3.5 stars. I read Version Control for the 2017 Tournament of Books. The first 1/2 of the novel were very good and held my attention. The second half -3.5 stars. I read Version Control for the 2017 Tournament of Books. The first 1/2 of the novel were very good and held my attention. The second half - not so much.
The novel is about the building of a time machine in the not to distant future. I'm sorry, not a time machine, a causality violation device. Dexter Palmer has written 90% of the novel from the POV of Rebecca, the wife of the Phillip the inventor of the CVD. I think he did an excellent job writing from a female perspective. I assumed the book was written by a female, until I happened to just glance back a the "cover" and noticed the author was male.
As I said, the first half really works for me and I am engaged in the story and in the speculation of what will unfold. The second half of the book becomes very drawn out and goes out on tangents that I think could have been edited out - for example, Phillip's diary and Carson's side chapter and Sean's room decoration.
I did find it interesting that the book mentions that the $20 bill of the future now sports Ronald Reagan and in a later portion of the book it becomes Theodore Roosevelt. I don't think it mentions how far in the future the book takes place, but much of technology doesn't change much. Oh, there are automated cars and glasses that show a computer screen, but we are headed in that direction already.
For a sci-fi book, it was actually very good. But it paled in comparison to several of the other TOB titles I have enjoyed. ...more
Another book that is hard to rate-probably 4.5, but not a book that I would re-read.
I read the Sport of Kings for the 2017 Tournament of Books. I woulAnother book that is hard to rate-probably 4.5, but not a book that I would re-read.
I read the Sport of Kings for the 2017 Tournament of Books. I would have never picked it up otherwise. As a person who does choose many of my books by their cover, the cover of The Sport of Kings is very misleading. Yes, the book does include horse racing, but it is in the back ground. The actual story is a multi-generational, multi-POV epic. It reminds me of a Kentucky version of The Son set in Texas.
The Sport of Kings primarily follows Henry Forge, his daughter Henrietta and their horse groom, Almond. The novel had more unexpected and unseen twists and turns throughout the book than any other novel I have ever read. The Sport of Kings would be perfect for a book club as the discussion concerning racism, privilege, healthcare, and the relationship of poverty to crime.
One criticism is that there were periods of pretty boring introspection by the characters. Sometimes the POV would seem to change mid chapter and as I was listening to this one on audio, there was no way to know that the POV changed until you realized the comments being made were not making sense. I had to rewind often. I am not sure how this would have been handled in print.
For ToBers, the ending to this one is completely different than the one in Sweet Lamb of Heaven. I could probably discuss the ending to The Sport of Kings for an hour.
Even though it is not one of my favorite, huggable books, I am very impressed with The Sport of Kings. Go read it because I'm busting at the seems to talk to someone about this book!
How to choose between The Sport of Kings and The Throwback Special. I loved Throwback - it was hilarious and fun, but Sport was multilayered and complex and touched on so many social issues. ...more
2.5ish stars actually. Okay, I liked 96% or so of the book and 4% was along the lines of WTH? So I'll give it 4 stars for potential and 1 star for the2.5ish stars actually. Okay, I liked 96% or so of the book and 4% was along the lines of WTH? So I'll give it 4 stars for potential and 1 star for the WTH part.
So, I don't know what most people consider spoilers, so if you don't want any foreknowledge of anything don't read past this sentence as I am going to put some thoughts down for the TOB. So, consider this a SPOILER ALERT****
1. Umm, TOB, What the Fudge???? Really? What did you see in this book? Okay, I will admit that I considered it a decent page turner for 85-90% of the book. The fact that the synopsis describes it as a physiological horror kept me from reading it 6 months ago as the "horror" part scared me away. But since yall at TOB thought so highly of it to include it, I jumped right in - horror or no horror. I am just going to say that it wasn't Nightmare on Elm Street. Fantasia is scarier than this. And there were 100's of other books, okay, 102 other books on the long list that easily could have taken this spot.
2. I never understood what was going on with the voices and the part that Ned, Anna's husband had to do with them. And let's talk about Ned. I don't know many state senators with bodyguards, especially in Sarah Palin's Alaska. The book never explained his photos. None of his involvement in the story is believable.
3. Did Millet have a deadline she had to meet so she just sped up the book and threw an ending together? The whole missing 3-6 months or whatever was just confusing. The ending was way too rushed.
4. Okay, I am not sure why some authors choose to read their own books for the audio version. Although her voice grew on me and for the most part matched my view of the protagonist's mental state, Millet did not read with much enthusiasm or inflection. Think Donna Tartt reading Secret History if you listened to it. If you haven't, don't.
Overall, I liked the premise of Sweet Lamb of Heaven, but I just don't think the author did a good job connecting the dots into a believable story. The ending definitely could have been fleshed out better and I would have liked a better understanding of what the voices actually meant.
As of 1/16/17, I have read 6 of the 18 books for the TOB. At this moment, Sweet Lamb of Heaven is my least favorite, which is sad, because I enjoyed the better part of the book.
3.5-4 stars. I read this one for the 2017 Tournament of Books. A pretty good book with decent character development for the three main characters. I l3.5-4 stars. I read this one for the 2017 Tournament of Books. A pretty good book with decent character development for the three main characters. I listened to it on audio - it may have been a better book for me to read - not that the audio was bad, but I think I would have gotten more from it had I read it. I liked Margaret Thatcher back in the day so the book held my attention. It was not a technical "Tom Clancy" assassination book but more of a literary account of the people involved and possible affected by the assassination attempt. As I write this I think I like it more than I did before putting my thoughts on paper.
For the TOB, it is going against The Mothers. I think I like this one better actually. I think it will be a good match....more
4-4.5 stars - I want to think on it some more and see if it stays with me.
Homegoing is a very good collection of linked short stories telling the gene4-4.5 stars - I want to think on it some more and see if it stays with me.
Homegoing is a very good collection of linked short stories telling the generational family history of two sisters from 1700 Ghana to the present day. One sister is married to a British governor to Ghana and the other is sold into slavery. Yaa Gyasi told the remarkable history very distinctly touching on the social and economic problems of each generation and each location without bogging down into a wordy tome. Yet, she is able to present the issues for each character in detail enough to make the reader stop and realize the tragedy that befalls each generation.
Homegoing could be likened to Alex Hailey's Roots, although, it has been 30+ years since I have read Roots. However, Gyasi is able to tell a similar story in fewer pages and has been able to update it by an additional generation. The novel is set up in alternating POV switching between Effia (Ghana's history) and Esi (America's history).
As a white person, it is difficult to read this history, knowing that white's treated blacks so badly throughout the years. That said, one thing I appreciated about this novel was that Gyasi, was unbiased and did not spare the story of the Africans who treated each other equally as bad for greed and for power. We are all such spiteful humans when it comes down to it.
I also found it interesting that one one of the later chapters, Gyasi points out that African Americans treat blacks from Africa differently - a prejudice of their own. Americanah, by Adichie focuses on this interesting issue within the American black community.
As far as the TOB is concerned. I really enjoyed Homegoing. This book was much better in my opinion than Colsen Whitehead's Underground Railroad. Railroad had so much hype surrounding it and I had a preconceived story I wanted to hear, that it did not live up to my expectations. Homegoing on the other hand was fresh. It was told in one of my favorite styles - linked short stories. It was concise yet told the story over 300 years. An entire book could have been written on each of the 16 lives covered yet there was enough character development that each story was told with understanding.
Although I still enjoyed The Nix better, I would not be upset if Homegoing ended up winning. ...more
I read this for the Tournament of Books and just could not get into it. I appreciate that the writing was good, but the story line was painful - I hadI read this for the Tournament of Books and just could not get into it. I appreciate that the writing was good, but the story line was painful - I had to force myself to keep awake while reading it. I am glad it was short as if it had been any longer I would have had to abandon it....more