After the minor disappointment that was Blaze, I decided to pick up the copy of Lisey's Story that had been moldering on my bookshelf since we boughtAfter the minor disappointment that was Blaze, I decided to pick up the copy of Lisey's Story that had been moldering on my bookshelf since we bought it during its debut week and promptly forgot about. This can be blamed on a combination of factors, the first being that I decided to allow my boyfriend to read it first, but after I finished it I couldn't help wondering why I hadn't started it earlier.
Lisey's Story treads the line between the slasher-horror novels that have made up the bulk of King's writing career and his more introspective, thoughtful novels of recent years. It is a beautiful, heart-wrenching story of the famous, departed husband and the wife who was left behind. At the same time, it is also a story about the darkest places we dare not talk about for fear we will be labeled "insane" and the people we choose to share them with. There are subplots, of course, of Lisey's fragile sister and a madman who is a little too intent on his mission, but while these threads may meander off and never lead anywhere in some of King's novels, all of these are artfully woven into the larger picture, guiding the book to its chilling and heartbreaking conclusion.
Though I did feel at one point that I was re-reading a scene or two from his much less promising Rose Madder, Lisey's Story takes it in a much more satisfying direction, almost as if the former were nothing more than a rough draft. The brief sense of deja vu did nothing to diminish my enjoyment of the book, however, and I would gladly read it again to fish hidden details out some of the smaller nooks and crannies.
I positively devoured Lisey's Story and I recommend that you do the same, even if you aren't a fan of King's more lurid offerings. It is one that I truly feel will appeal to lovers of all genres....more
If you should ever wake up and find that you have become the main character in a Christopher Moore novel, do whatever it takes to get yourself out ofIf you should ever wake up and find that you have become the main character in a Christopher Moore novel, do whatever it takes to get yourself out of there quickly. So far the protagonists of his stories have been beset by Zombie Santas, swallowed by whales, exiled to cannibal-infested islands in the tropics, and more recently, discovered they are Merchants of Death. So begins Christopher Moore's "A Dirty Job," where life is full of promise for Charlie Asher, a well meaning if overly concerned Average Guy. He owns a secondhand shop, is happily (though somewhat incredulously) married to a beautiful woman and is looking forward to the birth of his first child. Unfortunately for Charlie, Death has other plans.
Within just a few chapters Charlie finds himself on his own, struggling with some of the toughest questions he will ever have to face. Can he go on without the love of his life? How will he raise his baby daughter alone? Just what DID they do with her tail? And who the heck was that huge guy in the green suit coming out of his wife's room?
Most of the time, Charlie is too busy trying to keep up with the bizarre antics of his friends, relatives and employees to really dwell on his loss. But when objects in his secondhand store begin to glow and people around him mysteriously meet their demise, Charlie begins to wonder if he's going crazy with grief. The real explanation is much more sinister, however, and if Charlie doesn't figure it out soon, there will be Hell to pay. Literally.
"A Dirty Job" just may be Christopher Moore's best work to date. Though most of his books deal with loss in one way or another, this is the first time he has had a character that allowed him to explore in with such depth. The story manages to be both sentimental and surreal without going over the top in either direction, and even with the deep subject matter Moore's writing style makes the book a fast, fun read. His dialogue is always natural and well-paced, with just enough detail to give the reader a clear picture of the character while also allowing the imagination a little room to breathe.
For longtime readers, new converts to Moore's work and anyone else who likes a different kind of fiction, "A Dirty Job" is a totally satisfying read that had me going between laughing out loud and smearing my mascara with every new chapter. This is one book that is truly worth the cover price....more
Whale huggers. Action nerds. Biologists. Call them whatever you like, but the ultimate goal of Nate Quinn and his motley crew of researchers is the saWhale huggers. Action nerds. Biologists. Call them whatever you like, but the ultimate goal of Nate Quinn and his motley crew of researchers is the same: to find out why humpback whales sing. It's a question he has been asking for more than twenty years, and despite the best efforts of colleagues, research assistants, military projects, entrepreneurs and one very stoned surfer, he's actually getting close to the key that will unlock the mystery. Then one day he happens to catch a glimpse of the words "BITE ME" written on the tail flukes of a whale while photographing it for identification. Little does he know that he's about to embark on a journey that will take him where very few have gone before, and even fewer are prepared to believe.
If there's one thing you can count on in Christopher Moore's novels, it's that they're going to feature a certain amount of weirdness. With "Fluke," it seems that he's surpassed himself in that particular area many times over. With his other books, the majority of the weirdness takes place in relatively normal settings, but not this time. Between the whaley boys and the descriptions of Gooville later in the book, I constantly found myself frowning in confusion and wondering what the heck this guy was thinking.
Of course, that's not to say that I didn't enjoy it. Just like his other novels, "Fluke" had me turning the pages as fast as I could process the information and groaning with disappointment whenever I had to use the dreaded Bookmark so I could resume life in the real world. A lesser author would probably have scared me off halfway through the book, but Christopher Moore excels at making the implausible seem ordinary and thereby manages to hook and keep the reader right up until the end. Although I will admit that I didn't enjoy the storyline as much as I have some of his other works, "Fluke" is still a great way to pass a couple of afternoons and well worth the time....more
Cassandra Devine is mad, and she has every right to be.
First, her father appropriates her college fund to pay for his dotcom, forcing her out of lineCassandra Devine is mad, and she has every right to be.
First, her father appropriates her college fund to pay for his dotcom, forcing her out of line for admission to Yale and into the Army. Then, a cocky young politician with a taste for gourmet cuisine drives them into a minefield, getting her discharged from the Army and sent back home to her now-divorced mother, where she spends every day deflecting speculation as to exactly what was going on in that Hummer in Bosnia. Now as an adult, she works by day for a prestigious Public Relations firm and spends her nights spewing vitriol on her political blog, CASSANDRA. One night, gloriously enraged by news of her estranged step-brother's entrance into Yale, she suggests that the youth of the nation "rise up" against the Baby Boomers and "take actions."
Christopher Buckley is best known for the novel "Thank You For Smoking," but "Boomsday" is a book that deserves just as much attention, if not more, because the dire financial situation he describes in its pages is only years away from becoming a reality for all of us. Cass' solution is to get the attention of the jaded younger generation by making the most outlandish suggestions possible - the best example being her recommendation that Baby Boomers Transition (euthanize) themselves at age 60 - but she never dreamed that it would go as far as it does. Eventually she finds herself on the run, trying to decide where her loyalties lie and formulating plans as fast as she can find computer access.
"Boomsday" was extremely enjoyable for many reasons. The characters were obvious caricatures of the usual Washington suspects, exaggerated but still well rounded enough to make them interesting and likable despite some of their actions. Of course likable characters are useless in a boring plot, but that's not something I could accuse Buckley of. The story is peppered with enough plot twists and action to keep even the most jaded reader of political satire interested, so much so that you almost forget there's a message in this book. "Boomsday" is intelligent, sharp, and most of all hilarious. Don't wait for this one in paperback - it's too good!...more
As a longtime fan of Stephen King (and therefore of Richard Bachman as well), I was pleased when Blaze was one of the books offered as a freebie/cheapAs a longtime fan of Stephen King (and therefore of Richard Bachman as well), I was pleased when Blaze was one of the books offered as a freebie/cheapie through my book club. His recent works have been so hit and miss that I was glad to have a chance to own it and read it without paying $25 to end up with another From a Buick 8. The plot of the book is fairly straightforward - a large, slow-witted man with the nickname Blaze kidnaps a rich family's heir to fulfill a plan cooked up by his friend and partner George. Unfortunately, George died a few months earlier and Blaze seems to be driven by his ghost, or at least his memory through the majority of the story. Less than halfway through the book I got the strong feeling that King was thumbing through a dog-eared copy of Of Mice and Men while he was writing it. Both had main characters that were large, slightly retarded men and the smaller "brains of the operation" type guys who had a soft spot for them. They were even both called George, which is way too much of a coincidence to me. There's not a whole lot of suspense in Blaze, at least not enough for my liking. Very little of the story is actually about the kidnapping; most of it is taken up with meandering reminiscences of Blaze's childhood and formative years. The rest of the story is wrapped up much too neatly and cleanly, especially by King's standards, and I found myself skating over some of the details in my hurry to get to a conclusion. In any case, I did enjoy reading Blaze, if only because it gives the reader a chance to see how King's writing style has evolved and matured over the years. While it may not stand up to other masterworks such as The Green Mile, it's a decent way to pass an afternoon, though I'd advise waiting for it to show up in the bargain bin or softcover before buying it....more