Humour is very hard to write and to achieve. There are many authors that try it and fail in more or less d...moreAfter many years, I come again to Wodehouse.
Humour is very hard to write and to achieve. There are many authors that try it and fail in more or less degree. Few, very few succeed. From them all, Wodehouse is the great master-writer, second to none, that the rest can only dream to match. Without success.
These nine stories around golf are simply delightful, full of brilliant moments, witty comments and those special nuggets so specific from Wodehouse. The background revolves around golf, obviously, and even if you are not a player yourself or even like it at all, you might want to jump off your seat to the nearest golf course and put your hands on a mashie. And around golf comes a full set of typical Wodehouse characters.
And there is no need to say anything else.
This is Wodehouse at its best. As always.
I think it is time to get my hands again on "Joy in the morning" again...(less)
First time I finished it some years ago (I found a bus ticket from 2002 within the book) I did not get a nice feeling.
Now, I have found a very interes...moreFirst time I finished it some years ago (I found a bus ticket from 2002 within the book) I did not get a nice feeling.
Now, I have found a very interesting book, but... it failed me to get hooked on it.
Someone said that it is a tribute to the Dying Earth. And it seems so. Might be because of that I could be waiting for a more enjoyable book. But where Vance is full of colour and wonder, this is darker and plain. Do not get me wrong. Wolfe is quite an impressive writer and his writing is remarkable indeed (might be the thing that I liked more). But the setting of his old Urth, where high advanced science can be glimpsed sometimes and sensed in the background, does not attract me better than the science turn to pure magic of Vance's Dying Earth. Besides, it was hard for me to sense an interesting conducting history, except for the veiled promised of a future history for to be uncloaked and developed in the other books of the New Sun. So, in the end, it appears to me to be a series of happenings with a common character that try to introduce you this Urth and Severian for incoming books.
So, the story-telling fails in this book. However, I admire the style of Wolfe and the side thinking of Severian is by far the most interesting part of it.
Anyway, I would like to know how the other books of the series are, and if the story comes to something more definite, as it seems to be expected in the way this first book of the New Sun ends.
I read the complete series some years ago and now I come to it again and must say that it has enthralled me as the first time, even if the memories of...moreI read the complete series some years ago and now I come to it again and must say that it has enthralled me as the first time, even if the memories of it were coming up as I read (which usually spoils any surprise that might be there).
It is true that I have detected many more things now (good and bad), but in the end it is very good fantasy, well written, that keeps you attached to it for long periods just because the information about the people, the plot, the history and story is presented piecemeal. Then, you become more and more entangled within as you proceed reading.
The story is told/written by Croaker -the physician and Annalist of the mercenary Black Company- who writes down the company's history. He does not tell everything and tries to write down the fate of every Company's soldier. This approach I like it very much.
So when you close the book, you eager for more... (less)
So, again, following the adventure in the Elder Islands with the irresistible and unique Vance's style. He continues the story as it was left by Lyone...moreSo, again, following the adventure in the Elder Islands with the irresistible and unique Vance's style. He continues the story as it was left by Lyonesse Suldrun's Garden Lyonesse 1. The tragedy is somehow left aside as new adventures comes up dotted with revenge, conquest, full of amazing and histrionic characters described with the exceptional Vance's style. Again. Humorous, too. Sometimes you may think that the story is not as important as it may seems as long as he keeps on describing sights, people (human or not), motivations, meals, smells, passions and emotions. Sometimes, a mere paragraph describing a very side character just light the page up and you wonder why Vance's just not keep on going, forgetting about the main plot. And this is not a claim against the main plot, which already caught your attention since the previous book, but just an example on how he masters the art of storytelling.(less)
The third book at the China that never was. Interesting, but somehow lacking some of the strength you may find in the previous books. Also, the initia...moreThe third book at the China that never was. Interesting, but somehow lacking some of the strength you may find in the previous books. Also, the initial lyricism of Bridge of Birds is hard to find here but for some excellent parts. This is something you already noticed on the second book The Sory of the Stone, but here it is clear.
In any case, you cannot avoid to be dragged to the China that never was...
This book was a gift. An it became a most surprising one, indeed. Not a fan myself of autobiographies about stars or famous people, it is about my fav...moreThis book was a gift. An it became a most surprising one, indeed. Not a fan myself of autobiographies about stars or famous people, it is about my favourite best living actor. OK, I am not objective, but I think that Mr. Caine has always been the best, most charming, sincere, unpretentious actor in the show business for me. Ever. And the best good old-pal you may ever want to find.
And even you do not share my opinion, you will enjoy this book for sure.
Some other people has put it better than myself, so look at other reviews.
In any case, do not miss this brilliant and joyful life account.
*** OK, after a re-read I cannot change neither the rating nor the opinion. I have re-discovered some details that show more of the man. But at the end, it is a memorable autobiography, worth reading. Try it.(less)
It was a long time since I read this. I remember it with warm memories and I liked it. Now I have liked it too, but not so much as then.
The story has...moreIt was a long time since I read this. I remember it with warm memories and I liked it. Now I have liked it too, but not so much as then.
The story has the historical background at the coldest days of the Cold War, when there was little hope that we may survive an almost sure and complete obliteration. Now that threat has almost died and the new generations are free of the fear of an apocalyptic nuclear war.
Then, although the idea of global peace and friendship is still valid, now its need has changed a little, as we are not in the brim of annihilation. Therefore the special circumstances in which the novel appears are no longer there and it minimizes a little the worth of it. Also, there is somehow a candid point of view on the matter. But those were the happy sixties anyway.
As a resume, this is a nice novel, that brings hope for all Earth, although the circumstances are history.(less)
It might be that some of the original thrill I got when first read it is gone, but the quality is st...moreIt was a long time ago since I read this trilogy.
It might be that some of the original thrill I got when first read it is gone, but the quality is still there. It is Jack Vance whom we talk about.
The title forecast what you find inside, so you will not be disappointed. And in the usual unique Vance style, which makes every conversation a match of wit, every day a challenge to be overcome and at the end a more than remarkable story.
At every page a new community/society is described and presented to cause you enjoyment. And it never fails.
It is characteristic in Vance that the day-to-day trivia is brought up to be the first thing to be solved: what I eat today? how can I secure income to allow me going on? And then, spiced with some of, how can I prevent to be murdered? swindled? eaten?... which put the book quite afar from the standard SciFi ones, in which some other more noble or imposing objectives are the mainstream. Here the objective is simple and straightforward. What makes the thing truly interesting is what lies in the middle.(less)
It was a long time since I read this one. And I think I have enjoyed it even more when I re-read it.
As many of Vance's books it is full of adventure,...moreIt was a long time since I read this one. And I think I have enjoyed it even more when I re-read it.
As many of Vance's books it is full of adventure, tragedy, friendship, love, cruelty and, among them, characters that suffer, live and die in a fantastic tale as ever was one. The tale is shrouded in the rich and enjoyable Vance's colorful prose, full of details, views and smells that seems to come out of the pages as you read.
Vance is a master writer that comes fully fantastic (in every sense) with this trilogy.
I admit it: this book is one of my favorites. Also, as most of Connie Willis, this is a difficult one to shelve. It is a mixed proportion of Sci-Fi, h...moreI admit it: this book is one of my favorites. Also, as most of Connie Willis, this is a difficult one to shelve. It is a mixed proportion of Sci-Fi, historical novel and fiction. However, the concoction is a superb novel, whether you like science-fiction or not.
If you read the description and are waiting for some knights, sword clashes and standard easy best-selling story in the Middle-Ages you are misled. Look somewhere else. If you are looking for hard Sci-Fi time travel book, look somewhere else. If you are waiting for a mysterious thrilling story that you try hard to foretell its ending before it comes, look somewhere else. Mostly, you will be able to figure how it will end. If you are looking for much action. Look somewhere else.
So, what is this book about? I like the editor's description: it is about "the ageless issues of evil, suffering and the indomitable will of the human spirit.". I know it is something general to say. But it is the same thing as to think that "The Searchers" is just about "Indians and Cowboys". If you think that, just skip both Willis' book and Ford's film and look somewhere else.
Characters in Connie Willis' novels always feel very close and not at all as if they have nothing to do with ourselves. She explores deeply in the motivations, drives, pains and sentiments of the human character. Masterfully. It is true that she feels comfortable in a near sci-fi background, but do not fool yourself into thinking that that background is what leads the story. It is just stage, a suitable setting.
Do not miss it.
June/2014: After a second re-read, there are not any more surprises left for the two main plots, but many little things are found or just discovered anew. You realise that everything is there, even if you where not aware the first (or second) time. And I like more the way it starts, with little introduction: it is like plunging unaware in a cold, freezing pond and as twice as refreshing and captivating.