I think comparing this work to Douglas Adams or Vonnegut is a disservice to everyone involved. While Mandery has some excellent literary moments in thI think comparing this work to Douglas Adams or Vonnegut is a disservice to everyone involved. While Mandery has some excellent literary moments in this work, it is not quite on the same caliber, this sets the bar of expectations rather high for the reader and Mandery doesn't quite have the mastery to reach those heights...yet.
Highlights of the book include the characterization of the President as a bit of a ten-gallon buffoon, the adorable courtship between Ralph Bailey and Jessica Love, and the antics of the alien Ambassador. I would also say Mandery has a fairly good message about fanaticism, of any religion including atheism, agnosticism, and even logic.
Unfortunately Mandery's comedic timing is a _bit_ off and somewhere in the middle of the books the author asides became too much and kind of annoying. Still, this is an entertaining read that I think most people who like satire will enjoy and I hope Mandery will continue writing and improve his craft.
Gleick raises some excellent questions about the safety and sustainability of relying on bottled waterNote: Free review copy received from NetGalley.
Gleick raises some excellent questions about the safety and sustainability of relying on bottled water over tap water. However, the main focus of the book seems to be on the advertising done by bottled water companies and how outlandish the claims are. Much of this information filters its way into other chapters and does become a bit hammer-over-the-head repetitive.
The chapters on the overall environmental cost of producing bottled water were far more informative, but could have benefited from an overall breakdown. The historical analysis about where our fear of tap water comes from, the creation and regulation of tap water, and it's current problems was excellent and could have been expanded on as it was one of the more interesting topics covered.
I think many people could benefit by reading this book, even just portions of it. I imagine anyone who reads the chapter about contaminants found in bottled water will gladly switch to tap, even if they're still present at least you're not paying a premium price to poison yourself.
The language and sentence structure in this were very simplistic, which would make it a great early middle school read or possibly even capture the inThe language and sentence structure in this were very simplistic, which would make it a great early middle school read or possibly even capture the interest of a slightly older child struggling with their reading level/comprehension. The story feel very bare bones with an A to B to C plot line. The subject matter is vaguely interesting with the start of the Civil War, the viewing of the Irish as ethnic, labor unions, etc. unfortunately none of these are really covered much in depth but seem merely provide details to be thrown in as "local color".
I was also concerned about the potential historical inaccuracies. This is not my particular area of expertise, but a glaring error was Katie learning Latin. Latin was typically reserved for young boys headed for college. Upper-class ladies might have learned French and maybe a particularly enlightened father would have provided his daughter with a private Latin tutor, but there is no way during this time that it would be taught in public school and certainly not to Irish riff-raff.
Despite the fact that this story is told in first person, we don't get to see a lot of Katie's thought processes. As simple as the plot line was, I was actually a little lost about why Katie was getting involved with the Molly Maguires. It seems once she found her friend she easily could have passed him a letter and resolved it the issue through less complicated means. There is a use of character voice in this work, but it seems to come and go, which was another sore point. I couldn't help but track the changes of when it was used and when it wasn't. I'm not sure if I'd prefer Roe to have left it out altogether or just been more uniform about it.
On the other hand, this was a very quick read and I think some people will quite enjoy the pacing. If you want to turn your brain off and just read, this will work quite well.
The reviewer is a 2009 graduate of Kent State University's Master of Library and Information Sciences program, an alumna of Antioch College, and the author of the blog A Librarian's Life in Books....more
Note: Free copy provided by publisher for review (also available for free download on press's website).
This reads like a sitcom. A very strange, wackyNote: Free copy provided by publisher for review (also available for free download on press's website).
This reads like a sitcom. A very strange, wacky, somewhat low-budget sitcom. The jokes were a bit cheap in places and Green seems to have thrown as much plot as possible into the pages without really considering whether or not more plot was actually needed. Duplicated words and typos were present and the not-so-occasional use of CAPS to indicate that some characters were robots, authority figures, and/or screaming was a bit gimmicky and probably would have been easier to cope with coming from just one character type.
There was no single protagonist, rather a whole family of protagonists, who were so numerous it was hard to keep straight. Luckily it wasn't really necessary to remember who was who because we don't spend enough time with any individual to really need to keep them straight, which is good because some of them are ridiculously long named (i.e. Beguiled-by-the-Serpent Born-in-Jesus). Despite the fact that the Reborn-in-Jesus family never leaves the isolated 20 km planetoid, stuff seems to happen to them. They get raided by tax-collector space pirates, a penitentiary cube is dropped on them which results in several breakouts and related drama, they open up a spa on the planet, etc. Like I said, it's kind of like a sitcom in novel form. Even though the story progresses, the reset button keeps getting hit so it feels like new viewers can jump in and start watching at any time. There isn't a whole lot of character development, but for those who enjoy an overabundance of plot, this would be something to keep their interest.
Although I personally liked it, this isn't something I would recommend to everyone, it does have the charm of robots, lunatics who think they are Satan and Santa, and "backward" religious yokels trying to make it on a mudhole planet who are not as backwards as they appear....more
I feel like not only did I have to sit through a half hour lecture by my physician about my daily habits, but wNote: Free copy received via NetGalley.
I feel like not only did I have to sit through a half hour lecture by my physician about my daily habits, but when I told her I was having pain in my kidneys to "take two of these and call me in the morning." I sincerely don't feel like this book addressed the topic, and much of it was rehashing of personality types ala Myers-Briggs, there was quite a bit of psychotherapy/alternate spirituality buzzword-throwing, and far too many personal anecdotes that didn't really fit. It seems to me that Borysenko really wanted to write a memoir about being burned out and just didn't know how to do it. So instead we have a somewhat ineffectual self-book all about Borysenko helping herself. I didn't see anything new in this, and if you're like me and out of work it will not help you at all.
I think Borysenko really missed out on a good opportunity to help out a lot of people who are in very dire situations right now. These are the people who actually have the time to read a book like this and might benefit most from it. Instead we get advice like, "make sure you take time for vacation!" Her advice can pretty much be summed up in this passage from the second to last chapter:
"To prevent burnout, listen to yourself, rest when you need to, and love your body in the way you eat and what your senses take in...spend time in silence, meditate, take walks in nature. Talk or write, but don't let anything fester." Page 144 (quote verified using Google Books).
I also found the writing style to be a bit abrasive. It sounds as if she is writing directly to her friends who all come from the same or very similar backgrounds. I found the use of relying solely on her personal experience and those of her Facebook friends to be a little questionable and it just felt like she was trying to prove herself to her audience about her credentials and how good of a person she is now. I'm just not convinced that this helps anyone but the author....more
The Oatmeal runs a great site with often informative and hilarious comics such as "How to pet a kitty," "How the male Angler [fish] gets screwed," andThe Oatmeal runs a great site with often informative and hilarious comics such as "How to pet a kitty," "How the male Angler [fish] gets screwed," and many, many more. Some content from the website is included in this book, while some of it is obviously new. Sadly, the wonderfully wacky humor of the Oatmeal just doesn't seem to translate very well into book format. Part of this may have been the very tiny print that did not show up very well on my eReader or in Adobe Digital Editions, and which couldn't be resized because all of the material is graphic. In any case the brevity and lightness of The Oatmeal is lost in a collected work, whereas the internet seems to be its perfect forum, where one can waste away hours clicking through the website in between pretending to work and trips to the water cooler.
What I would like to see is a collection of The Oatmeal's grammar tips and perhaps other college related wisdom which would make a perfect gift for the recent high school graduate. Unfortunately, this particular collection is nothing more than a bathroom read and not an especially interesting one at that.
Holt's absurd adventure is even more absurd thanks to the fairly mundane setting and characters. WhileNote: Free review copy received from NetGalley.
Holt's absurd adventure is even more absurd thanks to the fairly mundane setting and characters. While this makes for a great anticipation of what will happen next, it also makes it awfully difficult to develop any sort of attachment or even interest in the characters. And unfortunately as far as plot goes, it's your fairly standard "things have gone haywire and all we want is for things to be normal again. So as long as you don't mind things starting out normal, going batty, and then being put back together again, this might be a good read for you.
There were certainly some very humorous moments and I think those with an interest in (pseudo?)metaphysics or at least the discussion of alternate dimensions may like this. Everyone else should probably stick with Pratchett or Christopher Moore, still, an excellent read. I will be looking for more Holt to determine if he becomes a go-to author.
This is an amazing memoir about the struggles of a middle class white teacher trying to change the worlNote: Free review copy received from NetGalley.
This is an amazing memoir about the struggles of a middle class white teacher trying to change the world through his teaching. Little does he realize how neglected these children are. Instead of trying to play catch up for seven grades worth of neglect, Conroy tries to equip them with enough knowledge of the world around them, their own sense of worth, and enough education to get by. While this may sound somewhat defeatist, Conroy understood exactly how much he was up against and tried to make the best of it. Forty years after the publication of this memoir and things are getting better, but there are still areas of the country where the quality of education is greatly in need of reform.
I think anyone who is a teacher or thinking about becoming a teacher needs to read this and be aware of the history of disparity they may face. Conroy made mistakes on the way by not respecting or understanding the significance of the island's cultural beliefs and he held his own forms of 1970's prejudice, but you can also see a willingness to change, adapt, and grow from his experiences.
This is possibly one of the most useful and powerful memoirs I've read recently.
It was mildly funny, but there are way better parodies on Youtube. In some ways I think Harvard Lampoon should have left this one alone, if only becauIt was mildly funny, but there are way better parodies on Youtube. In some ways I think Harvard Lampoon should have left this one alone, if only because it practically lampoons itself. Their talents could be best used elsewhere...like maybe Franzen's Freedom or Lipsyte's The Ask. It just felt like they weren't even trying....more