I found this book among my Dad's things. He always loved books by Pope and Reeman but they had never really interested me. For some reason this one ca...moreI found this book among my Dad's things. He always loved books by Pope and Reeman but they had never really interested me. For some reason this one caught my eye and I decided to give it a read. I was really thankful I came from a family with some naval and sea going background because a lot of nautical and sailing references are used. Once you get past that you find a mostly intriguing but sometimes boring tale of a young man's trip to Australia on a British warship. This really showed how long and awful those journey's were when all you had to rely on was a wind that sometimes stilled utterly.
As I read this all in one volume I'm reviewing it as one but it really is three different books and each had it's merits with the first one “Rites of Passage” being the best. I found it had the best character development and the more interesting details of daily shipboard life. “Close Quarters” was almost as good as you began to see more of the turmoil between the crew and passengers by having to constantly be together but it started to drag a bit in spots. It was almost like the best characters are being wasted in “Fire Down Below” as it consisted mostly tedious detail interspersed a few moments of action.
It's still a really good read if you have an interest in both sailing ships and that period in history. I've been told that the Masterpiece series is well worth a watch as well. If they were rated as separate books I'd give “Rites of Passage” 4 stars, “Close Quarters” 3 stars and “Fire Down Below” 2.5 stars. The set gets 3 stars as an average.(less)
I learned more about Chile, Chinese culture and the California gold rush than I have having read history books in school. Allende was not only informa...moreI learned more about Chile, Chinese culture and the California gold rush than I have having read history books in school. Allende was not only informative but it was all detailed and beautifully told.
I love how richly developed her characters are but I also found this a bit of a flaw as it took an enormous portion of the book developing what I thought became too many main ones. Which quite frankly led the latter part of the book into a bit of a mess.
I know Eliza was meant to be the center of the story but Tao Chi'en stole most of my attention. It was wonderful to see him grow and adapt emotionally and become a caring and compassionate person as it was to see Eliza develop.
If this is a good indication of Allende's level of writing and detail then I look forward to seeing more of her.(less)
I won't agree that Moore is like Douglas Adams or Kurt Vonnegut but he's definitely found his own niche in the world of written humour. I like his nic...moreI won't agree that Moore is like Douglas Adams or Kurt Vonnegut but he's definitely found his own niche in the world of written humour. I like his niche. It belongs in the church of Josh with it's gospel according to Biff.
I often wondered what Jesus (Josh) had done in those missing years and I think this is just as possible as anything else. That the story is told by his best friend Levi aka Biff is a nice twist. What first endeared me to Biff was learning that he invented sarcasm. How can you not love that?
This tale is both irreverent and reverent and that's a pretty fine line to walk. Moore does it well and whether you are religious or not there is good story told here. Keep an open mind and you may glean a bit as well as have a lot of good chuckles.(less)
Once again Ishiguro uses his upbringing in Great Britain to portray a bit of history but this time of the British based in Shanghai during the early p...moreOnce again Ishiguro uses his upbringing in Great Britain to portray a bit of history but this time of the British based in Shanghai during the early parts of the 20th century. His narrator being the usual flawed character who likes to look at his past through somewhat distorted lenses.
Learning what Shanghai was like then was interesting and set the story off to a great start. Unfortunately by the end it had devolved into a bit of a mess. A lot of things not only didn't add up they just weren't plausible. I love good atmosphere but it seems that was all there was to this story. Not that any of his writing is really meaty but Ishiguro usually weaves a good tale of personal introspection and good verbal interactions with his well built characters. I didn't find the people as well rounded as is usual for his writings except for the main character.
I may not have been captivated but I still enjoyed this book enough to recommend it to his fans but not as a first book by him. (less)
This novel is just jam packed with all sorts of goodness. Tragic love, misguided faith and a coming of age story all a midst the background of a strug...moreThis novel is just jam packed with all sorts of goodness. Tragic love, misguided faith and a coming of age story all a midst the background of a struggling and politically inundated Congo. The writing is superb and at times even subtle in some of it's lessons. Kingsolver's story of redemption has a real depth.
I will admit that it did take me a bit to get into this book because at first I saw shades of The Mosquito Coast but eventually it became a compelling tale in it's own right. I liked how the narrative passed to all the main female characters and noted that there was nothing from the father. Not that he had little to say, he said a lot and quite vociferously but unlike the others there was never any personal growth.
This is one author I hope repeats such success in all her books and I look forward to reading at least some of them.(less)
I've finally added Kazuo Ishiguro as a favourite author. I feel I should have when I read Never Let Me Go but I have ye...moreAn Artist of the Floating World
I've finally added Kazuo Ishiguro as a favourite author. I feel I should have when I read Never Let Me Go but I have yet to finish the book review for that one. So why am I writing this one first? I think it's because the other effected in a way I couldn't quite describe but this book feels more comfortable. The more I read of Ishiguro, the more I fall in love with his form of the written word.
I'm really not so sure this book is about post war Japan as it is about frailty and the weakness of pride. Told in a conversational way with occasional flashbacks to earlier times and conversations Masuji Ono sometimes let slip the pride he felt in being a propaganda artist. It's not until he is rebuffed by a former student and reminded of his duties to assure his daughter a good marriage match that it begins to dawn on him that his memories may be faulty. He soon realizes he may also have been wrong.
This is written so subtly that you, along with Masuji Ono, arrive at this at about the same time. You are allowed to make mistakes and learn from them if you confront them. This book has lessons but none of them are taught with force. I think I like learning that way.(less)
While I have seen this book classified as a romance novel I was well pleased to find out it wasn't. It has romantic parts and sure there's sex but it...moreWhile I have seen this book classified as a romance novel I was well pleased to find out it wasn't. It has romantic parts and sure there's sex but it doesn't seem to be the mainstay of the story. Still, for those that like that you'll get enough to titillate you but not so much that the book is considered trashy.
I can only describe it as a really good read and that is mostly due to the stellar writing and research. Like Tim Powers, Ms Waters has done her homework. This is the gritty and very real city of London. I have to say that I really enjoyed learning about turn of the century music halls and all the backstage doings that goes with them. The history lesson in the hidden gay subculture was also an eye opener.
This is a very different coming of age story and I love what the author did with it. Speaking of which, I think I'll be hunting out more books by Sarah Waters.(less)
It's not often a book can really make me cry but this one succeeded. Considering I mistakenly chose this thinking it was a different book I wasn't rea...moreIt's not often a book can really make me cry but this one succeeded. Considering I mistakenly chose this thinking it was a different book I wasn't ready for the emotions it evoked in me and not all of them were sad. Some of the most beautiful moments I have ever read are contained in this book.
Death tells a story that is both poignant and sometimes enlightening. When I realized who the narrator was I also remembered why I had put this book on my list. While it's not anything novel it certainly worked well for this tale and was done with grace. The little books within a book are priceless little gems as well.
I am so very sorry I have not read this sooner as it is now one of my favourites.(less)
There is so much to this book (graphic novel) that I really did need a few days to digest it as well as a chance to reread a few of the notes at the e...moreThere is so much to this book (graphic novel) that I really did need a few days to digest it as well as a chance to reread a few of the notes at the end.
I do realise that it's one of the repudiated theories of who the Ripper was but it's still a compelling read and the somewhat indistinct art lends itself to the story well. I think if this had been in full color that the impact would be lost.
I sometimes wondered if all the tangents were necessary. The lessons in architecture, religion and general life in the Victorian era were fascinating to me and indded did learn a lot. It wasn't until closer to the end that it dawned on me that I did need to know some of this to be able to absorb and understand the entire story.
I am learning to enjoy Moore more but it's also dawning on me that he does like mysoginistic topics and views in most of his works. I'll just assume it's the works and not the man himself.(less)