When a middle-aged man returns to his childhood home after attending a funeral, memories resurface as he stares at the duck pond--a pond his neighborWhen a middle-aged man returns to his childhood home after attending a funeral, memories resurface as he stares at the duck pond--a pond his neighbor Lettie once told him was an ocean--and the reader is launched into a flashback.
I’m almost surprised this is marketed as adult fiction. I mean, I know exactly why it is, but take out the prologue and epilogue and it’s a story about childhood–monsters and memories and the loss of innocence–not unlike Coraline. Still, I love love loved it. Gaiman has a knack for taking the ordinary and making it magic. This books begins rooted in reality and then bleeds into much more; a dark, timeless fairy tale. It moved me. And it demands to be re-read.
What a fun read! Narrated by R, a zombie who can’t remember his name, this book gives us a look at the zombie apocalypse from the other side of the taWhat a fun read! Narrated by R, a zombie who can’t remember his name, this book gives us a look at the zombie apocalypse from the other side of the table. When eating the brain of a kill, R is overwhelmed by the man’s memories, and then saves Julie, the man’s girlfriend, rather than turning to feed on her. What follows is an unlikely friendship, which leads R to believe he has something worth living for, that he doesn’t want to die.
This was the concept of the novel that really moved me. He’s a zombie, but he still exists. He doesn’t want to disappear or cease to be. The whole concept of what it means to be alive is touched upon so eloquently. There were passages where the zombies seemed the dead ones (mindless feeding, lack of names/conversations), and others when the humans seemed lifeless (going through the motions, fight, repair, resist). Not to mention moments when the two felt interchangeable. Unique flashback devices added so much depth to both R’s story and Perry’s (the man he killed and the boyfriend of Julie). I also appreciated the complicated character relationships. (Julie, and her best friend, Nora, for instance, have interesting backstory. Everyone in this novel is flawed to some extent.) And the writing, especially in the first half of the novel, is stunning. Marion has effortless prose that is light-hearted and comical one moment, then deeply moving and insightful the next. Who knew a zombie narrator could be so passionate?
But the ending…I’m torn. I liked it, I really did, but it also seemed rather clean. I think I was holding out hope for a slightly darker or more complicated resolution. Still, there are some wonderful themes and insights to human nature woven into the book, which all support a thoroughly entertaining story. I suggest you read it and then we can discuss said ending together… :)
I found this to be a profoundly moving coming-of-age story. Julia is eleven the day the newscasters announce the Slowing: for reasons scientists can’tI found this to be a profoundly moving coming-of-age story. Julia is eleven the day the newscasters announce the Slowing: for reasons scientists can’t explain, the earth’s rotation has begun to slow, making days and nights a little longer with each passing day. At first the change is barely noticeable, but soon days are stretching to 27 hours, 30, even longer. Birds fall from the sky. Whales wash up on the beach. Crops fail. And while all this happens, Julia trudges on through middle school.
I thought this novel nailed the painful, confusing years of adolescence. Quite a few times I read a passage so honest, so brutally unfair, that I sobbed. And the way the entire story juxtaposes Julia’s loss of innocence with the slow deterioration of the planet is incredibly powerful. The writing was lovely, but I actually think it was this parallel–innocence cannot be reclaimed once lost, some things change permanently–that really packed the emotional punch.
This is definitely “soft” science-fiction. The focus is on Julia and childhood, on falling in love and learning the stubborn unfairness of life, on the heart-wrenching process of growing up. Powerful, moving stuff.
I read Gillian Flynn’s debut, SHARP OBJECTS, several years ago and instantly fell in love with her prose (lush but not overwritten) and the dark, twisI read Gillian Flynn’s debut, SHARP OBJECTS, several years ago and instantly fell in love with her prose (lush but not overwritten) and the dark, twisted nature of her story-telling. I’ve been a fan for awhile and when I started seeing fabulous reviews of GONE GIRL, I knew I was bound to love it. And I did.
Nick and Amy Dunne are a happy, married couple of five years–at least on the surface. But on the day of their fifth anniversary, Amy goes missing. All signs point to a kidnapping/murder, with Nick as a very probable suspect. Told in alternating POVs, (Nick in the present, Amy via diary entries), the true nature of their rocky marriage is revealed, as well as the instability of their character. This is one of those novels that has to be read to be appreciated, not to mention that saying too much will ruin the very things that make the story fabulous. I will say only that I was sucked in from the very first line and that Flynn is a master of suspense and characterization. Nick and Amy feel so real they could be your neighbors–the same is true for the secondary characters as well. I saw a few twists coming, but it didn’t diminish how much I enjoyed the book. This is a twisted, thrilling, and entirely entertaining read. And the ending! Perhaps the best final lines of a novel I have read in a long time. Chills. Chills, everywhere. Highly recommend.
A million people told me to read THE NIGHT CIRCUS. Well, maybe not a million, but a lot. So maybe I had my expectations set too high. I enjoyed this bA million people told me to read THE NIGHT CIRCUS. Well, maybe not a million, but a lot. So maybe I had my expectations set too high. I enjoyed this book, just not as much as I’d hoped I would.
What did I love? The circus. Everything about it. The bonfire that glowed white, the mysterious clock that oversaw the circus-goers, the caramel and hot cider and chocolate mice. The undeniable sense of magic and mystery that seeped off the page every time Morgernstern walked me into a tent. If those black and white tents popped up in a meadow, without warning, I would enter the Night Circus in a heartbeat.
But as much as I loved the circus itself, I was not so in love with its characters. They seemed a little flat to me, blending together. The plot felt slow and long-winded, and the romance (which reads in the description to be the epic, star-crossed type) was, in my-opinion, only lukewarm.
I think Morgenstern is incredibly imaginative, and her ability to bring the magic of the circus to life (the tents, the performers, the exhibits) through mere words is amazing. I just wish that magic crossed over into some of the other elements of the story as well. Either way, it is obvious why this novel is getting so much attention. And as I said, I’d walk into it the Night Circus if it were real. I truly, truly wish it were real.
I picked up David Levithan’s THE LOVER’S DICTIONARY because a) the cover is awesome and b) the structure (a love story transcribed by a nameless narraI picked up David Levithan’s THE LOVER’S DICTIONARY because a) the cover is awesome and b) the structure (a love story transcribed by a nameless narrator over the course of “dictionary” entries) blew my mind. This is probably the only book I have ever read in a single day. It is a fast and quick read, but in no way light. This book is both funny and maddening, sweet and cruel. It is amazing how much complexity and honesty and emotion Levithan packed into these short dictionary entries. They read like poetry. Examples:
arrears, n. My faithfulness was as unthinking as your lapse. Of all the things I thought would go wrong, I never thought it would be that. “It was a mistake, ” you said. But the cruel thing was, it felt like the mistake was mine, for trusting you.
ineffable, adj. These words will ultimately end up being the barest of reflections, devoid of the sensations words cannot convey. Trying to write about love is ultimately like trying to have a dictionary represent life. No matter how many words there are, there will never be enough.
See? If you need more reasons to pick up this book than the two above, maybe it’s just not your kind of book.
Things you will need while reading this: Deep breathes. Tissues. A strong stomach.
When I finished this book a couple things happened. I cried. I re-reThings you will need while reading this: Deep breathes. Tissues. A strong stomach.
When I finished this book a couple things happened. I cried. I re-read the last paragraph three times over. And then I sat there, staring at the book in my hands for a good ten minutes wondering how I could possibly put into words what this story made me feel.
This the first book by McCarthy that I have read. I’ve heard his others are equally as fabulous, and I plan to pick them up, because wow, can this man write. This book reads beautifully. McCarthy’s writing style is simultaneously lyrical and stark. There are no dialogue tags and every other line reads like something out of a poem. You almost forget it’s evening happening, this poetic magic. It is simply part of the story, crafted with care, each word specifically chosen. The result is beautiful and eerie, dark and terrifying, just like the road that the father and son walk.
A pull quote on the inner jacket of this novel tells you that McCarthy has written a “searing postapocalyptic novel destined to become a masterpiece.” And this is a story about the end of the world. All animals are dead, save for a few humans, most of which have resorted to cannibalism. There is little food. The sky constantly rains ash and the landscape continually smolders. And this novel is a masterpiece. For the reasons I’ve already described (the literary prose and captivating story), but also for the reason I am about to touch upon…
While this is a postapocalyptic story, it is, above all, a love story. This is story about the bond between a father and son. About how family can keep hope alive and “the fire” burning. It is a story about needing someone just as badly as they need you. There were many times as I read this that I wondered if the Man would even have been alive if it weren’t for his son. His son was the thing that drove him to put one foot in front of the next, day after day. His son was also, although I’m not sure he was aware of it, an extension of his conscience throughout the book. Together, they are the “good guys” in a world gone bad.
I wanted to see the movie adaptation to this book, but halfway through, during a particular cellar scene (for those of you who have read this, you know what I’m talking about), I was worried I would not be able to stomach it. But I will try. Because as much horror exists in this tale, there is an unbelievable amount of hope, too. McCarthy has woven it alongside the dark parts of this story, reminding us that even when all else is gray and wretched, hope exists where love is present, and hope will never die so long as the deepest clefts of our hearts refuse to extinguish that fire.