Who knew that Truman Capote had written Breakfast at Tiffany's? Obviously, lots of people know this, but there were a numberhttp://tinyurl.com/zveeqhv
Who knew that Truman Capote had written Breakfast at Tiffany's? Obviously, lots of people know this, but there were a number in our book club who did not know, including me. It's just that I don't acquaint the person who wrote In Cold Blood with a dashing romp about high society, or at least something playing at being high society.
After finishing, I had to immediately watch the trailer for the movie again, to see how alike they were. They beef up the romance (quite a bit, in fact) but the funniest part is that the movie announcer can't say Capote's last name! You'd think someone in the studio would have noticed that...
I confess to not necessarily understanding all the words in this novella. I would need some education on the time and place to make sense of it all. It also doesn't seem to matter much. It's perfectly clear what kind of a girl our Ms. Holly Golightly is, and what it must have been like to live in her building, meet her friends, go on escapades with her, and then watch as things rather fall apart. I was disappointed at times that the language did not match the times, or at least the times as I think of them (Holly is, after all, a product of her upbringing, but still).
What I appreciate the most about Capote's writing is that he is a premier example of an excellent storyteller: tell us the basics, give us as little description as necessary, build up the mystery with only a few words, and leave us wondering how it all really works out. And if you're lucky enough to get a copy that includes the short story A Christmas Memory, you'll see exactly why Capote is a master....more
I'm reading along... and realizing that the book is moving very quickly. Goodness, if we go at this rate the entire first sehttp://tinyurl.com/zfmbg9s
I'm reading along... and realizing that the book is moving very quickly. Goodness, if we go at this rate the entire first season of the TV series (called "The Expanse") is going to be over before I'm halfway through the book. Yup.
I almost thought about stopping, so that I would watch the new season (premiering in February, I believe) before I read all about it by finishing the book. But, I just couldn't stop reading. This is one engaging writing duo - and it took me a while before I learned it was a duo, not a solo endeavor - and they create this environment and spin you from world to world without nary a concern that you will get confused by the rapid changes of planetoid, space station, or spaceship. In addition, they assume you will immediately understand how Mars, Earth and the Belt (the asteroid belt) could be at each others' throats, without a whole lot of explanation.
That is absolutely the case. It's simple to see how we could end up in a state like this, if we were also inhabiting a couple rings out from the earth. (Heck, aren't we about to see it in action right now?) There's only one part of the book that didn't ring true for me, and that didn't have much to do with the sociopolitical climate of this space opera, but instead the moral stances of our two main characters after one of them makes a quick and disturbing decision. But this is fascinating in its own right - on the one hand, we have the idealistic Earther, and on the other hand, the overly cynical and pragmatic Belter. It's worth watching their stories spin together and then apart.
For those of you who haven't read this first book before watching, the Aghdashloo character does not show up in the TV series at all... yet. I'm fascinated to learn why, when I read the next book....more
Everyone can jump down my throat, but I did not think French's sixth novel was as good as the first five.
Two things to keep in mind: anything she writes is about one million times better than any cookie cutter mystery, and I would never drop her from my reading list (far, far from it). But those first five? They have stayed with me, and when I say that, I mean that the feel of them is never far from me. Those spooky, spooky woods; inhabiting someone else's oh-so-odd skin; that close-knit and horribly-knit family; ghostly undertakings on a school's campus; and last but not least (actually the 4th novel), those holes in the walls (and I'd far rather shout that: THOSE HOLES). Every single one of those novels twisted reality, but not so much that the novels don't live in this world. They just inhabit victim's and perpetrator's mentally challenged worlds.
On the other hand, this one was by the book. Not in terms of how it was told - that is still a psychological masterwork - but in terms of the lack of a compelling reveal. Don't get me wrong, there is absolutely a reveal. But it's a reveal that doesn't live in a twisted reality, so it doesn't send shivers up and down your spine. On top of that, the ending is decidedly grim but also contains hope, which is usually in short supply at the end of her novels. I have ideas for why French has done this, and I think it stems from a tiny bit of pandering. Pandering to political correctness, to clarify. I could be wrong, and I hope I'm wrong, but it left an odd taste in my mouth....more
I don't get it; what's the big kerfuffle? That Ryan pulled too many threads together at the end? Or that he didn't? That hehttp://tinyurl.com/h6l3wbd
I don't get it; what's the big kerfuffle? That Ryan pulled too many threads together at the end? Or that he didn't? That he didn't kill enough of our favorite characters? Or he killed too many? That the final bit between good and evil was too short? That he didn't bring back all of those almost-forgotten characters, in the end?
Piffle. This book shows precisely what his intentions were with the series. He gave us his thesis - what kind of magic was available to what types of people and where they got it from and why it was difficult for some to comprehend and others to master, as well as the ineffable fact that war just sucks. I'd say he did exactly what he intended, and if folks are upset because of the answers to those questions above, maybe they are not giving him the credit he deserves.
Ryan crafted a trilogy that had most of us hanging on his every word. How long has it been since you read fantasy that pulled you in to this degree, for any of the three books, but even for the third book if you liked that least? If you say Martin or Sanderson or even Rothfuss, then that's saying something....more
Oh, Mr. Ryan, you did what with the last three words of this 2nd part in the trilogy?? I bow to your unending brilliance.
Mostly because for the rest of the volume, I thought half the time "ooh, this is interesting" and the other half of the time "meh, who cares". As befits part 2 of 3, Ryan has modified his format to include other protagonists - three more, in fact. In addition to Vaelin (who has a slightly smaller story than the others), we hear accounts from Lyrna, Frentis and (someone new) Reva. I admit to being completely confused by this to begin with - we start with Reva, so I was super frustrated that he was taking a different tack, and concerned that I'd never hear from Vaelin again. Once I let the story unfold - about a quarter of the book - this got easier to handle. But I never really got over my irritation at the change in format and what amounted to a series of battle descriptions. After a while, those get damn boring.
Especially because, well, you know that Vaelin is going to win! And all of his comrades are going to win, too. There's one decent surprise in the middle but otherwise the story doesn't have a lot of twists and turns. I did appreciate the detail of the siege, Lyrna's ruminations on what it takes to be royalty, and also the strange churning of the relationship between Frentis and the Lady in Red (that's just what I call her in my head; she doesn't have a name).
It's obvious I'll read that final chapter, and it's already on hold with baited breath. And not just because of that ending (he'll figure a way to free our protagonist, I have no fear) but because he has woven a complex world and I need to see how he unravels it....more
I can't muster a lot of enthusiasm for this novel of Nagasaki before, during and after the A-bomb. While written from the hehttp://tinyurl.com/jsz7mbu
I can't muster a lot of enthusiasm for this novel of Nagasaki before, during and after the A-bomb. While written from the heart by someone who clearly lived in and loved Japan, this is text engineered to teach, in as palatable a manner as possible, the cultural aspects of a worldwide tragedy.
The problem is, I know this tragedy. You know this tragedy. It's been written of a zillion times. I've been fortunate enough to visit the sister city - Hiroshima - and hear the lessons imparted here in person. Even if you haven't visited Japan, you know enough about the WWII bombings to not want to viscerally re-live that. It wouldn't be possible to ignore what the bomb did to the populace of Nagasaki, but the book tries to enhance the tragedy by putting a doomed romance on top of it. There's nothing I dislike more than a doomed romance. Nobody learns anything worthwhile via that plot device.
Copleton does a decent job creating a twisty plot, which she keeps tweaking until the very end. It just felt vastly artificial - and worse, in many places, superficial - and could not hold my interest....more
Which of these many fantasy series should I read? Why, all of them! Well, all of them recommended highly to me.
I do feel like I'm drowning a bit in fantasy, which are renowned for their preponderance of characters, so it can be difficult to keep switching between them so as to keep multiple series in play at a time. I wouldn't have started another one, actually, but this was highly recommended to me. It's a surprising tale - surprising because it seems like it's nothing at all different from similar medieval-history series. I can see parallels to Scott Lynch and also Tolkein, however this has a distinctly different flavor.
I'm not certain if this is because of how Ryan builds his mystery as he tells the plot, or for some other reason. It wasn't until I was a quarter through that I realized there were elements to the story that weren't being explained well enough, and that they would return at other points in the plot, with the assumption that you would remember why they were mysterious to begin with. All of this builds to the satisfying-but-sad ending, and then, as with all good trilogies, leans into the next book.
So, I started the second book right away. As I said: preponderance of characters to keep straight, so I might as well try to finish this while I have them all straight in my head. ...more
As second books often are, this one was not quite as good as the first. I forgive Novik for this because I love the world shhttp://tinyurl.com/jav3rkt
As second books often are, this one was not quite as good as the first. I forgive Novik for this because I love the world she has built. I do worry a bit that the series is 9 volumes long, and a friend who also loves sci-fi/fantasy said she got bored after about three of them. I think I should probably drag out my reading of them so I don't get bored too fast!
It's easy to see why that can happen - if only because the language of the period (the time of the Napoleonic Wars) is formal and seems quite stilted when you read it for a long while. Obviously, that's also part of the appeal. If only I could have been born in these times, when insulting someone involved long, drawn-out paragraphs said ever-so-politely, with which you had to tease the insult out of the words. It seems like an amazing thing to learn how to do (and it would slow us down a whole bunch if we did it today, which is a good thing).
In this volume, we move away from the dreaded French to the unfathomable Chinese. There's a deep mystery at the core of the book - which when revealed is not as mysterious as it seemed at first - and along the way we enjoy an extended sea journey with huge storms, sea serpents, other dragons, pretty much everything you can think of. I do, however, hope that we are not subjected to a sea journey on the return because there's only so much I want to read about a man and his dragon sailing halfway around the world.
I did actually get tetchy with Temeraire this time around! Although all his actions are explainable, I was pretty damn sure I wanted a dragon at the end of the first book. Now I'm very much less sure....more
Well, she's still a delight to read, if you can get over the constant spiraling into other aspects of the story. Often you chttp://tinyurl.com/z35rq9n
Well, she's still a delight to read, if you can get over the constant spiraling into other aspects of the story. Often you can't determine if she's telling you valuable information, but nearly always she is. As usual with Atkinson, you need to bear with it because it does bear fruit.
I will admit I was more impatient with her writing style this time around than the first time. But the story was more fun in this installment. It's as if she decided that she would throw caution to the wind and instead create something truly bizarro. I think that along with it, she threw some police procedures to the wind as well, which makes it a little more unbelievable than usual. It also didn't have the creep factor that the first one did (the first one's spookiness did a lot to keep me going through all the interrupting prose).
I like Atkinson's writing enough that I'll bear with the next one, but if it is even more crazy, I may move to the TV series instead. ...more
This Sanderson was way better. I despair that I have started yet another Sanderson series - what am I up to now, four? - buthttp://tinyurl.com/h5473ey
This Sanderson was way better. I despair that I have started yet another Sanderson series - what am I up to now, four? - but I am glad I finally got around to this one. (In fact, I may give the rest of Mistborn a miss to concentrate on this one and Stormlight. Wait, there's only one left of Mistborn? Well, ohh-kay.)
I didn't expect Sanderson to actually bow to pressure and write something with true steam-punk flair! It shouldn't really surprise me, since his books are so very close to this genre to begin with (those Mistborn coats, as case in point). But here he takes it one step closer to something super geeky.
At first, it just makes no sense. Wait, I can draw a line on the floor in chalk and stop a bullet? Excuse me? But there's something about this book that isn't only a specific depiction of a faith-filled, and question-filled, world. I think it's because for the first time since Stormlight, I've read characters of his that are this enticing.
It's not perfect. I would have liked Joel to shut up already about not being a Rithmatist. I would have preferred a little less evil-looking professor. I would have far preferred being given more of a primer on what the hell Nebrask is, why it exists, what the history is there. He's sketched the world here, but at least the characters are fully realized.
And Melody. Thank you for writing Melody. Up with brassy, moody chicks!...more
It's not even a love-hate relationship with this book. It's a hate-confused-more-confused relationship with the book.
I'm not a big fan of reading about people and relationships that are simply awful. I see and read about plenty of that in real life, and if you're not going to make these folks sympathetic then I just don't see why I should be reading about them. Especially if one of them is borderline sociopathic! I wouldn't have a problem with a book that tries to provide several sides to the development and continued existence of a sociopath - if done delicately - but this book is not that.
In fact, this book is all over the place. At its core, it's attempting to use Swedenborg (philosopher) and Innes (painter) as a backdrop to understanding a situation that seems to involve both ghosts and pretty damn bad marriages. You figure out how that backdrop works; I had enough trouble with it that I'm not going to try and explain it here. It's not that the book didn't keep my interest (for the most part), but it's the kind of interest that is all about waiting to see what happens next in the train wreck. I'd stop reading and want to shake myself physically to get all the bad juju off me.
The ending was both confusing and understandable at the same time, and I don't even want to finish this review. I just want to forget I ever read the book....more
I should be well familiar with Atkinson's style of über-description, and not be distracted by it at the beginning of the boohttp://tinyurl.com/hjlknd2
I should be well familiar with Atkinson's style of über-description, and not be distracted by it at the beginning of the book. I do feel like she went to the school of "go off on a tangent when you get the chance" and also the school of "don't worry, the reader will love it". Only, I don't always love it. It makes reading the book go both fast and slow. Fast because that description is always fascinating, and slow because I get irked that she is not getting to the freakin' point.
Regardless, I did enjoy the novel, even with its bizarre plot. The first three chapters throw you for a loop (don't be dissuaded by them, though), and it's not even obvious until a few more chapters in that there is a protagonist to this story, and that he will actually be a central focus. Well, central focus is putting it a bit strongly - he will be integral to the completion of the story. Well, completion may be putting it too strongly...
OK, now I'm just teasing. It is, after all, a mystery and the best mysteries are not wholly finished. Especially if one is planning a series around them. This Atkinson does in spades. I didn't love the ending - but not because the story wasn't wholly finished. I just didn't like what she ended up creating as a lifestyle for Jackson (our protagonist), as if this was what he would always have wanted....more
This book was such a slog for me that I finished it on the way to work, the morning of book club. I waited until the very lahttp://tinyurl.com/zuom3dd
This book was such a slog for me that I finished it on the way to work, the morning of book club. I waited until the very last second, obviously.
It's not that the subject matter isn't fascinating and horrific. The ex-gay movement was a special torture device for those unlucky enough to have lived through their workshops and events. For that alone, it's worth reading... a bit of it. You certainly get the flavor after 20 or so pages. The remaining 320 pages? They had little to no impact on me. I've been struggling to figure out why.
I believe what it boils down to is, first, his lack of a consistent internal narrative. He'll tell us that his parents made him come home from college on the weekends after he was out-ed. A few pages later he'll say that he and his college pals had nothing to do tomorrow (Saturday) morning so they could hang out all night. Eh? That's only one example, and it's a small one, but these built up over time and I ended up losing faith in what he was telling us. I'm certain memoirs are difficult - that there is much that you recall but can't place in the correct context. All the same, it's certainly possible to fit all of that into a consistent framework so that the reader is not confused by what's happening and why.
And second, I had great difficulty with his leaps of logic. In particular, when he's describing the most startling events, he muddles the narrative so that it's difficult to tell what piece of it he's describing. Especially during the rape - which I do understand must be so hard to recall and write about - he starts talking about pedophilia between his attacker and another victim. Pedophilia between a 14-year-old and an 18-year-old? That's not even close to fitting the standard definition. Regardless, it threw me out of the description of the event, and I really wondered if he did that on purpose.
I do wish the epilogue had been a book in and of itself. Tell me more about your years since this abortive therapy, your interactions with your family, and especially how you lost your faith! ...more
Wow, it's been a long time since a fantasy book affected me that much. Especially a fantasy book about dragons.
It's because Novik knows how to create good characters. Strangely, her main human character is deeply loyal and empathetic to his fellow humans and dragons, but he lacks... enjoyment in things. In other words, he's a little bit too austere to be completely likable. I believe Novik has done this on purpose, to create weakness in her main character, but I'm not wholly convinced it has worked the way she wants it to. It's true that she's created that as well in her main dragon, who's just a touch too bloodthirsty and doesn't quite get the concept of loyalty to king and country right off the bat.
Novik worldbuilds well - the Napoleonic Wars with "aviators," that is, teams of men and women who ride dragons - and provides just the right amount of tension between the good aviators and the bad aviators (on both sides of the Channel). When the person you end up hating the most gets a bit of what's coming to them, you want to fist pump the air. That's surprising because I've read a lot of stories like this and not been as moved by these moments as in this book. This could be the effect of the book's voice - posh, and definitely 1800s, and building the plot slowly in layers - which belies its power in terms of storytelling.
I keep forgetting I finished the book, and get excited that I'll be able to sit down and read more of it, followed by deep disappointment. Fortunately, there are 8 more till the conclusion!...more
I don't think I've read anything in a long while that is both erudite and a super easy read.
Macdonald has crafted something surprisingly special. This is not a thesis (i.e., her university thesis) in sheep's clothing, although it may look like that at the outset. It's a personal rumination on grief on the death of her father - but because her rumination involves buying a hawk and becoming a falconer (again), it's not your everyday foray into the process of grieving. She researches her own desire to buy a hawk to assuage her grief, and thus reads up on other falconers. Chief among these is T.H. White, whose story is nearly as fascinating as her own. (Aside: why in heaven's name are White's archives in Texas, of all places?)
She doesn't find a lot of similarity between herself and White - she ends up finding more disturbing similarities between herself and her hawk for a while - but his lifelong grief is a counterpoint to her own at the time. What you learn about White is eye-opening, but what you learn about hawks and falconry is absolutely the best part of the book. Even having seen falconry exhibits, I had no idea what it takes to be a good falconer, and I'm even more deeply impressed by those who spend their lives at this. (Of course there is controversy about the concept of taming wild birds, but she sidesteps this neatly, for the most part.)
She's a mess, at this point in her life, but it's an engaging, heartfelt, thoughtful and oh-very-British mess. I would love to hear where her life has taken her next. I'll read her next memoir-slash-set-of-essays-slash-research-project in a second....more
I wanted to re-read this for book club but couldn't find the time to do that outside of lunch time at work today. Panic! Whehttp://tinyurl.com/zzkj22k
I wanted to re-read this for book club but couldn't find the time to do that outside of lunch time at work today. Panic! Where can I quickly scan this graphic novel so I can recall what I thought when I read it years ago. Oh, right, I work in a library, duh. Yay, libraries!
In many respects, I doubt this story is different from any told during a revolution. Young people's ideals are tossed about like ships in storms - you hear things, learn they are not true, get educated (formally or informally) about things that are more akin to the truth, add all those things together, plus anything you personally experience, and this becomes how you approach the world. In some circumstances, the truths you learn about are either vastly diverse or non-existent. Either way, you build a personal view of how the revolution affects you, your family and your country.
This book is a fascinating mix of all that with the bonus of clarifying and illuminating illustrations. These illustrations are starkly designed and drawn, which brings us closer to the terrifying aspects of this particular revolution(s). They also stop short of telling the whole story - meaning that there is another volume about Satrapi's childhood that completes the tale. The impact of the revolution on Satrapi can't be wholly felt unless both books are read. ...more
Having seen this twice, and now read the book, it's like I've lived it myself. Perhaps it's silly to continue to read the rehttp://tinyurl.com/zsh3ahw
Having seen this twice, and now read the book, it's like I've lived it myself. Perhaps it's silly to continue to read the remainder of the Kurt Wallander series for that reason, but they are so very well written.
This is a novella, something short and sweet that I think Mankell created as an afterthought, and thus it is in Wallander's world, but doesn't exactly fit the timeline. There are a lot of twists and turns for a short book, which means there's a little less time to hear about how Sweden and the world are all going to pot. Don't get me wrong, this is part of what makes this series so enjoyable - there are no punches pulled, and how the Swedes live as a community is always eye-opening - but in this book there are no wasted words. In fact, the final surprise happens so fast that you barely have time to register who the villain really is. I wish he'd developed this one a bit more fully.
However, I still have the 4 middle books of the series to finish, so there's that to look forward to. ...more
I really, really, really want to read the 4th and last book now. But I'm ninth on the list, so I might give in and buy thishttp://tinyurl.com/z7yp4wg
I really, really, really want to read the 4th and last book now. But I'm ninth on the list, so I might give in and buy this just to see how she ends it!
There's not much more to say about the 3rd volume in the series that I haven't already said. It's as entertaining (what crazy new character will come on the scene in this volume??), insightful (in terms of her deep understanding of teenager angst), funny (the late-night phone calls between Gansey and Blue are hysterical), and over-the-top (holy cats, those elk!) as the rest.
Also, has anyone noticed that this is in some ways a Romeo + Juliet tale? The forbidden and dangerous aspects of Blue and Gansey's affections for each other, that is. He calls her Jane, and his real name is Richard... Hat tip to my husband for stumbling upon this, somewhat accidentally. ...more
I think Stiefvater wanted to pump up the action a bit, since this book revolves around the one character from the previous novel that you ended up hating by the close of the book - Ronan. And what's clear in book 2 is that she's trying to take typical teenage boy activity, i.e., Ronan front and center, and suss it into something that works within her magical realism.
And it mostly works. In that Ronan is a fascinating character once wholly explained by allowing him to speak on the page. You get a better sense of why his home life is beyond bonkers and why what happened to his father matters so much in the worldview of the series. But the teenage boy activity - while also explained in those terms - was too over the top.
In addition, the creation of the Gray Man, and how his storyline comes to a close at the end of this book was utterly unsatisfying to me. Did we really need him? Did we need him just for Maura? If so, what was the ulterior motive to that? Is it only leading to something that's necessary in book 3? Because he was, well, gray, and therefore unknowable, Stiefvater can't paint him in any sort of detail. That's ultimately aggravating and nothing else.
But, yea, you can't drag me away from book 3. On the hold list right now....more
It's pretty rare that I want to read the next book in a series right away, but Stiefvater is clearly a master of series writhttp://tinyurl.com/hr5ox9h
It's pretty rare that I want to read the next book in a series right away, but Stiefvater is clearly a master of series writing. I'm only familiar with her solo book, The Scorpio Races, and I picked up this series on the strength of that writing. Now I better be careful or I'll scarf down all 4 in a row.
Stiefvater answers just enough of the mystery to make the ending of this first book palatable, and leaves just the right kinds of threads dangling. What in the world will happen to Adam? What is this mysterious connection between Gansey and Blue? What really occurs when you "disappear" someone by mistake? As in The Scorpio Races, I adore how she creates something that is magical but completely rooted in our existing world, so that you have to work a little to understand where the magic is occurring in the story and when you get your nose out of the book you still feel like you're in there.
I was surprised that she is also able to write using a different language and style. This world is a current one, in which people act like teenagers, wear usual teenage clothes, and live (mostly) regular teenage lives. It's not rooted in a culture of far away and super traditional. Of course, I loved them both, and I'll be sitting on my hands not to jump into the next book right away....more
I am faintly disturbed that this book won ALA's Alex award (for books of special interest to 12-18 year olds). That seems ahttp://tinyurl.com/zcov66s
I am faintly disturbed that this book won ALA's Alex award (for books of special interest to 12-18 year olds). That seems a mite too young to be reading a book like this. But what do I know? Life has changed immeasurably since I was a kid.
Obviously, this is pretty fluffy nonsense, but it's fluffy in such a decided manner. Let's build a Victorian England, but make werewolves and vampires a real, recognized, and accepted part of society. And then add a woman who can take all those supernatural powers away. Plus! Let's just make it a romance, while we're at it. The author is deliberate in her world-building, and confident in her ability to make us live inside that world. Consequently, a delightful read.
The one thing I did not enjoy was that the scientists were the bad guys. There are a few nods to these only being the crazy scientists, not the normal ones, but there is still a highly unfortunate undertone to all of it. Especially if this book is designed for a particularly young age group. In the same way that watching Prometheus drove me nuts because scientists would never just reach out and prod something on an alien planet, it drives me nuts when the evil scientist is the only bad thing you read about in a book. Characterize scientists correctly, please!...more
No question, this was difficult for me - as someone not a financial analyst and not understanding the complexities of Wall Shttp://tinyurl.com/zr6o26k
No question, this was difficult for me - as someone not a financial analyst and not understanding the complexities of Wall Street and its kin. Yes, I'd seen the movie, and now I will return to the movie to better grasp how Lewis created a narrative cogent enough for someone else to visually depict it.
Because, seriously, I had to have someone else who has both read the book and watched the movie twice help me through this book. Lewis wrote something obviously compelling to many - including the government trying to understand the crisis after the fact! - but it can be somewhat of a slog. I did my best to understand all the most important bits and pieces, but I'm not sure I will be able to tell you tomorrow what a CDO or a CDS is. This kind of fact-retention is not in my wheelhouse. If it is in yours, you will have an easier time; if not, don't work as hard as I did to understand every phrase.
Because, all told, the value of reading a Michael Lewis book is to see how deftly he makes his arguments. His style of writing is informal enough (and frankly, repetitive enough) that you will be able to repeat the main thrust of the argument in the same terms. This, in conjunction with a genius to take super-crunchy themes - his books will always be about math and statistics, I'll bet you - and make them (mostly) understandable to the layperson, is why his writing is so powerful.
With this book, we all know intimately the heartbreak this crisis called. If it didn't happen to you, it happened to someone you loved. Which is why everyone should read this - so that we can not forget the past as we move into the future....more
There's no question that this is a valuable book to read. For no other reason than that it surfaces all sorts of feelings inhttp://tinyurl.com/jzrj8ku
There's no question that this is a valuable book to read. For no other reason than that it surfaces all sorts of feelings in yourself and makes you re-evaluate how you react to any kind of person that doesn't look or act like you.
It's certainly written for teens and pre-teens, and I'd value its inclusion in the appropriate school curriculum. But probably mostly as a teaching tool, and an aid to further discussion. It provokes a lot of thought, so the writing has to be commended to some degree for that. However, I did find the description of many of the children to be somewhat facile. I think it's done deliberately, there's no question of that, and for decent reasons.
But the children often seemed unrealistically described. I don't think most children have such good intentions and thoughtful hearts and minds - then again, I don't have children so I very possibly know nothing! We saw some of the conflicts described, but I would have appreciated Palacio providing some differing points of view. Perhaps bringing one of the "poisoned heart" children around would have helped the storyline. Anyway, the unrealism didn't bother me enough not to finish it! In record time, too. ...more
Actually, this was a far better post-original-Mistborn novel than the previous two. Probably because Sanderson is finally gehttp://tinyurl.com/mt3umhk
Actually, this was a far better post-original-Mistborn novel than the previous two. Probably because Sanderson is finally getting to the point. Frankly? It's taking way too long.
I mean, I spent all of the last book thinking: "Nope, we can't have Wax and Marasi together, that would upset the balance of things." and "Because Wax and Steris, yup, they really have to starting getting together, and what's the goldang holdup??" and "Wayne is so freakin' annoying and never really funny enough when he needs to be." and "Is there a bloody point to all this hearkening back to yesteryear and where Wax has hailed from??"
So, thankfully, Sanderson manages to answer some of this in this 3rd novel of the post-original-Mistborn novels. Enough so that you're satisfied by the answers, and still looking forward to the next one because it's finally going to finish this off and answer all the questions. It sure as heck better.
More annoyingly, because this novel was better, I really wanted to read post-original-Mistborn novel 3.5 because it apparently answers even more than all the questions - and I can't! It's not a digital download any longer! It's been sucked into a compendium of others of the same ilk and is only available as a print volume! What!...more
I can still recall how visceral the movie felt to me. How could it not: two stellar actors, both with oodles of history betwhttp://tinyurl.com/gu8uy5r
I can still recall how visceral the movie felt to me. How could it not: two stellar actors, both with oodles of history between them, aging themselves appropriately, working their butts off? It's way more than that, of course, since it's dependent on the strength of this writing. But I couldn't read the play without seeing Taylor and Burton every step of the way.
I do wonder what it was like to see on the stage (veteran actor Uta Hagen said she would play Martha twelve times a week, if given the chance). It must have been unbelievably vital, raw, scarring and despondent when seen in the flesh. Pure gold for theatre actors, and usually very hard to translate to the screen (one-room plays lose vitality as moving pictures).
But the written play! Well, obviously I wouldn't still remember the movie or want to see it on stage if I didn't think the writing was stellar. But it's a hard read - a knock-down dragged-out fight that will have you so uncomfortable you want to go look at unicorns and rainbows for a while. The perfect illusory antidote to a play that rips illusions aside.
A final note... my book club recently got me into reading plays. Almost kicking and screaming, but not quite - I think I expected them to be more like poetry, which I find even more difficult (another friend is working on me in that regard as well). In each case, I've read a play that I've already seen as a movie, and the stage directions in particular are fun to contrast and compare. As are any potential changes I might notice between the two, which are usually surprisingly few....more
This purports, and seems to follow through, on its claim that it is the final Old Man's War book. At least in the current sphttp://tinyurl.com/z8djxf4
This purports, and seems to follow through, on its claim that it is the final Old Man's War book. At least in the current spate of Colonial Forces - Conclave - Earth novels. I'm pleased with the ending; it is neither foregone nor depressing.
Which doesn't mean I'm pleased with all four novellas in this latest volume. (Novellas, short stories, you decide.) The first one felt like I'd read it all before - either by Scalzi or by someone with even more caché to his name - and I was, in fact, confused as to whether I'd read this book already. If I were Scalzi, that comment would give me pause. I mean, he did give us two renderings of the same Old Man's War story before (meaning he reaped money for both renderings) so you understand my confusion and my concern that this was happening yet again.
That particular story had a satisfying ending, but the noodling throughout was dull-o-rama. The rest of the stories were quite good, especially the last one. But, if you've never read a Scalzi book, you better know two things - they are chock full of a) sarcasm and b) political meanderings. In fact, don't get caught up in the sarcasm, because if you do, you'll lose track of where you are in the political meanderings and then, oh boy, you're in trouble.
Anyway, all told, this was enjoyable in a completely Scalzi way, and consequently I had a good time reading it (well, 80% of it)....more
Well, that one was a doozy. What does one think one's getting into with a title like that?
The insinuation in the title is decidedly reflected in the writing, and don't worry, I won't give anything away. But the plot essentially shivers with confusion around not knowing what is true and what is not, especially as it flips the dialogue and action between three of our tried-n-true characters.
Surprisingly, for the first time, King makes Holmes look the ittiest bittiest bit of a dolt. It's minimal, but it stretches the credulity of her series to suggest that Holmes did not "figure out" a huge turning point in the plot. Not that the readers necessarily did either, but she makes it go on far too long, and we get tired of what Holmes is clearing not perceiving and definitely should be. Is she trying to actually age Holmes? If she's heralding an end to her writing of the series, I will start hyperventilating.
This volume contains a lot of Mrs. Hudson. I've barely thought twice about that character, which is probably why King chose her, as someone whose backstory she can easily mess with. Boy howdy, does she give her a whopper of one. Gotta love King's panache here.
The book also has one of the best endings I've ever seen King write, and that's saying a lot. Talk about throwing the baby out with the bathwater! Did I just see an entire legion of Sherlock scholars gasp in horror and permanently avert their eyes? I await the next book in the series with great anticipation....more
For perhaps the first time ever after reading a Mitchell book, I wished he hadn't set it in the same fantastical world as ahttp://tinyurl.com/guoh2sg
For perhaps the first time ever after reading a Mitchell book, I wished he hadn't set it in the same fantastical world as a previous novel (i.e., The Bone Clocks). Mitchell is such a good writer, and I don't really want to read a series by him, I want to read unique and diverse offerings.
It's not that I wasn't intrigued by where he was going here. You feel the angst and the horror and the thrill and, above all, the oddness of this story. Plus he gets to give a fabulous speech on the deficiencies of humans who can't remember their own history, which, if it wasn't hugely depressing would have had me smiling. But the story became, well, repetitive, and when the final solution reveals itself, it's rather deflating.
I'll give him a bit of a break in that this book feels more like a novella than a true novel. It's possible he wrote it as a short story and then developed it into a short novel? I don't fault him that, but I do hope he writes something wholly different next time around....more
In the afterword, Hawkins thanks all the commuters on her London train. My guess is that she's thanking them because she nothttp://tinyurl.com/zw8wefw
In the afterword, Hawkins thanks all the commuters on her London train. My guess is that she's thanking them because she noticed how few folks actually look out the window, and it got her thinking about what might happen if they actually did look out the window...
This is not the best book I've ever read. It was entertaining in a Dan Brown sort of way, replete with thrilling chapter endings and some large leaps in logic for the purpose of the plot. For instance, there were far, far, far too many instances of Rachel happening to end up near her ex's house, which became both obvious and tedious towards the end.
The book strums a single note throughout - that of the ineffable sadness of a life without children and how that can lead you to do all sorts of awful things including falling into alcoholism - but also seems to be plinking the piano on the theme of men being physically stronger than women and what that can imply. For those of us who don't have kids, that first note can get boring quickly, while the second note seems overwrought. Especially in light of how the book wraps itself up. What I'd really like to bitch about I cannot do without giving away the entire conclusion, but anyone finishing it will wonder why we were led to believe a certain marital bliss when it was apparently not true.
I doubt I'll watch the movie, even though I find Emily Blunt a surprisingly forthright actor with an uncomplicated style. Which would be quite interesting to watch in a portrayal of an alcoholic....more
I was forced to put this book down because my loan ended, and by the time I did, I was a little irritated at the lack of prohttp://tinyurl.com/he27k9e
I was forced to put this book down because my loan ended, and by the time I did, I was a little irritated at the lack of progress. Atwood is generally fabulous at spinning a yarn, and maybe I was extra irritated because I always expect more from her.
By the time I got the loan again, we were starting to flashback to the school and work days, and while flashbacks can be even more frustrating in a narrative, in this case they were absolutely necessary. Snowman sitting on a beach, barely surviving and talking to the air was not creepy, it was boring. Snowman recalling his childhood - however seminal to the story, really - was as pitiful as sitting on a beach, etc., so also boring. You can't tell a post-apocalyptic tale without explaining how your protagonist actually factors in, and talking about his childhood goes nowhere fast. Snowman recounting his redeemable features as an adult - that I could get behind because it made me wonder what he had literally done to get himself into the mess he was in, not just why his family life was crappy.
There's nothing wrong with writing about what happens when viruses go haywire - Station Eleven is a more than excellent example, Stephen King's The Stand a little less so, The Walking Dead is a beast unto itself. But social and environmental moralizing and post-apocalyptic stories told together leave a bad taste in my mouth. Atwood works too hard at it, and there's too much "duh" and not enough nuance....more