This book is not well-written. It very badly needed a good editor.
I did not like the beginning of this book. The poor writiI liked parts of this book.
This book is not well-written. It very badly needed a good editor.
I did not like the beginning of this book. The poor writing was very much getting to me and I did not like the main character, Athena Hera Sinistra. And that name, I mean, come on. At least her nickname, Thena, was better. And that cover? *shudder*
I read this book for the Vaginal Fantasy Book Club. So when I decided to give up on it at about p. 70 or so, I went on the Goodreads forum for the group to see what other people thought of the book. I read some other members of the book club had similar responses to the book, though many stuck with the story and said it got better; that is, the story got better, but NOT the writing. One person recommended to "treat this book like you would a dumb action movie – the premise is weak, but it's all right if you just lower your expectations, sit back, and enjoy the explosions." Also, the wordbuilding was supposed to be interesting and good.
With this in mind, I picked it back up and powered through it, skimming often, while laying all day in bed to rest my messed-up hip.
The wordbuiling is interesting and I liked it. I am glad that I finished the book, for the story. Because the writing NEVER GOT BETTER.
I liked Kit, Thena's bioengineered love interest. I groaned when he was initially introduced, since the bioengineering made him look like a cat in certain aspects. I accepted that rather quickly, though, and ended up very much enjoying his character and his relationship with Thena. And Kit had a good influence on Thena's character, thank goodness. I liked Thena more once she found someone to love and who loved her.
Despite liking parts of this book, I would not pick up more books by this author and possibly not from this publisher....more
This book was fabulous. It's one of those audiobooks I kept wanting to do things with my hands--cross stitch, knit, even laundry so I could listen toThis book was fabulous. It's one of those audiobooks I kept wanting to do things with my hands--cross stitch, knit, even laundry so I could listen to it more. Well done, Mira Grant (aka Seanan McGuire)!
And it's not just another zombie book. Nope. Which is good, since I am too squeamish for very bloody, scary horror, though I must be honest and admit to being very tense at certain points in the book.
As the title implies, the zombification of people comes from a parasite, the Intestinal Bodyguard, people willingly ingest in order to maintain their health and manage any chronic diseases, etc. Of course, they don't know the parasites--a tapeworm living in their guts--will take them over. But an outbreak of "sleep walking sickness" has people scared and medical professionals baffled.
At the center of all of this is Sally "Sal" Mitchell, a near-fatal car crash survivor with no memory of her life prior to her accident six years ago. Her tapeworm somehow kept her alive against all expectations. Because of her unique case, Symbogen, the billion-dollar biotech company who engineers the implants, pays the new Sal's medical expenses in exchange for studying her condition as she learns to live a normal life again. But Symbogen, like most mega money corporations, isn't the altruistic savior of man its co-founder and president Dr. Stephen Banks claims it to be and its life-saving tapeworms are much more than anyone bargained for. It's down to Sal and her parasitologist boyfriend Nathan to figure it out before an all out war breaks out: tapeworms versus humans.
(view spoiler)[I knew at the beginning, from the first time she gave a description of her recurring warm, dark dreams filled with drums, that Sal was Sally Mitchell with her tapeworm in control. I still enjoyed the book, learning all about Symbogen and why the tapeworms could and were taking people over. Adam creeps the shit out of me. Tansy, not so much except her crazy violent tendencies. Weird right? Well, since I knew from the beginning, I felt a bit of a let down when the big reveal happened at the very end of the book. It makes sense, writing wise, but the pay-off wasn't there. I was a bit frustrated at Sal for not realizing it before then. Nathan knows, at least I am convinced he does, even if he may not want to accept it yet. I get the feeling that by the time Sal knows, he has decided he still loves her and will go on with the relationship. Dr. Cale certainly knew. I guess since Sal is so naive or ignorant of the world and life, being only 6 years old, it isn't too out there for her to take so long to realize it, especially since she denied it since meeting Adam and Tansy. I appreciate her desperately holding onto the belief that she is human. But still. (hide spoiler)]
I am looking forward to listening to the next book, Symbiont, very, very much.
The reader, Christine Lakin, has a great voice. It reminds me of Nina Dobrev's (Elena on Vampire Diaries), if that helps you at all. Christine Lakin is Sal, so very much so. It was a great performance. My only quibble is that her British accent for Sherman was Australian, really, but that's it. She also read The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, which I listened to last year and remember liking her reading for that, too.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I enjoyed Mark Twain's signature wit and humor in this classic tale of a young Southern boy's life in the mid-1800s. I don't like conman characters thI enjoyed Mark Twain's signature wit and humor in this classic tale of a young Southern boy's life in the mid-1800s. I don't like conman characters though, and Tom Sawyer is definitely one of them. Sure, he has a "heart of gold"--(view spoiler)[I mean, he eventually reveals that Injun Joe, not Muff Potter, killed the doctor (hide spoiler)]. But all the same, he lies and slacks off and breaks rules then just smiles and thinks not much of it and feels super wronged when Aunt Polly gives him a good cuff on his scruffy, ne'er-do-well head.
Perhaps I am too hard on Tom Sawyer, considering his upbringing and the socioeconomic and historical situation in which he lives, and his age. That doesn't mean I have to like him, though.
I enjoyed this book a lot. It's a fast-paced science fiction novel with romance and mystery thrown in.
The main character, Devi, is such a bad-ass, smaI enjoyed this book a lot. It's a fast-paced science fiction novel with romance and mystery thrown in.
The main character, Devi, is such a bad-ass, smart, take-charge, ambitious woman. The mysteries Rachel Bach created were intriguing. I liked that some were revealed while others are still as confusing and even more interesting by the end of the book.
The xith'cal are scary and fascinating, especially Hyrek. I want to know more about all of the characters, so I am definitely picking up the next two volumes of this trilogy!
The four children's stories in this collection are so typically Gaimanesque: funny, strange, a bit scary, and wonderful. Especially when read by NeilThe four children's stories in this collection are so typically Gaimanesque: funny, strange, a bit scary, and wonderful. Especially when read by Neil Gaiman himself.
The bonus interview at the end of the audiobook was a treat! Maddy Gaiman, still a young girl, asking her dad Neil questions about his children's books and writing. The very end was adorable, with Maddy's impromptu sign-off and Neil's reaction to it.
Neil Gaiman not only writes beautiful fiction, but reads it beautifully too. A very quick, satisfying listen....more
I very much enjoyed listening to this book. The story and the reading were lovely. Jeff Woodman, the main reader, read the book beautifully. I hope toI very much enjoyed listening to this book. The story and the reading were lovely. Jeff Woodman, the main reader, read the book beautifully. I hope to listen to more audiobooks done by him.
Pi's spirituality was wonderfully refreshing in its innocence and purity. He is a resourceful young man, up to the challenge of being set adrift at sea alone in a lifeboat with a fully-grown Bengal tiger brilliantly named Richard Parker. (view spoiler)[I so very much believe the animal story Pi tells us, instead of the more "believable" gruesome tale the Japanese investigators force out of the poor boy survivor. (hide spoiler)]
This book received so much hype, I didn't want to read it when it first came out and for many years after. I thought it would be too mainstream, too sentimental, too not fantasy and science fiction--my preferred genres.
What a dummy I was. Most times I have that narrow-minded reaction to popular books and then end up reading or listening to the work, I like it and am proven wrong in my initial and unwarranted shunning and disdain.
And so it was with this book written so beautifully written by Yann Martel. I kept wanting to do more things that let me listen to the book longer--a sure sign of a good audiobook.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I very much liked the oral history take on a zombie apocalypse. The audiobook was very well done, with the various voice actors for different characteI very much liked the oral history take on a zombie apocalypse. The audiobook was very well done, with the various voice actors for different characters and the author as the interviewer. I think Mark Hamill's performance was my favorite.
All of the voice actors for the interviewed characters really got across the ragged weariness and dreadful relief of people who have survived a war with the walking dead.
What really struck me about the book was the problems that arose in the world from mundane, non-reanimated corpse-related stuff, BS bureaucratic, hate-filled things. How very real and human and sad it all seemed. Good job, Max Brooks....more
I volunteer with Amy Joan Lamoreaux at our local history archives, the Howell Area Archives. It was a pleasure to read her account of walking in the fI volunteer with Amy Joan Lamoreaux at our local history archives, the Howell Area Archives. It was a pleasure to read her account of walking in the footsteps of her great-grandfather (many times over). Amy's ancestor, André Lamoreaux, was a French Huguenot and river pilot living in southwest France over 300 years ago.
With characteristic charm and humor, Amy recounts her two week adventure into the French countryside with her faithful copilot, husband, and straight man of their sometimes comedic duo Paul in this short travel memoir.
Full of love, humor, French food, art, and culture, Amy's journey to discover her family's roots was a fun and entertaining read....more
I enjoyed listening to this book very much. I am a big fan of Regency-Era novels, especially Jane Austen (though I still need to read Georgette Heyer-I enjoyed listening to this book very much. I am a big fan of Regency-Era novels, especially Jane Austen (though I still need to read Georgette Heyer--someday!). And I am a huge fantasy nut, so this book was perfect for me.
Mary Robinette Kowal has been on my to-read radar for a few years now, but I finally got my butt in gear to try her work after seeing her at ConFusion in Detroit this past January. Also, I follow her Instagram and drool over her confectionery creations--and told her so as I just randomly passed her in the hotel lobby of the con. Talk about weird fan girl experience for both of us!
Anyway, back to Shades of Milk and Honey. This book was light fare so very reminiscent of Pride and Prejudice with a secret cad like Wickham, an intelligent and sensible narrator like Elizabeth Bennet with a sister almost as frivolous as Lydia, a good natured though ultimately useless father like Mr. Bennet, and a silly waste of a mother akin to Mrs. Bennet.
There were, of course, differences and these are not one-to-one comparisons. Jane, the protagonist of Shades of Milk and Honey is more proper and less spirited than our dear Lizzy. Her sister Melody, though infuriating in manner and her persistent utterances of "La!," is ultimately not as selfish nor stupid as Lydia and has genuine regard and love for her elder more talented though plainer sister. Mr. Ellsworth is a nice enough character but has not the wit and humor of Mr. Bennet while Mrs. Ellsworth shows more sense right at the very end of the book than I think Mrs. Bennet ever possessed, though Mrs. Ellsworth's constant ill health complaints grated ever so horribly on the nerves, as I am sure the author intended. Henry Lewis was a far more dangerous a scoundrel than Wickham ever was. And while I was ever so tempted to draw a parallel between Mr. Dunkirk and his sister with the preeminent Mr. Darcy and his sister, the comparison falls right on its face, with the Dunkirks not living up to Austen's august characters. (view spoiler)[Take that for not having faith in Jane, Mr. Dunkirk and your stupid little sister! (hide spoiler)]
I enjoyed the magic, or glamour, in this world Mary Robinette Kowal created and look forward to discovering more about it in her subsequent novels in the series. I did like that the overuse of glamour explained the tendencies of swooning fits by the women of the period.
The author herself read this audiobook and did so wonderfully, in British accents no less! I do look forward to reading more Glamourist Histories and recommend this book to others who enjoy Regency novels and fantasies.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I am a fan of author Kiersten White's Paranormalcy series and I love the cover of this book, so I asked for it from Christmas 2014 and my mom happilyI am a fan of author Kiersten White's Paranormalcy series and I love the cover of this book, so I asked for it from Christmas 2014 and my mom happily obliged!
Set in an alternate Victorian Britain, called Alben, the story follows Jessamin Olea, a strong, independent young woman from the island colony Melei, as she becomes entangled in the political and magical intrigues of Alben's ruling aristocracy.
Lord Finley Ackerly, or simply Finn, is a dashing young noble who is the only powerful enough in Alben to thwart the warmongering Minister of Defense Lord Downpike. When Finn and Jessamin chance to meet, their romantic fate is almost surely sealed when Finn's shadow attaches itself to the unwilling school girl.
Danger, kidnapping, torture, secrets, plots, and more ensue as Finn and Jessamin, with the help of her new friends Sir Bird and Eleanor, attempt to save Alben, Melei, and the Iverian Peninsula as well as their own lives from Lord Downpike's evil machinations.
I enjoyed reading this book but didn't get hooked up over halfway through. I was hoping for a more sweeping story, giving us more details about Alben and its magical aristocracy. Some background on the different magic lines and their history only came towards the end of the book, but I am glad they were there. From how the book ended, it seems like this story is a one-off, but I would definitely like to learn more about Jessamin and Finn's world if the author decided to continue this into a series....more
I very much liked this solid science fiction story. One Esk, the protagonist and an AI, is an engaging character. Identity was an important theme in tI very much liked this solid science fiction story. One Esk, the protagonist and an AI, is an engaging character. Identity was an important theme in this book, whether it related to the single AI with hundreds of bodies or gender identity and Anne Leckie's choice to use female pronouns as defaults, whether the characters being referenced were male or female. While it made for a somewhat confusing listen at times, with me trying to remember if certain main characters were actually female or not, I liked the conceit and it made me wonder why I cared what gender characters were. (view spoiler)[I found the idea of one mind controlling many bodies fascinating and was further delighted by the idea of a difficult decision causing the AI to split its identity and work against itself. Fascinating, really. The magic bullets I could have lived without. And the frequent sometimes confusing shifts in time with all the flashbacks. I kept having to figure out what period in One Esk's life we were listening to. (hide spoiler)] I liked One Esk a lot. Except for her singing.
I HATED the audiobook reader. I made allowances for her reading of the main character by remembering One Esk is a computer basically, but her reading of EVERYONE ELSE in the ENTIRE BOOK was AWFUL! Don't even get me started on the singing. Groan! My husband downloaded this book from Audible because we both wanted to read it and enjoy listening to audiobooks together on long drives and in the evenings at home sometimes. Before getting the book, however, he did see that other listeners had recommended NOT getting the audio and just reading the book, since the audiobook reader was bad. We decided to try it anyway, keeping in mind that the performance may be crap. And oh my was it! There is apparently a different reader for the next installment of this series and thank goodness! The story is great and innovative and left us both wanting to learn more, but if the reader would have been the same one, we would just hunt down the print copy and read it.
In sum: Great story, sucky audiobook.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
A delightful listen chock full of interesting historical facts about almost anything one could think of relating to the home and life therein, this boA delightful listen chock full of interesting historical facts about almost anything one could think of relating to the home and life therein, this book, read by the author, has Bryson's characteristic blend of humor and seriousness and narrative quality making it an easily digestible and accessible history. He's a good reader, too!...more
My Laugh Out Loud moments from listening to this book, paraphrased:
At the end of Chapter 5, said half-jokingly of an extremely annoying chatterbox ofMy Laugh Out Loud moments from listening to this book, paraphrased:
At the end of Chapter 5, said half-jokingly of an extremely annoying chatterbox of a fellow thru-hiker: "We'll beat her to death." "You'll have no trouble finding people to hold her down for you."
In Chapter 11: "If I die, tell my brother there's $10,000 buried in a coffee can under his front lawn." "You buried $10,000 in a coffee can under his front lawn?" "No, of course not, but he's a little prick. It would serve him right."
This is Auri's story. Or at least a story of Auri. We still do not know all of Auri's story. I think this is good, since I feel knowing all of Auri woThis is Auri's story. Or at least a story of Auri. We still do not know all of Auri's story. I think this is good, since I feel knowing all of Auri would break me into pieces. Tiny, jagged pained, shattered pieces.
Anyway, Auri is a fragile being. Strong and intelligent and broken and small and altogether hers and no one's.
Auri was a student at the magic school Kvothe attends in the first Kingkiller book. My impression is that something horrible happened to her, before her schooling, during, or after, I do not know. But Auri now lives in the Underthing, all the forgotten areas under the University. She is a lost person of sorts. Rarely meeting others, actively avoiding them out of fear in fact, she strikes up an odd friendship with the boy who makes such sweet music on the rooftops with his voice and lute.
In this story, The Slow Regard of Silent Things, not much happens; it's just Auri being Auri and living in her isolated, strange world full of setting things right and keeping the world proper true.
What struck me so heavily was Auri's fragile mind. She is obsessive compulsive, repeatedly washing her hands, face, and feet. She finds just the right place for random treasures others would call mundane junk; sometimes it is not easy, for some of the objects won't give up their secrets and preferences easily. Does Auri perceive something beyond what other humans do? Or is this simply a symptom of a broken, mentally unstable person?
Whatever the answer, it is clear Auri is special. Delicate as a china bird in flight. I couldn't shift a poignant sense of empathy with this most crystalline creature, a wish to help or just draw her in close and hug her gently. Her sudden sense of wrongness while making her soap, its resultant explosive disruption in her world, and the seemingly random yet clearly correct solution was very familiar.
The tale is beautifully illustrated by Nate Taylor. The pen and ink drawings complement Auri and her story wonderfully, as does the book's evocative cover. This is a superbly rendered book.
Patrick Rothfuss warns us in his forward (and talks again of it in his endnote) that this novella is not a normal story, that is doesn't do what a normal story does. (This seemed to worry the hell out of the poor man, bless him.)
This is completely true. It doesn't have conflict or action, not really; there is no dialogue. It only has one character. All true.
But so what? It didn't need any of that. Because that was not what this story is.
This is Auri's story. This is a story about Auri--delicate, fierce, broken, beautiful. Auri is not normal; so why should her story be?
And just like its protagonist, The Slow Regard of Silent Things is delicate, fierce in its truth to Auri, full of broken lost treasures, and beautiful....more
This book is a gritty fantasy. Some have called it grimdark. I found George R R Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire much more gruesome and horrible at timThis book is a gritty fantasy. Some have called it grimdark. I found George R R Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire much more gruesome and horrible at times than I did this first installment Joe Abercrombie's First Law Trilogy.
I really, really wanted to love this book a lot. My husband loved it; my friends loved it. Hell, I saw the author at ConFusion last week (part of the reason I read the book now), met him at his book signing, and he's a really cool bloke and nice guy.
Yes, I really, really wanted to love this book. Instead I just like it. The pacing is very deliberate; I prefer a fast-paced story. I only liked a few of the characters, like Logen Ninefingers and Major West, but I hated plenty more **cough cough Jezal cough cough**. I like more action and more revelations to the mysteries in the story but found these instances few and far between, huddled in small clusters or in a couple of chapters. "Words and Dust," "The House of the Maker," and "The Bloody-Nine" were my favorite chapters. I really liked reading then, couldn't wait to turn the page to find out more.
So for me, this book just wasn't my preferred kind of storytelling. Oh well. It was a rough slog sometimes, getting through chapters from the POV of characters I found tedious. Perhaps I was supposed to find them tedious, but it is a rare character indeed who is intentionally annoying that I would like. Just not my bag.
My husband Mick read this book a few years ago and has since then held Joe Abercrombie in high regard, especially because of his character Inquisitor Sand dan Glokta. Glokta suffers chronic pain from his mangled leg, a love token from his two years spent in the Emperor of Gurkhul's prisons. Every movement is a chore, every step an obstacle, every stair a damned enemy. My husband suffers from a bad back, a poorly healed break in one of his vertebra. The pain he experiences when his back goes out is intense and long-lasting. So I trust him when he says that Abercrombie got it right writing about Glokta's pain. For Mick, he appreciates the truth in Abercrombie's descriptions of the tortured wreck that is Glokta's body and ever present prison. I find it hard to read those chapters as one who has to watch impotently as my beloved spouse suffers. Joe Abercrombie writes it true, yes, but it's a bit too much truth for me at times.
All of this said, I am going to keep reading Abercrombie's work and continue on to finish this series eventually. Just not now.
Also, now that I think about it, both that book and The Blade Itself are two books I have been wanting to read for a long time, have received lots of praise and hype from both people I know and the media/internet/reviewers, and, when I finally got to read them, did not live up to whatever fantastical heights of literature I had expected.
Damn, what a combo. I am sorry these two books suffer from my mediocre reviews because of circumstances out of the authors' control: my own poor timing and vague high expectations.
I'll try to do better in the future.
--- Two quotations from the book I found worthy to cite here.
I am a consummate tea drinker. Love the stuff. Am not right without my morning cuppa. So I loved this bit.
"'Suit yourself.' Bayaz shook his head and sat back down beside the fire, wrapping both hands around the steaming cup. 'But you're missing out on one of nature's greatest gifts to man.' He took a sip and smacked his lips in satisfaction. 'Calming to the mind, invigorating to the body. There are few ills a good cup of tea won't help with.'" --page 201 in the chapter wonderfully titled "Tea and Vengeance"
And Abercrombie should now; he's English, after all.
The second was mentioned by the writer Myke Cole at ConFusion in the "Hard Limits" panel, on which Joe Abercrombie was also a panelist.
"'Some things have to be done. It's better to do them than to live with the fear of them. That's what my father used to tell me.'" --page 290, said by Logen Ninefingers
Cole said that when he's got to do something he may not want or like to do, he remembers these motivating lines from Abercrombie's book....more
A tense story of an astronaut's survival after being stranded on Mars.
I was very much looking forward to reading this book after I heard the author onA tense story of an astronaut's survival after being stranded on Mars.
I was very much looking forward to reading this book after I heard the author on the Sword and Laser podcast. So when my husband and I had a long car ride home after Christmas, we downloaded the book and were excited for the trip and chance to listen to it.
While I really liked the amiable, wise-cracking, funny character of Mark Watney the astronaut, I was less than thrilled with the excessive amount of numbers and calculations this book had. Seven hours is a long time to be trapped in a car at night. Nothing to see out the window. No light to knit by. So when Watney encountered yet another problem and went about reeling off the exact numbers, percentages, etc., to solve the situation, my brain became numb and my attention wandered to the dark window, creating an almost fugue state.
I do want to give credit where it is due. Andy Weir put a lot of effort into getting the science in the book right. Mad props to him.
Normally, though, these thought experiments are used for background of a story and don't make it into the actual text, let alone take up a significant portion of the book. The book had more scientific problems and their long-winded, number-heavy solutions than story. I did not expect this, so I was disappointed with the book. Also, I hated Annie the Asshole Head of NASA Media Relations and loved Dr. Venkat Kapoor.
The reader, R C Bray, was fantastic. He used several different voices to great success. I hope to listen to more audiobooks read by him....more
I felt compelled to keep reading this book, a sign of a good book. Heather Ross's childhood was fascinating for its difference from my own. I was struI felt compelled to keep reading this book, a sign of a good book. Heather Ross's childhood was fascinating for its difference from my own. I was struck by how brave she grew up being, willing to try bold ideas and make mistakes, from such hardship and neglect in an idyllic setting. Bravery that let her share all of this with us, her readers....more
I love Mercy Thompson and her world so much. I am big reader of short stories, but I loved this collection of Patricia Briggs stories set in Mercy's wI love Mercy Thompson and her world so much. I am big reader of short stories, but I loved this collection of Patricia Briggs stories set in Mercy's world. Only one in the collection, one of the four brand-new stories not published elsewhere, is a Mercy story, but I still enjoyed and ate up all the rest.
For a book series and its world that I so happily entrench myself in every time I read one of its installments, I get such pleasure in finding out more about the rest of the people who populate that world. So it was with this book. Thanks for sharing, Patricia Briggs....more
I very much wanted to like this book more than I did. I had heard about it for a few years and was eagerly looking forward to tracking it down, especiI very much wanted to like this book more than I did. I had heard about it for a few years and was eagerly looking forward to tracking it down, especially after Patrick Rothfuss gave it such a glowing review.
Well, I got it out of our public library right before I had surprise (but not in a good way really) emergency surgery and was laid up for several weeks recovering.
Oh my, I must finish this later. Gotta go! ...more
Oh, Jenny Lawson, the Bloggess. I have read some of her blog posts in the past and I knew who Beyoncé the Chicken was before reading this book. But IOh, Jenny Lawson, the Bloggess. I have read some of her blog posts in the past and I knew who Beyoncé the Chicken was before reading this book. But I wasn't a devoted follower of her writing and blog.
I am now though, motherfuckers.
(I threw in the gratuitous swearing in the spirit of the Bloggess and because I like swearing. I think it works.)
When I read that Jenny's* father was a taxidermist, the cover of the book made sense. "Oh, she likes quirky fancy taxidermy. That just makes sense," I thought.
*[I typed "Lawson" first trying to be all professional and respectable but then it just looked wrong so I changed it. Jenny, I hope you don't mind and you rock btw.]
This book was nearly un-put-downable. I say nearly, because I had to shower and drive and work while I was in the middle of it, so I had to put it down. But I didn't want to. And that is high praise. Because I say so.
Parts of the book were laugh-out-load funny and parts were crushingly, desperately sad. Jenny has a great wit and sense of humor, a penchant for cursing and jumping to crazy, hilarious conclusions, and a couple of debilitating diseases like general anxiety disorder and rheumatoid arthritis. On the whole it was a humorous book and Jenny's ultimate message (if she had one; I'm deciding she did, so suck it.) to appreciate what you have in life, both good and bad, and be thankful for the you that you are, is wonderful. Again, Jenny, you rock.
QUOTATION TIME, BITCHES!
"But most important, I see me...or rather, the me I've become. Because I can finally see that all the terrible parts of my life, the embarrassing parts, the incidents I wanted to pretend never happened, and the things that make me 'weird' and 'different,' were actually the most important parts of my life. They were the parts that made me me. And this was the very reason I decided to tell this story...to celebrate the strange, to give thanks for the bizarre, and to one day help my daughter understand that the reason her mother appeared mostly naked on Fox News (that's in book two, sorry) is probably the same reason her grandfather occasionally brings his pet donkey into bars: Because you are defined not by life's imperfect moments, but by your reaction to them. Because there is joy in embracing--rather than running screaming from--the utter absurdity of life. And because it's illegal to leave an unattended donkey in your car, even if you do live in Texas." (pages 307-308)
Thanks for sharing your life's absurdity, warts, dead magical-squirrel puppets, proud chaotic unicorns, and all, with us, Jenny.
I had been meaning to read this for years. I was recommended this book by several people--writers, librarians--throughout the seven years I worked inI had been meaning to read this for years. I was recommended this book by several people--writers, librarians--throughout the seven years I worked in a private Manhattan library which attracted lots of writers to its handsome Italianate townhouse rooms and stacks. These people knew I wanted to try my hand at writing but was continually stalled out after the first paragraph or so. I was afraid to write, too. Afraid I would suck. Afraid that I had nothing to say, no stories in me. Afraid to try something new and hard.
Then I completed NaNoWriMo last month with a 71,000-word novel first draft and became interested in reading about writing again. Luckily (adverb, adverb!) my local library had Stephen King's book on the shelf; the building is being remodeled and more than half the books are in storage. Yay to you, Stephen*, for making the cut of which books stayed in the building.
I am so glad I read this book. Part memoir, part writing guide, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft is a down-to-earth, frank, and thankfully (oh no, another adverb! Stephen* would be so disappointed) non-snobbish discussion of the craft, the tools every writer uses and needs, and advice on how to keep going. It was fascinating to get a glimpse at such a prolific author's writing habits and style and learn how he started. Stephen* has a great sense of humor, too, and isn't afraid to throw out curse words like a regular person. I have an odd respect for people who curse; I feel like we have a shared pastime/interest, like people who macrame or own cats.
I must confess that I have only ever listened to one of Stephen's* books, 'Salem's Lot (check out my typically brief review of it here). I tried reading a copy of The Tommyknockers ACE I picked up at a library book sale back when I was 13, but gave up after 100 pages. *shrugs* Not all books are gems to every reader. Also, horror is not my thing. I read a horror book every now and then, especially if there are vampires in it. In general, though, I hate the gut-clenching, nausea-inducing feeling of heightened suspense while waiting for that something horrible I know is going to happen actually happen, and also the horrible thing happening, that occurs every time I try to read a horror book and especially when I try to watch a horror film. *shudder*
This is all to say I am not too familiar with Stephen's* writing style, but in On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, I loved it. He just lays out what he does in his writing, how he thinks it could work for others, and tells us the most important things to do to be a writer: write a lot and read a lot. Makes sense, no? As Stephen* says, reading and internalizing this book, following his recommendations, won't make crap writers into competent writers. And it won't make good writers into great writers. But it could make competent writers into good writers. That's sounds good to me!
The book begins with a section Stephen* calls "C.V." This is the first memoir part of the book. I love origin stories and the vignettes Stephen* remembers of his childhood are interesting, illuminating, and also as random as any person's earliest remembrances. I gobbled this portion up like turkey dinner during a night's bout of insomnia. Yum yum yum.
The book also ends with a memoir part, called "On Living," about the horrible van accident Stephen* suffered in the summer of 1999, right in the middle of writing this book. My husband Mick loves the Dark Tower series and was in the middle of it when Stephen* was struck so catastrophically by that Dodge van, so I knew a bit about the incident. I didn't know, however, just how life-threatening and tortuous the whole incident--the accident and Stephen's* recovery--was.
Throughout this book, you can see that Stephen* has two loves in his life he cannot live without: his wife Tabitha and his writing. The man enjoys the hell out writing; not that it is easy-peasy for him all the time, but he works hard and likes it. I found that admirable and inspiring. I love seeing other people take pleasure in their work; my husband is one such person. It is something I hope to one day experience. So it was uplifting to read when, though agonizing for him, Stephen* finally returned to writing, his life's blood, not that long after the accident, in the midst of his brutal recovery. Mad props to you, Stephen*.
(Wow, I had a lot more to say about this book than I thought. I guess it helps to write these reviews while the book's material is still fresh in my mind. Go figure.)
There were a few passages from the book that I liked enough to take pictures of with my phone (shut up; it's how I remember stuff. I'm not going to dog-ear, write in, or otherwise vandalize a library book; I don't have Post-Its just lying all over my house 'cause that would drive my OCD-self nuts; and my phone is usually conveniently at hand).
For the funny: From page 28: "During this period I remember believing that details were dentals and that a bitch was an extremely tall woman. A son of a bitch was apt to be a basketball player. When you're six, most of your Bingo balls are still floating around in the draw-tank." I love the Bingo balls metaphor. It made me stifle a large snort of laughter so I wouldn't wake up my husband as I read this at 4am. Brilliant.
From page 123: "Two pages of the passive voice--just about any business document ever written, in other words, not to mention reams of bad fiction--make me want to scream. It's weak, it's circuitous, and it's frequently tortuous, as well. How about this: My first kiss will always be recalled by me as how my romance with Shayna was begun. Oh, man--who farted, right?" Who farted indeed, Stephen*. LOL
For the useful: Stephen* has a daily page count goal of 10, about 2,000 words. For the beginning writer, he recommends setting an achievable daily goal. "As with physical exercise, it would be best to set this goal low at first, to avoid discouragement. I suggest a thousand words a day, and because I'm feeling magnanimous, I'll also suggest that you can take one day a week off, at least to begin with. No more; you'll lose the urgency and immediacy of your story if you do" (pages 155-156).
He also advises to leave a first draft sit in a drawer for six weeks after writing so it becomes foreign enough that you don't mind "killing your darlings" and cutting as necessary, rather than keeping for sentiment, as you revise it. (No page number; I forgot to take a picture, oops.)
Before the end of the book in an appendix type thing, Stephen* includes a raw first draft excerpt of his story "1408" and that same excerpt revised with notes. Damn useful, that. On page 282 of this section before the revision notes, Stephen* reiterates two helpful nuggets of revision advice from earlier in the book: "I have cut with Strunk in mind--"Omit needless words"--and also to satisfy the formula stated earlier: 2nd Draft = 1st Draft - 10%."
These are all things I hope to keep in mind as I try my hand at being a writer (maybe; we'll see if I can hack it).
"Some of this book--perhaps too much--has been about how I learned to do it. Much of it has been about how you can do it better. The rest of it--and perhaps the best of it--is a permission slip: you can, you should, and if you're brave enough to start, you will. Writing is magic, as much as the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free. So drink. Drink and be filled up."
Thanks, Stephen*. I needed that permission and I think I'll take that drink. Great words, great book.
--- *I refer to Stephen King as just Stephen not because I know him (I don't, but that would be cool) nor out of disrespect. Instead, it's because I liked this book so damn much that now I feel like he is a buddy I want to have. Thanks for the great book, Stephen buddy....more
There are a bunch of things I love all in this one book: Scottish anything, especially language English anything Time traveI very much enjoyed this book.
There are a bunch of things I love all in this one book: Scottish anything, especially language English anything Time travel Witchery History Excellent descriptions In-depth characters Steamy romance Complex emotional relationships and decisions An absolutely vile villain
I particularly loved this description, from page 581 of my paperback edition: "the apocalyptic vision of red-haired death." Haha! Brilliant. (view spoiler)[It refers to Jamie coming at a most opportune moment to rescue Claire from being hanged as a witch. (hide spoiler)]
I will continue this series, but not right away. The massive size of the tome took me a while to finish and there are so many other books I really want to read now that the rigors of NaNoWriMo are done. (view spoiler)[Also, I was glad as I was reading the book to find a female romantic lead who suffered from infertility like me. I had suspicions this would change and wouldn't you know it, at the very end Claire is apparently pregnant. Sigh. I should have known from the last chapter's title, "From the Womb of the Earth." Still a great book despite this small personal disappointment. (hide spoiler)]
I've been wanting to read this for a while and I am so glad I finally did.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
The overall story moved along very nicely in this third installment of the Lunar Chronicles. Some mysteries of the first two books were revealed. TheThe overall story moved along very nicely in this third installment of the Lunar Chronicles. Some mysteries of the first two books were revealed. The enigmatic satellite girl in the second book is fleshed out and adds wonderfully to the tale. Now onto the revolution!...more