I picked up a copy of Andy Weir's The Martian when it was released because, frankly, I absolutely adore survival stories. I blame my love of them totaI picked up a copy of Andy Weir's The Martian when it was released because, frankly, I absolutely adore survival stories. I blame my love of them totally on Swiss Family Robinson and The Myserious Island. I also have a major fascination with space (and the ocean) - basically anything that represents places that have been left completely unexplored and have the potential for so much.
Have you ever put off reading a book because you know that there is no way it can be as perfect as it is, unread, in your head? That's been the case fHave you ever put off reading a book because you know that there is no way it can be as perfect as it is, unread, in your head? That's been the case for me with Eleanor and Park. I've read Rowell before (Attachments) and I've purchased Fangirl, and I want to read it, but first I knew I needed to pick up E&P. So, as I sit here coming off of a brutal first semester of graduate school and many, many books read that have challenged me, I knew I needed to pick something up that would make me laugh, a bit. Make me cry, a bit. And, basically, remind me of what it's like to live life and be young, a bit.
Before I start my review out I have a disclaimer: I know Brian Davis. Not only do I know Brian Davis, but I would argue that, for his fiction, I am prBefore I start my review out I have a disclaimer: I know Brian Davis. Not only do I know Brian Davis, but I would argue that, for his fiction, I am probably his #3 or #4 fan (he does have family, after all). Brian has a way with words and that translates well also into his non-fiction, of which A Link to the Past is firmly a part of. Brian, in addition to being a gifted storyteller, also writes incredible poetry and song lyrics, so with all of that said and the shameless plugging complete, let's move into my review of his memoir.
A Link to the Past is a set of essays that deal with the secondary part of Brian's title, Stories of Growing Up Gamer. I know there are parts of my life that I can define by certain MMOs that I played and the friendships formed as a result of those games (in fact, as I sit here typing this, I'm enjoying the hospitality of an old guild leader/best friend of mine). I found myself reliving parts of my own life, as a result, as I wandered through the fragments of his life that Brian reveals in this memoir. I laughed quite a bit, as he is quite the witty writer, and I learned quite a bit about games that I absolutely did not want to know anything about before. But Brian makes those games relevant because he uses them as a framework for his growth as a brother, a son, a friend, a writer, and ultimately, the person he is today.
There are moments of brilliance - comparing his relationship with his older brother to the relationship of the Sega Genesis to the NES being one of them. There are moments where I, admittedly, found myself skimming a little more than I wanted to (anything to do with sports, other than college football, and I check out). There were a few revalations about my friend that I got to enjoy - but I will also say that, as much as I enjoyed the glimpses into Brian's life, there was a bit of something missing.
I crave Drama (with a capital D) in my memoirs. There was a passing remark about a girlfriend at one point, but other than that, there really wasn't that much drama happening. And that may have been because there wasn't much drama in Brian's life to talk about, but still, there has to be some. And without those moments of vulnerability revealed, the genre of memoir can come off a bit detached. So while I adore Brian and love having his friendship as a part of my life, I still put the book down feeling as if I knew the surface aspects of his life, but not that much about what's going on deep inside. I wanted to know that too. Maybe someday I will get to.
All of that said, I would recommend this book to anyone who has a gamer in their life. It'll be a great conversation starter, because I know it made me want to talk to my friends about how games have influenced the person I've become today. Brian goes pretty in depth in a review-style fashion about obscure titles and some not-so-obscure titles (Final Fantasy VII and VIII feature pretty prominently) but I didn't play those - I loved the online Final Fantasy XI which Brian wasn't so much a fan of. All that said, pick this one up. If you are in Peoria, IL - go to a book signing or catch Brian playing his music at Thirty-Thirty Coffee. You won't regret it....more
It's only natural that since I am fascinated by survival stories in fiction that I should also look to some crazy real-life stories. That's exactly whIt's only natural that since I am fascinated by survival stories in fiction that I should also look to some crazy real-life stories. That's exactly what caught my eye when I saw Ed Stafford's book. NAKED AND MAROONED is a heck of a title and a little bit of marketing genius. Who could pass something like that up? Then, upon further reading, I noticed that he spent his time in the South Pacific and, given my recent time spent in the Pacific, I had to know what it was like.
If you are anything like me, Susanna Rowson is not a name you've stumbled across at any point in your life. I've read a lot of books, but I tend, geneIf you are anything like me, Susanna Rowson is not a name you've stumbled across at any point in your life. I've read a lot of books, but I tend, generally, to avoid early American novelists because, well, the puritan thing really gets to me. However, now I'm in a class that has me studying four of those novelists and Rowson was first up on the list. I got a taste of her in reading CHARLOTTE TEMPLE, but REUBEN AND RACHEL really took that taste and made it into a full-fledged meal, including dessert. If you are at all interested in exploring this author, let this review serve as a guideline to help you through the book.
I have a confession to make. I haven't been reading as much as I want to - well, I haven't been reading fiction "for fun" as much as I have wanted to.I have a confession to make. I haven't been reading as much as I want to - well, I haven't been reading fiction "for fun" as much as I have wanted to. The reason is that now that school is in session and I'm focusing on a specific area of literature and navigating my way through graduate school, I just can't afford to set aside time to read for pleasure. But then, the other night I was thinking about that and I realized that it shouldn't be the case. Just because I'm in school and reading other things doesn't mean I can't pick up a book for fun and so the first one I picked up was STONE MATTRESS by Margaret Atwood.
I don't read a lot of crime books. I was burned out on them years ago, but there are a few authors that make the cut for me and Camilla Lackberg is onI don't read a lot of crime books. I was burned out on them years ago, but there are a few authors that make the cut for me and Camilla Lackberg is one of them. I've been following her Fjallbacka series since the first book was released and I'm always excited to see a new release pop up in my notices. THE HIDDEN CHILD did not disappoint. It solidly landed among some of my favorites of Lackberg's books and I was reminded, once again, of just how intensely absorbing this genre of book can be when it's written well.
Nope. No. Not at all. WAKE by Anna Hope did not work for me. The problems were plentiful and the good things.. well, good thing, it was scarce. I wasNope. No. Not at all. WAKE by Anna Hope did not work for me. The problems were plentiful and the good things.. well, good thing, it was scarce. I was so angry through this book but even that anger sputtered and died as I felt myself careening toward an end that was sure to disappoint. And, honestly, maybe that's exactly what that ending was supposed to do. I hate literary devices like the one used to end WAKE and that was the final nail in the coffin for me.
I'm struggling so much right now because I really, really wanted to fall in love with BOY, SNOW, BIRD by Helen Oyeyemi. I'm sitting here, struggling wI'm struggling so much right now because I really, really wanted to fall in love with BOY, SNOW, BIRD by Helen Oyeyemi. I'm sitting here, struggling with a lack of words to convey my disappointment and struggling as well to try to articulate what exactly about BOY, SNOW, BIRD disappointed me. I asked myself when I finished reading if maybe I had expected too much - Snow White has always been one of my favorite stories, but I really went into this book without reading much of anything except the brief synopsis on the back. My mind was open to the possibilities and I had absolutely every hope of being drawn in.
There are three types of books I enjoy reading and, as a result, there's generally three types of authors that go along with those books. Sometimes anThere are three types of books I enjoy reading and, as a result, there's generally three types of authors that go along with those books. Sometimes an author will cross over and write something that dabbles a little bit (or jumps completely into) one of those other two types of books, but generally speaking, they stick to what's been done before under their name. One of those types of books (and authors) I really enjoy employs beautiful language and a storytelling ability that transcends everything else. When I read this type of book I can feel my world view expanding and my thoughts and ideas and preconceptions being challenged and tested. Ian McEwan writes books that not only deliver a sucker punch to my gut, but makes me grateful for being there to get punched in the first place. THE CHILDREN ACT delivered yet another punch and, while it didn't hurt as much as ATONEMENT or SOLACE did, the after-effects are still rocking me a bit.