I'm on a bit of a re-reading tear... Ender totally holds up, all these years later. Possibly even more relevant now than before? I think so. War as a...moreI'm on a bit of a re-reading tear... Ender totally holds up, all these years later. Possibly even more relevant now than before? I think so. War as a game; the game as war.(less)
Once you read the premise of this novel, it's impossible not to at least pick it up. And once you've read the first sentence, you kind of have to keep...moreOnce you read the premise of this novel, it's impossible not to at least pick it up. And once you've read the first sentence, you kind of have to keep going. The device seems impossible, but the author manages to make it work, and make it believable, all the way to the end. It's a story told through Jack's eyes, and Jack has lived his entire life, from birth, in a tiny room with his mother, held prisoner there with her by her abductor. For Jack, there is no world beyond "Room." He gets to watch a few minutes of grainy television each day, but believes that the things "in TV" are not real. Only Room is real. I can't really say anything more without spoiling, but this is such a fast read, and it's so unique and creative, that I went ahead and gave it the five stars, and recommend it.(less)
Just read this. Amazing, poignant, hopeful, tragic, uplifting, eye-opening... depending upon whose story you're reading, it's everything. Read it. Do...moreJust read this. Amazing, poignant, hopeful, tragic, uplifting, eye-opening... depending upon whose story you're reading, it's everything. Read it. Do it.(less)
I award five stars to this book based largely on the "you must read this" influence it had on me. I think I've told just about every thinking person t...moreI award five stars to this book based largely on the "you must read this" influence it had on me. I think I've told just about every thinking person that I've encountered, "You must read this book!"
Change your shoes; change your life. That's an ever-present theme, and it's one that hit home with me for sure, based on the drama of my crazy feet and all they've been through. Ever since a riding accident in 1992, in which a shattering impact on asphalt caused all the bones in the navicular area of my right foot to go, "KABLOOEY," and the subsequent surgeries, years of casting, surgical hardware and yes, even bone grafts, I have been on a constant search for the magical shoe that will give me the greatest mobility with the least discomfort. And always, no matter how short a time I'm in them, my first priority upon getting home is to GET THE SHOES OFF. It turns out that my "there is no shoe that feels better than...well, NO SHOES" philosophy was pretty much right on target.
While there is tons of material here regarding the biomechanics of gait and movement, which I personally found fascinating, there's also plenty of storytelling, and the subjects are well worth the time spent running off on tangents in the middle of other tales. (Heck, I'd read a whole collection of short stories, just about the characters in this book, mainly the Tarahumara and the Gringo distance runners, but also the scientists, coaches, and other visionaries.) From some reviews I read, this tangential storytelling style rather annoyed some readers, but to me it felt completely organic to the flow of the larger theme. This could be a personal interpretation, since this is pretty much the way I myself tell stories...I have to make a few pit stops along the way to the destination, visit a few side trails, maybe stop at a Stuckey's for a pecan log. I can honestly say that there wasn't a time that, after one of McDougall's "detours," I thought, "Well, that was pointless." It was all woven in very naturally, to me.
Do yourself a favor, and read this book. Please don't think that just because you're not a runner (I'm not, not since "Frankenfoot"), this book won't speak to you. It seems to have something for everyone. You have to get close to the end before you get into what, for me, was the serious payoff--the examination of evolutionary evidence of homo sapiens' destiny of distance running. That was a game-changer for me, and the proof offered for that thesis is compelling. I was stunned to learn what we share in common, physiologically, with horses and dogs and other "running" animals, as opposed to chimps and other "walking" animals. We really were "born to run!"
So, the short version: Yes, McDougall is given to hyperbole. Yes, he tends to meander a bit while getting to his point. But sometimes, when you're on a long trip, you've just gotta stop and see the world's biggest ball of twine and maybe get a pecan log, right? Read this book, and be prepared to want to just run right out your front door and keep going...possibly with no shoes on. (less)
I'm a little stunned that this is marketed as a YA book...it would've scarred me for life as a teenager. It's wickedly clever, brilliant and sparkling...moreI'm a little stunned that this is marketed as a YA book...it would've scarred me for life as a teenager. It's wickedly clever, brilliant and sparkling...but brutal, visceral, gut-punching. Be warned, this book does a lot of raping. A LOT. Of raping. With incest and near-bestiality and some mighty bizarre sexual subtext involving bears. But worth reading for the author's completely inventive use of language alone, says I. If you can make it past the first 50 pages or so (I'm not sure about the number of pages, since I was reading it on Kindle and iPod Touch), you'll be all right for most of the rest of the book. The brutality of the beginning does serve a purpose, though: By the time Liga escapes to "her heaven," you feel a very real sense of relief right along with her.(less)
I don't want to say too much about the plot, because I read this book on a spontaneous whim, when it was recommended to me by Kindle because I enjoyed...moreI don't want to say too much about the plot, because I read this book on a spontaneous whim, when it was recommended to me by Kindle because I enjoyed The Help. I knew nothing about it going in, and it was a remarkable and delightful discovery. Given the subject matter, you'd expect the author to have given the novel a preachy, heavy-handed tone, but he didn't. It's a real gift, in my opinion, when a writer can allow the reader to do most of the legwork in that regard. You're left to develop your own readings of the characters and their motives, and trust me--you will.(less)
I dithered a bit about the rating on this one--I've been giving out high ratings lately like crazy (mainly because I've been reading things that were...moreI dithered a bit about the rating on this one--I've been giving out high ratings lately like crazy (mainly because I've been reading things that were highly rated and/or recommended by friends), and there were minor, nudgy things about the writing in this one that may have gotten me to give it only four. BUT, the deciding factor was Goodread's definition of five stars: "It was amazing."
It was. Maybe more for me than for people who are way more tech-savvy than I am. But to realize that the things of which Doctorow writes are all 100% REAL was just mind-boggling. All he's done is to progress current events to their next logical step. I can't really even classify it is "sci-fi," though others have, because there's nothing in this dystopia as presented by Doctorow that isn't really already happening, at least in its infancy. There's some hope, now that Bush and his cronies are out of office, that it won't happen so fast, but it's still coming. Heck, the government already wants arphid chips in each and every one of my CHICKENS, for crying out loud. (If you don't believe me, Google 'NAIS'. It's already happening on a "voluntary" basis.) I've been wondering for years how long it will be until we're microchipping humans, for "convenience" and "safety."
The book is targeted toward young adults/teens, so the fact that the 17-year-old protagonist seemed, to me, unbelievably sophisticated and courageous is perhaps not surprising. I'm sure that if I'd read this at 17, it would have felt just right.
Little Brother is also something of a love-letter to San Francisco, the city more or less becoming a character in the story.
Parental advisory: There is some discussion, in passing, of drug use (mostly that of other, minor characters), but no descriptions of such. Language is refreshingly mild--I think you could count the four-letter words used in the entire book on one hand, and the most egregious one uses ___ in the middle instead of being spelled out. There is one account of sex happening, and some heavy petting, but nothing pornographic or really descriptive, even. More along the lines of, "we got naked, we had sex, and it was great." I was reading much more graphic stuff than this by the time I was 13 or 14, and I wasn't warped. Just thought I'd add this for parents who might be wondering.
**I just wanted to add a note to this review because I saw the book in a box the other day, picked it up, opened it, and the next thing I knew, I'd read it all the way through again. In one night. It's really good, y'all.(less)
While in a waiting-room situation with an antsy child, I downloaded this on my Kindle for my 6-year-old daughter, who loved it so much that she insist...moreWhile in a waiting-room situation with an antsy child, I downloaded this on my Kindle for my 6-year-old daughter, who loved it so much that she insisted on having a "real" copy. Figured I'd better read it, too...besides, I love Neil Gaiman.
Hmmm...Bella reads the book, then I read the book. I really have this parenting thing down, no?
AAAANNNNDDDDD...I loved it. Woulda REALLY loved it when I was a kid. I'm waiting for Bella to do her review, and see how she ranks it. All I know so far is that she ranks it above Despereaux.
I keep reading comments about how childrens' lit is "becoming too scary." Um, hello? Classic fairy tales, anyone? Kids love having the stuffing scared out of them--I know I did.(less)
This may be the first "cookbook" that I read from cover to cover, which works for it. It's like The Story of Food and How to Cook It.
It really says so...moreThis may be the first "cookbook" that I read from cover to cover, which works for it. It's like The Story of Food and How to Cook It.
It really says something about how easy it is to get quite removed from our culinary "roots" that when I (and many other people, judging by some of the reviews I've read) began the book, the ultra-simple concepts at first seemed just a bit over my head...kinda "fancy," if you will. That's almost perverse, upon reflection.
Waters deconstructs food ALL THE WAY back to the very basics, and I mean all the way back. There's no use of canned broth or prepared seasonings or jarred garlic here. Is that more trouble? Well, at first blush, it seems so. But honestly, it just requires a step back, a paradigm shift, a look at food and the kitchen with "new eyes."
Where Alice Waters' method is tricky for me is in the planning stage, something that's a huge personal weakness for me anyway. If you're going to be cooking with all fresh ingredients, you're going to have to do more frequent shopping than I'm used to doing, living out here in the boonies like I do--or, you're going to have to grow more yourself, which is something I'm working on. You're also going to have to learn to USE what you have WHEN it's fresh and good--no putting a planned meal off for a later date, because then your ingredients will spoil. Also, if you're going to make, say, chicken soup or vegetable soup, you're going to have to allow plenty of time before that meal for preparing the stock.
I have 18 roosters out back, waiting to be sent to "freezer camp," and thanks to a fresh look at cooking, I think I'll wind up getting far more use of them than I otherwise would have!(less)
Never heard of it? Not surprising. But you owe it to yourself to read this. I LOVE Pudd'nhead Wilson. It's just sheer Twain genius. There is a great f...moreNever heard of it? Not surprising. But you owe it to yourself to read this. I LOVE Pudd'nhead Wilson. It's just sheer Twain genius. There is a great feeling that this was one of those instances in which he was writing what he really wanted to write.(less)
Wendy Volhard's work in canine nutrition is largely based upon the work of JBL, and the Herbal Handbook is an absolutely fascinating read. It chronicl...moreWendy Volhard's work in canine nutrition is largely based upon the work of JBL, and the Herbal Handbook is an absolutely fascinating read. It chronicles JBL's study and educational journey with generations of her own sighthounds, as she developed her "Natural Rearing" techniques for dogs. She goes above and beyond what most of us would be willing to do (I'm a huge proponent of raw diet for dogs, but I have yet to dig a pit and bury a side of beef or venison for the dogs' later consumption), but learning the foundations of so much work that has come after it in this field is both informative and fascinating.(less)
This long out of print gem is worth its weight in gold to me. My husband somehow managed, one Christmas years ago, to find a copy in excellent conditi...moreThis long out of print gem is worth its weight in gold to me. My husband somehow managed, one Christmas years ago, to find a copy in excellent condition for me, and there's no telling what he paid--I don't even want to know, because it might impede my delight in this book.
Everything about the original desert-bred Arabian horse, the mount of the Bedouin, from care customs to legend to lore, is in this little book. This is where I learned that the white off fore foot on my favorite horse would have caused him to be "thrown onto the trash-heap" at birth, because that mark is an evil omen, predicting the death of the animal's rider..."...for no man in his right mind would ride such a beast, and no connoisseur would own him." Yikes! Fortunately for Misha, his devil-mark is canceled out (or so I say) by the white star on his forehead, which is "the mark of the Prophet," as well as the "thumbprint of Allah" upon his chest.
I recommend it for Arabian enthusiasts, but any horseman would surely delight in reading this book. Occasionally, copies can be found at places like alibris.com.(less)
Seriously, a must-read. Alex gave me this as a birthday gift years ago, a beautiful, hefty hardback edition, paired with The Annotated Alice, and he w...moreSeriously, a must-read. Alex gave me this as a birthday gift years ago, a beautiful, hefty hardback edition, paired with The Annotated Alice, and he was my hero for WEEKS. Heed this tale, boyfriends and husbands of geeky book-gals!(less)
One of the more inspired gifts I ever received from my husband--he never gets it so right as when he gives me a book! I'll try to remember to do a "re...moreOne of the more inspired gifts I ever received from my husband--he never gets it so right as when he gives me a book! I'll try to remember to do a "real" review later, but suffice it to say that if you're a fan of the Alice stories, The Annotated Alice will increase your enjoyment exponentially.(less)
So much has already been written about this book that I don't feel the need to add anything general. Besides, the only people who read my reviews are...moreSo much has already been written about this book that I don't feel the need to add anything general. Besides, the only people who read my reviews are people I know, who are probably only interested in how I liked it.
Well, I LOVED it. I wish everyone in my life would read it, and then persuade everyone in their lives to read it, and so on. I read The Omnivore's Dilemma immediately before reading this one, and I thought that they just dovetailed beautifully, and that the author's styles complemented each other. Pollan's book opened my eyes to a lot of things I'd never considered before, and gave me important information. Kingsolver's did the same, but added a level of "heart" that elevated AVM to a slightly different level, for me.
I struggled with the rating on this one. If I was rating it purely by how much I liked it, it might have been a smidge lower. But what makes this one...moreI struggled with the rating on this one. If I was rating it purely by how much I liked it, it might have been a smidge lower. But what makes this one "amazing" is the incredibly painstaking layering of detail over detail over detail, along with the dovetailing of several stories at once. It's beautiful in the way that it's crafted.
My interest was piqued when Time Magazine added this to its list of the "Top 100 Novels." I doubt that it would make my personal top 100 list, but if I were forced to save books as examples of various genres, Watchmen seems like a good choice to represent the graphic novel. I would definitely read more stories centering around Jon Osterman. There just aren't that many giant, naked, emotionless, teleporting, blue superbeings being written about these days.
The artwork is stunning, though I did find myself wishing that the women could be a little more...feminine. They look like men in high heels with giant breasts. (less)