An exposé of the worst of human nature in a place that can very much kill you for the slightest error. The two main stories (the author's and Dr. Nils...moreAn exposé of the worst of human nature in a place that can very much kill you for the slightest error. The two main stories (the author's and Dr. Nils Antezana) were interesting and (in the case of the doctor's) heartbreaking (the guide was a sociopath, but if Antezana had been having misgivings before climbing, he could have walked away - hindsight is 20/20, but just saying).
However, the formatting of the book was horribly disjointed and very much detracted from the stories the author was trying to tell. Each chapter started out with a date and a story, it then flipped to another story, then back to the past, then a short bio of a character, then back to the first story, etc. - all in one chapter. I had to keep flipping back to see where I was and with whom...very frustrating. And both of the main stories ended before the book, with the last chapter(s) floating away on other tangents.
The author does not touch on the subject of his subtitle ("The fate of Everest..."), but merely tells his (rather negative) stories. I'm not saying that the stories are not true, but a little addition of goodness and distance (on the author's part - he was too close to the subject matter - obviously, but still) would have infused the life of the book, instead of a bitter rant that it turns into.(less)
Being an armchair mountaineer (the closest thing to a mountain I climb is a ladder), you always hear about the climbers - the thrill, the close shave,...moreBeing an armchair mountaineer (the closest thing to a mountain I climb is a ladder), you always hear about the climbers - the thrill, the close shave, the impossible against all odds, and those that remain on the mountain. Maria Coffey presents the other side of the coin - the spouses, children, parents and friends left behind. She has presented a wide variety of perspectives, including her own as a girlfriend of a climber who didn't come home, showcasing the feelings and thoughts of those who decided to share (spouses or signifigant others), or were forced to share (parents and child), the decisions of a climb. At times heartbreaking, I found it was sometimes difficult to get through, but it was worth reading. None of the whys were answered (why climbers choose to climb, why significant others/spouses choose to stay, etc.), but that wasn't the point - the stories, the emotions were everything. A good read to balance out the adventure.(less)
I liked Payton - she had the guts and the drive to go after what she wanted, especially in such a male-dominated field, but she had lots of soft edges...moreI liked Payton - she had the guts and the drive to go after what she wanted, especially in such a male-dominated field, but she had lots of soft edges. For someone that's not a fan of football (I read it because it was a RITA finalist), it was a cute, quick read.(less)
Not just your run of the mill returning ex-makeup story, but also one that tackles a serious issue (alcoholism). Cute, quick read with issues coming m...moreNot just your run of the mill returning ex-makeup story, but also one that tackles a serious issue (alcoholism). Cute, quick read with issues coming mainly from one side in the relationship and a ending that I didn't particular like (HEA, but didn't seem final).(less)
One of the better how-to-write books that I've come across, despite some (personal) annoyances (see below). Frey takes the fledgling writer from the b...moreOne of the better how-to-write books that I've come across, despite some (personal) annoyances (see below). Frey takes the fledgling writer from the beginning of why to write a mystery (quite an interesting chapter) through the acutal process of writing (including character creation and development) right up to how to find an agent and work with an editor. I especially liked how he took you step-by-step through the writing process, with an actual example (personally, I learn better that way).
That being said...
His "hook" (how to write a damn good blah blah blah or to write a damn good blah blah blah) was repeated every few pages and after the first chapter, I was getting just a titch annoyed. I think I finally trained my eyes to skip over any reference to "damn" and "good" by the middle of the book, but still!
He also referenced his other non-fiction works at least once (if not more) each chapter. It usually went "In my book "[Title]", I showed you how to do this, but I'll repeat it here anyway." Just repeat it already! Don't tell me you've already wrote it somewhere else! If you have something worthwhile to say, I'll look up your other books. I don't need to be hit over the head (repeatidly) with them. It also drives me nuts when authors reference their entire backlist in the bibliography. I mean, really? You referenced everything you've ever wrote, even the ones that had nothing to do with the current subject at hand?! Grrr. As you can tell, this is a personal pet peeve of mine and it usually turns me off an author faster than onions (which I also hate! ;)
He also did quite a bit of name dropping, especially in the "Ideas to get you started" chapter. While I enjoy references (how else do you find the other good books?! ;) his was a slight too excessive. He would quote an example of another writer's character or hook or idea and then proceed to list all the books in the series. I don't need to know all the titles. I'm not simple. I think I can look them up all by myself (especially considering he also placed them all in the bibiliography!).
Anyway, brushing aside my "issues"...
Frey's book was packed with lots of good advice and I would recommended it (albeit with a caveat or two). Personally, his style is very Sam Spadeish (the anti-hero PI type of book, as well as his writing voice), and I only found little bits concerning other sub-categories of the mystery genre (such as cozies). Regardless, his method is something to keep in mind and I will be seeking out his other non-fiction books on writing.(less)
A good overview of the role Christian clergy (from various denominations) played from the beginning to the aftermath of the Great War. Includes extens...moreA good overview of the role Christian clergy (from various denominations) played from the beginning to the aftermath of the Great War. Includes extensive notes, a good bibliography as well as a comprehensive list of the clergy (names, denomination and location(s) of service) who served with the CEF.(less)