I spent an intimate five hours with this book and a bottle of merlot. Perhaps it wasn't very smart of me to experience Palahniuk for the first time un...moreI spent an intimate five hours with this book and a bottle of merlot. Perhaps it wasn't very smart of me to experience Palahniuk for the first time under the influence. Perhaps it was one of the smartest decisions I've ever made. Simplistic writing about controversial topics of corporation, capitalism, and the economics of self. To survive and thrive within society must one live a double life? Are animalistic, cannibalistic, innate tendencies preferable over more socially acceptable, sophisticated, learned behaviors? All men are unreliable, and to question someone else's behavior is to question your own behavior is to question God's behavior. "Fight Club" is a slippery slope, and by the end of the novel, I'd crashed with a muddy and beaten psyche at the bottom of it. There are no answers.(less)
Got to the end of chapter two before I realized I hadn't learned anything yet. Useful for inept beginners of the writing world. I bought this book exp...moreGot to the end of chapter two before I realized I hadn't learned anything yet. Useful for inept beginners of the writing world. I bought this book expecting to learn about the secrets of the publishing industry but instead discovered I should give myself more credit for the level of knowledge I apparently possess.(less)
A long time ago, in a high school library far, far away ... I judged Peter Shaffer's "Equus" by its vague title and its enticing cover. An unnatural a...moreA long time ago, in a high school library far, far away ... I judged Peter Shaffer's "Equus" by its vague title and its enticing cover. An unnatural and dangerous flirtation with playwriting and Latin pronunciation caused me to crack open the spine of this book that day, but Shaffer's fascinating writing style sent me back to it multiple times throughout my time at Douglas Anderson. I'd never experienced a playwright like Shaffer before, and I haven't experienced a playwright like Shaffer since.
For years, "Equus" has steadfastly remained my favorite play. When director Thea Sharrock revived the play for production in London and, later on, in New York, my boyfriend and I traveled the East Coast to see it. With this being said, I can't believe it took me so many years to read "Amadeus," a Shaffer play which has competed vigorously and perhaps successfully for the title of Shaffer's greatest work.
"Amadeus" immediately impressed me. It was a powerfully successful decision on Shaffer's part to frame the entire work's structure around the destruction of the fourth wall. He less frequently but just as powerfully used the same technique in "Equus." This proved essential to the audience's omnipresence. I understood. I cared for. I despised. I revolted. Though shocked, nothing came as a shock. Shaffer's intimate writing brought flat characters of an indistinguishable society into my bedroom, mind, and heart. I've taken both lower level and upper level music appreciation college courses, but only through the lens of "Amadeus" was I able to clearly see Mozart's plight for the first time. I also, for the first time, gandered at the possible effect Mozart's talent must have had on the professional musicians around him. Shaffer's writing allowed me to see these historical figureheads as people. Just people. With lives full of catastrophe and wonder--the evil and good we all battle and strive for through (forgive me) tears and years of struggle. (less)
My teacher/professor wrote this book of poetry. It inspired me to write honest poems about my past. She knows how to tell it like it is, brutally and...moreMy teacher/professor wrote this book of poetry. It inspired me to write honest poems about my past. She knows how to tell it like it is, brutally and beautifully. A true gem of Southern culture. (less)
I watched the TV show first (which is what inspired me to delve into this genre in the first place), and maybe I would've rated this higher if the boo...moreI watched the TV show first (which is what inspired me to delve into this genre in the first place), and maybe I would've rated this higher if the book alone had introduced me to the characters and plot. Instead, it felt like I was reading a screenplay of the TV series. I'm one of those rare people who wants a screenwriter to bring his own magic to a story rather than copy+paste all of its text and scenes. But, "Game of Thrones" is my first epic fantasy. I was determined to finish it. And, at over 700 pages, that was a challenge. Let me clarify. It's not challenging because of a complex writing style or difficult vocabulary. It's challenging because the writing is just so...plain. Sure, there are a few enjoyable sentence variations but an equal number of cliches also exist that spoil the reading experience for the rest and best of the bunch. I only found about five of the small chapters worth it out of the entire 700 pages, which was (obviously) disappointing. I enjoyed learning a bit more about quiet Dany's and shifting Sansa's thoughts, but that's the only positive point I can make about this read. The plot is riveting, engaging, and shocking...but I got that much from the TV show.(less)
I recommend "Looking for Alaska" to all teenagers as well as any nostalgic adult. This novel forces the reader to truly reflect. During the "best year...moreI recommend "Looking for Alaska" to all teenagers as well as any nostalgic adult. This novel forces the reader to truly reflect. During the "best years of your life", how do you learn to not only define yourself but also the values you stand for when faced with a world that is no longer mystical but instead, with each lesson learned, increasingly disappointing? If you had a hard childhood...if there are things about yourself that you would rather not remember...if you've experienced that special admixture of guilt and pain that sticks and sticks and never seems to really go away...this book is for you. Honestly, it was difficult for me to get through. I felt for the characters, but I knew from the beginning that something terrible was going to happen...and, when it did, I did not feel enlightened or inspired (definitely not happy). But, damn, I felt understood. Sometimes it is enough to understand the pain. Green did not run from the harshness of pain like most authors do. He wrote honestly and hauntingly, leading the reader into a reluctant acceptance of it.(less)
**spoiler alert** This series is so easy to devour. I finished the first book in one night, the second book in a day and a half, and the last book in...more**spoiler alert** This series is so easy to devour. I finished the first book in one night, the second book in a day and a half, and the last book in one night. I watched the sunrise twice during my fascination with this story--first upon the final chapters of "The Hunger Games" and lastly during the final scenes of "Mockingjay". My other two reviews remained open because I didn't go too in depth with my discussion. However, I have hid this review for spoilers because (yes, yes) it is time for me to finally say my piece about "The Hunger Games" trilogy.
I won't lie, I was terrified going into "Mockingjay". I'd heard negative remarks from countless people and (believe me) I heard an entire spectrum of reasons behind them--from the simple "It was boring" to the vague "It was unnecessary" to the complex "The characterization was off, etc." I even heard the main spoiler: one simple sentence... "Gale kills Prim." On that note, really, I was expecting the worst going into this thing.
Surprise for me when it actually turned out to be my favorite book of the series. Surprise when I truly understood the contradictory (and necessary, and logical) character traits of Katniss Everdeen for the first time. Surprise for me when I finally understood the true difference between Gale and Peeta. Surprise for me when I learned to hate the characters I'd loved, then (miraculously) learned to love them yet again. I can see looking back why there would be complaints about the characterization; it's all over the place because (guess what?!) LIFE is all over the place. Let me explain.
Katniss is a character constant struggling with polarizing emotions, landed in a world of polarizing situations. "Mockingjay" begins with a war that seems almost perfect in its simplicity: Good vs. Evil. But with any spectrum, we must begin to see the gray. We must not live in the pretend of black and white for long, because it is a lie. Everyone has the potential for good in them, and everyone has the potential for evil. Most everyone is a healthy, realistic mix of both. Take Katniss--she is selfish and selfless, she is self-dismissive and self-congratulating, she is in a love-hate relationship with all of humanity and must accept and overcome the paralysis caused by a deep emotional fear that many readers admonish and rarely any understand.
Now... onto her relationships. Take the fact that she doesn't want any because of her (have I just mentioned this?) paralyzing fear of losing what remaining loved ones she has left, THEN throw in two boys that have fallen in love with her, AFTER THAT stir in some survival instincts and what do you have? A situation so confusing even the reader can't figure it out. Because it was confusing, it turned many readers completely off. I, on the other hand, enjoyed being stirred up a bit, enjoyed finding the answers slowly with each new bit of information that comes Katniss' way.
Let's get this straight: I was on Team Peeta from DAY ONE. I saw a darkness in Gale from the very beginning--a darkness that made me truly, truly scared for Katniss. His desire to protect her and her family was sincere, but there was an angry recklessness in him that the author never fully explained but I could sense from his early scenes with her in the woods. She hated his recklessness--his dark musings of Capital hatred that crossed the line into unjustness, which can only spawn more unjustness.
I was surprised when the spoiler came to pass (and Prim's character was so developed by then, so likeable; it truly was difficult to read), but I was not angry or confused at the author for it. I knew there could be no mistake on her part. Gale's unjust hatred of everything Capital had destroyed one of his very own by mistake. Friendly fire, so to speak (except not-so-friendly, really, as it was devised to kill innocent children either way).
By the end of the book, I was as exhausted as Katniss, as deliriously happy as President Snow, and as distantly depressed as Katniss' mother as well as Gale. But Peeta. Peeta steadied my emotions... readied me for the epilogue and, through it, let me see that a future in this broken world (and, therefore, in all of our smaller, broken worlds) is really possible. What a wonderful, wonderful way to end the series.(less)
"Short Fictions and Wonders" is an apt subtitle for this unique set of stories. Gaiman mixes contemporary characters into fantastic settings and situa...more"Short Fictions and Wonders" is an apt subtitle for this unique set of stories. Gaiman mixes contemporary characters into fantastic settings and situations, which is (if you've read anything else of his) kind-of his style.
Each "wonder" had a distinct impact on this reader. Out of over 30 stories included in this anthology, there was only one I didn't like--"Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Secret House of the Night of Dread Desire". It might've been attempted satire but came off rather juvenile to me, which makes sense considering Gaiman mentioned in the forward that he'd written it in his early twenties and boxed it away for years having thought it, well... juvenile.
Overall, there were many more enjoyable tales than not. Some of my favorites include: "Strange Little Girls", "How to Talk to Girls at Parties", and "October in the Chair". However, I would recommend you read the entire anthology to come up with your own favorites, as Gaiman's tales tend to have a certain personability to them -- touching readers in quaintly specific ways while simultaneously delivering broadly recognizable themes. Therefore, the stories that wow-ed this reader may not do the same for another. This is a rare talent I feel Gaiman possesses as a writer, and he employs it well in each peculiar yet appreciable tale.
PS: He voices the audio book splendidly, if you were thinking about catching up on some fantasy during your daily commute, as I did. (less)