This is one of those cases where a half a star less would be useful. Well, actually I would consider the book amazing, and often times over my head. I...moreThis is one of those cases where a half a star less would be useful. Well, actually I would consider the book amazing, and often times over my head. I've been reading it for so long that I actually see it as a bit of a companion, and am a bit sad to leave it. I find the book impossible to describe other than just about every page offers up a new twist, location, character, plot, what-have-you and that the ability to sustain that over 1,000 pages is incredible. This is also one of the oddest books I've stuck with of this length--there is no steady plot to speak of, and one doesn't come to become attached to the characters in a normal way, since you never know when they're going to pop up or disappear, and they also, strangely, kind of have the same "voice" to all of them, despite their differences in language or accent. I kind of felt that every character was basically Pynchon. But I didn't care. I was also interested in my personal ability to stick with the book despite the departure from any normal structure, and it's a tribute to Pynchon's ability to surprise on every page with word play and ideas. Some authors of a standard novel I can barely read for ten pages without wanting to chuck the book simply by their sentence structure and painful dialogue, but this, with no solid plot legs for one to stand on, was infinitely readable. (less)
Read this during the summer of my honeymoon in 1997. I read DFW's Infinite Jest the same summer. Interesting pairing of books, to be sure, but at that...moreRead this during the summer of my honeymoon in 1997. I read DFW's Infinite Jest the same summer. Interesting pairing of books, to be sure, but at that time I was throwing lots of different authors at myself to see where my interests really settled. At the time I knew nothing about Ayn Rand or her philosophy and didn't really care (actually still don't). I just knew this was in the "big important literature" category, so I wanted to try it. On reflection, and re-reading bits of the book now, I'm amazed I was able to plow through to the end, but I guess I found the characters and drama interesting enough to keep moving. I remember being completely underwhelmed by John Galt's speech towards the end, where the book ground to a dead stop. The best bits of the book for me were the simple and direct individual character dramas, minus the painful love scenes. (less)
This was given to me as a gift and not something I would normally pick up on my own. Still, I'm disappointed that it wasn't something I could lose mys...moreThis was given to me as a gift and not something I would normally pick up on my own. Still, I'm disappointed that it wasn't something I could lose myself in--I was looking forward to a short read to go between the monsters I've been tackling lately. To be short, I found the writing style distracting and shallow, despite the deep psychological dramas occurring.(less)
To be honest I'm more inclined to give Life of Pi one star because it was slow torture from beginning to end. However, I recognize why people like it...moreTo be honest I'm more inclined to give Life of Pi one star because it was slow torture from beginning to end. However, I recognize why people like it and the writing was tolerable enough to finish the book, so I'm willing to halt myself at two stars. (view spoiler)[I definitely preferred the story without animals. (hide spoiler)] The words "and so it goes with God" explained my reaction to 98% of the rest of the novel.["br"]>(less)
I have a tentative liking for Gaiman's Sandman books. I was baffled by Neverwhere (made it as far as the main character walking through a wall and mee...moreI have a tentative liking for Gaiman's Sandman books. I was baffled by Neverwhere (made it as far as the main character walking through a wall and meeting the Rat People before giving up). So when my friends told me I really should try American Gods I was definitely up for it, also having heard great things about it from just about every other Gaiman fan I'd run into. So I think Gaiman's writing and I are just never going to connect. I made it to page five before I started already disliking the book. Certain authors have this effect on me, where my brain simply rejects the way their voice comes alive in my head. I didn't like character names, didn't like their dialogue, didn't like his choices for description, didn't like the structures, etc. etc. I was not engaged by the writing even before the story itself kicked in, and when it did I found I was unable to care about any facet of it. Also unhelpful was my problem with Gaiman's portrayal of the upper Midwest. I live/have lived/have traveled in most of the areas in which the story takes place, and these portions of the novel are definitely from the point of view of an "outsider." If you're going to write about small town Wisconsin, you'd better not make it come off like it was created by a Hollywood script-writer. A lot of the mentions of specific locales came off as forced. And the book could most definitely have been about 250 pages shorter.(less)
By far the worst of the series so far. I've been a fairly constant King reader for most of my life, but The Dark Tower series has been my least favori...moreBy far the worst of the series so far. I've been a fairly constant King reader for most of my life, but The Dark Tower series has been my least favorite journey into King's imagination, with the exception of the first book, which I initially read as a four part installment in Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine when I was a kid. If it wasn't for wanting to know the outcome I would have stopped after giving it the 100-page treatment. I was able to skim/speed-read large portions of the book to find out what happens, though.
The general characterization of the ka-tet and the dialogue and speech mannerisms they use have been getting on my nerves more steadily with each passing book, and with the addition of the Calla's brand new hick-speech that the ka-tet adopts to fit into the customs, but then keeps using on their own time nearly sent me over the edge "big-big". Add to that King's growing habit of having to broadcast every character thought and letting us know which emotional state to feel when everyone delivers their dialogue became utterly imagination-killing and borderline intelligence-insulting.
I really don't understand how so many people can look past those issues in the writing, even though the story itself is rather engaging on a basic level.(less)