Disneylanders takes on a big topic–when are we too old for Disneyland? Is it crazy and childish to be in love with a theme park? Are we foolishly surrDisneylanders takes on a big topic–when are we too old for Disneyland? Is it crazy and childish to be in love with a theme park? Are we foolishly surrounded by fake bricks and fiberglass facades, or does our love for this place of dreams still have a valid role in our adult lives? And in the midst of a budding first romance and the need to get away from our parents and strike out for freedom, don’t we still all belong together, as a family, while we’re at Disneyland?
Casey is on vacation with her parents–the same Disneyland vacation they have taken year after year, but this year, things feel different. She feels pressure to grow up–possibly into a person she doesn’t really like, as her (former) best friend has done. Her parents seem more annoying and overbearing than ever before, and when she meets a teenage guy named Bert (a delightfully dorky reference to Mary Poppins that they both get), Casey finds herself embarking on her first act of teenage rebellion. There are worse places than Disneyland to do that sort of thing, I suppose.
As you, the reader, follow her characters through a tumultuous two days in Disneyland, you feel every emotion, see every land, even smell the churros and popcorn. No opportunity to examine the way that Disneyland makes us feel is ever wasted.
I wouldn't change a word. And that's partially because there are amazing, beautiful words in this book that I've never seen before. What a spectacle tI wouldn't change a word. And that's partially because there are amazing, beautiful words in this book that I've never seen before. What a spectacle this story is. Don't miss it....more
What am I going to do until the next one? I'm dying here.
The Magician King was even more fully realized than The Magicians; the language was more coloWhat am I going to do until the next one? I'm dying here.
The Magician King was even more fully realized than The Magicians; the language was more colorful, the insights into the characters was more revealing, everything about it was more exciting and more mysterious and more compelling... I felt bereft when I'd finished it, partially because when a writer reads something truly, truly wonderful they get more convinced than ever that they shouldn't be writing at all, partially because HOW WILL I LIVE UNTIL I KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? ...more
The Magicians is a good reminder of why books written for adults are so much more satisfying than books written for children. Or teenagers. Nothing abThe Magicians is a good reminder of why books written for adults are so much more satisfying than books written for children. Or teenagers. Nothing about it is written for an immature audience, but it pays wonderful homage to the great fantasies that have captivated all ages, and then does one better by catapulting these magical lands into cold hard reality.
For example: What if you DID go to a magical school? How simple do you really think it is, with all the cartoonish elements removed, to cross between the world you have been raised in (and are expected to live in) and the world that you are being educated in, that you are told is better, superior, than anything any other human could ever imagine?
Moreover: what if magic meant every thing you could ever want was available with a feint of your hand and a whisper of an incantation? Could you resist the urges of excess and moral abandon?
And what if you DID get into Narnia, or Wonderland, or Middle-Earth? Would it really be so simple to heft a sword in your hand and go forth on a quest, every moment more and more aware of your mortality?
Quentin Coldwater is one of the elite of New York Public Schools. It's the fall of his senior year in high school and he's on the verge of heading off to Harvard, or Princeton, or one of those other ivy-tangled schools, along with the closest things he has to friends, James and James's lovely girlfriend, Julia.
It doesn't really matter to Quentin as much as it should. The two things he covets the most, Julia and the imagined world of Fillory, can't be his. Life is a thing to be gotten through, and when he needs escape, he turns back to his Fillory novels, as he has since he was a child.
Fillory is essentially Narnia, with a few changes to keep it from being an exact copy, but the tributes are clear. And who didn't have a deeply-buried conviction, as a child, that if we just believed hard enough, we'd stumble into Narnia ourselves one day? Although perhaps that notion is dead and gone by the time we are high school seniors.
And then Quentin finds himself stumbling through a garden, feeling for a wall that isn't there, and walking from the cold of a November afternoon in Brooklyn to the hot summer sunlight of a green lawn and a great house. It isn't Fillory, no, but it's a place just as magical... a school for the training of magicians. An examination booklet open before him on a desk... a chance dangled in front of his nose, if only he'll give up any notions of a normal life he might have had...
"And then a vast stony weight suddenly lifted off Quentin's chest. It felt like it had been there his entire life, an invisible albatross, a granite millstone holding him down, and all at once it just dropped away and disappeared without a splash. His chest expanded. He was going to bob up to the ceiling like a balloon. They were going to make him a magician, and all he had to do was sign. Jesus, what the hell was he thinking? Of course he was going to sign. This was everything he'd always wanted, the break he'd given up on years ago. It was right in front of him. He was finally on the other side, down the rabbit hole, through the looking glass. He was going to sign the papers and become a motherfucking magician. Or what the hell else was he going to do with his life?"
But college doesn't give graduates all the answers, after all, and the strange rigors of a magician's school don't, either. What are all-powerful young sorcerers to do with their time, but plunge into the excesses of Manhattan's underground, throwing away money and time and youth with abandon, knowing that they can make more tomorrow. Quentin and his friends don't realize it, but they need what all the pre-pubescent champions of Fillory needed to make them adults, a good quest.
Throwing the magical worlds we love into startling, three-dimensional, adult context, The Magicians takes literary fantasy to a new level of sophistication and relevance.
"Hannah's Home" tells the story of a very compelling woman—equal parts tough broad, soft-hearted hairdresser,I loved this book. I loved it. LOVED it.
"Hannah's Home" tells the story of a very compelling woman—equal parts tough broad, soft-hearted hairdresser, dedicated horsewoman, farmer to her core—who is forced to rebuild her life from the ground up, and finds home in the process.
Hannah is on her own. Well, not entirely. Her husband may have disappeared, but Hannah has the warmth of the small town she lives in, a circle of close friends who love her, and a leopard Appaloosa named for Billy Bob Thornton. And now, she has bought her own farm. Sure, it's falling apart. Sure, there's this sourpuss elderly man who is always appearing on her doorstep and calling her the worst insult a farmer can think of: "City Girl." Sure, she isn't sure how she'll afford the mortgage AND food AND her horse.
But Hannah's a tough country woman. Hannah will manage. Tough country women always manage. Spend enough time around horses, and you'll meet women like Hannah. They're practical. They're fiercely independent. They've been let down, they've been disappointed, and they don't have any expectations of princes on white horses coming to their rescue. As long as she has her horse and her truck, this kind of woman can handle anything that comes her way. In Hannah's case, she'll roll up her sleeves and move into a crumbling farmhouse (some people say it's haunted) and ignore all the nay-sayers who tell her the whole place is just going to collapse around her ears.
Surrounding Hannah's little tumble-down homestead is the rural community she's spent her whole life in. Small town America is depicted in all its afghan-quilted, pie-on-the-windowsill glory, and if you've ever lived out in the boondocks, you might just find yourself missing it a little. From meeting the girls for Chili Night at the Honky Tonk to sweet-talking the prices down from the local junker, from overseeing the wakes at the town funeral parlor to building a small pie-baking empire, from a solitary tuna fish sandwich for dinner to boisterous pot-lucks with friends, "Hannah's Home" embraces the warmth and comfort of life in small town America.
Words fail me. This book explores many themes - death, remembrance, and grief central among them, as Sullivan recalls his father - but it does so as iWords fail me. This book explores many themes - death, remembrance, and grief central among them, as Sullivan recalls his father - but it does so as it faithfully follows the horse through history, its stints as food, idol, instrument of war, and finally the precious blood horses, bred first by Bedouins and later by Englishman to be fast and beautiful and very little else. I have never read a book which describes Thoroughbreds with such a lyrical touch. I loved every page....more
I'm thinking of starting a new shelf here on Goodreads: Books-That-Are-So-Catastrophically-Wonderful-That-You-Stop-Trying-To-Write-Your-Own.
I mean, reI'm thinking of starting a new shelf here on Goodreads: Books-That-Are-So-Catastrophically-Wonderful-That-You-Stop-Trying-To-Write-Your-Own.
I mean, really. The House of Sleep is one of the most clever, amusing, touching, well-thought-out books I have ever read. A group of people loosely connected by having all stayed at the same college dorm find that their lives are intertwined forever, and in most unexpected ways. If you can guess this book's ending at any point before the last ten pages, you are far more clever than I am, and I salute you. BRILLIANT....more
My greatest take-away from A Year at the Races was a deeper understanding of the equine mind. Smiley has studied human psychology and the nature of loMy greatest take-away from A Year at the Races was a deeper understanding of the equine mind. Smiley has studied human psychology and the nature of love and affection much deeper than I have ever had any inclination to, and she has been able to turn this inquisitive nature into a fresh and fascinating exploration of How Horses Think.
I recently lost two afternoons of potential farm work due to a fabulous gut-wrencher of a horsey novel: Riding Lessons, by Sara Gruen.
Sara is much morI recently lost two afternoons of potential farm work due to a fabulous gut-wrencher of a horsey novel: Riding Lessons, by Sara Gruen.
Sara is much more famous for Water for Elephants, her New York Times bestseller. I never got around to reading it and all six of the local copies were checked out, so I suppose it’s still quite popular.
But this book – oh, it is unapologetic in its horsiness. She could have dumbed it down and made it a bestseller, perhaps, and I love her so much for keeping it technical. You’ll just have to know the difference between French and German dressage, won’t you, if you want to understand why the new trainer has such an impact on the main character, and if you can’t decipher why she would have preferred the bit wasn’t a slow twist, well you’ll just have to wonder forever. Or take the effort to google it.
Halfway through this book, I got that sinking feeling.
That, oh no, this is a series, feeling.
I was going to want more, and more, and more, and after eHalfway through this book, I got that sinking feeling.
That, oh no, this is a series, feeling.
I was going to want more, and more, and more, and after every book, I'd have to wait for the next one.
Happily, this first Wildwood novel ties up quite neatly and stands on its own. I'm not going to have to wonder what on earth happens next for the next few years, the desire for a new Wildwood novel warring with my desire for a new Decemberists album. Poor Colin... if he is one of my favorite singers AND one of my favorite writers, he is going to have to exhaust himself to keep me happy.
This is a fantastic book, written for middle-grades but clever enough for adults. The artwork, by the inimitable Carson Ellis, is woven beautifully throughout the text. I'm quite tempted to order the expensive, autographed edition with color plates... it will be so much nicer than my little unfinished ARC! ...more
I read this in two days. I would have read it one sitting if my schedule had allowed it. Riveting, takes you inside another family, another world, andI read this in two days. I would have read it one sitting if my schedule had allowed it. Riveting, takes you inside another family, another world, and keeps you there....more