Perhaps no surprise but this book did nada for me.
I am not sentimental. Sure, I can tear up for personal emotionally-heavy moments, but in general I'm not the kind of person who appreciates display of emotion in most venues (I kinda just want the people or the book or the film to rein it in). I guess that makes me hard-hearted, but that's just who I am.
Consequently, having to read about someone's life journey to find personal treasure, which is thwarted at every opportunity, who keeps having to listen to his heart and the wind and the sun and heaven-knows-what tell it what to do or else he's not living correctly as a person made me want to throw the book across the room. It was just such horsepucky. So, if I'm not sentimental enough to listen to my heart, I'm a horrible person who can never feel the Soul of the World (ptooey) and reach my personal treasure? Which, I'm going to ruin it for you, really is actual treasure, ie, money. Yup, that's what matters in life.
It sure has been a long time since I read a mystery novel I enjoyed this much. And one I finished in little more than 12 houhttp://tinyurl.com/ox7fxlj
It sure has been a long time since I read a mystery novel I enjoyed this much. And one I finished in little more than 12 hours, too!
It's not just the premise - that an asteroid will destroy the earth in 6 months' time - it's the stellar plotting and writing. I mean, murder mysteries are all of a kind. You have to have some action, and between that action you need to have interviews. Lots of interviews, with lots of characters, hopefully designed to advance that aforementioned action and hopefully also obscure who the killer is so the reader finishes the dang book.
Therefore, the utter absurdity of someone pursuing a murder case when the Earth will be destroyed real soon now is the first unique card played by the author. The second card is absolutely believable characters. Not just our hero but every single person placed in his path - witnesses to fellow detectives to the old lady at the phone booth - I really do mean every person is realized and feels completely real.
The third and final card is interviews that are not boring. Please, those of you who write mysteries, read this one, if only as an exercise. Notice how he does not follow tried and trite methods of questioning that include "where were you at 10pm last night?" with each and every bloody person. Notice how he gives the detective a few charming tics in those interviews, which will be darned important later on.
There's really a fourth card - the author has thought about he would feel if the world is ending, and he's thought about how others will feel. How society will act. What will be repugnant and what will be understandable. If you don't like mysteries, you could read it for this reason and get plenty out of it....more
I only recently saw this movie, and was worried that I wouldn't be able to read the play without seeing Taylor and Newman inhttp://tinyurl.com/l3lvmqq
I only recently saw this movie, and was worried that I wouldn't be able to read the play without seeing Taylor and Newman in my head the whole time. They lasted through the first act and then faded. Likely that is due to the nonsensical Hays Code making the movie an utterly different experience than reading the play.
It is fascinating to me that Williams was able to write such a loaded screenplay - most definitely and not obliquely about homosexuality - in the 1950s without serious repercussions. (Maybe there were some, but it is as lauded as it was when it came out - heck, it even won a Pulitzer.) I guess I would have expected it to at least do poorly at the theater, and there is no evidence of that. Did it strike a chord with viewers because of its vast spectra of themes? Not just homosexuality - but repression, death, dying, greed, lust, you name it.
My copy of this has two versions of the third act. If you have this in your copy, definitely read both versions (well, read one, and skim the other) after you've read Williams' description of why he changed it. Totally worth it to see how playwrights do what they do....more
As you all know, I rarely read romances, however, in the last 6 months I've read two. The first was a recommendation from thhttp://tinyurl.com/or5u5kn
As you all know, I rarely read romances, however, in the last 6 months I've read two. The first was a recommendation from this very author, and the second is the first foray of this very author in the genre. I feel fortunate to have read the ARC!
Admittedly, I wished the title of the novel was "Interior Design to Build a Dream On" if only because it was more interesting to me than the sex scenes. Granted, those are quite well done! It seems that at my age I'd rather read a great description of a beautifully-created room (recessed lighting! ooh! blue tables with bowls of lemons on them! aah!) than a great description of how folks are getting their rocks off. Hmm.
But that's really the great charm of these books - because I am looking forward to reading the series - that you can enjoy super fun descriptions of all kinds of relationships (friendship being key among them), interesting and heartfelt introspection from the main characters, solid and intriguing plotlines, the aforementioned romantic scenes, and bonus thrills and spills at the end. It's the best of all worlds.
Plus, so you're aware - cheese jokes. Knowing the author, she couldn't write the novel without them. ...more
I'd heard from multiple sources that this was one of those books you either loved or hated. I'd also heard that it was eithehttp://tinyurl.com/p66k2ml
I'd heard from multiple sources that this was one of those books you either loved or hated. I'd also heard that it was either a tough slog (it is rather lengthy) or that you get to a certain part about 2/3 in and throw up your hands. I also had the experience of not enjoying her previous debut novel (The Secret History). This is what I started with.
I agree with all the sentiments. It was definitely a tough slog in places. It's not giving much away to say that there is a lot, lot, lot of druggie and alcoholic and general bad behavior all around in this novel. I don't live my life this way, so it got exasperating. While we understand the reasons why, for the most part, it's hard not to want to reach into the pages, grasp Theo by the shoulders (or the neck!) and try to shake some sense into him. Because it just goes on too lengthily. Or so it feels at the time. When you're done, you understand how all the pieces come together. But that doesn't excuse the deadly dull parts.
I did also get to a certain part and throw up my hands. I was invested enough in the story to not also throw the book across the room and not retrieve it. However, I can see how some would. To them I would say that if you just give it another 75 pages it will pay off for you, and that the final 50 pages are some of the best writing - and the best summary (for lack of a better word) of an entire story - that I've ever read.
Therefore, to everyone I say: stick with it, it will pay off with all sorts of dividends....more
Initially, I worried that this book would be "dishy" in some way, but there's almost none of that. And if there is any, it's subsumed by Elwes' disarming style of recollecting the ups and downs of the making of the film (mostly ups, really). I especially liked the little side notes from other cast and crew members (so that it wasn't only Elwes' voice but the voice of many), and recognizing how directors can be good managers or bad managers (just what the rest of us have to deal with in our workaday lives).
I don't want to say too much here - those who love the movie, and consider it an essential part of their childhood, will gobble up the book in no time at all....more
This is a prime example of a well-written and well-researched genre novel.
I was going to say well-written and well-researched trashy novel, but I thought that might be a little too harsh. It isn't trashy per se so much as having an obvious outcome, so a genre novel is a better description. Although I'm not certain what genre this could fit under: mystery? suspense?
The best thing about it was its honesty in describing living with disability, from both the disabled person's and the caregiver's point of view. If nothing else, you will learn tons about how not to treat the disabled (ie, geez, don't stare, okay?).
The worst thing about it was how laboriously the rift between upper-class and lower-class was set up, with a painfully adhered-to need to describe the benefits of both - my family has a lovely garden, but my family laughs a lot, but my family can afford vacations for the disabled, but my family cleans all the time... It got stupid after a while....more
If you're a Jane Austen fan, you'll love this bit of downstairs dish.
IOW, instead of focusing on the gentry, Baker focuses on the servants - how difficult their lives are, what they can and cannot have, how they have to behave. I appreciated the author's research into exactly how you make soap, what chilblains are, how disgusting those dresses were and why. It really brought home to me the reasons why we created the middle class! And what the innovations in technology were for.
As per her writing, Baker creates the English countryside particularly well and gives ample opportunity to describing its charms (well, she lives there herself, why wouldn't she?).
Three things I didn't care for: - The carefree manner in which Sarah visits James whenever, plants kisses on him whereever, etc. If I've read my upstairs/downstairs appropriately, this never happened willy-nilly. And having a relationship or (god forbid) marrying another servant in the household was looked down upon or was grounds for dismissal. - The effort Baker goes to to make sure we understand that James is a good guy. Despite some pretty obvious missteps and foibles! Also, why does he leave the Spanish seaside town again? No good reason given at all. - Oh, and Sarah tramping all over the countryside as a woman on her own? Oops, my book is running long, better not give any details of that. That's a book in and of itself, I would bet. But the lack of details here is patently absurd....more
I gave up reading romance novels in college. But my fave Goodreads reviewer waxed poetic about this one, so I thought I'd gihttp://tinyurl.com/o3msevw
I gave up reading romance novels in college. But my fave Goodreads reviewer waxed poetic about this one, so I thought I'd give it a try. Being a novella, it couldn't be too painful, I assumed.
It's definitely different and a load of fun to read. It suffers from the Shakespearean idiot plot problem, as do all romance novels to varying degrees, but Milan does such a nice job busting up stereotypes that it didn't matter too much to me.
Case in point, she has her Victorian-era protagonists speak to each other about penises and vaginas and French letters and Dutch caps. This sounds ridiculous as I write it, but it completely works in the novella. In fact, the frank exchange of thoughts and ideas and past problems almost made it seem that I was reading a psychoanalytic rendering of the times, but that makes the volume sound far duller than it was.
I may continue to read on in the series when I need something fluffy but different.
[Also, pet peeve. For those who borrow books through their local library for their Kindles. When it takes you only a few hours to read a book (or only a few days), please do the nice thing and return it! Just go to your Manage Your Content & Devices. It's so easy and the rest of us don't have to wait 3 weeks to read it when you've been done for ages! Thanks!]...more
I found this book a struggle. Not because it wasn't written clearly (and at times quite succinctly) but because the subjecthttp://tinyurl.com/ls6koda
I found this book a struggle. Not because it wasn't written clearly (and at times quite succinctly) but because the subject matter is so gruesome that I wanted not to go to bed, or to work, or to wash the dishes, or out for the night with its facts and ideas in my head.
Ali quotes a statistic at the end - 6,000 young girls are genitally excised every DAY around the world. Even after reading this entire book, understanding her history and what led her to repudiate her faith in Islam, that statistic still shocked me. And, trust me, you'll read worse than that earlier in the book. (So, you'll likely be shocked a lot.)
Her right-wing position took longer for me to come around to. She, more than any of us white Westerners, has good reason to believe what she believes. But how her stance contradicts, or at least counteracts, the history of Western civilization - in particular how hard it is for a European liberal society to agree to any form of suppression after Nazi Germany's realm - well, I can't see both sides. Or perhaps, I can see both sides and have no idea which side to be on.
I am, however, well persuaded by her writing, and if nothing else her words have opened my eyes to some things I knew nothing about, and many arguments I hadn't thought to have with myself....more
I stayed up late to finish this, so it has that going for it. It's a great little (well, it's actually rather long) tale, anhttp://tinyurl.com/p9jk5bh
I stayed up late to finish this, so it has that going for it. It's a great little (well, it's actually rather long) tale, and for the most part well-told. My main pet peeves were with obvious plot twists and obvious structural analogies.
First, it's a mystery, and Morton does a great job stringing out that mystery by flipping between three different timelines, so you get ever closer to the answers as you progress.
Second, it's about women, and pretty much only women. Mothers, daughters, grandaughters, cousins, you name it. There's usually a pairing of women - a cousin with a cousin, a mother with a daughter, etc. - throughout the novel. This is where her structure tended to annoy me - oh, look, another set of women who work well or don't work well together. We get it.
Third, unfortunately, what she bases her entire story on is a few extremely tried-n-true plot devices. You see them coming a mile off - and while the story is still entertaining (she is a decent descriptive writer, after all) - there's little to no impact when they are revealed.
Fourth, I loved the setting. I want a cottage on an English seaside cliff with a hidden garden. As if I didn't want one before. But her flowery description of this one made the idea even more enticing....more
It's rare that I'll write a review directly after finishing a book. However, in this case, I know that rumination is not goihttp://tinyurl.com/kvzgw9s
It's rare that I'll write a review directly after finishing a book. However, in this case, I know that rumination is not going to help me.
As all the other reviews say, it takes a long, long time to "get into" this book. This particular act of worldbuilding is more obtuse than most, in that it obscures the facts in order to get at the... well, the strangeness of it all. And I can't say much more because saying more will give away that discovery period that Leckie expects you endure (about 100 pages or so) to grasp how very odd her world is.
I understand that Leckie is making subtle references to the best and worst of humankind - how we make our political and social choices, how we interact with each other, what is humane and just. But every time I picked the book up I had to remember the entire structure of world yet again. I would read a sentence and say "I understand that sentence empirically" and then I'd read the next one and say "I understand that sentence empirically" immediately followed by "These two sentences make no sense together." It was exhausting.
On the other hand, the use of "she" instead of "he" globally didn't really bother me. Probably because I'm a she....more
It's almost impossible to review a David Mitchell book. They're so full of... everything! This is my third novel of his, andhttp://tinyurl.com/peoqods
It's almost impossible to review a David Mitchell book. They're so full of... everything! This is my third novel of his, and definitely the most enjoyable.
However, I'm not sure it's the most transparent. (Hahaha, that's a joke, David Mitchell books are never transparent, hahaha). What I mean by that is, it's harder to find the theme in this one. Several reviewers have said that it's about how we view death (and consequently life) and what we do with our lives to prepare for it. I agree, in that our main character's life is told to us both directly and indirectly (through other characters), in relation to how she learns to accept and understand things that are completely beyond her ken but relate to the journey towards death. I refuse to give anything away here (I'll explain why in a moment), suffice it to say that the "supernatural brigade certainly seems to be out in force."
But I find it hard to believe that living Holly's life through the other characters' lives is all there is to those parts of the novel. There are three main men in her life, and they are extraordinarily different. In a way, it felt like what Patrick Rothfuss did in The Wise Man's Fear, just string really interesting stories together. Because I didn't find a theme across the three men (other than that they loved Holly).
One thing you must do as you read this book is... believe. When you reach about page 100 and everything goes to hell in a handbasket - in fact, you may think that Mitchell just ran his text through a random word generator - just, trust the author. He'll make it all make sense in the end....more
It's almost unfortunate that Demick wrote this book before Kim Jong-un took power from his father. Stating, as she does, thehttp://tinyurl.com/pu7tado
It's almost unfortunate that Demick wrote this book before Kim Jong-un took power from his father. Stating, as she does, the extreme difficulties of managing survival basics in North Korea, and particularly the effort to dissuade public opinion that this is true, her opinion on how Kim Jong-un's leadership is progressing would be invaluable in regards to this book.
Having been a reporter in Asia for many years - and in fact, she cites her works in the notes repeatedly - she certainly seems to be the right person to have written this. The main thrust of it is to inform about the conditions in North Korea, particularly during the famine of the 1990s, that led to mass starvation, struggle and desperation, and caused an increase in defections.
Naturally, it's impossible to write this with zero bias, since Demick has not lived inside North Korea, only having visited what the North Korean government deemed appropriate to visit. But I don't see that the defectors she spoke with have any reason to lie about the difficulties of living and surviving in North Korea - except perhaps to further the agenda towards reunification, in order to finally be reunited with their family and friends. And since she includes defectors who didn't actually have reasons to defect per se, the descriptions of life in North Korea are that more substantial and trustworthy.
I would recommend this book. However, it's heart-rending to read about seeing dead bodies in the street, and homeless youths stunted by food deprivation, and the continued faith in the leadership through all of this. It's fast, fascinating reading, but it's difficult to read for those reasons....more
Alice Munro's collections usually knock me for a loop. They pack so much emotion into such spare, non-emotional phrasings thhttp://tinyurl.com/nmefbfe
Alice Munro's collections usually knock me for a loop. They pack so much emotion into such spare, non-emotional phrasings that you are taken unawares by their power. There's no one else who can write about life - in the definitive slice-of-life mode - and make it seem as if you are living this life at the same time as the character being described. You are almost literally sucked into their world. Then - the chapter ends, and instead of feeling as if you've lost a best friend, you sock that story away in your heart and become immersed in the next one.
Munro writes about people who have made a wrong turn. Those turns are understandable, and the people are sympathetic. You almost don't wince to read about the wrongs they've done, you just become them as they journey - for a while - down the wrong path. And it either makes you feel better about yourself or worse. Either way, it's worth it.
With this collection, I didn't feel this as intensely. The endings of the stories felt more obvious, and I could see them coming for some time. Obviously, that lessens their emotional punch. They still live in my heart - the first story is still rattling around in there - but they aren't supplanting previous story collections.
However! And it's a big however. The last four stories are about her own life. Some perhaps not wholly factual, as she says, but it was clear to me as I started them that I've been dying to know more about her own life, especially her own childhood. Because that simply has to be a large factor in how she perceives the world and the people in it. Her reminiscences of town and country life in the 30s and 40s in Canada, her perceptions of herself at that time, the world as she viewed it then, and in particular her memories of her mother. These last four absolutely pack a special kind of wallop....more
Actually, the worst thing about this book is that it's going to be a series. I'd say quit while you're ahead.
Reason being, this sweet little young adult novel does not need a follow-up. It contains itself nicely, and has a nearly-perfect ending, bringing all the story elements together into one thoughtful scene. The only thing I can think the author intends with another set of volumes is turning it into a creepier sci-fi thriller type of series - still for young adults (or whatever we are calling them these days), but not a romance.
Because the "reverend" is the only unresolved character among them all by the time you finish the volume. "A" inhabits one body per day, always moving on to another body, hoping not to impair or even affect the person during that day. Since "A" comes into contact with a variety of people, the book explores gender and personalities more than anything else, giving extra weight to being thoughtful, caring, loving - the usual themes of this kind of teen book.
You wouldn't want the next book to push the same themes, so I can only expect that it's going to try to mess with "A"'s usual rhythm. I think I'll wait and see what the critics think first. ...more
If you were a fan of the Veronica Mars TV series, you'll enjoy this better-than-average entrée into the now-official book sehttp://tinyurl.com/onskprn
If you were a fan of the Veronica Mars TV series, you'll enjoy this better-than-average entrée into the now-official book series. (P.S. You don't have to have loved the movie to like this book, in case that's helpful.)
I say better-than-average because it is actually better than the average mystery. By average mystery, I mean something by Janet Evanovich or Lilian Jackson Braun. (Then again, they both started their respective series strongly, and this being the first book in the VM series, there's plenty of time to go downhill.) Weighed against those giants of American pop-culture mystery, Thomas and Graham's is most definitely heavier.
We start right after the events of the movie (again, you don't have to have seen or loved the movie to enjoy the book), and VM is getting the hang of her new life. There's much more Mac and Wallace and Keith than in the movie. There's very little of everyone else, including Logan. (Those of you who saw the movie know why.)
I enjoyed very twist and turn - and would understand if folks thought it too twisty - and being able to read about the ambience of Neptune as opposed to seeing it onscreen. The only thing I thought fell a little flat was the continual explanation of VM's inner thoughts - all her worries, concerns, emotional issues. And only because in the TV series we saw a way tougher character. I don't want to know that VM feels conflicted! I want her to remain tough as nails....more
In the end, I understand the reasons people seem to love this book. But I myself am not a fan.
I don't feel as if a void has been filled in my life. Perhaps there are some who were waiting for lesbian erotica that would make it to the mainstream. For those of us who weren't, this novel feels like it's only designed to teach us what it may have been like to be gay in the 1880s. I felt this particularly at the end when we learn more about the social leanings of the group of people our protagonist hangs around with. My ears pricked up - because that was fascinating and well-written and certainly what I expected in a novel about Edwardian England. Not what we got which was a sorry tale of a sorry young person who waited until the very end of the bloody novel to grow.
I suspect my exasperation with this tale may be far larger than others. And that that exasperation was mostly due to the middle section in which Nancy literally flings aside her comfortable life for purely sexual reasons. I just can't fathom such an action, and it pissed me off no end. It also made the inevitable ending feel cheap and flat....more
Somewhere in the middle of this mystery, the author notes the preponderance of unpublished manuscripts with extraneous writihttp://tinyurl.com/qd2spfl
Somewhere in the middle of this mystery, the author notes the preponderance of unpublished manuscripts with extraneous writing, way too much description, run-on sentences. That made me laugh out loud.
If there's one thing Pavone knows how to do in spades, it's describe! This novel contains way, way, way too much description of the environment - about 80% completely extraneous. It's one of the more egregious examples I've seen of telling instead of showing.
I mean, what happened to Raymond Chandler or Lawrence Block style? "This happened, and then this happened, and then, surprise!" That's how mysteries should be written.
He is a fantastic plotter. The twists and turns are well created, I'll give him that. He, unfortunately, sets up the plot as if there's going to be some huge reveal and nothing is ever revealed that you haven't heard or seen or read before. There's nothing unique here, therefore why set it up as if there were? These reveals end up being less than important to the plot, too. Bad form.
I was going to read his previous, Edgar-winning novel, but I won't be bothering now. ...more
I have 5 minutes to write this review today, so... the highlights:
a) She's an open and caring introvert but also a people person. I really appreciate that. b) She totally F-ed up her early years. Which she's also open about, and I appreciate that. c) The end result is that she isn't an entirely sympathetic character, and I was disturbed by that. I mean, I understand how F-ed up and crazy you can be if you've gone through what she's gone through, but she has urges I can't begin to understand. Or urges that sounds like addictions, which even in her retrospective-healthy state look like things you should seek therapy for. You'll know what I mean when you get there. d) I still loved the ride. She puts it all out there for you and she writes nicely (not gorgeously or amazingly, but nicely). Also, the PCT is one hell of a journey, holy cats. e) (There are some contradictions in the story, but I'll leave that to bitch to my book club about.) ...more
Oh my, yes. I'm not a slice-of-life fan like some of the folks in my book club, but I appreciate a stellar read when I meethttp://tinyurl.com/nauaovs
Oh my, yes. I'm not a slice-of-life fan like some of the folks in my book club, but I appreciate a stellar read when I meet it.
I'll compare this book with - yet again - "The Marriage Plot" by Jeffrey Eugenides. In this case, it truly feels as if the authors of both volumes were writing stream-of-conscious or off-the-cuff. A novel for the sake of telling a story. Not without its own themes, mind you, but created far more to tell a story (with a capital S) than to tell a lesson (unfortunately, very much usually with a capital L).
The difference is that "The Marriage Plot" is shite, and this is brilliance.
This novel plays with its characters - and especially with the 2 main protagonists. But that's completely wrong because Walter excels at taking bit parts and making them come alive after a few paragraphs. More so than any author I can name at this very moment. It's rather breathtaking, in fact.
The other thing the novel plays with is time. It's very likely its central theme. Not just that we jump around from the 60s to the present time and back throughout. But that time is essential to how the characters grow and learn and become who they always should have been.
I did think the ending was a mite bit too pat (haha, for those who have already read it). I forgive Walter because he gave me Richard Burton in a boat off the Italian coast extemporaneously being the genius he truly was....more
This book is officially for science geeks. If you're not a science geek, you're going to nod off and think it's terrible. Ifhttp://tinyurl.com/m4o4ryo
This book is officially for science geeks. If you're not a science geek, you're going to nod off and think it's terrible. If you are a science geek, you'll be playing along.
This is the story of an astronaut stranded on Mars and everything he has to do - mechanically, electrically, botanically - to get back home. It's an intriguing concept, and there's no way to write it without giving numbers, equations and hard physical facts. Fortunately, Weir also manages to make it funny by having his astronaut be kind of a dweeb. A dweeb who can last that long by seeing the humor in his situation. I would bet that astronauts are like this - both insane and heroic - but you'd have to be a very special kind of astronaut to survive for a year and a half on Mars (even future Mars with all the bells and whistles and radiation shielding).
I inhaled it. The MacGyver aspect of this man's struggle with the elements was really fun - what will he come up with next in order to save his potato crop? create a bedroom for his rover? save himself from an airlock disaster? I'm not giving anything away. Weir throws everything he can at the man - because that's what you do in this kind of a novel! ...more
Apart from the troubles our dear Spike (James Marsters, not the character of the same name in the book, which gave me the giggles for its meta-ness) had with his breathing and gulping, the audio version of this 2nd book in the series is about 1000 times more fun than the 1st book in the series, which I read on "paper." It seems that Marsters, and his publisher - shouldn't they have been giving him tips?? - figured this out in later books as the audio segments are shorter. Poor man was trying to do 8-10 minute segments without a break! Superhuman strength, Spike.
The content itself was also more well-thought-out, rounded, better plotted, etc. I won't say better written. I still think Butcher rather stinks as a writer. For instance, if he mentions that "crime doesn't pay" in the next book, I will literally scream. But overall, these books are a really fun way to a) exercise b) work in the garden or c) do your physical therapy....more
In this completely enjoyable, absolutely beyond-question over-the-top piece of fiction, our protagonist loses both her husbahttp://tinyurl.com/mrwdbpa
In this completely enjoyable, absolutely beyond-question over-the-top piece of fiction, our protagonist loses both her husband and child in the first few pages (see, I'm not giving anything away there). It wasn't the best choice to start reading this month but it turned into something so crazy that I enjoyed it nonetheless.
Our author is a creative writing teacher at UWisconsin and she's had a surprising batch of stuff published (including a memoir about growing up around Cape Canaveral in the 60s that I may just pick up). I'm certain she's giving her students sound advice about writing because she knows her craft. She takes an actual personal story - she herself grew up in France and Florida - and makes it the background to this... ride. I can't describe it any other way.
How our protagonist acts throughout this book can easily be marked down to being distraught over the loss of her husband and daughter. It can also be marked down to an author saying to herself "well, I have this opportunity to write plot points willy-nilly simply because my protagonist is distraught." I don't think good novels work that way. Of course, bad novels work this way too - like "The Marriage Plot," for instance - and this particular novel isn't really bad. Just bizarro. With aspects of real-life thrown in for good measure.
Look, when you get to Russia, you'll understand what I mean....more
This is pretty much the pulpiest pulp I've read in a long while. It should be clear to anyone reading this that the writer ihttp://tinyurl.com/l7tr7c5
This is pretty much the pulpiest pulp I've read in a long while. It should be clear to anyone reading this that the writer is completely homegrown, ie, has he even taken a writing class? By the end, I got extraordinarily tired of "oh, I'm going to die" - 4 paragraphs on that - and then the obvious "oh, wait, I forgot about using that [insert magical device]! good, now I'm not going to die."
I understand the series gets better. But will I stick around to find out? I love fantasy, but this guy seems to have ridden in on the coattails of Ms. Rowling and then followed in the footsteps of Ms. Evanovich. I see the basic appeal, but there isn't much that's actually, well... clever, here.
In the end, my biggest pet peeve is that it's like reading a giant game of Zork. He stands outside a house. The curtains are drawn. He has a bad feeling. He sees a film canister on the ground. He wonders how it got there. He walks around the house. He sees a faery. Ugh. I'd rather play the game....more
The comedy in this famous play is surprisingly spot on and interestingly current. You could make any of these same jokes todhttp://tinyurl.com/kavfzjr
The comedy in this famous play is surprisingly spot on and interestingly current. You could make any of these same jokes today. It's not as if Britain has stopped making jokes about class and culture, right?
Wilde certainly had a talent for farce - for that brand of ridiculous that is not supposed to have any bearing on reality. It teases reality, but sits soundly outside it. The great thing about farce is that you begin reading with that assumption - that nothing is real - and consequently it's all about the words and the plot. Since you can't take it seriously, this frees you up to enjoy the English language at its finest (and silliest).
I especially liked how Wilde created female characters the equal of the male characters. They are equally silly as well as equally eloquent. I would think the role of the "mother-in-law" would be a plum one for any well-established British Dame. In fact, can't you see Maggie Smith playing this in its next incarnation?...more
What an enchanting read! Not knowing a thing about this book before I started made it all the better. For instance, I was unhttp://tinyurl.com/l2u6t4o
What an enchanting read! Not knowing a thing about this book before I started made it all the better. For instance, I was unaware that I was essentially about to read a fantasy novel. Clearly any book that makes magic real is by definition fantasy. Even when it's clearly rooting itself in the not-too-distant past of our own world.
Speaking of which, I completely missed some of the telling signs Morgenstern was truly throwing at me regarding the origins of the circus in general, and the circus as it exists in our present-day minds. I will give nothing away just in case others are as slow as I was to get the hints. But I will say that they are just hints, and that she doesn't fully realize them (as she shouldn't in a fantasy novel).
Don't let the number of pages dissuade you, as this book moves very, very quickly. I think I finished it in 4 days (granted, 4 vacation days) and was compelled to return to it as often as possible. The writing is a little formal, however, this fits well with a book set in the late 19th century. It also has a slight goth feel to it - the black and white circus tents, the ultra-chic dresses, the slow-moving statues, the "reveurs" and their flashes of red - and I believe that makes it all the more interesting.
I was told not to read the back of the book. I read this on Kindle so didn't have to worry about that, but in seeking out the back cover after I was finished I didn't see any monstrous spoilers - nothing that wasn't guessable from the get-go. Perhaps I saw the wrong back of the book. ...more
There is no question this is a compelling book. From start to finish, you are pulled inexorably to the end, or should I say,http://tinyurl.com/m29og92
There is no question this is a compelling book. From start to finish, you are pulled inexorably to the end, or should I say, ends. (There are at least three of them.)
Now, I'm a Swedish mystery aficianado, so I was super geeked to see this in my Christmas stocking a few days ago. (Yes, I read it that fast.) I figured, the Danes must be learning to push back - break that lock that the Swedes have had for decades. I really wanted to see if that was true.
A solid B+ for effort and style. Gazan aces the Scandinavian mournful tone (in spades), provides a solid set of plots, and she's a biologist so her themes have a more interesting bent than usual. She has an easy, light writing style (as translated), with the occasional excellent turn of phrase to make you smile or raise your eyebrows.
Also, unexpectedly, Gazan gives you a boatload of backstory, which while also compelling, comes at a very odd time in the book, ie, the beginning. I mean, at least 70 pages of backstory. It moves very quickly, but it begins to dawn on you that this is an extraordinary amount, and either the author is brilliantly setting you up for the ending or she's a pretty dumb writer. How to know when it's the first book of hers you've ever read? There is, in fact, a reason for it, but I'll give nothing away here.
(I should also say that this is the first book in a long while that I have read in paper. There was something comforting about being able to turn actual, non-digital pages. No, that alone won't put me off using my Kindle forever and always.)...more