Stop reading reviews and just read the damn thing... :-D
P.S. It's not a "twist". It's a reveal and Fowler, through her narrator, explains exactly whyStop reading reviews and just read the damn thing... :-D
P.S. It's not a "twist". It's a reveal and Fowler, through her narrator, explains exactly why she couldn't give us all the information at the start and she's right. If you go searching for what the so-called twist is before you sit down to read this book, you are not allowing the writer to tell you her story in the way she intended, and therefore you're not going to experience this novel the way it was meant to be experienced. So: no more reviews. Just pick up the book!...more
Yeah it was good, but I felt in its recounting of the doping there was a lot of fact but not enough examination of peoples' motivations, wh(3.5 stars)
Yeah it was good, but I felt in its recounting of the doping there was a lot of fact but not enough examination of peoples' motivations, which is the complexity that makes this whole debacle so fascinating. I have been spoiled by THE SECRET RACE, and no other doping-in-cycling expose can compete with it, it seems.
This is, however, a much better book than David Walsh's obviously rushed SEVEN DEADLY SINS, but I was annoyed that Walsh was referred to as a Brit (um, Ireland and Britain are not the same country, thanks very much.. and if you can't get something so simple right, what does that say about the rest?) and Armstrong's bullying of the likes of Emma O'Reilly was only touched upon.
I'm not sure there'll ever be a definitive account of what an obvious psychopathic liar this man is and the depths of his reign of terror over the Tour, but this does seem to be the best of the Armstrong bunch at the moment. If you want to read a book about WHY cyclists doped though, go with THE SECRET RACE. ...more
I didn't think I was going to be up until 4:00am reading a book about what is essentially NBC contract negotiations, but THE WAR FOR LATE N(3.5 stars)
I didn't think I was going to be up until 4:00am reading a book about what is essentially NBC contract negotiations, but THE WAR FOR LATE NIGHT is as riveting as any crime/thriller page-turner. Really enjoyed this comprehensive behind the scenes look at late night TV, although am still perplexed as to why, if Jay Leno supposedly spent from sun up to sun down every day of his show writing jokes and whittling them down from hundreds to the few he performed in his monologue, they were always so unfunny...? It's a mystery! Very balanced take, no evident bias on the part of the author -- in fact, I still can't decide, after reading, whose side I would be on. Recommended. ...more
A very unusual book that wastes no time reaching out and gripping it's reader: in the opening scene Daniel, our narrator, is walking down a London strA very unusual book that wastes no time reaching out and gripping it's reader: in the opening scene Daniel, our narrator, is walking down a London street when he gets a call from his father. He and Daniel's mother retired to Sweden not long ago, and now his father is saying that his mother is having a psychotic episode and is claiming that dark forces, including her husband, are conspiring against her. She's been committed. So Daniel buys a ticket to Sweden and heads to the airport, but before he can board his plane, his mother calls him. She's been released and is coming to Daniel, and she tells him not to believe a word his father says...
This is a read-all-in-one-sitting book, very atmospheric and genuinely chilling. The isolation of the Swedish farmland where much of the action takes place is well drawn and perfect for the plot. I was kind of surprised at the end how 'simple', for want of a better word, the resolution appeared to be, and I can't decide if I was disappointed or not by it. But then, did it just seem simple because the greatest writing talent can make it seem that way? Probably.
Yay! It's nearly the end of February and I've read my first book of 2014. Shameful but then I am trying to finish writing my own...
TALES FROM THE SCRYay! It's nearly the end of February and I've read my first book of 2014. Shameful but then I am trying to finish writing my own...
TALES FROM THE SCRIPT has been on my To Read list for a while, and it while it wasn't as gleefully entertaining as I hoped (like SAVE THE CAT or TALES FROM DEVELOPMENT HELL are) it was still an intriguing insight into the life of a Hollywood screenwriter. I would say though that's it about 60:40 on Advice: Anecdotes, and it's the anecdotes I prefer. Still, definitely worth a read if you're into the subject. Consider me surprised about the genesis of some of my favourite movies and convinced, more than ever, that writers are undervalued in Hollywood. Without them, there would be no movies at all... Or at least no good ones. ...more
Well, the last book I'll finish in 2013 has turned out to be my favourite of the year...
I'm a major NASA nut, and I've read a lot of astronaut biograWell, the last book I'll finish in 2013 has turned out to be my favourite of the year...
I'm a major NASA nut, and I've read a lot of astronaut biographies. All the Apollo era ones, and a few Space Shuttle ones as well. But while they were all intriguing reading, only Michael Collins' Carrying the Fire (Apollo 11 -- he was the guy who stayed in the command module while Neil and Buzz got to walk on the moon) came close to what I was looking for: an account of how it FEELS to be in space. Prior to the Shuttle program nearly every astronaut came from a military background, be they test pilots or engineers. Manned space exploration was just beginning, so it wasn't like they had always dreamed of being in space. They wanted to be at the top of their profession, and back then that meant astronaut. In space, they admired the view, yes, but they were more concerned with completing their checklists and their mission than taking notes that would help convey the awesomeness of the experience to the readers of their biographies later on. Later, Shuttle astronauts would look upon their roles with even less gravity -- not all of them, of course, but because the Shuttle seemed to make spaceflight routine, it was widespread -- and one of my biggest disappointments was meeting an astronaut who was aboard the mission I saw launch from Cape Canaveral, only to hear him say that he and his colleagues rang up and ordered NASA astronaut applications "like pizza". (And then later, reveal that he didn't know what year Challenger exploded. "1986" the woman next to me spat at him.) Another Shuttle era biography seemed to spend more time talking about a female astronaut's legs than time in space.
What we want to read, of course, is an account of going to space by someone like us, someone who would have pains in their jaw from smiling the whole way up, who would float to the nearest window to gaze back at Earth in awe, who would come home and write lyrically and beautifully and descriptively about how they FELT while they were in space...
And that is just what Commander Hadfield has done. I knew it from the first line: "The windows of a spaceship casually frame miracles." Having decided age 9 and while watching Armstong walk on the moon that he was going to be an astronaut, he made his whole life about pursuing that goal -- and of course, it came true. Not only did it come true but he flew on three missions and had a long stay on the ISS and, thanks to social media and a certain YouTube music video, became perhaps the most popular astronaut of all time.
This is an amazing book which manages to be a highly readable account of space flight AND a guide to life. There were plenty of new revelations even for the NASA nut (I knew they trained hard but boy, I'd no idea HOW hard or for how long) and anyone embarking or in the midst of a corporate career ladder climb could do worse than take Hadfield's advice for becoming a valuable and appreciated member of a working team. He also states the case for space exploration although not with a heavy hand. (Did you know, for example, that Canada spends less on space travel per year than Canadians spend on Halloween candy?! Or that since the Shuttle helped put GPS satellites in orbit, no one who has ever used Google Maps can complain about the money we spend on space.) He also drove something home for me that really resonated, considering my goal is something that may never happen: to get a book deal. Most astronauts who train never fly in space, and so you'd ask yourself: why bother? Hadfield explains that you must find joy in the training, in the work, in the preparation, so that even if your dream doesn't happen, you still enjoyed every moment of its pursuit and have something to be proud of at the end.
And all the while, manages to write beautifully, come across wonderfully and keep the reader turning the page.
I LOVED this book and had I read it sooner in the year, I might have given a copy of it to everyone I know. Even if you've no interest in space -- perhaps especially if you don't -- you should read this book. Just brilliant. ...more
Outing myself as a reader of self-improvement books with this review, but so what... I think it's all a bit of a waste of time if you don't try to speOuting myself as a reader of self-improvement books with this review, but so what... I think it's all a bit of a waste of time if you don't try to spend some of your time improving your life from within.
THE MONK WHO SOLD HIS FERRARI didn't start off well for me because I absolutely detest fables; my idea of cruel and unusual punishment is being forced to re-read THE CELESTINE PROPHECY, for example. My problem with fables is that they are, more often than not, stupid. They come across as a childish and often condescending way to get a point across when straight forward non-fiction would've done the job. They also tend to be written by people who, while extremely wise and with something very worthwhile and interesting to say, have no flair for writing fiction, and the whole thing just ends up being clunky, cheesy and unreadable, a faint burn of embarrassment for the author coming to your cheeks as you read.
I've just described the first 2-3 chapters of this book, but please: push through. I'm so glad I did. There's so many great insights in this book, and endless quotations for you to highlight or stick somewhere prominent. Of course, a lot of it is common sense, but what do you expect? The answer to the meaning of life? (Although Sharma actually has an answer for that: the meaning of life is to live a life of meaning.) And it introduced me to a Carl Jung quotation that's now one of my favourites: "he who looks outside dreams, he who looks inside awakens."
Great reading on the eve of a New Year and definitely worth a re-read with a highlighter. Just grit your teeth and push through those first few chapters....more
I have to say that this was the most enjoyable non-fiction book I read in 2013. The author starts off by saying to you 'Look, I know: it's just a f--kI have to say that this was the most enjoyable non-fiction book I read in 2013. The author starts off by saying to you 'Look, I know: it's just a f--king show...' and that sets the tone. Yes, it might *just* be a Broadway show and not a matter of life or death, but for the people involved, it must have been difficult if not impossible to feel anything but that.
SONG OF SPIDERMAN was funny, heartbreaking and had the page-turning engine of a thriller, and I'd highly recommend it even if you have no interest in musicals, Spiderman: Turn off the Dark, U2, etc. My only complaint is that the ending (after all the drama that had come before) was more of a fizzle than a climax, and the Wikipedia entry for the musical (which has since announced its closure on Broadway and a move to Las Vegas which, having read this book, now seems like what they should've done in the first place) served as a far better epilogue than what was in the book.
Glen Berger is an extremely likable character and narrator and I think his self-deprecating 'it's only a show' style endears you to him on page one. Everything that comes after then -- the drama, the anecdotes, the scandal, the heartbreak -- is a wonderful bonus.