I love Mark Bowden's books. They read live novels but I never feel like he is exaggerating or deviating from the facts.
This is an interesting story ab...moreI love Mark Bowden's books. They read live novels but I never feel like he is exaggerating or deviating from the facts.
This is an interesting story about the rise and fall of Escobar and the huge and expensive man hunt to capture/kill him.
Overall I liked it, but the story sometimes drags as he delves into the emotions and psyche of the people in the book. I actually found the story of the corrupt Colombian politics to be more interesting than the actual hunt for Escobar.
As usual Mr. Bowden generally avoids taking a political side unless the facts reveal a character who he can be sympathetic to. In this case, I thought that he was sympathetic to the Centra Spike group. I was OK with that, although I do put my faith in Mr. Bowden's objectivity.(less)
Pretty good reading, a collection of short stories about the characters and climbs that Krakauer has encountered through his life in adventure sports....morePretty good reading, a collection of short stories about the characters and climbs that Krakauer has encountered through his life in adventure sports.
I find Krakauer's writing style to be easy and readable. This book is nice because it is just a book about adventure, and not the "expose" style that Krakauer seems to be interested in these days. (less)
Interesting look at various classes of Russian society around the turn of the 19th/20th century. I like how he made an effort to develop stories that...moreInteresting look at various classes of Russian society around the turn of the 19th/20th century. I like how he made an effort to develop stories that featured the lives of peasants and working classes. So much of Russian writing involves characters who are nobility or functionaries, this collection wove stories around the other segments of society.
I found the writing to be typical of Russian authors, every dense and the story concluding with a moral ending, and not necessarily a happy one.(less)
Lifeless reading, dry and tedious. It reads like a set of military orders, very little insight into the soldiers, the commanders, the local peoples, t...moreLifeless reading, dry and tedious. It reads like a set of military orders, very little insight into the soldiers, the commanders, the local peoples, the stories of the support troops (hospitals, rail builders, suppliers, etc...) Maybe this information wasn't available, but then the rest doesn't make for good reading. The book is essentially written as if the author was looking at a map. Too much emphasis on troop movements.
The ending livens up a little, he starts to discuss the tactics used by Lettow and the reason for them: seeking resupply of food and munitions, and also the more strategic approach of van Deventer in trying to anticipate Lettow and limit his options.
I did like the emphasis on the impact of weather, disease (Tsetse fly on stock and malaria on troops) and impassibility of roads and rivers.
The East African campaign was a great subject, but this book takes the life out of it.(less)
More like two and a half stars, pretty typical Dickens work. There is the obvious plot device and also the overarching moral tale.
The story revolves a...more More like two and a half stars, pretty typical Dickens work. There is the obvious plot device and also the overarching moral tale.
The story revolves around a couple of prominent and well-off families; however, I found myself more interested in the lives of the citizens of Coketown and wanted to learn more about them.
The book focuses on a couple of characters with little development of the secondary actors. The rest of the actors are typical Dickens character types and are only necessary to move the plot along. I actually like this technique, I don't need to get invested in minor characters but in this case I found myself occasionally wondering what function the character has in the book. An example is Harthouse, he was only necessary to do one thing in the book but Dickens needed to introduce him early then carry him along through the story until he was done.
Also, Dickens tends to use the same Victorian types over and over, the same sort of people having the same function tend to show up in many of his books. Not much suspense there.
I really enjoy Dickens' descriptive writing but then I wonder if he is just adding filler because he got paid by the word...
Finally, perhaps it was the version I read, but I found the colloquial translation of the common-man dialect to be very difficult to read and I really got bored reading Stephen's conversations after a while. (less)
What can you say about this book that hasn't already been said. A good book, maybe a great one because of the mental and moral questions posed by the...moreWhat can you say about this book that hasn't already been said. A good book, maybe a great one because of the mental and moral questions posed by the author, but for such a short read I found it to be tedious.
I do love how Conrad incorporates the environment as a character, often more complex than the actual characters he's writing about.
I liked the notion surrounding how Kurtz lost his will to follow moral and cultural norms and how this made others to see him as a deity.(less)
"Travels" is part history of Siberia, part travel log and part personal memoir. Its a wonderful book, very well written, Mr. Frazier writes in an easy...more"Travels" is part history of Siberia, part travel log and part personal memoir. Its a wonderful book, very well written, Mr. Frazier writes in an easy-going and accessible style; he chooses his words carefully and thoughtfully, and I felt it easy to empathize with him and imagine myself with him in his journeys.
I particularly loved how he just wrote about the moment he was in, the tread of the road and the thread of life he was in at the time. He doesn't get caught up in broad generalities of his travels nor does he get bogged down in the details. He does not seem to be not caught up searching for some bigger meaning. (Perhaps he is, but he spares the reader those details.)
He is candid about his emotions, his fears, worries and his love for the journey and the moment. I love how he frequently pokes fun at his own cultural and linguistic shortcomings.
He writes beautiful descriptions of the countryside and the people he meets, I never forgot that he was with real people, and not just characters in a book. Same with the land, Siberia is a real place, not just a setting in his book. I couldn't help but look for further readings about Russia, Russian history and great Russian authors. I also enjoyed following his journey through the magic of G**gle Earth.(less)