Toll! So viel kurzweilige und hilfreiche Informaion auf nur 40 Seiten - inklusive Illustrationen und einer guten Dosis leicht sarkastischen Humors:
"EiToll! So viel kurzweilige und hilfreiche Informaion auf nur 40 Seiten - inklusive Illustrationen und einer guten Dosis leicht sarkastischen Humors:
"Ein Land zu regieren ist ein bisschen so, wie einen Goldfisch zu haben. Wenn du dich nicht um den Fisch kümmerst, geht alles das Klo runter (in diesem Fall: der Fisch). Sich um eine Bevölkerung zu kümmern macht allerdings etwas mehr Arbeit. Deine Einwohner werden sich nämlich nicht nur mit ein bisschen Futter und sauberem Wasser zufriedengeben. Sie werden große Dinge von Dir erwarten wie eine Regierung, ein Rechts- und ein Wirtschaftssystem. Und kleinere Dinge wie Straßen, Schulen und Krankenhäuser."
"Es hört sich erst einmal verlockend an, die Alleinherrschaft zu haben, aber die Geschichte lehrt uns, dass dieser Job auch gefährlich ist: Mancher Alleinherrscher wurde abgesetzt, gestürzt oder sogar enthauptet. Probier es lieber erst mal mit einer dieser anderen Regierungsformen: ..."...more
"The Chicken Thief" is a beautifully illustrated, wordless story, but I am not sure concerning the book's message, which is supposed to be unexpected"The Chicken Thief" is a beautifully illustrated, wordless story, but I am not sure concerning the book's message, which is supposed to be unexpected "love". The so-called love story features a hen abducted by a fox while her friends are watching in horror. A hen who in the end shows symptoms of Stockholm Syndrome and sends her faithful friends home after a long and laborious rescue mission with a wave of her wing.
After "reading" the story and finding out that the bear, the rabbit and the goose are depicted as the characters who misinterpreted the dangerous-seeming situation wrongly (they blush self-consciously, when they see the hen hug the fox and look away), and that the fox is meant to be a gruff, tough-shell-guy with a marshmallow heart instead of a criminal who changes his mind mid-story, I don't feel comfortable enough to give the hardcover to my little niece anymore. What if she expects abduction by strange, violent men to be the ultimate fun?
The book goes back to Amazon - and on my a-jerk-is-a-jerk shelf, too.
*** Beware! This comment-turned-into-review contains a spoiler *** I can imagine how 'The Vanishing Moment' would appeal to readers who are less wimpy*** Beware! This comment-turned-into-review contains a spoiler *** I can imagine how 'The Vanishing Moment' would appeal to readers who are less wimpy than I am, considering the beautiful writing, the multiple POVs and the crafty way those three stories run into one.
But, as I am concerned, the story is too realistic and thus much too bleak and dark. My heart doesn't survive an overdose of shitty parents.
And in this particular case the shittiness in the parental department came in 3D (no, 4D, actually) and in colour - even though there were differences: Bob and Fergus had it worst. They practically lived in hell without anybody noticing.
In addition, no magically realistic candy solution can lure me into feeling cushioned when one of the main characters I've come to respect or care for is wiped out and makes my poor heart drop. (view spoiler)[ To me a dead person remains a dead person even if another self of him or her lives a better life in a parallel universe/existence. I don't feel the consolation - at all. (hide spoiler)]
'The Vanishing Moment' belongs to the good-but-too-hopeless-and-too-depressing category. I was certainly invested, but I did not enjoy being the recipient of this multifoldedly sad tale. Even to upset to shed a tear, I guess.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
*** Some things I am going to say might be counted as spoilers if one believes that a romance like this offers a selection of potential outcomes inste*** Some things I am going to say might be counted as spoilers if one believes that a romance like this offers a selection of potential outcomes instead of just one. *** At nineteen Anna was more self-confidant* than most of the girls she knew at her age. It wasn't because she was pretty, although she was. [...] Anna's self-confidence however had nothing to do with the good looks she seemed unaware of and stemmed entirely from her friendship with Lindsay. [...] She realized that if Lindsay could see the positives in her, they had to actually be there. Palim-palim. WRONG! This is a case of a foolish, practically life-long crush on a utterly worthless recipient that made the poor guy see everything around her in a heavily photoshopped blur of softness and peachy colors. But later more about this. (*spelling according to the Kindle edition)
Apart from the obvious risk that presents itself by buying self-published fiction by an unknown author "This Christmas" offered so much potential to become just the novel I needed at the end of last December: It is YA contemporary fiction (don't focus on the main characters' NA-compatible ages. I guess, they are already 19 and 20 because the story wouldn't work if they still lived at home during the school year. They act very, very young, and hints at their respective past affairs do not firmly exclude sex, but they also do not really manage to diffuse the permanating air of immaturity surrounding the awkward couple), it has a romantic plot that happens around Christmas time (I love those - theoretically, when I manage to find one that isn't too silly), it deals with childhood friends on the brink of falling for each other (one side is as obvious as it gets, the other side doesn't do love, but has a fortnight-rule for her own romantic involvements copied from her mother's misunderstood set of attachment rules) and it is supposed to be written in a point of view that swings back and forth between her and him (I would have enjoyed that, but the reality of the undecided, unfocused points of view in this book made me feel nauseous, because I never knew in whose head of the cast I might land next and how much insight the narrator would randomly choose to grant me this time).
Alas, the hoped for pleasure was not to be, partly because of the bad writing, the too obvious ending, really stupid parts in the setting and - high above everything else - Anna. Anna is a regular pain in the ass.
I concur: Whether you deserve to be loved should not depend on your IQ or your attention span. But showing a deficit in both does not necessarily result in being hazardous to other people's possessions and well-being. Bubbly and blond college student Anna is already out in the hall with her luggage when she spontaneously invites her rich and Hawaii-bound roommate Danielle to accompany her home for the Christmas holidays in her family's snow-coated manor house. She doesn't think of informing Danielle about the many pets that will rush at her without restraint, she doesn't tell her that she, her mom and her brother share a house and a household with another family - a platonic friend of her mother's and his daughter and sons, and she doesn't spend a second on the fact that she will have to entertain her guest and spend some time with her, which she would otherwise have used differently. No. She laughs and dances and smiles mischievously until she is irritated and pretty jealous and wishes Danielle to vanish into thin air. Anna is so brazenly oblivious to other people's needs and feelings, and so utterly uninterested in the well-being of everybody but herself that it hurts. She is constantly pouting, throwing herself at someone's neck, borrowing stuff without asking, shrieking indignantly or ratting someone out on a sudden whim. She is clueless, brainless, naive and immature and so beautiful and charismatic, that spending much thought on clothing or much time on basic personal hygiene (i.e. Anna is a toothbrush borrower) is completely unnecessary. Usually her friends - especially Lindsay - love her unconditionally anyway and quickly forgive and forget everything that the destructive tornado called Anna has left in her wake. Lindsay's disappointment is only short-lived even when Anna leaves a party using the beloved truck he had been saving an eternity for, bumps into every tree and mailbox on the way home and parks it on the summit of a huge pile of horse dung: "Are you quiet because you are too mad to talk or because everything is fine and you feel silly for over reacting*?" she asked. [...] Lindsay threw himself back into the couch cushions. [...] "Anna, what were you thinking? I mean, it's not just the truck ... although, uh! It's my truck! And you put like three dents in the bumper! But, you just left without saying anything! I looked all over for you, I was worried." Taken aback [...] Anna began to stammer, "I'm sorry ... I just needed to get out of there [...]." It has to be pointed out that after this "talk" Anna tries to borrow the truck a second time, but luckily Lindsay has put his keys out of her reach just in case. (*spelling according to the Kindle edition)
Never have I encountered a heroine as vapid and unconcerned as Anna. She has the attention span of a baby squirrel and gets distracted by everything. I my opinion Anna suffers from some kind of manic disorder, which, if addressed properly, would be fine, because it would put everything into a workable frame. But Anna's mental problem is never, ever mentioned and therefore not qualified to earn her bonus sympathy points.
As jumpy as Anna's focus is the point of view. The reader has to hop from Anna's to Lindsay's mind and sometimes to Danielle's or other side-characters' without warning and even mid-chapter or mid-scene. That Lindsay's feelings are an open book does not compliment the suspense arc of the story. At the end it drags and drags and drags until Anna is really, really aware of her own attachment and able to understand Lindsay's signals. There is a too long string of exchangeable scenes like of hogging the mistletoe for a kiss, strategically placed negilées at midnight fridge raids (Anna leaves all the perishable ingredients out on the counter to decay in peace and the kitchen as a whole in disarray - how cute! - afterwards) and frozen-pond-incidents that require undressing in the car and showering together. In a better constructed novel the latter would have had the potential to create a sexy atmosphere. In "This Christmas" brainless barbie didn't even allow the potential to raise its head.
Since I had vaguely mentioned stupid parts in the setting right at the beginning I want to elaborate quickly: There are fake obstacles placed into the couple's path. I.e. Anna's and Lindsay's living arrangements aren't very unusual or outrageous. In Germany at least it is deemed to be a very sensible thing to share a house with people you are not necessarily related to. There are a lot of recent housing projects with shared recreation or dining rooms, roof top gardens and so on - preferably for parties of different generations. But even if inhabitants match as their age is concerned, it does not make them siblings and sexually off-limits to each other. A second über-silly thing was that big, big mansion itself and its convenient implications for its owners: After Anna's dad died his great aunt gave his widow her much too spacious house so she didn't have to care about paying rent anymore. In order to show her gratitude to the universe Anna's mom started to take in stray animals (dogs, deer, goats, horses and so on) and care for them. At the same time the house gives her "the opportunity to stay at home with [her] kids and just do her photography on the side." Huuuuuh? How does owning a house free the inhabitant from having to work for her bread and clothing? As I understand feeding a couple of horses, dogs and deer is quite costly as well and keeping a huge mansion warm and dry and in good repair might be at least as expensive as paying for a moderately sized family apartment.
All that remains to say is that I am proud of myself for sticking to the book until its last page. It did not deserve the honor, but I was in a rather gracious mood. It had been Christmas time after all. ...more
Look at that cute cover! Read the enthusiastic praise by well-known German newspapers and radio stations! Feel my speechless disappointment:
The storyLook at that cute cover! Read the enthusiastic praise by well-known German newspapers and radio stations! Feel my speechless disappointment:
The story is supposed to be realistic and yet poetic: Well, yes, the first-person-POV bunny lives in a huge, grey Japanese apartment complex and its Daddy is stuck in an airplane. But Bunny is not supposed to go out and play in the snow until it stops snowing. So the book basically deals with Bunny and Mommy bunny hovering inside that bleak, greyish, dark apartment. They play cards, Bunny makes a forbidden trip to the balcony, Mama cooks and uses the phone. But WHY is it not possible to play in the falling snow in the first place??? This is not Antarctica. It's Tokyo.
The other thing that let me down were the supposedly masterful illustrations. The Bunny family sports red, glowing eyes - colorful dots in a dreary, boring world that presses down on my lungs - colorful dots that turn cutish figures into zombie-like creatures, who get to spend one short moment of happiness in a lonely concrete yard forming little ghosts out of snowy slush.
How poetic, how minimalistic, how artistic! But how enjoyable? Not very much. But that's just my own, unprofessional opinion. ...more
*** 1.5 stars ***Emery bursts into the kitchen [...]. Her golden curls flap in the air as she runs toward us, hugging her Spaceship around Saturn pil*** 1.5 stars ***Emery bursts into the kitchen [...]. Her golden curls flap in the air as she runs toward us, hugging her Spaceship around Saturn pillow to her chest. "Do you think they'll sign it? I need a Sharpie! Chloe! I need Sharpies!" She screams the words into my face. Her eyes get all crazy, like a taxidermy laughing hyena.
"American Girl on Saturn": I don't know... The title immediately sounded appealing to me. Probably, because it reminded me of "All American Girl" by Meg Cabot, which I loved for its realistic characters and its humor in spite of the rather far-fetched set-up (a teenager saves the US president from being shot by a lunatic assassin, is invited to the White House for her bravery and begins a boy-girl-thing with the First Son). Also, the description mentioned that the heroine Chloe Branson would be annoyed to hear that five spoiled Canadian boy group members have to hide in her secret-service-parents' house turning her glorious plans for a carefree summer upside down. I usually enjoy those stories that start with a lot of fight and bickering between two opposites who reluctantly have to succumb to their mutual attraction. They are, in my opinion, extra-entertaining when the girl has the upper hand and whips the formerly hard-shelled boy into shape before he knows what is happening to him.
Well, the annoyance, the reluctance, the bickering, the attraction and the spoiled-brat-behavior (on both sides, unfortunately) were all present to some degree, but the story and the characters felt atrociously off and unbelievably fake and sweet - right from the start.
Later, when I came to read the author's acknowledgements, I understood the bigger picture, but this understanding made me feel rather cheated, betrayed. I know, that many authors write a story for themselves or for a friend or a relative (remember Twilight?) in the first place and are persuaded to pester the publishing industry afterward. Nicci Goodwin wrote "American Girl on Saturn" for her sister to remember their teenaged days, when the two of them were as boy-band-crazy as you can be, concocting all kinds of hare-brained scenarios that would put their feverishly worshipped idols into their reach - at best at reach without the opportunity to flee. I, personally, never plastered my walls with posters of actors or musicians, but I used to spend much time daydreaming. I dreamt of uncountable situations in which the boy I was crushing on could not help but notice me in an ultimately positive light. "American Girl on Saturn" is such a dream transferred one-to-one to paper: raw and unfiltered, unbearably enthusiastic and unchecked against reality both in the character and in the probability department. I can imagine what kind of fun the writing and reading must have been for the sisters. But for me, who had to fork out real money to digest the fluffy, star-struck stuff in condensed form and in huge doses? It was a paid-for eye-rolling-and-groaning-fest that could easily have been kept from happening by a big, glittery sticker warning to "Consume only, when boy-group-worship is or used to be your life."
As I mentioned, the reality-breach begins right in the beginning, when the assassination attempt on the five Canadian boy-men on American soil is declared to be a matter of national security and can only be solved by hiding the paparazzi-chased band-members inside the head-of-security's family home, which boasts a stay-at-home-mum, cleaning staff (temporarily dismissed because of the shhh-factor), a pool that conveniently cannot be seen from beyond the fence and a handful of comfortable guest suites. A home that houses the craziest and youngest fan, or Saturnite as they say, alive. That this private arrangement is the only workable solution to keep the boys temporarily of the media grid, because witness protection depends on unknown faces, sounded improbable enough. But that the whole plan depends on two teenagers and a five-year-old maniac keeping their mouths shut during social phone calls and a parentally prescribed pizza night with some extremely nosy friends, was just too much. Much too much.
Pre-schooler Emery creeped me out in a major way, anyhow. She is five. And she regularly hyperventilates on the brink of losing consciousness, she screams, she talks of marriage, she made me feel icky all over. And her parents do not show the slightest signs of being overly alarmed nor do they admit that something must have happened that shaped their baby daughter's mind into something horribly wrong for her age, promiscuous even. I remember a colleague who had to accompany her 11-year-old daughter to a Tokyo Hotel concert, were she hung out for several hours with others sharing her gruesome fate as a groupie-mom in a room especially set aside by the management for the likes of her. Even the report of infatuation-inflicted pre-teens sounded strange to my ears, but, well, there are bragging friends and afternoon television and BRAVO magazine. But little Emery? Her parents should supervise her media input and offer alternatives to star-stalking via Youtube instead of buying her merchandising and concert tickets.
And 18-year-old, immature rock chick Chloe? She quickly converts to unconditional fandom during the first eye-to-eye or elbow-to-elbow on her living-room couch: Who knew the guys of Spaceship around Saturn are actually ten times hotter in person than on Twitter?! [...] He nods toward the armrest, and I quickly jerk my arm back toward myself. He eases onto the armrest, and the scent of his body wash makes my head swim. Can you faint from awesome boy scent? [...] He never once tweeted that he smells like heaven or has eyes the color of the caramel inside of a Milky Way candy bar. These are the kinds of things girls need to know, Milo! They start to flirt, for life is short.
Naturally there are problems, but not those of the sort I had anticipated: It wouldn't even be an issue if he was just some guy from school. Then it'd be completely normal to be obsessing after a week, because I'm a girl and that's what we do do! But he is famous, and I'm nothing. The problem is - after a huge game of cat-and-mouse, that partly revolves around Chloe's explosive sister Aralie and the question who of the remaining four princes she is secretly into - miraculously solved (view spoiler)[ and sanctified by the mother, who is - after all- used to accepting star-crazy offspring behavior: "From what I gather," she says, "You're not 'just a memory' material. He said you were special." Mom has that voice, the sing-songy voice that Emery used when she pointed out that Milo and I were both wearing white with a touch of black." And, oh wonder, in the end, after the girls have gleefully www-posted all their private pictures of their new best friends and lovers, Dad has enough security at the hotel to keep me safe from a nuclear bomb. Our entire floor is blocked off. Which made me asked myself, why does he employ this kind of secret-agency-power when his concert-visiting daughter needs her privacy, but not when a couple of famous boys have to be kept in a "lockdown" to evade a dangerous stalker, huh? (hide spoiler)]
Too much, much too much day-dreaming and almost no realness. Creepy, icky, silly. Oh, yeah, long live Benji Bikini. Favorably far away from me, on Saturn or Pluto. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more