For my money, this book has the potential to be the rock solid best of the series.
A lot of Rob Pattinson's lovely portrayal of Edward might be attribu...moreFor my money, this book has the potential to be the rock solid best of the series.
A lot of Rob Pattinson's lovely portrayal of Edward might be attributable to his having read it beforehand, and I think it does a good job of illustrating some of the things I've been saying in defense of the things about Edward that other feminists find creepy at best...
The real problem they're not able to see past is that Edward is not a normal 17 year old boy... He's an 100+/- year old 17 year old boy who's never been in love. He's a predator. He's a vampire. He may be being nice about it, but he kills for a living, and at least some of that time, he's killed humans.
What, from his point of view, is wrong with watching her...? Remember our rules and customs are subjective. He's not stalking her to control her, and that's obvious at every stage. He's watching her to learn more about her - something we all do when we're interested in anyone for any reason, even if his lengths and methods are more natural to him than to us. He's watching her to protect her, and the same comparison applies... He goes to greater lengths because of who and what he is. It's -natural- to him.
If I have any fault with the character, it's that he's all too concerned with the idea of having lost his soul... And horrified at the idea of this beautiful, intriguing person he's become so fond of losing hers. As if any god who'd punish him for something that wasn't his choice, no matter how much good he does to try to atone for the 'sin' of becoming a vampire, is anyone you'd want to look up to or spend eternity with in the first place.
What he never seems to get, all through all the books, is that she -does- have a choice. If the fact that she doesn't know everything there is to know about the ramifications of that choice were sufficient to invalidate it, then none of the choices any of us makes would be well advised.
At least this book gives you insight to why he feels that way.
It also gives us some delicious insights into his family and such. I hope, hope, hope she changes her mind someday and finishes it.(less)
I seem somewhat doomed to find series via a book somewhere in the middle. I'm sure it happens to everyone, but it -feels- like it happens to me a bit...moreI seem somewhat doomed to find series via a book somewhere in the middle. I'm sure it happens to everyone, but it -feels- like it happens to me a bit more often.
So... Except for people who find it accidentally, who'd read a review of this book? Likely someone who's interested in perhaps reading it... Who, I'd guess, would be someone who's already read the first two. So, this review's probably useless. None the less....
This book (as I'm sure is true for the rest of the series) is meant as something of a reader's book... Not casual, "I read two or three novels a year" readers... But Readers. If I could italicize or use bold face here, I would. By extension, since I imagine so many decent writers are Readers, it's also meant to be a Writer's book.
It's filled with inside jokes about plot development, scene construction, dialog conventions, exposition, character development, and so on.
Since it also takes place in "the book world" - the alternate dimension that fictional characters inhabit both while working and while "off duty" - there is also -loads- of business, name dropping, and inside jokery about other books.
The problem with this is that... Well... Have you ever been playing around with a group of friends who all saw the same film or read the same book as yourself, and all felt somewhat similar about it, and you go off on this big long tear about the possible interaction of the characters and what might have been and how -hilarious- that might have been? And, since you were in that group, and high on laughter, in that special way that laughter has of making everything else seem a little more funny... By the end of it, you're all in tears, laughing at just about -anything- but... If you showed it to a stranger, or could even view it yourself a month later without the benefit of having been there, it might not be nearly so compelling.
So... I felt that a lot of the references to other books were a bit... Overdone. The quick references in passing, I enjoyed very much. a few lines with Rudyard Kipling's Painted Jaguar in the elevator... Quite nice. Bits of conversation between Shakespeare's Beatrice and Benedick were simply brilliant in the authenticity they carried over. But, for me, the anger management session with all the characters from Wuthering Heights, working through their seething hatred of Heathcliffe just seemed to drag on, and on, and on...
All told, I'm happy I read it, and I will read the others when the opportunity arises... I just wish the author would keep the inside jokes quick and to the point.(less)
First, as a good faith disclaimer, let me say that I tend to love this kind of book. Any book that provides a cup running over with information and da...moreFirst, as a good faith disclaimer, let me say that I tend to love this kind of book. Any book that provides a cup running over with information and data is sure to win my heart early on, and as editor of international editions of Newsweek, Mr. Fareed Zakaria certainly has access to the kind of fact-feed and data sources that make me go all warm and mushy inside... And he shares nicely. :-)
Second, for those who's sense of patriotism might be goosed by the title, let me offer the explanatory quote from very early on in the book... "This is not a book about the decline of America, but rather about the rise of everyone else." Current financial crisis aside, our economy is still a world leader, and can be for some time... But, as other nations follow our lead and rise to their own model of capability and prosperity, our position relative to them will level somewhat.
In this book, Mr. Zakaria touches on the relevant history of our current socio-political situation and then addresses some of the finer points of the history, culture, influences, and policies that will shape the actions of other nations such as China and India. In truth, one wouldn't be far off base to say this book is at least in large part -about- China and India, but anyone who can look at the current world situation and not see why that's appropriate and relevant probably isn't paying attention.
This book isn't about the doom and gloom of no longer being the sole world super-power, it's about how others are advancing, the directions they are likely to take, those areas where we still have a substantial lead, and how we can best maintain and develop them.
If you're the kind of person who enjoys knowing a bit more about what's going on, and what's going on behind that, than you are likely to get out of the daily news papers or broadcasts, you should read this book. You'll learn from it and enjoy it.
If you're the kind of person who is frequently looked to by friends for a little more depth and insight on national and international policy events, it's probably already on your reading list... If not, it should be.(less)
Some people have sometimes said I think about things too much... Analyze them too much, over-think them, look for so much deeper layers and meanings a...moreSome people have sometimes said I think about things too much... Analyze them too much, over-think them, look for so much deeper layers and meanings and cause and effect than there need be in any given thing.
I can certainly see the Zen beauty in seeing each thing of and for itself, without looking deeper or demanding more from it... But - and, incidentally, not exclusive to that point of view, I think - I also see tremendous value and take great pleasure in knowing -nothing- is simply what it is. There is -always- more to it than that... And I always want to know.
In "Much Depends on Dinner" Margaret Visser takes the concise subject of a very plain and simple meal and lays out a feast of multi-layered in-dept information such as I've rarely seen prepared on any given subject. It's truly an almost stupifyingly fantastic experience for someone like myself.
A hypothetical meal of corn with salt and butter, chicken and rice, a simple lettuce salad with olive oil and lemon juice, and ice cream is prepared for a small hypothetical dinner party with friends.
From that simple beginning, Visser delves deep... Bone deep and beyond, in each of these component subjects.
Thirty-two pages on corn, it's history, it's production, it's uses, and it's pervasiveness in all we eat and do...
Twenty-seven pages on salt. Thirty-two pages on butter (and margarine / oleo). When you're done with each section, you know more than any of your friends on the subject at hand. I wish I had books that covered -everything- with such loving care and thoroughness. :-)
Such an in-depth discussion of any given subject, of course, could easily be as entertaining and engaging as stereo instructions, with even the most interested writing. The difference, of course, that makes this book such a treasure is that Visser weaves each sectional essay in such a way that it remains entirely engaging and entertaining. Captivating.
If Margaret Visser chose to spend the rest of her life writing just this sort of thing about... Well, anything she chose... I'd not only buy and read every word of it, I'd be deeply thankful for the chance.(less)
This is, without a doubt, the best book I've ever read on the subject of becoming a practicing attorney. Excellent stuff, and -much- more entertaining...moreThis is, without a doubt, the best book I've ever read on the subject of becoming a practicing attorney. Excellent stuff, and -much- more entertaining than someone not considering such a career move might think.(less)