Another seminal sci-fi entry and your faithful Bup responded on the wrong level.
I see that he didn't approach Mars colonization as cowboys and IndiansAnother seminal sci-fi entry and your faithful Bup responded on the wrong level.
I see that he didn't approach Mars colonization as cowboys and Indians. Meeting a civilized alien species will be more complicated than that, if it ever happens.
Nevertheless, his choice to make everything unfold like a Twilight Zone left me nonplussed. It's a novel, Ray. You can make things disastrous without making it like an encapsulated 22 minute teleplay, where (and this is not a spoiler) our usual cast finds exactly one survivor who has to die in the final minute.
Further, I'm just embarrassed for him with all the stuff he missed. Women are still just housewives, and media is just like it was in 1950 - record players, landline phones, no way to see who's calling or automated way to catch a missed call, etc. Sending a rocket with a few men, without them being in fairly constant contact with Earth, is laughable. Going out and exploring a planet without radioing home "we landed safely?"
I guess I can't forgive giant plot holes and sloppy story-telling just because the book was in one or two ways prescie--no, wait. It wasn't even prescient. Just because it was cynical. That doesn't make it great literature.
I found this a pleasant read, entertaining enough, but I think I might have liked it better when I was twenty-five. A lot of story-telling that skipsI found this a pleasant read, entertaining enough, but I think I might have liked it better when I was twenty-five. A lot of story-telling that skips around adds unnecessary confusion, and Adams' overused trick of beginning many new scenes with pronouns to keep us in the dark about who it is gets annoying.
I noticed Adams has a thing for personifying things that are not only void of intention, but almost not concrete concepts - the wind, light, and so forth. In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, I found sentences about what the wind was busy doing when it 'should have' been tousling the protagonist's hair, or whatever, clever and funny; here, it made me think Adams was really just a writer with a relatively small bag of tricks that he used over and over. Another one - several points in the book where he pretty clearly started with his iconic metaphor of 'flying in exactly the way that bricks don't' and inserted a new noun and unlikely action.
I don't mean to sound like I'm hatin' on the book. It was fun. But I had high expectations, given that this launched a second series of books for him, and this is on that '1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die' list.
If you need to read a book about adolescents with depression or bipolar disorder, I don't know a better one.
This one is pretty basic, and is a quick rIf you need to read a book about adolescents with depression or bipolar disorder, I don't know a better one.
This one is pretty basic, and is a quick read - a very light 170 pages. I'm not sure I learned anything, but it helped cement my instincts.
So I guess it's a good first read, although it may be getting a bit long in the tooth. I don't know how much of the information about health benefits and navigating the US health system is still accurate....more
I think my favorite thing about this gothic romance is that one of the characters - an attorney working for the crown to ferret out witches (and who,I think my favorite thing about this gothic romance is that one of the characters - an attorney working for the crown to ferret out witches (and who, historically, was the clerk of the county) - is just as bad as anybody else.
Ainsworth also, although it may have been unintentional, doesn't make clear which way he's going - whether the witchcraft is real, or the creation of a superstitious populace - for a good long while in the telling. But when he makes it clear, he puts the pedal to the metal and goes whole-hog.
It's a rip-roaring amount of fun.
Relatively speaking. You know, for an 1849 novel by a guy who was probably all stuffed shirt and took himself really seriously. Probably thought he was so great. He wasn't so great....more
My biggest problem with the book is how short it is, but really, maybe I shouldn't make bones about that. People want friendly things, not intimidatinMy biggest problem with the book is how short it is, but really, maybe I shouldn't make bones about that. People want friendly things, not intimidating.
It's officially 160 pages, but a whole lot of it is whitespace.
It boils down to a few simple things - ERP, contracts - and walks the reader through them in a friendly manner. It's a good book if you're dealing specifically with OCD - other diagnoses in the obsessive-compulsive spectrum area, not so much.
Also, I don't know of many other books like this, so it's a good thing to read if you want to learn about it....more
Oh, people, I do not get it. You all give it 5 stars. Explain to me why. A friend and I decided to read this together (we both loved The Book Thief) -Oh, people, I do not get it. You all give it 5 stars. Explain to me why. A friend and I decided to read this together (we both loved The Book Thief) - we thought we'd read and discuss every few days. We discussed once and gave up. We agreed - this isn't worth discussing.
There's no believability, the protagonist's motivations aren't convincing, but he acts motivated, and his quests don't make sense, and I don't buy that his actions 'heal' the situations they purport to heal. But everyone in the story buys that they do.
And the writing - a young author finding his voice (even though this is maybe his 4th book), but leaving too much evidence of the writer in love with his own words. Description that calls out, "hey! I'm imagery!" Metaphor that sweeps in like so many tiny newborn spiders on the breeze of a new morning's hope.
Fragments of. Sentences. They communicate bittersweet...
Do they not?
(OK, here's a real snippet.)
Fear is the street. Fear is every step. The darkness grows heavier on the road and I begin. To run.
The resolution is way too much the work of a first-time novelist, and felt like the work of a collegiate pretension generator who's pretty sure he's blowing your mind. It shouldn't have been published. Although I'm glad he did get published (later)....more
I'd never read a Nancy Drew, because, you know, I was a boy and it would have been unthinkable and all. As an adult, I always thought I should at leasI'd never read a Nancy Drew, because, you know, I was a boy and it would have been unthinkable and all. As an adult, I always thought I should at least read The Secret of the Old Clock (Nancy Drew #1). But when I came across this original text version of #5, I knew the universe was speaking to me.
Nancy and...introducing Bess and George (so I'm told), and a cousin Alice go to a ranch for the summer (several day train trip to "the west") and go more than a third of the book not even knowing what mystery there was to solve. Still, enjoyable enough in its awkward, stilted YA style of the early 1930's. And there were some !exciting! vignettes out on horseback in the mountains with flash floods and mountain lions. It really wanted for some quicksand somewhere, but one takes what one can get.
Finally we figure out there's something mysterious about the little gamin who's confused about where gamins should be and lives in a bedroom in a little shack in the middle of nowhere in the west. And her mean guardian. Something mysterious about her, too, I mean.
Around the third time the girls get lost in the woods and end up at that shack again, I think anybody'd figure out all roads lead to the shack so let's not run from our destiny, let's plunge through this. Nancy confronts the mean woman, things get worse before they get better, Nancy solves the mystery and makes everything better, and - bonus! solves another huge mystery in the last 5 pages while she's popping a zit or whatever.
What makes the original text worth it:
- Nancy Drew, gunslinger. She carries a revolver and knows how to use it. - Nancy decks a guy. He's only dazed, but laid out on the floor, and it buys her enough time to mount her horse and skedaddle. - a big plot point hinges on her telegraphing her dad and waiting for his response to come in at the telegraph office, days later. If he doesn't respond, she has no way of finding out why. I mean, if there were better ways of communicating long distance, they'd have done that in the first place. - supposedly it's an entirely different book than the revised text (and the title changed from Secret at Shadow Ranch to Secret of Shadow Ranch. So you can read both!...more
I read the 1933 edition, which is very different from the revised 1965 edition. In fact, the cover of the book shown is wrong. There are not tropicalI read the 1933 edition, which is very different from the revised 1965 edition. In fact, the cover of the book shown is wrong. There are not tropical settings and no army guys in the book I read.
But there sure are cringingly terrible racist stereotypes about Chinese people! If you want to read a novel for kids that literally has phrases like "diabolical, yellow face," have I got a book for you!
The mystery begins with the boys needing to get laundry done in a hurry, because Aunt Gertrude is coming. So they take their bag o' clothes to the Chinese Laundry. Unfortunately, the good, honest Sam Lee no longer runs the Chinese Laundry, and instead there's a guy with a twisted grimace of a grin named Louie Fong running the place.
How evil is he? Why, he can't have their stuff done by tomorrow, even though they need it! It take "thlee, fo' day" (sic).
And then it's not even done! The truth is, they never get their laundry back! Instead, the boys uncover a ring to smuggle Chinamen (sic) into the country - right into Bayport, which, I'm pretty sure, is on America's east coast.
But neve rmind. There's lots of overheard conversations, knives thrown, trap-doors (sic), disguises, telegraph office messages, and everyday people traveling from town to town by boat like that's a thing people do.
There's also a roadhouse called "Lantern Land" owned and run by Orientals (sic). 217 pages was a bit much of this. I've had my fill of embarrassing xenophobic Americana for quite a long time.
According to this PDF, I happened upon one of the 3 Hardy Boys' mysteries that are the most racist (the 3 being volumes 12, 13, and 14), and in fact, the racism is one of the reasons people doubt these 3 were written by supposed ghost-writer Leslie McFarlane, who wrote most of the first 25. Volume 13 has old South stereotypes of former slaves, and volume 14 has Mexicans. Whee....more
Bryson's always engaging. Whether or not I see where he's headed, reading him just for his skill at fitting words together is worthwhile.
Which is goodBryson's always engaging. Whether or not I see where he's headed, reading him just for his skill at fitting words together is worthwhile.
Which is good, because this book, filled with lots of little interesting tidbits, most of which I assume are true, but Bryson's not perfect in his research, doesn't seem to add up to much. The parts are all good, but the sum is not more than the sum. In fact, in the chapter on Sports and Games (and the American English words that have come from that realm), there were several pages of paragraphs, each of which was on a different subject, with no segueways.
Still, it's entertaining, more substantive than most comic writing, and plain old interesting....more