I was browsing around a bookstore last night and ran across this book. I hadn't thought of it in years, although I had thought of "Horton Hears a Who,I was browsing around a bookstore last night and ran across this book. I hadn't thought of it in years, although I had thought of "Horton Hears a Who," which I have no idea whether it was the sequel or precursor to "Egg," but I don't guess it matters as they were both written even before I was born (or that is, the late Pleistocene era).
Both books are absolutely adorable, and two of my fave kids books for any age, but I really think I like "Egg" marginally better than "Who" because of Maize, the lazy bird who turns over her egg-hatching responsibilities to Horton, the always-willing-to-please elephant. (This should probably be an object lesson for too many young women who get pregnant just 'cause they think it's the thing to do, then abbrogate their responsibilities the first time a dirty diaper rears its ugly head.)
Horton, whose motto is, "An elephant's faithful, 100 per cent," is the epitome of reliability and likeability. That's another reason I adore the book. As affable and willing as Horton is in "Who" to attempt to save the minature world of the Who, he is all the more loveable for sacrificing his time--YEARS of his time, by the feel of it--to make sure that he keeps his promise.
The end of the story is only a surprise if you're four or five--which I was when I first heard the story--but it's no less delightful for all of its predictability. If you've read it, I hope you remember now why you love it...if you've not read it--hey, it only takes fifteen minutes! You could do that while standing in the bookstore!...more
Despite her death, Agatha Christie rolls on. I've read so many of her mysteries that it only seems fair to review one or two, so I chose "Roger AckroyDespite her death, Agatha Christie rolls on. I've read so many of her mysteries that it only seems fair to review one or two, so I chose "Roger Ackroyd" because of its tour-de-force nature. Let's face it: if you like Agatha Christie, you really love her, and if you read a couple of the books and they don't turn you on, then there's not much point in your reading more.
They're quick reads, however, and it shouldn't take more than a weekend in an ancestral mansion completely isolated by the heavy rains, sharing the cavernous space with a man who uses too much eye make-up, a faded flapper with a bejewelled cigarette holder, a rather "mannish" woman who knows best about everyone's business and would be your personal fave for the first one to be knocked off (unless you're she), a nervous butler, a silent, dour old housekeeper who knows all the back passages and all the secrets, a fun-loving young thing just turned twenty-one who has an obvious "thing" for the twenty-three-year-old ex Flying Corps captain who jumps nervously when the sweet young thing's car misfires, and a host of backstairs people who make it possible for meals to all be taken at precisely the right time (after the second gong) and clean up afterward without ever being seen...
Of course, there would also be present a sharp-eyed woman who knitted constantly and spoke constantly about the lessons in life she'd learned from living in a tiny hamlet, a detective with an accent who moaned about not having the proper wine with his plover's eggs, or a batty old couple who seemed to stumble onto things more than figuring them out.
After a weekend of reading one Hercule Poirot mystery, one Jane Marple, one Tommy and Tuppence, and a couple that don't have any names you recognize, you will know precisely whether or not you're an Agatha fan. Unless you were strangled by candlestick in the garden, of course....more
"All the Myriad Ways" is pretty ancient, by modern science fiction standards, but it's also more than that. It's one of Niven's collections of mixed f"All the Myriad Ways" is pretty ancient, by modern science fiction standards, but it's also more than that. It's one of Niven's collections of mixed fiction and commentary, science explanation, and basically "wild ideas" that he has either come up with or is happy to pass along to others. (Had string theory been around when it was written, I feel sure Niven would have discussed it.)
I chose this one to review because it's the one I can find my copy of and remember what's in it. But use it as a generic review of all of Niven's short works, whether fiction, fact, or essay, because it's what he does best. (Even his novels seem drawn not so much with the broad brush of huge activity as with the thin stroke detailed studies of individuals.) Thanks, Larry....more
You can pick virtually any of Niven's "bright idea" novels for what really drives his writing: alternative ideas about the universe and its populationYou can pick virtually any of Niven's "bright idea" novels for what really drives his writing: alternative ideas about the universe and its population. Pick-up almost any Niven book predating "Lucifer's Hammer" and the pages will be repleate with Nivenesque speculation with that slightly off-hand, but oh-so-realistic tone that makes Niven a delight to read. "Ringworld" is one of the best examples of this, with a thin-paper plot used to wrap around some mind-filling (if not mind-bending) speculation. It is truly speculative fiction in the hard-science tradition of Wells, Asimov, and Clarke....more
If you've never read any Raymond Carver, treat yourself to this, a wide-ranging example of some of his fine short-story work. This is by way of beingIf you've never read any Raymond Carver, treat yourself to this, a wide-ranging example of some of his fine short-story work. This is by way of being a "best of" sort of volume, but without the usual associations of "the rest of it's not worth reading." Rather, think of it as a sample of Carver's writing, his fine feel for people, and off-beat, sometimes "quirky" way of looking at the individuals that make up society. Without encompassing a "societal view," Carver nevertheless catches the essence of twentieth-century middle-class society by showing us the people in it. Without resorting to cuteness or irony, Carver shows us the love he has for each of his characters and their milieu....more
It's not common that I take recommendations for reading from psychiatrists, but this was an exception. The story about the upper-middle-class NaillesIt's not common that I take recommendations for reading from psychiatrists, but this was an exception. The story about the upper-middle-class Nailles who manages to survive what initially looks like a "neighborly" encounter with Mr. Hammer, is compelling even if you're not upper-middle-class, a drug addict, a father or, for that matter, male. Despite what my pschrinck said at the time, I didn't find all that much to identify with in this book (except for Nailles decreasing hold on self-control), but it speaks of Cheever's understanding of the universality of human nature than I nevertheless felt Nailles' pain.
I've re-read this since that time--now, that I'm fully capable of coping with society--and still find the same love for the characters. Perhaps the secret is that Cheever himself had love for the characters--even the "villian" is understandable within his own mind.
I don't know if this book helped bring me back to sanity, but it did initiate my appreciation for modern literature, and for that, Dr. Foster, I am forever grateful....more
Okay, I KNOW Dickens was a genius. I KNOW all intelligent, well-read people are supposed to appreciate him. So, if I give in on these points, do I havOkay, I KNOW Dickens was a genius. I KNOW all intelligent, well-read people are supposed to appreciate him. So, if I give in on these points, do I have to actually FINISH one of his novels? I did JUST manage to complete "Nicholas Nickleby" with a lot of perseverance, grit, determination, and a summer where my then-partner was working late most nights. I've tried, but as yet failed, to make it through "David Copperfield," "Bleak House," and "The Pickwick Papers." I doubt I'll over try again. I think Dickens was a sloppy writer, and my constant feeling that he was "making it up as he went along" was reinforced sometime in the 1980's when I heard that most of his books had first appeared in serial form in "Parson's Magazine," and that he had a habit of "only just" making the deadline to the printer with the ink still wet on the manuscript. Now, if someone wrote that way nowadays--well, I guess he'd be Tom Clancy. Whew. I'm glad I don't live a century from now when Clancy's are considered "must read" classics....more
"Ellen Foster" is one of those books I have to re-read every few years. The understanding of a pre-pubescent and otherwise unlucky girl as she deals w"Ellen Foster" is one of those books I have to re-read every few years. The understanding of a pre-pubescent and otherwise unlucky girl as she deals with the insanity of adult reality in the flatlandish southern US speaks of a seasoning beyond her years. Her transparent naivté is obviously predicated on the awareness of the writer herself, but then, the book is using the disingenuousness natural to a child to make observations about the adult world. This device, hardly new to the world when Kay Gibbons first published "Ellen," nevertheless breaks with an irony that is at once hilarious, infuriating, frustrating, and sad....more
Certain books are beyond review, because they're such classics. This is one of them, but I'll add, if I had to be banished to Elbe for the rest of myCertain books are beyond review, because they're such classics. This is one of them, but I'll add, if I had to be banished to Elbe for the rest of my life, this book would go with me....more