Just a bit weird. While this is a work of fiction, there are enough touches of social commentary and philosophy here to make one disgusted at some of...moreJust a bit weird. While this is a work of fiction, there are enough touches of social commentary and philosophy here to make one disgusted at some of the forms of prejudice and discrimination hinted at in the book (sexism, racism, classism among others). It is likely this was part of the setting, the author's tone is such that one wonders if the author might believe it.
The concept of the book, otherwise, is interesting from a science-fiction or should one say mathematical fiction point of view. It's geeky and besides the conjurred up world created and described the plot doesn't do much.
The most interesting facet of the book is the idea that even back in the 1870's and 1880's people thought about the implications of multiple spatial dimensions beyond the three we know (or the two in the fictional Flatland described). That isn't to say this book is technical, after all this is before the 20th century quantum physics revolution that seemingly continues on today. It's purely philosophical, but interesting none-the-less, and because of the lack of technical details, is easy for the reader to grasp.(less)
My 4th Discworld Book and I like how they have such variety... I guess it's more of a world than a straight up character driven series. But that's wha...moreMy 4th Discworld Book and I like how they have such variety... I guess it's more of a world than a straight up character driven series. But that's what's so great. The Fantasy world created provides the flexibility and that flexibility keeps it interesting.(less)
A decent physics book. It's not very condescending but does a great job of using metaphors to build up one's understanding of quantum physics, string...moreA decent physics book. It's not very condescending but does a great job of using metaphors to build up one's understanding of quantum physics, string theory, and multiple dimensions... all of which are quite complex but at least from this book conceptually understandable.
I found some of the "fairy tale" type prefaces to each chapter a bit annoying by the end of the book and often felt they added nothing (although a few were useful). By the end of the book, I found her chronicles of her own theories a bit annoying, not because of any bias but rather because there was a lead on that the theory was a solution, that it might be verified in the future, and then before you knew it the theory was dismissed or replaced. Her enthusiasm and belief in each theory made me wonder by the end, which one would the author truly believe in.
I also found the final 5 or so chapters a bit repetitive because of these multiple theories and the fact that with each new one, I became skeptical that many of the limitations described with respect to the theory and the ability to ever experimentally confirm them seem to be limitations that are similar and would seemingly make it difficult to verify which theory presented is right. In other words the things that will hint that one theory is right will also hint that the others are right. Then again, I pessimistically think that all these theories are the same thing. They are constrained to fit known and even accepted theoretical frameworks (for some unfounded particles) that really lead to the same types of results.
Oh well... I'm more interested now and curious as to whether the LHC that is now operational has found any experimental evidence to support any of the theories presented in this book.(less)
I think the book is a bit dark compared to the preceding books. The book has its moments, but the organization feels a bit chaotic in the middle, most...moreI think the book is a bit dark compared to the preceding books. The book has its moments, but the organization feels a bit chaotic in the middle, mostly because the main characters are spread about, and the pessimistic attitude gets a bit old when one is reading a series known for its humor.
However, I did find the ending mostly enjoyable. It's a bit abrupt, but fitting. It ties up a few odd items that had been left floating about from almost each of the previous books, and I feel like Adams did a great job of working in various science fiction phenomena without getting completely ridiculous. I love his work with multiple-dimensions in this book.
Overall, I think potential readers should look at this book with caution. It isn't a typical Hitchiker's Guide Book, and if you don't want a darker story line, I think most people can stop with So Long and Thanks For All the Fish as an adequate and happy ending to the series.(less)
I found the book quite interesting... At times you felt like you were reading the story of every Afghani and the country by seeing through the eyes of...moreI found the book quite interesting... At times you felt like you were reading the story of every Afghani and the country by seeing through the eyes of the main character.
This is definitely one of the best books I've ever read with only minor things distracting me from giving it the 5 stars most people would. I felt the story was a bit long in the middle, and I felt like there was a bit much on the side of repetition. Reflections on the past, while important, occasionally feel a bit insulting (as if the reader hasn't paid attention), and they give things away before they happen. The ultimate end was just a tad too predictable.
I do look forward to reading more of Hosseini's works, and I love how he transported me to Afghanistan in two distinct eras.(less)
I'm usually a fan of character driven books, and of course for interest, they are often characters with some type of dysfunction (or greatness in some...moreI'm usually a fan of character driven books, and of course for interest, they are often characters with some type of dysfunction (or greatness in some cases).
Not this one. I can see why the book is highly regarded, to an extent, but I feel like the book could have used a lot of editing and not lost a lot in the process. I also just couldn't stand Ignatious or for that matter any of the characters, which was perhaps the biggest issue for me. I want at least one character to be likable.
Anyway, I think many people will enjoy this book. I can't really say it is comparable to anything, but I couldn't help but feel this was like a grown up version of Catcher in the Rye (although that is quite loose). You could also look at Ignatious as an adult version of Eric Cartman (if you know South Park). (less)
A fantastic book. As the second in the series, I think this book did a great job of making the characters much more likable than [i]The Color of Magic...moreA fantastic book. As the second in the series, I think this book did a great job of making the characters much more likable than [i]The Color of Magic[/i] did, and I thought that was a great novel. I look forward to reading more of the Discworld series. I feel like it is a better series than the Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy series, although we'll see as I move forward. I do wonder how well the series can hold up over 40 books.(less)
This book is actually a decent story and makes for a somewhat typical mystery. The Icelandic setting and reliance on a historical Icelandic / Norse ma...moreThis book is actually a decent story and makes for a somewhat typical mystery. The Icelandic setting and reliance on a historical Icelandic / Norse manuscript as a center focus adds a somewhat unique twist, but in many ways, it doesn't move any further than being a Icelandic version of a Dan Brown novel a la The Davinci Code.
The story is entertaining and quick, however, so it isn't what I would call bad. The 3 star review reflects the entertainment value. The reason it is no higher is more of a reflection of a less than idea translation or a bit of a simplistic writing style. I suppose when you are going for the action, mystery, type genre, the writing style has to be simplistic, but I can't help but think that the real book isn't a bit better. Word choice is odd at times and references from the Norse book are difficult to read; likely, these are translation issues.
Last, the setting is something that may be a little difficult for readers. I feel fortunate to have recently visited Iceland and even traveled the mail boat route referred to often in the book. It really helps in placing one in the story. I can see this being more challenging if you don't know the setting. Some care is made in putting those without knowledge of the setting into it, but it could have been done better.(less)
I reread this book in one day after being inspired by a recent work project in Carmel Valley, which has required overnight stays in Monterey.
It isn't...moreI reread this book in one day after being inspired by a recent work project in Carmel Valley, which has required overnight stays in Monterey.
It isn't my favorite Steinbeck novel, but I love the way it is written. We're often used to reading stories that are plot driven or maybe character driven, but this is a novel that is location driven. It is a novel about Cannery row, the now famous section of Monterey that bares the name of this novel (and because of the novel).
The novel is fantastic because it is nothing more than a simple plot with a few relatively simple characters. If that was all there is to the book, it wouldn't be the classic work it has become, but Steinbeck interwove short stories and snippets to add depth to the simple plot. You get the stories behind all the characters including those who factor little in the grander plot. Never-the-less, the real beauty is that the setting of Cannery Row is basically defined by the cast of characters and almost only the characters alone.
In reading it a second time, now, I felt like I even got more out of the book. In working closely in the region, I'm also appreciating more of the setting. The book has come alive for me as Steinbeck's books often do. (less)
It's kind of a combination of the Catcher in the Rye meets the Stranger meets the Great Gatsby. It's a dialogue told as a monologue. Its absurd and en...moreIt's kind of a combination of the Catcher in the Rye meets the Stranger meets the Great Gatsby. It's a dialogue told as a monologue. Its absurd and entertaining. Existentialism is a main theme, and like all books and characters living in an existentialist philosophy it can get old. Thankfully the book ends just before it gets really bad.
This book is not a classic, but if you can appreciate the absurd and the philosophy you'll be entertained by the otherwise unlikable character.
Most people will probably think of this as a 3-star book, but with an open mind it will be better than you might think.(less)