The transitions between various scenes in the story line don't follow any set rules either.
At first all of this was a little confusing, and I believe Kesey intentionally conditions/trains the Reader in the first 50-100pgs to grasp the pace of the novel & this verbal/mental sparring between characters. Because after about pg 100 Kesey's narrative style really sunk in and was very enjoyable. The Reader is at once given access to each character's dialogue and inner thoughts. The style was a refreshing departure from the standard prose of many novels.
Having said all that, the actual story line is great as well. SGN takes on all 4 major conflicts: Man v Man, Man v Nature, Man v Society, Man v himself. The scorned son/brother returns home for revenge but finds he must re-evaluate his motivation. Meanwhile, the family business is in turmoil against the town and neighbors/residents.
This is the type of book, once you've finished it you immediately want to go back and read the first 50pages. Love books like this! :)
One thing that frustrated me a little bit at first was Kesey's apparent prudishness. Perhaps this had something to do with when the novel was published. However, in retrospect the storyline had a lot more impact and was more effective with less vulgarity.
This is probably my favorite read of 2013 so far - one of my top 10 novels of all time. Will definitely read again. ...more
Who knew an adventure story about some furry little rabbits could be so entertaining... and so violent? Lots of interesting social (and historical?) cWho knew an adventure story about some furry little rabbits could be so entertaining... and so violent? Lots of interesting social (and historical?) commentary under the surface here. ...more
Drop City was a 2003 National Book Award Finalist. The National Book Award is presented annually to American writers. There are three catagories for tDrop City was a 2003 National Book Award Finalist. The National Book Award is presented annually to American writers. There are three catagories for the award: fiction, non-fiction and poetry. The submissions are judged by a panel of fellow, American writers which, in my mind, takes the validity & coolness of this award up a level.
After finishing the book I immediately went to the NBA website for more info and to look up the 2003 winner. In 2003 The Great Fire by Shirley Hazzard beat out Drop City and a few other titles. I had never heard of The Great Fire or Shirley Hazzard, but I may have to check it/her out b/c Drop City was AWESOME.
Drop City was a refreshing take on the 70s counter culture. TC Boyle doesn’t romanticize the era. This tale of ‘getting back to the land’ investigates a sometimes darker side of communal living: selfishness, divisiveness and betrayal. Although many of Boyle's characters attain happiness, Drop City shows living a self-described hippie lifestyle doesn’t necessarily make a person any more kynd or honest.
Drop City was very entertaining - lots of adventure, parallel love stories and engaging characters. It could have easily continued another 100+ pages. I didn’t want it to end. ...more
I picked this up as a filler-book. The books I had ordered from York Co. library were still 'in transit' after more than a week. I found A Thousand foI picked this up as a filler-book. The books I had ordered from York Co. library were still 'in transit' after more than a week. I found A Thousand for $2 at the local Goodwill. What a great read! I had remembered enjoying Hosseini's The Kite Runner but was apprehensive about reading a Kite part deux. A Thousand stands on its own, very impressive - even better than Kite imo. It is a stirring historical fiction about the women of Afghanistan and the political unrest from 1970s-present. Hosseini's writing is clear and concise - very satisfying. I find it hard to believe any reader would give this less than 4stars. ...more
50yrs after first publication Kesey's acclaimed book still shines. OFOtCN is an incredibly Fun, Adventurous story yet at the same time sincerely poign50yrs after first publication Kesey's acclaimed book still shines. OFOtCN is an incredibly Fun, Adventurous story yet at the same time sincerely poignant. My only regret is I waited this long to pick it up. I would recommend this book to almost everyone - very entertaining. ...more
For those Readers unfamiliar with David McCullough, he has an incredible way of bringing history to life right on the pages in such a way as transportFor those Readers unfamiliar with David McCullough, he has an incredible way of bringing history to life right on the pages in such a way as transporting the Reader back in time. To say he is an exhaustive researcher is an understatement. This man really puts effort into getting the details and drawing from numerous sources to create for the Reader a great understanding for the society, economy and people of the time period. You can easily imagine living/working/breathing on the banks of the East River, and elsewhere, during the late 19th century.
I am not a New York City fanatic like some people I know or have met. I have no particular interest in bridges or architecture. But thanks to McCullough's efforts this was definitely worth 5 stars.
Details of the actual construction methods used can get tedious at times, but there were several pages of construction sketches and various pictures in the edition I read. This greatly helped visulize the construction process and made the book more enjoyable. I assume all editions include these pictures. If not, search out one that does! ...more
I recently finished re-reading The Passage in anticipation of the third and final installment, City of Mirrors, release date sometime later this year.I recently finished re-reading The Passage in anticipation of the third and final installment, City of Mirrors, release date sometime later this year. I have nothing substantial to add to my original review other than to quickly comment that while The Passage is, on the surface, a horror novel, there are very credible sub plots and supporting narratives that enrich the basic storyline - there's plenty of action/adventure, coming-of-age stories, purpose and meaning of family, love/lust and more.
This book hits upon each of The Big Four conflicts: Man v Man, Man v Nature, Man v Society, Man v Himself.
Ladies, there are several strong female protagonists in the series as well whose stories are enjoyable to read & follow.
This series is still one of my favorites. Believe it's a great book/series for most any adult Reader in for a slightly dark & twisted adventure.
** Well, shitballs. After typing the above review (and having re-read the book) I've just now learned that the 3rd installment may not be released until 2015?! Ugh!!! Guess I won't be reading "The Twelve" next month. **
- The following is my review from 2012 -
The one and ONLY thing I didn't care for about The Passage was the poems/literary excerpts (passages?) proceeding the beginning of each major chapter. At first they were slightly pretentious but grew on me as I read along. Do they reflect a deeper meaning behind the book's title?
Having said that, The Passage was unbelievably awesome! 6 Stars! :) Easily in my top 5 reads of 2012.
The Passage was referred to me by an old friend, and it sat on my to-reads shelf for a long, long time. There's no other reason I delayed picking up this book other than the fact I (wrongly) believed there were other, better books waiting to be read. Doh!! (shaking my head)
I'm typically wary of front cover accolades, but The Passage deserves everyone of them. On my specific edition:
"Read this book and the ordinary world diappears." - Stephen King "Addictive, terrifying, and deeply satisfying." - Men's Journal "A mesmerizing experience." - Salon "Cronin gets everything right." - The Denver Post "The Passage is the perfect summer read, the kind that obliterates life outside its pages." - Bloomberg.com
These are just a few. Thanks to Brie for the referral!
* A quick note: It is now over 1wk+ since I've finished 'TP' and there's one scene I cannot get out of my head. Imagine a Wild West of the future. The protagonists are barreling down the open country at night in a refurbished train engine, desperate to flee 'The Haven'. The Virals (the bad guys) begin pursuit of the train. They eventually reach the locomotive and box cars, swarming the protagonists on all sides. Hundreds and thousands of Virals are sprinting/galloping on all fours, trying to attack the locomotive. Cronin's description of the scene creates such incredible imagery. Good, good stuff!
Wow, greatness between the covers. Even compared to Mitchell's AMAZING Cloud Atlas, Thousand Autumns definitely rocks. The book's length may deter somWow, greatness between the covers. Even compared to Mitchell's AMAZING Cloud Atlas, Thousand Autumns definitely rocks. The book's length may deter some readers, but after 50 pages the story unfolds effortlessly.
Cloud Atlas was probably my favorite read in 2010. Thousand Autumns only confirms Mitchell's genius.
Note, an online blog by a Mitchell fan said the title character's name is pronounced 'De Zoot'. ...more
I will start off by saying I am NOT a Stephen King fan. His previous novels I have read were not especially fitting to my taste: Rose Madder, The ShinI will start off by saying I am NOT a Stephen King fan. His previous novels I have read were not especially fitting to my taste: Rose Madder, The Shinning and another I cannot recall. Horror and the paranormal are not themes/topics I gravitate towards.
The Green Mile does have hints of horror and the plot rests heavily on paranormal events. But TGM is more PG-13 compared to some of King's other R-rated novels. I really enjoyed King's water-downed version horror.
This reminds me so much of John Grisham's novels in the sense that I never particularly enjoyed his legal thrillers. However, I have very much enjoyed reading some of Grisham's other stories: The Painted House, Playing for Pizza, etc.
TGM is thrilling. Many times the book caught me holding my breath, literally, as I turned the pages. The characters are well developed. And the end-game is not necessarily happy but very satisfying.
I'm not surprised someone tried to make TGM into a movie. I have not seen the movie. And after reading TGM I have absolutely no interest in watching someone's ill attempt to fit on screen what King accomplished in his book.
Great job. I would definitley be interested in more of King's PG-13 novels. ...more
INCREDIBLE! Cloud Atlas is my favorite read of 2010 and ranks within my top 5 favorite books of all time, easily within my top 10.
This novel is a stoINCREDIBLE! Cloud Atlas is my favorite read of 2010 and ranks within my top 5 favorite books of all time, easily within my top 10.
This novel is a story within a story, within a story, within a story, within a story, within a..... literally. And each story by itself is a terrific read but put them together and .... WOW.... I was blown away. :) :) :)
It felt like reading a Choose Your Own Adventure book stretched across past, present and future centuries. Except Mitchell had already choosen the story line, and his selection was more amazing than I could have ever choosen myself.
A new reader should approach Cloud Atlas without knowing too much about the plot, structure or subject matter. Certainly this explains the ambiguous cover recommendations. But every serious reader should make time for this novel imho. It is a contemporary classic.
Cloud Atlas is definitely on my re-read list. My only regret is I did not discover Mitchell's book until recently. I feel very happy, grateful and blessed knowing there is literature like this in the world. Maybe this was just the right book at the right time, but Cloud Atlas amazed me. Thank you David Mitchell.
Search out other reviews of Cloud Atlas. There are many great reviews on Goodreads, beyond what I've described. ...more
It's amazing Calvin & Hobbes continues to captivate after 20+ years. Without a doubt, this comic strip was the most influential 'book[s]' of my eaIt's amazing Calvin & Hobbes continues to captivate after 20+ years. Without a doubt, this comic strip was the most influential 'book[s]' of my early, formative years: 10 - 15yrs old. Yet yearsss later I still believe that readers of ALL AGES can learn alot about life in the pages of Calvin & Hobbes and have a heck of a laugh along the way. I wish this was not the last release. The beloved 5yr old and toy tiger will continue to be a favorite of mine for decades to come. ...more