Gruesome - i hated this book at school, just amplifies how nasty kids can be. Having said that, i know thats kind of the point, so sometimes Im torn b...moreGruesome - i hated this book at school, just amplifies how nasty kids can be. Having said that, i know thats kind of the point, so sometimes Im torn between rating on the quality of the writing, and the analogies it makes to our lives and awarding points based on my enjoyment, so im sticking with my 2 based on my memories - reading a book about nasty kids in a school of nasty kids.(less)
Wow, that was an ordeal. I really didn't get off on this one. Perhaps Ethan Hawks reading of the audio-book didn't help. I thought he was going to be...moreWow, that was an ordeal. I really didn't get off on this one. Perhaps Ethan Hawks reading of the audio-book didn't help. I thought he was going to be excellent, and actually i really loved the lead into the main part of the novel, the non-fiction prologue. But ultimately it was a monotone drone of misery, not one thoroughly likable character. Its clear from the prologue the author didn't want to portray soldiers as heroes and glorify the war. It is an anti-war book after all, but Billy was so pitiful and apathetic.
The novelty gimmick of time-travel, probably kept me from quitting altogether in some ways, but actually i don't think it contributed a great deal to the message of the book. The best thing about the audio book was a short interview with the author. This reminded me that I really would have got so much more out of a non-fictional but well written book on his experiences in the war. I think it would have been fascinating to really learn more about the bombing of Dresden, why it was done, what happened, what it achieved (absolutley nothing apparently but I only learn t that from the 5 minute interview not the novel). I had to question myself why i found this depressingly miserable and yet could give Schindlers list 5 stars. I think the answer is, While Schindlers graphically describes horrific atrocities, its characters are mainly full of spirit and its a story of overcoming impossible odds of survival, added to which it was largely factual, which Slaughterhouse could have been also given that he was there. To me the message is more powerful when its real.
To give the author his due, there's some nice passages in there, its certainly not that he cant write. It just gave me no enjoyment to read for the most part. I wouldn't necessarily knock why its rated as a classic either, its a fairly scathing attack on the f utilities of war, highlighting the fact it was fought for the most part by teenagers not knowing what they were doing and that the allies were guilty of their own brand of atrocity by razing a city to the ground and murdering 130,000 people with no benefit to the war effort. Like I said, I just didnt enjoy reading it.
I didnt know anything about this book when I picked it up except that it was on Oranges 50 essential reads list. I absolutely adored it. The touches o...moreI didnt know anything about this book when I picked it up except that it was on Oranges 50 essential reads list. I absolutely adored it. The touches of magic realism, the different viewpoints all narrated through Cal, the charcterisation - especially the Matriarch, the epic cross-generational saga, the tenderness and warmth, the plight of someone who feels and is different and the later acceptance and strength. I thought i was going to lose it, as many others seem to have found around the most harrowing section of the book and didnt enjoy this part, but it picked up again and I got gripped in the nick of time before the ending (which was possibly slightly abrupt, but then again 529 pages is getting towards my max endurance).
Happy to say that this and 'Music and Silence' by Rose Tremain, also on the Orange list have set me joyously back on the path of fiction, which I'd abandoned for a long time, not knowing where to turn amongst all the pulp. Thanks Orange list contributers! (less)
Have no idea where or how i picked this up - have a suspicion that it was over 15 years ago trawling through City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco (i...moreHave no idea where or how i picked this up - have a suspicion that it was over 15 years ago trawling through City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco (is it still there?) on a youthful round the world trip, I knew absolutely nothing about the author at the time, but its a memoir that i found fascinating and brilliantly written and have had fond memories of reading ever since.(less)
Seems almost pointless to even start to review this book, its been done so many times by better people than me. Surfice to say I found it an utterly c...moreSeems almost pointless to even start to review this book, its been done so many times by better people than me. Surfice to say I found it an utterly charming way of tackling with some big issues that have never completely gone away. I like the way, you see it all through the Childs eyes - that at that age they see things how they are - in black and white ..as it were, and cant understand why people would act differently. And Atticus is such a wise and humble character, heartbreaking how he knows exactly what is going to happen but the kids will have such a hard time figuring it out. theres some great sub-plots going on too, also for the most part dealing with prejudice and acceptance, tolerance and small-mindedness.(less)
Not particularly uplifting but a well written and necessary read if you've been to or planning a visit to Cambodia, hard to beleive this kind of thing...moreNot particularly uplifting but a well written and necessary read if you've been to or planning a visit to Cambodia, hard to beleive this kind of thing was going on so recently while some of us were growing up oblivious in the West(less)
"Death is always on the way, but the fact that you don't know when it will arrive seems to take away from the finit...moreStunning, How is this for profound,
"Death is always on the way, but the fact that you don't know when it will arrive seems to take away from the finiteness of life. It's that terrible precision that we hate so much. But because we don't know, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that's so deeply a part of your being that you can't even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more. Perhaps not even. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless." — Paul Bowles (The Sheltering Sky) (less)
Judging by some of the reviews, I think its quite possible that it might be slighlty lost on the audience if not a Brit or spent time there. The book...moreJudging by some of the reviews, I think its quite possible that it might be slighlty lost on the audience if not a Brit or spent time there. The book was such a success because she nailed the English sensibility, particularly, but not exclusivley female. Everyone either has an element of Bridget in them or knows someone like that. We do whinge, worry about the size of our arses, have to put up with naf jumpers for Christmas, occasionaly about having no friends and found alone eaten by alsations or similar, have obsessions about random people we probably shouldnt and wonder if we will get to shag them, suffer for being a singleton when we secretly rather enjoy it, plan diets that we never quite stick too and sometimes record the banal details. We also often enjoy a good wallow in self-pity. I even have a friend whos more than likely downed several solitary bottles of red and mouthed the words to 'all by myself' before collapsing in stupor. In short theres a bit of Bridge in all of us and I loved it...even if I've now left the country for a slightly less depressing life in the sun!(less)
Not as good as the first - but sometimes you just cant get enought of a character - now one deeply ingrained in the British Pshyche. that everyone ide...moreNot as good as the first - but sometimes you just cant get enought of a character - now one deeply ingrained in the British Pshyche. that everyone identifies with. and who knew Zellweger would pull it off to a tee in the movie despite not being a Brit!(less)