Why I bought it? It was October's choice for my book club. I was excited about it. It sounded interesting. I ordered it online from Amazon along with...moreWhy I bought it? It was October's choice for my book club. I was excited about it. It sounded interesting. I ordered it online from Amazon along with several others.
Synopsis: It explains the influenza pandemic of 1918-1919. How it happened. The medical environment of the time. The primary players in infectious diseases research prior to and during the epidemic/pandemic. The role of WWI in the spread of the virus.
What I thought? The research that went into this book was astounding. Barry went into a lot of detail. He had some great explanations of what happens in the spreading of influenza. I appreciated his point by point descriptions of what the H and the N refer to--as in H1N1 flu and how we classify different flu strains. I enjoyed hearing about the doctors who were trying to come up with vaccines or cures for the flu. Barry went into their personalities and personal histories fairly extensively. It was all very interesting. I really can't fault him for most of the things he included. I learned a ton. I did find, though, that it was pretty disjointed. He was kind of all over the place. I can understand. It is a huge undertaking with lots of players, but still I was glad to be done with it when it was over. I got annoyed at the way it was written until I started approaching it as random research notes. Barry's writing style didn't do much for me either. Sometimes his sentences were all turned around. Parts of it were brilliant, and parts of it were deadly dull. If you can stand the repetitions and the writing problems, it is a good thing to read. It really gets you thinking about what happened then, the impact it had on the world, and the possibility of it happening again and how prepared we are for it. That part is chilling.
My Rating: *** out of 5
Cleanness Score: 6 out of 10, This is mostly for the horror of what happened when the pandemic was in full force.(less)
Why I bought it? I attended Card's writing class in the summer, and lots of students there had the book and kept referring to it thinking it was great...moreWhy I bought it? I attended Card's writing class in the summer, and lots of students there had the book and kept referring to it thinking it was great.
Synopsis: This is one in a series of books on writing by different authors put out by Writer's Digest. Card goes into his theories about what makes characters compelling and the positives and negatives of different types of viewpoints.
What I thought? It was an excellent review of the course I took--more in depth with more examples. The thing that I especially liked about this book was how practical and down to earth it was. It has been incredibly helpful to me in evaluating what I'm doing right and wrong in my writing. The questions he tells us to ask ourselves have been invaluable in helping me make my work better. There were several times when I was reading a section on mistakes beginners make, and I saw my own work in his examples. In recognizing myself I could pinpoint some of my weaknesses. At least, I found the solutions along with the problems. So! Yea! Some of the examples are a bit dated, since it was written quite a few years ago, but they are still understandable (and I don't think it's just because I'm a bit older).
My daughter's thoughts--While I was reading it, Elizabeth kept looking at the book with longing. She'd ask, "You're still not finished with that?" I was taking my time, highlighting, reviewing, and processing/digesting. When I finished, I handed it over, and she jumped right in. She says it has been extremely helpful and is taking her time working through it just as I did. Her rating: 4-5 stars--she wouldn't commit, since she still hadn't finished when I asked.
My Rating: ***** out of 5, I went online to see what others thought for this one (I was afraid I might have been biased because I had taken his class), and on Amazon it has a 4 1/2 star average rating with 75 people weighing in. So there you have it. I suppose I'm not any more biased than other people.
Cleanness Score: 4 out of 10, There's a little bit of language but not much and not strong words, and there are a few examples that are fairly racy but not explicit.(less)
Why I bought it? We were reading it for September's selection in my book club.
Synopsis: It was really a combination of Sense and Sensibility, Pride an...moreWhy I bought it? We were reading it for September's selection in my book club.
Synopsis: It was really a combination of Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, and Jane Eyre with a fantasy twist. It was set on an foreign planet that had days and nights of varying lengths in a society had early 19th century manners and conventions.
What I thought? Now, I'm one who loves a twist on Austen and Bronte. I've read a ton of them, and I had high hopes for this one. It sounded strange, but I figured it could be really cool. The friend in the book club who suggested it had said it was great. As I read I kept thinking I was missing something. She had said it was slow starting and that it would pick up, so I waited for it to pick up. It did ever so slightly. It was slow starting. Slow developing and slow wrapping things up. Plus there were a lot of things that were never wrapped up. It's the first in a trilogy. Ugh! There were some neat twists, but I found the language (It was trying to sound like early 19th century prose.) pretty distracting and unclear at times. It was a real slog. Beckett was slow to get to almost every important point, and then he'd often make it again in a slow, round about way like someone telling someone else about it. Ugh! Again! The ideas for this story were interesting, but it was not a fun read for me. It could have been reduced in length by at least a third and been much better. 498 pages. It was only my determination to finish it that got me to the end.
My rating: ** out of 5. Just barely. There were enough intriguing story points to keep it from the dreaded one star status. It just didn't cut it for me. The friend who recommended it didn't like it as well on second reading.
Cleanness Score: 4 out of 10. This is a book intended for grown ups, and it's pretty clean for an adult book. There are some violent things and a couple of references to rapes.
NB: We discovered in our book club that even though this is advertised as a debut novel, it really isn't. The actual author is Mark Anthony (and that's not Marc Anthony) who has already had several books published, but this book is a departure in genre and so he's taken a pen name for it, and this is the first book under this pen name. (less)