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
Original rating from when I read this in 2007 was 5 stars.
It is interesting how my view has changed in the years since I originally read (well, listenOriginal rating from when I read this in 2007 was 5 stars.
It is interesting how my view has changed in the years since I originally read (well, listened) to this book. I know a lot more about myself, religion, my own views on religion, but most of all, I know more about Jon Krakauer. And honestly, the last is the most important piece of the puzzle.
He is an excellent non-fiction writer, there is no doubt about that. Practically all of his novels have been best-sellers, and for non-fiction, that's pretty astounding. But Into Thin Air is widely acclaimed as bullshit - how can I go from knowing that, to taking him at his word about Mormons?
Well, I can't. There was a lot in this book that I thought, "Wow Jon, you're really spinning this to tell the story you want to tell." That's not to say that Mormonism, and the story he spins here, isn't extremely compelling, because it is. I could hardly put this book down. But there were a number of times when he would present the reader with a fact, but then never fully explain it, while other facts that he is able to completely justify in his Mormons-Are-So-Evil story, he went into excruciating detail. It was practically like he was saying, "See!! See that thing I said earlier! This totally justifies it!"
Yes, I find Mormonism scary. This book compounds that.
I just don't think it was actually a good book....more
Ok so I know I'm an adult reading a children's book, but I can't look at this objectively. It was HORRIBLE. I hope you have access to a mountain, goatOk so I know I'm an adult reading a children's book, but I can't look at this objectively. It was HORRIBLE. I hope you have access to a mountain, goats, and a little girl who is unabashedly optimistic, because otherwise you are in for a cold and lonely existence.
Also prayer. That's what I learned from this book....more
This was published as Red Star Rising in the UK, a much better title in my opinion. I guess it didn't scream BUY ME I'M ABOAs seen on Stumptown Books.
This was published as Red Star Rising in the UK, a much better title in my opinion. I guess it didn't scream BUY ME I'M ABOUT DRAGONS enough to the American audience.
Every Pern book I read, I wonder if it is going to be the last. I want to be able to finish the series, mostly because I like completing things. It is becoming a chore of epic proportions to get through each successive novel; this one was by far the worst yet.
It is a familiar story at this point. Thread is on the way, and one holder, Chalkan of Bitra, doesn't believe it's coming. The "pass" this time is the second one ever in the history of humans on Pern. Landing was made about 250 years ago, so there are still some remnants of the knowledge of the First Crossing, but a lot of it has faded. They still have access to a few decrepit old computers (a computer that ran for 250 years?! Who made it? I want one) and solar panels, for example, but everything from Earth is becoming more and more rare. Weyrs are set up, and most of the holds the readers have become familiar with over the course of the series are there. The southern continent is completely abandoned and things like craft halls have not yet become the norm. There is no Harper Hall yet, for example.
Dragonseye essentially tells us the story of how Pern started down the path to become the Pern of Lessa and F'lar about 2,000 years/turns in the future. The creation of the star stones is explained so no one can doubt that Thread is on its way. The craft halls are formed so vital information is not lost to the rigors of time.
The problem is, I was okay leaving those mysteries to a simple "our ancestors sure were smart now let's go ride our dragons into the sunset." That is how these things were always explained away before. Well, I thought, I'm going to continue giving this a shot because maybe the characters will be memorable. Unfortunately...no. Every character is a lesser version of their counterparts in the original trilogy. The bad guy is TIRED, and I was completely disinterested in his multitudinous villainies. He is the exact same creep as the bad guy in every other Pern novel, with a slightly different name. I was bored with that formula ages ago, when Toric became the villain.
The other characters are introduced so quickly and haphazardly that none of them were the least bit memorable. Dragon riders and their mounts are thrown at us in list form, and then we are supposed to remember not only which rider has which dragon, but also what color that dragon is and which Weyr they hail from. If you introduce 15 characters within a chapter, I'm not going to remember every detail, that's just how it is. Where's the editor here? Check out this list of all the characters. It's gigantic. And there is never another novel set in the second pass, so most of those characters are wasted. I would have vastly preferred getting to know a handful rather than be bombarded by a million nonessential and inconsequential redshirts.
I give it 2 stars only because it is Anne and she has a warm place in my heart. I consider myself a HUGE fan of Pern, but this simply didn't cut the mustard. Do not read unless you are more fanatic of Anne McCaffrey's works than I am....more
I honestly knew very little about I, Robot before picking it up. I thought the Will Smith moThis review is also available on my blog, Stumptown Books.
I honestly knew very little about I, Robot before picking it up. I thought the Will Smith movie was true to the source material. I thought it was about robots overthrowing their fleshy overlords and becoming "more human than a human." Allow me to bashfully state that I was completely wrong, but the cold finger of dread still tickled its way down my spine at the thought of robots running the place.
A collection of short stories with some brief interludes in the present (present, in this case, being 2057), I, Robot traces the history of robots over a 60 year period, or thereabouts. They go from simplistic machines, unable to talk, (pretty much the opposite of where we're at huh?) to powerhouses in politics and shaping the whole of history. By the time I reached the third story, Reason, my hackles were up and goosebumps were running down my arm. Two scientists are stuck on Mercury with a robot who refuses to follow their orders - I was positive they wouldn't live through it. But the story ends, the book continues, and robots keep evolving into more and more sophisticated beings. Every story after that I went into with the assertion that here was probably where the robot uprising began. Of course I was completely wrong, but the end of the book was actually even more terrifying than that. There's something about the cold implacability and logic of robots that frightens me. You can't out reason a robot; they will always win.
I felt like I knew the three laws of robots from somewhere, but it may just be because they're a part of popular culture now. Now I'm really familiar with them, and I like that - Asimov really defined the genre here, and the three laws have taken science fiction to new heights. He presents each story as a mystery to be solved, and carries us along while we try to figure out what could be going wrong with the robots and the three laws.
What are we going to do if this ever becomes science fact? This book is like Philosophy 101 for Trekkies, but highly accessible for anyone, even if you don't like science fiction....more