Doris Eaton Travis had such an amazing life! She did so many things and met so many people and was spunky and dancing well up into her 90s and 100s. T...moreDoris Eaton Travis had such an amazing life! She did so many things and met so many people and was spunky and dancing well up into her 90s and 100s. There was so much life in her life! Lauren Redniss (who also did Radioactive, the Marie Curie pictobiography) did an incredible job weaving her own bizarre illustrations and archival pictures into a spectacle, a work of art on every page. (less)
This seems to be a theme with me and books lately -- the ones I find myself unable to put down have been making me feel very st...moreSo I hate boys again...
This seems to be a theme with me and books lately -- the ones I find myself unable to put down have been making me feel very strongly one way or another about either gender and this one (as did Oscar Wao) makes me hate boys. So much. Girls, too.
The best parts about the book were Smith's use of unique ways of describing things. She has a way about her words where she can describe something we've all felt about anything in a way it's never been described but gets it dead on with accuracy. I liked that.
I also, for better or worse, enjoyed being angry for a good portion of this book. Everybody's an asshole (nearly). And they do stupid, asshole things. Some of them learn, but for the most part they don't. There was a certain refreshing honesty in this lack of a full-circle "well, I'll know better next time" sort of thing. The characters' collective assholeish-ness and failure to gain any insight from anything they've experienced was something I found realistic because it was so infuriating so often.
Smith also uses "opposites" as a running motif. Everybody and everything major has a counter: The characters, the situations they get themselves into, the perspectives, the sex scenes...
I do wish that I hadn't chosen this one for a bus book though. It took more time to get back into the story than I was generally giving myself (to get from point A to point B) and I feel like I deprived myself of full comprehension of some of the more complicated scenes. It is also a book that I wish I could have read *with* somebody else so that I could talk about a few things. It's a book that begs to be talked about, whether you loved or hated it.
Forgive me for my incoherent babbling, it's past midnight which means it's well past my self-assigned bedtime and I'm really pretty useless for much other than sleep (and not even that, it seems) right now.(less)
The Princess Bride was exactly what I was expecting. It was highly enjoyable, easy to read, and completely ridiculous. I can't tell whether I would ha...moreThe Princess Bride was exactly what I was expecting. It was highly enjoyable, easy to read, and completely ridiculous. I can't tell whether I would have preferred to read the book before having seen the movie or not. I do enjoy that they're both independently entertaining. I don't really have much to comment on. :)(less)
I really enjoyed Middlesex. I definitely enjoyed the beginning more -- I felt like it flowed more naturally and the story had an interesting tone. Tho...moreI really enjoyed Middlesex. I definitely enjoyed the beginning more -- I felt like it flowed more naturally and the story had an interesting tone. Though there were fantastic elements in the first half of the novel, their myth-like recanting allowed my brain to enjoy rather than fixate on them. I felt like the turning point for me was where the Detroit riot fire broke out and things started to be less believable (for me). While Cal's adolescence was full of turmoil because of her unusual circumstances, I felt like the character was difficult to relate to possibly because of all of the focus on sexuality and gender and teenager-ness. Since that's what set Cal apart from most people...maybe that was the point? to be as awkward as possible for a teenager and then compound it with gender identity crisis? I didn't completely dislike the last part of the book, it just was not as good as the beginning.
Regardless, I still left the book really liking Eugenides' description. I think he did an amazing job putting the right words together in ways that held me captive for hours at a time (and made a 3 hr bus ride at 1am feel much shorter). Most of the characters were so vibrantly flushed out that I had to take a step back every now and then and remember that this was a work of fiction. The book dealt with taboo subjects in a way that was interesting and amusing without being heavy-handed.
Anywho, I am very sorry I missed the book club meeting for this one as it is a book that begs to be discussed. (less)
This book is ridiculous. The characters are amusing-enough assholes, and parts of the plot make "sense" in the world that David Wong has created, but...moreThis book is ridiculous. The characters are amusing-enough assholes, and parts of the plot make "sense" in the world that David Wong has created, but I think there was too much going on. Either with description, plot, characters. Sometimes the tangents were interesting or relevant later on, so fine, whatever. But i wish there had been more focus. I'm curious to see how they're going to pare down this looooong pulp novel into a 2ish hr movie in a few months.
There were times where I could read a lot of the book in a short period because it was interesting/funny and other times where I was moving like molasses because I was skimming -- either because I didn't care about what was going on or I just glazed over.
I did appreciate the self-actualizing approach the author and the narrator used and it was kind of nice to read a fluffy (or, rather, sticky sour messy) candy book for once. There was a lot of "this doesn't make sense to me either, but just believe it happened" to cover up plot holes and other unexplained things. I much prefer this tactic to either trying to explain everything in intricate detail so that you can almost believe it's possible in this world or just completely ignoring them and pretending everything's fine.
The book just needed a lot of editing. I think there wasn't much because it was a blog for a while? and they just turned the blog into a book? and editing said blog to turn it into a book would have tainted the "purity" of the original medium? That's a workable excuse but not one that's going to change my mind about the need for editing. (less)
It took me 5 weeks to read the Hunger Games. No, not the trilogy, just the first book.
Some of this has to do with the fact that I am a very slow read...moreIt took me 5 weeks to read the Hunger Games. No, not the trilogy, just the first book.
Some of this has to do with the fact that I am a very slow reader, some of it has to do with me reading it just before I went to bed (because I borrowed it and didn't want to ruin it and then have to pay for it) and I have been going to bed pretty tired lately, and some of it is because I was also reading 3 other books. A large part, I think, is because I saw this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2lRxq... before I read the book and a lot of the "page-turning plot twists" were spoiled for me. Spoiled by beanie babies.
I didn't dislike the book. The first few chapters were actually pretty engrossing and decently written for the age level. The middle is where I got a little bored with all the introspection and second-guessing and sorting through thoughts. I realize that Katniss had nobody else to talk to about these things, so part of that is fine, but it fell a little flat for me in the middle. Then in the last 1/4 of the book got really mushy and made me feel awful for Peeta.
There were a number of plot holes and things that could be better explained and even more things that didn't need quite so much explanation (mostly a lot of Katniss' more regurgitated thoughts). Sentence variety could have also been better. It's still one of the better pieces of teen fiction out there and I see why all the kids are into it; it's just not the best I've ever read and I'm not quite as enthusiastic about it as most people are.
Suzanne Collins created a very interesting and easily believable world though, commenting on the grotesque effect that television -- reality tv in particular -- has on our lives and blowing it up to a disturbing level. (less)
This is the fastest I've completed a book in a really long time (aside from the 5 picture books I read Sunday night). I would highly recommend this as...moreThis is the fastest I've completed a book in a really long time (aside from the 5 picture books I read Sunday night). I would highly recommend this as a great bus book -- It's short, it's light (but not so light that it's fluffy and entirely, aggravatingly pointless), and in being both of those, I found it very easy to get into and out of within the 10 min span I have between my bus stop outside my apartment and the one I use to get to work. Also, as an added bonus, it fit in my bag in a way that still allowed me to zip it shut.
I did have two complaints though. Admittedly, both are really more problems with me than actually with the book.
The first is that I already knew a lot of the best parts of the book. At many points, it felt like watching Star Wars but already knowing that Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker's father (sorry if I spoiled that for anyone...but only a little. Seriously, you haven't seen Star Wars?) or reading Romeo & Juliet any time after 1575. This is my fault for waiting so long to read it, but it was still disappointing.
The second is that it ended like a first book in a series. You're thinking now "but it is the first book in a series, I don't understand? what's your point?" to which I snobbily reply "yes, but I hate series." I can pretty honestly say that I cannot recall ever reading any series in its entirety. The two possible exceptions are the Fudge series by Judy Blume and The Boys Start the War series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, and I am not sure if i read all of either of those.
I can appreciate the character building that goes on over the course of 3+ books and the complex story arcs the author can achieve, but I don't like the way they're usually executed and I'm not a fan of being addicted to stuff (I've already got a problem with caffeine, i don't need to acquire any more, thank you very much). Addictions are expensive. And uncomfortable. I would have much preferred the book either a) end on a more clear-cut, complete note or b) kept its current ending without any follow-ups (because then it's just open ended and some sick, twisted part of me likes the frustrating ambiguity of it all). But I know it's a set-up. There.
So that's really it. Read the book if you haven't already so that you may escape the troubles I had with knowing most of the best parts already. The end. (Until part II, the re-read).(less)