I wish I could give this book more stars, especially since it's the first giveaway I ever won from Goodreads. Unfortunately, it was difficult for me tI wish I could give this book more stars, especially since it's the first giveaway I ever won from Goodreads. Unfortunately, it was difficult for me to push through in places, and by the end, even though I felt the author accomplished what he set out to do, I was left questioning what his ending meant.
But first, a word about the unique set-up of the book. Mr. Duncan starts by explaining two unusual writing style choices. Firstly, the entire book (with the exception of journal entries by the crew) is written in present tense. The idea is that this perspective subtly moves the reader into the immediacy of the situations as they unfold. His second unusual choice is to set off the character dialogue in a 'script style', thus enabling the reader to quickly and clearly understand which characters are communicating. The result? The book reads like a screenplay.
This is not necessarily a bad thing, but, for me, it took a little adjustment. Throughout the novel, I kept thinking that this could be a fascinating video or film, especially since his attention to detail in describing the ship, the interior of the dome, the "fog" in the rooms, helps the reader to clearly imagine how these spaces appear. On the plus side, it allows him to give the experience of Mars a personality of its own. On the minus side, Mars seems, at times, to have more personality than the human characters.
I think that was one of my biggest problems with the book - I'm a very character-driven reader. Though I was intrigued by the opening journal entry from a crewman of the previous mission, I found that several chapters in, I still had no feel for the true personalities of the current crew. I had no reason to like them, and therefore I found it difficult to push through the story. After many more chapters, I had a better grasp of who they were, but if I hadn't felt compelled to read it in order to review it, I would never have gotten that far.
However, not reading the entire book would have been my loss. Mr. Duncan does an admirable job of crafting the sense of unease, paranoia, and downright strangeness that the characters experience as their mission continues. This subtle atmospheric shift is one of the few things that I worry might not translate as well into film (unless you found an excellent director).
The only other problem I had with the book was occasional word repetition within the same sentence or short paragraph, normally when describing the actions of crew members. I may come back at a later date and quote a few examples, but this particular issue could easily be fixed with the right editor, (and wouldn't be an issue at all in a film).
I would end by stating that I have immense respect for anyone who has the vision and persistence to write a book - I've certainly never been able to manage it - and I applaud Mr. Duncan on his accomplishment. ...more
I was given a copy of this book from Read It Forward several years ago, and I have no idea why it took me this long to get around to reading it. OnceI was given a copy of this book from Read It Forward several years ago, and I have no idea why it took me this long to get around to reading it. Once I began, I could hardly put it down!
I'm impressed that Mr. Cline managed to infuse such nostalgia in a futuristic novel. This book is a delight for those of us who grew up in the 80's loving science fiction and video games. As I read it, I found myself smiling every time he referenced an old song or movie. I don't need to go into a summary of the plot - you can read that by simply looking up the book's description - but I was pleased by the different elements the author fused together: dystopian future fiction, a bit of cyberpunk, 80's pop culture history, and a good, old-fashioned quest. There's even an element of romance, though Cline handles it with care so that it doesn't overtake the story, it enhances it.
I will definitely be recommending this book to several of my friends. ...more
I got this book from a Goodreads Giveaway two years ago, and I had every intention of reading and reviewing it then, but because it was a non-fictionI got this book from a Goodreads Giveaway two years ago, and I had every intention of reading and reviewing it then, but because it was a non-fiction title, it ended up on the "really, I'll get to it later" pile.
But recently, while looking over my bookshelf, the title jumped out at me. I was at a place in my life where I needed to understand why I kept making the same automatic, bad choices, and the book seemed to promise some answers. Once I started reading it, I realized that I had found a wonderful resource for understanding and recognizing the cues, routines and rewards that I've inadvertently empowered to influence many of my daily actions.
Not only does this book help to illuminate the cycle that perpetuates our habits, it offers suggestions on how to take back control. Mr. Duhigg also explains how the habit loop can help businesses and impact marketing. I found the volume enlightening on several levels, both personal and professional.
I took my time reading each chapter because I really wanted to soak in the information, but the author's style is engaging and accessible, so most readers will probably finish it quickly. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a positive way to effect changes in their lives....more
This book is filled with nuggets of information, little bite-sized articles, which make it great for sharing with others and is addictive enough thatThis book is filled with nuggets of information, little bite-sized articles, which make it great for sharing with others and is addictive enough that it's impossible to put down. I made the mistake of loaning it out before I was finished with it, and these two friends (one an English teacher and the other a math teacher)have enjoyed it so much, I can't get them to return it. I received this as a Goodreads giveaway, but I think I'm going to have to PURCHASE another copy just so I can finish it....more
I was lucky enough to win a copy of this book as a Goodreads giveaway, and I enjoyed the writing style and basic concept. However, I like the scienceI was lucky enough to win a copy of this book as a Goodreads giveaway, and I enjoyed the writing style and basic concept. However, I like the science in my science fiction to be a bit more accurate. The spontaneous DNA rearrangement was a little too unbelievable for me, but, that said, I still couldn't put the book down once I started reading it.
Though there is definitely a sense of action in the book, many of the most interesting parts (to me anyway) were the philosophical discussions between the characters. Who was right and who was wrong? In many cases, even by the end of the book, the reader is left with no clear answer outside of his or her own opinion. The only surety is that human nature is what it is. ...more
This is one of the best "self-help" books I've ever read (and I've read quite a few). I have never been so grateful for a Goodreads giveaway in my lifThis is one of the best "self-help" books I've ever read (and I've read quite a few). I have never been so grateful for a Goodreads giveaway in my life. If you've ever read any of his other works, you know that Mr. Burroughs has lived one of the wildest lives ever recorded in memoir form. In this book he shares with us the hard won knowledge he's gleaned from his experiences. His advice pulls no punches, and states truths that many of us may instinctively acknowledge even as we cringe from doing so. He has a wonderful sense of humor while baring the naked truth of how to move through the uglier parts of life, and I found myself laughing out loud at least once or twice through all of the earlier chapters. But turning the tone towards a serious note, by the end of the book, when dealing with the loss of loved ones, his powerful description of the experience had me in tears of recognition.
Burroughs writes from his gut, and it shows on every page. Though he uses other, less cliched terminology, much of his message boils down to "live in the moment". But don't take it from me; those four words don't begin to capture the full experience of reading this surprisingly inspirational work. I cannot recommend this book highly enough....more
I received this as a Goodreads giveaway and loved it from the moment I began reading it. What a combination: Quebec, Gregorian chants, a mysterious m I received this as a Goodreads giveaway and loved it from the moment I began reading it. What a combination: Quebec, Gregorian chants, a mysterious monastery, and information on the history of musical notation! Since I have a personal interest in all of these areas, it almost seemed like the book was tailor-made for my tastes.
Even though this novel is number 8 in her Inspector Gamache series, I had no problem following the personal interplays in the story. This is my first book by Louise Penny, but I can promise you that it won't be my last....more
I received this book as a Goodreads giveaway, and I found it a delightful light read. I tend to like books written in the first person, and Harbison'sI received this book as a Goodreads giveaway, and I found it a delightful light read. I tend to like books written in the first person, and Harbison's Gemma Craig is a fun character to experience. I enjoyed learning about the pros and cons of being a personal chef, though I saw several plot points coming a mile away. Nonetheless, the author keeps the romance element present but tucked in as a side story, allowing the independent aspects of Gemma's life to take center stage for most of the novel. Most would probably file this under "chick lit" (of which I'm not always fond), but I found it to be one of those easy reads that was hard to put down once started. I read the book in two sittings, and would have finished it on the first one had I not been interrupted. Fluffy but fun....more
I received an uncorrected proof of this book as a Goodreads giveaway, so it was still in need of some editing and missing the maps and any pictures thI received an uncorrected proof of this book as a Goodreads giveaway, so it was still in need of some editing and missing the maps and any pictures that might be included in the final copy. However, this did not unduly take away from the power of Ms. Nordberg's investigation.
This book blew me away. Once I began reading it, I could NOT put it down. Beginning with the concept of the "bacha posh" or girls who dress as boys, she explores all of the many faceted reasons why a girl and her parents would feel pressured to make such a choice, and the impact of the "male experience" on the psychology of these girls later in life. Following the thread of this question, Ms. Nordberg manages to explain cultural issues in Afghanistan more clearly than any other source I've come across. She illuminates why so many of the foreign aid projects in Afghanistan aimed at helping women to achieve greater equality seemed to have little impact, and paints an amazing picture of the girls and women struggling for survival for both themselves and their families.
There IS a hidden resistance in Afghanistan, but it is homegrown, forged by very carefully pushing the boundaries of certain traditions supported by both men and women. In the end, it is obvious that economic stability and peace are the first steps in making the country "safe" enough for other concepts, such as changing the opportunities for women, to grow and gain ground. ...more