Motivated by professional curiosity and piqued by the controversy surrounding its publication, I decided to read this book. While I'm not as emotionalMotivated by professional curiosity and piqued by the controversy surrounding its publication, I decided to read this book. While I'm not as emotionally invested in To Kill a Mockingbird as many other people, I can certainly understand how many would object to its publication. The book reads like an early draft, with just a bit of polish applied. It is unfocused and under developed. A few passages shone through somewhat but on the whole it reads like what I imagine fan fiction reads like. I don't know that I would recommend this book to anyone.
An early draft that probably should never have seen the light of day. ...more
This is one of those classic novels I somehow missed all through my school years. As did millions before me, I enjoyed this book quite a lot. Scout isThis is one of those classic novels I somehow missed all through my school years. As did millions before me, I enjoyed this book quite a lot. Scout is one of the best literary protagonists ever conceived. Her precocious drive to comprehend her small town existence while struggling with the often baffling and frustrating demands of adults was wonderfully portrayed by the author. The dynamics of her relationships with her brother Jem and her father were particularly interesting. While there is a good bit of sibling tension, Jem never really questions Scout's tomboy nature. Their relationship with their father was fascinating as well, deferential and yet oddly familiar, referring him as Atticus rather than Dad, Father, etc. Her portrayal of small town life is wonderfully complex, acknowledging both the close sense of community while still recognizing the tendency toward insularity and narrow minded provincialism. While this is often required reading for high school or college students, this is definitely a book that should be revisited by adult readers as well. ...more
Set in contemporary Zimbabwe, Patson Moyo and his family travel to the district of the Marange diamond fields, where his father is to take up a teachiSet in contemporary Zimbabwe, Patson Moyo and his family travel to the district of the Marange diamond fields, where his father is to take up a teaching position at the local high school. Only after they arrive, do they realize that the school is closed and both Patson and his father are forced to work the diamond mine operated by a less than sympathetic relative. Thus starts a fantastic story about a young man trying to find his fortune and help his family to survive an unstable, corrupt and violent world. This story has drama, tragedy, humor, hope and adventure in equal measure. As with YA fiction in general, the story moves with a quick tempo making this a real page turner. I particularly enjoyed this story as it is set in a time and place rarely explored in fiction, making it particularly fresh. The author incorporates details about the often brutal realities of life in Africa without a lot of pedantic information dumps while still presenting the characters as human beings struggling with their circumstances. I would recommend this book to just about anyone, teen or adult....more
Leila, a non-profit aid worker stumbles across a secret database installation in a remote corner of Burma. Leo, a trustafarian with serious personal iLeila, a non-profit aid worker stumbles across a secret database installation in a remote corner of Burma. Leo, a trustafarian with serious personal issues unearths a conspiracy as part of a mania induced burst of research. Mark, a charlatan motivational speaker and self help author is ingratiating himself with an IT billionaire and key member of the secret cabal, known as the Committee. These three must team up with new allies to defeat this cabal for the good of humanity. Sounds like the premise for a typical thriller/adventure, yes? Well, no actually. This novel is very much character driven story with the conspiracy aspects operating more as a plot line undercurrent. Indeed the struggle with the Committee is almost treated as an afterthought, not really developing until the second half of the book. While the story is somewhat slow to develop, the author's excellent writing and character construction make this book a surprisingly engaging and enjoyable read. My criticism about this book is that I would have liked a bit more development of the actual conspiracy aspects of the story. Some of the details could have been fleshed out more. Otherwise, a good choice for anyone who likes low key contemporary literature with a bit of adventure thrown in.
So I finally cracked and joined the John Green book club. I had already seen the film version and I picked this audiobook version as something of an aSo I finally cracked and joined the John Green book club. I had already seen the film version and I picked this audiobook version as something of an act of desperation. I need to listen to a story during my long commutes. While I did enjoy the story, I did notice that both Hazel and Augustus seemed to speak in John Green's voice. If you have ever watched any of his YouTube stuff (vlogbrothers, Crash Course series, etc) you might notice that his manner of speech reflected in the dialogue between the main characters of this book. I'm going to have to check out at least one other of his books to compare the two. Having said all of that, I thought the story was a good one, avoiding the usual overwrought teen angst and melodrama, even though that could very well be excused given that most of the key characters are suffering and/or dying of cancer. The characters were portrayed (as far as I know) realistically, coping with their conditions and the sorrows that accompany them with humor and a healthy dose of bloody mindedness that made them sympathetic and engaging. While at this point few will have not heard of this book, for those rare individuals not aware, I would certainly recommend this to just about anyone wanting a good quick read....more
After having this book on my TBR shelf for several years, it is finally done. I bought the book, so I absolutely had to read it. Final verdict? Okay.After having this book on my TBR shelf for several years, it is finally done. I bought the book, so I absolutely had to read it. Final verdict? Okay. So-so. Not a complete waste of time. If you like long Victorian novels and want some lit cred for reading a lesser known author, by all means read this. If you are stuck in an airport and seriously bored, have a go. I did basically enjoy this novel, as I did the other Trollope novels I've read. ...more
This is a story of a young woman, Meiko Inoue, her boyfriend, Naruo, and their circle of friends as they struggle to make their way in the world afterThis is a story of a young woman, Meiko Inoue, her boyfriend, Naruo, and their circle of friends as they struggle to make their way in the world after college, reconciling the nebulous dreams of happiness and success with the reality and constraints of the adult world. Stuck in dull poorly paid jobs and uncertain of their futures, Meiko, Naruo and his man-child band mates struggle to figure out what they want and how to get it. After tragedy strikes one of their group, the band must find a way to keep the music playing.
While not brilliant, this is a good example of a graphic novel being a proper novel and not just a long form comic book. In keeping with the manga tradition, the book reads right to left, which can take a bit of getting used to. For anyone interested in trying graphic novels, this would be an good place to start.
Outside of Toronto, a famous actor, Arthur Leander, collapses from a heart attack in the middle of a performance of Shakespeare's King Lear. Shortly tOutside of Toronto, a famous actor, Arthur Leander, collapses from a heart attack in the middle of a performance of Shakespeare's King Lear. Shortly thereafter, a deadly super-flu quickly spreads and wipes out approximately 99% of the world's population. The novel switches back and forth in time, before and after the pandemic, and centers on the lives of Arthur and people connected to him in one way or the other. In the years after the Fall, one of these people, Kirsten, join a group of traveling actors/musicians who are determined to keep a modicum of culture alive and take as their motto a line from Star Trek: Voyager: "Survival is insufficient".
This is an excellent example of a post-apocalypse novel done right. The story starts off well, taking hold of the reader and never letting go. The novel maintains just the right level of pace and tension, until the very last page. I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in reading a post-apocalypse novel but are turned off by zombie novels or the tiresome slog that is Cronin's The Passage. In fact, I would recommend this to just about anyone....more