I've been gradually working my way through all of Neri's stuff after being smitten with Ghetto Cowboy a few years back.
Knockout Games took me awhileI've been gradually working my way through all of Neri's stuff after being smitten with Ghetto Cowboy a few years back.
Knockout Games took me awhile to get into, but I eventually found myself hooked, and though I struggled through the entire thing to really relate to the characters, I love that they all feel so realistically drawn. The story's pretty intense, and based on events that happened in real life in St. Louis in 2011, as well as in other places before and since. It was hard watching various characters make terrible choices over and over again, but I'm satisfied with the way things turn out in the end (view spoiler)[Erica and Destiny BFFs for life! Long live the queen! (hide spoiler)].
I feel like I'm still processing a lot about this one, but once again, I'm pretty impressed with Neri's ability to write about difficult, complex issues with sensitivity and power. I'm definitely looking forward to more by him soon!...more
So, so good. Audre Lorde has quickly become one of those authors I want to read everything by. This is a super weird comparison, but it reminds me ofSo, so good. Audre Lorde has quickly become one of those authors I want to read everything by. This is a super weird comparison, but it reminds me of first discovering Robertson Davies, and then determinedly working through everything of his I could get my hands on. Audre Lorde and Robertson Davies are pretty much nothing at all alike, other than something lyrical and mythical and addicting in their voices. Well, Audre Lorde is officially my current obsession, and I am going to determinedly work through everything of hers I can get my hands on.
Anyway, this one is the story of her early life, from her childhood born of Caribbean immigrants to her life in New York in the late 1950s, through all the women who helped her become and realize who she was. I don't think I'll ever forget her mother, or Gennie, or Muriel, or Afrikete, and I don't think I'll ever forget the strength of this female, black, legally blind, natural-haired, lesbian poet in the face of a society in which none of that was accepted, or the way she speaks about sisterhood, or identity, or being an outsider. This book is fascinating and beautiful and powerful and inspiring. Everyone should read some Audre Lorde!
Robin Miles does a fantastic job of narrating here (as always), and I also really appreciated the interview between Jim Atlas and Elizabeth Alexander at the end about the book and about Lorde's place in American literature. I think she definitely deserves more of one!...more
I might be reading this like 50 years too soon, but some days I definitely feel like I'm 90!
Soooooo, this book is kind of a scattered bunch of anecdotI might be reading this like 50 years too soon, but some days I definitely feel like I'm 90!
Soooooo, this book is kind of a scattered bunch of anecdotes about growing old, bits of advice, and spates of reminiscing about his career. Structurally, it didn't make much sense to me, but I still enjoyed it for the most part. He gets pretty repetitious at times, and sometimes it's kind of hilarious how stereotypical old guy he sounds (things like saying "to me, that's not music!" about stuff more recent than the 50s, and a whole list detailing how to drive properly, mainly consisting of "slow down"). I think he also has a lot of advantages in his old age that most people don't, at least financially and health care options-wise. Still, his main advice, to not spend time worrying about growing old or dying or acting your age, and to keep doing things you love, seems sound.
But by far my favorite parts of the book were his stories about the Dick Van Dyke show and Mary Tyler Moore and Julie Andrews, and the conversation he has about age with long-time friend Carl Reiner, three years his senior, and then 92 years old. Van Dyke and Reiner are both still around today, so whatever they're doing seems to be working out nicely for them!...more
This one got real close to earning 5 stars from me, but just missed the mark, partly because a few things (situations, reactions) felt slightly unbelThis one got real close to earning 5 stars from me, but just missed the mark, partly because a few things (situations, reactions) felt slightly unbelievable, and partly because, despite the awfulness of the subject matter, I just never found myself fully invested emotionally. Still, there's so much that's done right here, and it totally makes sense that Zentner is friends with Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera!
Anyway, things I loved in no particular order:
--The interactions Carver has with Blake, Eli and Mars--just, their friendship. I've seen a couple of reviewers complain that they act too much like twelve-year-olds, but I don't know that I agree with that. I mean, yeah, they act immature at times, but I can't say I acted any older when I was that age. I'm thinking here of all the dumb pranks I pulled with various friends back then: throwing a Baby Ruth in the swimming pool, tying the gym door to the upstairs landing with a bunch of yarn, getting everyone to write their name in chalk next to their desk on the carpet during French class without Mme. Gordon noticing, or repeatedly changing the "Bon jour" on the bulletin board to "Bon jovi," using a locker door detached from its hinges to enact ridiculous dramas (L: "Gee, Brandon, I'm real sorry your dog died." B: "NOOOOOOOO!")... This is all me at 17, so yeah, the squirrel rodeo and the fart jokes felt perfectly natural to me. I loved that though Blake and Eli and Mars are all dead before the story even begins, I still felt like I got to know them well through Carver's memories, Blake especially. And their dialogue was pretty great. I just really enjoyed their dynamic, and those scenes really allowed me to appreciate just how much Carver lost in the accident.
--Georgia!!! She seriously wins the BEST SISTER EVER award.
--So many different ways of reacting to and dealing with grief portrayed here, and most of it felt pretty spot-on. Guilt, too, and blame, and regret. And panic attacks.
--Not everything is tied up neatly at the end. Life is messy, and things don't always work out in the way we might ideally prefer them to. But there's hope, and healing, and closure, and lessons learned, and progress made.
--It also never comes across as a preachy "don't text and drive" message. Of course, that message is there, but we're generally not beaten over the head with it, because that just isn't what the book is actually about.
In the end, I found this really compelling, sad, horrible, beautiful, even funny at times, and I definitely now have The Serpent King on my list of things to read soon....more
Ahhhhhhhh, total cliffhanger ending!!! I mean, this is Soma we're talking about here, so despite the odds being seemingly completely stacked against hAhhhhhhhh, total cliffhanger ending!!! I mean, this is Soma we're talking about here, so despite the odds being seemingly completely stacked against him and Polaris dorm, I'm preeeeetty sure he'll manage okay. But I still can't wait to see what his latest food twist is, ha! Also, I love how everyone in Polaris has adopted Erina, though she still seems somewhat unsure about how that all worked out!...more
This was interesting, but not always compelling, and a lot of the information about narwhals seemed to consist of what things we actually don't know aThis was interesting, but not always compelling, and a lot of the information about narwhals seemed to consist of what things we actually don't know about them. I think I'd rather read a book written by someone who actually studies them, about how that's been done, rather than this book, which is in large part a travelogue. Then again, maybe there's just too much mystery surrounding them for even a narwhal scientist to write an entire book about them. I think this one could work really well for someone who knows absolutely nothing about narwhals, or whales in general, or about the Arctic; I've kind of read a lot on these subjects though, and it felt like there wasn't really anything new here for me. I definitely felt my attention waning once I hit the halfway mark....more
This was recommended to me somehow. Goodreads? Amazon? Someone in real life? Who knows? Anyway, I knew absolutely nothing about it before I opened it,This was recommended to me somehow. Goodreads? Amazon? Someone in real life? Who knows? Anyway, I knew absolutely nothing about it before I opened it, other than the cover looked pretty awesome. I'd never read the poem before, which has apparently been around since the 1600s, so I was kind of a blank slate. In the end, I like the poem a lot, the art is interesting and the format intriguing, but... I felt like the text at the very beginning makes it clear that my mind should be like, totally BLOWN by this breaking up of the lines of the poem in a different way, and instead I just found it choppy and awkward and annoying. I vastly preferred the poem in its original form. And I like looking at the illustrations much more if I don't even bother looking at the words. So all in all, the melding of the two was not a success for me....more