Sophie seems to have lost her mojo at the same time that some freaky stuff starts going down again in San Francisco. The Squirrel People are restless,Sophie seems to have lost her mojo at the same time that some freaky stuff starts going down again in San Francisco. The Squirrel People are restless, ghosts are swarming the Golden Gate Bridge, and there's a man in a yellow suit drifting around stirring up trouble. What's going on this time?
2.5 Stars but I'm feeling generous but I'm not feeling generous after getting my thoughts down.
What this feels like is a contractual obligation. My guess is that Christopher Moore signed a deal for a follow-up to A Dirty Job, time was up, so he knocked this out. I wasn't impressed.
I laughed/cried/snorted my way through A Dirty Job. Seriously. I may have chuckled once or twice this go 'round. Charlie's new body was funny at the end of the first book but once it's sustained for a while and some obvious drawbacks are pointed out, it just got disturbing. Like, I-wish-I-could-scrub-this-image-from-my-mind disturbing. And, yes, thank you, I do actually have an overdeveloped sense of potty humor. But too far is actually too far.
The characters were just kind of more of the same. That should be good since I loved them before, but everybody changes at least a little bit over a year or so. Not these characters. The bad guy(s) are back. Well, there's a different, surprising, leader but the rest is the same. I think we got all the laughs we could out of beating these villains up the first time. I miss Mrs. Ling and Mrs. Korchev. They got a scene or two and they were amusing but that was it. There was a lot more of Lily this time around, and she was funny. Abby Normal shows up for a couple of pages in a throwaway scene. I could go on, but I guess I'll sum this up with "Same characters, only slightly different story."
The ghosts on the bridge confused me. I was probably jet-lagged while I read this, so maybe I just missed it. But they tell these long stories, some funny, some sad, some just random, for no apparent reason. Padding the page count? I don't know. I saw absolutely no purpose.
Somehow, A Dirty Job was funny and crass in a way that I liked but it still had heart. Charlie was doing his best despite being overwhelmingly unprepared for the job. The Emperor is trying to save his city. Death is more than a punchline, and hospice workers are angels on earth. I found that all to be missing now.
I have loved Christopher Moore in the past, and luckily I still have quite a few books from his back catalog left to read, because I think I may be done with him now. I haven't really enjoyed any of his work since 2007. Wow. Except for Bite Me. I do love Abby Normal.
As I write this, the average rating on GoodReads is almost 4.0, so I'm obviously in the minority, but there you go. This one just wasn't for me. Christopher Moore fans will obviously read it. I do highly recommend A Dirty Job but I personally wish I had stopped there....more
A woman spends a couple of summers in a small town on the coast of Maine. She becomes a part of the everyday life thanks to her garrulous landlady andA woman spends a couple of summers in a small town on the coast of Maine. She becomes a part of the everyday life thanks to her garrulous landlady and becomes privy to many of the residents' life stories.
I read this back in college and loved it so much that I still have my copy from that class. I decided to re-read it when my husband and I visited the coast of Maine last month. I might love it even more now.
The narrator, who remains unnamed, is accepted in this tightly-knit community, but she's still enough of an outsider that she's able to see how special it is. The locals just know it as home. They don't exactly take it for granted but they don't realize that it's combination of beautiful scenery, caring neighbors, and colorful personalities make it unique.
This novella consists of many smaller stories and a host of characters that come to life in the pages. The old sea captain who still mourns his wife. The sweet, elderly mother who shines so brightly with an internal radiance that everyone who meets her loves her. The shy older brother with his own, unsuspected story. The woman who is the Queen's twin. The tragic hermit, living alone on her island. No one gets very many pages but I loved them all.
The scenery is described perfectly, and, now that I think about it, may have sparked my desire to visit Maine. Reading it while I was there made it all the more special.
This is a quiet book and won't appeal to everyone. There's not a lot that actually happens. Readers looking to escape to a simpler place and time will love it. I suspect that L. M. Montgomery's grownup readers will be fans of Sarah Orne Jewett....more
Quite a few years have passed since we last checked in with the Penderwicks. Rosalind is now a freshman in college, Skye is a high school senior, JaneQuite a few years have passed since we last checked in with the Penderwicks. Rosalind is now a freshman in college, Skye is a high school senior, Jane's driving, Batty's in fifth grade, Ben's in second, and there's a new sister, Lydia, who's only two. The focus has shifted to the younger Penderwick siblings, especially Batty. Batty's not having such a great spring. She lost someone important to her over the winter, and she feels responsible. Then she overhears a conversation between Skye and Jeffrey that leaves her questioning everything she knew about her family, and especially her mother's death.
This book got a little dark! I was surprised! The Penderwicks have always had their childhood troubles but as an adult listening, they don't seem insurmountable to me. My heart ached for Batty now. Poor thing. She's always been the baby of the family, so I guess I'm used to thinking of her that way. I had a hard time thinking of her as a big ten-year-old. Little four-year-old Batty! With her butterfly wings! I was upset by the loss she'd experienced and it didn't get better from there. Even their beloved neighbor, Nick, has gone off to war. These are things that kids are experiencing nowadays, it just took me by surprise in a series that's been fairly light-hearted to this point.
That said, it is still the Penderwicks and all does come right in the end. Whew! It was so nice to see the girls a little older. They're still very much themselves. It felt like I was checking in with some dear friends. I laughed and cheered and mourned with them, as you should in the very best books.
As always, Susan Denaker's narration is perfect.
I won't say more since this is getting pretty late in the series and I don't want to give away more spoilers. If you haven't read this charming series, correct that now. I recommend it as a modern classic....more
This book does a good job with hotel and restaurant recommendations but I don't feel like I have a great idea about what to do anywhere, especially inThis book does a good job with hotel and restaurant recommendations but I don't feel like I have a great idea about what to do anywhere, especially in Acadia. I know there's a separate book for the national park, but only 8 pages in this one, most of it just about the Loop Road and the Jordan Pond House, makes it not worth the money. I know I can use Tripadvisor to figure out what I want to do, but I like my travel books. I want all the details at my fingertips. I don't know if there are better books about coastal Maine, but there are definitely travel books with better layouts that I've used religiously for other parts of the world....more
1960 was a turbulent year. The Cold War was getting serious, with Eisenhower and Khrushchev using the Olympic Games as a propaganda platform and tryin1960 was a turbulent year. The Cold War was getting serious, with Eisenhower and Khrushchev using the Olympic Games as a propaganda platform and trying to woo athletes into defecting. The Civil Rights movement was gaining traction. Definitions of "amateurism" and the direction of future Olympics were being determined. For the first time ever, a few competitions were being televised. South Africa was trying to fight apartheid. Women were being accepted into more and more events but were still woefully underrepresented. All of these external factors came to bear on the landmark Olympic games set in the Eternal City.
I don't know that I agree that these Olympics "changed the world" but I would definitely agree that they showcased changes that were happening in the world at large.
I'm not a sports fan but I read this for the "Eclectic Reader Challenge" as a sports book that I might be able to tolerate. I was pleasantly surprised to find myself enjoying it. I can't say I particularly cared about all the details of every race and competition, but the personalities and the history were the driving force behind the book. I found myself taking away a series of striking mental pictures, some amazing, some that left me shaking my head.
Ethiopian Abebe Bikila running barefoot through the dark streets of Rome to win the Olympic gold medal in the marathon, becoming the first East African to win a medal.
South Africa arguing successfully that the reason there weren't any black athletes on their team was because they just weren't as talented as the white athletes.
Bing Crosby belting out "The Star-Spangled Banner" when an anti-American crowd was booing as it played for Eddie Crook, a gold-medal winning boxer.
Wilma Rudolph, who had polio as a child, gracefully running to a gold medal in the women's 100 meter, 200 meter, and 4 x 100 meter relay.
The shock and dismay of the old-school male committee members when women running the 800-meter (about half a mile) collapsed in exhaustion at the end. The event had been cancelled since 1928 for that reason.
Rafer Johnson hanging on through the final event, the 1500 m run, with grim determination to win the decathlon.
Weightlifter Yuri Vlasov marching into the Olympic stadium carrying the Soviet flag in one outstretched hand in the Opening Ceremony.
Rafer Johnson, the first African-American man to carry the flag for the United States in the Opening Ceremony.
Even though I really don't enjoy watching sports, I do love watching the Olympics. I think it's seeing these world-class athletes at the peaks of their careers that makes it special for me. But more than that, I'm a sucker for the background stories. I absolutely respect the hardship and sacrifice that the athletes endure to get where they are. If you enjoy these kinds of stories as well, you'll enjoy this book....more