Its rare that I have no interest, curiosity, sympathy or schadenfreude for any of the characters. They are all tiresome.
This Danish story has a lot of...moreIts rare that I have no interest, curiosity, sympathy or schadenfreude for any of the characters. They are all tiresome.
This Danish story has a lot of Danish place and proper names, but beyond that, it could be set in Anytown, USA. Norwegian jokes transfer to all languages. There is none of Wallender's Swedish angst, nor any of Salander's awesome haircuts.
The action is well paced and the story lines hold together, but in general, give it a pass.
I'd rate it "PG" for minimal cartoon-ish violence. The first 3/4 of the book is a straight forward art adventure story, kinda like a Rick Steves vacati...moreI'd rate it "PG" for minimal cartoon-ish violence. The first 3/4 of the book is a straight forward art adventure story, kinda like a Rick Steves vacation on acid. Kinda wild, pretty enjoyable.
The last quarter of the book is the sci-fi part wrapped up in some seriously flawed logic. The madman's goal of ________ resembles a prequel to "The Handmaid's Tale". How could he (the madman and the author) not think of all the unintended consequences?(less)
Excellent writing, topics, and era. The author makes each king and queen into an individual, highlighting some similarities (strong headed and brave)...moreExcellent writing, topics, and era. The author makes each king and queen into an individual, highlighting some similarities (strong headed and brave) with what made them unique and the issues they faced.
Let me confess: I listened to the audio book, read by Clive Chafer.
It is possible to jump into the middle of the book and just read about a specific king, so a high school student researching Richard the Lionheart or the Black death can easily get caught up in the surrounding politics and struggles.
The author branches off only a layer or two away from the kings and queens, so he'll discuss labor issues after the plague, but not how the labor issues effected the rest of society. Chaucer gets only a small mention. So it is amazing that by just keeping tight with royalty, he fills almost 600 pages.
These kinds of books make me grateful for my own goofy-but-non-murderous family. I also wish to find a similar book(s) about the French (Capet) and other royal dynasties. (less)
This is a survey of surveys type book, easy to read and written mostly by the mother Robin, and commented on by her 20-something daughter Samantha.
It...moreThis is a survey of surveys type book, easy to read and written mostly by the mother Robin, and commented on by her 20-something daughter Samantha.
It convincingly lays out arguments highlighting how today's young adults really do have it different from other generations: college is much more expensive, how young people decide / balance things (career path, doing something "cool", changing professions) and how people make decisions (way more complicated than you think.)
Its not an answer book, but it offers great points to consider, or to help a young person consider their future. I'm thinking that Lena Dunham character on "The Girls" would benefit.(less)
The main characters are all eligible for AARP membership, and they all revel in older people's fantasies - salted steaks, drinking at all ho...moreAARP porn.
The main characters are all eligible for AARP membership, and they all revel in older people's fantasies - salted steaks, drinking at all hours, parenting children introduced fully formed (and going to an Ivy League school), piloting airplanes, and driving fancy cars. Sorta out of an old "Dynasty" episode, complete with shoulder pads.
I guess the biggest suspension of reality centers around the procedural part - like the Secret Service / FBI would be ok with the original explanation of murder / suicide, and not know about the bad guy's long and recent history. The phrase "This is Washington" is the book's mantra to explain how powerful the rumor mill is, yet no one suspected him until Our Hero figures it out. Really?
The author broke Chekohv's gun rule: a few guns are in the lock box of Barrington's car, yet no shots are fired.
There is also a weird and disconnected sub-plot that is unrelated to the main story. I'll guess it forwards stories in other book lines, but it really is just noise.
This is a good book for a long hospital stay. About it.
Clancy remains the king of 'Murica prose. Anything our heroes do, even if explicitly prohibited by the Constitution, laws, and common sense, is fine i...moreClancy remains the king of 'Murica prose. Anything our heroes do, even if explicitly prohibited by the Constitution, laws, and common sense, is fine if it done in our Nation's Best Interest.
Here's how he (or his ghost writer) must write a book: - gather lots of acronyms. - assemble many scary facts about how our enemies can hurt us. - get lists of darned huge guns and warships - list out almost-all-male character "types" and assign them to a team - big jawed beefs are 'Murican, skinny little drunks go on the other team. Have two or three people that could go on either team for tension. - push the first domino and watch them react in present time to each crisis. And the Ryans always win.
I have only headline-knowledge about China vs. Taiwan and a fairly good (but outdated) understanding of computer security, so I won't give my opinions about these subjects. However, I do know a lot about being a woman and once again Tom Clancy proves his ignorance about us. He gives us several chapters about how Jr's girlfriend is easily compromised into putting tracking software on Jr's phone. She is a CIA agent with an excellent working relationship to her powerful boss. I doubt someone so psychologically weak would be hired by the CIA. Look to "Covert Affairs" for some female agents who can manage the bad guys without breaking a nail. Annie would be in Joan's office figuring out how to take out the agents trying to turn her within the same afternoon.
The second female character flaw is with the wife of the 65-year-old Clark who just retired because his injured hand can no longer pull a trigger. Chapters about how he will do physical therapy, learn to shoot left handed, and how he was giving up his life-long (only) career and daily contact with friends to live on a FARM with his family. As a long time wife of a spy, would you let him go practice shooting alone, feeling obviously depressed? Heck no. She'd know she was about to become a widow and demand he go with someone or lock up the weapons.
So the book is your basic rollicking romp. All loose ends sewn up tidy. 'Murica continues baking apple pies and playing football (in this case baseball).
I'm collecting one or two history books per country / empire to fill in the large gaps in my knowledge. This book is fabulous for linking the late mid...moreI'm collecting one or two history books per country / empire to fill in the large gaps in my knowledge. This book is fabulous for linking the late middle ages to the Mongols to current events. Each chapter outlines the major players and forces, great for setting up the context in further study.
It highlights the major themes of why Russia's "soul" is quite different from other European empires: 500 years of Mongol rule, the lack of a native Renaissance, serfdom, etc.
Mercifully, the major horrors of war are briefly noted, not wallowed in.
The author's clear writing makes it easy to read, or to use as a reference.(less)
Neither an "Austen" book, nor a "James" book. Not terrible, but I had higher expectations for it.
1) No letters, just frantic posts. P & P is part...moreNeither an "Austen" book, nor a "James" book. Not terrible, but I had higher expectations for it.
1) No letters, just frantic posts. P & P is part epistolary novel - critical parts of the book are explained in letters sent between the main characters. The letters expose their deepest and most secret thoughts, and they are meditated on between Elizabeth and Jane. This story takes place over several months, yet there is no reflection or deep thoughts, only manic running around.
2) Men have deep thoughts they keep to themselves. Most of P & P concern the deep thoughts of Elizabeth and Jane, and their reactions to other's deep thoughts. "Death" pushes the sisters to the corner, I feel (could be wrong?) and they really are things to be concerned about (comfort and safety) rather than actually part of the story.
A real Austen mystery would be a kitchen poisoning where the murderer was a woman, concerned about woman's issues (ok, perhaps the same cause as James' mystery here), and Jane and Elizabeth would do things other than fuss about each other's contentment in their respective marriage. Austen's novels have at least one really smart woman who can really listen. And so do James' latter stories. This novel has none.
This story was just obvious. Hands where I can see 'em - how many people figured out the murderer in the first 30 pages?(less)
Read this for the snappy writing style as well as a great overview of ancient Greek and Roman life.
Writing teachers encourage students to create a "vo...moreRead this for the snappy writing style as well as a great overview of ancient Greek and Roman life.
Writing teachers encourage students to create a "voice", and Haynes is a great example of feeling like you are having a clever chat over coffee with a friend, discussing the Arts or other contemporary subjects. She teaches enough about ancient history so even if the reader is only passingly familiar with the subject, the author's opinions still make sense.(less)