Brilliantly dark. I don't know how McCarthy gets to the part of himself where a story like this lays waiting, but I'm very glad he gets there. (And veBrilliantly dark. I don't know how McCarthy gets to the part of himself where a story like this lays waiting, but I'm very glad he gets there. (And very glad for the people who live around him that he's able to get back from that place.)...more
I expected to disappointed with this book. First, because it's being hyped to death as a great and innovative piece of writing, and secondly because II expected to disappointed with this book. First, because it's being hyped to death as a great and innovative piece of writing, and secondly because I loved Donoghue's Slammerkin and that had been presented as her best writing before this book, setting a high bar for this book. Obviously, from the stars, my expectations were not met. This is a truly amazing bit of story telling.
Five year old Jack tells the story of having had what he has been told is the world (a small room he shares with his mother, where everything their very life depends on the whims of someone he only knows as "Old Nick" very suddenly changed when they escape from what he never quite understands to have been captivity. Now there are more people than he could have ever imagined in a world that is not ran by his mother. He discovers that his window on the world, television, has been showing a real world, not a made up one, and probably worst of all, he and his mother are no longer a single unit. Through Jack's precocious language skills (which make perfect sense to me, he only had an adult to talk to, she had a laser focus on raising an intelligent child, and his father had to be reasonably intelligent to have accomplished what he did for 7 years)we see our world with very fresh eyes, eyes that might be a little quick to judge what we would have done is the same situation....more
Cornwell's take on the Arthurian legend is both violent and introspective. Of course there are battles: big battles, small skirmishes, fights betweenCornwell's take on the Arthurian legend is both violent and introspective. Of course there are battles: big battles, small skirmishes, fights between two men to settle disputes, fights between entire kingdoms to settle a slight. And Cornwell knows how to write battles so that the individual cost isn't lost in the description of the vast landscapes. But he also knows how to tell the story of what is going on inside the characters heads, why they fight or don't fight, and that there are emotions beyond greed that once turned the course of history. He approaches Arthur as someone who probably was a real man in some context, that all legend has its roots in a truth of some sort, but beyond borrowing a few key players of the legend and a very broad nod at the setting, this is his take on a war lord that was a good, if flawed, man, and the people he surrounded himself with. Cornwell also brings religion into the story more than most re-tellers of this legend, and the way he plays Paganism and the new upstart Christianity against each other is not only educational, it's amusing. ...more
When I saw that Woodrell was also the author of "Tomato Red", I almost put this book back on the shelf. I really, really, really did not like that booWhen I saw that Woodrell was also the author of "Tomato Red", I almost put this book back on the shelf. I really, really, really did not like that book. But the reviews for this were great, the plot sounded like an actual plot, and he's written a few more books between that one and this one, so I decided to give it a shot. And I'm really glad I did!
This is a tremendous story of a young girl who has lived in survival mode her entire life. Survival not only for herself, but for her two brothers and her own mother. She takes care of them not only because in her world, it's expected, but also because, as is revealed through her actions more than her words, she is a person that takes responsibility and family very seriously. It's all she has to call her own, and she will not let anyone, no matter how scary or violent and cruel, get in her way. The story moves very quickly, covering just a few days, yet there is so much character back story and revelation that it could have taken twice as many pages. The beauty of this book is that it didn't. Like the lives of the people in this story, the story is raw and to the point. ...more
Great introductory listen to some of the best known poems of the era. Liner notes include brief bios of the poets. Michael Sheen's voice is a perfectGreat introductory listen to some of the best known poems of the era. Liner notes include brief bios of the poets. Michael Sheen's voice is a perfect match for the subject material....more
There is a line near the end of this book that will stick with me the rest of my life. It not only describes the entire journey of this masterpiece, bThere is a line near the end of this book that will stick with me the rest of my life. It not only describes the entire journey of this masterpiece, but it's a bit a sound bit of advice on how to get through life.
"He had divested himself of the little cloaked godlet and his other amulets in a place where they would not be found in his lifetime and he'd taken for talisman the simple human heart within him."
Such is the story of Cornelius "Buddy" Suttree, a man who cuts himself off from his family but discovers that he can't cut himself off from caring for others. The story is told the way life flows - dragging along at times, mundane details threatening to drown us (or, in the case of McCarthy's lush descriptions, immerse us), and then something happens, a flash flood of change, whether you were ready for it or not. The book is episodic, characters dropping suddenly from sight, maybe reappearing later, maybe not. Plot lines build and then dead end with limited resolution, others read like day-in-the-lifes. People are happy and joking in one moment, a few paragraphs later and things turn incredibly dark. Like real life, there's not much foreshadowing or an all knowing narrator to hint at what's to come. There's just a man, making the best of the life he's been given....more
Absolutely brilliant first contact science fiction! Russell's background as an anthropologist brings history into the future when small group of humanAbsolutely brilliant first contact science fiction! Russell's background as an anthropologist brings history into the future when small group of human beings travel to meet some newly discovered neighbors. Funded and partially manned by the Jesuits, the story draws on what has happened in the past when one type of civilization attempted to learn without changing another - it never works out well for both groups. Told in a beginning vs the end meets in the middle manner, the story may seem to drag at the beginning, but every bit of back story is needed to reach what turns out to be an ending that doesn't seem like science fiction at all....more
This is definitely my favorite Dresden Files book, so far. This is due, in a major part, because my absolute favorite background character, Thomas RaiThis is definitely my favorite Dresden Files book, so far. This is due, in a major part, because my absolute favorite background character, Thomas Raith, moves very much to the forefront in this plot. But there's also a lot more going on than a good story in this book. Characters seem to be a little more fleshed out; a huge amount of canon for Harry's world is established, and there's back story for everyone. In some ways, this reads as a first book in a series, the one that not only sets the foundation for what's to come, but shows every sign of having been worked and refined by a first time author. Those are both very good surprises in a mid-series book! The plot this time may be a little more complicated than it needs to be (when your main character has to spell everything out in a long dialog with someone who's worked by his side for many years, you may have a few more twists than necessary), but the speed at which the story plays out allows the reader to just go along for the ride and enjoy the slow bits as breathing space.
My only regret about this book is that with Thomas having this moment in the sun, he'll probably never be featured this much in another Dresden Files book. Ahhh, for a Thomas Raith spin off series...... ;-)...more
I finished reading this book five days ago, and I am still thinking about what happened after the book ended. I've started and finished other books siI finished reading this book five days ago, and I am still thinking about what happened after the book ended. I've started and finished other books since then, and as I've read them, I've wondered how the characters of this book would have fit in to other stories. I wonder how the characters of these new books would have interacted with the Bloodworth family. How would they have fit in that tough little corner of south western Tennessee? William Gay is such a good story teller that his people and places will stay with you for a long, long time.
The jacket flap of this book will lead you to believe that this is a story of a father returning and the three sons that he never connected with during the hit and miss years he did live at home. It's not that story. This is the story of the grandson, Fleming, a young man who can not catch a break. Fleming dreams of being a writer (perhaps a bit of autobiographical writing for Gay?), and most of the story is told through his eyes. He is an observer, a kid who prefers to live on the edge and observe what goes on around him. Eventually, through the absence of his own father, the return of the grandfather he never met, and the ongoing presence an amazing (and never extraneous) supporting characters, Fleming decides to go "out among them". The story weaves and turns, characters are introduced and then dropped, but in the end, everything is brought back together believably. There are very sad parts to the whole story (even the creepy prologue isn't there just for atmosphere). Depending on your opinion of Fleming's reaction to all that has happened to him and his family, the ending is either sad or a window opening. Either way you look at it, the story will stay with you....more
Not only is this an excellent book for writers of fiction, I'd recommend it very strongly to anyone who reads or watches films with a critical eye. VoNot only is this an excellent book for writers of fiction, I'd recommend it very strongly to anyone who reads or watches films with a critical eye. Vogler relies on Joseph Campbell's explorations into myths and why humans need them to build a classic story telling formula that works. How do we know it works? He's got example after example, and honestly, it's hard to argue with the success of The Wizard of Oz, Titanic, the Indiana Jones' franchise, etc as successful story telling. Certainly, books aren't quite the same as film, but there's enough similarity that Vogler's book will help many writers find what's missing in their plot or their characters.
As for the critical eye, if you've ever wondered why films like the first Pirates of the Caribbean worked so well and the second one didn't, or what went wrong with Wolfgang Peterson's Troy (films released long after this book was written, but perfect examples of the type of film Vogler knows best), this book will give you some insight into what might have been missing. As a reader, you'll also be see what causes the difference between a good story/character arc and a great one.
And finally, if nothing else, this book flat out admits that scriptwriters that work for Disney will have their story tweeked to fit a template of what has worked best for Disney in the past....more
In my long life of reading, I can think of only a few books that when I finished them, I wanted to turn back to the first page and start all over agaiIn my long life of reading, I can think of only a few books that when I finished them, I wanted to turn back to the first page and start all over again. This book has been added to that very short list.
Not only is it a coming of age story, it's also an historical fiction of Thatcher-era England, and it's the story of a young artist trying to straddle the line between assimilation and marching to his own drummer. The three themes weave together perfectly, partially because they each provide a level of conflict for our narrator/hero Jason Taylor, but also because Mitchell knows exactly when to stop being eloquent and start being funny and when to reign in the angst and provide a bit of good fortune for his character. Never once does the point of view falter, everything is seen through the eyes of a thirteen year old boy, including a friendship with a older woman. Jason, as self involved as anyone at that age, doesn't see how Mdme. Crommelynck has changed his life forever, but we, the readers, can, because Mitchell trusts his story and his writing enough to let it actions speak for themselves. That is the beauty of the whole book: there's so little telling, and so much showing. Jason's life goes by as quickly for the reader as it does for himself....more
King has written some good books, some so-so books, and some really bad books. But this book, in my opinion, qualifies as his "great book". He's assemKing has written some good books, some so-so books, and some really bad books. But this book, in my opinion, qualifies as his "great book". He's assembled a great cast of believable and not so believable characters, just like it happens in the real world. Being able to connect with the world established in this novel is what makes it so scary. ...more
Have you ever loved a book so much it's hard to "review" it without telling the whole story? That's my problem with this book - I love the story and cHave you ever loved a book so much it's hard to "review" it without telling the whole story? That's my problem with this book - I love the story and characters so much, I probably can't look at the execution as a seperate concept. I also can't say much without giving away the perfect twists and turns Purdy wrote into this of three (or four, depending how you read it) lives cross over and over to form a web of love and broken hearts. Garnet Montrose is only the most haunting of these characters - they all are enduring creations....more