Amazing book of disturbingly possible speculative fiction. Atwood is a master of the Orwellian neologisms here. Love how it complements and furthers tAmazing book of disturbingly possible speculative fiction. Atwood is a master of the Orwellian neologisms here. Love how it complements and furthers the first book so seamlessly, like two halves of the same story waiting to be fit together. Just overall wonderful....more
I'm a little confused as to why this book is being marketed as YA. It reads the same as Harlan Coben's other stuff, but with a 14-year-old protagonistI'm a little confused as to why this book is being marketed as YA. It reads the same as Harlan Coben's other stuff, but with a 14-year-old protagonist. It's like Coben wanted to just shrink his regular character Myron Bolitar into a mini-Myron to appeal to younger readers, but without changing his subject matter or writing style. I for one have no problem with that.
Mickey Bolitar is a cool character and this was a great story. Mickey is a 14 year old high school sophomore who drives cars, uses a fake ID to get into strip clubs, is a martial arts expert, budding basketball star and sensitive guy who has a way with the ladies. Like I said, a mini-Myron.
This book picks up one of the story threads from Live Wire, Coben's previous book which was only for adults--take note all you teenagers... stear clear of this; it's not for you--and runs with it in a believable way with high stakes and lots of action and mysterious background that comes out in bits and pieces as the story progresses. Classic Harlan Coben.
Mild spoiler here, so look away if you are that way disinclined. I am expecting another Mickey Bolitar "YA" novel soon, because the ending was a total cliff hanger. It might as well have read, "Tune in next time when our hero learns what the Bat Lady has in store for him."
So many great anecdotes in this memoir of Stephen Fry's university days and his beginnings in show business, all told with the inimitable Fry wit, eruSo many great anecdotes in this memoir of Stephen Fry's university days and his beginnings in show business, all told with the inimitable Fry wit, erudition and style. The man is so brutally honest about his own faults that you want to argue with him that he's not so bad. If you are a fan of British comedies of the 80's and 90's, there probably wasn't one that Fry wasn't part of in some way, so this is a great behind the scenes glimpse into all the luminaries of that crowd, at the same time as we see the development of the author as an actor, writer and artist.
Moab Is My Washpot is the first book of what seems to be developing into a series of autobiographies, of which The Fry Chronicles will be the second. The first book was all of the pain of Fry's early days in school, his credit card frauds and jailing, etc. The third book promises to chronicle tales of addiction and perhaps the "Stephen Fry quits" scandal. So this second volume is the mostly positive story of Fry's success and his happy days in Cambridge and in the London theatre and television scene.
Great stories, great writing and a cliffhanger ending--what more could you want?...more
This memoir about Quarrington's love of and life in music turned into a sad and beautiful chronicle of his last days fighting lung cancer. I have to aThis memoir about Quarrington's love of and life in music turned into a sad and beautiful chronicle of his last days fighting lung cancer. I have to admit I glossed over the parts about music history for the most part, but the personal recollections of the author's personal musicology, his life spent writing and performing music and even his whole life leading up to this point were marvellous. It is hard to believe he is already gone and that these are the final words we'll read from him. Yes, the same goes for Dickens, I know, but there was the outside chance I could've met Paul earlier this year if I'd been at Word at the Street or something. A great author who will be missed. I may have to go back and re-read some old favourites just to shore myself up in my grief....more
Really great story about the world of Vegas magicians and magic in general. Takes us from flim-flammery across to the other side of "real" magic and aReally great story about the world of Vegas magicians and magic in general. Takes us from flim-flammery across to the other side of "real" magic and a yearning for something more. Main characters are thinly-veiled knock-offs of Siegfried and Roy with a hilarious background story. Story is told on three different narrative threads featuring the same characters in the past present and future which is a great device for drawing out suspense. One of my new Quarrington favourites....more
Loved it! Great characters and great dialogue. Hilarious interactions with each other directly and through technology. Laugh out loud funny pretty mucLoved it! Great characters and great dialogue. Hilarious interactions with each other directly and through technology. Laugh out loud funny pretty much all through it. Examination of obsessive fandom and its place in the creation and consumption of art. Something at which Hornby excels and familiar territory for fans of his....more
Another classic from Coupland. This one is filled with what Andy Warhol would call "deeply shallow" people. It takes place in Hollywood after all, butAnother classic from Coupland. This one is filled with what Andy Warhol would call "deeply shallow" people. It takes place in Hollywood after all, but some of them prove to have hidden depths and go on quests for meaning despite themselves. The winding structure of the novel was masterfully handled and ended in a fitting denouement in which the formerly shallow find each other against all odds. Sorry, should have put "spoiler alert" there. Too late now. Bottom line: a really great read....more
Great speculative fiction on where this whole durn thing is heading. Lots of reasonable but scary conclusions, a great plot and conflicted main characGreat speculative fiction on where this whole durn thing is heading. Lots of reasonable but scary conclusions, a great plot and conflicted main character who is running out of options. Cerebral but gripping story....more
You might say that winning the Governor General's Award is enough to recommend "Whale Music," but when books win awards like this it makes people thinYou might say that winning the Governor General's Award is enough to recommend "Whale Music," but when books win awards like this it makes people think of them as dry and somehow... literary. This book is "literary," but it is also compellingly readable, delightfully entertaining, the kind of book you spill coffee on in the morning because you can't wait to get back to it. It has a sense of humour as well as a sense of a deeper meaning--as in other Quarrington novels, each one requires the other.
The story takes place in the California mansion of the "Whale Man:" Des Howell, former member of the "Howell Brothers," one half of which team has recently died. Des is having a hard time adjusting to his brother's death. He is also in a continuously drunk, drugged and mentally unstable condition, which is made more precarious by the persistent invasion of undersirables such as his mother, reporters, record executives--people squeezing out more money and forcing the obese, hermitic Whale Man to blockade his house to avoid institutionalization. The one thing which keeps Des focused is in composing the dreamlike Whale Music which he will use to summon the whales. One day he wakes up to find a guest: Claire, "the naked alien from the far-off planet of Toronto." She has come to him for personal reasons and also because she believes in him, without recompense.
Quarrington borrows the events from the real life of a former member of the Beach Boys who became a recluse and drug addict in similar circumsances, but reality and fiction are woven together so expertly, like music weaving its way into silence, that it just becomes part of the joke, a device which he employs. To the Whale Man, music is an ethereal being with a spirit all its own... "The music ends, that is to say, it disappears forever to journey in the cosmos." The book is written in the present tense and frequently addresses the reader, inviting you in to make you feel like part of the story. This time, however, he has discarded the sporting subject matter of his two previous novels, "King Leary" and "Home Game," for that of music, clearly another area of expertise.
Desmond Howell's self-declared philosophy is a twisted kind of existentialism: "The most one can do is try to produce some pitiful piece of prettiness, a song, and send it out into the world, a cripple dressed in rags." If this is Paul Quarrington's philosophy as well, then this is his fifth such song, a wonderful one, and I look forward to reading them all....more