Some of these stories had a bit of a different feel than previous Holmes' adventures. And the title story was quite unusual, told in the third person....moreSome of these stories had a bit of a different feel than previous Holmes' adventures. And the title story was quite unusual, told in the third person. On to the next!(less)
Well that ended in a rather odd place. So many plots left unfinished. I didn't like this book as much as Speaker, but it had some good bits. I wasn't...moreWell that ended in a rather odd place. So many plots left unfinished. I didn't like this book as much as Speaker, but it had some good bits. I wasn't planning on reading the next book in the series right away, but there are so many loose ends, I guess I have to. Please see my review of Children of the Mind for my complete thoughts on books 3 and 4.
(view spoiler)[That dude totally deserved to go to jail. He just learned he can get away with a crime, and fear doesn't last forever. I have to disagr...more(view spoiler)[That dude totally deserved to go to jail. He just learned he can get away with a crime, and fear doesn't last forever. I have to disagree with Holmes' logic on letting him go! (hide spoiler)](less)
I'm not a fan of mysteries in general, but I am a fan of English literature, and I feel like Sherlock Holmes is as essential part of the canon. I enjo...moreI'm not a fan of mysteries in general, but I am a fan of English literature, and I feel like Sherlock Holmes is as essential part of the canon. I enjoy the characters of Holmes and Watson and their relationship. These "adventures" were quite fun to read.(less)
It is beginning to look like Ron Currie Jr. may never exhaust his two favorite topics - the death of his father, and his undying love for his childhoo...moreIt is beginning to look like Ron Currie Jr. may never exhaust his two favorite topics - the death of his father, and his undying love for his childhood sweetheart. Because Flimsy Little Miracles begins by semi-fictionally referencing the author's previous book, I read Everything Matters! first. Though the two books are very different - Everything Matters is quasi-science fiction, and FLPM is quasi-memoir - both books centre around these two obsessions, sometimes to the point of redundancy.
If you like books about self-sabotaging anti-heroes, you will enjoy Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles. For my part, I discovered I am quite over that kind of protagonist. Witnessing a man destroy himself through alcohol, fistfights and obsession has lost its appeal for me. The protagonist seeks punishment for himself, which in turn hurts everyone in his blast radius and creates a vicious cycle.
Currie is a thought-provoking writer. This book bounces from narrative about his relationship with Emma (the object of his undying love), flashbacks to the long, slow death of his father (who was, in the protagonist's view, a "real" man that he could never live up to), and discussions on the idea of the Singularity (Google it). Currie's protagonist fixates on the Singularity as both a way to resurrect his father and to spend eternity with Emma. But he also recognizes that disembodied existence may render his love meaningless.
This is a complicated book to sum up. The ending (as well as the protagonist's relationship with Emma) brings up the idea of whether "literal veracity means more to us than deeper truths". Does it really matter if memoirs are factual? If you recall the scandal over James Frey's A Million Little Pieces, you may be familiar with this debate. Currie's protagonist finds himself in a similar situation, and halfheartedly tries to explain that veracity has no impact on meaning, and thus the value of a story remains the same whether it's fact or fiction. (An argument I completely agree with, by the way.)
Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles is a well-written (if somewhat scattered), thought-provoking book with plenty of feeling. Currie's protagonist is self-destructive in the extreme, and often thoroughly frustrating. Sometimes I felt all those slaps he took were well-deserved, because if he'd just manned-up, looked around, and took control of himself, things would have been better for a lot of people. He never quite learns his lesson, and remains self-indulgent, self-absorbed and self-defeating to the end.
My rating of this book falls somewhere between 3 & 4 stars - I really can't make up my mind.
I recieved a free Advanced Uncorrected Proof of Flimsy Little Miracles from Penguin Canada via goodreads First Reads Giveaway. This has in no way influenced my review. Because it was a goodreads promotion, I have left my review on the site. It can also be viewed here:http://bit.ly/Z2jcJp
I think I preferred A Study in Scarlet. I found myself drifting as I read this book, but when I wasn't it was mostly enjoyable. It seemed bizarre to m...moreI think I preferred A Study in Scarlet. I found myself drifting as I read this book, but when I wasn't it was mostly enjoyable. It seemed bizarre to me that Mary and Watson could fall in love and get engaged over the course of two days. I also think Sherlock is bipolar. I wasn't all that interested in Small's story, for some reason I thought the Sign of Four would be some kind of bigger conspiracy. The most interesting parts of this book are just Holmes and Watson's interactions and conversations, they never fail to amuse.(less)
Note: I received a free advanced reading copy of this book from the publisher through the goodreads first reads program. (This has no influence over m...moreNote: I received a free advanced reading copy of this book from the publisher through the goodreads first reads program. (This has no influence over my rating or review.)
This is perhaps a four-star book if it were cleaned up a little. Samet is a surprisingly good writer, and his story is an interesting one, but this book is in need of a good proof-reader. There were quite a few simple mistakes, especially near the end. I don't read a lot of ARCs, so I don't know if that's standard and forgivable. In addition, Samet refers to the past and future in strange places in the narrative, which doesn't always have to be confusing, but in this case, it is.
There are a lot of climbing stories in this book, and therefore a lot of climbing "lingo", which I wasn't familiar with, and were poorly or not at all defined. A glossary would've been helpful, but I also found most of the details of the climbs uninteresting. Sometimes it felt like Samet was "place-name dropping" and boasting, as he kept listing all these climbs (and their difficulties, of course) even if they didn't really add to his story. I suppose other climbers might find this impressive or interesting, but the general public might not.
Samet is obviously a big fan of nature, and his descriptions of it were long and florid, maybe over-described, depending on your taste. Personally I found myself skimming these sections.
Despite all this, I mostly enjoyed this memoir, and I could relate to the author's roller-coaster ride of ever-changing psychiatric prescriptions, as well as his feelings that the medicines cause more problems than they fix. While I was never addicted to "benzos", I've had similar experiences with psychiatrists and psych wards. Samet has a bit of a superior attitude when it comes to his fellow patients, and I think he takes himself too seriously - there is no hint of a sense of humour about himself in his writing. Maybe he just didn't add it in because he didn't want to take away from the gravity of the subject matter, or maybe he just has an inability to laugh at himself. I did admire that he came to fully accept the "darkness" in himself as not something that need changing. Ultimately Samet's story serves as a warning about the psychiatric circus that so many people find themselves hopelessly trapped in. He does paint psychiatrists with a wide brush as sinister beings whose only goal is to keep people on meds and therefore as eternal customers. Surely some are like this, but I think most have good intentions and are just haplessly boxed in by their training. Either way, the message is clear: psychiatric consumer beware.
I didn't learn much about psychiatry from this book that I didn't already know, but other people might. What I did learn was how competitive the sport of climbing could be. If you like memoirs, this is decent fare, with above average writing.
I must admit the middle portion that covers the story of John Ferrier was unexpected and at first confusing. I thought perhaps my ebook had been corru...moreI must admit the middle portion that covers the story of John Ferrier was unexpected and at first confusing. I thought perhaps my ebook had been corrupted because it initially seemed to be so unrelated to the case. It makes me wonder if it was added afterwards. Aficionados will no doubt know, but this is my first Holmes book (gasp!). I don't really like murder mysteries, but I do like classic English literature, and the author's writing and characters are extremely well done.(less)
Second time through was maybe even better than the first! It's so hard to find intelligent & lovely writing in fiction these days, I always find m...moreSecond time through was maybe even better than the first! It's so hard to find intelligent & lovely writing in fiction these days, I always find myself heading back to this genre when I need a good read.(less)