Very creative story that examines the heck out of American life without preaching (how do authors do that?): race, beauty and family. WellInteresting
Very creative story that examines the heck out of American life without preaching (how do authors do that?): race, beauty and family. Well written and thought provoking. Weird characters. The audio jars with the two different voices but I liked it, well done. It's out on paperback, so if you've missed this one, it's worthy as a beach read. ...more
I do love poetry but I don't give it the time I should because I'd rather have a story. This is a story in poetry, a powerful, sometimes difficult toI do love poetry but I don't give it the time I should because I'd rather have a story. This is a story in poetry, a powerful, sometimes difficult to face, sweet, thought filled, poetic stream by a girl whose young life was a study in opposites, and who believes in opposites coming together some day. I do, too. Thank you Jaqueline with a J and a Q for inspiring me to keep on believing and for taking me through your journey with such grace....more
Hate the cover, love the book. I get why this won the Goodreads award. Its real, it tugs at your heart, and yet it doesn't solve all the problems butHate the cover, love the book. I get why this won the Goodreads award. Its real, it tugs at your heart, and yet it doesn't solve all the problems but leaves you with hope. Also, I can see why it would be popular with happily -- or even semi-happily -- married women (but do younger girls like it?) Interesting time twist that makes you think about your mate and why you fell and love and what you do to each other despite your best intentions, and why you stay married. Good stuff and hard to put down....more
I hate short stories. I'm just a long story person. I want to be given a chance to care about every aspect of the story. I want something to think aboI hate short stories. I'm just a long story person. I want to be given a chance to care about every aspect of the story. I want something to think about. I want a chance to laugh, cry, be curious, be surprised, and be swept away. I want something profound.
How does she do it? I was completely swept up in these stories in all of the above ways. I want to study them and figured out their myriad meanings. I want to study Mantel's writing techniques. I want a bit of her brilliant zanyness....more
I think I'll stick with my first assessment: Fascinatingly Weird. Or the Strange Plot Twist Road to the Rainbow at the End of the Road to Perdition.
EI think I'll stick with my first assessment: Fascinatingly Weird. Or the Strange Plot Twist Road to the Rainbow at the End of the Road to Perdition.
Everytime you think you have the story figured out, you get slammed with a Plot Twist from out of nowhere. Any less of a writer couldn't have dished it up and served it so well. Who won't like it? Practical readers without fortitude or patience, or maybe just with much bettet sense than me, or maybe with less of a sense of humor. I'm not even really sure why I liked it, other than that I love the ability to look (through great writing) at a wide variant of American life in the forties. I love how the tone is so light and matter of fact despite all the heavy subjects. And I truly deeply wanted things to work out for little Evie in the end. She is special and steadfast in her own way, so the only comparison I have is that she gives us a look at life and love and death in the 40s via a sort of Forrestina Gump voice who does Strange Childhood, Peas and Carrots Half Sister, Hollywood, and Jersey, with Jazz, Jewish, and Germanic undertones.
Warning: Probably not for the Super Southern Conservative? But hey, if you read Fifty Shades- and based on sales numbers I think everyone in the world did- then I don't really see the difference. Just take it with a grain of salt....more
Warning: you are going to want to read this from cover to cover. What a profound young love story, which raises so many great questions. Why do we reaWarning: you are going to want to read this from cover to cover. What a profound young love story, which raises so many great questions. Why do we read Romeo and Juliet? Is young love, against all the odds, always doomed? Who / what are the Montagues and Capalets of today (or even if the 80s in this book)? Why do opposites attract? Do you have to conform to society's rules? What would you do for love? What would you do for survival?
Eleanor is chubby and has red hair. Lots of red hair. Enough so that she is quickly dubbed Big Red at her new highschool. Eleanor's dad is selfish and absentee. Her mom's husband is scary and abusive, and so mom can't / doesn't help Eleanor, even with such simple needs as clothing or toothbrushes. Eleanor isn't "nice" -life hasn't given her that chance- but there is something about her - like the way she was able to read that poem in English her first day. She is smart and unique, and beautiful just as she is.
Park couldn't be more opposite. His parents are actually still in love, and though they have their moments, they love him and are supportive and somehow pretty wise. Park is cool and even exotic looking, taking after his Korean mother. Park is into music and constantly makes tapes of his favorite songs to listen to, while reading his comic magazines.
Park has a whole seat on the bus and, not without regret, is the only one who allows Eleanor to sit. Soon he realizes that she is reading his comics with him.
Now, see, you do want to know what happens next....more
Very cute easy read. Picture an Aussie Sheldon /Spock who logically deduces that he should marry but hates wasting his time on incompatible women so hVery cute easy read. Picture an Aussie Sheldon /Spock who logically deduces that he should marry but hates wasting his time on incompatible women so he designs the perfect test to find the perfect wife. In walks the delightfull Rosie with a project of her own, who, if she were taking the test, would utterly flunk it. When you are in the mood for something that will make you smile, read this!...more
(Via Audio). My best description of this is Pulp Fiction meets Dickens. Yes, while reading the book, you'll be reminded of Oliver and Great Expectatio(Via Audio). My best description of this is Pulp Fiction meets Dickens. Yes, while reading the book, you'll be reminded of Oliver and Great Expectations, but you'll also see a thoughorly modern mash up and you'll wonder throughout how it will end. I think modern fiction does a much better job of starting with a bang, but ending poorly; while classical fiction starts slow but ends brilliantly. This book is one of those rare books that delivers in a modern way, while also ending just right, and while making a big statement. I see what all the fuss is about now and I'm glad I took the time. It's a big tome, but worth the read. Would also make a great book club selection, despite its length, because there will be plenty to discuss.
And just for the record, I'm with you, Hobie!
p.s. Congrats for winning the Pulitzer Prize!...more
(Via Audio, but now I now want to read it!) Well written unique book about two young English women who become friends despite social class difference(Via Audio, but now I now want to read it!) Well written unique book about two young English women who become friends despite social class difference because of World War II, which took them to their destinies. The book is told through their journals, so you get to see the story unfold through different view points. I was hooked from the first couple of sentences, which, along with the title, tells all:
"I AM A COWARD
I wanted to be heroic and I pretended I was. I have always been good at pretending. I spent the first twelve years of my life at the Battle of Stirling Bridge with my five big brothers, and even though I am a girl they let me be William Wallace, who is supposed to be one of our ancestors, because I did the most rousing battle speeches."
(Now just try to put that down!) A true spy-coming of age novel, chalk full of historical and literary references. I cannot for the life of me figure out what book this is like, but I would say that if you liked "The Book Thief" and if you like intrigue, you will like this. ...more
Watch the PBS interview, then read the book and wonder at the world Johnson created. He somehow went to North Korea and incorporated some of what he gWatch the PBS interview, then read the book and wonder at the world Johnson created. He somehow went to North Korea and incorporated some of what he glimpsed. Although the country is a mystery to us, perhaps this book sheds light through the power of fiction....more
This is a mommy come of age book if there ever was one. It will make you sick but curious, and sympathetic but exasperated all at the same time. It wiThis is a mommy come of age book if there ever was one. It will make you sick but curious, and sympathetic but exasperated all at the same time. It will just about embarrass you for all female American moms while it makes you love them and their young, too. But for the extremes, it might be a pretty fantastic fictional essay on the women of my generation, as we face the banality of life. We have many choices. We can be hormonally lunatic, desperately hiding, snarky and adulterous, a menace to society, or we can get on with our lives and purpose. We can get back to creativity. We can choose men who will not check out of our lives but who help us embrace them. Where Oh where is . . . ? May all the Bernadettes out there find themselves....more
At least a 3.5 so I rounded up -- Fun book. I was afraid when I picked it up that I had been dupped by the cover but the silliness settled down with aAt least a 3.5 so I rounded up -- Fun book. I was afraid when I picked it up that I had been dupped by the cover but the silliness settled down with a fun mystery with generous servings of historical fiction and classical music. It deserves more than a 3 I'm just not sure if it matches up with most of my 4s....more
Is there such a thing as irreverently reverent? I love what Sherman Alexie has to say through his stories. War Stories and Senator's Son were my favorIs there such a thing as irreverently reverent? I love what Sherman Alexie has to say through his stories. War Stories and Senator's Son were my favorites. ...more
So glad I finally took time to read this; so glad I didn't pass it by; so glad this book finally came to be published. I didn't realize this was fictiSo glad I finally took time to read this; so glad I didn't pass it by; so glad this book finally came to be published. I didn't realize this was fiction before I started reading, or I probably would have read sooner. The voices, the vernacular, the setting, the themes, the politics, the turmoil, the battle scenes, everything just felt so accurate to me. I also really loved the sense of time warp in which we got a glimpse into the character's thoughts while battle was raging around them, and the tunnel vision in which the battles were written, making them seem authentic and jump right off the page. (Reminds me of War and Peace in that aspect). And this wasn't just action packed, but a story in which I got to care about so many of the characters. Also, the audio version is stellar, although there is much to keep straight. Highly recommend, don't let the year pass by without reading this! ...more
Interesting book, gothic fantasy with a serving of the philosophiical battle between evolution, creation, or goddess, so true to its time setting.
WhoInteresting book, gothic fantasy with a serving of the philosophiical battle between evolution, creation, or goddess, so true to its time setting.
Who is Jane Silverlake? Where did Nathan Ashe go? What did Ariston Day do to him, and what does Day have planned? What is happening at Stoke Morrow and the Heath? With names like that, the reader gets a sense of all the original gothics rolled into one but also knows that the story is its own unique telling. Good writing and a page turner, but definitely expect a complete new twist on the genre. And, it lingers. I keep wondering what it all means, if anything, which is how I like an author to leave it.
As a side note, I enjoyed listening to original music from the TV series Dowton Abbey while reading. Gave it just the dark melancholic but fast paced sense that was needed. ...more
Life Goal Achieved! You all know that I am definitely not a genius. And this book is not enjoyable much of the time. However, it is an incredible, monLife Goal Achieved! You all know that I am definitely not a genius. And this book is not enjoyable much of the time. However, it is an incredible, monumental exploration of the written word. It is important. And the Penelope (Molly Bloom Soliloquy) Chapter was so divine that it should have been labeled the original Vagina Monologue. The audio performance of that was perfection.
I had to read, listen, and study my way through this book. I am so glad to no longer be in the dark.
This is how I did it, and it wasn't the perfect plan, but it worked.
I figured it was finally time to take the plunge when everything in my life kept popping up as James Joyce. Last fall I read "The Most Dangerous Book" which told me the story of the publication / obscenity battle. That was mainly due to the Molly Chapter, although the middle chapter was also a scrumptous read-between-the-lines tale, in which Bloom encounters a sea nymph posing as a beautiful young woman, and gets his own pleasure from her. Seriously, anyone wanting to write anything about romance or sex, needs to read this chapter. Pure genius at saying it without saying it, and leaving the rest to the imagination.
Several months ago I found an old hardcover US Edition of Ulysses at the Library and picked it up for a mere quarter. I'm not fool; that was sign enough that it was time to plunge in. (The Greeks would be proud).
So, I pulled out my Odyssey, mainly the audio version but also the Harvard Series, and I also bought an audio of Ulysses, as well as an audio course on it. My plan was to listen to them all basically a chapter at a time, and that what both a good and a bad way to do it. It was good because it helped it all make sense while it was fresh. It helped me keep plunging on. I'm not sure that I know an American born child of the 80s that would find much to understand or like about the book, except the two previously mentioned chapters. But even had I been Irish born, the course would have been a must.
I didn't really want to study about it before hand, so I didn't realize that the chapters didn't actually correspond, because Joyce presented them as they occurred, rather than as they were relayed in the Greek fashion. I also didn't realize how very loosely it is based on the great Greek wandering tale. So the course was invaluable, and it didn't matter that much if the timing was off a bit. Reading it mixed in gave great relief from some of the chapters.
Because some of them were so strange, and long, and puzzling that they even almost put the publisher off. (Yes, hearing that in the course did make me feel better). The publisher had Joyce to explain, I had the course. The whole idea of demonstrating different writing techniques (Joyce, the ultimate showoff) would have completely escaped me, I think. At least, the newspaper chapter was easy to pick up on, as was the great Ivanhoe romantic style.
Some of the chapters I actually enjoyed. Many I hated. Some of the "Odyssey" I liked, some of it I didn't love. It didn't have the same feel for me as the "Iliad", even the audio version. But I loved every single class. The course was awesome.
And then, there is Molly Bloom. She made a believer out of me. That man was a genius. The audio and in fact the whole journey, was made worthwhile just for Molly Bloom's moment. My stream of consciousness isn't near so fascinating. ...more
Excellent gothic historical detective noir. Love this genre, and I think this will be the next big book in it. Faye did a wonderful job of research, sExcellent gothic historical detective noir. Love this genre, and I think this will be the next big book in it. Faye did a wonderful job of research, setting and character, and her " flash" language is incredible, but made easy for the reader. Also, the audible version was just outstanding, so I have a new fab author and narrator to add to my list. I even enjoyed the video on the author's website and information on her background that shows you why this book feels so period right.
Even the names evoke the characters, in a Dicksonesque way. You know what you are going to get when in New York during the Irish potato famine, you have a small disfigured detective named Timothy Wilde whose brother is named Valentine Wilde, Mercy Underhill is the girl of Timothy's dreams, and Bird Daly is the little girl who has run from the scene of the crime. (And that's just the short list of perfect names). With all of that detail taken care of, the reader can just sit back and enjoy.
Here is an example of what makes Wilde so likeable, even before he starts figuring out how to solve a murder:
"Escorting Mercy down a block, depending on her mood, you might not be there for all the attention she pays you. And I'm not exactly Sunday, so to speak. I've never been a special occasion. I'm all the other days in a work week, and there are plenty of us streaming by without notice. But I could fix that, or I thought I could."
Faye also did a great job of giving the sense of the racial and prejudicial turmoil of the times without being trite or judgmental, and in outlining the true grit of the first police force in New York. If any of this appeals to you, go get your copy today!...more
Meet Min (short for Minerva, Roman Goddess of wisdom) who has a penchant for saying "whatnot" and for old films. Meet Ed, co-captain of the basketballMeet Min (short for Minerva, Roman Goddess of wisdom) who has a penchant for saying "whatnot" and for old films. Meet Ed, co-captain of the basketball team who has a penchant for all things jock and for saying "no offense" - an annoying habit if there was one. This treasure of a book is their breakup story, told through the articles of their falling in love story. Min's voice makes this journey worthwhile - the voice of a teen girl who is just beginning to know what she thinks, despite not knowing as much as she thinks she does.
Published by Little Brown and Company, the hardback book is a treasure in itself for the silky pages and color graphics of all of the "items." More fun is found on the web page, which possibly helps first timers (or repeat timers) get through the break up, and the rest of us to laugh and smile in relief that the past is the past and we've all been there done that, but yes, we'll all do it again because it is soooooo worth it.
Daniel Handler is the author of the Lemony Snicket books: "A Series of Unfortunate Events." But I hope teens don't pick it up for that reason because this little book has some real treasures of its own and should be enjoyed just for the purpose of the first love break up story. (Also, warning to parents, while this book doesn't describe sex it also doesn't sugar coat or hide it's existence. In fact, the should we- shouldn't we part of sex is very much a part of the story. It's not appropriate for preteens).
Min conjures up that whole first love thing. For example, Min, writing of their first real conversation, says: "After a few minutes, we'd stop rattling, we'd adjust, we'd settle In, and the conversation would speed into the night. Sometimes it was just laughing at the comparison of favorites, I love that flavor, that color's cool, that album sucks, I've never seen that show, she's awesome, he's an idiot, you must be kidding, no way mine's better, safe and hilarious like tickling. Sometimes it was stories we told, taking turns and encouraging, it's not boring, it's OK, I heard you, I hear you, you don't have to say it, you can say it again, I never told this to anyone, I won't tell anyone else. You told me that time. . . I told you that time. . . . That time. . . . That time. . . ."
I'm glad Min survived the breakup, may we all do so well....more
Now I know why Kay Scarpetta is still around and where all those female lead crime/law/medical examiner TV shows came from. Interesting to hear the teNow I know why Kay Scarpetta is still around and where all those female lead crime/law/medical examiner TV shows came from. Interesting to hear the technology back when all this started, it almost felt like SF even though I lived through it all! Also interesting to take a look from the female side of things.
I listened to this because of Audible's near free first in a series give away, glad I did. I recommend it to any of you crime solver addicts out there....more
Once in awhile a friend gives you a book that resonates deep within you. This is such a book. Yes, the name goes for the shock value, as the author teOnce in awhile a friend gives you a book that resonates deep within you. This is such a book. Yes, the name goes for the shock value, as the author tells the stories of numerous women. I laughed, cried, thought, laughed, and cried some more. This book reminds me of why I am so proud to be a woman, and why I don't believe in shoving the truth under the cover. I want to look at it head on, know about it, and tell others about it. I want my daughter to grow up strong and confident, and I want that for all of my friends and their daughters. Being a woman is so mystical, so powerful, so wonderful, and yet bad things do happen to us, many times just because of the fact that we are women. Being a lawyer and a lawyer's wife, I well know that, but so many do not know and worse, don't want to know.
Not knowing won't change anything. But knowing can.
I read this book to give my thoughts to PCT Off Plaza about whether to do this play. I hope they will, but regardless of that, I hope you will read this book. Read it for yourself, and for your mom, wife, daughters, and friends. You will learn something. And your knowledge will help someone....more
Excellent book. King is the master of vernacular! I love history and time travel, because it helps the reader explore the times through the eyes of ouExcellent book. King is the master of vernacular! I love history and time travel, because it helps the reader explore the times through the eyes of our times. I'm not into slasher/thrillers so don't typically read King, but I do like his writing so I am glad that he ventured into this area and with this exact topic which is so important to our history. The first part of the book had a little bit of a thriller element, true to King's genre, but it all tied in.
King obviously did his research on this book and I predict that his thoroughness and execution will keep "11/22/63" on must read lists for a long time. As silly as it sounds, scientists still debate "time travel" and King's exploration of the butterfly theory of time travel was very interesting. I also loved the interwoven love story and the ending. ...more
Unlike 1984, which is a bad good book, this book is a good bad book. Also unlike 1984, it is a fantasy that is brain candy without much point. There iUnlike 1984, which is a bad good book, this book is a good bad book. Also unlike 1984, it is a fantasy that is brain candy without much point. There is no question that Murakami is an artist (unlike Orwell, who was so passionate about an idea that his terminology survives despite his lack of style). For example, take this description of the heroine's frown:
"Whenever something caused her to frown or grimace, however, her features underwent dramatic changes. The muscles of her face tightened, pulling in several directions at once and emphasizing the lack of symmetry in the overall structure. Deep wrinkles formed in her skin, her eyes suddenly drew inward, her nose and mouth became violently distorted, her jaw twisted to the side, and her lips curled back, exposing Aomame's large white teeth. Instantly, she became a wholly different person, as if a cord had broken, dropping the mask that normally covered her face. The shocking transformation terrified anyone who saw it, so she was careful never to frown in the presence of a stranger. She would contort her face only when she was alone or when she was threatening a man who displeased her."
Now, that is a frown that tells you loads about the heroine, who means business, even though her name means green bean. And while some people have no patience for that kind of description, the rest of us love it, which is why Murakami is a best selling author in Japan.
What fascinates me with this book is the constant Western references -- typical Asian books do not have this, so it is interesting that a Japanese author who was so heavily influenced by the West is such a big seller in Japan. I even think the ending draws largely from a famous children's book. Throughout the book I kept wondering how much of the Western feel was from the translation, verses from the author, so I loved that the audio version includes translator interviews.
And while I am talking about the audio, I must say that the narrators were wonderful.
Frankly, I liked the book. But the US publisher made two HUGE mistakes. First, I hated the graphic love scenes. Was it because I was listening to the book that it felt like erotica? If I had been reading, I would have just thumbed through to get back to the story, except that it eventually became a part of the story. That aspect almost ruined the book for me -- I almost quit reading -- so I warn you not to read the book if graphic sex scenes bother you in the least. The US publishers should have diluted this, or at least warned us about it. I say this with assurance that I am usually not the least frumpy about this sort of thing and have never complained about it in a book review before.
The second mistake was that this book should have been published in series, instead of all together, just like it was in Japan. Americans have too much else to do to read such a thick book, and are more used to the series publishing now anyway. The thickness of the book turns off even the most ardent reader and makes it hard to digest the story.
So, that leaves the "Little People" verses "Big Brother" . Murakami really could have done something with that brilliant idea. What an imagination to come up with something that truly does contrast so well with the Big Brother idea. Of course, I think current days have more to do with Little People than the true year 1984 did -- with the internet I believe we are in a "Little People" age. But even in 1984 there were little people cults that were controlling, so it still could have worked. But he doesn't really develop the idea, so don't expect it, even though the book occasionally evokes 1984, making you expect some kind of dystopian diatribe. In the end, it's just a big little fantasy that has an enticing heroine and hero, who have a problem that needs solving, in a world of two moons that the little people control....more
So far, this book has me enthralled and engaged! What will happen next? I like the idea of a genuine American low or urban fantasy. - now having fini So far, this book has me enthralled and engaged! What will happen next? I like the idea of a genuine American low or urban fantasy. - now having finished it, I can say that it was a fun page turner. I will be looking for the next one....more
Witty little western with all the classic themes (guns, horses, miners, a Commodore and mama) and with some new ones - like a toothbrushing fetish. BuWitty little western with all the classic themes (guns, horses, miners, a Commodore and mama) and with some new ones - like a toothbrushing fetish. But underneath all of that was something very interesting going on between the brothers, as is demonstrated by this fun quote: "'What's that? You're not smiling are you? We're in a quarrel and you mustn't under any circumstances smile.' I was not smiling, but then began to, slightly. 'No,' said Charlie, 'you mustn't smile when quarreling. It's wrong, and I daresay you know it's wrong. You must stew and hate and revisit all the slights I offered you in childhood.' "...more