This was such a disappointing, nihilistic, dispassionate take on the world with charcters I really didn't care for, it's a wonder I even read the whol...moreThis was such a disappointing, nihilistic, dispassionate take on the world with charcters I really didn't care for, it's a wonder I even read the whole thing. Truth is, it's easy to read, one of those books you buy for the airplane trip and leave in the seat pocket in front of you. Pretty forgettable.
I read an advance copy, though I don't think much has changed in the final printing. Before I'd read this , I had fallen in love with Cormac McCarthy's writing, so prefectly cadenced and springing from the land and the hearts of the people in his novels. (I've only read The Border Trilogy.)
I was shocked to know this was being turned into a movie, but since I have a soft spot for Coen brothers' flix, I went, despite my dislike for the book. I was very surprised. They were able to inhabit the story in a way I could not. the movie version did veer from the old time sherrif to the main chase, but whatev.
Javier Bardem does a fantastic job playing the villan as true to my imagining of him as possible.
If you want to read the book, go see the movie. For your money and your time, it's the better investment.(less)
When all boiled down to it, it's the same old story of love and trust and doubt and doubt and betrayal. Haven't we all read it before? But Stegner tun...moreWhen all boiled down to it, it's the same old story of love and trust and doubt and doubt and betrayal. Haven't we all read it before? But Stegner tunes his storytelling to the struggle of our voyeur, Lyman, grandson of our heroine, her historian. So through letters, many imaginative suppositions, and deductive reasonings, Susan Burling Ward's life is revealed in its many complex colors and becomes the masterwork she would ultimately regret. Did I give too much away? I hope not. It's worth reading, for the revealing look at life in the West, the miners, speculators, the idealists and pioneers that made expansion possible. Susan and Oliver's dreams are hopeful and fated. AS are they and their marraige.
It's epic, with many a beautiful turn of phrase. It's brimming with intimate knowledge of the history and people. It's leaves the reader wanting resolution.(less)
I read this after seeing the Grizzly Man movie, which I enjoyed for its low-key bizzareness, and I enjoyed this book so much more than the movie.
Nic...moreI read this after seeing the Grizzly Man movie, which I enjoyed for its low-key bizzareness, and I enjoyed this book so much more than the movie.
Nick Jans does his best to illuminate the Timothy Treadwell story by providing as much context as possible, including interviews with those who knew and loved him, as well as those who knew and despised him. Jans is also an Alaskan nature writer by trade, and it shows in his details and intimacy with the landscape, and especially about the bears he writes about. Because really, any book about Treadwell is going to be half about bears anyway...
I really appreciated the author's willingness to provide many differing opinions about that fatal day and to describe the contents of that audio recording in such gruesome detail. I also very much appreciated the last section of the book, which gave more education (than probably Treadwell gave in his school presentations) about North American bears and what to do (possibly) if attacked by one. Treadwell and his associates would have done well to read this section.
The entire story fascinates me mostly because there is something primal in my subconsious that really connects with bears, the mystique and awesome, gruesome power of these animals. They are so frightening and so magnificent, and I believe Treadwell probably felt these emotions toward them as well.
Yes, Treadwell does come off as a crazy, conflicted person in this book, but less of an enigma than the Grizzly Man movie portrayed him as. We do get a fuller picture of the man. I came away also with a deeper appreciation for the untamable fierceness of bears. I will always remember the descriptions of the maulings and the further discussions of the psychology of such a bear attack. Fearsome. Awesome.
Note: I probably did read the new intro to the paper edition, but I don't think it did much to alter my views.(less)
This is one of my favorite all-time poetry anthologies. I picked it up at a discount bookstore in San Francisco, back when I was still a reader search...moreThis is one of my favorite all-time poetry anthologies. I picked it up at a discount bookstore in San Francisco, back when I was still a reader searching for the right books. And I swear, back when I was reading mostly fiction and memoir, and my depression was making nonsense of my writing, this book brought me back around to the redemption of poety, both as reader and writer, and I will be forever grateful.
Edited by Robert Bly, James Hillman, and Michael Meade, the anthology is divided into sections like "The Naive Male", "The House of Fathers and Titans" and "Mother and Great Mother", making a rather thorough compendium of the great stages of manhood (as I only imagine them to be). Each editor takes turn writing an introduction to the sections and poems of illumination, joy, and heartbreak follow.
This book benefits greatly from the decision to include female poets in here too. Sharon Olds, Anna Akhmatova and Nikki Giovanni, to name a few. Also poets of other backgrounds: Rumi, Li-Young Lee, Vallejo, Lorca, Etheridge Kinght, etc.
In all, it is a well-conceived, well-executed book. Uplifiting and satisfying, and something to turn to now and again. (less)
Bob Harris isn't a writer, which is too bad. You'd think someone with his Jeopardy! trackrecord could pull off a book. But from what I gather here, he...moreBob Harris isn't a writer, which is too bad. You'd think someone with his Jeopardy! trackrecord could pull off a book. But from what I gather here, he failed many times to qualify, and upon qualifying, he studied very, very hard to win what he did. Not that I ever thought that getting to play (much less winning,) was a cakewalk.
It's scattershot and should focus just on Jeopardy! But he rambles on, makes bad jokes and writes too much about his uninteresting lovelife. Blech. I couldn't finish it.
I loved Jeopardy! when I had cable, so I thought this would bring back all that love for trivia and mundacity. Wrong-o.(less)
I love collections, because I have short attention span, but crime writers really cater to short attention span audiences, which is one of the reasons...moreI love collections, because I have short attention span, but crime writers really cater to short attention span audiences, which is one of the reasons the Best American Crime Writing is one of my favorite annuals collections.
Not only are the stories themselves intriguing, like the aging bank robbing woman, but the writing is really tight and keeps me reading. These would easily have made it into the Best American Short Stories collections for their great writing--if only the stories weren't true.
This year's edition is already out, so I'll have to read that one, too. (less)
Not as well-written or original as My Sister's Keeper. So I wouldn't bother. Love angle seems to work, almost. She should have stuck to those charac...moreNot as well-written or original as My Sister's Keeper. So I wouldn't bother. Love angle seems to work, almost. She should have stuck to those characters. The teenagers are incidental and only used to propel the story along, though the final image/scene was predictable and trite. It's only the second Jodi Picoult book I've read, so what do I know?(less)
I picked this one up at the local Salvation Army, where the bulk of their selection is Robert Ludlum, Judith Krantz and texts and bibles. I'd always...moreI picked this one up at the local Salvation Army, where the bulk of their selection is Robert Ludlum, Judith Krantz and texts and bibles. I'd always wanted to read something of his--like Remains of the Day, but this would do, I thought. And I bought it for a buck.
and it was really decent--of course, except for the entire middle passage that is a rat's maze of impossibility. But I was told, from a friend of mine who LOVES this book, that it's really his style, and one has to suspend disbelief for a bit. OK. But really... I almost put it down because of it.
Regardless of whether I liked the character or not (I still haven't decided), I liked the writing and the initial premise of the story so much that it held me until the end. The whole Shanghai opium den thing though was too much. (less)
I realize a lot of hard work goes into putting something like this together (as both editors will tell you in their respective intros), so given that,...moreI realize a lot of hard work goes into putting something like this together (as both editors will tell you in their respective intros), so given that, I wish it fulfilled that promise of having so many stories in the collection that wowed me--that made me want to grab it and share it with the next person I see.
There are some well-written stories in here. And a couple with heart. I especially liked "The Bris", which was a touching rendtion of the obligations of the younger generation to their parents.
but if the story I'm reading doesn't hook me by the first page, I didn't bother reading on, which happened with about half of the selections.
But maybe I'm prejudiced against short stories? I haven't read as many as I think I'd like to. I usually skip over them in the journals that I read, unless it's so captivating I can't put it down. I guess the same thing happened here.(less)
I know this deserves more than 2 stars, but that what it's got. Frankly, it's just not my kind of book. Not enough inner turmoil or angst or dread for...moreI know this deserves more than 2 stars, but that what it's got. Frankly, it's just not my kind of book. Not enough inner turmoil or angst or dread for me. Did I say that? I mean, it's there--it just didn't move me.
This is my first David Means book, and the cover practically sold itself, on top of the fact that I'd wanted to read a short story collection about a series of fires. (Seriously, I feel like I manifested this out of thin air.) So I put it on my Amazon Wish List. And Santa gave it to me for Christmas.
I am two stories short of finishing the book (including the title story), and I can't bear to go on right now. Perhaps, one day, I'll get around to them, on a lazy Sunday after reading the entire New York Times.
To heck with this spare, lean dispassionate looking on at events. Oi! My favorite story of those I've read was "Sleeping Bear Lament". It seems to be the longest and most different. Here the narrator really gets inside himeself to tell the story of his relation to others, to the world, as opposed to looking in. Which I guess is why this author is not for me.
"Railroad Incident, August 1995" was also a solid story. Kind of predictible, but for such a simple scenario, packed with loads of info.
I read the stories in sequence. And am bummed that I didn't get to the "Assorted Fire Events" story. For me, the book is like a movie that has many stopping points. When one arrives, you think the credits are gonna roll, but it keeps on going. (less)