Wow. I've never read a book like this before. I want to go back to the beginning and read it again right away. I might scan the print version a littleWow. I've never read a book like this before. I want to go back to the beginning and read it again right away. I might scan the print version a little, as I listened to the audio book narrated by Ethan Hawke.
Incidentally, Kurt Vonnegut shows up at the end and talks a little about his experience in Dresden, and who the "real" Billy Pilgrim was. I "passively accepted" the entire book right up until that point, when I burst into tears. Vonnegut chuckles softly over his experience in Dresden. What can you do but laugh in the face of absurdity. After he describes the death of the "real" Billy Pilgrim, I quietly mouthed "So it goes." He did not say it, but it fit.
Re-read finished 3 weeks later:
Well, that's a new book on my top 10. Goodbye Count of Monte Cristo, your slot has been forfeited! I still love you.
Just came across this quote again today and all of a sudden it all made sense. Of *course* Slaughterhouse-Five is the perfect Tralfamadorian novel, but it still didn't really hit me until I read this line again:
"There isn’t any particular relationship between the messages, except that the author has chosen them carefully, so that, when seen all at once, they produce an image of life that is beautiful and surprising and deep. There is no beginning, no middle, no end, no suspense, no moral, no causes, no effects. What we love in our books are the depths of many marvelous moments seen all at one time."
Makes me want to read it again.
The bookstore I work at got these really awesome t-shirts in the other day, which I will shamelessly plug here, because the artist is a really great guy:
I was pawing through our new product arrivals, smelling soaps and organizing scarves (my bookstore is really awesome and sells these things), when I held up that Slaughterhouse-Five shirt and squealed with glee and did a little circle dance and said "OH MY GOD I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH THIS SHIRT MUST BE MINE." All of my coworkers asked what book it was from, because it is pretty obscure after all, and I briefly explained. None of them had read it, and I promptly extolled its virtues. The shirt makes me look a little sad all the time - I mean it's a grave after all - but I take it as an opportunity to remember the things that I love about life, and how they are all constantly happening and they have never passed.
This is seriously one of the most amazing books of my life, and I am still amazed by it. It's going in my "greatest hits" box, to read whenever I need comfort....more
Wanted to read this before the movies ruin it. I love this book SO MUCH but I haven't read it in 15 years - or maybe more. It was just as awesome as iWanted to read this before the movies ruin it. I love this book SO MUCH but I haven't read it in 15 years - or maybe more. It was just as awesome as it used to be. Maybe more so, because I've read so much more fantasy now. Very curious to see how they're going to do ring vision in the movie, because Bilbo wears it a ton more than Frodo did. When Bilbo is in the elven king's castle he doesn't take it off for like a month. If I had to put up with creepy shadows for that long I would probably go insane....more
I read this book at least 2 or 3 times in middle school, and coming back to it as an adult, I was anxious to see whether it would hold up. It definiteI read this book at least 2 or 3 times in middle school, and coming back to it as an adult, I was anxious to see whether it would hold up. It definitely did! Highly recommended....more
What an incredible journey. I've never recommended a book to so many people before I had even finished it. I feel like I need a support group to get oWhat an incredible journey. I've never recommended a book to so many people before I had even finished it. I feel like I need a support group to get over the loss of finishing it! Highly recommend it....more
I am at happy hour the other day, enjoying a pint. Both of the bartenders are cute young ladies serving mostly the regulars that come in around that tI am at happy hour the other day, enjoying a pint. Both of the bartenders are cute young ladies serving mostly the regulars that come in around that time. One gentleman pays and leaves, then comes back a few minutes later with a wrapped package.
"I wanted to give this to you," he says.
"Oh my goodness!" The cute young lady says, wiping her hands on her apron. "This is for me?"
"Yes, I have given out this book to everyone in my life, and I think you should have a copy." He hands the package over. "It's a fairy tale, but for adults."
I am shamelessly eavesdropping and break into a smile as I turn to my partner. "The Little Prince!" I mouth.
He shakes his head. "What?" He mouths back.
The gentleman is looking to leave. "Well, I hope you enjoy it."
"Ohmigosh, thank you so much! Have a great day!" She waves to him as he leaves. "Wow! It's like Christmas! This is awesome!"
I lean across the table and say, "Well? What is it? I have to know!"
She isn't my waitress, after all, just works in the place. But she smiles and opens it. "It's The Little Prince! I've never read it."
I turn and grin to my partner. "I knew it!" He just rolls his eyes.
I'm a pint in, after all, so I turn back to the young lady. "I knew it was The Little Prince, as soon as he said it was a fairy tale for adults. I love that book."
The other bartender looks over and says, "So what is it? Oh, The Little Prince? Yeah he gave me that too."
It doesn't matter, you should both read it. I don't say this, but I think it, because I could tell that even though she already had it, she had not read it.
My partner says, "That's too creepy."
He has to live with my collection, after all. My collection of The Little Prince in 42 different languages. Because that's how much I love this book, that I needed a shelf dedicated entirely to it, and allow it to remind me how many different people there are in the world.
Edit June 7, 2013:
Allow me to direct your attention to this (hopefully) awesomeness:
What amazes me to this day about the Wheel of Time series is the masterful way Robert JordanThis review is also available on my blog, Stumptown Books.
What amazes me to this day about the Wheel of Time series is the masterful way Robert Jordan works me into a frenzy. When The Great Hunt (book 2) ended, I was whipped into a hurricane of conflicting emotions. I wanted to cry because it was over. I also wanted to cry because I was so excited. I felt like shivering from spent emotion and energy. I wanted to run to my book shelf and pick up book 3. I also wanted to wait because I'm participating in a Wheel of Time read along and I didn't want to get ahead. I settled with walking very sedately to the couch and watching reruns of "Say Yes to the Dress" until I was completely calmed down. Well, I still ended up yelling at some of the brides, but at least I wasn't worked up about the Wheel of Time anymore, right?
Well, The Great Hunt is over. Let's continue on this journey and see what other amazing things are in store for us. Only, the emotions are brought down, not just to a simmer, but to a complete and cold darkness. We read about our characters sitting in camp. Riding across plains. Complaining about prophecies. None of this is exciting, but of course we're completely entwined with their stories now and curious as to what is going to happen. Robert Jordan-isms sprinkle the pages, but we're slowly making sense of the world he's describing to us. He had so much planned from the very beginning I am now in awe at his patience. I always want to get it all out on the page as quickly as possible but he's ok making us wait, for literally thousands of pages if need be.
Slowly...oh so slowly you don't even hardly realize it, things start coming to a head. The net gets drawn closer, and closer, until there I am sitting on that same couch and reading so fast I'm probably missing important details and I turn to the last chapter...
And my boyfriend walks in the room and turns on the TV. I balk, my mouth open, and snatch the remote back from him. "You don't understand," I say, "I'm literally at the climax of the book."
"Can't it wait? I want to fold my laundry. I need to watch some Deep Space Nine while I do it."
"Too bad! Fold it somewhere else!" My indignation should have him backing away with his hands up defensively.
"Well I don't mind, read it aloud to me." He says with a shrug, like I do this all the time.
I start out with another sassy comment but then I think, Why not? He knows enough of the story to know what the phrase the Dragon Reborn means, who Rand, Mat, and Perrin are. So there we are, the climatic battle that occurs at the end of every Wheel of Time book, and I'm reading it out loud. I know my voice caught in my throat a few times because I got all excited and teary (I cry at every emotion, it's crazy!) but when my last "The Dragon Reborn!" faded away, we both just sat there, stunned. We started out in a camp in the middle of back ass nowhere and we ended here. "Wow," he says. "That was actually pretty intense."
Wasn't it just! A lot of readers will tell you that this is the beginning of the highlight of the series, books 3-6, and I couldn't agree more. Just thinking about where we started a mere three books ago is mind boggling - both the reader and the characters have come a long way from sheep herding! The stakes are high and they keep getting higher with every book, but we never feel out of depth. I can hardly wait to start The Shadow Rising - though I hope I can keep this enthusiasm later in the series!...more
When life is viewed as a game of chess, each action causes a reaction. Each ponderous thoughtThis review is also available on my blog, Stumptown Books
When life is viewed as a game of chess, each action causes a reaction. Each ponderous thought has far reaching consequences for the players, each decision makes another door close. Unfortunately, it also means a piece can be removed from the board at any time, with little to no ceremony. George R.R. Martin subscribes to this school of thought, and the aches his books caused in my spleen still aren't completely gone. I remember thinking for DAYS afterwards that this or that character wouldn't really be dead. I'd turn the page and the next chapter would be titled with their name and it would be their point of view and everything would be right with the world again.
This is not a school of thought I take great pleasure in. I read fantasy because I enjoy leaving this world behind and wrapping myself up in a different one. When my favorite characters in that new world die...well. I have issues with it. BIG issues. Scott Lynch is a strict adherent to this philosophy. The first time a character died, I was convinced (really, really convinced. I told my boyfriend how she was hiding and what it would mean to the story when she came back) that it was all an elaborate ruse. How wrong I was! And then MORE died, and although my heart broke alongside their bodies, for some reason, with this story...it all worked for me. The story is woven in front of the reader in such a way that in the end it seems the only way it was possible for the events to happen. This is Scott Lynch's first novel, but search me as to how he managed to write it so well. None of it is cheesy, it's laugh out loud hilarious, and I-just-have-something-in-my-eye-those-aren't-tears sad.
One of the best fantasy novels I have read in a long time, yet I am scared to start the next one, for fear it won't hold up as well. That's not REALLY going to stop me, but the fear is there nonetheless. I highly recommend this book to anyone who thinks fantasy has been wrung out....more
I discovered this book my senior year of high school, when a couple of my friends in drama cThis review is also available on my blog, Stumptown Books.
I discovered this book my senior year of high school, when a couple of my friends in drama club were reading it. Having always been a fan of fantasy, I ran to the library and picked it up, although I remember being rather surprised that it had been published in 1995. The Harry Potter craze was in full swing in 2003 and I thought Sabriel was riding on its coattails, like so many books are still doing today. But no, not only is it incredibly original, it is also unique and scary.
Sabriel kicks some serious butt. She is already powerful when we meet her, so there's not much in the way of starting off powerless and learning in a safe environment (like a school). Although she quickly discovers she has barely scratched the surface of the amount she has to learn, at least she's not bumbling. She's strong, willful, and smart; overall a great heroine. Mogget the sometimes-cat is hilarious, much more so than I remember from high school. Touchstone takes some getting used to but he gets much better as the book goes on.
The magic system is awesome. A lot of the magic is done with music, like whistling, or the seven bells that Sabriel wears, all of which serve a different purpose. The bells were rather confusing; I recommend bookmarking the page in the beginning where she lists each bell and describes its power, because from then on all she ever does is mention the bells name, not what its good for. The benign Charter magic is a vast unknown entity that I would love to know more about. The book never really touches on what it would mean to be a full fledged powerful mage, but I bet it would be awesome.
I'm just gonna say it. I'm kind of a wimp, especially when it comes to stuff that should be dead. I could never in a million years handle Sabriel's job of casually crossing the border into death and dealing with the spirits of the angry dead. I was never scared for myself though, which is why I can still call this young adult. If I read a horror novel, I start thinking hands are going to pop out of the couch or DID I lock the front door? or don't turn your back while you walk upstairs. Ugh. I can't handle that stuff at all. Give me a zombie movie and I am scared for weeks, if not longer. Maybe because Sabriel never features any high pitched violins or bad guys jumping out at you from the darkness, but the zombies here are only terrifying because Sabriel has to deal with them, not because they are scary to us, the readers. So even if you're a wimp like me, you can read this book and totally handle it.
One of the things that has really started to bug me with young adult fantasy is that authors seem to be unable to make drama based on their story alone, so they add in extremely irritating stupid people to be purposefully antagonistic. It annoys me to no end. In Sabriel, however, there are multiple times when I thought "Here is where a lesser author would make some cheap drama," and Garth Nix never falls for the bait. The side characters are supportive and understanding, even if they want to say no to her, they let her go on her way. I really appreciate that. Readers aren't dumb, we don't need dumb drama.
A great quick read, even if you wouldn't normally consider picking up a young adult novel. It transcends that label into good fantasy....more
No wonder I loved this book so much as a kid. I remember reading it at least three times, and I'm so glad I was able to find it again. It's just a greNo wonder I loved this book so much as a kid. I remember reading it at least three times, and I'm so glad I was able to find it again. It's just a great adventure story....more
I honestly don't even know where to begin with this review. I LOVED this book. And if you look through my review history, you'll know that's a rarity.I honestly don't even know where to begin with this review. I LOVED this book. And if you look through my review history, you'll know that's a rarity. How do I even write 5-star reviews? I don't get much practice!
The story presented is a simple enough concept: Dev is a smuggler of magical goods. He crosses the Whitefire Mountains in order to smuggle these goods into a neighboring kingdom. This time, his cargo isn't merely a few trinkets or amulets, but a young man, Kiran. Hijinks ensue.
Sounds simple, right? I thought it was going to be, too. I thought it was going to be formulaic, but immediately I was caught off guard - the narrator changed to Kiran, the young man paying to be smuggled across the border. Not only does it change to him, but it shifts from Dev's first person narration, to Kiran's third person. That means that while we get to listen in on Dev's thoughts and get to know him intimately, Kiran remains a mystery for much longer. I'm pretty sure Dev only swears in his thoughts, never out loud, but I can't find my notes now. Have some examples! These are each character's opening lines.
I knew right from the moment I opened Bren's back room door this job was going to be trouble. See, here's how it should go: Bren, waiting, alone, with a packet on the table and my advance payment in his hand. Simple and no surprises. So when I saw Bren, waiting, not alone, and no package on the table, I got a little twitchy.
Kiran shifted from foot to foot beside a trellis covered in night-blooming jasmine. For the hundredth time, he stared up at the pattern of stars visible above Lizaveta's courtyard wall. The hour of his rendezvous with Dev was fast approaching. Yet without Lizaveta's promised aid, he dared not leave Ninaval.
You can already tell so much about the characters just from those few lines. Dev is abrupt and a little uncouth, Kiran is educated and cautious.
So just the simple act of reading is an enjoyable experience. You jump back and forth between the two narrators, but it is never jolting, it is always a fluid transition. You never get to see the same scene twice, for example. If something happens during Kiran's chapters, Dev's will pick up right where it left off.
This book was character driven. I fell instantly in love with both characters for completely different reasons, but I HAD to know what was going on.
Like most fantasy novels, we're dropped in the middle of a setting and expected to play catch up. This novel REALLY expects you to play catch up, as the characters drop hints to their back story that we do not get to see until they say it to each other. This might drive you crazy. I thought it fit in perfectly. Why would Dev be thinking about his past in simple black and white terms for us to understand? That's not how thoughts work! We only get to see his past when he starts explaining it to Kiran.
A lot of fuss has been made about making the mountains in this book approachable. I live in the PAC NW so I get to see beautiful mountains a lot. Driving over the I-405 bridge on a clear day is an amazing treat, offering a view of both Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens. I think they are very pretty mountains.
And that's about where my knowledge of mountains ends!
Trust me, you do not need to know anything about mountains to still find them majestic, gigantic, and deadly in this book. They are the background for the journey part of the novel, but they are just as easy to imagine as any well-written fantasy setting.
Honestly, the first part of the book, being the actual "crossing" part, is a little slow. Everything I said earlier about loving that we don't get the character's pasts right away also means we have to stay interested without much to show for it for a while.
Trust me my friends, it is worth it!
The bottom line:
One of my favorite novels of the year so far. The character voices are unique and memorable, without any unnecessary romance, blood, or evilness mucking it up or forcing the characters into stupid decisions.
Going through a short story phase today, and I had to reread this one. No short story has ever stayed in my mind for as long as this one, and it is asGoing through a short story phase today, and I had to reread this one. No short story has ever stayed in my mind for as long as this one, and it is as perfect as any reader could want. I mention it to my friends all the time but all of them have yet to spend the 15 minutes required to read it. I sigh unhappily while this story makes me feel bigger than myself, more than the sum of my parts, all humanity together becoming more. This is why science fiction makes the world a better place. It's all over the internet, seriously, go read it....more