Been reading a lot of humor lately, and this book was great. I'm not a fan of Oswalt's stand-up, but his book was insightful and funny - there is a huBeen reading a lot of humor lately, and this book was great. I'm not a fan of Oswalt's stand-up, but his book was insightful and funny - there is a human and intellectual aspect that I think comes across better in his writing, at least to me.
I'd like to see him write a novel someday, I would definitely read it....more
**spoiler alert** This review doesn't have any spoilers per se, but maybe more like details of the book you may want to discover as you read, like det**spoiler alert** This review doesn't have any spoilers per se, but maybe more like details of the book you may want to discover as you read, like details about Harkness' vampires and her plot.
I was looking for a good Halloween read and I got it. A Dan Brown academic mystery (better written though) vampires, history, romance, mystery, Upstate New York, what more could I ask for? I was going to do the reading challenge - read the chapters as the action unfolded from September 18th to November 1st, but I ended up reading the six-hundred page book in 10 days.
Harkness' writing is a little slow sometimes, she's a little bogged down in expository writing in this book. Lots of characters, lots of details about her universe. It's set up much like the first book in the Lord of the Rings in that it's the first of three books, and like it, you reach the end of this book just as the story is really beginning. A frustrating experience for some readers, but I think it's worth the ride. She always seems to know when to pick up the action, and this well researched book is rooted in actual historical events and documents, so if you're looking for something to do while you wait for the next book to come out...
Harkness' vampires are a little unorthodox - I hate to say it, but a little like Meyer's: they wander around during the day, unduly chaste, but don't sparkle. Still, I really liked them. I got a lot of what I miss when I read vampire tales: history. Sometimes, like with Harris' vampires, for example, I get tastes of back story that leave me hungry for more, and Harkness really delivers on the historical details. No doubt we'll get more of that in the next book, I can't wait!
Also, personally, I loved that part of the book takes place in "my neck of the woods." Love her descriptions of fall in Upstate New York.
If you like Dan Brown, you'll love this book, Harkness is a much, much better writer. A great Halloween book....more
This book was hilarious. Lander lampoons all the sissified aspects of the middle class - gentrifying neighborhoods, playing expensive sports, crazy foThis book was hilarious. Lander lampoons all the sissified aspects of the middle class - gentrifying neighborhoods, playing expensive sports, crazy food obsessions, bizarre child-rearing practices, pervasive slacktivism - all these things you would have time for if you weren't already so worried about meeting your basic needs.
There are definitely some people I would like to recommend this book to, but I won't....more
An interesting account of his attempt in the nineties to hike the Appalachian Trail. Bryson writes with humor and has such turns of phrase, it's a reaAn interesting account of his attempt in the nineties to hike the Appalachian Trail. Bryson writes with humor and has such turns of phrase, it's a real pleasure to read his work. I'm surprised at the breadth of his scope - A Short History of Everything and this book couldn't be any different and yet he still has the ability to entertain and educate. Love his accounts of all the reading he had done for the trail, he managed to scare himself out of his wits reading up on bear attacks and other other maladies that may have befell him.
I read this book in two days, I could not put it down. I would highly recommend this to nature lovers and anyone looking for a quick non-fiction read....more
I picked up this book because I was looking for a light summer read. It was an okay book.
The characters were interesting enough, a group of people laI picked up this book because I was looking for a light summer read. It was an okay book.
The characters were interesting enough, a group of people launching a new woman's magazine in Dublin. Very "Devil Wears Prada" but with a little more lightheartedness. This book straddles the line between chick lit and that common quiet romance type of read that seems to dominate the market. It was far from a bodice ripper, but didn't exactly exude that thoughtfulness that some of the better written chick-lit books inspire.
Keyes touched on some interesting conflicts, like career woman v. stay at home mom, a couple of interesting little love triangles, city girl sent to backwater, but I feel like she didn't follow through a lot of the conflict. All the characters seem to skate on through, and although they all changed in their own way, I felt left down by the way she neatly tied up the ending....more
I think Norwich had to make a lot of hard choices. Even in earlier historical times that weren't as obsessively chronicled as ours, there's still a wealth of information available. For instance, even though Michelangelo figures centrally in the tales of the Renaissance popes - he did work for several of them - Norwich neglects to mention that he was raised by the Medici's. A salient point, but one of many, I'm sure, that failed to make the cut.
Even still, Norwich is able to craft story arcs out of lives and periods, the many wars of the papacy and the theological arguments that split the church. We even see several over-arching themes, like the anti-Semitism that pervades the church and the relationship between the papacy and the arts. There's also the weakening of the papacy as the church loses money during reformations and as corruption is tackled by the cardinals (funny how people will listen to you when you have an army). We also see how the papacy changes from a central political office to the one we see today - the man who merely suggests things to the flock who ignores him - from the man who could make and break kings.
Sometimes the narrative is hard to follow, there were a few times I reached the end of a paragraph and had to wade back and fish out all the pronouns. Italian history, even at the author's own admission, can be difficult to untangle. Even still, I would highly recommend this to students of European or church history....more
Worrell constructed three period houses for her daughters, and this book discusses her process for each house. Her prose is clear and her instructionsWorrell constructed three period houses for her daughters, and this book discusses her process for each house. Her prose is clear and her instructions are exhaustive but not dry.
The book is divided into three parts: first there's a general overview of the history of dollhouses, and she segues into a discussion of the dollhouses she constructed. Then, she discusses each dollhouse in exacting detail: information on period furniture and item-by-item description of every item in every room of every house. The final section contains lists of common household items that may be used for accessories and traceable patterns for the dollhouse furniture she built, which you can use to make cardboard or wood replicas.
I had always thought that building a dollhouse would either be very expensive or require a lot of creativity, but I think using the instructions in this book anyone could construct a simple and elegant dollhouse. ...more
I read "The Non-Designers Design Book" a few years ago, and I think it gave me a good foundation, so when I wanted to read more about type I thought tI read "The Non-Designers Design Book" a few years ago, and I think it gave me a good foundation, so when I wanted to read more about type I thought this would be a good place to start. Some of the material had already been covered in my writing courses in college, but she picked up where they left off and answered some of the questions I had, namely about how typographers seem to assign "personalities" to type and how to identify and use them. She demystified type for me, I look forward to learning more....more
This book started off strong - witty without being overly clever, and very, very smart. I love Fey's writing style, she is as funny on the page as sheThis book started off strong - witty without being overly clever, and very, very smart. I love Fey's writing style, she is as funny on the page as she is on stage, a difficult task for many comedians. By the end, though, the chapters were a little gooey, talking about being a working mom, going home for the holiday in Pennsylvania.
Throughout the book you kind of have this tacit agreement with her: she pretends to be an everyday girl, who with a little luck and talent and a *lot* of hard work, wrote for SNL and created 30 Rock, and you agree not to think about all the money she must be making, the fame and notoriety. You can kind of chummily read her account of doing magazine shoots and almost believe this plain-jane-turned-princess magic that photoshop performs. But it gets old. By then end I kind of had enough of her agonizing over whether her child's caretaker should be called a babysitter or a nanny, and all the down home stuff about pastoral holidays with the fam.
I think it was a little personal with me though too - she writes about different controversial subjects with grace - racism, sexism, politics, etc. She has a strong but firm style I love, but she raised my hackles with a shloshy back-handed endorsement of breastfeeding and the back and forth over being a working mom and the cloying chorus of stay at home moms lobbing criticism. She eloquently puts to rest any doubt over a woman's ability to be funny, but it seems like parenting choices remain difficult to make - and defend....more
Laugh-out-loud. Read a lot of these types of books this year, these comedy writer books, and at first I was wondering if I had finally reached my limiLaugh-out-loud. Read a lot of these types of books this year, these comedy writer books, and at first I was wondering if I had finally reached my limit, but this was hilarious. Love her, love her intimate writing style and snarky wit....more
I didn't know what to expect when I picked up this book except it appeared again and again for non-fiction recommendations. In it, Bryson attempts toI didn't know what to expect when I picked up this book except it appeared again and again for non-fiction recommendations. In it, Bryson attempts to chronicle the history of all the major scientific ideas since the Enlightenment and the often offbeat characters that pursued them. From aging the earth to unraveling the history of human evolution, Bryson deftly covers a lot of ground. I would highly recommend this book to anyone - and especially to the high school science student. Bryson does a magnificent job of bringing science to life. I look forward to reading more of his work....more
I really liked this book on Buddhism, and I have to say, I'm not usually a fan of graphic novels and the like. It's a comprehensive little volume, witI really liked this book on Buddhism, and I have to say, I'm not usually a fan of graphic novels and the like. It's a comprehensive little volume, with brief, illustrated blurbs on Buddhist history and practice. I felt like I got a lot out of it and will be keeping it around for reference.
The illustrations are really something, sometimes I feel like they do a better job of illustrating the concept than the copy, although the writing is really good, too. Hope, I think, does a fine job of distilling some of these more escoteric concepts and making them easier for a Western audience to digest. She also hand-picks stories from the tradition to punctuate her points. There's a short, annotated bibliography at the end of the book. I would highly recommend this to anyone interested in learning more about Buddhism, I really enjoyed it....more
Definitely the darker side of Sedaris, I was going to pan this book, because I thought the stories in the first half were a little over the top, but tDefinitely the darker side of Sedaris, I was going to pan this book, because I thought the stories in the first half were a little over the top, but the stories in the second half were more palatable.
This book contains a series of very short stories with animals, much like the ones he does for "This American Life." Each story lampoons a different sect of American society, there aren't too many who are spared Sedaris' vitriol. Some of the stories are pretty gruesome, but I think this is a read for any Sedaris fan. If you're on the fence about him, this won't endear him to you....more
I realize that many people are done with the Sookie series, but to me, Harris still has a few tricks up her sleeve. I like this series because it's coI realize that many people are done with the Sookie series, but to me, Harris still has a few tricks up her sleeve. I like this series because it's consistently well-written, I think it's more intelligent than your usual genre fiction.
It's only been two years since the start of Sookie's story, and her world continues to unravel to reveal more supernatural secrets. I think we're starting to see the series wind down as we head towards the end - I hear #12 is going to be the last book.