This is the first Maeve Binchy novel I've read - I found her style in this book moved well and kept me interested in the characters and how they evolvThis is the first Maeve Binchy novel I've read - I found her style in this book moved well and kept me interested in the characters and how they evolved.
But I also thought the character development used too much straight out encapsulated narrative rather than bring me in emotionally to the characters by showing me actions and reactions.
However, while I often find books that "tell not show" annoying and exasperating, Binchy somehow brought me along this time.
I felt the breaking up of the book into character backgrounds all leading to the week had more of the feel of a television narrative than the deeper delve of a novel, bit overall was enjoyable if not entirely satisfying. I'd still recommend it for a light read....more
I listened to the audio book version during my daily commute - I thought the characters and story had a terrific potential, but neither seemed to evolI listened to the audio book version during my daily commute - I thought the characters and story had a terrific potential, but neither seemed to evolve to the point where I felt much for them and I finished a bit disappointed.
What I found hardest to get past was the extensive inner monologue type of exposition with Maura, the main character - we all have our methods and think and speak in certain ways, but really, no one is taking their thoughts down such long paths on first mention of a topic or clue.
Even if this were the intent for Maura - having a detail minded personality which might be intended to solidify the reason for her being so involved in a murder investigation in a country she just arrived in days before, I find it hard to believe that she would know so few details of the people she meets by the end of the book. (In particular, her discussions with her Gran's friend were disappointing. Wouldn't the first questions you ask of her be about what her Gran was like back in the days she was there and young? Never comes up, in any detail at all, anyway.
As others said too - her negative attitude and inability to act the least bit civilized with people (at least until her inner monologue again strangled her outer one) was also hard to continue hearing just part of the way into the book.
I stuck it out to the end and reiterate: the idea is a very good one, but none of the core elements were ever fleshed out enough for me. I've even moved onto the next audio versions of the book in the hope that they would expand, but still fairly stagnant and the inner monologue drones on.
Finally, regarding the audio version alone: The reader has a nice voice, but her Irish male Irish voices all have the same old-man feel about them. Also, her inflection is very repetitive and did not feel natural to me in the context of Irish speakers I know. A 20-something policeman, 30-something ex-business major, and an 83 year old man at the fireside should all be distinctly different, and they are not.
After all of that - it is a book with potential, and did pass the time well on my commute, when I wasn't thinking "blah blah blah" during a monologue event. ...more
There are some interesting passages and ideas, but the writing was too spare in parts where I needed more dimension to have a feelI wanted to like it.
There are some interesting passages and ideas, but the writing was too spare in parts where I needed more dimension to have a feeling for the character(s) and the environment. In general, I couldn't feel any tangible connection to the main character - he was a shlump, he kept showing us he felt like a shlump, had minor uncomprehending snatches of excitement, then moved on without insight to being a shlump.
There were several times it seemed that a word was simply pulled out of an SAT study guide and squeezed in to the narrative. This sesquipedilian circumlocution of inexcogitating fancies simply did not fly for me.
I have to believe the parallels to classic magical fantasy were intentional and possibly were being used to spring into a more modern perspective, or perhaps in some ironic fashion in a modern society.
But, I just couldn't get there. I tried. It seemed like a good idea. One of the few books in recent times that I just could not power through and complete, much less with an eye to the rest of the series.
I gave it a 2-star ("It was OK") because I feel like I need to save 1-star ratings for books and/or writers that have absolutely no promise nor ability. The Magicians and Mr Grossman is far from that status, but I really could not relate....more
I read this with my 9 year old daughter, and we both found it nicely paced, funny, silly-in-a-good-way, and the characters were fully dimensional forI read this with my 9 year old daughter, and we both found it nicely paced, funny, silly-in-a-good-way, and the characters were fully dimensional for a small book. (The human ones, in particular.)
If your kids might enjoy a semi-magical adventure that also explores a middle school boy's perspective on relationships, then this is certainly worth a shot. I suspect the minute we finish the book my daughter is going to read it again on her own....more
A very interesting survey of the origins of Pixar, the people, the technology which all lead into the business aspects of the transition from a hardwaA very interesting survey of the origins of Pixar, the people, the technology which all lead into the business aspects of the transition from a hardware company to the animation and story powerhouse it eventually becomes.
If I were to complain about anything, I felt like the book lost the thread of the story near the end when discussing the events surrounding the Eisner vs. Roy E Disney battle, which leads into background on Bob Eiger. While those sections did not take long in the scheme of things, I'm not sure how those particular events add to the story of Pixar, even if they were a background influence due to the machinations of Steve Jobs staving off Eisner's wheeling and dealing with their original contract.
I also would have liked to have heard a little less info on the copyright infringement suit(s), although to be honest, that info was fairly relevant and informative.
This likely displays the geek in me, but I would have liked to have heard even more details on both the early technology and the later animation tweaking, as well as more behind the scenes stories on taking each picture from idea to creation. I'd also like Lasseter and crew to invite me over and play with all the stuff.
I recommend the book to anyone who is interested in the creative process and a fan of the rise of Pixar....more
I listened to the audiobook of Disney War on my daily commute - at 25.75 solid hours of detailed information, I found that I had to take a break fromI listened to the audiobook of Disney War on my daily commute - at 25.75 solid hours of detailed information, I found that I had to take a break from it about half way home every day due to the dense discussion of the company wheeling and dealing.
That being said, not having known much of this part of the Disney Company history, I found it a very interesting and informative book. The author goes into great detail about each phase of the Eisner regime and appears to provide a fair perspective of the various players.
However, with the innate intricacies of Hollywood and media decision making and politics and my decidedly outsider status, I cannot of course be sure that how objective the perspectives provided via various interviews with the executives in play actually are.
At times it was a bit of a slog getting through the recurring themes of hubris, bullying, somewhat ridiculous lying and/or intentional foot-stepping, but Mr. Stewart's writing kept me going.
If your interest is in the history of Disney as a whole, I readily suggest you give the book a try. If your Disney interest is more of the Walt and Co., Imagineering background kind, you might want to give this a pass unless corporate politics are your thing....more
This was a solid book, with some thoughtful takes on duty and even heroism in the face of war, as well as the main character's path from naivete to awThis was a solid book, with some thoughtful takes on duty and even heroism in the face of war, as well as the main character's path from naivete to awareness of racism.
I read this with my 12 year old son, and while a few metaphorical threads fell a little flat for me, I believe it is well done for the targeted age range.
I would have liked to have seen the book end at least a little further down the timeline of events than it did, but I suppose I see why he stopped where he did, for dramatic purposes....more