**spoiler alert** I'm a fan of Nick Hornby, oddly I read Juliet Naked, his last book first. Nick is a master of mockery. His books remind me of episod...more**spoiler alert** I'm a fan of Nick Hornby, oddly I read Juliet Naked, his last book first. Nick is a master of mockery. His books remind me of episodes of The Simpsons. Caustic social commentaries.
Like in other Hornby books, the male lead in this book is a self proclaimed independent. In other words, Will is selfish and self absorbed. It's a familar Hornby journey. For me ... it begins with disgust for the wanker .. . soon I begin to pity the wanker and finally I find myself able to empathsize and perhaps even kinda understand the wanker. The wanker is vulnerable after all .. and only the most hard hearted of humans would not seek to finish the journey and pray for the healing of yet another Hornby wanker :)
Music is often a focal point in many of Hornby's books and the cast is often identified through the music they listen to.
In this book we have: Will, who likes to think of himself as tragically hip, keeping on top of the current music scene and identifying his past with cool groups like The Clash. Will lives off royalties from his father's one hit Christmas wonder and divides his daily routines into "units". (Reminds me of the Aspberger's character in 600 Hours of Edward.) He shows the lack of social/emotional maturity most likely a result from a life void of the practical lessons of compromise and pooling of resources, which those living in a more corporate world learn to survive. Fiona the depressed/suicidal, hippy mom/music therapist who listens to Joanie Mitchell and the like and creates an equally burdened version of herself in her son. Marcus, Fiona's tragically unhip 12 year old who has no sense of self. A child of two parents trapped in their own adolesence thus ill-equipped to guide him along. Marcus is a boy who sees himself with little choice in life.
All of the characters in this book are so tragically unhip it is frightening. So what is "cool" and what is "not cool"? I found my own Cool Meter bouncing back and forth throughout this book ... "very cool" ... oh ... "that was so not cool" etc. Somebody group slap these characters!!
Will's life is "OK" but his inner self needs a jolt. He selfishly guards himself from emotional risks and maintains his daily routine shutting life out. Enter an odd little boy with his odd little family and soon Will's life begins to change. Marcus comes to an understanding of life few adults can seem to grasp ... It Takes A Village. He convinces Will fate has brought them together for a purpose ... Will can elevate Marcus' level of coolness. After witnessing Marcus being tormented by bullies from his school, reluctantly, Will accepts the task and begins to truly understand what "cool" is.
I definitely prefer Hornby when he writes from the male perspective (as in this book and also in High Fidelity.) About A Boy is a beautiful and endearing story. Thus far, my favorite Hornby book and my favorite Hornby wanker. And finally a happy ending!! Rejoice!!(At least the best Hornby has provided me thus far.)
I bought the movie and watched it after reading the book. Loved it! (Hugh Grant doesn't hurt.) Especially appreciated that it stayed very close to the written text.
Favorite Quote - "This thing about looking for someone less different ... It only really worked, he realized, if you were convinced that being you wasn't so bad in the first place."
**spoiler alert** I must admit I read this book in pieces. I found it much easier to absorb the information this way. Most surprising to me was the au...more**spoiler alert** I must admit I read this book in pieces. I found it much easier to absorb the information this way. Most surprising to me was the author's keen sense of humor. Humor is what keeps this from being a dry, boring read and what kept me returning to read piece after piece until I had completed it. Upon closing, several colored flags marked favorite passages. A quick count resulted in my four star rating.
Some of my favorite pieces:
*Adopt a favorite letter - "the letter O suggests an alluring or erotic roundness" ... "but two of them together (OO)look like fake boobs on an exotic dancer". I had never thought of it but the letter U does indeed resemble a sacred vessel. *When a story is powerful, keep the language spare. *Lessons on how to "cross-dress" parts of speech. *The growing ethnic diversity of American culture is reflected in the judicious use of foreign words. * "Madonna was once the holy name of the Blessed Virgin Mary, but then along came a young Italian girl singer from suburban Detroit, who turned disco clubs into little houses of worship." (compound-complex indeed!)
And thank you Roy Peter Clark for giving us permission to use our common sense as it applies to grammar.
"If a proper noun (a name) ends in an s, add an 's in most cases, but let your ear guide you through the tough ones."
I will be watching President Obama to see if he says "Michelle and I" or "Michelle and me".
A good review of rulz I have forgotten. An enjoyable read. A book I will keep as a resource for future writing endeavors. (less)
I found this book and the wives of Paradise Heights shallow and boring. The women are basically a group of "mean girls" who have married "well" and be...moreI found this book and the wives of Paradise Heights shallow and boring. The women are basically a group of "mean girls" who have married "well" and become mothers themselves. High school cliches in the grown up world do not fascinate or intrigue me. Perhaps if the author had explored any of these women in depth, I might have been interested as to how their collective emotional growth stunt had occured.
The first half of the book is exceptionally tedious and it was difficult for me to continue. It's a bit of a mish mash with too many characters introduced to the reader. I was never able to conjure up a clear visual image of the any of them and there was not enough characterization for me to care about them even if it was "dislike".
As the weight of the pages on the left overtook those on the right, I began to sense a big twist was coming and I felt a renewed sense of interest. However, the reveal itself is given so little space, I found it a bit disappointing. I can tell by the diminishing number of pages on the right this is not going to end well. And it doesn't. The author hurries to gather all her loose threads and attempts to provide the reader with a tidy little ending.
Although I found the questions at the end for book clubs interesting and thought provoking, I really don't think this book provides enough substance to support such a discussion.
"Women of a certain age" will definitely identify with the woes of the females in this book. I bought it because I loved Beachcombers, Thayer's most r...more"Women of a certain age" will definitely identify with the woes of the females in this book. I bought it because I loved Beachcombers, Thayer's most recent work. This book's plot intrigued me. It takes place in Boston, a city I'm familar with and is about a diverse group of women struggling to accept aging and the career and relationship changes that often accompany the process. I appreciate the proactive way the characters deal with their woes and the general air of positivity throughout.
It must be tough to decide how far to develop a character or storyline and still keep things clipping along for the reader. Unlike Beachcombers, I felt the characters were a bit underdeveloped in this work. I felt some of the story lines were clipped off a bit "prematurely" (pardon the pun referring to one of the clipped storylines mentioned above).
However,in my opinion nothing was clipped quite as randomly as the ending. It was as if the writer simply put down her pen and quit. I'm still wondering if perhaps my copy was missing a few pages...
It's hard for me to grasp that a country like North Korea exists in these "modern" times. Reading Laura Ling's story of her capture and imprisionment...moreIt's hard for me to grasp that a country like North Korea exists in these "modern" times. Reading Laura Ling's story of her capture and imprisionment in North Korea makes me thankful of the many blessings I take for granted in my life. It's very difficult for me to accept the type of "leader worship" that is prevalent in this country. It seems almost impossible to me.
The book inspired me to learn a bit more about North Korea and to reflect upon how other countries view the U.S.
The book goes back and forth from Laura's accounts of her imprisionment and her sister Lisa Ling's struggles to secure her release.
I appreciated the conscientious way Laura tells the story of her capture and imprisionment. Even as she struggles to understand the North Korean's practices and beliefs, she makes a point of illustrating the common bonds of humanity.
With so much going on in the world it's easy to forget about the "little" country of North Korea. It's easy to take so many things for granted in our lives. This book is a reminder to cherish!
21 mins ago SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korean and U.S.-led United Nations Command officers overseeing the Korean War truce will meet on Tuesday in the first meeting involving Pyongyang to discuss the sinking of a South Korean warship, an official said.
A team of investigators blamed the North for launching a torpedo attack on the South Korean corvette Cheonan in March, killing 46 sailors.
The U.N. Security Council in a statement on Friday condemned the attack but did not explicitly blame the North.
North Korea denies it was involved in the sinking and has accused the South of masterminding a fabrication for political gain.
North Korea first rejected the call by the U.N. Command to meet and discuss any violation of the armistice ending the 1950-53 Korean War. It later changed its position and said it would accept such a meeting, after Seoul rejected its proposal to send a military team to inspect the sunken ship.
The meeting will take place at the Panmunjom truce village that straddles the military border between the two Koreas at 9 p.m. ET, Monday, the U.N. Command said.
Yes! This is what great writing does! It transports, enlightens and captivates! Thayer's characters are "fat", genuine and engaging. What Desperate Ho...moreYes! This is what great writing does! It transports, enlightens and captivates! Thayer's characters are "fat", genuine and engaging. What Desperate Housewives and Parenthood do in a season, Beachcomber does in 363 pages ... you do the math.
Beachcombers has all the charm of the Nantucket Island where it takes place. I admire the talent of this author to fabricate so many rich and well-developed characters and then to weave their stories together so effortlessly (and without taking a lifetime to do so!)
The recession, divorce, blended families, greed, sex and suicide ... this book cleverly disguised as "chick lit/beach read" ... is really an inspirational roadmap showing one how to move to higher ground amidst their own personal tragedies, disappointments and conflicts. Current, relevant, uplifting and honest. Quit feeling sorry for yourself! If you're depressed or heartbroken and need a little lift then read this!
I just found out I won a copy of this book! I can't wait to read it. I work with an individual diagnosed with Asperger's and the reviews of this book...moreI just found out I won a copy of this book! I can't wait to read it. I work with an individual diagnosed with Asperger's and the reviews of this book thus far suggest it is enlightening and respectful in dealing with this illness.
This is a wonderful read! 600 Hours of Edward is the story of a middle aged man with Asperger's syndrome. While it's true the symptoms and severity of Asperger's syndrome vary making diagnosis difficult, I found this was a credible account of someone with a dual diagnosis of Asperger's and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
Having worked directly with individuals with these diagnoses, I found Edward's diaglogue very familar. One of the symptoms highlighted in this narrative is Edward's intense obsession with specific subjects, rules and routines. In Edward's case these include shopping at the same time every week, buying the same items at the grocery store, keeping track of daily weather data and what time he wakes, watching an episode of Dragnet every evening at the same time, knowing every detail about the show, it's actors ect... as well as his favorite artists: REM and Michael Sweet and his favorite football team, The Dallas Cowboys. The sort of details other's would most likely find insignificant. Ah .. the Internet is a marvelous tool! Perhaps most enlightening is not how other's respond to his oddities but how completely unaware he is as to why they respond as they do.
In his own words, Edward takes us along for 600 emotionally charged hours. Lancaster writes so expressively and beautifully that my eyes were often filled with tears of laughter and sadness. Edward shares his dreams, thoughts, challenges and his rationale for the routine he has created for himself. He shares his victories and his disappointments.
Edward lives by himself in a house his father has bought for him. He is an only child with two parents who are severely handicapped by their own lack of understanding and coping skills. His father is a political figure in the community who is afraid his son will embarrass him publicly. When Edward steps outside of social boundaries or norms, he receives a letter from his father's lawyer threatening to remove him from his home.
People with Asperger's syndrome struggle with socialization and communication. They may experience more meltdowns and angry outbursts than is socially acceptable. They struggle more than others to interpret social cues, non verbal signs and body language. They may experience an unusual intolerance for things such as other's grammatical errors etc. They may have trouble coping with anxiety. I especially enjoyed reading how Edward's therapist helps him to recognize troublesome situations and teaches him how to cope with these challeges. For example, he writes many letters of complaints, which he files but never mails. He learns to take advantage of the option of self check outs (as he is very disturbed when he receives poor customer service.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, and Thomas Jefferson it has been suggested, exhibited signs of Asperger's syndrome. In one of my favorite passages,Edward tells his father's lawyer "I'm mentally ill, not stupid."
Edward shares many of the frustrations and feelings people without a diagnosis of either of these disorders have. He longs for parental love and approval, friends, intimacy, (his online dating experience is one of many humorous glimpses into the complexities of modern day relationships), societal law and order, fairness, professional competency (including an expectation for a certain level of customer service).
The only part of this book which struck me as perhaps a bit incredulous were registered nurse Donna's (Edward's new neighbor and potential friend) and his online date's cluelessness as to the reasons for Edward's inappropriate communications. One would think at least one of them would have suspected some form of developmental disability given his extreme behaviors. 600 Hours of Edward demonstrates how all human beings have infinitely more in common than not. However, even so, I'm still unconvinced that neither of these women wouldn't have suspected some type of mental illness.
Given the right treatment, I could see this book becoming an award winning film. It has all the markings of Rain Man, A Beautiful Mind and I Am Sam.
Highly Recommended! A must read for people with children or loved ones with intellectual/developmental disabilities!
I read this book on a sunny afternoon relaxing on a chaise on the deck. A perfect chick book to enjoy on a lazy afternoon, a long flight, in the car w...moreI read this book on a sunny afternoon relaxing on a chaise on the deck. A perfect chick book to enjoy on a lazy afternoon, a long flight, in the car waiting to pick up kids etc. (less)
Working Girl shares one lesson learned from each of her 59 job experiences. I read this book in pieces over a few monthes. The nice thing is you can d...moreWorking Girl shares one lesson learned from each of her 59 job experiences. I read this book in pieces over a few monthes. The nice thing is you can do that and it works quite well.
For those searching for career advice, this book is easy to understand and topics are well laid out making it easy to jump around. Beware, the answers put forth here may sting a bit such as .. "It Really Is About Who You Know" so "Network, Network, Network" (referring to how one gets a job in a tight market).
Even if you think you know it all, a little reminder never hurts. Working Girl gives straightforward advice and doesn't sugarcoat the realities of work and career.
I wish I'd read this when I first began working! That said .. this book would make a fine graduation gift (with a bit of cash cleverly tucked inside each chapter of course)!(less)
Journalist Maria Finn is a lonely, heartbroken woman struggling to accept her divorce. In one passage from the book she describes herself as still sea...moreJournalist Maria Finn is a lonely, heartbroken woman struggling to accept her divorce. In one passage from the book she describes herself as still searching for reasons on her face and body as to why he fell out of love with her. She immerses herself in the world of Tango until she finds a path to healing. Amidst tango lessons, practicas and social milongas, she interjects the history of the dance.
The Tango history infused in the story was interesting. The reader gets a good sense of the dance and of the experience of entering the dance world from a beginner's view. (Although Maria was already an accomplished salsa dancer so not exactly a fledgling.)
Characters are developed along the way but not in any great detail. I didn't get a sense of really knowing or caring deeply about any of them by the book's end. They were merely acquaintances, familar but not intimate friends.
And that is what kept me from giving this book more stars. It's lack of intimacy. At times the delivery seemed a bit stoic, almost bordering on aloof so I never really felt any excitement building. Emotionally it was a steady ride but failed to soar to great heights of exhilaration or to plummet into despair as this tale of heartbreak and renewal through dance may have.
Perhaps too much information was tackled in too few pages to develop any depth or emotional bond ... or perhaps the historical information was placed in a way that disrupted the flow a bit ... not sure but a "goodread" nonetheless.
I couldn't put this book down! The writing was excellent and the story engulfed me. I couldn't wait to see how it ended ... yet knew I would be a bit...moreI couldn't put this book down! The writing was excellent and the story engulfed me. I couldn't wait to see how it ended ... yet knew I would be a bit sad when it did. I wish I could give it 6 stars! Movie to come out next year! Read the book first!!(less)
I started reading this book because I was interested in joining a book club who chose this as their first book ... but didn't finish it. Didn't join t...moreI started reading this book because I was interested in joining a book club who chose this as their first book ... but didn't finish it. Didn't join the book club either. The premise of a 14 year old girl being raped, murdered, coming back to earth to inhabit the body of a lesbian friend so she can have sex with a boy she met in high school.... creepy.
And now there's a movie:
"It's based on the best-seller by Alice Sebold that everybody seemed to be reading a couple of years ago. I hope it's not faithful to the book; if it is, millions of Americans are scary. The murder of a young person is a tragedy, the murderer is a monster, and making the victim a sweet, poetic narrator is creepy. This movie sells the philosophy that even evil things are God's will, and their victims are happier now. Isn't it nice to think so. I think it's best if they don't happen at all. But if they do, why pretend they don't hurt? Those girls are dead." Roger Ebert
I agree Roger ... scary. Scary this book gets 4+ stars on this site also.(less)