I can't honestly say I followed the puzzle. But if you had told me that a whodunit would be one of the more enlightening books I have read about the cI can't honestly say I followed the puzzle. But if you had told me that a whodunit would be one of the more enlightening books I have read about the chaos in traditionally Catholic parts of the US after Vactican II, I would have been QUITE skeptical. But it is -- and much funnier than murder novels usually manage to be. ...more
It seems to be the season of the Cuddly Aspie, or maybe (now that I think of Mr. Monk and As Good As It Gets) the Cuddly Crazy. WeOh, for half-stars!
It seems to be the season of the Cuddly Aspie, or maybe (now that I think of Mr. Monk and As Good As It Gets) the Cuddly Crazy. We love Adrian Monk and Sheldon Cooper, Amy Farrah Fowler, and Spencer Reid. We love them -- they make us laugh.
But are we laughing AT these dear fictional folks? I'm a shade unsure, and so I'd like to unshade just a little bit of that fifth star. Because it's such a fine line between mockery and mirth sometimes. This is a book well worth reading. But I hope some of the incidents you find funny will also make you feel a little sad and uncomfortable.
This IS a good book, and the author does a wonderful job of maintaining his narrator's "voice" and perspective; and so, just as in To Kill a Mockingbird, part of the right interpretation comes from picking up what the narrator drops, and filling in what he leaves by.
This is neither the "lighthearted romp" some of the positive reviews have called it nor the "cruel mockery of the disabled" that the ons-star-raters have called it. It is more real, therefore more ambiguous and complicated. ...more
Lawrence Block's novels changed my life, so I eagerly picked up his books on writing. Stephen King writes about pain and its effects better than any oLawrence Block's novels changed my life, so I eagerly picked up his books on writing. Stephen King writes about pain and its effects better than any other writer I know, so I was interested in reading his On Writing (which is about 1/3 about writing and 2/3 memoir, as I recall).
I come to this book the other way around. I've been listening to Mur Lafferty's "I Should Be Writing" podcast for a couple of years now, and was carefully saving all the episodes until The Great External Drive Crash of Thanksgiving 2013. Since many of the more recent episodes dealt with this book -- its marketing, acceptance, revision, and publication -- I had to see the final result. I'm glad I did.
Zoë is rebounding from a destructive office relationship, and has almost exhausted her savings, so she is absolutely desperate to take a job as editor of a series of travel guides. She has the experience and the skills, and she's not taking the statement "You just wouldn't fit in," as the NO it is meant to be. She gets the job... and much, much more that she never bargained for. Including being one of the last defenders of New York City against unspeakable evil.
I'm afraid almost anything else I might say would be too much spoiler for someone's tastes. If you like the worlds of Neil Gaiman and Christopher Moore, where the old gods and the spirit world blend seamlessly, though not uneventfully, with our offices, coffee shops, and traffic jams, I think you'll enjoy this book.
There is a fair amount of sex and violence, but it's only present when and to the degree that it advances the plot or characterization in a significant way. The scene in the fetish club is quite erotic, but does serve an important purpose in the story and it's tastefully done. (Excuse me while I add that to my list of sentences I never thought I'd post to the Internet!)
I'm only knocking off a star because there was a certain amount of repetition in the background details (please don't tell me again what that being is and how it feeds, please!). And I wish I could shave off just a half-star for that but I can't.
Rest assured I'll be waiting to read The Shambling Guide to New Orleans. ...more
When you see that this is from the man who brought us "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies," your expectations might be a bit low. But this is an interestWhen you see that this is from the man who brought us "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies," your expectations might be a bit low. But this is an interesting book indeed. It's grim and gory and moving and funny.
The basic story is a familiar one: Three men arrive at the the side of Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus. The men advise Joseph to flee to avoid mad Herod's cruelty. That's all we get in the Biblical accounts. But Grahame-Smith builds on this flimsy structure a rich, alternate history in which the three wise men are criminals. They do indeed guide Joseph and Mary into Egypt -- but their motives are far from altruistic.
There are many pitfalls in re-visioning Biblical accounts, but the author avoids most of them. Mary does come off as a little, well, blurry, but I'm sure it isn't easy to write about her. How can one make a sinless human seem truly human?
Again, this is a violent book. People die and are tortured, and the violence is described vividly and in detail. But I think it's well worth your time. ...more
I had some trouble finishing this book because I was reading it too quickly, at first. Bradbury is creating a very detailed world here. The words, theI had some trouble finishing this book because I was reading it too quickly, at first. Bradbury is creating a very detailed world here. The words, their sounds and rhythms, the names of the characters and their physical descriptions, are all important. I am probably going to hunt down an audio version of this, if I can find one unabridged with a good reader.
To say that this is a book about two young teenagers who find a strange, dark, carnival and begin to unravel its secrets makes it sound trite. To say that it's about fathers and sons and aging and the battle of good and evil makes it sound pompous. Yet it's all of that, and none of it. And how could a librarian not love a novel that has a library as a principal character? ...more