Re-read this novel via the local library's Kindle copy - some typos, but not as bad as The Eyes of the Dragon!
It's been many, many moons since I'd rea...moreRe-read this novel via the local library's Kindle copy - some typos, but not as bad as The Eyes of the Dragon!
It's been many, many moons since I'd read it or seen the movie (still haven't seen the TV version) and I'd forgotten all but the bare bones of the story.
It was interesting to see basically the same question/issue from 11/22/63 posed here - would you kill someone to prevent further evil? The difference being that Jake Epping *knows* what Oswald will do, while Johnny Smith isn't quite so sure.
I really enjoyed revisiting this novel & would recommend it to those who aren't into King's horror works, but are still looking for a compelling story with believable characters. And of course King has a way with words: (the Kindle makes highlighting & retrieving those highlights SO much easier!)
".. a Dixie cup filled with greasy french fries that tasted the way french fries hardly ever do once you’ve gotten past your fifteenth year.
"Being on hold was a totally different proposition. The line was darkly, smoothly blank. You were nowhere. Why didn’t they just say, “Will you hold on while I bury you alive for a little while?”"
"Worry was swept under the faces like dirt under a rug."
"He is a mechanic of the brain. He has cut it to pieces with his scalpel and found no soul. Therefore there is none. Like the Russian astronauts who circled the earth and did not see God. It is the empiricism of the mechanic, and a mechanic is only a child with superior motor control."
"For him, time had been crudely folded, stapled, and mutilated. In the progression of his own interior time, she had been his girl only six months ago."
"For the first time in his life he was reading for pleasure. And like a boy who has just been initiated into the pleasures of sex by an older woman, he was wallowing in it. " :^D
Steingarten is a food critic for Vogue; however, in this collection, he focuses more on the history of certain dishes and foodstuffs, as opposed to reviewing the producers of the dishes. He travels to Italy, France and Mexico in search of traditional breads, cheeses, and tortillas; participates (kind of) in the slaughter of a pig and visits some of the best steakhouses in the country. Most of the essays are accompanied by a recipe which is the result of many hours of hard work in his own kitchen, as Steingarten is as much of an artiste as a critic.
The writing is engaging, with bits of sly humour interspersed with vignettes describing his adventures; even though probably I'll never visit the places he talks about or eat the dishes about which he raves, I still enjoyed his discussion of them. This book is probably better savored in bits and pieces, rather than read through gluttonously.
Recommended to those who like engaging essays, regardless of the topic.(less)
More of an autobiography than the philosophical musings one might expect from the title - this slim book brought many a smile to my face (and the occasional tear to my eyes) as Spinney recalled his 30+ years working in the world of puppetry and with Sesame Street and Jim Henson. Spinney's interest in puppetry began as a child; he started his career working for the Boston version of The Bozo Show, doing both hand and costume puppetry. He met Henson at a puppeteer convention, and the rest is Sesame Street history. The occasional line drawings are an extra treat.
Spinney talks a little (not quite enough, in my opinion) about the development of Big Bird - originally "the village idiot" instead of the childlike character we've come to know and love. And Oscar was based on a New York cabbie - no big surprise. I don't recall the first season, orange version of him, though! I found it interesting that Spinney had difficulties with any dance choreography for Big Bird, until he determined that Big Bird loved to dance and knew he was good at it... then the steps came much more easily!
One small critique is the lack of a concrete timeline - when was Big Bird in China produced, for instance? And I would have liked to read more about the relationship Big Bird had with Snuffy... and Spinney's perspective on why Snuffy became "real" (after my time).
Recommended to any Sesame Street and/or Jim Henson fan. (less)
I Capture the Castle was a 50BC challenge recommendation from last year. I picked it up used, then loaned it to my mom for several months & finall...moreI Capture the Castle was a 50BC challenge recommendation from last year. I picked it up used, then loaned it to my mom for several months & finally got it back.
Written in the form of a journal, this novel documents approximately a year in the life of 17-year old Cassandra and her family: her older sister Rose, father Mortmain, stepmother Topaz, and brother Thomas, as well as Stephen, a "hired hand" of sorts. They are living in not-so-genteel poverty in a leased, drafty & dank castle in the English countryside. Their father, who wrote a brilliant novel some years ago, has sunk into an eccentric inertia, and the only money coming to them is what Stephen earns doing odd jobs in the community.
As spring arrives, so do their new neighbors, the Cottons. Simon and Neil are brothers from America, who meet the family in a rather odd manner. Rose decides "to go after" Simon, as he has inherited the castle, as well as the local manor. Cassandra doesn't quite warm up to them at first, but eventually develops a relationship. Simon is familiar with Mortmain's novel and tries to cajole him into writing another story. Cassandra realizes that Stephen is in love with her, but wants to discourage him. Other various romantic hijinks occur along the way, with a relatively happy-ever-after ending.
Not having looked at the publishing date (1948), I was a little confused at first as to the timeframe of the story. It's a very English novel - reading it and Pride and Prejudice at the same time makes that even more obvious. I also found myself thinking of Britannia Mews by Margery Sharp, for some reason. The writing sounds very much like a self-conscious teenager, with the waves of emotion ebbing and flowing with the seasons. I wish I'd read it when I was Cassandra's age, as I might have had a bit more tolerance for her at times.
Recommended to fans of English coming-of-age novels.(less)
crankyasanoldman recommended this book sometime last year & so when I saw it as a used book store a few weeks ago I picked it up. My reading was i...morecrankyasanoldman recommended this book sometime last year & so when I saw it as a used book store a few weeks ago I picked it up. My reading was interrupted by vacation (forgot to tuck it into my carryon) so I just now wrapped it up.
The novel follows the lives of about a dozen characters associated with Moo U - an agricultural university somewhere in the Corn Belt. Nils and Ivar Harstad, bachelor twins, are involved in the administration aspect (with a secretary who really runs the show), while Bob Carlson, Mary Jackson and Gary Olson represent the student body. Timothy Monahan, Cecilia Sanchez, Dr. Lionel Gift and Chairman X are members of the eccentric (and romantically involved) faculty. A couple of "townies" make it into the book as well. Their interactions, set against an atmosphere of bitter winter, budget cuts and shady corporate dealings represent a darkly humourous slice of life.
I enjoyed Smiley's style of writing, though I was distracted by the previous owner's incessant highlighting; character names & vocabulary words in particular. It was descriptive, but not overly flowery. The conversations seemed believable, especially between the professors and the administration. I imagine anyone with a background in academia, especially in the Heartland, will appreciate the attention to detail Smiley provides. The large cast of characters and occasionally interwoven subplots can be a little difficult to follow, especially if you set the book aside for any length of time.
This is the first novel of Smiley's I've read, and may look for more once I've whittled down Mount To Be Read a little. Recommended to those in the education field with roots in the Midwest.
I received The Pocket Essential Hitchhiker's Guide for my birthday, off my Amazon Wish List. It seemed only fair to make this my forty-second book of...moreI received The Pocket Essential Hitchhiker's Guide for my birthday, off my Amazon Wish List. It seemed only fair to make this my forty-second book of the year, even if it meant setting my current reading aside for a bit.
Alternatively titled A Completely and Utterly Unauthorised Guide to Hitchhiker's Guide - this book discusses the various & sundry incarnations of the increasingly-inaccurately-named trilogy of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, as well as other works by Douglas Adams. Originally published in early 2001, it was revised & updated after Adams' death.
A slim volume, this pamphlet/book has been made mostly redundant by the re-release of Don't Panic: Douglas Adams the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Neil Gaiman. However, it does a succinct job of presenting & discussing the variations of Adams' seminal work, including those hardly anyone had heard of (a Finnish Radio production of So Long Thanks For the Fish?). The style of writing is mainly factual, with the author's voice only appearing in the comments.
Recommended to Douglas Adams completists, but probably not to anyone else. (less)
A short story collection, mostly good, tho a few were a bit too New-Wavish for my tastes. I like his work while I'm reading it, but it doesn't tend to...moreA short story collection, mostly good, tho a few were a bit too New-Wavish for my tastes. I like his work while I'm reading it, but it doesn't tend to stick in my mind as clearly as some other authors, for some reason. Worth a library read, or as a used book (my source)(less)
I can't recall if this was a pass-along from Mom or something I chose on my own...moreNOTE: My copy = omnibus of Life Among the Savages and Raising Demons.
I can't recall if this was a pass-along from Mom or something I chose on my own out of the QPB catalog; either way, I'm thankful that I found & read it.
Shirley Jackson is probably best known for her suspense/horror writing - the short story "The Lottery" and the novel The Haunting of Hill House- she brings those same exquisite writing skills to her own world, with essays on 1950's small town domesticity.
I don't think she planned to be a housewife; her children (FULL of personality) seemed to test her sanity on a daily basis, while her husband appeared more as a boarder than a partner. Imagine the storytelling of Erma Bombeck spiked with the sharp wit of Dorothy Parker, and you're in the general ballpark.
I found myself wondering if my grandmother (5 children - 4 boys, 1 girl) ever read any of these stories; from what I recall of her personality and sense of humour, I think she would have enjoyed them immensely. (less)