Seamus Heaney has done a masterful job translating a difficult text into an accessible one. Beowulf is one of the most important pieces of ancient litSeamus Heaney has done a masterful job translating a difficult text into an accessible one. Beowulf is one of the most important pieces of ancient literature out there, and makes an amazing read. I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in literature or the English language. That said, it was a really dense and difficult read. I found myself constantly re-reading passages and pages because I would either drift away or simply not understand a word of what was said. But I persevered, and I'm glad I did. If you have the time and patience, give this a shot.
Bonus: The side by side Old English text is a lot of fun. I spent tons of time comparing and contrasting. It was no use, of course, but fun regardless....more
Some people say it starts kind of slow, and I can see why. There is a lot of exposition and literally dozens of characters to getThis book is awesome.
Some people say it starts kind of slow, and I can see why. There is a lot of exposition and literally dozens of characters to get to know for about the first half of the book. However, I couldn't stop turning the pages. Each character is worth the reading, and if you pay attention you can feel the undercurrents boiling and the pressure build until finally the pressure bursts. And it bursts gloriously. People die. Important people. Good guys loose. Bad guys triumph. Good guys win. Bad guys plot revenge. Freaking awesome Mongol-like horse lords cover a dude's head with molten gold. There are suggestions of magic, both evil and good, that you just know will come to fruition in the next book. The latter half of the book just keeps pummeling you, and I loved it.
I do have two complaints: 1. Too many lords and ladies. Seriously, I was totally confused about who was who, and who was who's ally, and who was who's relative and how are they related? It's a little overwhelming. 2. Battle. Martin doesn't have much skill at writing battle scenes, at least not that I have seen. I love intrigue and well written character interaction as much as the next guy, but when opposing armies meet I want a little blood! Seriously, the most important battle in the book was told from the POV of the commanders mother, who closed her eyes when it started and just listened to the sound of it. Come on man, gimme something.
Back to the good stuff. Namely, the Imp. I'm totally into this character. He's obviously the only truly human person here, and he's only half a person. Who's side is he REALLY on? Will his relationship with his father force his hand down the road? How will his machinations change everything? And they will. Plus, the last chapter was astounding. I just hope he doesn't dance around that plotline for a couple of books, which he surely will....more
Loved it. Just, really loved it. Elphaba is one of the deepest, most complex characters I have ever had the pleasure of reading. I wanted to be in turLoved it. Just, really loved it. Elphaba is one of the deepest, most complex characters I have ever had the pleasure of reading. I wanted to be in turn, her guardian, her lover and her condemner. Damn, this was powerful, as a work of fiction as well as a thesis on evil, or an exploration of a popular culture myth. It just really makes me feel dirty in the best possible way. I think I'm going to go read it again... ...more
I don't think anyone really needs my opinion of this book. You have either read them, or seen the movies, or have done neither in which case you are pI don't think anyone really needs my opinion of this book. You have either read them, or seen the movies, or have done neither in which case you are probably a communist. The books start out pretty childish, sure, but they got more kids reading full sized novels than maybe anything else ever written. And they do mature and get more exciting as the kids age. ...more
I have quite a bit of admiration for Chris McCandless/Alexander Supertramp. He sure had a huge pair of brass balls and more drive for adventure than mI have quite a bit of admiration for Chris McCandless/Alexander Supertramp. He sure had a huge pair of brass balls and more drive for adventure than most people alive today. I have wanted to follow a path similar to his since long before I read about him. But really, it is a shame that he passed away, but he had it coming. Seriously, if you want to live the life of an existential nomad philosopher, you still need enough common sense to fuel your self preservation instinct. He lived his dream until the end, and I respect that feat, but he was in his very young heart, still a foolish child....more
The best book I have ever read. I'm learning Spanish for the sole purpose of reading this book, and Sr. Marquez's other works, in his original poeticThe best book I have ever read. I'm learning Spanish for the sole purpose of reading this book, and Sr. Marquez's other works, in his original poetic beauty, without the buffer of a translation. ...more
Perhaps only because they have Yeats to guide them through. He made being a grumpy old drunk obsessed with mythology andwhy should not old men be mad?
Perhaps only because they have Yeats to guide them through. He made being a grumpy old drunk obsessed with mythology and younger women cool way before Bukowski and Jack Nicholson. I'd love to say his words moved me deeply (and perhaps they did, at that) but Yeats taught me to drink all of life's wine deeply even if it's a bit bitter. I do love these writings.
Wow. Just, wow. For anyone that cares about their health, the health of the environment, the health of the economy, and the health of the American AgrWow. Just, wow. For anyone that cares about their health, the health of the environment, the health of the economy, and the health of the American Agricultural tradition, READ THIS BOOK IMMEDIATELY. I rarely advocate criminal activity, but if you have no money and no access to a library, steal it. I'm serious here, reading Fast Food Nation is that important to all of us.
However, if you believe ignorance is bliss (it is) and if you like to eat a fast food cheeseburger now and then (I did, once upon a time) than do yourself a favor and DO NOT OPEN THIS BOOK.
Eric Schlosser however is not one of these. His clear and accessable writing style makes for an easy and very informative read. Non-fiction can be a bit dry from time to time, but this one is a page turner (and a stomach churner). He's a talented journalist, without any sort of Hippie agenda. In a single day of reading this book I could go from amazed to inspired to angry enough to feel like blowing up a corporation's home office. destruction. Also, powerful sadness. I was moved to tears more than once, some of the farmers and meat packers stories are that powerful. Schlosser really seems to care about them, and he makes the reader care right along with him.
For those of you that don't want to devote the time to reading the whole book, you can get a good dose of the information in four hours by watching two movies. The movie adaptation of FFN is surely worth a watch. It puts it all in a fictional story, but the director Richard Linklater has a talent for making a story matter. Also the scene with Kris Kristofferson is one of the best moments of cinema I have seem. It misses many of the most important facts though. To get those, you should watch Food Inc., which Eric Schlosser worked on as well. Both are worth your time, whether you read the book or not.
Before I read this I thought Locally Grown, Organic, Vegan, Tree Hugging, Whale Saving, pinko, liberal Dirt Worshipers were a group of elitist Bourgeoisie swine. Perhaps they are, but that doesn't make them wrong, not about our food.
And one last thing. F*@k Monsanto. I cannot stress this enough. If you work for that company, you are going to burn in the deepest parts of hell. They should be indicted on anti-trust charges and probably hundreds of EPA violations and labor laws as well. Monsanto is evil. We should all boycott any food they have a hand in producing, but then we would all wind up starving to death....more
I love this novel. I've read it three times, and I never re-read books. What surprised me at the first reading of this book was how disjointed it was I love this novel. I've read it three times, and I never re-read books. What surprised me at the first reading of this book was how disjointed it was when compared to the movie. Only a fraction of the chapters are represented in the film version, and several characters are missing completely. I learned that each chapter was actually a short story and Trainspotting itself was merely a collection. However,I found that the book characters were much more engaging and human. It seemed that each one of them, from Renton to Spud, painted a picture of a part of myself. Admittedly they weren't all parts I liked, but each of them felt soberingly real. I have no proof, but I believe that Irvine Welsh lived the stories he has written down, and that each of the characters is based on himself. The stories themselves were strikingly powerful and sometimes moving. Sometimes they were shocking disturbing or just a little gross, but they all have a life of their own that you can almost feel and smell and taste. Plus, I loved looking into the spyglass of modern Scotland it provided. Perhaps only the Scotland of a few junkies, but a vivid spyglass nonetheless. Remember though, this isn't William Burroughs, and it sure as shit isn't Braveheart.
A review of this book has to talk about language. It's a shame that written communication is being so cheapened by electronics, because Trainspotting's language could be as important to the development of the English language as, at worst Anthony Burgess with A Clockwork Orange, and at best William Shakespeare. Yes, I am that impressed with the use of written word in Trainspotting. It certainly felt something like reading Shakespeare, since you sometimes had to read it aloud to comprehend what was being said, which I found to be a delightful challenge.
Please, unless you shy away from blood, sweat, pain and human shit, please read Trainspotting. ...more
I really like George Saunders' short fiction, and I love even the weirdest stories. Normally I would rate his stuff up there with David Sedaris or KurI really like George Saunders' short fiction, and I love even the weirdest stories. Normally I would rate his stuff up there with David Sedaris or Kurt Vonnegut. But this little novella here was just too disjointed and strange for me. If you are reading Saunders' work, give it a try, but I wouldn't begin here. It just doesn't seem like any of his other work, and isn't nearly as good....more
I do not really like Chuck Palahniuk. His writing is limp wristed even when it tries to punch you in the face. His twists are a little contrived, andI do not really like Chuck Palahniuk. His writing is limp wristed even when it tries to punch you in the face. His twists are a little contrived, and his character pretty boring. However, as a young white man in modern America, I feel compelled to read at least some of his stuff. I didn't read this book until years after I had seen the amazing film. I also made a point of reading Choke and Diary before picking up Fight Club. Wasn't it originally called Soap?
You will only hear me say this about a very few books, but the movie was way better. I acknowledge that the book set the stage and the tone and the great characters, but I felt like the movie explored ideas Palahniuk hadn't even thought of. The characters were more vivid too. I almost wish I could go back and read the novel first, to see how I felt about it then, and then watch the movie. But as it stands, the film is one of my all time top 5, and the book just sits in the back of my bookshelf....more
A modern classic. If you like quirky short fiction and fun reads, this is a book for you. George Saunders is painfully under appreciated for his abiliA modern classic. If you like quirky short fiction and fun reads, this is a book for you. George Saunders is painfully under appreciated for his ability with short fiction. A great read!...more
I truly do not believe a book has ever made me laugh as hard as Good Omens. The story is side splitting and the friendship between the main angel andI truly do not believe a book has ever made me laugh as hard as Good Omens. The story is side splitting and the friendship between the main angel and demon is great. Just freaking hilarious. Plus, it eased me into the world of Neil Gaiman, not something I would recommend jumping headfirst into. Since then I've read almost everything Gaiman has done, and loved it all. If he started a church, i would totally join. It wasn't all Gaiman's doing though. He co-wrote it with Terry Pratchett, who was probably responsible for the humor. Gaiman isn't exactly a funny guy in any of his other books. I've read some of Pratchett's other work, but didn't care for it. Without the philosophy and darkness Gaiman lends to Good Omens, Pratchett's work just seems kind of fluffy and boring. This book however, was pure gold through and through. Absolutely a must read....more