This was a series I always circled around as a youth. I received The Grey King as a gift and found it interesting but bizarre and way outside of my bo...moreThis was a series I always circled around as a youth. I received The Grey King as a gift and found it interesting but bizarre and way outside of my box. I thought to myself that I ought to read the volumes leading up to it, but never did. Now I have kids that are bringing home and exploring all sorts of new fiction for kids, and it made me nostalgic for my own youth, and so I'm finally making my way through the series. So far, so good, and I am finding that the writing in the first volume is very palatable for adults. Susan Cooper does not dumb down her writing for kids. It's not terribly complex, but it's straightforward. There is a good balance between amounts of dialog and bouts of description, neither one outweighing the other.
The characters are all believable in their actions and words. Cooper does an excellent job of writing from the perspective of kids. And even though this is a fantasy novel, there are no spells and monsters or usual fantastic elements. Everything stays grounded in reality, but otherworldly elements creep in around the edges of the adult characters without ever actually intruding. As a bonus, all of the actions of the children stay within the realms of possibility of actual children, although we never really know how old they are. There are lots of authors out there putting twelve-year-olds through amazing gauntlets of physical endurance and pain, and they are far out of the range of believability.
My edition of this book, which I did purchase since the libraries' copies were out, has some of the worst cover art I've seen. (less)
I was up and down with this volume and think it falls at a 2.5 for me. I liked most of Preludes and Nocturnes, but this one I had to work harder to be...moreI was up and down with this volume and think it falls at a 2.5 for me. I liked most of Preludes and Nocturnes, but this one I had to work harder to be convinced. I seem to be a little less enamored with this series than the friends I have that have recommended it, or the majority of its readers who review it. I really didn't find the opening story very interesting, nor the middle diversion. Perhaps as the series goes on I will also grow more attached to the random characters, since I know they will pop up again. A bunch of this just seemed very random and weird for the sake of being random and weird, and I don't find that kind of storytelling very compelling--though this is something that comes and goes for me. (less)
I was pretty convinced I did not need to finish this after the halfway mark, but after I put it down for a few days I was able to come back and finish...moreI was pretty convinced I did not need to finish this after the halfway mark, but after I put it down for a few days I was able to come back and finish the job. Now that it's done I don't know if I really needed to finish it. As I was reading it I was pretty convinced that Bukowski was playing me. But, amidst all of the repetitive unrealistic screwing, he would throw in unexpected flashes of life wisdom that I identified with and keep me sated until the next nugget. It was rough going even with this book being an incredibly easy read. Ham on Rye was one of my favorite reads fifteen years ago, but that book had a more diverse storyline and scenarios that were believable. Women just seemed to ramble. But hey, if I ever find myself single in my 50s, even though I presumably won't be a fat, toothless, dirty alcoholic with springs sticking out of my bed, just maybe I'll try out some of these techniques on the ladies.(less)
This was a challenging nut to crack for me, and I love Miller's writing. I grabbed it on a whim at a used shop many, many years ago, figuring it had t...moreThis was a challenging nut to crack for me, and I love Miller's writing. I grabbed it on a whim at a used shop many, many years ago, figuring it had to be good. It's a lot different than his fiction, however, and after reading about 1/3 of the book I had to put it down--it was very heavy going, packed with his thoughts and philosophical musings, often about authors and books that really are not part of what the average person encounters today. Thankfully, Miller doesn't actually dwell too much on specifics that date the writing, but usually just takes his subject as a jumping off point to be wildly enthusiastic about life and reading. I found multiple passages worth underlining and writing margin notes about to ponder until the next time around, and lots of food for thought to use in my own life.
I finally finished the book fifteen years after starting it. Re-reading much of the beginning and reviewing things I underlined and wrote reflections on were interesting. In many ways I have not changed in my passions over certain ideas. Overall, this is the kind of book I need to have an uncluttered mind and free time in my day for--it's not light reading and many passages have to be re-read many times for understanding and absorption. Plus, the typeface is small and dense and rather hard on the eyes, thus not really making the book itself a physical pleasure to read, which is unfortunate given the subject. I've noticed a few of Miller's books have this kind of printing.(less)
As with other reviewers I had some difficulties with the New Religion and hyperempathy elements of the novel, but the more thought I give them the har...moreAs with other reviewers I had some difficulties with the New Religion and hyperempathy elements of the novel, but the more thought I give them the harder it is to unravel them from the book without destroying the basic foundations of the characters and what is driving them. And one of the great things about this book is how much it opens up for discussion and thought. Family relations, race relations, sexuality, survival in the face of impossible odds--Butler allows the reader to place themselves in virtually all positions. How would you try to hold your community together? What would you do with your son who won't abide by your rules in the face of apocalypse? Would you have the strength to forge ahead with a potentially debilitating pyschic condition? How do you balance religious upbringing and violence to ensure your survival? Those are just the tip of the iceberg of the vast array of issues that are tackled here. The beauty of the novel is how Octavia Butler is able to present all of that and still manage to tell a tightly knit, believable story, with just about no fat in the text to distract the reader. (less)
Not bad. I've been slowly moving away from fantasy and sci-fi, but have only recently really discovered Samuel Delaney. The stories in this collection...moreNot bad. I've been slowly moving away from fantasy and sci-fi, but have only recently really discovered Samuel Delaney. The stories in this collection were hit and miss, but none of them were anything less than inventive and fascinating to experience. Delaney is a master with language and bringing scenes into focus without explicitly spelling things out for the reader, which I appreciate. But at the same time it could also be a lot of work trying to find my bearings in each story, and I sometimes wished it weren't quite so abstract each time. I'm also not always enamored with the repeated images of chains, colored glass, and nakedness, at least in this collection, but I think I might be ready now to go back and re-read Dhalgren, now that I have a better grasp of Delaney's style and mind.(less)
I recently bought this volume for my brother-in-law as a Christmas gift, then pulled the anime off my shelf for another go-around (it's been years sin...moreI recently bought this volume for my brother-in-law as a Christmas gift, then pulled the anime off my shelf for another go-around (it's been years since I last saw it), but after the first fifteen minutes decided it was time to re-read the graphic novels, and I am lucky enough to have a public library that has the entire series. I've read them once, but it's been long enough that most of the details of the story are a blur now, and as good as the film version is on its own, it is a mess compared to the novels it is based on. I want to come back to the film with a firm grasp of the entire graphic novel. Since it is a six-volume epic, there is a lot to absorb. If you're looking here to see whether or not this story is worth your time, it is, but please ignore the low-score reviews complaining alternately that it takes no time to read, is paced poorly, is too light in story, or is too complicated.
Like any good story, Akira rewards slow reading and attention to detail, and once you've been through the experience, picking it up again later and giving it another look. This volume is just a basic introduction to the characters and ideas that run throughout the six volumes (and there are more characters to come). There is a ton of action, and a huge amount of the pleasure of reading this volume comes from paying attention to the immense detail of the drawings--not only in rendering cityscapes, but facial expressions, body poses, "camera" angles to view action, shading, contrast from panel to panel, layouts that improvise on tradition, timing of panel variation, etc. etc. The volume is an impressive feat of art. Of course, one can just scan each page and read the small amount of dialogue, but you're only scratching the surface doing that.
The only complaint I've read amongst the reviews that really has any weight is that of translation. There really are some clunkers in the dialogue, especially when characters are at heights of emotion and yelling at each other. It's a pretty small detraction, though.(less)
I ran out of steam towards the end of this one and began a bit of speed-reading to find out what happens. This is my third Woodrell book--I very much...moreI ran out of steam towards the end of this one and began a bit of speed-reading to find out what happens. This is my third Woodrell book--I very much enjoyed Winter's Bone and Woe to Live On. Give Us a Kiss was enjoyable but a bit uneven, and I went in and out of being convinced with the dichotomy of literate wordsmith vs. backwoods hick in the main character. Still, there were quite a few clever moments of high-falutin' words partnered with acts of shitkickery that made me smile, and a few scenes that made me laugh out loud with their excellent timing and dialogue.(less)
To be completely honest, I made it to page 270 and I am going to call it "read." As much as I am appreciating the translation and writing, there is no...moreTo be completely honest, I made it to page 270 and I am going to call it "read." As much as I am appreciating the translation and writing, there is nothing Star of the Unborn is offering that I can really continue to absorb properly. I finally looked up Franz Werfel to learn more about the author, and I was amused to find that Thomas Mann is one of his literary heroes, and the structure of the book made a bit more sense to me. As one who has attempted Mann and am definitely not worthy of his writing, I find that Werfel's sci-fantasy follows much in the same footsteps, with interesting characters and events mired in deep, chapter-long conversations about politics, religion, and philosophy that I am lost trying to figure out. Still, for 1.00 it has definitely been worth the time to experience an epic of this sort from a German author writing in the 1940s.(less)