"In his youth he had given [passion] freely, without thought...He had, in odd ways, given it to every moment of his life, and had perhaps given it mos...more"In his youth he had given [passion] freely, without thought...He had, in odd ways, given it to every moment of his life, and had perhaps given it most fully when he was unaware of his giving. It was a passion neither of the mind or of the flesh; rather, it was a force that comprehended them both, as if they were but the matter of love, its specific substance. To a woman or to a poem, it said simply: Look! I am alive."(less)
Not since Timothy Egan's The Worst Hard Time have I read such a moving and vivid account of families struggling...moreI devoured this in one 3-hour sitting.
Not since Timothy Egan's The Worst Hard Time have I read such a moving and vivid account of families struggling through the Depression. Silver's use of small period details, as well as her "bookend" use of the present tense when telling the contemporary part of her tale, lends an immediacy to the story that made this reader feel as though she was hearing it straight from the memories of a beloved great-aunt. Truly a must-read for anyone fascinated by the lives and hardships of migrant life during the Depression, as well as those readers who recognized that -- far from being two-dimensional photographs -- our great-grandparents had loves and lives and secrets every bit as vital as ours today.(less)
Hmmm. I had read that the first part of this book was quite good, and that it takes a turn and gets dull towards the end, and I thought -- perhaps for...moreHmmm. I had read that the first part of this book was quite good, and that it takes a turn and gets dull towards the end, and I thought -- perhaps for the casual reader, but not for me -- after all, I've been stalked. I know what it feels like, and I recall how angry and focused I became. I figured I would find a kindred story, with perhaps some insight on the way one's life and reputation can come to feel utterly vulnerable and transparent. And this is what I found in the majority of the book. Lasdun has great insight into his situation and even compassion for his stalker (as I did for mine), and although his situation has stayed the same (spoiler alert: He is still being stalked, five years later), he has found a way to cope and even create some good work from this experience.
I confess I wasn't too interested in the last third or so of the book, where Lasdun visits Israel and has many deep insights about his Jewish heritage. I wanted to know more about what happened to his stalker, how his life went on, was she ever stopped -- but perhaps it's because his nightmare seems unending that Lasdun needed to pause and reflect. I hope I understand his need, but it made for a very good book with a dull, anticlimactic ending.
Even the childless among us may be deeply interested in the way children’s brains and emotions develop, and Bronson brings a delighted fascination to...moreEven the childless among us may be deeply interested in the way children’s brains and emotions develop, and Bronson brings a delighted fascination to this topic. Upending generations of parenting ‘know-how,’ the authors turn to the newest scientific studies in areas such as infant language acquisition, racism, bullying, and the impact of sleep on the teen brain.(less)
This lovely, poetic, understated little book follows the multigenerational story, spanning the late 1790s until perhaps 1900, of a farming family in M...moreThis lovely, poetic, understated little book follows the multigenerational story, spanning the late 1790s until perhaps 1900, of a farming family in Monferrato, Italy, in the Piedmont region, near France. The strength of the book lies in Loy’s lush, almost dreamlike description of the lives and loves of the family and their friends, relations, and servants. Wars come and go, bringing cholera and high taxes; babies are conceived, birthed, and live only a few days or years, or grow into healthy young people with lives and loves of their own. Each person has a story, some subtle, some more direct – and against it all is the backdrop of Montferrato itself, and how it changes with the seasons: by turns dusty and dry, or sodden with spring rains and mud, or icy and snowy, or lush and green with wheat and the grapevines for the wines for which the region is known. This is a quiet, satisfying book that provides a glimpse into the lives of ordinary people two hundred years ago.(less)
In the middle of the chaos, death, and destruction of WWII, in the tiny town of Tringale in Sicily, Father Gaetano is trying to teach the orphans of t...moreIn the middle of the chaos, death, and destruction of WWII, in the tiny town of Tringale in Sicily, Father Gaetano is trying to teach the orphans of the convent of San Domenico. He is charged with teaching them the Bible, as well as bringing them the message of God’s love and forgiveness. But the orphans are resistant: How can they believe in a loving God? Why would God kill their parents and destroy their homes?
Little Sebastiano has one precious toy: a puppet, which, so the boy claims, speaks to him. With the puppet as a prop, Sebastiano tells tales to the rest of the orphans, and gives Father Gaetano an idea – perhaps he can use a box of old puppets, created by hand by a now-deceased caretaker and long consigned to the rectory basement, in his teaching. He and the boys drag up the old puppets and the puppet stage, and the lessons begin.
But the young priest has no idea of the horror he’s unleashed. The puppets are sentient. Just as the boys question their God, the puppets hold Father Gaetano ultimately responsible for their creation, and they turn on him with a terrible vengeance.
Good for those who need a little paranormal freak-out with their WWII Italian fiction, as well as for fans of Hellboy and Baltimore, or the Steadfast Tin Soldier, both by Mignola. (less)
Well...I really like Alan Moore, and have great respect for his immense talent. HOWEVER, this was not at all his finest work. Not even close.
He begins...moreWell...I really like Alan Moore, and have great respect for his immense talent. HOWEVER, this was not at all his finest work. Not even close.
He begins with a pretty hair-raising premise, which is, I think, that the in-between places in your brain, the places that acid and other hallucinogens enable you to explore, happen to be the gateways through which Cthulu and the other Old Ones may enter and stay on this plane of existence. Plus, we gather, Cthulu (or at least one of his manifestations)really, really enjoys having sex with humans. (Hair-raising, as well.)
But there is some lazy writing. The female FBI agent who is forced to experience the shuddery affections of the sex-machine Cthulu JUST SO HAPPENS to have been a recovering sex-addict. (Oh, o--kay.)None of the characters are more than one-dimensional, and the story wraps up far too quickly (and too neatly, and too predictably).
On the other hand, the book did make me want to know more about H. P. Lovecraft's life and times, so it wasn't all bad.
The reviewers on the jacket would have you believe that John Ajvide Lindqvist is Sweden's Stephen King, and that may be so -- if...more**spoiler alert** Um.
The reviewers on the jacket would have you believe that John Ajvide Lindqvist is Sweden's Stephen King, and that may be so -- if King's Swedish editions are translated so poorly that large chunks of the book go by with nothing happening. (It is certainly true that they both could benefit from an undaunted editor.)
In a brutally small nutshell: Angst-y and mentally disturbed 14-year-old girls love music, feel alienated, want to kill people, and do. With drills and without the benefit of reader empathy. The End.
The only place this reader (who read this for work, or else would have abandoned it) truly felt cheered was on the final page, when it is strongly hinted that the girls are devoured by wolves.