This just was not a good book. Even aside from all the issues of imperialism and racism, I just didn't care for Kim, the other characters, or the plotThis just was not a good book. Even aside from all the issues of imperialism and racism, I just didn't care for Kim, the other characters, or the plot. There's never any sense of danger in any of Kim's spy adventures, and thus there's no tension or interest. The novel rambles on and has lots of pacing issues. Things I found boring went on too long, while parts that could have been interesting were short or out of focus. Neither Kim nor the other characters really felt real to me, and they weren't even interesting as archetypes or unrealistic characters. This isn't the worst book I've ever read, since while I did sort of have to force myself to finish it, it wasn't as much of an effort as some other things I've forced my way through. Still, I wish the final novel for the class I read this for had been something else, because Kim really wasn't interesting to read or talk about....more
This was a fairly good and interesting play. It deals with three generations of Puerto Rican men and their experiences as soldiers. The content of theThis was a fairly good and interesting play. It deals with three generations of Puerto Rican men and their experiences as soldiers. The content of the play is fairly good. While Elliot gets the bulk of the character development, his mother, father, and grandfather are fleshed out to an extent. The play is told in a disjointed, nonlinear way, but I think this works fairly well, since it reflects the trauma of war. The plot, such as it is, centers on Elliot's decision whether to go back to Iraq for a second tour or not. What I really enjoyed was the format of the play. In addition to being told in a nonlinear fashion, individual scenes often bring different family members together to show how their experiences parallel each other. Also, characters often narrator their own actions, which is interesting. All in all, this was a really interesting and well done play, and I wish I could see a performance of it....more
Well, this was moderately less frustratingly awful than the previous two books in the series. I mean, it was still fairly bad, but since Dracula himseWell, this was moderately less frustratingly awful than the previous two books in the series. I mean, it was still fairly bad, but since Dracula himself was given a lesser role, there wasn't so much of his arrogant and ridiculous personality making this a terrible read. Instead, this book is bad for slightly less frustrating reasons. A big part of this is that there's far too much telling and not enough showing when it comes to the interesting bits. Because of the constant shifting between different characters, a number of cool fight and action scenes are skipped over and left for the reader to find out about afterwards. This is fairly awful, especially when what I got instead were such dramatic things as a young woman driving through a snow storm. I was also annoyed by the fact that there's a woman who becomes a vampire early on in the story, and yet there's very little of her perspective on this transformation or how it changes her. In fact, the characters are generally fairly static and somewhat cliche. I never got the sense that Kate and her boyfriend were actually in love; they just act like it because the plot says so. The story is also annoying because I never really came to care about any of the characters. They're apparently the descendants of Mina Harker, which is why Dracula cares, but that didn't do anything for me.
Also, a lot of stuff about the ending bugged me. (view spoiler)[Kate magically turns back into a human. Why? I really don't know. There is literally no good explanation for this, other than "sometimes it just happens". The big bad's plot is horribly underdeveloped. According to the back cover blurb, she's Morgan Le Fay, which is ridiculous because Morgan Le Fay is not a vampire, and because she's never identified as such in the actual text. Further, her alleged reasons for being angry at Dracula are never expounded upon. The climax itself is incredibly boring, as it consists of Dracula and two humans slowly chasing Morgan and her vampire ally on foot through snowy Chicago. There's basically no tension and nothing interesting about it. I didn't even get to see Dracula kill Morgan - it happens off screen. (hide spoiler)]
All in all, this was an awful book, and it has made me certain that I'm never going to read another book in this series. I was hopeful that moving away from the Victorian era might make these books slightly better, but it's clear that they haven't improved any. When Dracula isn't being insufferable, the writing is still terrible and dull. Maybe this seemed good in the 70s when novels with vampire heroes were rare, but nowadays, there's no reason at all to bother with it.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This was an excellent book. The ways Jefferson and Grant Wiggins interact with each other were really interesting. Both men learn a lot from the experThis was an excellent book. The ways Jefferson and Grant Wiggins interact with each other were really interesting. Both men learn a lot from the experience, although we really see how Grant changes the most, since he's the viewpoint character. I thought this was an interesting choice, and I think it works well because through Grant Gaines can explore a number of issues aside from black men in prison. Grant is the schoolteacher and so explores problems of education, as well as he relationships with faith and his community. The other characters were well written and interesting, and I liked how Grant came into conflict with his aunt and other older members of the community for various reasons. The plot was quite good and engaging. Obviously, it's clear from the start that there's no way for Jefferson to avoid execution, but that isn't the important question. What really matters is how he'll face his death, and how it will affect his community. The novel does a great job of exploring both of these issues, and over all I really enjoyed it....more
I loved reading this book. Anne feels like a real person, and her story is a nice change from the other Austen books I've read. Whereas Pride and PrejI loved reading this book. Anne feels like a real person, and her story is a nice change from the other Austen books I've read. Whereas Pride and Prejudice deals with a young woman finding love for the first time, Anne is older (at least by her society's standards) and is still working to get over her feeling for Captain Wentworth, a man she was in love with years ago. Anne's family is realistically flawed, with a father and elder sister who are far too self-obsessed and prideful. Anne, on the other hand, is caring and compassionate almost to a fault - she is far too easily persuaded by others. Over the course of the novel she works on standing up for herself more and begins to shine as her own woman. Captain Wentworth is a worthy love interest, and the way he may still feel something for Anne and yet seems to be trying to move on from her is realistic and a good source of conflict. The other characters can be a bit one-note at times, but they're generally quite good and entertaining. The obligatory Austen bad boy isn't quite as bad to my mind in this one, but there are some wonderfully awful characters.
The plot covers around half a year or so of Anne's life, and sees her dealing with a number of ups and downs and struggles. She largely gets buffeted around by life, sent to care for one relative or family friend after another. She weathers each crisis well and begins to become more assertive and self-possessed. In a lot of ways, the story is about Anne breaking out of her shell and learning to trust her own judgement rather than being easily lead around by others. In some ways, I was even more happy than usual when Anne and Captain Wentworth finally get together, because it's clear she's had to fight hard for her love. This might well be my favorite Austen novel so far....more
This is a pretty fun book, especially since I have some knowledge of the Gothic novels Austen is parodying. There's a lot of great humor based on AustThis is a pretty fun book, especially since I have some knowledge of the Gothic novels Austen is parodying. There's a lot of great humor based on Austen playing with literary conventions and having a narrator who's knowingly winking at the reader much of the time. The romance between Catherine and Henry is fairly cute, and consists largely of them bonding over a mutual love of novels and other geeky topics. Austen has nice defenses and discussions of novels and their effects on their readers. As a big reader myself, this book is obviously especially close to my heart. I also enjoyed the introduction and annotations to this edition, since they introduced me to some of the books Austen riffs on that I hadn't heard of before. All in all, I had a lot of fun rereading this, and now I have a number of 18th century novels I'm interested in checking out....more