If you are curious how the Republican party has come to see itself as a defensive counterculture, this book is as good as any to give you insight. TheIf you are curious how the Republican party has come to see itself as a defensive counterculture, this book is as good as any to give you insight. The author is convinced that, coming off the 1960s, the Left won the culture war and now controls the national narrative. It is an argument that is both fascinating and bizarre. He seems to see political manipulations where others might see common sense and decency. By the time he devolves (inevitably) into Reagan nostalgia, he had lost me....more
**spoiler alert** Gripping, with good twists and a kooky ending. It contains my least favorite type of scene in this genre, in which the culprit, afte**spoiler alert** Gripping, with good twists and a kooky ending. It contains my least favorite type of scene in this genre, in which the culprit, after spending the entire book trying to conceal his/her identity, suddenly is found out and begins revealing his/her motive with astonishing psychological clarity. I especially hate dialogue like this:
A. But, why did you do it? You didn't seem to hate her that much. B. Well, killing her was better than letting her win.
Recently a book critic for a national glossy magazine admitted that, for reasons of professional courtesy, she rarely gives lower than a four-star revRecently a book critic for a national glossy magazine admitted that, for reasons of professional courtesy, she rarely gives lower than a four-star review. It's simple karma: the same authors who are launching books will in a few years be asked to blurb others' works. Since most book reviewers are writers themselves, they can't risk blowback when it comes time to launch their next work.
This revelation confirmed what I already suspected about the current state of book criticism. Every few months I pick up a new book, in part due to the hyperbolic praise of critics and blurbs from authors I like. Often the book is mediocre, the kind of project that goes unpublished if the author doesn't have industry contacts. There are numerous examples I could cite of this, but in the interest of brevity I will simply say that Paula Hawkins "The Girl on the Train" is the latest example of this. The author, a former journalist, got starred reviews from both Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews. She was compared to Hitchcock. One review said that "even the most astute reader" will be surprised by the twists and turns. Who are these people who are putting their professional reputations on the line by making such grand statements? Do they really believe what they're writing?
This book isn't bad. I give the author high marks for gripping suspense. I felt sympathy for the protagonist, whose life has fallen apart due to betrayal. The premise is good and, yes, evokes Hitchcock. However, there are some problems in the narrative. For one, there are only four possible culprits to the crime. Once you eliminate the most obvious and least obvious suspect, which any "astute reader" knows to do, you have a fifty percent chance of guessing correctly. In addition, the prose is cliched at times. At one point the author writes, "there was ice in my veins." I mean, seriously? That is the kind of line that gets stricken from college creative writing efforts. I would have respect for any critic who could point these things out instead of just sugarcoating the truth....more
This is a mostly fascinating look at the causes, triggers, and uses of unrequited romantic love. The author uses Jungian psychology, the Western canonThis is a mostly fascinating look at the causes, triggers, and uses of unrequited romantic love. The author uses Jungian psychology, the Western canon, and social science to support her ideas, as well as interviews and her own experiences. Ultimately it has a hopeful tone, seeing value in painful experiences that may otherwise seem like wasted time and energy....more