Honest, interesting, and full of great ideas. Mainly ways to get into the habit of writing and inspirations, but there is some nice practical advice aHonest, interesting, and full of great ideas. Mainly ways to get into the habit of writing and inspirations, but there is some nice practical advice as well. ...more
I always enjoy Carey's books, and like always, this one was a good read. It was fun, suspenseful, and fast paced. That being said, I didn't love it. II always enjoy Carey's books, and like always, this one was a good read. It was fun, suspenseful, and fast paced. That being said, I didn't love it. I could never get into Morin and Bao's adventures the way I did Phedre's and Imriel's. The books in this series somehow lacked the passion and poignancy. ...more
I finally finished this for class last week, and there are few books I'm more proud to have read. I'll try to write more about it later, but if you haI finally finished this for class last week, and there are few books I'm more proud to have read. I'll try to write more about it later, but if you have any interest in Nietzsche, this is a great place to start. As philosophy goes, it's highly readable, and Nietzsche's work has been influential in a wide variety of realms. Absolutely fascinating. ...more
This is my 2nd Wodehouse, and I loved this one even more. Bertie is adorable, and his shenanigans involving misplaced affections and silver cow creameThis is my 2nd Wodehouse, and I loved this one even more. Bertie is adorable, and his shenanigans involving misplaced affections and silver cow creamers warm my soul. Great fun for anyone who loves British humor for a lighthearted quick read. ...more
I almost didn't write a review for Everything Matters! because I'm not sure I have the words to do the book or my feelings regarding it justice.
As II almost didn't write a review for Everything Matters! because I'm not sure I have the words to do the book or my feelings regarding it justice.
As I sat reading the denouement, tears cascading down my face, I'd have been hard pressed to explain why I cried. It wasn't so much that the story was sad, though in a way it was, the tears were more of a catharsis. The book touched on so many concepts I ponder all the time, and Currie's deft discussion of topics as diverse as love, alienation, and the meaning of life, embodied in the unique story of Junior, a man who grows up knowing the world will end when he is 36, resonated with me.
It's hard to describe how such a singular experience, growing up with such terrifying knowledge, elicits such a personal effect, but the that's the funny thing, despite his odd predicament, for the most part Junior's worries and struggles are universal. In fact, the novel's primary conflict evolves around his struggles to find meaning in life and what is more universal than that?
While I don't want this to be a literary analysis, I do want to comment on the strategic use of 2nd person point-of-view intermixed with 1st person. 2nd person is seldom used and can come off as gimmicky, but in this case it really enhanced the novel's personal atmosphere. While you knew the "you" being addressed was Junior in these segments, writing the segments in 2nd person conveyed the idea that the "you" could be anyone, a subtle way of developing the novel's statement on alienation.
On a rather random philosophical note, at one point one of the characters, Amy, has a dog named Camus. When I was reading the book, the dog's name just made me smile because I love Camus and also name my pets for literary characters/ authors. Upon reflection, I thought including Camus even as a vague allusion was apt because the book explores Camus-like absurdist ideas to the point I believe I could defend Junior as a modern absurd hero, but I'm not sure I would've made the connection without the name dropping.
However, don't let my uber-geeky meandering into philosophy lead you to believe this is a hard read, or meant as a true philosophical novel. Like any good novel, it simply works on a variety of levels. I read it in just a couple hours, and those hours were definitely well spent. Everything Matters! is engrossing and thought provoking and more than just a little bit beautiful. I'd give it six stars if I could.
Oh my goodness! I kept saying I was going to read Wodehouse but kept putting it off. Now I recognize this for a true tragedy. Bertie and Jeeves are suOh my goodness! I kept saying I was going to read Wodehouse but kept putting it off. Now I recognize this for a true tragedy. Bertie and Jeeves are such an adorable pair and the tale is so fun and amusing. I can't wait to finish so I can pick up another Wodehouse! ...more
I really wasn't going to read this until after I finished Game of Thrones, but this weekend my soul needed some surcease and out came Rachel Morgan. II really wasn't going to read this until after I finished Game of Thrones, but this weekend my soul needed some surcease and out came Rachel Morgan. In the many series I read there are smarter, funnier, more admirable characters, but none with as much heart.
Despite being hurt and betrayed countless times, she still sees the best in people and never ceases to shocked when someone lets hers down. Unflaggingly loyal to her friends, there's nothing she won't do for a loved one, or a trusted friend. In this case, she commits to help Trent, a man for whom complicated doesn't even begin to describe her relationship, on a cross country mission. And so they set out, shunned witch, elf, pixie, and vampire driving across the country in Rachel's mom's powder blue buick on a bonafide elven quest encountering black magic, rabid pixie tribes, and demons along the way. Each conflict is plausible and usually amusing, the pace is kept tight, and Rachel, true to character, never, ever, backs down facing every problem with her customary tenacity.
While I won't give away the end, the book does deal with some of Rachel's lingering personal relationships very nicely and even throws some refreshing new twists into her life including a much anticipated change in the relationship between her and Trent. It's the kind of book that recharges a series, and in this case it's mostly done with finesse. I will say, while I see the necessity, I'm less thrilled with the change in the relationship between her and Ivy, and the book was a little short on Jenks, but hey, you can't have it all.
If you haven't tried the series, I highly recommend it. Some people don't love the first book, but if you stick with it, they continue to improve and are well worth the time investment. Trust me, Rachel is one lovable witch. Yes, she has bad taste in clothes, worse taste in men, an attitude and mouth that never stop, but she also possesses the courage, talent, heart and confidence to make the impossible happen.
At first I really liked the book, my previous post called it "funny and rather poignant", and it was for 98% of the book. It was a little predictable,At first I really liked the book, my previous post called it "funny and rather poignant", and it was for 98% of the book. It was a little predictable, but it had good thoughts about relationship struggles. Later on it delved women's need for security and questioned what we are willing to sacrifice for security. And then I came to end. Without ruining it I will say, it defied my prediction, and I hated the ending. So, it gets three stars for a whole lot of laugh out loud moments and an interesting look into modern relationships. It doesn't get more due to the end, and to some rather disjointed unbelievable character relationships. ...more
Read this last night, and I enjoyed it just as much as the show! A prequel to the web series, the graphic novel tells the origin tale of The Knights oRead this last night, and I enjoyed it just as much as the show! A prequel to the web series, the graphic novel tells the origin tale of The Knights of Good as narrated by Cyd. Like in the series, Felicia Day's writing is laugh out loud funny in places, especially for those of us who relate all too well to the shenanigans of her lame and awkward characters. Gotta' say, Cyd is one of my all time favorite people! Hope there are more of these to follow. ...more
Picked this up on a friend's recommendation and read it yesterday as a break from some headier literature. As the speedy read indicates, Monster was aPicked this up on a friend's recommendation and read it yesterday as a break from some headier literature. As the speedy read indicates, Monster was a fun break! While not complex or particularly thought provoking, Monster is witty, a little outrageous, and creative. The characters in particular made the book for me, especially the reluctant protagonist, Monster, and his paper gnome side kick, Chester. Any fan of humorous sci-fi/ fantasy books should give it a whirl! ...more
Rothfuss's sequel was well worth the wait. I quite literally couldn't put it down and read it while walking, eating, driving...well, not really drivinRothfuss's sequel was well worth the wait. I quite literally couldn't put it down and read it while walking, eating, driving...well, not really driving, but you get the point. Kvothe's adventures and Rothfuss's poetic prose were positively engrossing. I wish I'd had the time to write the review last week when the book was fresh on my mind, but I still recall how much I enjoyed Kvothe's character development and how realistically his legend is built. A friend of mine told me he didn't love the first book because it felt like Kvothe could magically develop a new power/ skill to solve any impossible situation, and I could see his point to some extent. That didn't seem to be the case this time. If anything, Rothfuss downplayed the legend and explained how rational events gained legendary qualities in the retelling, and how Kvothe let the legend be built figuring it never hurt to have a formidable reputation.
As Kvothe headed out into the world, he encountered a variety of new cultures, and I felt the descriptions of these were well executed. Rothfuss believably integrated cultures including such nuanced features as greeting customs and a fascinating way of displaying emotions using hand gestures as opposed to facial features. Fascinating, and a lovely way to add realism and depth to the world.
The one thing we continue to be left nearly completely in the dark about is the mystery surrounding why a legendary figure would end up a powerless inn keeper, and why he wants everyone to believe he's dead. So far I've picked up few hints about what might have led to this, though one can assume it would involve the Chandrim, the creatures out of myth that killed his family and have haunted him through his life. However hints as to what happened are dealt out as sparsely as the clues Kvothe finds regarding their existence.
With so much tale left to tell and such a fascinating build up to this point, I can't wait to read what happens next. So, while I will wait for a quality book, I am going to pray that quality happens quickly this time so I can read the next chapter soon! ...more
I wrote a long review of the 1st book; therefore, all I really have to say about this addition is that it maintained the quality of the 1st and made mI wrote a long review of the 1st book; therefore, all I really have to say about this addition is that it maintained the quality of the 1st and made me eager to read the next book in the series. The complications introduced are interesting, and I'm enjoying the addition of more fantasy elements. ...more
"In reality the monsters win," declares Sansa after facing harsh life lessons, giving a cynical but all too true depiction of life on the continent of"In reality the monsters win," declares Sansa after facing harsh life lessons, giving a cynical but all too true depiction of life on the continent of Westeros. A Song of Ice and Fire is said to be a realist fantasy, much like an old favorite of mine The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever. In both series, the world created is not a pretty place. Heroes die, protagonists flawed, evil triumphs. This can be hard to take for a fantasy fan accustomed to a more Lord of the Rings stereotypical novel development. Yet, just like in Thomas Covenant, in the end the characters' flaws make them intriguing and real, the plot unpredictable.
Case in point, the first time I read this book, I ended up throwing it across the room when my favorite character, Eddard Stark, was killed. I had expected him to prevail and was beyond annoyed when his enemies took him down. He was a honorable and just man, and to see him and his family destroyed by the slimy Lannisters was unconsciousable.
I dealt with the death better this time and instead of becoming frustrated, I was struck by the novel's superiority over a typical sword and sorcery series. Even the minor characters are well crafted and memorable, and the main characters are fascinating. For example, Tyrion Lannister, the unloved younger brother of the Lannister twins, is a complex little man whose motivations and loyalties are as multi-layered as his personality. Because the characters are so real, the plot feels more real as well, and even for someone well versed at predicting outcomes it's hard to predict what will happen in a world where everyone's motivations are suspect and anyone can change sides or even die.
While I do still feel the worldview presented is a little too dark because I would like to see some of the admirable characters find some happiness, overall the novel is amazing. I hope HBO does it justice.
I adore de Lint's work, and The Onion Girl is probably my favorite. de Lint's writing makes finding magic in the ordinary feel possible, and his charaI adore de Lint's work, and The Onion Girl is probably my favorite. de Lint's writing makes finding magic in the ordinary feel possible, and his characters become your best friends you just haven't met yet. Jilly, the self proclaimed "onion girl" possesses an infectious good humor and irrepressible sense of wonder. It is her character that enables me to not just finish, but enjoy a book about a very dark topic, child abuse.
In the novel, an accident forces Jilly to come to terms with her abusive past in order to heal and move on. This sounds like a well worn topic, but in de Lint's hands, it becomes (literally) a magical tale. He deftly mixes magic and reality by intertwining the story in the real world with a dreamworld inhabited by both People, old spirits; magical creatures; humans; and Eadar, products of human imagination.
The Onion Girl is a story of the power people have within us to shape our destiny, despite the trials we might encounter. Yet, paradoxically, at the same time he reinforces how much people need each other for strength, love, and support.
Jilly says The Onion Girl's message best when she says, "I made the choice to be where I am today, but I wouldn't have been able to do it without people like them....I got lucky. I got helped out of the darkness. And I did make the choice not to go back. And that led to the other choices by which I live my life: Not to back down. To help anybody I can. To find beauty in the unlikeliest places and show it to the rest of the world....Every day I live--offering a smile, a kindness, a helping hand, a painting--is a day I've stolen from them. It's a day they can't have."
After re-reading The Onion Girl, I am once again, looking for pixies at the corner of my eyes (that's where they hide, just out of sight unless you are paying attention), and that's not a bad thing.
Note: The Onion Girl is part of a series of Newford novels de Lint has written. I suggest you read a couple before this one to familiarize yourself with the characters. ...more
Despite being an avid admirer of Camus, I'd avoided reading The Plague because the topic, The Black Death, made me a little nauseous. So, it took theDespite being an avid admirer of Camus, I'd avoided reading The Plague because the topic, The Black Death, made me a little nauseous. So, it took the fervent recommendation of a trusted friend to get me to finally pick it up, but my friend was right. The Plague is a fascinating read. Yes, the book is darker than Camus' other work; a book about the plague's effects on a small town isn't going to be light hearted. Yet Camus' examination of how individual men and society face catastrophe is somehow not just horrifying and tragic but reassuring and compassionate. In the face of an epidemic, Camus shows how even while dealing with near certain death, men are capable of great sacrifice and kindness, not all men, not even most, but some--and more than you would believe.
Interwoven throughout the tale are explorations of the different philosophies men use to deal with tragedy, and unlike in his earlier works, he treats each fairly respectfully from the Christian priest who sees the plague as a punishment from God to the atheist. This provides a more balance perspective and truly allows the reader to feel the difficulties of finding the "right way" to view life.
At one point one of the novel's characters states, "each of us has the plague within him; no one, no one on earth is free of it," and this is the heart of what Camus is trying to say. The plague, death, will find us all someday, and "it's a wearying business, being plague stricken." Man's task is to choose how to greet life knowing the inevitability of death and suffering. Camus, after examining the many ways man can deal with this question concludes "what we learn in time of pestilence: that there are more things to admire in men than to despise." And I have to say, it is a lovely thing, to read a book full of death and despair and still find mankind worthy, despite all of our individual differences. ...more
Phenomenal novel. On the surface, A Gate at the Stairs is a coming of age tale, but underneath the tale is peppered with intriguing ideas on topics asPhenomenal novel. On the surface, A Gate at the Stairs is a coming of age tale, but underneath the tale is peppered with intriguing ideas on topics as diverse as multiracial adoption and terrorism. Moore manages to marry these eclectic elements well using her customary wry humor and wit, and by creating characters just odd enough to be fully realized and not caricatures. Add to this mix, Moore's poetic prose, and you have an enchanting novel that, like the back of the book claims, makes you laugh and cry sometimes at the same time. ...more
I eagerly bought this book as I've been a long time admirer of Graffin's music, which is based around intellectual lyrics and thought provoking socialI eagerly bought this book as I've been a long time admirer of Graffin's music, which is based around intellectual lyrics and thought provoking social commentary. Therefore, I was sure his musings on Atheism would reflect the same quality. I was sorely disappointed.
Now, I feel the need to qualify my criticism because I'm not sure my views would represent those of the average person reading the book. I spent my entire adult life living with a scientist and have spent even more time listening to Graffin's music and going to countless Bad Religion concerts. So, I'm not sure whether the book itself bothered me, or if it bothered me to spend so much time reading things I already knew. For example, the first five chapters provide what I felt was a grade school education on evolution, his life, coupled with some decent musing on religion. Unfortunately, all of it lacks the vocabulary and insight shown in his music, a fact that disappointed me more than anything else.
The only reason the book even gets 3 stars from me is that it does improve after the first five chapters. At this point his arguments, structured around the parallels he sees in the scientific process and the order of the natural world, the creative process, and the process of developing a life philosophy minus God, finally begin to mesh. Still, many times I found the details added in the notes in the back more intriguing than the text itself to the point I wished the whole book was written like the notes, and the back had notes for those requiring more information to understand Graffin's message.
The last chapters were the best of all. In these chapters he presents a compelling argument about ethics and Atheism in which he proposes a myriad of reasons and ways atheists are actually more motivated than religious people to live a good life and take care of the natural world (i.e. environment). This part was totally worth reading. I only wish it didn't take 150 pages for the book to get there. ...more
Love Jim Butcher, and I enjoyed these short stories, especially the stories told from different characters p.o.vs. Not my favorite Dresden File, but aLove Jim Butcher, and I enjoyed these short stories, especially the stories told from different characters p.o.vs. Not my favorite Dresden File, but a worthy effort. ...more