I should mention that a good story for me has descriptive characters, engaging scenes, funny dialogue, and a dash of intrigue to carry us along. A ticI should mention that a good story for me has descriptive characters, engaging scenes, funny dialogue, and a dash of intrigue to carry us along. A ticking time bomb helps, but isn't always a necessary vehicle. For me it's not always about some sort of underlining plot. Sometimes things just happen and we're on it for the ride. I can accept that.
I think the reason I was bothered by the writer's world is the very lack of detail. It lacked some basic descriptions. (It is not until page 65 do we even get a glimpse of what the protag even looks like. Did I miss something?) If I dare compare Stephanie Meyer's The Host with Dan Wells' Partials then Steph has definitely got her "proverbial shit" together. That bothers me a lot. Should I be grading on a curve now? Has our literature gotten that bad?
When I work in an incomplete story world then I start to pick at other things in the story which normally would be dismissible or irrelevant like how solar panels are coveted in this story when in reality women in developed nations today we are able to make them by scratch so that makes no sense to me. Or how about the varying human plagues throughout human history usually fit a pattern that Wells appears completely oblivious to. Normally I do not expect writers to be as knowledgable of science, technology and anthropology as I am, but when the picture is incomplete, my critical face starts brooding. Like shouldn't he have spoken to a survivalist or just simply someone with The Bureau of Land Management to understand more about effective water filtration systems before he constructed this hogwash?Does he know that protein bars have an expiration date clearly before the eleven years that have past in your story? How about the difficulties of subsisting on only what you grow? Or what happens to a house in two years, not eleven years of lack of maintenance. Nevermind.
Like I watched Independence Day with Will Smith just last night. I love that movie. But in Neil Degrasse Tyson's book Space Chronicles he verbally bashes the practicality of the most simple of science concepts in it pretty hard. He still enjoyed the story because the characters and scenes were well developed and interesting. So Wells leaves himself open to so many questions for me I wouldn't even have thought of if my mind wasn't wandering.
I wish I could say I liked this book but it reads like an early draft to me. Characters are introduced with no explanation and then re-introduced with explanation later as if it is the very first time rather than picking up where we left off. There's a great deal of repetition. As if Wells assumes the reader may suffer some sort of amnesia from chapter to chapter and need remind us the few characteristics of his world he does show.
And still I feel like I'm being hard on this specific author, that I have too high expectations. I envision a sheltered man wrote this book and I'm being too quick to pass judgement. Like I'm judging a mentally challenged adult with asburgers who's only background in writing comes from reading a great deal of crap and never experiencing a damn thing for himself. The creative fictional literary voices who speculate on how humans may handle doomsday appears to create a more and more non-resilient breed and a more and more fantastically prosaic imagery to go with this breed. Is doomsday trending?
If I post this, will I be frowned upon? Is there a legion of devoted doomsday book fans who believe this is the best one ever? If so I guess the apocalypse is already here because we are living in way too many delusions....more
This was a very hard read for me because I am not religious or "spiritual" at all. This book propagates that to be good one must embrace some sort ofThis was a very hard read for me because I am not religious or "spiritual" at all. This book propagates that to be good one must embrace some sort of mythology. Being a humanist I obviously disagree which is sad because there is so much good in this book which is squandered on all these inserted religious validations. (Ie: quotes from Buddha & Jesus... Etc.) I therefore cannot endorse this propaganda. In lay man's terms I shall say, "wow this is totally me! Finally a social construct that understands minimalist living! Minus the meditating, the yoga, and all that other bullshit."...more
This book came out in the 90s and is an excellent precursor to Amy Dacyczyn's Tightwad Gazette because it teaches you to first transform your relationThis book came out in the 90s and is an excellent precursor to Amy Dacyczyn's Tightwad Gazette because it teaches you to first transform your relationship with money and then gain control of it in your life. We all wish we had more and some of us need much more desperately than others but regardless of your current situation understanding some of the superstitions we stubbornly carry into the new age of America can help us see new ways of being. In result we can all have a much more fulfilling life. I am living proof in the value of this ideology not just for us but for the planet as well....more
What an appropriate title. I cannot think of a bread making book that is nearly as archaic, overly verbose, hypocritical and self f*cking righteous asWhat an appropriate title. I cannot think of a bread making book that is nearly as archaic, overly verbose, hypocritical and self f*cking righteous as The Bread Bible. It's people like her that would have you think that making bread is a skill only bestowed upon a chosen people who have the internal knowledge and inborn divinity to bring dough to rise again! Baking, like anything else, has old techniques and old origins. But thanks to science we now know how bread is made and we have thus come up with all these nifty shortcuts so we don't need to have all these imported special yeasts, forever tended sourdough starters, and a twelve step process to get the kind of loaf you are looking for. And like a Christian ready to pounce on any money making opportunity for her creed, you don't need all these fancy gadgets she talks about either. She even advertises the Bread Machine! Seriously! Like saying, "oh, I only use it for the mixing," makes it any less ridiculous? Save your time, your money and your sanity. Bread making is not this complicated. Don't fall for the hype. The heavenly bread you seek can only be found when you come back to earth....more
The only reason people even find this interesting is that we have become so detached from our old Agrarian way of life that it amazes us that in timesThe only reason people even find this interesting is that we have become so detached from our old Agrarian way of life that it amazes us that in times of war & conflict people actually grew shit! But alas, the photos and other art included alone are simply amazing....more
What a cute little book for kids! I now know more about the history of potatoes to share with my niece and nephews. Another productive day in the gardWhat a cute little book for kids! I now know more about the history of potatoes to share with my niece and nephews. Another productive day in the garden :)...more
I felt that if Chuck Palaniuk was less insane and Hemingway was more observant then what would their baby look like? I would think it would be less crI felt that if Chuck Palaniuk was less insane and Hemingway was more observant then what would their baby look like? I would think it would be less crude, but still daring and yet loved anti-materialism pontifications & well placed run on sentences. Okay, that isn't fair because Stefansson doesn't sound like anyone I've read before. He has his own voice and his own vision. He doesn't try too hard. He engages you, but he does so on his own terms which is really refreshing. Writers should be allowed to work and create without objecting their art to specific demographics and research polls. They shouldn't be forced into a caged in category to better define the prospective profit margins. They shouldn't be dragooned into pushing out sequels by deadline to books that stand well right on their own.
That all said, being a teen is hard. It's like prison. For some its much more than others. You start to come into your identity but bam, you're locked into the role set for you by your parents and society. If you derail from that, you'll loose your yard time so you are forced to only passively rebel while in your cell and allocated onesies if you're aware of this fact soon enough. Most teens, although mounted with life altering responsibilites, can't see the world that clearly due to the lack of a fully functioning brain at this stage of life; the part of the brain that controls decision making and fighting temptation is still immature. This author is true to form. Andy is a young man on a path to self discovery or to self implosion. We are just here for the ride.
I should mention that I try to push aside any preconceptions I may have before reading any coming of age story. Oftentimes if a book is marketed a certain way there's all sorts of assumptions about the storyline that you can get really pissed off about if they don't deliver. Those misguided expectations can stop you from seeing what's really there which may or may not be an excellent story in its own right. Some of my now favorite authors would of been lost forever to me had my approach been too rigid. This book was saved from such a fate.
If someone tells me a book is the next Catcher in the Rye again I think I'm going to start doing drugs. This book is not Catcher in the Rye. It's not Perks of Being a Wallflower. It's not Youth in Revolt. Nor is it a high octane dystopia like Hunger Games or a narcissistic fantasy romance like Twilight. I read all sorts of genres, but this YA novel Paradise Squandered says things I was waiting to hear, but apparently had yet to realize were significant to other people too. It has detail that so many writers are just too lazy to implement or speculate teens are too dense to appreciate. These details do not take from the flow of the story and in fact enhance it ubiquitously.
But then, like expected of so many new writers, he hits the middle game, it gets tired and it all falls apart for me. There's a lack of traction and a sudden introduction to a whole new set of characters who even the protag himself doesn't want to get to know let alone describe in detest. You don't understand these new strange enemies nor do you sympathize with his plight now.
"Take A Deep Breath, Inhale Quickly, Exhale Slowly, and sometimes Sharply." What you soon realize is that our protag Andy spends a great deal of time focusing on his breathing & trying to think nice, happy thoughts while plummeting further and yet further into abysmal depression. His breath work seems to be his meager means of voicing any verbal rebellions of inward reflections. His amusing witty snarky opening verbal attacks slowly descend into stronger and stronger introverted cynicisms until the reader is choking & suffocating in his mental masturbations. Bummer man.
In a way Stefansson writes the way my husband plays chess. I should mention Chad is an excellent opponent. Chad's openings are unpredictable yet strong. They are also entertaining because of his long standing experience and expertise. He has a whole bag of tricks and delivers with strength and ease. This is someone who does this a lot just like I have no doubt that Stefansson is an avid writer. There's an air of confidence in not just the protagonist, but the writer himself. This self-security is felt in the novel just as its felt on the board with my husband. It commands you to wake up and pay attention. As the game unfolds into the middle game, my husband is patient with his moves. There is a formula to his design, it is calculated and this is when his strategy either rises up or falls apart. This depends entirely on him just as it depends on this writer's choice story. My ability to poke and pry to find holes in his line of defense is not an inevitability, but with the reader of Stefansson's novel it is just as unlikely to destroy his game entirely. As Chad's success usually relies on specific pieces remaining on the board same goes with Stefansson. If I exploit this unbalance, confidence is lost, depression sets in and I can dominate the endgame. With Stefansson he need only do it to himself. There is a necessary balance he screws with by swapping out his characters. Whether there is success or failure is really a matter of opinion. As with chess, if a game draws out too long, if it becomes depressed & detached, as I felt with this book, I long for closure.
The reader then realizes that these are not people, they are projections. This isn't a real story it's some guy's sad detached nightmare of an existence and because he is searching for substance how the hell could the story really have any? By the final three chapters I could feel the voice that originally pulled me and demanded my attention return but only long enough to proclaim abruptly, "The End."
Even with these issues I have with the story, it is still far better a novel than a great deal of the hogwash that graces store shelves. With the right editor and some time, Stefansson could really put out a story that would answer to these plug ups and give a less rushed sense of closure. I look forward to his next work....more