Started to write a review for this, was pulled away and came back to find it gone gone gone.
Regina Calcaterra's moving narrative of her horrific child Started to write a review for this, was pulled away and came back to find it gone gone gone.
Regina Calcaterra's moving narrative of her horrific childhood, and her hard-won path to a better life.
It's a quick paced book and I had the sense of a minimalist version of the abuse she and her siblings suffered; still, this was hard to take in. She takes her circumstances and background and makes a point to empower herself, to gain control, and to set about working for positive change rather than justifiably using this to follow her mother's path and continue a cycle of bitterness and anger.
It did feel like the narrative jumped around in time a bit here and there. But while that was a little disorienting, it wasn't enough to detract. I think the only place I got hung up a bit was over her grandparents - I had to go back and check the earlier part of the book to be sure I was reading about the same people.
I stumbled across this book - a patron had requested it, and when I read the description, I requested it for myself, as well. I'm glad it fell into my hands.
I picked up this book because I was mystified that someone thought it would be a good idea for artwork - much less the cover of a book - to photoshopI picked up this book because I was mystified that someone thought it would be a good idea for artwork - much less the cover of a book - to photoshop a bundt cake over the top of a mountain. (Seriously, here's the stock photo they started with: https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-phot...)
Does the book have anything to do with mountains that have turned into cake? Cake at all? In any way?
No. Nope. It's supposed to be dark and mystical and I *think* (admittedly, I didn't get very far) magical realism.
I brought it home to try because I wanted to see if the writing inside was actually decent. If it wasn't, then, the book cover wouldn't matter much (to me, at any rate. The author should still be upset). If it was good writing, someone totally screwed her over. How can you take a book with Bundt Cake Mountain on it seriously?
I'm left without much of a helpful conclusion. I really can't tell you if the writing is good, or bad. It's certainly poetic, but it's also vague. It is a little like having a conversation with someone who might be a little high and wanders off on tangents.
One would not imagine a book could be criticized as having 'too many words,' but that was my feeling three chapters in.
But, as far as language goes, it's being (poetically) flung around all over the place here. Some may love it, I did not. Bundt Cake Mountain cover is still a disservice to the author, as it does absolutely nothing to reflect the contents of the book, and just made me crave cake. Same goes for the comments on the back of the book. Well... they didn't make me crave cake (more is the pity) but there was no book description to even give a clue what to expect, and the comments were obtuse and wacky (and pretty darn loose with sentence structure). Something about tessellations and dragons eyes and cold words and hot human hearts...I dunno, the cover was awful, front and back.
It's kind of funny that I'd just come from commenting on another book being too cryptic, confusing and overly poetic, and then go straight into a Patr It's kind of funny that I'd just come from commenting on another book being too cryptic, confusing and overly poetic, and then go straight into a Patricia McKillip book and enjoy it.
No one will ever accuse McKillip of being a bare bones writer. Her fantasy is always brilliantly colorful, lyrical, poetic, and sometimes frustratingly cryptic. One reviewer commented: "T. S. Eliot (partly taken out of context) once said that "Genuine poetry can communicate without being understood." There's a quality to McKillip's prose that always calls that quote to mind: it's lyrical and precise and beautiful, though not necessarily direct, and that's true in this work as well."
Yeah, I get that... Her Riddle Master trilogy had me prying up the details and looking under them to see if they could be taken at face value, and her books, like Gene Wolfe's, are sometimes like a gentle puzzle: not quite straightforward, but yet not so cryptic I feel totally lost (usually...).
Kingfisher is a loose interpretation of Arthurian/Holy Grail/Fisher King legend, set in a modern (yet fantasy) world. I loved that it keeps the fantasy feel while characters are driving around in cars and riding motorcycles. I had no sense of incongruity when it came to knights in vehicles, or a basilisk on a fire truck. Even in a modern setting, it kept a magical, mystical atmosphere.
The book skips around between different POV characters - Pierce (loosely Percival), Damian (loosely Mordred), and Carrie (Merlin's daughter?) being the three protagonists (Lancelot, Galahad, Morgayne, Vivien and other peripheral characters appear in different form). I will say I was more interested in Pierce and Carrie than Damian, so those segments flowed better for me than the rest.
I've never been much of a King Arthur fan or follower, so I only know the bare basics of the legends. Others who have read more, may draw more parallels than I could.
I especially loved Pierce's introduction to his brother and the flare of humor. McKillip often sneaks moments of wry humor into her books. It's a bit like finding a rubber duck in a swan pond.
Overall, I enjoyed it. It was not quite as vivid with the imagery as some of her past books, but it could be a good introduction to McKillips particular cryptic style - this one is not as strongly flavored as some of the other options, and therefore perhaps be less confusing (Song for a Basilisk turned me on my head in the first chapter... are the ashes really watching something? Or is it someone hidden in the ashes? Because with McKillip, you can't be sure... or maybe I just read things too literally. It could be either, or both, really).
Really like this - simple, focuses on the key areas athletes need to worry about - and who doesn't love a book with the awesometastic Lauren FleshmanReally like this - simple, focuses on the key areas athletes need to worry about - and who doesn't love a book with the awesometastic Lauren Fleshman vouching for it by being IN it?
It could have a *little* more explanatory text (maybe in lieu of the worksheet pages), but I love that I - with a cranky shoulder/arm - opened it right to a page on rotator cuff exercises/stretches and they were in line with what my physical therapist was recommending.
Also loved the correction on hamstring stretches, which I've been doing wrong.
Keeping it a little longer while I decide if I want to buy it or just get a few more tips and call it good. ...more
Good information on brewing dos and don'ts and how to... what a SCOBY should look like, how to store it, etc. There are lots of recipes and pics.
Hone Good information on brewing dos and don'ts and how to... what a SCOBY should look like, how to store it, etc. There are lots of recipes and pics.
Honestly, I don't think I'll try a single recipe in there (laziness), but it gave me plenty of ideas. And they've done a nice job of making a beverage people tend to say "ew ick!" about look downright pretty. It's a good book for people like me who are beginners who'd like a reference in hand and some creative ideas.
While the book warns that Kombucha is not a panacea, it still seems a little biased in that direction. I can't get behind any idea of it as a health aid at this point, but as an interesting, fizzy, tart drink that I can enjoy in lieu of alcoholic beverages, definitely. ...more
In parts laugh-out-loud funny with wry observations about character and patron (and staff) behavior. Many hit pretty close to home.
He's a bit acidic, In parts laugh-out-loud funny with wry observations about character and patron (and staff) behavior. Many hit pretty close to home.
He's a bit acidic, but that's not unexpected or weird for someone whose worked with the public for many years.
Overall, I'm not sure why all the cranky reviews about the book. Bar one chapter dragging a bit for me, it was overall a good read. I particularly liked reading about their library system and policies and comparing them to my own. Made me better appreciate where I am! ...more
Staff book club pick. I'm curious to see what the discussion points are, and how it all rolls out.
For now, while it's still fresh, I have mixed feelinStaff book club pick. I'm curious to see what the discussion points are, and how it all rolls out.
For now, while it's still fresh, I have mixed feelings. I can't say it's a book I loved and will recommend to everyone, or that I'll re-read it some day, but I still thoroughly enjoyed a leisurely afternoon reading it. This is strange, since the first chunk of the book seems like it should have been a depressing turn off, and yet it wasn't. Maybe it was the setting, as I'd forgotten about the swampiness in Ohio and what that was like. We lived in NE Ohio, nowhere near the Black Swamp area, but there were still swampy areas that stunk of skunk cabbage and were full of murky black mud, algae, rotted wood, snakes, frogs, salamanders and green, wet things. I used to love the lushness of it, while finding it dark and creepy at the same time. I cannot imagine trying to carve out a farm or homestead in the middle of it, back in the 1830's.
It was total coincidence that I happened to have an apple handy as a snack to eat while reading. Glad I did, given the focus on apples, or I'd have soon been craving one.
The book flips back and forth between James/Sadie and their brittle, dysfunctional, abusive, feuding relationship, and Robert, their youngest son, who leaves home at a young age and can't make himself return. I liked both story lines, though the end to one of them was like a movie scene thrown into the middle of an otherwise good book. (view spoiler)[ I could see the axe accident and James dying from his wound. But shoving Sadie in such a way that she impales herself on a fence post and dies... those two events together made it seem like a blood splurting horror movie scene. (hide spoiler)]
The alcoholism portrayed in the book is hard to read, but yet the character was - for all her disaster and darkness - compelling. She's one of those frighteningly crafty people that is both predictable in her spite and pettiness, and sometimes unpredictable and deadly in how she deploys it. It made her interesting and sad - and made later events that set Robert on his path much more disappointing.
I enjoyed the tidbits on Johnny Appleseed, the setting (NW Ohio and California), the bits of information about the Black Swamp, apple trees and grafting, as well as the information about Redwoods and Sequoias (the "dance floor" and "bowling alley" - I realized, reading this, that I can stop beating myself up for my lack of foresight over the years, when clearly it is human nature to be short-sighted - and idiotic - as a general rule).
It did seem that both story lines ended a bit abruptly. I'm not sure if that is just me or if others get that impression as well. If it were a sweater, I'd feel like it needed to be unraveled a little and re-knit to smooth over the bumpy edge and add an inch or two of length to each sleeve.
That said, the stories up to that point were well worth the read for me. Good historical fiction with simply drawn - yet complex - characters. Great for people with an interest in NW Ohio and California Gold Rush era history (and trees...and apples). ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more