I first read this book shortly after it was published, and was so moved I reccommeneded it to everyone. Anne Fadiman did a wonderful job investigatin...moreI first read this book shortly after it was published, and was so moved I reccommeneded it to everyone. Anne Fadiman did a wonderful job investigating the Hmong cultural beliefs and lifestyle and finding the places where it intersects with Western expectations. I cried really hard by the end. How tragic it is that this story is merely representational of what is probably happening in many other Hmong-settled, urban areas. Other refugee areas in general.
On the second read, about ten years later, I am still awed by the author's efforts to truly understand everyone involved in the story, and her dedication to exposing as many of the contributing factors as possible. She writes so thoroughly because her compassion is so great.
I was not moved as much this second time around, probably because the ending was already known to me, so there were no spoilers. Also because in the interim, I have ready many books on immigrant experiences and Laotian history and resettlement. I know more.
This is still a very important book, especially for those interested in working in cross-cultural settings, for teachers, medics, social workers, and most importantly, I think , for Laotian, Hmong, and SE Asian resettlement populations. This helped me greatly to understand how much of a gulf exists between the host and guest cultures, and also the strain on families whose power structures are disturbed in the resettlement process. (less)
1-23-8 I just re-read this one again. My boyfriend's been trying to get into it, and so I lent it to him. But it's been sitting around the house all lo...more1-23-8 I just re-read this one again. My boyfriend's been trying to get into it, and so I lent it to him. But it's been sitting around the house all lonely and undevoured. So I pried it open once again and delved into the world of the lonely lost confused little boy who realizes he's more than anyone ever gave him credit for.
Originally I read this book in anticipation for the movie release, as I'm sure many others did too. I'd been given the copy I currently own from a long-time friend of mine when I visited her earlier that year in NYC. She didn't seem the type to be reading this. But I first heard about the Potter series in 1998 or so, when the 6-year-old girl I was living with at the time toted home these massive books and claimed to love them. I had no idea until I read them. And now I've read them all and look forward to reading them over and over again.(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)
I borrowed this book, having heard the story of it, and knowing that other people I knew were/had been reading this book. And I'm returning it so it m...moreI borrowed this book, having heard the story of it, and knowing that other people I knew were/had been reading this book. And I'm returning it so it may be passed along.
The premise is great, an inspiring story, whether real or not, and one I'd love to continue to know about. My main problem with the book is the storytelling, how it abruptly snaps back and forth in place and time so that I am not always sure where the scene is taking place or when until fully into the scene. And some scenes are left completely hanging at the end of a chapter only to be dealt with later, almost as an after thought.
It would have been far better to read and understand if presented in a more linear fashion, although David Oliver Relin did address the time/place conintuum problem in the intro. There are a lot of missing dates, such that by the end of the book, I was still unsure as to how long it took for the first school to get built.
But you keep reading ( or I did, at least) because the story is full of hope and frustration, and you really want the best of everybody, even the conivvers. But Relin's verbose prose keeps tripping you up:
...burned fuselages lay like the decomposing carcasses of whales along the cratered runway...
Besides, how many times can he emphasize just how magnificent the view of K2 is? Or how treacherous a journey every journey was? Puleeze.
In the end, one hopes for the best of all involved and is encourages that the work will continue. I'd rather knwo this story though from watching a TV movie or reading some expanded Sunday story in the New York Times Magazine rather than this book.
Also, the other thing that bugged me in this book is how the author describes the "people" of Pakistan, which I do take some offense at, just lumping them into a sort of stereotypical group like that. Talking about their gentle, simple ways, etc. Even though, admittedly, he does go on to illustrate the extreme kindness of the Pakistanis involved, I still bristle at any sort of generalisations from outsiders. And the OTHER thing that also began to wear by the end of the book was how EVERY woman was beautiful, or at least, as Greg Mortenson saw them--village women, his future wife, Senator Mary Bono. Not beautiful in that spiritual way, but physically, a little too much so.(less)
As a kid, I never enjoyed the Mr. Rogers show. It moved too slowly and wasn't exciting enough--too goody-goody. Which is too bad, because as an adult,...moreAs a kid, I never enjoyed the Mr. Rogers show. It moved too slowly and wasn't exciting enough--too goody-goody. Which is too bad, because as an adult, I know how important it is for children to watch nourishing television more than mindless drivel (ditto for adults, too).
I found this at my neighborhood bookstore and was rapt within the first few paragraphs of the page I was reading, so wrought with emotion, I practically cried while standing there "browsing". I was little embarrassed by it and decided not to buy it then.
Well here I am, having read the book in a day. It's a pretty fast read. The voice is very casual and it seems almost as if I had been listening to a radio program instead of reading. It was that easy.
Tim Madigan chronicles his friendship with Fred Rogers from their initial conversation for a newpaper assignment through his death, and now with his Fred's legacy. It's a story of his profound and sustaining friendship with a man when relationships in general were falling apart around him. Ultimately, a story of the healing power of friendship and love. I know, sounds hokey. It is. But if you're a sucker for this sort of reading, as I am, make sure you have a full box of Kleenex with you.
I found that the author inserted a few too many of his personal letters to Mr. Rogers--because anyone picking up the book is interested in Mr. Rogers, adn his side of the story. Or so it was with me. Though in the end, I did really appreciate the honesty with which he wrote about his struggles and the coming apart and together of his family. It's probably pretty universal, those feelings.
He also included quite a few lengthy passages from some newspaper aricles, which were important to him at the time. By the end though, they started to feel like stuffing.
It reads like a very honest journal and I'll be passing it on, I think.(less)
I realize this the more I read Rick Veitch, that his stories tend to veer towards the abstract and transendental. This is no exception. The art of c...moreI realize this the more I read Rick Veitch, that his stories tend to veer towards the abstract and transendental. This is no exception. The art of course, his usual standard fare. The story however intermingles many different stories in US history. It helps to know how Superman was created, and the players in the development of the atom bomb. Veitch does include an afterword to this edition which will steer readers to those stories alluded to, if they are not already familiar wiht them.
You might not understand or "get" the end of it. But read it anyway. In some hundered years or so, maybe the creations you bring forth into this world will save you.(less)
Lee Herrick's poetry moves from interior to exterior, culturally referential to personal. There are so many things to learn about someone looking from...moreLee Herrick's poetry moves from interior to exterior, culturally referential to personal. There are so many things to learn about someone looking from the outside in at one's identity, what should it be?
And then there are passages like this:
One monk says he will teach me to hear the variations of my name: how my lover sighs it, how a techer grinded it out like a curse
that shows you he really has the heart and inclinations of a poet of potential.
Herrick's best poems are in front. Towards the end, I'd wanted less cliche and more risk, darkness and soul diving.
The worst thing: there is not a single poem or line that references the title (which is so awesome)
This book had been on my employer's "Staff Picks" shelf at the bookstore I used to work for, which, because I'm like this, turned me off from for a lo...moreThis book had been on my employer's "Staff Picks" shelf at the bookstore I used to work for, which, because I'm like this, turned me off from for a long time.
Until, that is, my book group voted to read it. And now I'm so glad to read this story.
I'm really into the structure of the novel itself, the voice of the narrator, traveling through to time to bring us the history of the family up through present time. The idea of telling a history one only knows a small fragment of, imagining, supposing and linking one historic event to another to make it all make sense, it's very true to how I imagine my histories, when I have no one to ask about them, or when the direct sources are not so forthcoming.
Cal is also very forgiving of her forebearers, their mistakes and heartaches, their grief and secret motivations. There are no judgements cast upon them who have made her the way she it.
There were no surprises for me. I'm kind of relieved for that. From the beginging, Cal makes it clear that he's a man who grew up as a girl. That the story is the history of it. Through the telling, we get a really vivid picture of the old country, of growing up an immigrant in the new one. Especially Detroit, a full-on portrait of the city through its people and their struggles.
By the end, when Cal says he loves Detroit, I feel a certain notalgia for it, too.
Because it's a Pulitzer winner, I had high expectations. The grand epic was there. The story itself did not let me down. The book didn't wow me with its lyricism, though. But I know that's not what the storyteller set out to do. (less)
Wind In a Box offers up a well organized collection of poems in sections devoted to personal history, blues variations, prose poems and attempts at...more Wind In a Box offers up a well organized collection of poems in sections devoted to personal history, blues variations, prose poems and attempts at getting to the core of defining one's lineage.
What I liked most was the evident conclusion that the poet was a work in progress, that the blues will haunt in various shades forever, no matter how one tries to define it. And that trying to define oneself includes responding to pop culture, reminding ourselves of the past, and continually asking the same question until the right answer arises. (I was going to quote something here but I can't find the passage.)
We clawed free the moss and brambles, the colonies of crab-weed, the thorns patrolling the stems and I liked it then: the mute duty that tightened my parents' backs as if they meant to work the devil from his den.
And to anyone approaching, our laughter Must have sounded like the laughter of crows, those birds That leave everything beneath them trampled and broken open
There's more. Lot's more. But I don't want to ruin it for the prospective reader.
I first encountered Terrance Hayes's work by through some of the literary podcasts I listen to. Quite a few of them featured him reading his poetry ("Blue Terrance" [If you subtract the minor losses...]) is a favorite. And some were interviews with the author, from which I learned that he went to college to study painting and was encouraged to write poetry. Pittsburg is infused into these poems, but so is the blues music. And so is the long and complicated history of the African-American diaspora.
Because of the audio introduction, searched around town for on of his books but had to resort to special ordering it from my local bookstore.
This is his third book. If you are into what's happening at the talented end of contemporary poetry, do read this book.(less)
Anticipating this summer's movie version, I decided last week that I was going to read this before seeing the film. So my boyfriend bought me a $2 use...moreAnticipating this summer's movie version, I decided last week that I was going to read this before seeing the film. So my boyfriend bought me a $2 used copy at the local bookstore.
And though I stayed up well through the night reading the entire book in one gulp, it was not because of the usual seductive traps: lyricism ( Ahab's Wife), dramatic passions ( Jane Eyre) or gripping plotlines ( The Golden Compass). Why? I wonder myself why I didn't put it down and get a full night's rest.
Here's the thing: I already know The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and its plotline, having read it once in the 5th grade and then last year watching the film on video. (It does top the old BBC/PBS series of yore, btw.) It had been, until this morning, the only C.S. Lewis book I had read. Not enough for me to have made any conjecture about the author or the series. It seemed everyone I knew loved the books as a child. Had I missed out somehow? I wanted to know what the fuss was about. And unlike the Lord of the Rings series by his colleague J.R.R. Tolkein, Lewis's books seemed lighter fare for the less fantastically leaning reader. And because I'd enjoyed the Harry Potter and His Dark Materials series both, I thought it was a sure bet. Besides, the movie looks pretty awesome.
I was taken somewhat by the opening of the book, in which the narrator gives a few paragraphs backstory and tells us to read the previous book to catch up. He does this a couple other times throughout.
Otherwise, the plot is fairly predictible and the children a bit cardboard. The wild creatures of the forest, even, seem to accept their king as King, simply because one of their cohorts said so. A bit unbelievable for characters in hiding for fear of death, don't you think? I do.
While I accept the mythic Aslan may have special powers and is seen as the Savior of the dark times in Narnia, just how did he convert those of little faith? Because he's a lion? Ferocious?
This here is the author's weak point. A fine example of telling vs. showing. The author relies on the reader's knowledge of the previous story and doesn't show that he cares whether you like his story enough to prove his characters have, well, character.
This is a story that could be wonderfully told. Abandonment, the return of great heros, the coming into one's birthright. All heavy universal themes. And if it wouldn't seem so sacreligious to say so, I'd suggest a better author write the story anew.
Given the darkness of YA books on the shelves these days, the readership ought be trusted with the blood and betrayal and bewilderment of such a journey. I wanted it, and kind of expected it.
It was neat to see themes from this book echoed in others I've read. That the later books were giving a nod to this story (author or series) by reworking them into their own stories.
If you're looking for something to get our preteen to read instead of play video games this summer. Give it a try.
I'm just rambling on now. This is the longest review I've written for a 2-star book and for those who stuck with it, thanks. Your comments would be appreciated.
The bookstore I browse through on Main Street of my small town is decent for it's size. And though the poetry section takes up a good portion of it, I...moreThe bookstore I browse through on Main Street of my small town is decent for it's size. And though the poetry section takes up a good portion of it, I still always find myself wanting MORE. It's central Vermont, so there are shelves of the New England poets, the modern writers who are taught in these parts. Very little of color or the world outside of our national borders. Even worse, though, is a lack of representation of the rest of American poetry, the blue-collar, middle class versifiers. I'm sure this is common in most bookstores. And I know how lucky I am to have more than a few shelves to peruse. Nothing against the shops themselves.
So after weeks of browsing through the poetry offerings, I was surprised to find Linda Pastan there between Garrison Keiller and Walt Whitman. I read a couple of random poems, all of which knocked my socks off. Or rather, the lyrical and emotional intensity of the poems I'd read had me holding my breath, for fear of disturbing the cocoon of the poetic worlds before they finished revealing themselves. How could I not finish a poem that started:
In the walled garden where my illusions grow, the lilac, watered, blooms all winter, and innocence grows like moss on the north side of every tree.
("In the Walled Garden")
The images arose like ivy and the musical mythic voice pulled me into the secluded world of her imagination. How could I not trust a poet who then Socratically answered the title question of "Why Are Your Poems So Dark?" with a few of her own?
Isn't the moon dark too, most of the time?
And doesn't the white page seem unfinished
Lastly, the clincher for me buying this book was "Things I Didn't Know I Loved", written after a poem by Nazim Hikmet. Mostly for nostalgic reasons I guess. I discovered Hikmet's poem in high school. I can't recall which book it was anthologized in. But it was one of those rare poems I needed to photocopy and stick in my back pocket, wherever I went. I probably have it with me still, in a moldering box in the basement. It doesn't matter. The point is that poem fed me for so long, at a time when I needed it.
Now in my hands was a book by someone who might have known what that meant or was like.
There are a couple ways I read a poetry book--straight through (most likely, as the author intended it) or randomly (usually fine for collections). The random moment at the bookstore v. the straight reading at home proved quite different.
In pieces, this book contains small gems of insight into the compromises of living the average life, of writing and leaving the past behind. Collected, the book tells of a woman with a lineage she's lost touch with meditating on the obligations of age and persistence of death. As a whole, Pastan writes about writing and looking back. Instead of a collection of poetic moments(as I thought I might be getting), I got a life, reflected upon. Disappointed yet satisfied, as I might possibly find myself one day, looking back.
And that is the other thing. I see in this book a mirror of my future poetic life (or one to model from). There will be that looking-back time in my life, when it comes, when all those trying times have been written and published, when my voice has been heard and the need to call out has subdued. After the awards and citations, where will I be? Perhaps living my life as a book, already written. I could be satisfied with Linda Pastan's version of poetics and passions all grown up.
This is either fact or prophecy-- my one life no more than a spool
I'd picked up this book at a local library sale, one of a shelf full of Christie books. Good coincidence that it was also the first Poirot novel.
Very...moreI'd picked up this book at a local library sale, one of a shelf full of Christie books. Good coincidence that it was also the first Poirot novel.
Very easy to read, full of plot twists such that the murderer is not really uncovered (re-uncovered) until the end. I can see why Hercule Poirot has been an icon in the literary tradition--he's fussy and obscure, intelligent, fastidious and energetic. Such not have been bundled up in a short (as my imagination has him) little Belgian traipsing about London without any offical-ness at all. But here he is. Solving mysteries is like a game to him, as I see it. And I, who likes to solve puzzles, digs it mightily.
I didn't follow every twist. There are no "mood enhancers", the sparest of environs and details divulged. The story quickly moves from scene to scene and occasionally, I forgot that we were supposed to be in a hall, or the garden or the court inquisition. But what does it matter? We are reminded soon enough.
This Hastings fellow, the narrator dude? There is a reason, I suppose, that he is neither detective nor spy.
Allthesame, this is perfect (did I say PERFECT?)summer reading. Get lost and forget about it. Nothing will haunt you for days to come, nor disturb your conscience such as some missives will. Read it in a day, if you dare, then move on to the next. I look forward to the rest of this series.
My boyfriend's reading this one right now, upstairs, as I type this... I stayed up til three this morning finish...more*** this might contain spoilers... ***
My boyfriend's reading this one right now, upstairs, as I type this... I stayed up til three this morning finishing this epic, picking it up when he was busy with something else. Bone is the first book we've read together, simultaneously, because neither of us could put it down or wait for the other to finish.
I'd always wondered what the hype was about--and nothing, not the blurb on the back, nor the reader reviews on this or any other site, probably, can prepare one for the expansive landscape of dreaming, of fate, of self-realization that this book traverses without persaonlly experiencing it for oneself. It's timeless, wound up in universal mythic codes of death and rebirth, or reality and hallucination.
I cannot even think that my summation will do justice to the grand adventures or the characters or the truths in this book, I will cease saying much more.
My favorite charcters were: the possum siblings, the great red dragon, Kingdok, and Lucius. The innocent, the all-knowing, the evil one, and the mere mortal.
Foney Bone is the main protagonist in the book, but he's just the vehicle for greater exploration about loyalties, courage and love. I'm not entirely sure what the reference to the Lord Shiva is at the end, since I have limited knowledge of the history of that story. But if it is another reference to the intertwining of reality and dreamwakefulness, I buy it. (less)
Once you finish this book, you'll want to flip right back through to piece the story together, or at least, that's what I did. Because it does seem, u...moreOnce you finish this book, you'll want to flip right back through to piece the story together, or at least, that's what I did. Because it does seem, until the last part of the book, that the three stories, that of Jin's adolescence, of the Monkey King, and of Cousin Chin-Kee, are independent of each other.
The art is pretty straight-forward, nice heavy lines and in-the-lines coloring. No special effects to distract one from the story. The characters themselves are rendered so well, even as they change (the monkey into deity, the young boys into teenagers), their simple blank expressions convey a wealth of confusion and innnocence in a single panel.
In the end, a modern fairy tale for modern times, where wishes get fulfilled, hearts get broken and good souls are redeemed.
If the middle book (How to Retire at 41, or Life Among the Routines and Pursuits and Other Problems) of this set was excluded, it likely would have go...moreIf the middle book (How to Retire at 41, or Life Among the Routines and Pursuits and Other Problems) of this set was excluded, it likely would have gotten 4 stars.
This is my kind of book and Rust Hills is my kind of man, connesseur (sp?) of the little things ("How to Make and Eat Milk Toast") and the big things ("How to Develop 'Principles' When You Have None"). Insightful ("it's probably hard to find a sin that doesn't have a certain amount of tradition behind it, and then if there is, it wouldn't be worth perpetuating at all") and overbearing--see "How to Host a Dinner Party" with no less than 7 diagrams.
Mr. Hills would give Miss Manners a chuckle, which she would do while making as if to cough into her hankie, while he directed the dinner conversation elsewhere so she wouldn't suffer the scrutiny. Because, of course, these people are fussy and excruciatingly polite. How I'd like to be at the cocktail party those two give.
If you ever feel that "Everybody does everything wrong nowadays," this book will vindicate you and your surperiority.(less)
This book was passed on to me from my boyfriend's mother, who read it for her bookgroup, so of course, I was reluctant to pick it up on my own. Thank...moreThis book was passed on to me from my boyfriend's mother, who read it for her bookgroup, so of course, I was reluctant to pick it up on my own. Thank goodness for bookgroups. I read this in one sitting--that easy and interesting--in advance of my group's next meeting.
The narrative alternates between past and present, the geriatric home and the life on the road, with the circus, a good use of this method of telling. By the middle of this book, both narratives have melded together nicely, and it's ver easy to keep track of both stories and gain an appreciation for the greater story.
My favorite characters are Kinko, Rosemary, and Marlena. They are so fully rendered and so vital to the narrator's experience. I wished I'd known them.
In short, an informative, engaging story, full of drama, love and sorrow. A good summer read.(less)
Researching Ali, picked up this book at the latest library sale. We used to carry it at the bookstore I worked at. Written by his daughter, who assume...moreResearching Ali, picked up this book at the latest library sale. We used to carry it at the bookstore I worked at. Written by his daughter, who assumes we know who Ali is, what boxing is (and how it differs from fighting in general) and why his life is so "inspiring".
This book is about as cardboard as the covers binding it. Illustrations, when modeled after photographs, are pale comparison, and when original are vague and half-hearted.
The most redeeming part of this book is the timeline at the end that detail Ali's life 1942-1975.
I would have loved a more personl story, including family photographs. Oh well.
I suppose if this wasn't Agatha Christie, I might not have finished it, yet, it's easier to read than most New Yorker stories and just as long, so...moreI suppose if this wasn't Agatha Christie, I might not have finished it, yet, it's easier to read than most New Yorker stories and just as long, so it's actually not a wonder that i kept reading.
This was the only Christie novel for sale at this season's library sale. And I can see why: the plot was too contrived, the narrative was sexist and racist. And um, what about those of us who don't play Bridge? How are we supposed to figure all this out?
This is my second Poirot book, but I'm not sure actually where it stands in the series. Christie seems done with making this character interesting and now relies on reader loyalty to flesh him out personally. He speaks much more French in this than the previious book I read, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, the first of this series, when he was such an interesting and enigmatic character.
I'm thinking that I will try to read this book in order of publication. I will probably enjoy it better.
On the whole the best part of this book is the innuendo and the unspoken of backstories that I can envision as a much more intriguing longer novel. Like the two women who lived together, their relationship, the older socialite, the Major, etc.
It was most unbelieveable that the "suspects" were all conveniently corraled into one room before chapter three.
Finishing this book took much longer than other books I’d been reading recently, which is a testament to the density of material presented here. Thoug...moreFinishing this book took much longer than other books I’d been reading recently, which is a testament to the density of material presented here. Though Thomas Hauser is listed as the author of this book, I’d argue that it’s co-written by everyone interviewed for this massive tome.
Hauser presents his narrative Studs Terkel style, often with lengthy monologues on his subject. The story is presented chronologically, with chapter titles such as “Origins” and “The Birth of Ali”. I enjoyed getting to know characters such as Don King, Bundini Brown and Howard Bingham, scurrilous, outrageous, steadfast. The spectrum of people that Ali surrounded himself with was Technicolor. But what this book offers most of and does best for the leisurely reader is a fuller portrait of a man coming of age in his times.
We’re presented with a man who entered the public spectrum as a boxer, a gold medal Olympian, someone who has grown into a myth, an icon, an important historical figure. The narrative is thorough in filling in the details left out of this mythic story, such as the politics behind the stripping of his world championship title after his draft dodging conviction and what he did in the three year interim. Who knew that he traveled the college lecture circuit and that he surrounded himself with mooches that took advantage of him every chance they got? I had no idea how deep and true the rivalry between Joe Frazier and Ali was, nor how in financial strait’s the champ was, despite good-hearted and competent intervention.
To help tell this story, Hauser relies on extensive testimony from a strange variety of sources: Angelo Dundee (Ali’s trainer) to James Michener (who met him once), Arthur Ashe (a fellow African-American sports figure paving the way) to Ted Kennedy. There are personalities that have nothing to do with boxing, and who are not part of Ali’s inner circle (Bryant Gumble, for example) who talk at length about Ali’s influence and persona. When reading these, I often think they got put in the book because they were black.
Which highlights the point that Hauser is a white journalist even more. Though I haven’t read his previous books (which include Black Lights, about boxing), I take it into consideration because a majority of this book is focused on race, the Black Muslim movement and many of its key players are of a different race than the author. How does this play out? The chapter on Ali’s conversion into the Nation of Islam (“The Birth of Ali”) is awfully unedited, going into length about the belief system. Both Malcolm X and Elijah Muhammad are quoted for pages on end. Jeremiah Shabazz gets four-plus pages, uninterrupted. If Hauser had been more familiar with the subject matter, he would have been able to edit it into a more readable primer. It was the only part I skimmed over. Why not write it with the same cursory hand that wrote Frazier’s backstory?
The strategy is echoed once more later on in the book, in exploring Ali’s current diagnosis of Parkinsonism. The medical records are very detailed and unnecessary. Again, it feels as if the author erred on the side of TMI. This bit of info the modern reader is more likely to know about anyway.
Often times Hauser over indulges in his adulation, but I suppose one can’t help it. Even though there are the Joe Fraziers in the world, who will always have quarrel with Ali (and who could blame him?), by the final pages, the reader is left to think that Muhammad Ali is one of the best loved personalities on the face of this planet.
So in all, I learned a great deal more than ever possible, had Hauser done a straightforward narrative, especially about the people involved in Ali’s life. It’s a lot to read thought and halfway through, I was ready to put the book down--but I hadn’t even reached the Rumble in the Jungle, much less the Thrilla in Manila.
Again, picked up at the library book sale. Third Christie book I've read and I'm understanding already why it's one of the most popular ones--a great...moreAgain, picked up at the library book sale. Third Christie book I've read and I'm understanding already why it's one of the most popular ones--a great premise, great characters and the almost unbelievable skills of deduction from our hero, M. Poirot.
Snowbound, a murder improvised under the circumstances, all suspects lying--to protect whom? How mnay killers? When did it happen?
As usual, a pretty fast read. I guess I'm not the sort of person who pauses in mysteries to come to conclusions for myself. I prefer to be led along by the narrative. I suppose it might have taken me forever to read if it were an other way.
I enjoyed the setting, the characters and the impossibility of it all.
I am now getting a little tired of the "wrap up sessions" at the end of these books, where Poirot asks for everyone to gather round, and he presents his findings and his conclusions--in front of all the accused. And the fact that everyone is suspect, in a confined space, and mostly just through interview and deductive reasoning that the mystery is solved. Oh well.
I hear that the movie is very good, and I will try to find it on DVD.(less)
**spoiler alert** I'm the sort of person who will give a book 100 pages before I throw it across the room in disgust. Because this reading was for Boo...more**spoiler alert** I'm the sort of person who will give a book 100 pages before I throw it across the room in disgust. Because this reading was for Book Group, I gave it 262 pages. I didn't throw it across the room--it wasn't worthy enough. Instead, it was quietly buried beneath other bedside reading.
Although I was intrigued by Death's narration, and thought that his particular style was telling of a more complex character than I got, I think he was not the best narrator for this story. I want to trust him, but I don't. He foretells too much of the essential actions, such that further reading is redundant. His news-flash-y bulletins are sometimes very effective, but mostly as annoying as a news flash bulletin. As far as I could tell, they served no literary purpose.
There are great parts of a book here, bound in a conceited, tiring narrative. Liesel's "story" altogether is great. Her friendships and heartache. All that about family and loss and survival is wonderfully believable.
But Death got in the way for me. It was a time of great business for him, so HOW ON EARTH could he have been on the sidelines, watching, knowing everything about Liesel. Or did he read about it all in Liesel's book? (which I admittedly did not encounter in my reading. I'm sure it comes later--way later.) Or is this some intrinsic quality of Death, that it knows all of our stories?
Our narrator admits that he does not understand all the ways of humans and even so, they fascinate him. Perhaps the bulletins in the narrative are a way for him to relay information that he himself does not understand, or feels unable to communicate to human readers. That is my only explanation for their use.
And because he seems to have a central role in this story, I greatly wanted to come to a better understanding of Death, through his telling of it. Until the point I stopped, I learned that Death synthesizes his experiences as moments of color (and sometimes texture). And that he is haunted by this story.
WHY? Why does he speak of "The Book Thief" as if she were "Billy the Kidd" or some other notorious gangster? How can a thief who steals only three books (I think) be called "prolific"? If he is the one and only Death, why choose this story to tell us, when so many other courageous and illuminating lifestories have also been untold?
AAaargh! The best parts in my reading for me, were two: when Liesel promised not to tell. And when the man with feathers for hair makes a book for her. (less)
Dude, Matt farts a lot. Almost as much as a Jim Carrey movie character. But sometimes his gas can be really funny, like when Jen is sucked into the vo...moreDude, Matt farts a lot. Almost as much as a Jim Carrey movie character. But sometimes his gas can be really funny, like when Jen is sucked into the vortex of a Firefly episode and he gives his loudest burp ever. And she didn't hear it, sitting next to him.
I liked this mostly because we got to see the artistic quality evolve quite a bit. And we got to get to know characters in a seemingly unobtrusive way living their lives, making nothing (and everything) of it. I mean, who doesn't have friends like Nev, the onion-monkey guy? Or parents that whose buttons you know how to push? Or a boyfriend who looks like Big Bird, who plays video games all day. Ok, not all day.
I'm going to count this read as TWO books, since the second volume of Square Cat I actually read first, but is no where to be found on Good Reads or Amazon. So here it is. I liked the second book better, since I really do feel like Ormand finally got the hang of the drawing thing, and has honed her sarcasm. Just the smooth stories. Like the one where Jen and Matt rock out with the pedestrian on the side of the road. Moments we would not remember if not for these comics.
I really hope she continues to make more of these. So easy to read.(less)