I saw David Levithan read the book tonight at Borders in NYC--a moving evening. David's passion comes through each line read, each written. I love his...moreI saw David Levithan read the book tonight at Borders in NYC--a moving evening. David's passion comes through each line read, each written. I love his books, but I didn't know he was such a wonderful performer. He feels deeply as he reads, and he's hilarious when he isn't breaking your heart--no, he's hilarious when he's breaking your heart too. His is a beautiful heart, such a generous artist. The Lover's Dictionary is one of the most creative novels I've read. Alphabetized entries headed by beautiful words most of us don't take the time to speak anymore give pieces of a relationship that on one page is in devastating freefall, and then in the next entry the lovers are riding the heights. The structure is exhilarating, pulling you inside out with anticipation with each new chapter--and the chapters are short, at times only a line or two long. You want to linger on the language, but the relationship's constant ups and downs keep you moving into the next chapter. I kept thinking, Will they make it? Will their love last? It doesn't and it does--I won't spoil it for you. But having the chance to root for these two people was uplifting.
The writing is gorgeous. I always feel this way about David's books, but TLD is different. It's so very poetic. With few words, the author had me hoping, wishing, wistful at times but above all laughing. So many moments in here rang true with my direct experience. That's my very favorite thing about the book: It speaks to so many of us, man, woman, gay, straight, human. It's a wonderful gift to us, to be able to see ourselves in a romance so heartfelt--and so cinematic. David's language is evocative. His characters are our friends, and I was blessed to spend time with them. Truly a lovely work of art, and a terrifically fun read too. I think it's the kind of book I might just get up the courage to read aloud with my wife--maybe after a beer or two. Thank you to David Levithan for putting the brakes on my cynicism for a night, for giving me one of the most rewarding reads I've had in a while, and to FSG for publishing such a beautiful work of art. (less)
Coe Booth has been one of my very favorite storytellers ever since I read Tyrell. Kendra also was magnificent. Bronxwood blew me away. Every word comi...moreCoe Booth has been one of my very favorite storytellers ever since I read Tyrell. Kendra also was magnificent. Bronxwood blew me away. Every word coming from Tyrell's mind rings so true. I could be walking in my neighborhood, hearing 16-yr old kids talk. Coe never judges her characters. She lets them be who they are. She never preaches or tries to teach a lesson. She lets you decide for yourself whether or not the characters are on the right track. Whether or not you "like" what the characters are up to, you love them. You feel for them in such an immediate way. You laugh with them a lot too--the humor is so great, relayed by a wise soul of a writer. Coe's ear for dialogue, her characters' voices--all remarkable. And she gives the characters a fast-placed plot to live in. Bronxwood is devastatingly awesome, an absolutely phenomenal read. I loved this book. -Paul Griffin, NYC, 10-15-2011(less)
David's best book yet and my favorite book of the year. Heartbreaking, thrilling, dazzling. David Levithan is the most empathic man on the planet. Rea...moreDavid's best book yet and my favorite book of the year. Heartbreaking, thrilling, dazzling. David Levithan is the most empathic man on the planet. Read Every Day twice already, the kind of book you'll go to every year or so, just to revive your faith in the human spirit. An unforgettably beautiful character caught up in a rocket ride of a plot.(less)
The Dog Stars blew me away. I read it and then I bought it again on audio and listened to it on a few long runs through the Palisa...more
MINOR SPOILERS ALERT
The Dog Stars blew me away. I read it and then I bought it again on audio and listened to it on a few long runs through the Palisades. The Road is one of my favorite books, and I felt in Peter Heller's story that same gritty beauty Cormac McCarthy gives us, but The Dog Stars went deeper into beauty, I think. Peter Heller must have a huge heart. When Jasper died my heart broke. The description of that bond between man and dog felt just right to me. But more, the way, over the course of the story, our narrator Hig grew to care for Bangley; the love he let himself feel at the end of the book really moved me. He just never let the horror crush him. Well, at times it almost overwhelmed him, but he was always creative and bighearted enough to find something to hang onto. Though, all those crazy marauders aside, Hig's world seemed like a perfect place to me: a dog, a plane, a dude who lives to keep your perimeter clear, plenty of homegrown veggies, a good supply of venison and fish, the mountain hikes, the streams and cool pools. There's a line in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night, the kid says something like, "I wouldn't mind if I was the only person left in the world. I wouldn't mind at all." I definitely feel that way too sometimes--probably not the healthiest mindset! But the description/setting was in some ways so fiercely beautiful, I could see how Bangley didn't mind being cut off from (what little remained of) civilization. I loved the name Hig. That idea of Higgs boson, that it's "the God particle" that binds all matter, seems just the thing to incorporate into our narrator's character, the way he binds himself to all that he sees and allows himself to be a part of it, to acknowledge that magic that connects all life, all matter; that bond, even to the bad/destructive stuff. Though when Hig is feeling low, in that Shangri-La valley in the last third of the book, the old man keeps calling him Higgs, and Hig keeps telling him, "Not Higgs. Hig. Just Hig." The everyman God particle. Nice touch. Apparently the scientific community (per Wikipedia anyway) disapproves of calling the boson "the God Particle," and maybe Peter Heller had that in mind as he was writing. Given his attention to detail, his nailing every sentence with clarity, no frills, I'm guessing he did. Enough about the Hig/Higgs thing--The Dog Stars was a truly great book, and I'm putting it on my favorites shelf--and hey, look at that: it rests somewhere between Faulkner and Hemingway, right where Peter Heller should be. (less)
I saw Barry read from IHK at the NYC YA festival this past month, and both he and the characters he read were amazing. IHK is both a thriller with a w...more I saw Barry read from IHK at the NYC YA festival this past month, and both he and the characters he read were amazing. IHK is both a thriller with a wicked pace and a literary novel. It reminded me of Cormac McCarthy's No Country For Old Men. This is great writing coupled with great storytelling. When we get inside Billy's and Jazz's heads, it's terrifying and somehow beautiful and beautifully lyrical at the same time. A stunning novel by a fearless writer writing at the top of his game. Bravo. (less)