It was a pleasure to work on this book as a line editor and to be a part of ushering a strong new writer's voice into the world.
Brown Sugar is a thrilIt was a pleasure to work on this book as a line editor and to be a part of ushering a strong new writer's voice into the world.
Brown Sugar is a thrill ride through the small towns and rural areas of Minnesota as radio journalist Cooper Smith attempts to track a story about a massive drug ring run through the state's reservations. As a reporter myself, I could recognize Field's understanding of the balance between pressure and satisfaction, the crunch between deadline and ambition. The accessible writing style is peppered with moments of humor and colorful characters that keep the serious subject matter from weighting down an exciting ride.
I found Field's characters to be especially well-rendered, from bit characters like the hardcore Republican grandmother and ex-Navy Seal friend to the main players like the ambitious but compassionate Cooper. But the book my shine most in its examination of the drug lords, who are not depicted as one-dimensional goons but rather men with complicated pasts and motivations that are really driven on by the same thing that drives all of us -- fear, desire for stability, ambition.
The narrative weaves between the first-person perspective of Cooper and the third-person perspective of the men involved in the drug ring, and the pacing is such that the reader always feels in the right place at the right time. If you're looking for a thriller that is a bit off the beaten path both in setting and characters, Field's new series might be one to watch. ...more
If you are a fan of post-apocalyptic/apocalyptic stories, make sure to have your TBR and TBW (to-be-watched) lists handy -- plus Google if you want toIf you are a fan of post-apocalyptic/apocalyptic stories, make sure to have your TBR and TBW (to-be-watched) lists handy -- plus Google if you want to check into any of the non-book/movie suggestions featured in this book.
Despite being a long-time fan of the genre, there were tons of books and movies I either had never heard of, or had heard of but didn't know exactly what they were about. The format is the same for every entry -- it sets up the plot/scenario, and then includes notes about how likely such an apocalypse is, what impact the work had on the culture/later works, and what inspired the creator. The tone is casual and slightly ironic, clearly written by an enthusiast of the genre. Although mostly featuring books and movies, there are also some apocalyptic visions from artwork, theater, and music included. (The theater ones bummed me out a little because it's the hardest to get a hold of -- but now that I know these apocalyptic plays exist, I'll keep my eyes open for whether they are ever performed near me.)
It would be easy to criticize this book for all the stuff it left OUT, but one of its strengths is that it creates a somewhat manageable collection of apocalyptic visions, unlike the "1001 ..." book series that is pretty much overhwelming (which is why I guess you get "until you die" as the deadline). This book could serve as a handy guide to someone who is just getting into the post-apocalyptic genre, or a current enthusiast who might want to fill in the gaps. It also gave me a sense for why some of the books/movies in the genre became such classics.
The book reinforces the fact that there really aren't a ton of scenarios that have been explored for the world ending -- pretty much every piece in the book falls into one of the following categories: nuclear war, alien invasion, asteroid from space, zombies (zombies seemed a bit overrepresented), climate change, and plague. It's in the way these themes are rendered that you might glimpse something new.
Readers should be warned that this book is totally ruthless about spoilers -- it looks at each work as a whole, which usually includes giving away how the story ends. So if you are very anti-spoiler, you might want to skip entries for pieces you haven't read/seen or just read the first couple paragraphs. I have so many things on my to-watch/to-read list that I figure I'll forget the spoilers by the time I get to them, anyway. :p
This is not a long book, but I found it to be best enjoyed reading just a couple entries at a time -- otherwise, they start to blend together a bit. ...more
Book Riot Read Harder Challenge Item: A book that was adapted into a movie
This book felt a little uneven to me, and also like a bit of a rehash of theBook Riot Read Harder Challenge Item: A book that was adapted into a movie
This book felt a little uneven to me, and also like a bit of a rehash of the John Green I've read in the past (Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, Let It Snow). This was somewhat intentional on Green's part, as he was attempting to use this book to deconstruct the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope he relied upon in "Looking for Alaska." I very much appreciated the themes in this book, which were the idea that we can never truly know someone and that there is a difference between our "idea" of who someone is and who that person REALLY is, and that the "ideas" that we project on to people for our own needs can be stifling.
Where the book is less successful is in ACTUALLY deconstructing the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope -- because we see so little of Margo, we never really get to know who she "really" is at all, so she mostly remains just an idea, albeit with a caution to the reader that that is not enough.
The pacing felt a little inconsistent; the middle got a little dark and slow, and I was glad it didn't stay that way for too long. I enjoyed Green's typically quirky characters, particularly Radar, although I was sometimes impatient with the high school antics (prom, graduation, bullies, etc.) that seemed to intrude upon the larger plot of the mystery of what had happened to Margo. But that probably just proves how old I am getting. ;) I found the mystery itself to be compelling, although the clues were sometimes too convoluted to be believable -- both that someone would leave that sort of clue, AND that another someone would figure out how to interpret it. But I loved learning about Paper Towns (the author was inspired by one in South Dakota!), and this book made me want to go urban exploring.
[Also, the movie did a pretty good job of conveying the book's themes even without all the introspection, which impressed me. Quentin and Radar seemed well-cast, Ben seemed to be only like, 12, and all-in-all it was a three-star movie to go with a three-star book.]...more
A sweet and silly book about a dog who is planning to go to the moon beneath the noses of his family, with a rhyming scheme that is not totally obnoxiA sweet and silly book about a dog who is planning to go to the moon beneath the noses of his family, with a rhyming scheme that is not totally obnoxious. The cat is the best part of each illustration -- her expressions are priceless and sort of reflect any "reasonable" person's response to the goings-on. I wanted the dog's romantic storyline to be a little more fully developed. I think that means I am not the intended audience for picture books. :p...more