Brilliant idea for a young adult novel. Thought-provoking, particularly considering how often semi-abusive actions can come across as 'romantic' in th...moreBrilliant idea for a young adult novel. Thought-provoking, particularly considering how often semi-abusive actions can come across as 'romantic' in this genre. (Worst case example = BULLY by Penelope Douglas.) STOLEN, of course, takes stalking/manipulative/obsessive 'love' to an extreme, and it examines its themes carefully at the end. (An exploration of Stockholm Syndrome.) It's like one of those news stories that's so creepy you just can't look away, and the romantic possibilities are equally shocking, yet somehow understandable and conducive to fast page turning. And then there's all that Aussie desert atmosphere--red sand, snakes, camels, barren wilderness. I devoured this book. I was entertained by it and felt morally satisfied at the same time.(less)
“And I add my own love to the history of people who have loved beautiful things, and looked out for them, and pulled them from the fire, and sought th...more“And I add my own love to the history of people who have loved beautiful things, and looked out for them, and pulled them from the fire, and sought them when they were lost, and tried to preserve them and save them while passing them along literally from hand to hand, singing out brilliantly from the wreck of time to the next generation of lovers, and the next.”
This book was everything I've been craving--a masterpiece. Thank you, Donna Tartt.(less)
I loved My Year of Meat so when I saw Ozeki's latest on the booker shortlist I rushed out to buy it. A Tale for the Time Being is brilliant, intense,...moreI loved My Year of Meat so when I saw Ozeki's latest on the booker shortlist I rushed out to buy it. A Tale for the Time Being is brilliant, intense, and hyperreal, e.g. 'fiction' and 'reality' are seamlessly blended together so that you're never quite sure whether what you are reading is, well, real or not. It's this wonderfully crafted amalgamation of topics, both harsh and beautiful: Japanese culture, life death and suicide, bullying, hazing, sadism, a remote Canadian island, ghosts and spirits, oceans, dewy forests, divey citylife, crumbling monasteries, quantum physics and alternate realities. Most of all it is the gentle stories of its characters: a Buddhist nun, a teenage girl, a kamikaze pilot, a Japanese-Canadian writer, a tormented businessman. I love Eleanor Catton, but if I were being unpatriotic and completely unbiased I would have to give this one my vote for the booker. It is stunning, really. (less)
What a premise. I seriously questioned how the author would be able to resolve the mess she threw her protagonist into. Which is a good thing. Also, t...moreWhat a premise. I seriously questioned how the author would be able to resolve the mess she threw her protagonist into. Which is a good thing. Also, the tightest first quarter of a book I've read in a while.(less)
Very impressive. Meaty and satisfying and exceptionally clever. Genre crossing is the new black. And, oh the man can WRITE--nearly in tears over the d...moreVery impressive. Meaty and satisfying and exceptionally clever. Genre crossing is the new black. And, oh the man can WRITE--nearly in tears over the deliciousness of numerous sentences/passages. (Found Sloosha's Crossin' very difficult, not a fan of intense dialect. Love Timothy Cavendish, had me laughing out loud.)
And from the tortured artist Frobisher in Letters to Zedelghem, just because:
"Zedelghem. 29th - x - 1931.
Sixsmith, Eva. Because her name is a synonym for temptation: what treads nearer to the core of man? Because her soul swims in her eyes. Because I dream of creeping through the velvet folds to her room, where I let myself in, hum her a tune so - so - so softly, she stands with her naked feet on mine, her ear to my heart and we waltz like string puppets. After that kiss, she says, 'Vous embrassez comme un poisson rouge!' and in moonlit mirrors we fall in love with our youth and beauty. Because all my life, sophisticated, idiotic women have taken it upon themselves to understand me, to cure me, but Eva knows I'm terra incognita, and explores me unhurriedly, like you did. Because she's lean as a boy. Because her scent is almonds, meadow-grass. Because if I smile at her ambition to be an Egyptologist she kicks my shin under the table. Because she makes me think about something other than myself. Because even when serious she shines. Because she prefers travelogues to Sir Walter Scott, prefers Billy Mayerl to Motzart and couldn't tell C-major from a sergeant-major. Because I, only I, see her smile a fraction before it reaches her face. Because Emperor Robert is not a good man - his best part is commandeered by his unperformed music - but she gives me that rarest smile, anyway. Because we listened to nightjars. Because her laughter spurts through a blow-hole in the top of her head and sprays all over the morning. Because a man like me has no business with this substance 'beauty', yet here she is, in these soundproofed chambers of my heart.
I hate cancer books. And cancer stories. I remember watching that terrible movie with Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon when I was a teen and sobbing f...moreI hate cancer books. And cancer stories. I remember watching that terrible movie with Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon when I was a teen and sobbing for hours as if my dog just died. Nowadays, I generally try to avoid such experiences. But unfortunately John Green had to write a cancer book so I had to read it. And today my eyes are puffy and hideous and I hugged my hubby and babies extra tight at 2am in the morning after turning the last page and closing the book and leaving an entire roll of toilet paper scrunched into soggy clumps on the side of the couch.
The book is amazing, really, and I loved it (strangely) and am not surprised he spent four years working on it, BUT I would prefer for Green to stick to things like empty housing developments and famous last words and mathematical child prodigies in future. Too much pain to repeat in a hurry.
And I am left in serious need of a Ruby Oliver novel....(less)
"I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs, and I will shout it from the rooftops."
"I'm convinced that fear is at the root of most bad writing."
"Words create sentences; sentences create paragraphs; sometimes paragraphs quicken and begin to breathe...You feel as Victor Frankenstein must have when the dead conglomeration of sewn-together spare parts suddenly opened its watery yellow eyes. Oh my God, it's breathing, you realize. Maybe it's even thinking. What in hell's name do I do next?"
"If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot."
"Reading is the creative center of a writer's life."
"Reading takes time, and the glass teat takes too much of it."
"The sort of strenuous reading and writing programme I advocate--four to six hours a day, every day--will not seem strenuous if you really enjoy doing these things and have an aptitude for them; in fact, you may be following such a programme already. If you feel you need permission to do all the reading and writing your little heart desires, however, consider it hereby granted by yours truly."
On characters: "The job boils down to two things: paying attention to how real people around you behave and then telling the truth about what you see."
"I think the best stories always end up being about the people rather than the event, which is to say character-driven."
"If it works, fine. If it doesn't, toss it. Toss it even if you love it. Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch once said, 'Murder your darlings,' and he was right."
On reading through your first draft for themes and symbolism: "Mostly I don't see stuff like that until the story's done. Once it is, I'm able to kick back, read over what I've written, and look for underlying patterns. If I see some (and I almost always do), I can work at bringing them out in a second, more fully realized, draft of the story."
"If there is any one thing I love about writing more than the rest, it's that sudden flash of insight when you see how everything connects."
"What I want most of all is resonance, something that will linger for a little while in Constant Reader's mind (and heart) after he or she has closed the book and put it up on the shelf."
"That sense of reality is important in any work of fiction, but I think it is particularly important in a story dealing with the abnormal or paranormal."
Perhaps my favorite: "Writing courses and seminars do offer at least one undeniable benefit: in them, the desire to write fiction or poetry is taken seriously. For aspiring writers who have been looked upon with pitying condescension by their friends and relatives ("You better not quit your day job just yet!" is a popular line, usually delivered with a hideous Bob's-yer-uncle grin), this is a wonderful thing. In writing classes, if nowhere else, it is entirely permissible to spend large chunks of your time off in your own little dreamworld. Still--do you really need permission and a hall-pass to go there? Do you need someone to make you a paper badge with the word WRITER on it before you can believe you are one? God, I hope not." (less)
Could there possibly be anyone more perfect for the role of Tyrion Lannister than actor Peter Dinklage? Answer: negative. The man is born for the part...moreCould there possibly be anyone more perfect for the role of Tyrion Lannister than actor Peter Dinklage? Answer: negative. The man is born for the part. In much the same way that Martin Freeman was born to play Bilbo Baggins. A no-brainer. I had no idea that A Game of Thrones was recently adapted into an HBO television series when I started reading, yet I could only ever picture Peter Dinklage. So of course I wasn't surprised to see this IMDB image:
Perfect, perfect perfect. And of course, Sean Bean as Edward Stark is a bit of a no-brainer as well. Isn't he always brandishing a sword & Medieval garb in film and television adaptations? I have yet to watch the series but I'm now itching to.
I loved this book.
I love how different it is from a lot of the high fantasy that I've read: low on magic, high on political intrigue (hence the title). Plotting, subterfuge and a million characters all interweaving and clashing. I am never usually one for stories with endless characters and view point switching but this book couldn't have been written any other way and the method certainly allows for a sense of slow building suspense.
And it is the perfect case study for how to write fantasy without bombarding the reader with exposition. In no place does George Martin step back and awkwardly recite backstory, yet his 'world' is incredibly thorough and complex. Clever. More writers need to take to this book with a highlighter pen.
I am a little bit daunted at the prospect of a seven book series (and counting), yet heartened by the fact that many of my Goodreads friends are still reading and still loving. I doubt I'll sit down and devour them back-to-back (this one took long enough in itself) but I will definitely piece my way through over the next year or so and hope that they continue to grab me.
For everything else that I could say see this review. (She says it all and better.)
I just love that contented yet itchingly excited feeling I get when an author hits all the right buttons in the opening of a series... *Happy dance.* (less)
I was excited to get my hands on this book after rave reviews from so many (including Patrick Rothfuss) and although I can't give it the five stars I...moreI was excited to get my hands on this book after rave reviews from so many (including Patrick Rothfuss) and although I can't give it the five stars I was hoping to I can definitely find a place for it in my top reads list.
I loved Laini Taylor's unique ideas. I loved the chimaera. (Want to read more of them.) The teeth. The wishes. Brimstone. The eye tattoos and what is behind them...and all the other cool twists & turns that I can't write about without giving too much away.
I loved that the pace picked up dramatically in the last third. From page 306 I was glued to the book until I'd finished it. Madrigal's story, in my opinion, turns an 'ok' book into a 'good' one.
It's well written (although a little over written in parts) and there were a few inconsistent perspective issues that irritated me. Ie my suspension of disbelief is cut short when I am reading from a character's perspective and they begin to describe their own 'otherworldly beauty'. Karou would never use those words to describe herself so it feels like the perspective flips between Karou and an external narrator which is a bit jarring to read. (An aside: the king of perspective when writing in the third person is Brandon Sanderson who manages to give the reader all the crucial info while staying right 'within' the character he's speaking through. Very clever.) But besides that petty point, and the fact that I didn't entirely buy Karou and Akiva's undying love, I really enjoyed the unique elements of Daughter of Smoke and Bone and the strength of the final third in particular. I'm looking forward to the next installment.
P.s. loved Thiago. What a great character...can't wait to find out more of what happens there...(less)