Exquisite, tiny details and crystal clear images are what Specials can see. Amazing super-powered coordination through powerful repairable muscles are...moreExquisite, tiny details and crystal clear images are what Specials can see. Amazing super-powered coordination through powerful repairable muscles are the way that Specials move. Even the faintest, most distant sound are distinguishable through "skintenna" and thoughts from the other Specials are the way that Specials communicate and hear. Their bones are light and made from aircraft ceramic for indestructibility. Even the odd, campfire smell of the Old Smoke is detectable through the nose of a Special. Every sense, every form and muscle of a Special is perfect and supernatural. This is a powerful futuristic book. I loved it!
Original review found here. I have been aiming to read this book all year and I promised myself I'd have it read by the end of '09 so I made it! Now,...moreOriginal review found here. I have been aiming to read this book all year and I promised myself I'd have it read by the end of '09 so I made it! Now, I'm thinking why did I wait so long to read a book that is near perfection? Beautiful writing, a superb pace, captivating premise, honest characters, plus a whole lot more of great storytelling. Okay, so the book is perfectly brilliant! I enjoyed it to a magnificent degree. It gripped me from the first line:
"The early summer sky was the color of cat vomit."
I also found that I really loved the main character, Tally, most of the time. I was always curious about her and what her motives really were. She kept me guessing and it was an emotional ride for me which I consider to be fun! I also really liked her friend, Shay. She had the purest heart and tried her best to be a good friend. I am squeamish and I was glad to find out that there wasn't a lot of description or gore that I had wondered about with the "pretty" operations. So, that was a relief. I'm already reading the next book in the series, Pretties, when I'm supposed to be reading a pile of other books for book groups etc... Doesn't that say it all?(less)
On the back cover of my copy of The Jungle, there was a quote by Upton Sinclair (1878-1968) which read:
"I wrote with tears and anguish, pouring into...moreOn the back cover of my copy of The Jungle, there was a quote by Upton Sinclair (1878-1968) which read:
"I wrote with tears and anguish, pouring into the pages all the pain that life had meant to me."
I think that this quote sums up the book for this is how I felt as I read this book. It was quite sad and incredibly moving. It has been a long time since a book moved me enough to actually cry. I cried not only because of the obvious reasons of the pain and suffering that these characters went through but also because it was so thought-provoking. In a very real way, it describes the unfairness of life and the sheer struggles of poverty. It is also gruesome and horrifying in many ways as well. I realize that it is most likely considered sensationalized like an example of a "muckraking" novel since Sinclair was known as a socialist journalist, but it still captivated me. I couldn't help but read what he had written. The Jungle was published in 1906. According to Wikipedia:
"The novel was first published in serial form in 1905. "After five rejections", its first edition as a novel was published by Doubleday, Page & Company on February 28, 1906, and it became an immediate bestseller. It has been in print ever since."
The novel follows the life of Jurgis Rudkus who with his family, Ona, Elzbieta and her children, Marija and Jonas immigrates to the U.S. and in order to provide for his family he starts right off working in Chicago's meat packing plants. At first he is a young and capable hard worker but as he continues his menial job in the meat packing plants he learns and sees things that he wouldn't ever want to know of. The stress of the long working days and what he experiences wear on him but he continues for the good of his family. His options are very limited and a language barrier also proves to be very difficult in his ability to express himself which leads to a fear of being cheated and more frustration of not understanding all that he feels he should be able to. He continues to work hard in order to overcome these barriers in order to find a way to survive. All of this leads to a combination of decisions that the family desperately try to make together but in the end leads to more trouble for all of them. Although, the descriptions from the meat packing plants were awful I also didn't like the descriptions from when Jurgis gets a job in the fertilizer plants. At that time, the meat packing descriptions were what attracted the attention of the public and eventually demanded legislation. Sinclair had actually wanted change for the workers at the time and had stated:
"I aimed at the public's heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach."
I understand that Sinclair was hoping to promote socialism, which is quite evident in the latter part of the book, and necessary help for the poor but I am glad for today that change was brought about for the food industry, owed in part perhaps to this book for the meat packing industry, and that we now have an FDA. Overall, this is a compelling read and a definitive classic.
In the back of the book, Dr. Barry Sears who wrote The Zone which is another book about our U.S. diets and the food industry, sums up this book best with his quote:
"Sinclair showed the power that one man writing a book can have to change a nation. It is a rare accomplishment, and it makes The Jungle a testimony to the power of the written word to transcend far beyond and change the very fabric of a society."
So far this is my favorite book from Jason F. Wright. I read this book during the Christmas holidays in 2009. It was simply charming. This is a feel g...moreSo far this is my favorite book from Jason F. Wright. I read this book during the Christmas holidays in 2009. It was simply charming. This is a feel good book and it was what I needed for this Christmas season. For me, it was light and simple not the most developed, story or character wise, which leaves a lot open for discussion and interpretation. Isn't that fun to talk about around Christmas dinner? Formerly reviewed here(less)
One thing that I feel is at the heart of these stories in the Uglies Trilogy are the tiny details about friendship. So many possibilities and disappoi...moreOne thing that I feel is at the heart of these stories in the Uglies Trilogy are the tiny details about friendship. So many possibilities and disappointments that lie within Tally's relations with her friends spoke to me. It is very subtle yet beautiful. It's what drew me into reading these books for the most part and had me wanting to read the complete series. I had to know what would happen with these friends. It's not the only reason though because this book contains a lot of exciting adventurous things, i.e, a floating ice rink. Honestly, I'm a little afraid of ice or ice skating and I couldn't imagine even wanting to go there to ice skate. The way Westerfeld describes it was incredible and what results there is fascinating too. Plus, isn't it just the kind of thing Pretty's would do for fun? Just stay bubbly. Original review here. (less)
When I first started reading this book, I wasn't sure if I would really get into it but I did. I became so enthralled by this world Devita had created...moreWhen I first started reading this book, I wasn't sure if I would really get into it but I did. I became so enthralled by this world Devita had created and I had to read it to feel like I could understand more of it while trying to make sense of it all. I thought it had a great pace which made it entertaining to read as well. Devita develops a dystopian society that through its own government seeks to alienate people and control huge aspects of their lives. From restricting interactions with the opposite sex to education, from reading and writing to private conversations to even the possibility of their thoughts, it seems, in order to develop perfection for their society and not necessarily for the individual. Marena, a teenage girl, is the main character who aims to remember a life without the Zero Tolerance Party. The ZT's drastically altered her life when they took control and more than anything she doesn't want to forget what she can barely recall. So for this ability to keep a simple memory and for the hope to live a life without feeling controlled, it gives her courage to find a way to show resistance. Marena and her friends form "The White Rose" and vow that they will not be silenced...no matter what. It could be deadly for them, their friends and families, but it is their reality and not a game. But the future promises to be even worse if the ZT's are allowed to remain in power any longer over everything and everyone. This novel is loosely based on the story of Sophie Scholl and the White Rose. Scholl and her friends find a way to defy the atrocities happening around them during the holocaust of WWII. I want to know more about them and their activism. This is a tragically inspiring read but most of all, this novel caused me to think deeply. I look forward to the next book by James Devita. (less)
*Note: For me, this novel was difficult to describe without possibly saying too much so it may be considered to have spoilers. I also think that if yo...more*Note: For me, this novel was difficult to describe without possibly saying too much so it may be considered to have spoilers. I also think that if you want to read this book it may be to your advantage to just read it without knowing too much about it first. It might be best that way. And yes, I recommend reading it obviously.
I was warned that I would not be able to put this book down after I started reading it but I read it anyway. Not only did I read it fast because it was hugely entertaining, I just couldn't put it down. This is a dystopian novel in the most terrifying sense of that word since The Hunger Games is a dangerous game where it is basically "a survival of the fittest" on live television. The last person standing, or the so-called victor, wins fame, glory and food supplies. It is promised that their life will be easier and they will live in the best housing of their district. These Games are considered the best entertainment ever produced from the Capitol's point of view and it is the only thing televised while it is taking place. It is complex as it deals with primitive human nature much like William Golding's classic, The Lord of the Flies, which forces you to view the effects of their society that has gone horribly wrong. The difference in The Hunger Games is the adults are still in control of the government and forcing their will on the citizens by using the Games to remind everyone that rebellion doesn't get you anywhere or anything. Each district is forced to have two of their youth, one boy/one girl, participate in the Games and they are called tributes. They are randomly chosen by lottery, although the lottery is not fair at all. First, each youth's name is entered a certain number of times according to age and then the youth could choose to have their name entered in more times for a simplistic ration of grain and oil from the government in order to supplement their family's already sparse rations of food. The basic need of food and the quest for survival are two of this novel's overall themes. Collins creates her world in the U.S. that has become corrupt and completely ruined now renamed Panem. It has been reorganized into districts that are each responsible to provide a different essential for the Capitol, the governing city of Panem. The districts know very little, if anything, about each other and what they do. All the districts have to do the task that is required of them and they are compelled to rely on the government in some way for their very survival. It is not a good system at all but this new world is their horrifying reality. Collins has done an amazing job describing it! Not only are Collins descriptions fantastic but her characters are memorable and likable considering the setting and the virtual bloodbath the games represent I think that is quite an achievement!
From my original review: Basically, this book takes place in London and on the Guernsey Islands. It movingly reveals the story of the Guernsey Island...moreFrom my original review: Basically, this book takes place in London and on the Guernsey Islands. It movingly reveals the story of the Guernsey Islands during and recently after WWII and how the war initially changed the very lives of its inhabitants. Juliet Ashton, the main character, is a famous writer who learns about Guernsey and becomes drawn into the small island, at first by discovering about The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society via letters from its residents and then later receiving more details of the horrors that the people on Guernsey suffered during the German occupation, as well as what they did to overcome their bitter situation while making significant efforts to keep human kindness and love intact. I enjoyed all of these little efforts displayed by each character. I'll never forget Juliet's red dress, or the adoring Sidney, the kindness of Dawsey or the mysterious letters inherited by Isola from her Granny. I really fell in love with some of the characters and even the ones I didn't I could see the goodness in them. I really found out that even though the book seems to be only about Juliet at first in the end it is really about a unique group of people. Other thoughts: At our book group, we had a great discussion and the hostess had gone to great lengths to serve food from Guernsey recipes she found online. It was lots of fun! I felt that we didn't run out of things to discuss. Also, I'm saddened that we won't have the pleasure of reading other books from Mary Ann Shaffer since she passed away. I do look forward to the book that her niece, Annie Barrows, may write next. It was an amazing collaborative effort and worth a read. (less)
I thought it was deeply touching and hauntingly written, perhaps even overwhelmingly so. I couldn't put it down. If possible, it might have been even...moreI thought it was deeply touching and hauntingly written, perhaps even overwhelmingly so. I couldn't put it down. If possible, it might have been even more compelling if Elizabeth Scott wrote this based on a true story but it saddens me deeply to say this could be real. I think Alice's story did need to be told and I think I'll never forget it either. Read a longer version of my review here. (less)
Completely terrifying and utterly real! This true-crime book will draw you in, so beware because quite frankly, there is detailed information that is...moreCompletely terrifying and utterly real! This true-crime book will draw you in, so beware because quite frankly, there is detailed information that is all very disturbing in this book and very sad. If you want purely facts, it might not be what you're looking for but if you want to know how another person viewed Ted Bundy & how he may have been viewed by others and also some of the behind-the-scenes detective work then you may think it is a good one for true-crime reads.
Christian was captivating and touching. In the late '60's, these two gentlemen from Australia found him and couldn't pass him up so they bought him at...moreChristian was captivating and touching. In the late '60's, these two gentlemen from Australia found him and couldn't pass him up so they bought him at Harrods Department Store in London on a whim, a very expensive one. I was moved to read thier experiences of how they took care of him, and what they went through to help him maintain good health, keep him safe and try to provide some sense of happiness for thier lion friend. It really is remarkable the love and bond this lion had with Anthony(Ace) and John. I loved the dynamic of their remarkable friendship as well. You also grasp a sense at how dangerous it was for them to own a lion and they share their concerns. They honestly realize how lucky and one of a kind their whole experience was. I had been wanting to read this book since I saw it in Wal-Mart when it first came out but I really didn't know much about it. So, I looked up some reviews and found that for the most part they were positive. Then I happened upon the 1971 YouTube reunion that John and Ace had with Christian and felt very moved to see of their bond with him. So, I put the book on hold at the library right away. When I received the book, I read it quite fast. I enjoyed how their story unfolded and all of the people who became associated with Christian. I felt a sense of how they of how much Christian meant to each of them. It was so different for everyone since they were dealing with a wild animal. I'm glad that George Adamson came into Christian's life and all of his effort to rehabilitate Christian back into Africa. George was a very unique person brimming with personality that I'll find hard to forget for a long time. I also appreciated the message he was trying to share about conservation efforts and rehab of wild animals. He dedicated his life to this cause and it feels that he truly loved it. Overall, this is a beautiful story. (less)
It is by far, hands down, one of the best books I have ever read dealing with Alzheimer's Disease. It was captivating, sad, and interesting. I learned...moreIt is by far, hands down, one of the best books I have ever read dealing with Alzheimer's Disease. It was captivating, sad, and interesting. I learned quite a bit and had little revelations through the main character, Alice's insights of what it must be like to have early-onset Alzheimer's Disease. I recommend this book if you are looking for any fiction reading about Alzheimer's Disease, esp. early onset.
Initially, I wasn't enthralled with this book but since I've read it so many parts of it, especially about the elephants, have stayed with me in a very real and thought-provoking way. I recently went to the Zoo and saw the single elephant that lives there. I couldn't help but feel my heart twinge because I now realize how social they are and this poor elephant is all alone at our Zoo. (less)
I hadn't known what to expect when I started reading Josi S. Kilpack's culinary mystery, Lemon Tart, or that it would actually be fun to read a myster...moreI hadn't known what to expect when I started reading Josi S. Kilpack's culinary mystery, Lemon Tart, or that it would actually be fun to read a mystery. Even now, writing the word fun down, it seems an ironic word to describe this book. It could be a recipe for disaster as many of the story's ingredients were quite dark, after all , a young mother is murdered, a baby is missing, and a man struggles with adultery. Right away you become aware of the resident baker, Sadie Hoffmiller, who has designated herself as a neighborhood spy because these two detectives, who are completely opposite and troubled as they work together, couldn't possibly solve this case better than Sadie herself. For these are people that she cares about and she can't turn a blind eye without helping by finding any situation where she might gather information whether or not it helps or hinders the investigation. Sadie is merely harmless and downright hilarious too. Even though she is a busybody, she is well intentioned and likable. I partly expected her to show up anytime at my own doorstep with goodies in hand. Since it is a culinary mystery, there were plenty of descriptions about food to make your mouth water. So, for people who love food this is a book you may enjoy. I did make the brownies from the story and they turned out really good. Besides Sadie's personality, perhaps it is the food that makes this book feel fun after all. It was an easy read and well paced. I have to admit that I thought this book was fairly predictable until the very end and I was wrong. So, you had me there, Josi, that was an unexpected surprise. This is a book that seemed finished and can stand on its own so I'm interested to read the next installment, English Trifle, to see how Josi is going to make a series out of these. I know three ingredients to look forward to and that is Sadie, her recipes and the mystery, of course.