Man, I almost want to give this four stars because I enjoyed it so much! But it's still just fluff, I don't know if I can give fluff four stars. We'llMan, I almost want to give this four stars because I enjoyed it so much! But it's still just fluff, I don't know if I can give fluff four stars. We'll see. It's a solid 3.5 though. (And I should say, in addition to fluff, there was definite actual WAR in this one. Like, people and dragons dying in horrible terrible ways that reminds one that war is a real thing, even if dragons are not, and it's fucking terrible.)
So Laurence was in a funk for much of this book because he's a traitor and whatnot and that's depressing, especially for a man as honorable as he. But about half of the book was told from Temeraire's "perpsective" (that is, still told in third person but from his viewpoint, you knew what he was thinking etc, I'm sure there's a term for that) and that was pretty fun. I like that dragon.
And there's so much ACTION in this book! I thought I didn't care much for reading about battles and such, but it was a blast! I don't know why these books aren't movies. I asked that question aloud the other day and Chris was skeptical and I said "but dragons! People love dragons!" and he said "but it sounds cheesy" and I said "but people love cheesy!" And they do! Man, and so many dragon-on-dragon battles in this one! These would all make awesome movies.
Anyway, yeah, dragons! If you are looking for a fun series that will take your mind off of whatever it is in your life that is stressful right now, you should read it. Washu recommends. Ah screw it, I'll give it four stars!...more
Anne Brontë was the daughter of a clergyman who worked as a governess for a time. This book is about the daughter of a clergyman who workYyyyyyeah no.
Anne Brontë was the daughter of a clergyman who worked as a governess for a time. This book is about the daughter of a clergyman who works as a governess for a time. If I hadn't known the author's background, I might have been okay with the protagonist being oh-so good and perfect and kind and moral. I might have thought that I was supposed to be critical of how perfect she is. But since I do, I think that Anne Brontë thinks an awful lot of herself.
Everyone she encounters (except, of course, for her family and the requisite love interest -- who is a clergyman, natch) is cruel and insipid and thoughtless and haughty et cetera et cetera. She is so much BETTER than all of them, don't you see? Only Agnes and her boring Mr. Whatever (I finished it less than three hours ago and have already forgotten -- Mr. Winston? Mr. Watkins?) are kind and thoughtful and Good.
I mean, the other Brontë books I have read (Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre), I didn't like either. And those pretty much enraged me because the people in them were so, so, so so horrible. I guess I'm glad that the people in this book weren't so so so so horrible (except for the kids in the first bit, who delight in finding nests full of baby birds so that they can torture them to death in interesting ways, but they weren't around for too long, thank goodness) as all that. They're mostly thoughtless and arrogant, as opposed to being actively unpleasant and, like, rape-y. But that only means that they're also super boring.
This book was boring. Don't bother. Oh, but it was short! That was good....more
This was once again a very nice little book. This one takes place in Africa for much of the time, which is funWhaaaaat now that is a cliffhanger! Man.
This was once again a very nice little book. This one takes place in Africa for much of the time, which is fun. And it has a lady admiral! I know I've bemoaned in the past the lack of female characters in this series. But I have to admit that Novik is pretty good at having our hero be a product of his times, without being a huge dick. He seems more bewildered by women being able to, like, DO and THINK things, than really objecting to it. Which works for me because you're not whitewashing the past too much, nor are you giving us an unrealistic character for the times. (It's like what my brother said the other day about how people in period movies still sort of have the hair and makeup of whatever year in which the movie was actually made. And how that's not very noticeable at the time, but twenty years later you're like, "dude.")
And I like how lady airmen are like "I can't get married because then I'd have to obey you, and I can't be down with that." Like, not trying to change the institution of marriage really, just saying "my life won't fit in with that" and then not doing it. (view spoiler)[Although Harcourt DOES get married, and to a pro-slavery dude, even, so we'll see how that goes. (hide spoiler)]
It ends on a hell of a cliffhanger, but I don't want to rush through these so I might read another audiobook or two before getting back to it.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This book was 3 or 4 stars at the beginning, when the narrator & Owen Meany were kids. Once they got older, and the present-day interludes with thThis book was 3 or 4 stars at the beginning, when the narrator & Owen Meany were kids. Once they got older, and the present-day interludes with the insufferable and boring narrator became longer and more frequent, it dropped to a 2. But it ended very well, and endings always count more than the rest of the book, so I'll give it a solid three.
The present day narrator honestly complained about kids these days and their rock videos. I am not exaggerating. He literally said "rock videos" and complained about them at least twice. Ugh! Give me a break! Oh gee, the US was so stupid and arrogant to get into a war with Viet Nam! All those kids died for nothing! OH SHUT UP. I mean yes, of course, I agree with that sentiment, but he didn't say anything new or interesting about it. If I want to get all depressed about war I'll read some Vonnegut or Heller. At least they're clever about it.
And the character of Hester ("the Molester," as he will never let us forget) was problematic for me. She's the only other real character their age, and she's slut-shamed from age nine to age forty-something. She was a joke. She could have been fascinating. Oh well.
Like I said though, the kids growing up in the 50s? I ate that shit up.
Oh, and I thought the narration was very good. I'm not entirely sure what a New Hampshire accent actually sounds like, but if it sounds like Maine-lite -- which seems reasonable -- then this guy had it down. Similarly, his Canadian accents seemed Canadian without being a joke. So, that was great....more
This was very nice! I don't really seek out mysteries, but I read this for book club and I liked it fine. Cadfael is a very likable character, and I lThis was very nice! I don't really seek out mysteries, but I read this for book club and I liked it fine. Cadfael is a very likable character, and I like how he thinks about religion. It's a fine little mystery with enough possible murderers to keep you guessing, and the answer doesn't come out of left field or feel like a cheat. There are a couple of interesting female characters. That's about it I guess! I wonder what they talked about at book club (I couldn't make it.)...more
This was perfectly fine again, very pleasant. Though this time there were like NO female characters and I'm starting to get a little worried that theThis was perfectly fine again, very pleasant. Though this time there were like NO female characters and I'm starting to get a little worried that the author isn't as concerned about that sort of thing as I am....more
I like these books. These are officially my Guilty Pleasure books, my Beach Reading books. They're nice and comforting to me because they take place iI like these books. These are officially my Guilty Pleasure books, my Beach Reading books. They're nice and comforting to me because they take place in the early nineteenth century and they're fun because dragons. They're not all that complex but I don't even really care.
I do wish we could get some decent female characters eventually, though. I mean they're THERE, somewhere, but they don't have very many lines. Maybe next book.
This one takes place in China (as well as on a boat on the way to China) and there are lots of dragons there, and some of them are fancy. There's a lot of action in this one, guns and whatnot. It's fun....more
Eh, forget this book. I made it more than halfway through without caring at all about anybody. And I didn't really care for the narrator. So, I'm moviEh, forget this book. I made it more than halfway through without caring at all about anybody. And I didn't really care for the narrator. So, I'm moving on. Life is too short....more
I don't really remember anything about Beowulf from the first time I listened to it, but I liked this translation. There's an introduction where he taI don't really remember anything about Beowulf from the first time I listened to it, but I liked this translation. There's an introduction where he talks about how there's a lot of alliteration in the original text, and then the text uses a lot of alliteration, so that was okay with me. I like alliteration, it's one of my favorite literary techniques.
The narration was good as well. (Although Mr. Hanks says "AHF-ter" in a weird faux-British way, though everything else was in an American accent; that was odd.) He makes it sound like an epic poem -- as does the translation, which is somewhat stilted, but I LIKE that in something like this. Very bassy and whatnot. Very regal. I liked it.
That Beowulf sure is an arrogant dude, though. "I am Beowulf, I am the best! Here, let me attempt to slay this dragon all by myself, even though I'm hella old and a bunch of warriors are right here behind me!" Whatever dude.
(In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that I received a free copy of this audiobook in the hopes that I'd issue a review.)...more
So this was just a straight romance novel, I guess. I do still enjoy reading books that take place during this period (the Regency, I guess) -- she usSo this was just a straight romance novel, I guess. I do still enjoy reading books that take place during this period (the Regency, I guess) -- she used the term "nipsqueeze" not once but twice! (She also said "sennight" about a zillion times, which apparently means one week.)
The antagonist is just a little TOO terrible -- she really had no redeeming qualities -- and the narrator, when voicing her, reached some impressive high notes in her squealing. Which was a little annoying.
Also annoying was the "hilarious misunderstanding" which prevents our two lovers from getting together at first, but it didn't last too long, thank goodness.
I did appreciate that the romantic interests were actually friendly first and just liked each other -- it's nice when that happens instead of just falling in love for no reason (ahem, Marius & Cosette, I'm looking at you and your scandalous bare ankle.)
Not quite as clever as Austen, but I did chuckle every once in a while, usually at a witty "set down." I'll definitely read more Heyer, though I might take a little more time first to figure out what they're about. (It's not as though anything's ever a surprise in a romance novel anyway, right?)
(Oh and I loved the term "the Nonesuch" for some reason. Although I still am not entirely clear on what the heck it means. I don't know that I'm supposed to . . . )...more
I ended up liking this book a lot. Because it's a memoir, there are a bunch of anecdotes that . . . don't really go anywhere. They're just there. It mI ended up liking this book a lot. Because it's a memoir, there are a bunch of anecdotes that . . . don't really go anywhere. They're just there. It may have worked better as a novel. However, the reason I sought this out was because I enjoyed the TV show adaptation a great deal, and I wanted to know which parts were "real." And a novel wouldn't have done that for me.
I don't know if everyone has this reaction, but I assume that I'd deal with prison in almost exactly the same way that Piper did. I'd be quiet and observant, and be the sarcastic one! I'd be paranoid about being seen as racist, and would make an effort not to only hang out with white people! Everyone would like and respect me! I'd survive! Is she actually like me, or is that just wishful thinking? I'm not sure.
She talks a bit about how terrible the prison system is, and how woefully unprepared for the outside world are its newly released prisoners. I actually would not have minded even more of this sort of talk, as I completely agree with her.
Ms. Kerman seems to be involved with non-profit organizations now, in real life, and a lot of them are associated with this subject. It's gratifying to hear; I actually would have vilified her were that not the case.
It's a shame that it takes a pretty blonde Smith graduate to get anyone to pay attention to the prison system in this country; but that's the US for ya. And she does an admirable job in describing what life is like for all the other women in prison, and she's acutely aware of all of her advantages, and kind of grossed out by them....more
This was all right. Worrisomely formulaic in the beginning: (male) kid has special powers! Could grow up to be the greatest wizard evar! First he mustThis was all right. Worrisomely formulaic in the beginning: (male) kid has special powers! Could grow up to be the greatest wizard evar! First he must go to wizarding school! Yawn. But then his quest isn't to save the world or fight some great evil lord, so that's all right I guess.
Le Guin made it clear that most of these people have dark skin; but the narrator, Rob Inglis, is the same dude who narrated The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings so everybody tended to remind me of Gandalf et al, unless I was deliberately thinking otherwise. But that's my own racist fault.
All in all, sort of interesting, but my mind wandered a lot. I'm not sure if I'll keep going with the series. I think I'll probably stick to Le Guin's science fiction for now....more
Not only is this book about talking English animals, but it's also narrated by Ralph Cosham, who narrated the version of Watership Down to which I lisNot only is this book about talking English animals, but it's also narrated by Ralph Cosham, who narrated the version of Watership Down to which I listened. So it was natural to me to compare the two. This was nice, but it was no Watership Down.
First of all, and I know this makes me a no-fun wonderkiller, but I just couldn't get down with the premise. If these were only animals and they did their wearing-clothes-and-talking thing, well then . . . maybe. But not only do they wear clothes, and talk to each other, and call each other Mole (when presumably there are hundreds of moles in the area, and also water rats, and also toads, &c,) but they have things like picnic baskets filled with things like bread and lemonade in a bottle or something, and also they have guns, and Toad gets obsessed with motorcars. And at first I was like, okay, I guess he has very small motorcars. (What sort of animal works in a motorcar factory?) But then later Toad disguises himself as a woman and no one notices. I get the funny that no one realizes a washerwoman is really a toad, but he's not right the size! Or, he shouldn't be! But then he steals a car from actual people! So . . . he's the size of a person? What? Also he rides a horse. Do only enormous mutant animals have the gift of interspecies speech? Are there regular toads out there? How did his family get to be so rich? Why does he live in a house? Why aren't there any female animals around?
I guess this isn't supposed to matter; it's a childrens book, and they (I suppose) don't care about this sort of thing. But I personally need some sort of in-book logic and I found it frustrating and off-putting, and it kept taking me out of the story.
I think that if Grahame had left people out altogether, I could have worked with that. Fine, secret society of animals of which we're not aware, like to go on picnics and boat around, I can dig it. But once you have animals that are too big and people talking to toads like they're people . . . I just can't, man.
(Oh, and Toad escapes from prison, and then GOES HOME. Isn't that the first place they'd look? How on earth was that a feasible plan?)
As to the stories . . . eh. Some of the chapters were just poetic musing, and I admit I got a little bored and didn't pay attention. La la la, living on the river is great. Most of the stories with actual plot involved Toad, but that dude's an ass, so I didn't much like hearing about him. Badger's cool, obvs.
By the way, I didn't like Cosham's narration on this nearly as much as I did on Watership Down. I'm not really sure why that would be....more
This was a nice little thing. I guess it's set in the same universe/reality as The Dispossessed, which I read last year and which was my first Le GuinThis was a nice little thing. I guess it's set in the same universe/reality as The Dispossessed, which I read last year and which was my first Le Guin (this is my second.)
There isn't a whole lot of plot here; and (view spoiler)[it seems like it might all go HORRIBLY WRONG at some point, with the terrible Corporation State about to kill poor little villagers, or burn all of their books or something. But it never does, and that's sort of nice, actually. (hide spoiler)] Basically it seems to be Le Guin taking an opportunity to tell us about another kind of utopia that she thought up. Which is basically what The Dispossessed was at its heart, but it was far more masterfully done there. That's okay. I liked this just fine, it was interesting to think about. Every once in a while I thought we were going to get all caught up in a "religion is terrible, look what it will do to society in the future if left unchecked" thing; and I mean I totally AGREE with that, religion is stupid and evil, but I am sort of tired of reading about it. But this never lingered in that much, so I was okay with it all.
The narration was fine. Ms. Zackman seems like she doesn't have an accent at all. That's totally weird. Usually when people say that So-and-so doesn't have an accent, it's because they have the same accent as the speaker -- this lady said some words differently from myself, but I couldn't place it as midwestern or Canadian or what. It was intriguing. Anyway she's one of those narrators who is very careful with her enunciation, but not so much that it was annoying.
So anyway to sum up, it was nice, I liked it, though I'm glad it was short. And I will get around to reading the other "Hainish" books soon. I do like that it isn't a big chronological series, and that I can read books in any order. That's always nice. (See also Banks's Culture series.)["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more