The author's concept for the book, "in this new world of virtual living, what will bind us together?" Though an intriguing one, seemed almost absent fThe author's concept for the book, "in this new world of virtual living, what will bind us together?" Though an intriguing one, seemed almost absent from the book. The story was more about technology and obsession than about human connections through virtual life. There are some beautifully chosen words, and interesting questions were posed but all was overshadowed with predictable story arcs and heavy handed symbolism.
"We can't keep up with the suffering of others. We have to close ourselves off. How else can we survive?"
"...in the center of all the stories are echoes of the past, the spiral of history."
"Listening doesn't make us disappear. It helps us recognize our absurdity, our humanity. It's what binds us together..."...more
Stunning. Interesting to think of all of the contemporary works of film and fiction that have been influenced by this book.
"What if we are a knife'sStunning. Interesting to think of all of the contemporary works of film and fiction that have been influenced by this book.
"What if we are a knife's breadth away from the other, the black side of the crag? The knife is the strongest, the most immortal, the most brilliant of man's creations. The knife has been a guillotine; the knife is the universal means of solving all knots;along the knife's edge is the road of paradoxes-the only road worthy of a fearless mind." ...more
Athena Voltaire is an aviatrix heroine who fights against Nazi's, vampires and mythical creatures while she earns a paycheck. She is beautiful and buxAthena Voltaire is an aviatrix heroine who fights against Nazi's, vampires and mythical creatures while she earns a paycheck. She is beautiful and buxom and isn't distracted by the onslaught of attention that she receives from her male counterparts.
Bryant uses traditional pulp comic story-telling tactics with clear cut heroes and villains and turns it on it's head with a female protagonist. He uses puns and quick witted sarcasm- characteristic to story telling of the 1940's in which the stories are set.
The illustrations are bold and flowing, concise and crisp and give readers a great sense of the various exotic locales where Athena travels. Reminiscent of Indiana Jones, the Athena Voltaire stories are a great read for fans of escapist comics and those who respond to a direct and thrilling comic book. ...more
Station Eleven is much more than an apocalyptic dystopian novel; it’s a simply worded, deftly crafted story of relationships, fears and survival. SomeStation Eleven is much more than an apocalyptic dystopian novel; it’s a simply worded, deftly crafted story of relationships, fears and survival. Some relationships cross generations, and others cross generations without the participants ever realizing it.
Beginning in the present time, an actor has a heart attack while on stage. We are present as a man attempts to resuscitate him. That night an event occurred that the narrator feared “…was going to be the divide between a before and an after, a line drawn through his life.” We stay with this character for the first section of the book and learn about the life-changing event.
We jump ahead 20 years into the future and follow seemingly unrelated characters as they travel through the wilderness performing Shakespeare. “Sayid, circling her in a tuxedo that Kirsten found in a dead man’s closet.” The storyline continues to jump back and forth between these and several other characters. Emily St. John Mandel has savvy with a needle as she pulls threads of the stories through each other in unexpected and touching ways.
The diversity of sex, race and class of the characters is natural and appealing, as is the balance of vague plot lines to the ones that end with a definitive period.
One character has a love hate relationship with the small island of his birth compared to the complex city life of his successful adulthood. “It was the most beautiful place I have ever seen. It was gorgeous and claustrophobic. I loved it and I always wanted to escape.”
Another character chooses to encase herself in a shell of protection, not allowing herself to feel by repeating the phrase, “I repent nothing.” This same character writes the words, “I stood looking over my damaged home and tried to forget the sweetness of life on Earth,” in a book which greatly impacts some of the survivors.
In an attempt to avoid revealing any of the fulfilling plot discoveries that one experiences while reading Station Eleven, let me leave my review with the reassurance that this was the rare title that each member of my book club reviewed as “Loved.”
This book gives a taste of Woolf, but is delivered with a crispness which doesn't allow readers an understanding of the depth of emotional unrest thatThis book gives a taste of Woolf, but is delivered with a crispness which doesn't allow readers an understanding of the depth of emotional unrest that she struggled with. A book can be slight and still have layers of emotional truth. ...more
50 free verse fairy tale style poems which blend contemporary tween and teen girl issues with wit and wisdom. This would make a great addition to the50 free verse fairy tale style poems which blend contemporary tween and teen girl issues with wit and wisdom. This would make a great addition to the curriculum for junior high and high school teachers as well as students who are researching fairy tales and/or looking for an interesting collection of poetry....more
Vanessa and Her Sister reimagines the loves, passions, lives and minds of Virginia Woolf and her sister Vanessa Stephen (Fry). The sisters are surrounVanessa and Her Sister reimagines the loves, passions, lives and minds of Virginia Woolf and her sister Vanessa Stephen (Fry). The sisters are surrounded by people with means and similar intellectual pursuits. They spend hours discussing recent writings, art breakthroughs and the ever-undulating love affairs of those in their circle.
Priya Parmar weaves her imagined story into the known history of the literary and art heroes creating a passionate, page turning story. We know that Virginia will marry Woolf, we know that the books of E. M. Forester become literary legends, but Parmar unspools the events and sprinkles them with gorgeous surprises.
“Does anyone know when he’s becoming ridiculous? Is there such a thing as ridiculous or is it just a social construction?”
Parmar has a poetic voice which suits the era and characters. There are a large amount of characters presented early in the novel but Parmar provides a cast of characters section early in the book to aid readers. There is also an author’s note at the end of the book which gives readers a sneak peek into what happens to the characters after we leave them.
“I marveled at the way Mr. Fry listened. It was an active, thoughtful listening rather than the passive pause while one waits his turn to speak that you see so often in great men.”
The book flows between letters, telegrams and entries from Vanessa’s diary. We meet Vanessa when she is a free and unmarried spirit whose only difficulties are the complications which arise from her sister’s unpredictable behavior and finding the energy to maintain her late parlor nights spent pontificating on theory and the arts. We stay with Vanessa as she falls in love, starts a family, loses a sibling and bounces through her young adult years. Already a fan of Virgina Woolf, this reading encouraged me to read more about her and her sister who was a well known painter.
This is a great read for fans of The Paris Wife or for any reader seeking a work of partially biographical, historical fiction with a hint of romance.
I am surprised to see so many 5 star ratings for this title. Although it is written by the highly respected Pearl S. Buck, it reads as though it shoulI am surprised to see so many 5 star ratings for this title. Although it is written by the highly respected Pearl S. Buck, it reads as though it should have had one more round of deep editing. There are memorable lines and profound thoughts in the book.
"Now she knew that between men and women there is no duty. There is only love-or no love."
"She was released from pain and, her eyes closed, she lay like a flower beaten upon after the earth after rain."
"The stupid person fears and hates the intelligent person. Whatever the goodness of the intelligent man, he must also know that it will not win him love from one whose mind is less than his."
Unfortunately there are numerous strings of story that are laid out and never expounded upon. A group of orphan children are briefly introduced and then mentioned in only a few sentences and entire sections of story repeat multiple times.
Pavilion of Women was a challenging read not due to the language, but due to the crawling slow story-telling and unsatisfying story arcs. ...more
Gorgeously designed pages, eye-catching page photos and striking quotes aren't enough to make the mish-mosh of text in Edie Factory Girl engaging. TheGorgeously designed pages, eye-catching page photos and striking quotes aren't enough to make the mish-mosh of text in Edie Factory Girl engaging. The book begins with Edie Sedgwick being discovered at a New York party. She was perhaps the first woman in American pop culture who was famous just for being famous. She was scooped up by Andy Warhol and served as his sometimes muse and movie star. The books jumps, unexpectedly to Edie's rich but abusive upbringing.
The text is like nothing I've seen before. The author alternates between using unconventional language in an attempt to impress the reader: "The cinephile clan of the Factory, idolaters of Greta and Judy awaited the coming of the One Foretold, the long-anticipated appearance of the sphinx-like diva..." to writing like text in a children's picture book: "Attatchemnts, commitments, responsibility-all the deadly leaden words that threatened to pull her down-she threw them out the window of her troika as she galloped ahead. Faster! Faster!"
As expected, the book is chock full of Warhol anecdotes and these tales, the aforementioned photos, and miscellaneous quotes from people are the only parts of the book that encouraged me to finish reading it. ...more
From the first frame which shouts, “GOOD MORNING,” in old-timey neon letters readers can’t help but get sucked in to Lowriders in Space. This fantastiFrom the first frame which shouts, “GOOD MORNING,” in old-timey neon letters readers can’t help but get sucked in to Lowriders in Space. This fantastical tale of three friends who team up to make their dream of owning their own garage come true. Lupe Impala is a mechanic. Flapjack Octopus is a master car cleaner, he’s also a bucket sized critter who has huge anime eyes and wears a hat with earflaps. Elirio Malaria is the artist of the group. He is suave and uses his beak to create the finest detail work around. The friends learn about a car competition, specifically for lowriders and decide to enter the contest in hopes of winning the grand prize of cash. They end up on an adventure in space which includes some, (shh, don’t tell the kids who are reading the books), educational facts. There’s a glossary at the back of the book to specify scientific words and to explain some of the slang.
Author Cathy Camper shows a masterful use of word choice which connects with illustrations in the flawless manner that allows the reader to fully dive in to each page. Seeped in Latino culture, there are references to food, language, music and style that will be fascinating to readers who haven’t been exposed to it, and rewarding for readers who don’t often see themselves represented in what they read. The illustrations are a real knock out. This is Raul the Third's first book illustration job and he chose to use a ball-point pen and sharpie doodle styling which is fun and unique without drawing to much attention to itself. Appealingly written and illustrated characters and surroundings make this one of my favorite children targeted graphic novels of the year....more
The first story "The Incredible and Sad Tale of Innocent Erendira and Her Heartless Grandmother," was breathtaking. Both for it's imagery and how farThe first story "The Incredible and Sad Tale of Innocent Erendira and Her Heartless Grandmother," was breathtaking. Both for it's imagery and how far Marquez pushed the horrors that Erendira was forced to endure. Most of the other stories are early examples of Marquz's work and while even his weakest writing holds poetry, these cannot compare to the masterpieces which he produces later in his career. ...more
This is a prime example of a graphic novel to spurn all those who think that graphic novels are childish and non-important. Asterios Polyp is drawn wiThis is a prime example of a graphic novel to spurn all those who think that graphic novels are childish and non-important. Asterios Polyp is drawn with a wisdom of style and line. With an unexpected rhythm we are introduced to Asterios. He's an architect, professor, husband and great thinker. He's never been able to shake the feeling that he's only half a man, that there's a duality to everything and his philosophies on this theme echo through his relationships, work and construct of self.
"What if relaity (as percieved) were simply an extension of the self?"
Although the text may be easily read, it begs to be combed through and digested over time, echoes of the story repeat and diverge. Art, architecture, love, mysticism and artistic prowess are all exposed and questioned. When Willy Illuminato bursts into Asterios' world, all topics are forced to be addressed.
"Simultaneity-the awareness of so much happening at once- is now the most salient aspect of contemporary life."
This is an excellent read for sophisticated fans of illustrated novels.
"...a story powered by yearning...it shares with Yaoi (Boy Love Manga) a searing energy of unrequited love." -Lambda Literary Review
Two unli3.5 stars
"...a story powered by yearning...it shares with Yaoi (Boy Love Manga) a searing energy of unrequited love." -Lambda Literary Review
Two unlikely friends, the pretty boy Asher and the tough girl Eulalie crash into each other trying to discover who they are. They are both exploring their sexuality and are determined to not be defined or confined by any societal labels. Living without labels has it complications.
The story is told in sections divided sometimes by day, sometimes by event. There are multiple fonts used throughout which help the reader to get into the artistic mindset of the leads. The illustrations are simple and inconsistent which mirrors the minds and ideas of Asher and Eulalie. Music is also interwoven through the story. It is a huge part of the kids lives and it helps the reader to understand the impact of their feelings.
As sophisticated as the characters are in their open-mindedness about sexuality they are still painfully unsophisticated in numerous ways. They fall prey to mis-communication, struggle with jealousy and although on the surface they appear confident, they remain puzzled by the world around them. ...more