I am actually just listening to the main story (as read beautifully in the LibriVox version) in order to participate in the SFFaudio readalong discussI am actually just listening to the main story (as read beautifully in the LibriVox version) in order to participate in the SFFaudio readalong discussion. I originally listened when Heather Ordover at CraftLit discussed the book a couple of years ago (?). Perfect listening for October and I am very much enjoying going over the story again.
A fascinating look at good and evil and a short read actually. If you have only seen a movie or know "what everyone knows" about this story, do yourself a favor and read the book which is full of surprises compared to "what everyone knows."...more
As with the other books in the series, Last Watch is made up of three novellas. Unlike the other books though, these act as connected pieces in one ovAs with the other books in the series, Last Watch is made up of three novellas. Unlike the other books though, these act as connected pieces in one overall story. Although Anton goes to Edinburgh and then to Uzbekistan, his missions are all in service of solving one big puzzle. What possible plot could cause an alliance between a powerful Inquisitor, a Higher Light One, and a Master Vampire?
I thought I understood what the title Last Watch was about but, as with every other time, Sergei Lukyanenko surprised me. In the end this turned out to be a story about the depths to which love drives us, especially when we feel we have failed it, and the ultimate power of forgiveness.
I eagerly await the translation of the final book in the series, New Watch....more
This will be my fourth time reading WWZ, though I think it will probably be more like a high-level skimming since I just finished listening to the audThis will be my fourth time reading WWZ, though I think it will probably be more like a high-level skimming since I just finished listening to the audio book a few months ago (which was my 3rd time through the book). I'm really looking forward to it and to the resultant discussion at A Good Story is Hard to Find podcast. This is Scott's choice.
My review is below. ============
It goes by many names: “The Crisis,” “The Dark Years,” “The WalkingPlague,” as well as newer and more “hip” titles such as “World War Z” or “Z War One.” I personally dislike this last moniker as it implies an inevitable “Z War Two.” For me, it will always be “The Zombie War,” and while many may protest the scientific accuracy of the word zombie, they will be hard-pressed to discover a more globally accepted term for the creatures that almost caused our extinction. Zombie remains a devastating word, unrivaled in its power to conjure up so many memories or emotions, and it is these memories, and emotions, that are the subject of this book.
This record of the greatest conflict in human history owes its genesis to a much smaller, much more personal conflict between me and the chairperson of the United Nation’s Postwar Commission Report. My initialwork for the Commission could be described as nothing short of a labor of love. My travel stipend, my security access, my battery of translators, both human and electronic, as well as my small, but nearly priceless voice-activated transcription “pal” (the greatest gift the world’s slowest typist could ask for), all spoke to the respect and value my work was afforded on this project. So, needless to say, it came as a shock when I found almost half of that work deleted from the report’s final edition. ...
World War Z (WWZ) is the book that began the zombie invasion of publishing. You may thank or curse Max Brooks, depending on your feeling about the genre. Actually, WWZ is the follow-up to Brooks' 2003 book, The Zombie Survival Guide. Where that book was a twist on more practical manuals, however, WWZ is a much more serious novel than one might expect.
In this "future history" a reporter travels the world to interview key individuals who fought in the zombie wars after a virus surfaces that sweeps over populations in an epidemic, leaving huge numbers of zombies roaming the earth. The clever premise provides much food for thought about how individuals and governments respond to unexpected emergencies ... or fail to respond. Brooks uses this vehicle not only to tell an excellent story but to skewer governmental policies and lambast the powerful who take advantage of any situation for their own gain. This is a real page turner that resulted in many late nights as I watched civilization collapse and wondered what was found that allowed victory over the zombie hordes
UPDATE: May 2013
This is my 3rd reading of World War Z, this time via the new unabridged audiobook version (review copy from SFFaudio, God bless 'em!). I had the previous audio version but never could make myself listen to it because I knew it was abridged.
I wondered how the documentary-style story would hold up with so many different voices taking up the tale in turn. The answer is that I now admire even more Max Brooks' talent in weaving these voices together to make a suspenseful story. I didn't think I could admire the book more, actually. But I am happy to be proven wrong. It is tailor-made for audio and, although I now feel as though I went through the war myself, I also feel a quiet optimism for the future. So, there you go ...
I've heard that Max Brooks' answer when asked to comment on the upcoming World War Z movie is something like, "Well, they have the same name." I, for one, am grateful for the movie since it prompted this unabridged version. And I hold out hope for the movie since I was among the few who enjoyed I, Robot the movie, just as much as I, Robot the book. They are just different animals. Fingers crossed, that WWZ is the same....more
To be honest, I'm not going to actually read this whole book. However, I loved the Popcak's Just Married book and that gave me the impetus to flip thrTo be honest, I'm not going to actually read this whole book. However, I loved the Popcak's Just Married book and that gave me the impetus to flip through this one. I saw so much common sense displayed, combined with sensible Catholic grounding, that I resolved to buy two more copies to give to some young mothers I know....more
I'm reading the notes and enjoying the many illustrations as I enjoy listening to Derek Jacobi's narration of the separate books which are gathered wiI'm reading the notes and enjoying the many illustrations as I enjoy listening to Derek Jacobi's narration of the separate books which are gathered within this collection. This book is beautiful and made to last with a lot of fascinating information within. For example, I now know more than I ever thought I would about the history of the graphite pencil.
The one thing I dislike is the editor's choice to include commentary and opinions of those who enjoy pretending that Holmes and Watson are real people. This can lead to very tiresome discussions about timing of events, who did what "really," and so forth. Luckily, one learns how to identify those parts fairly quickly and can just skip over them....more
One day Howard and his sister Awful (you soon discover just how "awful" Anthea is and the reason for her nickname becomes evident)come home from schooOne day Howard and his sister Awful (you soon discover just how "awful" Anthea is and the reason for her nickname becomes evident)come home from school to find a huge goon in their kitchen. He says he was sent by Archer because Howard's dad hasn't turned in his quarterly payment of 2000 words. Just who Archer is and how 2000 words can be payment for anything turn are the beginning of a quest that take Howard and Awful on an adventure that truly is indescribable. It is a mystery that constantly shifts. Just when you think it's figured out, an entirely new dimension is revealed. It is fantasy where every detail matters. Every detail. Perhaps this preface will show just how indefinable the plot is:
This book will prove the following ten facts: 1. A Goon is a being who melts into the foreground and sticks there. 2. Pigs have wings, making them hard to catch. 3. All power corrupts, but we need electricity. 4. When an irresistible force meets an immovable object, the result is a family fight. 5. Music does not always sooth the troubled beast. 6. An Englishman's home is his castle. 7. The female of the species is more deadly than the male. 8. One black eye deserves another. 9. Space is the final frontier, and so is the sewage farm. 10. It pays to increase your word power.
And it does. Just read it.
I must add that I read this book in one day. One day. I was astounded by the fact that three-fourths of the way through, Jones did a "reveal" about a character I loved which completely ruined my previous love. I hated that betrayal. THEN, she did it again with a different character. Again, I felt betrayed.
THEN, by the end of the book, she had flipped those reveals so that I loved those characters as much as before. Simply amazing....more
What do you do after reading The Hobbit ... and also Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit (by Corey Olsen)?
You pick up The Lord of the Rings, of courWhat do you do after reading The Hobbit ... and also Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit (by Corey Olsen)?
You pick up The Lord of the Rings, of course, because you can't stop craving that Tolkien-y goodness that helps you reflect better on your own life and struggles at the very same time that you are transported to the exotic world of Middle-Earth.
So here I am again.
As I move through the book more slowly, picking it up for a chapter here and there, I am surprised at the power the story is taking on. Partly it is because I am not rushing through and already know the main points. Partly it is because, flawed though they were, the movies help me to picture some of the places. Partly it is because I am surprised at what I have forgotten and they add a dimension to the story that I didn't expect. The Huorns outside of Helm's Deep, for example, left me as surprised as they did the warriors and Orcs who encountered them.
I took it to a doctor's appointment yesterday and was surprised to find how exciting the battle of Helm's Deep was when read and savored for each moment that Tolkien packed into that one-chapter event. I was actually glad for the long wait time so I wasn't interrupted until it was done....more
This will be my umpteenth time reading this classic ghost story. Shirley Jackson is one of my favorite authors and this is my choice for October's disThis will be my umpteenth time reading this classic ghost story. Shirley Jackson is one of my favorite authors and this is my choice for October's discussion at A Good Story is Hard to Find.
I've read the book so many times that I thought I'd see what it is like to listen to the audio version. I am delighted to find is it read Bernadette Dunne who is a favorite of mine ever since listening to her narration of The Hiding Place.
UPDATE The problem with knowing a book so well is that if the narrator isn't adding something new, then they are (inadvertently) detracting from the book for me. Sadly this is the case. It isn't Dunne's fault, but in this instance there is nothing like my Penguin copy for the "real" book ... which is still terrifying me, by the way.
FINAL -- UPDATED The ending of this book hits me hard every time. This time I was actually struck by agreement with Mrs. Montague (which is a real first). But she was the only one at the end who had a sensible suggestion and it should have been taken ... in fact the doctor's rejection of it is the only weak place in the plot, to my mind.
[UPDATE: a conversation with my daughter, Hannah, brought up another possibility for what I saw as a plot flaw. Wow. Stephen King WISHES The Shining had a house as sly and crafty as this one.]
Truly excellent, terrifying, and yet ... in a way that is foreign to much of the blunt force and violence that passes for horror fiction these days....more
Julie can't sleep because of the incessant pounding while Scott won't let Mrs. Dudley clear the table. Both are terrified while they discuss The HauntJulie can't sleep because of the incessant pounding while Scott won't let Mrs. Dudley clear the table. Both are terrified while they discuss The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson at A Good Story is Hard to Find podcast....more
I really cannot do a better review than Joseph R. did, so please go read his.
On my own account, I'll just say that it isn't until a couple of years agI really cannot do a better review than Joseph R. did, so please go read his.
On my own account, I'll just say that it isn't until a couple of years ago that I was able to truly appreciate this magnificent work.
My own comments may be heard at A Good Story is Hard to Find podcast where we covered the book in two parts: one, two. And we also discussed the movies in relationship to the books in a separate episode.
I reread this for those conversations and recently have been forcing myself not to pick it up again. "Self," I said, "You JUST read this behemoth. Enough already!"
Evidently not. Finally gave in and am going to slowly reread for the second time this year....more
When I was young I discovered Saki and read all his stories. Over the years, of course, one comes across a few very popular stories repeatedly. Now I'When I was young I discovered Saki and read all his stories. Over the years, of course, one comes across a few very popular stories repeatedly. Now I've come across a wonderful podcast, The Clovis Stories by Saki which is working its way through all the Saki stories. I am now catching up with the readings of Beasts and Super-Beasts., listening to a story a day (or so). As with The Chronicles of Clovis, I vastly enjoy rediscovering stories I forgot or only vaguely remember. The is no one like Saki for blending wicked humor with a tinge of superiority ... like P.G. Wodehouse if he'd had a bit more maliciousness sarcasm in his writing.
This book intersperses Clovis' chronicles with horror stories, both of which fascinate even while you can see the inevitable uncomfortable conclusion coming. Saki's powers of expression are those which will fascinate anyone who enjoys a well told tale.
UPDATE The reviewer who said, "Saki writes like a very charming sociopath (who you find yourself liking, despite your better judgment)." was spot on. The sheer perversity of the situations and people involved is brilliant and also highly amusing. ...more
McDermott really does take the pain and fussiness out of producing authentic tasting ethnic foods, in this case Thai cuisine. Leafing through this I dMcDermott really does take the pain and fussiness out of producing authentic tasting ethnic foods, in this case Thai cuisine. Leafing through this I discovered that I had already read it once because her grilled chicken with garlic recipe is a staple of my kitchen. ...more
I'm not sure how Wright did this. This novella picks up the idea of what happens when the children who were once engaged on a grand adventure (a la ThI'm not sure how Wright did this. This novella picks up the idea of what happens when the children who were once engaged on a grand adventure (a la The Lion and the Wardrobe) reach middle age. The adventure has been sublimated to the necessities of adult life. When the call goes out for their heroic talents how will they respond? What will be the consequences for each of them? And for the rest of the world?
This is a very deep story with much to ponder and it promises rich enjoyment upon rereading. I now want the sequel....more
The Church's calendar is an intricate, complex, and beautiful technology. It is the work of many human hands and human minds trained to deal with holy
The Church's calendar is an intricate, complex, and beautiful technology. It is the work of many human hands and human minds trained to deal with holy things. The seasons turn and the feasts interplay like the gears in a priceless clock. They regulate our religious life and enrich our spiritual life.
They seem to happen automatically, but only because the Church oversees the apparatus, averts temporal collisions, and finely tunes all the components to make the year as festive as it can be.
I am not sure exactly why but one of the things I have always loved about the Church is the liturgical year. The idea that there are a steady series of seasons and feast days linked with our calendar year enhances the richness of my life. Perhaps it is because my mother taught us to love nature and the turn of seasons simply because she herself loves them so much. Perhaps it is because, long before I was a Christian, I read and reread Rumer Godden's masterpiece In This House of Brede where the liturgical year is a continual background to the story.
“Don’t you see, it’s like a pageant. Our Cardinal has said the liturgy entertains as well as feeds us ... Yes, we’re not angels but humans," said Dame Clare, "and human nature is made so that it needs variety. The Church is like a wise mother and has given us this great cycle of the liturgical year with its different words and colours. You’ll see how you will learn to welcome the feast days and the saints’ days as they come round, each with a different story and, as it were, a different aspect; they grow very dear, though still exacting.”
Having unknowingly absorbed all that I suppose it is only fitting that I really enjoyed The Feasts. It covers the background and reasons for feast days, the liturgical calendar (and our calendar in general), and how these enrich our Christian lives. Even those of us who are well informed on the subject will find new information as well as good reminders of things we may have forgotten. For example this is supremely logical but just never occurred to me:
Sunday did not become simply a Christian version of the Sabbath. Christians were wary of enforcing a day of rest, as such enforcement had been turned on Jesus during his earthly ministry (see, for example, Mark 2:23-27). In any event, most Christians could not refrain from labor on Sunday because it was an ordinary workday in the Greco-Roman world.
Christian observance centered on the Mass, which was in most places offered very early in the morning (before work), but sometimes also in the evening (after work). ...
Certainly The Feasts is a worthy accompaniment to Cardinal Wuerl's and Mike Aquilina's previous two books, The Church and The Mass. Taken all together they provide a thorough, accessible, and much needed look at aspects of the Roman Catholic faith which seem very mysterious to outside eyes....more
One of my favorite Dick Francis novels. Between the gemstones, the gadgets, the mystery, and the brotherly relationship this always engages both my atOne of my favorite Dick Francis novels. Between the gemstones, the gadgets, the mystery, and the brotherly relationship this always engages both my attention and my heart....more