I gave this a try after reading and disliking Gardens of the Moon. I've had a hard time accepting the fact that my tastes have moved far away from thiI gave this a try after reading and disliking Gardens of the Moon. I've had a hard time accepting the fact that my tastes have moved far away from this kind of book. I still like an epic fantasy story, but there is a certain kind of awfulness to the writing (mainly cheeseball dialogue, weirdness for the sake of weirdness that makes no sense to a scene, dramatic and gross scenarios that have no internal logic, bizarro character names that sound like a twelve-year-old made them up, just for starters) that it seems the general hardcore fantasy reader are perfectly willing to overlook as long as there are some "bad-ass" moments for their favorite character and a "Holy f*ck the last 150 pages or so of this book is just incredibly epic stuff" (actual quote from a friend) denouement.
Other reader's excitement over this series and author keep me pawing at the books on the shelf when I see them, but the irritating qualities of Erikson's style (and weaknesses) way overbalance the fun parts. ...more
I am stuck between 2 and 3 for a rating, not that it's really a big deal. I saw the film first, so I could not help reading the original graphic novelI am stuck between 2 and 3 for a rating, not that it's really a big deal. I saw the film first, so I could not help reading the original graphic novel with that playing in the corner of my mind. I actually appreciate the drastic changes that were made for the film because it makes the original source more entertaining and interesting to explore, and adds a dimension of discussion (especially in a Cronenberg work) as to what the motivations of the author and director in both works are in telling the story in the way they did, and if both works share the same overall themes in the end.
I think this book is worth a couple of more read-throughs. I'm not a huge fan of the drawing style, and there were some rather weak moments in the story, but it was strong enough as a whole to make me reconsider those moments in context instead of dismissing them. ...more
I picked this up at a local Goodwill shop. The movie was one of my memorable early theater horror-movie excursions as a kid, and even though its qualiI picked this up at a local Goodwill shop. The movie was one of my memorable early theater horror-movie excursions as a kid, and even though its quality is questionable, I think it did some things towards forming my affection for moody sets and Tangerine Dream scores. In reading about the film later in life, I had always heard the book was a good read and a superior story as well. So this was the first chance I had to check it out.
F. Paul Wilson's storytelling ability was good enough that I was able to keep reading to the end, but I have to say I was slightly disappointed with the direction he took the story in the last third of the novel. Saying more would probably make me write spoilers, but I think there was possibility for a little more depth of character and a less traditional monster. ...more
Library experiment 1--I checked this out when I was bored at the library, and decided to just grab the very first book of the "A"s off of the fantasy/Library experiment 1--I checked this out when I was bored at the library, and decided to just grab the very first book of the "A"s off of the fantasy/sci-fi shelf and give it a try. I give it an "OK" with the knowledge that I didn't quite make it to the finish, but only because after a while it was quite clear that this is not aimed at my demographic in any way. The ideas with harnessing elements to do your bidding and the ethics and politics behind that were interesting, but I didn't feel it was quite solid enough ground to build a believable world around. The characters were certainly fun, though, and if I were a female teen I would probably have thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm kind of surprised it was not in the teen section of the library, but I have no idea who it was officially marketed to when it was released....more
Listened to the book on CD. I'm usually not much for being read to, but in this case I think it's possibly the best way to experience this book. It'sListened to the book on CD. I'm usually not much for being read to, but in this case I think it's possibly the best way to experience this book. It's likely I wouldn't have enjoyed it quite as much without Fey's own delivery. Very enjoyable diversion--I especially liked the stories about The Second City, having spent some time there myself as an employee in the late 80s....more
Well, The Specialist is officially on the bottom of my list of book rankings, right next to Glorious Failure, which I see I haven't rated, since I reaWell, The Specialist is officially on the bottom of my list of book rankings, right next to Glorious Failure, which I see I haven't rated, since I read that before Goodreads existed, and I completely forgot about it until reading The Specialist. This isn't quite as bad as GF, likely because Aalborg already has some sway as an author and the spelling and editing are decent. Everything else, as they say, is weak sauce.
But I'm probably not being all that fair. I was bored at the library and decided to start a game with myself, and picked the very first book off the shelf at the beginning of the alphabet in the Fiction section and the Fantasy/Sci-Fi section, no fair looking at jacket synopsis or author history, with intent to read no matter what. So this is not necessarily a book I would have naturally chosen. But hey, open mind etc. So I started on what began as a fairly promising serial killer adventure, which quickly turned into loads of clunky sentences, silly dialogue and monologue, lame scenarios trying to be clever (testicles and puzzle pieces, ugh), and lots of missed opportunities to deliver information in a fashion more interesting than dropping a fact into a block of narration.
After 100 pages I felt I could take a peek at the jacket. Lee Child has a blurb giving the book high marks, which can’t possibly be accurate, and the author is more known under a female pseudonym for romance novels. The writing made slightly more sense after knowing that, but I’m glad I read a healthy portion unburdened by that knowledge.
There’s lots of caving. If you like caves maybe this will be interesting for you. ...more
Falls under "OK". Running Blind was a solid filler book. I tend to read these a little too fast so I can find out what happens, yet I don't think I reFalls under "OK". Running Blind was a solid filler book. I tend to read these a little too fast so I can find out what happens, yet I don't think I really missed any especially deep passages meant to be savored. Lee Child knows how to pace a book and keep the reader hooked and keep the characters just interesting enough and deep enough to be believable entities. Unfortunately there are a lot of weak points to the plot and some Reacher dialogue that really didn't seem to fit the character the way I've come to see him. This was a quick, fairly light and enjoyable read, but if it were my first encounter with a Jack Reacher novel I probably wouldn't waste my time with others. ...more
Read this years ago in college. In the rapidly changing media information environments that people are soaking in today I think there are some good waRead this years ago in college. In the rapidly changing media information environments that people are soaking in today I think there are some good warning roots to take from this book. We're not going to be changing the force of screen time any time soon, but there are a few things to be found here to remember when comparing what it was like to grow up forty years ago to growing up today in how a person absorbs and reacts to the time and methods they use to encounter information....more
Started strong but the plot and dialogue soon devolved into cliche. I love the art of Ben Templesmith, which is pretty much what grabbed my attentionStarted strong but the plot and dialogue soon devolved into cliche. I love the art of Ben Templesmith, which is pretty much what grabbed my attention to begin with, so when the art switched over I pretty much lost interest in the rest of the book. C.P. Smith's style has its own beauty, but ceased to keep me engaged with the story. I also have no interest in all of the afterlife game-playing going on. So, obviously not a title for me....more
Short take: It was readable and went very quickly, but I was ultimately disappointed in the direction the book went after the first half.
I was most iShort take: It was readable and went very quickly, but I was ultimately disappointed in the direction the book went after the first half.
I was most interested in the angle about what happens to a person who is raised with a completely different set of stimuli and human interaction than the rest of society. I guess you could say that's exactly what the rest of the novel is about, but it seemed more to steer away from the deeper facets of that aspect and more towards general female teen angst. The novel started off with some real hints of something supernatural going on but really petered out with it as the main character ages. I was hoping for a little more depth of character and exploration of the mysteries around the initial abandonment and musical communication abilities of the child. Without being to spoiler-y once it went beyond the two main characters I felt the story kind went off the rails and didn't stick to the seeds from where it grew.
I'm going to disagree with many others and say that I found Lindqvist's depiction of the inner mental lives of teenage girls to be lacking in believability, which was a bit of a problem for me seeing as that is the meat of the middle of the book and was what mostly led to my perceiving the last half to be much weaker. The emotional and shocking elements that happen in the first section were effective, compared to what happens at the end, which failed to engage me in any similar fashion.
Still, the writing was always engaging, even when my interest was flagging in the last 100 pages, and there were many genuinely creative and creepy interactions and scenarios. ...more
At this point in my Stephen King readings his books fall on one side or the other of readable/waste of time. It doesn't take me long to determine theAt this point in my Stephen King readings his books fall on one side or the other of readable/waste of time. It doesn't take me long to determine the vibe of his books and what I'm willing to wade through and what is going to drive me up the wall. Under the Dome was engaging, while Duma Key I couldn't care less about and wanted to chuck after thirty pages. Joyland teeters on the "waste" side. It was short enough that I could deal with not quite abandoning it, but felt it was bloated enough as it was to really burn through most of the middle. But dang it if King still doesn't nab me in the heartstrings along the way, because I'm a sap. So, not really one of his stronger outings--I think it would have worked better as an even shorter story, though I haven't been enamored of any of his short fiction lately, either....more
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 harAs 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. ...more
Loved the humor and language in the book. McCarthy paints an enormous canvas that brings the reader deep into the psyches and physical existences of tLoved the humor and language in the book. McCarthy paints an enormous canvas that brings the reader deep into the psyches and physical existences of the lowest denizens of society while demonstrating how richly their lives can be described. ...more
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 collectionNot 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....more
I bought this in 1999 and it took me these fifteen years and four tries to accomplish reading. I kept giving it starts, and the book just never took oI bought this in 1999 and it took me these fifteen years and four tries to accomplish reading. I kept giving it starts, and the book just never took off for me. Usually I will dump a novel when I don’t like the writing style, but something in the back of my head told me that I was reading a book I would like, but it just wasn’t the “right time” to do it. Earlier this year I gave it another go, and just got fed up. I said lots of mean things about it to internet friends, and scoped Goodreads for all of the one and two star reviews, reveling in the vitriol. And then something happened, not sure what it was. I picked up the book a few more times just reading random bits, and it drew me in. I started it from the beginning one last time, and took my time and listened, quietly. And out of the blue, the book just clicked for me. I was in sync with the scenarios and the dialogue, and I had a great time.
I can completely understand why a lot of people don’t like this book, since I spent so much energy being pissed off at it myself. So I’m glad my brain did whatever trick it did to get over that hump. I didn’t end up enjoying the book for plot or character, since there really isn’t a plot to follow, and a lot of the characters just sound like the same person. So how is it that I was able to read 800 pages of that, given that description? I believe it’s mainly that I was able to connect quite often to the historical and social situations, and I enjoyed the hell out of DeLillo’s imagination and description. ...more
Finally finished this book, after taking about eighteen years of regular touch and go messing about with it, hitting a few opening or so pages beforeFinally finished this book, after taking about eighteen years of regular touch and go messing about with it, hitting a few opening or so pages before losing interest to go to other literature, before really gaining enough momentum to be "hooked". Even at that, I had to force myself to read the final 80 or so pages, and the book is only about 170 pages long.
So, I would say that I really did not enjoy my reading of this novel. I didn't appreciate the weird liberties Bernhard took with Glenn Gould's actual life and didn't understand why he was even a part of the book, really, aside from being a celebrity that most people would automatically have a created mental story for. And then the relentless onslaught of negativity--everything is worthless and disgusting and useless. Over and over and over. I know that this is Bernhard's regular tone, having read and really liked many of his novels up to this point. But something this time around really did not click for me and I wound up resenting the book.
Getting to the Afterword by Mark M. Anderson included in my copy, many elements are explained that brought my opinion of the work up quite a bit more, and I then was more irritated with myself for reading the book without the slightest eye for the humor and irony, nor for the act of Bernhard splitting his own personality two ways (inhabiting the narrator and Gould) and bringing in a stand-in for Wittgenstein as a third, creating more of a biographical novel full of self-conflict. I do give myself a slight break, since much of the meaning behind the book has more to do with knowing Austria, its culture, and Bernhard's relationship to his home state, of which I was completely ignorant.
Ultimately I must return to this novel again in the future. I was sure during this reading that I was going to officially be done with Bernhard, but the Afterword breathed new life into how I will approach the next novel or re-read I do of Bernhard's work. ...more
I feel badly giving this book the "just OK" rating but ultimately it is the most accurate reflection of my final impression. It has probably been twenI feel badly giving this book the "just OK" rating but ultimately it is the most accurate reflection of my final impression. It has probably been twenty years or more since I read any Ray Bradbury, and since his passing I have meant to pick up some of his books that I never got around to as a kid. I have very fond memories of reading Dandelion Wine, Martian Chronicles, and some of his short story collections. For some reason I had always passed Something Wicked over.
For the first half of the book I was happy with the story. Sure it was slightly "gee golly" old, but Bradbury has an amazing repertoire of descriptive metaphor and I almost wanted to pull out my notebook to write some of his words down--such amazing lyrical twists to looking at life. Those are what the two stars are mainly for. As the story moved along I became less and less enthralled with these as they became cloying and the book was just saturated with poetic sentences, often to the detriment of plot flow. Something Wicked really started to pull itself away from me when Mr. Halloway suddenly develops the gift of gab and basically transforms into the descriptive narrator. From there until the end of the book nothing makes much sense and the characters really don't behave in any ways one would expect of people or creatures in the situations established.
Bradbury still has the skills to infuse the ending, however silly, with a completely infectious mad energy, and I couldn't help but still appreciate the artistry within. I am positive I would have appreciated this book a lot more if I had read it as a teenager/young adult. I also got a strong Stephen King vibe--retro, of course, as this came first, but I was interested to note that much as I feel that children behave completely out of their typical mindset and maturity levels in SK books, the same goes here. Ah, I guess I'm just not a romantic! I need my 13-year-olds to actually behave like 13-year-olds. ...more