I really wanted to like this book more than I did. The writing was beautiful, sometimes transcendent, and I loved the main character, but the plot jusI really wanted to like this book more than I did. The writing was beautiful, sometimes transcendent, and I loved the main character, but the plot just didn't work consistently for me. I was entranced by some developments, but other scenes didn't feel so smooth to me, and I felt like the end didn't do justice to the almost mythological narrative framing the story. It's possible I missed something important that made the whole thing work better -- there was definitely a lot going on in terms of societal critique and maybe some of it went over my head -- but the structure of the plot just didn't do it for me. It's interesting and well written enough to be an intriguing, sometimes terrifying, dystopian read, but I'm not urgent to revisit it....more
The only other book I've read by Elizabeth Gilbert was Eat Pray Love, and I wasn't a fan, but it turned out to be particularly interesting to read aboThe only other book I've read by Elizabeth Gilbert was Eat Pray Love, and I wasn't a fan, but it turned out to be particularly interesting to read about fear, insecurity, and the creative process from someone whose work I dont really jive with. It ventured a little far into motivational speech territory for my aesthetic enjoyment, but I have to admit that much of it was a motivation I kind of needed. Recommended if you're feeling stuck or insecure about your work and need a push to get moving....more
I have trouble reviewing Neely Tucker's mysteries. I love the main character, Sully Carter, and each book in this series has sucked me in almost immedI have trouble reviewing Neely Tucker's mysteries. I love the main character, Sully Carter, and each book in this series has sucked me in almost immediately. The setting is great, and it's a treat to read Tucker's descriptions of busy newsrooms and hard-hitting journalists before the decline of the industry. In each book in the series, my only complaint has been the ending. I feel like Tucker always starts out with a tight, well-paced plot, but then succumbs to an ending that's bigger than it needs to be to pack a punch. It's not that the mysteries are bad, or that the endings are unsatisfying, it's just that they don't hold up to the quality of the rest of the book for me. This may be a personal preference, and I'd still recommend the series to anyone who enjoys whodunits -- I bought this the day it came out and read it in one sitting, so I'm obviously a fan -- but I hope the next book will be a bit more of a controlled burn. ...more
Sally Mann is as captivating a storyteller as she is a photographer. The essays in this book are romantic, hilarious, tragic, often fraught, and sometSally Mann is as captivating a storyteller as she is a photographer. The essays in this book are romantic, hilarious, tragic, often fraught, and sometimes deeply uncomfortable. I especially appreciated Mann's attempts to understand and deal with her experience of growing up white in the South during the 1960's, in particular her conflicting and unresolved emotions about her family's African American servant, Gee-Gee. While I'm not sure she successfully represents Gee-Gee as a person outside of her relationship to Mann's family, she seems aware of this deficit, and puts forth some brutally heartbreaking observations about her simultaneous love for Gee-Gee and complicity in her exploitation. The imperfections here -- the moments where she slips into slight defensiveness, wanting the reader to know how genuinely she cared for Gee-Gee -- are largely made up for by her willingness to question her own assumptions and write honestly about her sometimes shameful memories regarding race. She also writes beautifully about her attempts to reconcile the horrors of the Southern past through her photographs of haunted Southern landscapes. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Southern history, photography, or memoirs. Be warned, though, the final chapter is a bit morbid and difficult to stomach....more
About once a year, if I'm lucky, I stumble across a book that completely enraptures me and reminds me why I love to read. This is the first of 2016.
IAbout once a year, if I'm lucky, I stumble across a book that completely enraptures me and reminds me why I love to read. This is the first of 2016.
I fell madly in love with The Shadow of the Wind before I was even halfway through with the book. I don't know how to describe it, except to say that it's one of those stories that comes completely to life in your mind, that makes you forget yourself while you're reading it. It's hilarious, magical, sensual, tragic, and extremely emotionally astute. Zafón manages to communicate so many small, intimate things beyond the major plots of the book. As an added bonus, it takes place in my favorite city on earth, Barcelona, and Zafón's descriptions of the setting are magnificent.
Recommended to anyone who loves magic realism, adventure, the history of the Spanish Civil War, Barcelona, or really anyone in possession of a sensitive soul....more
I expected this book to be slow-going and dry, but it turned out to be something of a thriller. Glenn Greenwald does a great job of framing the techniI expected this book to be slow-going and dry, but it turned out to be something of a thriller. Glenn Greenwald does a great job of framing the technical and political issues at hand in the personal narrative of his experience working with Edward Snowden; the result is a page turner. I spent three days glued to my kindle, highlighting passages on almost every page. If you want to understand the state of modern journalism, surveillance, and government overreach, this is a must-read.
I would also recommend this book to anyone who has conflicting views about Snowden, especially if your primary exposure to his story has been mostly through the mainstream media. Greenwald gives a great behind-the-scenes account of reporting on the issue that provides really important context to the narrative put out by much of the press at the time....more
I really wanted to like this book, but the plot just didn't do much for me. I enjoyed the first half, but once the t**spoiler alert** (spoilers below)
I really wanted to like this book, but the plot just didn't do much for me. I enjoyed the first half, but once the truth of what happened with Shiro and Tsukuru's friends was revealed, it fell flat for me. While I'm not opposed on principle to a story including a woman lying about rape, like some reviewers here, I do think that it's a topic that should be broached with a lot more nuance and care than Murakami offered. Not that I would expect a realistic, cut and dry description from him, but I feel like he could have gone further in explaining what happened. Her actions basically boil down to being "crazy" while Tsukuru is stoic and handsome and innocent, which feels like a huge cop out, especially for a topic that has such real world ramifications.
All that being said, there were still some beautiful, worthwhile descriptions in the book, particularly in regards to loneliness, isolation, and loss. And I enjoyed the very psychedelic side story about Haida's father. Beyond that, though, I found myself wishing that the second half of the book had gone in an entirely different direction. ...more
I already believed librarians are secret super heroes, but this book made me realize just how powerful and important the institution of the library haI already believed librarians are secret super heroes, but this book made me realize just how powerful and important the institution of the library has been throughout history. Read it, and you'll never take your local public library for granted....more