A solid three stars. I'm officially addicted. I actually guessed the outcome of two of the puzzles, which never happens to me. Based on friends' revie...moreA solid three stars. I'm officially addicted. I actually guessed the outcome of two of the puzzles, which never happens to me. Based on friends' reviews, I'm hoping that if I keep going with the series there will be some four star gems to enjoy. Also (view spoiler)[I really want to find out how Harry finds out who killed Ellen. (hide spoiler)](less)
I binge read this today and it was just what I needed while I was sick.
Allie Brosh is deceptively frank and open, but she's onto s...moreI binge read this today and it was just what I needed while I was sick.
Allie Brosh is deceptively frank and open, but she's onto some deep stuff here. She has the gift/determination/insight/intuition of a true artist and comedic genius. The gift for being funny and being able to draw pictures well is innate, but the insight that makes her work more than a goofy cartoon has to be developed by looking around and thinking about what is going on. The intuition thing is the little bell in the artist's head that goes "ding!" when a drawing is right. And the determination is the thing that keeps her going until she gets it right. Have you ever seen any video of her working? There she is, drawing and redrawing each stroke until the silliest most simple stick figures are as expressive as a Munch picture. Of all of those admirable qualities, I think it's her determination I admire most.
Speaking of determination, it comes into play not just in her artist practice but in the way she examines her life, which is what her comics are about. It is not a very glamorous or adventure packed life, and that's not a criticism. Daily life, really, real daily life, and not some touched up composed Instagrammed image of it, is her territory, and she explores it with an intensity that borders on ferocity. Her whole riff on depression is an example of the way she ruthlessly puts herself under a microscope. This is not egoism, folks. She is hard on herself, strictly honest in the most unflatteringly way. There's a chapter near the end of the collection that is still haunting me days later. It's all about identity and is heartbreaking, funny, unflinching, and almost cathartic. I say almost because Brosh does not permit herself any spiritual or moral leeway. She just crashes against the truth. There's no pretty little flourish of self-congratulation at the end. She brazens it out, determined to be honest to the end.
Rereading what I just wrote, and it's making Brosh's book sound all heavy and shit. I stand by that. But it's also really, really, really funny and awesome.(less)
Orwell is an excellent writer, and I found this an enjoyable snapshot of not only a time and place, London of the mid 1930s, but also a snapshot of a...moreOrwell is an excellent writer, and I found this an enjoyable snapshot of not only a time and place, London of the mid 1930s, but also a snapshot of a time in my own life in which I treated people poorly because of an abstract puritanical ideology. (less)
The first issue I had was that the tone was inconsistent. Sometimes the narrator reminded me too much of the third person narrator that sometimes appears in Moore's short stories— hysterical and and break-neck and desperate, which works extremely well in those stories, but which, did not, ultimately, fit with the main character's personality, someone who is acutely and minutely observant and obsessed with details and tries to get them right rather than a unreliably manic and self-justifying. Tassie constantly tries on description, using long sentences with many commas and clauses in which several attempts to at analogy and metaphor are chained together. While Moore's ability to create compelling descriptions of this kind is phenomenal, I still feel that this technique gets tiresome when used with relentless frequency. On the other hand, the scenes and situations are so clearly cut in my mind's eye that perhaps I am being unfair. My impression is that it was the occasional intrusion of the aforementioned lapse of voice into the hysterical that really bothered me and undermined the authenticity of the novel and the main character, making me think too much about the fact that a writer was sitting there coming up with all of this. (less)
Eh. This is a mishmash of holiday themed short pieces from Sedaris' other books. Most are over the top, gimmicky, and dark without really being that f...moreEh. This is a mishmash of holiday themed short pieces from Sedaris' other books. Most are over the top, gimmicky, and dark without really being that funny. A few of these made me laugh. "Six To Eight Black Men" and "Us and Them" get the formula right, combining a fixation with the odder aspects of pop culture with Sedaris' half-naive half-knowing first person narrative.
I read these to myself, but I can imagine hilarity ensuing if they were read aloud, to my family, for example. I think the surprise of the inappropriateness would produce infectious, nervous laughter, and that we would be entertained. Perhaps that is why Sedaris' pieces are so well-suited to radio. The way he escalates the wrongness reminds me of the National Lampoon Vacation series or Mad Magazine. I do have a taste for such things, I admit. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood.(less)
Harry made me chuckle several times and that's the sign of a detective/crime series I can get behind. Nesbø seems to wholly embrace the clichés of the...moreHarry made me chuckle several times and that's the sign of a detective/crime series I can get behind. Nesbø seems to wholly embrace the clichés of the detective genre in a way that is appealing and interesting. My favorite fictional detectives—Lord Peter, Holmes, Alleyn, Jane Marple, Wexford, Dalgliesh, Morse, etc—are keen observers of the world around them and, like theirs, Harry's observations of human nature and culture are a treat above and beyond the unravelling of the case. I particularly liked the scene at the aquarium and the short scene near the end in which Harry has a lunch with an colleague. I'm glad there are more in the series.(less)
This was pretty good. I didn't enjoy it as much as The Bat, which in some ways is a lighter and less technically accomplished and ambitious. I think t...moreThis was pretty good. I didn't enjoy it as much as The Bat, which in some ways is a lighter and less technically accomplished and ambitious. I think there might have been a few too many plot twists and time shifts. Also, I'm really getting sick of (view spoiler)[Nesbø killing off his most sympathetic female characters, (hide spoiler)] and this is only the second book of his I've read! In spite of that, I will be coming back for more.(less)
My experience of reading this was worth two-stars because the narration was so annoying, but I'm amending my review to three stars because I think if...moreMy experience of reading this was worth two-stars because the narration was so annoying, but I'm amending my review to three stars because I think if it weren't for that I would have enjoyed this book more. I normally think Penelope Dellaporta does a good job. She's narrated many of the PD James books I've listened to. Unfortunately, her attempt at Poirot's Belgian accent was so bad as to be almost unbearable. I nearly gave up on the book but because this was Christie's first detective mystery and because I like to start series at the beginning I stuck it out. Overall it's a pretty unexciting and overly tidy plot. Christie is clearly finding her way and I can see how some of themes in this book are refined and developed with more subtlety in her later books. I've heard criticism of Poirot as an unbelievable character, but the same can be said of the intense naiveté of Hastings, the Watson to Poirot's Holmes. I have heard that this pairs excellently with her autobiography, which I am very keen to read.(less)