This book really shines a light on the polarizing differences in what is defined as a cultural "norm" for action, belief, behavior, and trust. Italian...moreThis book really shines a light on the polarizing differences in what is defined as a cultural "norm" for action, belief, behavior, and trust. Italians and Americans are Failing to act according to Italian norms, Amanda Knox was persecuted in the media and the courts with false evidence and false witnesses. It is scary to think that this could (and does) happen so easily to people around the world, and it seriously makes me question our own judicial and media systems, as they relate to foreigners - how many people have been convicted in either the judicial court or the court of public opinion based on similar cultural differences? I would like to believe that the American justice system isn't susceptible to the kind of pride and injustice that the Italian prosecutors suffered, unable to admit to their investigative mistakes which stole 4 years of life from two people, and robbed a family from true justice for their murdered daughter.
My biggest outstanding question remains unanswered: Rudy's cell mate said that another person had killed Meredith and that Rudy admitted being there, but it seems as though no one tried to track down this other person, despite unmatched DNA being found at the crime scene.
This was a truly interesting book, and I am glad to have finally heard Amanda's full account and perspective of what happened. I hope she is able to find peace and live a life of joy after all she went through. I also hope that Meredith's family can be at peace and one day finds justice - sadly, I think it unlikely because the prosecutor is so blindly focused on Amanda, he cannot see reason or logic to find the [other?] killer(s).(less)
A little bit history textbook which caused the beginning chapters to be somewhat slow, but without those chapters, I believe this book would not be as...moreA little bit history textbook which caused the beginning chapters to be somewhat slow, but without those chapters, I believe this book would not be as good as it is. The author does a great job of setting the stage for the mystery, and pulls you into the mystique and wonder of 200-year old wine and the crazy people who will pay for it.(less)
There's a definite "Of Mice and Men" theme throughout the book, with the dumb goliath of a man following a small, angry witty man's directi...moreGood story.
There's a definite "Of Mice and Men" theme throughout the book, with the dumb goliath of a man following a small, angry witty man's directions the whole time... Except the small angry man in this book is dead, a figment of Blaze's imagination and subconscious intellect. (less)
I tried. I tried to read this book and see the "genius" in the writing. I tried to get to the part of the book where it changed my perspective, as man...moreI tried. I tried to read this book and see the "genius" in the writing. I tried to get to the part of the book where it changed my perspective, as many reviewers have described. I tried to like this book, if only just a little bit. Then, I tried to simply finish this book. I tried, and I failed.
I hated the writing style. This was not poetry to me; it was an endless series of incomplete sentences that drove me batty. I had no care or concern for any of the characters, least of all the author. She writes in very raw form, so raw that she forgot to include any spec of emotion that ties you to her. I couldn't relate on any level and I really just didn't care what happened. Honestly, she didn't really seem to care either, so why would I?
I couldn't finish the book. As I said, I tried to finish it, because I read several reviews that said they hated the book until the ending chapters, where they were blown away with its greatness (snarky paraphrasing). But I couldn't endure the torture of reading it anymore, and have since abandoned it.
Maybe I'm not ready for it right now, and I'll try again another time, but I doubt it. Sorry to my Bookclub for choosing the book!! ;-)(less)
Great book - I have been on several day-hikes and backpacked a few times as well. While I've never day-hiked anything longer than 16 miles, or backpac...moreGreat book - I have been on several day-hikes and backpacked a few times as well. While I've never day-hiked anything longer than 16 miles, or backpacked more than two nights, I understand and appreciate Cheryl's feeling of accomplishment and challenge nonetheless. There was a lot I could relate to in this book: the parallel feelings of love and hate toward hiking, trudging one step after another, counting your steps to take your mind off the distance or elevation gain, the concurrent pride of accomplishment and sheer relief upon reaching the mountain peak or the end of the hike, the exuberance for a hot shower, a cold beverage, a hot meal that doesn't require boiled water to rehydrate, and a soft bed. There was also plenty that I've never experienced too, but I could still vaguely imagine what it must have been like. I loved the raw honesty about her challenges, feelings of unpreparedness, and determination to continue on the hike. I loved this book, it makes me want to go out backpacking!!(less)
I was worried about being able to finish this book in any kind of decent time due to its length, but once I started it, it was clear that I would be d...moreI was worried about being able to finish this book in any kind of decent time due to its length, but once I started it, it was clear that I would be done in no time.
What a wonderful historical fiction, with an excellent love story intermingled. All I will say is that the love story brought tears several times.
Time travel is a concept that is so hard to wrap one's mind around without going crazy. For example (mini-spoiler in the beginning of the book), if going back is a complete reset, wouldn't Al's cancer be erased as soon as Jack went thru the rabbit hole the first time (because all of Al's prior visits therefore never happened?) thinking about it too much makes my head spin, but I love the idea of time travel anyway.
Of course the last several chapters really make you think about whether, given the opportunity, you would go back to change the course of history. I'll leave it at that, as I don't want to spoil anything. But trust that it is worth the length of this book to finish it and ponder that question.(less)
I really enjoyed this trilogy, and I enjoyed the journey that Christian and Ana took from Dom/Sub to "Happy (although still struggling with issues) Ev...moreI really enjoyed this trilogy, and I enjoyed the journey that Christian and Ana took from Dom/Sub to "Happy (although still struggling with issues) Ever After." Their relationship was both very real, but also very fictional. The realness was that their relationship wasn't perfect - they had issues, they fought, they disagreed. But on the other hand, their relationship was very un-real - the constant sex, the money and extravagance... Real for some people I guess, but not for most. For me, it made for a nice balance of reality and fantasy and allowed me to relate on some level with the characters.
I think the storyline was well-done, because as much as I loved this trilogy, I was not left wanting when it was over - I felt like it wrapped up well. (And my grades for school are appreciative, because it means I can refocus on my textbooks instead of ignoring them to join Christian and Ana every night).
I am lending my books out to a few friends, but I foresee re-reading these books again once I get them back.(less)
My guilty pleasure continues. As with the first book, this one was completely captivating. Although somewhat different than the first, I really liked...moreMy guilty pleasure continues. As with the first book, this one was completely captivating. Although somewhat different than the first, I really liked the evolution between Ana and Christian, and their working through each of their issues. This was more romance than eroticism, whereas the first book was more eroticism than romance. Loved them both, though. And it kills me (in a good way) that the end of both books leave you with such a cliffhanger, I can't wait to dive into the next installment - I am supposed to be focusing on my school work and reading my textbooks. Instead, it I am on to book #3. :-)(less)
**spoiler alert** If not for my book club, I doubt I would have read this book. But I am glad I did. If you're looking for advanced writing skill or o...more**spoiler alert** If not for my book club, I doubt I would have read this book. But I am glad I did. If you're looking for advanced writing skill or other literary qualities, go elsewhere. Luckily I am not concerned with literary qualities in my reading - I want an escape from reality, and this book delivered in a big way. Not everyone will like this book, clearly - just check the reviews, there are plenty of people who hated it. This was a guilty pleasure for me - reading about things I have little knowledge, escaping into a fantasy world of complex & contradicting emotions, taboo activities and some pretty hot and heavy sex. Frankly I loved Ana and Christian, they are polar opposites that each have their issues. And they manage to begin to help one another address their issues and work thru them. I can't say I enjoyed the end, however. Inside, I was screaming "Stop, Ana! What are you doing?!?" I can't wait to jump into book 2.(less)
Overall, I enjoyed this book. The author tells the story of WWII in the context of the various cultures involved, and begins in Japan's ancient histor...moreOverall, I enjoyed this book. The author tells the story of WWII in the context of the various cultures involved, and begins in Japan's ancient history to set the story up. My complaint is that the ancient history portion took up too much of the book - I actually skipped a couple chapters because it never seemed to end. I enjoy reading true history novels but the beginning of the book felt like a history textbook. Once the story focused on WWII more directly, I was much happier.
My biggest takeaway from this book is the reality that no matter which side of the coin you're on, the history which is presented to us in school and throughout life is a mere sliver of the reality of what happened, and in many cases it has been sanitized "for the good of the people." James Bradley brought out details on both sides that many would have probably preferred left alone - but it really changed my understanding of WWII and what happened (and in some cases why it happened, although there are still so many unanswered "why" questions when it comes to war).(less)