At my last book club, we were talking about book covers, and I was saying how last year (or maybe the year before?), a lady in a red coat walking downAt my last book club, we were talking about book covers, and I was saying how last year (or maybe the year before?), a lady in a red coat walking down a street, or through the woods, or generally some white/gray blurriness was A Thing That Was Being Done A Lot. And of course could not remember a single book title to confirm this, and everybody kind of looked at me like I was crazy (Excuse me, I am interested in all things publishing, okay?), and now here is this book. Will read it immediately to find out why this lady is wearing a red coat and walking down a blue-gray blurry street....more
I've decided I like Liane Moriarty...basically. I flew through the book, generally liked the writing, and half liked the story itself. The story givesI've decided I like Liane Moriarty...basically. I flew through the book, generally liked the writing, and half liked the story itself. The story gives us three different women's perspectives, and I had a problem with one of them because she's not really important, except to flesh out the more shared story of the other two women. My other problem was that I kept figuring out everything that was going to happen before it actually happened, and I hate that because I can't ever decide if I'm meant to figure it out or if I'm meant to be shocked. And if I'm supposed to be shocked, and was shocked, does it make for a better reading experience? Will discuss with book club whenever we finally meet.
The other thing I have a problem with...**SPOILERS AHEAD**I can't quite get over that nobody was punished for that girl's death. I know, I know, she wasn't really killed by that guy (no names from this book can be remembered by me, nor do I care enough to look up anything), but they all still believe he did kill her. And I know, I know, her mother ran over that guy's daughter and she lost her arm because of it, but that's really not the same, is it? And I know, I know, she ran over that girl because she was on her way to running over the guy she thought was the killer, making this woman another potential killer (of somebody who wasn't even guilty), so that should put them on kind of the same level, but the simple fact is that she didn't kill somebody. And they think he did. So that's very strange. And very crappy. I mean, that guy gives up rowing or something and does community service and, what?, it's okay then? His daughter lost an arm (so she suffers, not him, except, omigod, emotionally), and it's okay then? He tried to give up sex for a while and didn't have any more kids (which I think means his wife suffers more since she wants sex and wanted another kid), so again, we're all okay now? It's not okay. If you think you killed somebody, and not by accident, but straight choked them to death, I think you should probably not be okay. Am I being too harsh?!
Damn you, Liane Moriarty, I'm sure you want me going around and around with this (and my book club too), and you have succeeded. ...more
This book took me forever to finish. The premise is just so darn interesting to me, but the book itself...once I put it down, I really wasn'2.5 stars?
This book took me forever to finish. The premise is just so darn interesting to me, but the book itself...once I put it down, I really wasn't in a hurry to pick it up again. It took me so long to read it, that my toddler started calling it "Mommy's Red Book" and kept asking me where I put it (I hid it, girly, so I could take a break from it. Then she saw it at the library and said, "Look, Mommy! Your red book!" and I felt like running away.).
Anyway, here's what we have: Harriet (usually called Harry), an artist, a widow of a rich dude far more known in the artist's world, amazingly smart. She decides to make some art, select three men to pose as the artists for three major art installations she's doing, and see how well they're received. She suspects they will do well coming from men artists, as opposed to coming from her, who has never received much acclaim (in general, men do better in the art world, and have forever). But the thing is, when Harry has her big "Ta-da" moment of saying "It was me all along!", people don't believe her, and there's a bunch of controversy. The book itself is made up of interviews, articles, journal entries, etc., from Harry and also her boyfriend, son and daughter, friends, art critics, etc., trying to get to the truth of Harry and her art (if it is her art).
The problems I had: Harry could be so darn unlikable sometimes. She is amazing and smart in a way I will never be, but you just want her to tone it down sometimes. And other times you want to just plain skip all the bull*ish she's spouting. Blahblahblah, Harry. She gets to be more likable the more vulnerable she gets, which is probably a terrible thing to say. Harry's son was also so in outer space for me, and some others were whatever. I did like Harry's boyfriend and Phinny (they're the obvious ones to like).
What I really liked: When we reading Harry's hidden O notebook and find out what really went down between her and Artist #3, Rune. Look, I'm not usually shocked by words, but when he says **SPOILERS AHEAD** that he was playing Ruina as Harriet and she was a "repugnant, sniveling, insecure little cunt", I really actually gasped out loud. What a horrible person Rune was. And when we hear from his sister, I was like, Yeah, he's straight crazy and terrible, and keep your children far away from him. Keep yourself far away from him. Shudder. ...more
I liked Annabeth more than I used to. Thank goodness because she is all up in this book. Also, girl, I am relating to you on an arachnophobic level heI liked Annabeth more than I used to. Thank goodness because she is all up in this book. Also, girl, I am relating to you on an arachnophobic level here: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, I'M TERRIFIED. Thank you for being brave and smart for us, Annabeth, because I almost could not deal.
We get less Jason and more Percy in this book. Hurray because I'm lukewarm on Jason (and Piper. I'm not even going to talk about how her main weapons are...talking pretty and shooting out hams from a cornucopia. Riordan tries to give her a couple of moments but I was speedreading through those). I nearly stood up and applauded at the end when Nico (I think it was Nico?) was saying how Percy is the strongest, best, most capable demigod ever (maybe he didn't use those exact words, but you know) and if anybody can get through Tartarus, it's him. I was like, YES, HIM AND NOBODY ELSE (so take that, Jason). I (again) just felt like I was turning into Kanye and Percy is my Beyonce.
What else? Leo stop putting yourself down. You are awesome, but you sweating everything and everyone is a wee bit annoying. Hazel, you didn't do much in this book. Frank, I like when you turn into helpful animals. And I am enjoying your budding bromance with Leo. Keep going with that. Nico, I'm nearly constantly concerned about you. I want to mother you, but you are too strong and independent for it (but fragile at the same time! How?!), so I will just wish you luck. I am pretty certain you (or Hazel, or maybe Frank because of his vulnerability) will end up on the wrong side of the Doors of Death, and I am already sad about it, but I know you can handle it.
I probably won't be reading any more books in this series.
It's fine. It's okay. That is all it is.
Things I liked: A Roman place/time period mixed withI probably won't be reading any more books in this series.
It's fine. It's okay. That is all it is.
Things I liked: A Roman place/time period mixed with...fancy Victorian times? I can't put my finger on it, but I dug it. The switch in power (a couple of times!). Getting two characters' perspectives. When Kestral was actually smart (which wasn't often, you guys. For a girl raised by a general, who we're constantly told is not a fighter in the physical sense, but damn can she work out a strategy, she came across as such a lightweight to me).
Things I didn't like: Pretty much everything else. Even Kestral's name to me felt like, Sigh, okay, she's named after a bird, let's go with it. Whoohoo for cool girl names or something. And eye roll. But moving on...Arin and Kestral's relationship...meh, I wasn't feeling it. He's so much stronger and smarter and is fighting for a real cause and she's...a privileged girl who I felt like was lucky for the most part? Am I reading her wrong? Am I sexist? I just couldn't picture it. Like when she's doing Needles with that one jerk and she takes him down by blackmailing him, I just felt like it was the lamest fight ever. And duh her dad figured it out. You don't have a long, drawn out conversation in the middle of a duel. Sigh. I think my main problem with the book is that I just can't root for Kestral's side. They're a conquering empire who killed a bunch of people and enslaved everybody else (Arin's side). Why would I root for that? I don't even feel the least bit conflicted about it. My other main problem is that the book is damn slow. Too much build-up over Kestral and Arin's relationship, too much when Kestral is trapped, too much blahblahblah....more
I will admit to inwardly rolling my eyes a bit when this was passed out at book club, but I actually enjoyed it (again, book clubs are great to exposiI will admit to inwardly rolling my eyes a bit when this was passed out at book club, but I actually enjoyed it (again, book clubs are great to exposing you to new books!). It's a lady friendship book, which I always enjoy because I think they're so rare in real life. There are three women in the book, each dealing with different issues, ranging from cancer, talking with ghosts (a little too much Eleanor Roosevelt), alcoholism, depression, infidelity, etc. Even with all of these serious issues, there's a lot of humor throughout the book (I felt bad about it but I loudly guffawed when somebody's husband died), and the characters are likable. Not too demanding for my brain, the book was a nice break for me. ...more
Oh, good, I love Roald Dahl again. I recently read James and the Giant Peach and felt "meh" about it. Charlie is so much more likable than James. I alOh, good, I love Roald Dahl again. I recently read James and the Giant Peach and felt "meh" about it. Charlie is so much more likable than James. I also always loved his family. Though in real life it would obviously be extremely uncomfortable, I always liked the idea of the four grandparents all lined up snuggly and warm in bed. I did always fear for Grandpa Joe, though. That man went from full-time in a bed to dancing around and going on chocolate factory adventures at the age of 97. I always wanted to caution all of them, even when I was a kid, Please slow down for Grandpa Joe's sake. Luckily, Dahl isn't dark enough in his children's books to kill off dear old Grandpa Joe.
Anyhoodle, poor and plucky Charlie is so very good, and Willie Wonka is so wacky, and Grandpa Joe is so dear, and Roald Dahl is just so darn creative that the book can only make you feel happy. You also nod a lot when the Ooompa Loompas warn against the evils of television and that we should go back to reading all the time. I do love the book version of this story so much more because it drives me crazy when Charlie and Grandpa drink that fizzy soda and float up, up, up, because (1) our Book Charlie would never do something so foul like those other ungrateful brats, (2) Grandpa Joe would also never allow for this to happen because he sets a better example than those other awful parents, and (3) God, that scene is just terrifying with that big giant fan threatening to cut them to pieces. I've gone off on a tangent here when all I meant to say was the I like this book and love Roald Dahl and hurray....more
This is a nice resource. Some of the ideas are very simple and obvious-seeming (throw balls of socks into a laundry basket to teach hand-eye coordinatThis is a nice resource. Some of the ideas are very simple and obvious-seeming (throw balls of socks into a laundry basket to teach hand-eye coordination) and they almost make you want to roll your eyes, but they still got me to think and remember: Sometimes it's the simple and obvious-seeming that is the best for young kids, not fancy, whizzing gadgets or overly complicated crafts. Quality time and creativity are important for toddlers and their parents. So yeah, I've thrown some balls into a basket with my toddler and felt pretty good about it. We've also done science projects (celery stalks sitting in cups of water mixed with food coloring) and art projects (then waterpainting with the same stalks of celery), and in general, it's reinvigorated me to how I approach play/learning time with my daughter. Probably a lot of these ideas can now be seen on Pinterest posted by crafty moms, but I like having all of the ideas in one book, opening to a page, and just deciding to do whatever we come across. ...more
I did not want to read this book. In various descriptions of the book, I saw the words "horny teenager", "testicles", "semen", and "giant praying mantI did not want to read this book. In various descriptions of the book, I saw the words "horny teenager", "testicles", "semen", and "giant praying mantis", and felt like, Why...what...I can't....
But that's what book club is for--to expose you to different sorts of books, and hey, maybe you'll like it/at least learn something from it.
And I did like it! And I think I learned from it? The other day, Husband and I were having a conversation about how girls/women view sex vs boys/men, and I interrupted him to say, "Excuse me, I've just read Grasshopper Jungle, so I think I'm well aware of how boys view sex." But I wouldn't necessarily describe this as a "boy book". I think a lot of Austin's feelings, views, etc., are very easily shared by girls.
Then there's the extra part that Austin is really digging his girlfriend...and his best friend Robby (who is GREAT. Duh, if you have to choose, go with Robby.).
The big bugs...are not as important to the book as you'd think. The book is probably...75% about Austin and his relationships/coming of age/etc., 25% giant bugs. The parts with the giant bugs, though? Yuck. I regularly had to put this book down while eating (reading while eating is basically my favorite pastime) because there were too many descriptions of bugs mating, eating, eating while mating, shitting, etc.
The ending surprised me, but I liked it. That's all I'll say to not give away anything.
Stylistically, for the most part I liked the repetition/Austin giving quick updates of what's going on with all/most of the characters, but it did get a little tiresome at some points.
4 stars for the semen book! What a surprise!...more