This was recommended by a friend whose taste I trust. And the reviews of this book were very positive. But I do think it is a little overated. Maybe w...moreThis was recommended by a friend whose taste I trust. And the reviews of this book were very positive. But I do think it is a little overated. Maybe worth 3 1/2 stars at most. The story line was fun to follow but there were several unresolved issues. Perhaps this is Murakami's style? This was my first Murakami book. Dance x3 would not disuade me from reading his other novels. Apparently this is one of his earlier books. A couple others have received great acclaim. Overall a fun book to read but left me wanting and expecting more. (less)
My favorite book of 2010 so far, a/o April, out/of 13 reads. Very impressed from beginning to end. I suspect this book can be read on several levels a...moreMy favorite book of 2010 so far, a/o April, out/of 13 reads. Very impressed from beginning to end. I suspect this book can be read on several levels and quite possibly deserves the strong insight and read of a classroom requirement. Has it been read in classrooms? If so, I would love to sit in on that discussion.
Please see other reviews for a synopsis. The story line is too extravagant to explain in my opinion. What a fun and rewarding read. I finished it within 4days and this is definitely not a quick-read. Loved it. Again, favorite read of the year so far. I will re-read this book at some point. .
Cheers and THANK YOU to J Irving. I will definitely pick up another one of Irving's books. TWATG = 5+ stars.
Such a great read. TWUBC is a lengthy story but a very rewarding and often exhilarating read. There are many stories intertwined within the book. To w...moreSuch a great read. TWUBC is a lengthy story but a very rewarding and often exhilarating read. There are many stories intertwined within the book. To write a concise plot summary would not do justice to the book, and I will not attempt to do so in this review. The critics argue that the sub plots do not fully congeal into a sensible, practical end. But in this case I think the parts are greater than the whole. No complaints from this reader.
For all the naysayers: Raise your hand if you read TWUBC in Murakami's native Japanese. No? Then don't be so critical. Obviously there was something lost in Jay Rubin's translation. And allegedly the American publisher omitted/cut some of the original text. Shame on the editors!
Regardless, TWUBC is an engrossing read. Despite an uneven finish this book is well worth the time, even at 600+ pages. It's not about the destination. Just enjoy the ride. (less)
There is a scene in the movie Fight Club (originally a book by Chuck Palahniuk) when Tyler Durden & Co. are fighting in the basement of Lou's Tave...moreThere is a scene in the movie Fight Club (originally a book by Chuck Palahniuk) when Tyler Durden & Co. are fighting in the basement of Lou's Tavern. Lou, along with a large, gun toting henchman, show up and interrupt the meeting. Completely unaware his basement is an informal clubhouse and boxing ring, Lou demands everyone exit the premises. In the ensuing scene Tyler convincingly changes Lou's mind. The scene is fierce, graphic, disturbing but a little funny.
This is the same description I would use for Bukowski's Tales of Ordinary Madness. And in many ways, this movie scene coorespondes nicely with the way I felt reading Bukowski. His short stories are violent and disturbing but are also amusing in a twisted sort of way.
I recommend Bukowski in short installments. Reading this book front to back is unnecessary and takes away from the enjoyment. I found reading 3-4 stories at a time was more than enough to get my Bukowski-fill. (less)
Stone Junction has the back bone of a Tom Robbins novel: exotic characters and extraordinary adventures along with a playful sense of humor. There are...moreStone Junction has the back bone of a Tom Robbins novel: exotic characters and extraordinary adventures along with a playful sense of humor. There are a lot of aspects about this book I enjoyed, but overall the story just didn't come together. The plot took shape very well at the beginning. At about the half-way point it started to fall apart a little and ultimately the final execution left me wanting more.
SJ is very much the type of adventure book I love reading, but the last 1/3 of the book felt like a drag to the finish. I was in a hurry to find out if Jim Dodge could effectively wrap it up. Never happened imo. If Dodge's editor had encouraged him to re-write the story using only 70% of the word count I think SJ would have been much better.
I give SJ 3stars b/c of the amazing characters and the fact I really wanted to love this book. (less)
I read AG, in tandem w/ Stephen King's Four Seasons, over a period of several very busy weeks. Beth and I had a few events/trips on the calendar plus...moreI read AG, in tandem w/ Stephen King's Four Seasons, over a period of several very busy weeks. Beth and I had a few events/trips on the calendar plus I spent much of my free time replacing our dock. Neither time nor energy for AG = my 3star review? Or perhaps this is an excuse and AG only deserves 3stars? Or maybe a combination of the two? 3stars = 'liked it'. I liked it. 3stars is not a negative rating. But in my opinion AG only deserves 3stars. AG was well conceived but not well executed.
My advice for other Readers: read AG for yourself and be the judge. (less)
Nothing fancy but no complaints. Tom Robbins is my second all time favorite author after Bill Watterson (Calvin & Hobbes). WDFB is not slam dunk,...moreNothing fancy but no complaints. Tom Robbins is my second all time favorite author after Bill Watterson (Calvin & Hobbes). WDFB is not slam dunk, front-to-back 'really liked', 4-star book, but it does have some very enjoyable passages. Off hand a few memorable excerpts are The Doors review, the travel essays and the tomato sandwich dedication.
How cool is it that TR was actually 'of age' and writing when The Doors toured his town?! The fact that Tom would have attended (and enjoyed!) a Doors concert just confirms his image in my mind.
The travel essays... Can you imagine visiting a foreign country with Tom? Hahaha, I'm grinning just thinking of it! Plus, it was fun discovering which of his travel adventures directly influenced at least a couple of his novels. If I'm not mistaken there are clear correlations between the travel essays and at least two novels: Jitterbug Perfume & Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates.
Tom may be a Seattle and Pac-NW diehard, but his true Southern origins shine with the tomato sandwich essay. Pick up the book for further details. This passage is Robbins at his finest - light hearted yet serious and full of laughs. This Mid-West Southerner loved it.
Last year around the holidays I put The Stupidest Angel on a hold-request through the library and waited for a copy to be delivered to my local branch...moreLast year around the holidays I put The Stupidest Angel on a hold-request through the library and waited for a copy to be delivered to my local branch. I love Chrisopher Moore and was excited to read this over Christmas vacation. It never came.
Whenever I logged onto my library account it always stated the book was 'in transit', meaning I should get a delivery confirmation very soon. I waited and waited but it was never delivered. After the holidays I spoke with a lady down at my branch and was told there must have been a glitch in their retrieval systems. Arrghh!
Around this same time, near the end of 2010, I made a reading resolution for 2011: I would read no more than 1 book by the same author. This is the only characteristic my 2011 books share. They are each written by a different author. It's exposed me to alot of new authors (new to me) and has kept my reading list fresh and interesting. The bad news is I had to wait an entire year for TSA.
Masochistic? Maybe. All year I looked forward to reading Moore's 'Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror'. TSA was very entertaining. Moore's inclusion of characters from previous novels made the story endearing. This was a quick read. Always funny and at times actually terrifying in a horror-suspense way, TSA was definitely worth the wait. (less)
Kafka on the Shore is my favorite Murakami novel.* I really liked his other books, but Kafka is awesome! It's an inventive twist on a classic plot - s...moreKafka on the Shore is my favorite Murakami novel.* I really liked his other books, but Kafka is awesome! It's an inventive twist on a classic plot - see Oedipus & Catcher in the Rye.
Murakami's imaginative, metaphysical novel hit just the right chord - just to my liking. I'm not a fan of fantasy. But this surreal, otherworldly novel is wonderful. Kafka is a coming of age novel, quest and tragedy. The characters are loveable, each in their own, unique way. I love how Murakami can cast his story (and the reader) out on a long line and then convincingly reel it all back together.
I think Norweigan Wood may have more mass appeal and would probably be my recommendation to a first-time Murakami Reader. But Kafka is my personal favorite so far.
*so far I've read Wind Up Bird Chronicle, Dance x3, and Norweigan Wood. (less)
A Goodreads friend gave Summerland "SL" a low score and warned that it was lacking. You were correct, sir. I've enjoyed Chabon's other books, but SL w...moreA Goodreads friend gave Summerland "SL" a low score and warned that it was lacking. You were correct, sir. I've enjoyed Chabon's other books, but SL was definitely lacking. I got about halfway through SL (200+pgs) and decided I really didn't care about the characters or ending. To be fair, this is Chabon's first/only attempt at a YA novel.
After page 100+ the plot gets convoluted and the multiple fantasy characters/sects become confusing. Also, Chabon's fantasy world constantly grew & expanded. It felt as if Chabon didn't have a structured concept of the fantasy world he envisioned OR didn't do a great job of translating it to the page.
The multicultural use of fantasy & myth characters, everything from Norse gods to Native American folklore, is reminiscent of Gaiman's 'American Gods'. It also has a little bit of a Christopher Moore/Tom Robbins feel.
I highly recommend Chabon based on his other novels I've read, but SL is an exception. (less)
I really enjoyed "Sacre Bleu" (SB). Other reviewers have complained SB is not as funny as some of Moore's previous novels. I think parts of it was act...moreI really enjoyed "Sacre Bleu" (SB). Other reviewers have complained SB is not as funny as some of Moore's previous novels. I think parts of it was actually quite hilarious, however much of the humor is subtle, at least more subtle than some of other raunchy, vulgar-laced humor in his other books. SB was also very much a mystery, more so than Moore's other books, which I also really enjoyed. Probably my favorite Christopher Moore books have to be "Lamb" followed by "Fool". SB is a close third or maybe tied for third with "The Stupidest Angel".
The only issue I had with SB was that I never really grasped how the blue powder, Sacre Blue, was actually made. I know this specific part of the story was 100% fantasy. However, the process of obtaining the Sacre Bleu never quite clicked with me.
*** A couple months ago I read David McCullough's "The Greater Journey" which was, in part, a history lesson on Paris and Parisian art in the late 19th century. (Although TGJ really focuses on American artists.) Having read TGJ I was a little more prepared for some of the cultural references in SB. Having recently obtained that little bit of background knowledge on Paris probably increased my appreciation of SB.
Not one of his better stories but still an enjoyable read. I always read a Hiaasen over our annual beach-week family vacation, makes for a great beach...moreNot one of his better stories but still an enjoyable read. I always read a Hiaasen over our annual beach-week family vacation, makes for a great beach read. BM did not disappoint in that regard but did not find it as funny as some of his other books. *will say my favorite scene was when Yancy is trying to sneak up on the bad guys house acting as an angler/fisherman and unexpectedly has to take on appearance/impression of an Irishman - hilarious!!!(less)