I can't tell if Vaughan's dialogue writing has improved since Y the Last Man or if it's just easier to read because none of the characters are obnoxio...moreI can't tell if Vaughan's dialogue writing has improved since Y the Last Man or if it's just easier to read because none of the characters are obnoxious teenagers. I don't really care that much about the characters yet, so three stars.(less)
I loved Freed's writing voice, extremely confident and matter-of-fact about how awesome her life is. If Possum Living means my kids will be half as confident and independent as she seems, it may be worth it.(less)
I'm really conflicted about this book. The bulk of it is just David Foster Wallace talking, and those parts are great. So many of DFW's essays are con...moreI'm really conflicted about this book. The bulk of it is just David Foster Wallace talking, and those parts are great. So many of DFW's essays are conversational, so a long transcribed conversation feels like a natural extension of his work. What really sucks, though, is that I think I hate David Lipsky. Like serious full-on loathing of his persona and the way he handled both the interview and the editing of the book.
This book has the feel of a second draft. It reads like Lipsky transcribed the interview, added some notes to himself so he could write more extensively later, and then he never did that. It gives the impression that the book was rushed to publication. The editing is very choppy. There are points in the interview where DFW's answers are transcribed as full paragraphs, and Lipsky's questions are sentence fragments that seem to indicate the general idea of what he asked like, "Family?" or "More?" It breaks up the conversational flow of the interview. Also, there are points where DFW asks Lipsky personal questions, and Lipsky leaves out the answers he gives. This is especially annoying because his answers are important to the dialogue. It's just another thing that breaks up the flow.
Adding to the second draft feel is the little bracketed comments that Lipsky inserts into the inteview. Much of the time they are completely unnecessary asides like "This is somehow the saddest" (after DFW says something that is kinda sad), or comments where he interprets what DFW is saying. In both cases, it's not needed! Let the reader figure out what is sad! Let the reader interpret DFW's words. He's pretty good at getting his point across without your help, Lipsky! Seriously, there are times where Lipsky's interpretation seems so off. And most of the time, the inserted comments read like notes to himself, rather than to the reader. And again, each little insertion interrupts the flow of the dialogue.
In general Lipsky has the tendency to read too deeply into DFW's word choices and interpret some comments as flattery or insincerity, when it's obvious that DFW is trying his best to be authentic and open.
Lipsky also has a serious obsession with the success that DFW has achieved. He asks MANY times the same basic question: How great is it that you're a bright successful literary star? And DFW tells him EVERY TIME that he can't think about that kind of stuff b/c it would eat him alive, and that he's trying very hard NOT to focus on his celebrity. And yet, Lipsky can't let it go. He clearly wants DFW to be like "I'm so happy and I love it and I've finally achieved what I've always wanted," and DFW won't give it to him... not out of spite, but because he knows that material success doesn't bring him happiness.
I know I'm kind of obsessing about Lipsky here, so I'll stop (but first let me mention how weird it is that Lipsky wrote a Preface, an introduction, and an afterword that for some reason is placed in the FRONT of the book?). There's a lot of great stuff in the interview. This is an important book for DFW fans, and maybe even for non-fans? There's some stuff about writing and the writing process, and a lot of focus on living a moral and fulfilling life in post-modern times, like an extension of the Kenyon Commencement Speech. While the book feels rushed and Lipsky's parts are poorly written/edited, DFW's brilliance shines through.
Oh yeah, there is a point in the interview where Lipsky and DFW are sitting in the house, hanging out with DFW's dogs (keep in mind that Lipsky has know DFW for a few days, and his dogs for only a few hours). When one of the dogs starts to whine, Lipsky taps the dog on the snout to get him to shut up! WHO DOES THAT?
I had to return this to the library before I was done reading it because there was a hold on it. I was more than halfway done, but I don't think I'm g...moreI had to return this to the library before I was done reading it because there was a hold on it. I was more than halfway done, but I don't think I'm going to check it out again so I can finish it, which is probably a pretty good review in and of itself.
I love Mary Roach and her sense of humor, but it doesn't pair well with NASA's buttoned down attitude. She works best when she's interviewing people who are a bit zany and willing to entertain her weird (but interesting!) questions. And most the the NASA and Russian Space people she interviews usually aren't up for it.
Still, she does find out a lot of interesting things about space travel, and she tries her best to inject humor into the situations she's put in, but that's hard to do without a willing partner.(less)
This is one of those books that everybody I respect seems to LOVE, but I can't understand what the big deal is. It makes me feel like maybe I'm defici...moreThis is one of those books that everybody I respect seems to LOVE, but I can't understand what the big deal is. It makes me feel like maybe I'm deficient in some art-appreciating way. No matter how hard I try to enjoy it, I find this book dull. And unfunny.(less)
I was pleasantly surprised at how much this was direct sequel to Spook Country. If I hadn't reread SC right before this, I probably wouldn't have gott...moreI was pleasantly surprised at how much this was direct sequel to Spook Country. If I hadn't reread SC right before this, I probably wouldn't have gotten as much out of it. I love Milgrim, and hope he and Bigend stick around for another book.(less)
Issues 13-24. Definitely getting better. Lots of conflict and interesting plot developments.
Sometimes it's hard to keep track of all the characters. T...moreIssues 13-24. Definitely getting better. Lots of conflict and interesting plot developments.
Sometimes it's hard to keep track of all the characters. There's a huge cast, and it's hard to tell people apart sometimes. This is especially true for the female characters because they're not as well-written and the art makes some of them look very similar.(less)
This is the first book in a series, so I'm not sure if I'm into it yet. It's too soon to tell if I'm going to love the stories and characters. I'm als...moreThis is the first book in a series, so I'm not sure if I'm into it yet. It's too soon to tell if I'm going to love the stories and characters. I'm also not entirely sure I want to be reading a war story right now, but that's my problem and doesn't reflect on the quality of the book.
It is good. The writing is really strong. Most comics have elements that need to be overlooked if you want to enjoy them. Like there's a good premise, but then the dialogue is clunky (I'm looking at you, Y the Last Man), or the characters are flat and hateful (hello Walking Dead). So far DMZ hasn't made any such missteps. I'm cautiously hopeful about future volumes. We'll see.(less)