I don't think I've ever sobbed out loud at a book before, but this one took me there. But I also laughed aloud, many times. An author honestly address...moreI don't think I've ever sobbed out loud at a book before, but this one took me there. But I also laughed aloud, many times. An author honestly addresses the oblivion we all face, with humor and grace. Hazel Grace. I just finished it and I'm kind of speechless. It just couldn't be any better than this.(less)
I kind of wanted to despise this book, but after two weeks I can't stop thinking about it everywhere I go. When I read on my iPad, check Facebook on m...moreI kind of wanted to despise this book, but after two weeks I can't stop thinking about it everywhere I go. When I read on my iPad, check Facebook on my phone, happen across an article about nanotechnology and anti-aging, hear an NPR report about airline passengers socially networking before they board the plane, or glance through photos of an Occupy encampment, it just brings back all the feelings of trepidation and excitement inherent in this book. Shteyngart creates such a rich and realistic narrative world that's both familiar and alien at once, that it just feels true – or like it *could* (will?) be true. Read it, and I guarantee it will affect you. Whatever the reaction, I find that there aren't many books that do that.(less)
Re-reading, in honor of the movie coming out in March, for which I have high hopes.
This is the ultimate graphic novel, but I admit it was a shock at f...moreRe-reading, in honor of the movie coming out in March, for which I have high hopes.
This is the ultimate graphic novel, but I admit it was a shock at first to deal with what look like cheesy comic book graphics. (Especially compared to the sleek, stylized, modern look of so many graphic novels available these days.) In the end, though, the plot is remarkably enhanced by the art. In what other book form can a lack of dialogue convey so much? The expressions of the characters are priceless.
If you've read it once, I recommend a second pass – the plot progression and side stories are so much clearer, and the motivations of the characters is easier to follow.
Yes, colloquial, and yes, written from a first-person perspective where personal experience is relied upon quite a bit, but wow! The information and l...moreYes, colloquial, and yes, written from a first-person perspective where personal experience is relied upon quite a bit, but wow! The information and levels of thought presented in this book was so much more interesting because of the way it was told.
This book is presented as a kind of journey through modern American food and our (perhaps lack of) food culture. Pollan is an amiable narrator who sets out to figure out exactly where our food comes from. He realizes that in the last few decades, "food" applies to more substances than ever before, many of them are man-made or processed, and that different Americans have very different ideas about what constitutes food. Thus, he tackles four main sources of the diet: fast food, groceries (traditional and organic), sustainable farming and finally, hunting/gathering, which is more of a philosophical approach than anything else.
Pollan does not pretend to be writing a completely unbiased work, and because it is based on so much personal experience, he expresses his opinion about the future of food in America rather clearly through example and statistics. I completely identify with his impulse to support local farming, and in fact I started getting a vegetable box delivered soon after I read this. Granted, he lives in Berkeley, and I myself live in San Francisco, so our collective zeitgeist is pretty similar. However, I have heard complaints from people in less fortunate farming areas that his ideas of sustainable, local farming, being non-scalable, are simply not a solution. What's great is, Pollan doesn't presume to have the answer. He's just starting the discussion.(less)
Finally, after a truly enthusiastic start, followed by months of putting down and picking up again, eventually to trudge through what I considered the...moreFinally, after a truly enthusiastic start, followed by months of putting down and picking up again, eventually to trudge through what I considered the slower bits, I finished this book with as much vigor as I began it. And what a feeling! I cannot describe it.
Truly a work of genius in ways I am unable to relate myself, Against the Day is a mammoth of a book, but so fascinating, for its characters, its sense of time and space, and its whorl of a plot. It struck me as distinctively SteamPunk, set in the age when reason began to win out over superstition, and with striking themes of potential, energy, and light hovering between the layers of what we now accept as reality.
There's absolutely no point in trying to relay what this novel is "about", but suffice it to say it's a masterpiece.(less)