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)
I think this book wins me over to the flock of Ian M. Banks' fans. My first approaches to Banks' Culture universe were not very successful. Happily, ...moreI think this book wins me over to the flock of Ian M. Banks' fans. My first approaches to Banks' Culture universe were not very successful. Happily, Psychophant have another point of view and made me give another try. I do not regret it. It has been a quite enjoyable reading. Moreover, it has discovered a quite complex and drawing scenario for this far-future SciFi novel. Now I understand Psychophant's comments on Neal Asher as "ersatz Ian M. Banks". Both writer's background plots have quite in common, but Banks' one is deeper and interesting.
Although I found the human part of the story not quite so enjoyable, the rest makes this book won a 5 star. Easily.
The incredible mixture of fantasy, history, Chinese legends, mythology, and even comical situations, concocted with...moreAn Ancient China that Never Was...
The incredible mixture of fantasy, history, Chinese legends, mythology, and even comical situations, concocted with a pleasing style makes this book a 5 star. The story surprises you with unsuspected turns, but you enjoy them the most, so you just sit and relish in which way the story delightfully evolves and entangle more and more, because you do not want it to finish.
You would have loved to be in that China...as everybody else.
There are many WWII soldiers that put their memories to print.
Here you have a memorable view of the other side of the hill (the loser side), told by...moreThere are many WWII soldiers that put their memories to print.
Here you have a memorable view of the other side of the hill (the loser side), told by a simple man and soldier that made it through the killing in most fronts (Poland, France, Russia, North Africa and Italy) and abode prison in a USSR gulag in the aftermath of the war.
He met most of the renown German commanders. He put a fight when it was time to do it. The accounts of those are remarkable. But this is not a tale of how he fought a war, but how he lived it and survived. And this simple fact, the honest and unadorned style excels this book and win a 5 star for me.
Not a plain "war book". It is a notable, well-balanced account of real people going through WWII. Stephen E. Ambrose should take notes. However, I am really grateful to Mr. Ambrose for having instigated von Luck into writing this book. (less)
Joy in the Morning has the right to be the best Wodehouse novel for me beside Full Moon . The first one, with the inimitable Jeeves and Wooster, got sl...moreJoy in the Morning has the right to be the best Wodehouse novel for me beside Full Moon . The first one, with the inimitable Jeeves and Wooster, got slightly above the latter, with the crazy people of Blandings Castle. There's nothing more to say. It is hard for a writer to extract a laugh from me. Wodehouse make it easily and at Joy in the Morning he is at his peak. Marvelous, hilarious, amazing, brilliant, superb, a masterful novel. If you do not know Wodehouse, what are you waiting for?(less)
It was a long time since last time I read from Le Guin. Might be 20 years or so. All I had was a remembrance of wellness and joy after reading some of...moreIt was a long time since last time I read from Le Guin. Might be 20 years or so. All I had was a remembrance of wellness and joy after reading some of her work, although hardly remember any of them (time's toll, I guess), not even the ones from Earthsea. From these ones, I do really remember parts of the first pages, though mostly the joyful sensation of expectation on what will the story be.
This book is a collection of short stories gathered from all along her career. They surely are a nice example of what I found in her books so many years ago. Although I liked some more than the others (Field of Vision, Winter's King, Ones who walk away from Omelas, Word of Unbinding...), certainly as a whole is an extraordinary example of inspired imagination. And all of them stories are to be considered as a small piece of first-class of fantasy/SciFi narrative (sometimes it is difficult to tell them apart).
The foreword from Le Guin to each of the stories was also a nice surprise and helped me to understand not the story itself, but her inspiration and background when she wrote them. Surely a nice point to have.
Certainly, now I am keen to get hold of some of her books and reread again.(less)
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.
Blandings Castle dwellers exposed in the most hilarious of situations. You will love them all, without restrictions, and laugh as you will never do. T...moreBlandings Castle dwellers exposed in the most hilarious of situations. You will love them all, without restrictions, and laugh as you will never do. This is the best Blandings Castle novel of Wodehouse in my opinion, something you cannot miss in the case this says nothing to you. Lord Emsworth, his relatives and all the people parading through the manor are second to none except for Wooster and Jeeves. Wodehouse at his best. Not enough?(less)
The paradigmatic dream of every teenager: to rise from a dull life into an extraordinary, bold, dangerous and unique a...moreADVENTURE! You have it all here.
The paradigmatic dream of every teenager: to rise from a dull life into an extraordinary, bold, dangerous and unique adventure. I love this book and Stevenson as a writer. No surprise that Samoans dub him Tusitala.
Probably there a thousands of books that you can label as "To Read". If you look novel of real adventure you may not find better source as Stevenson. Ok, Sir Rider H. Haggard also fills the requirements.(less)
I have to admit that I have not read any other translation/edition from this classic. In any case, both this translated work and introductory essay fr...moreI have to admit that I have not read any other translation/edition from this classic. In any case, both this translated work and introductory essay from Mr Griffith are both superb. This is important, as a set of "quotes" it might be really hard to read without proper introduction, poor translation or poor foreknowledge on the subject. It is a 2500 years book, in Chinese, so pay attention to the translator.
Also, the Annexes are quite interesting, too.
My feeling is that this translation is quite closer to the original objectives and intention. It seems to me that Mr Griffith's military background is clearly put on the translation so to bring a new point of view beyond the usual translation from other renown sinologist. This is quite a nice feature, because it brings light to Sun Tzu verses that might be kept obscure otherwise. Also, it makes it more amiable.
Probably this fact makes the difference between this and other editions/translations.
Therefore, this 5 star goes for both the disputed Chinese author and the translator.
As for the content itself, surely one can wonder how such simple compilation of common-sense can be regarded as a master work. To answer this, one should ask another question: how is that along 2500 years we have been and are suffering from misery, pain and distress due to ill-lead governments and wars of carnage. And how many more we should expect from the future...
I think that many people miss the point that for Sun Tzu the war is a really bad thing to happen. It causes pain and misery to the people and may bring ruin to the state. It is a serious thing to consider, so the superb general is that who wins without actually fighting. It is not a 'militaristic' book. It is just common-sense applied to something nasty, but unavoidable: war. (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.
Probably, you can find some better fantasy books. But here it is, the one you read when you are young that imprints itself on heavy stone letters in y...moreProbably, you can find some better fantasy books. But here it is, the one you read when you are young that imprints itself on heavy stone letters in your mind and heart. So here it goes a 5 stars for me. It has everything you demand for a really big myth making story, but I will not review it. It is the really one book that opens the big fantasy worlds before you. Many may come after, but definitely the very first one.(less)
Here you have a bunch of stories honoring Jack Vance and its astonishing Dying Earth setting, which is something you must not miss if you enjoy the wr...moreHere you have a bunch of stories honoring Jack Vance and its astonishing Dying Earth setting, which is something you must not miss if you enjoy the writer, its work or (probably) both of them.
It would be advisable to read Vance's work beforehand or you may somehow miss the atmosphere that impregnate them, as it is taken as granted. Then you can come back to this book.
If you do not know Vance's work... what are you waiting for? Go and get a copy from the library or some friend. Any of his work will do it (although the Dying Earth series is quite a good start point). This will be the best way to approach its marvelous style and stories. And you'll love it. That's why so many well known SF and fantasy writers agreed to honor him in this edition.
As any collection of short stories, some are good, some are excellent and some other not so. Truly enough, I liked them more the ones that are not trying to mimic Vance's style or use their characters as the main ones. They are interesting enough, but not really captivating as the others and although you are happy to meet them again, most of them do not work so well. The Dying Earth is full of amazement, wonders, rogues, villains and interesting people that there is not need to borrow them. About the style, I think it is best honor that every writer keeps his own and catch the ambiance and mood.
My favorites: Grolion, Abrizonde, the incident in Uskvesk, the good magician, the fire witch, Ulfant Banderoz, tarn house and an invocation of incuriosity.(less)