A well-written and engaging account of two simultaneous all-but-forgotten events in history. This non-fiction work reads like a novel. Highly recommenA well-written and engaging account of two simultaneous all-but-forgotten events in history. This non-fiction work reads like a novel. Highly recommended....more
The Winter Ghosts takes place primarily in the French mountains in the late 1920s. Freddie is seeking escape and solace from the sorrow of losing a brThe Winter Ghosts takes place primarily in the French mountains in the late 1920s. Freddie is seeking escape and solace from the sorrow of losing a brother in the war, when he is caught in a snowstorm and crashes his car. He finds shelter in a tiny village nearby where he uncovers a mystery.
I enjoyed The Winter Ghosts. The story is well written and interesting. However, the agony the main character suffers over the loss of his brother seems a little overdone (without giving too much away he mourns for six years then has a breakdown that required hospitalization. He spends time in an institution, then travels because he cannot focus enough to work and needs something to occupy his mind.
My primary complaint though, is that I think the story would have benefitted from being a little shorter. A novella, perhaps. More time is spent on Freddie pitying himself and bemoaning the loss of his brother than I would have liked.
But all in all, in my opinion The Winter Ghosts was entertaining and interesting, I could almost see the landscapes described, and I liked reading it....more
The Metropolis Case follows the lives of four people and how they are affected by music, mainly opera music. I received this book after winning it inThe Metropolis Case follows the lives of four people and how they are affected by music, mainly opera music. I received this book after winning it in a Goodreads giveaway.
First of all, I was struck by how well Gallaway can write, but how I felt his fiction was lacking. The prose was very pretty and smooth, but I did not feel engaged with the characters. I did not like any of them. And, oh my gosh, I have never heard of such introspective children... In addition, the writing felt kind of detached in a way that kept me from giving myself over completely to the story. In one instance at the very beginning of the book one of the main characters almost gets hit by a car, but the event was written so casually that she could have just been taking a stroll through a park.
Second, the book has four main characters and they each get their respective chapters throughout the book to tell their stories. Not unusual. One of the characters is introduced in the first chapter, gets another chapter shortly thereafter, then is not mentioned again for over 100 pages. And then only in another character's story. She does get a couple more episodes later, but as a reader I can't decide if she was intended to be a main character or a supporting character. Not a great way to get a reader invested in her story...
Third, I can't figure out what the real plot or overarching theme of the book is. Sure, the power of music is in there somewhere, but the book did not feel cohesive. All the characters' stories turn out to be interrelated in the end, but the book as a whole still felt episodic, like it was telling four separate stories in the same book. In fact, there was also no real buildup and climax to the story. Each character had ups and downs throughout the course of the book, but I could never point to an event as the point to which all had been leading up. I just kind of closed the book at the end and thought, well that's nice but really what was the point?
And it was kind of implied the the opera Tristan and Isolde was going to be very important, but the only relevance it seemed to have was that three of the main characters sang leading parts in it. Granted, I have never seen this opera so maybe there was some underlying theme or reference here that was lost on me...
All in all, I think Gallaway has some real potential as a good writer, I just think that this book was not very good. It did make me want to go listen to music though......more
The Dam Busters relates the story of Squadron 617, an elite bombing sqaudron, in the Royal Air Force during WWII. While I have nothing but minor interThe Dam Busters relates the story of Squadron 617, an elite bombing sqaudron, in the Royal Air Force during WWII. While I have nothing but minor interest and curiosity in the subject matter, this book came highly recommended by a friend.
I was mesmorized and had a difficult time putting the book down. Paul Brickhill does a fantastic job writing history that is engaging. He includes a great balance of the feats of the group and their personal experiences and personalities that kept a typically-fiction-reader like me interested.
I definitely plan on reading more of Brickhill in the future, regardless of the subject matter....more
I haven't read a lot of memoirs, but this one is probably the best I have read. Heather Sellers writes of herI won this book on a Goodreads giveaway.
I haven't read a lot of memoirs, but this one is probably the best I have read. Heather Sellers writes of her unusual (quite an understatement) childhood, relationships, and struggles to discover herself amid her world of uncertainty and confusion. As she grows up she realizes that there is something different about her and eventually, as an adult, discovers that it is a rare neurological disorder called prosopagnosia, or face blindness. Sellers is unable to store or recall faces and therefore cannot recognize the faces of people she knows. Not anyone.
It is interesting to notice that throughout the book, especially prior to the discovery that she is face-blind, Sellers describes people she meets, but not truly. She describes the color of their eyes, the clothes they wear, their gait, but no facial features. As it is revealed that she has this unusual condition, the reader realizes that she has provided a glimpse into exactly how she perceives people. I thought this was a great touch - Sellers shows the reader rather than tells the reader.
Sellers certainly has a story to be told, and she writes it in a compelling, emotional, and honest way that was never boring. In fact, there were many times that I was unable to put the book down. She is definitely a great writer and You Don't Look Like Anyone I Know is a book that certainly deserves to be read....more
Started off slower than the first in the series (The Hunger Games), but picked up pretty quickly. Just like the first one, I was not able to put thisStarted off slower than the first in the series (The Hunger Games), but picked up pretty quickly. Just like the first one, I was not able to put this down. I even woke up in the middle of the night thinking about it......more
This book's narrative isn't fantastic, but I suppose that's not the point. The author is really trying to usI won Snow Rising in a GoodReads giveaway.
This book's narrative isn't fantastic, but I suppose that's not the point. The author is really trying to use a fictional story to convey a lesson here. While I'm not really sure I agree with his philosophy completely, it did make me think about who I was and what I believed, which is always good and healthy. This might be a book that I'll have to revisit every now and then to just get myself thinking again.
Some favorite quotes:
"Optimism is not seeing the world through rose-colored lenses, or practicing positive mental attitude...Optimism is a recognition that the greater the problem, the greater the learning, and it's up to us to uncover the learning."
"Compassion is beyond empathy. Empathy is a feeling. Compassion is an act."...more