Read this after watching "Edge of Tomorrow", hoping to get a better sense of the logistics of the story. No surprise - the book is better. Bleaker and...moreRead this after watching "Edge of Tomorrow", hoping to get a better sense of the logistics of the story. No surprise - the book is better. Bleaker and more stark, but better.
Its hard to rate a translated book, because it's hard to know how much of it is the author and how much is the translator. I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt, though.
An important book - it really gives the reader a great birdseye view of Islamic history. It not only lists specific events that are important, but als...moreAn important book - it really gives the reader a great birdseye view of Islamic history. It not only lists specific events that are important, but also specific cultural, geographical and sociological context. I think I finally truly understand the schism between Sunni and Shi'ia as well as the various schools of thought that have evolved. Not in *just* a religious sense, but I feel an understanding in terms of the other influences (political and cultural) that had evolved.
Instead of a "clash of civilizations", you can truly start to understand events that were viewed differently between East and West, especially as they began to interact more in the 18th-20th centuries in the age of Imperialism. We're still feeling the effects of that period of time today.
The one thing that may throw readers off is the relatively breezy style of exposition. I found it mostly refreshing. The book doesn't offer any particular guidance in terms of present day events, but as he so neatly states, time has not mulched down enough to enter history yet, it still belongs to journalists. Still, I would universally recommend folks to read this history to gain a glimmer of understanding of a potentially different view of the world. (less)
After 11 Lincoln Rhyme books, you get to know what to expect. Rhyme and Sacs will figure it out (natch), there will be scenes where you jump ahead, on...moreAfter 11 Lincoln Rhyme books, you get to know what to expect. Rhyme and Sacs will figure it out (natch), there will be scenes where you jump ahead, only to find Rhyme or Sacs one step ahead of the perp already, with some sort of then explanation of how they figured it out already. Add in a few fake outs and misdirections. There's no author that does this so deftly than Deaver (to the point where he does a double or triple fake out and what you thought was too obvious isn't, but then isn't again). The problem is that you're primed to look for these now, and most of his novel is more about looking for these plot points rather than the writing or characterization.
Deaver can obviously write otherwise, but he may have painted himself in a corner by being *too* good at that and trying to give his audience that same experience.
I'm enjoying the arch-nemesis though - and given what happens at the end of the book, I will of course be buying the next one to see what happens. (less)
I suspect that many folks read this book after the Scorsese movie came out just like I did. I liked it not because of the writing (which is breezy and...moreI suspect that many folks read this book after the Scorsese movie came out just like I did. I liked it not because of the writing (which is breezy and conversational) but because its *so* crazy that as much of his life is true as it is. (Even discounting the self-serving hyperbole). He might be a total ass, fraud and degenerate- but he's entertaining. (I can say that as someone who wasn't immediately affected by his frauds.)
I'd otherwise give this book 4 stars because it's an entertaining read, but I'm taking one away for.. karma.
Loved it. I really enjoy his Elvis Cole series - not because it's high literature, but because it's fun to read and you know what to expect. This book...moreLoved it. I really enjoy his Elvis Cole series - not because it's high literature, but because it's fun to read and you know what to expect. This book- not in the same universe, or at least not obviously so - has a depth to it that the other ones don't really have. It doesn't hurt that it's about a dog as well as a human, and it tugs at your heart in a way that's more profound. Surprised me how much I liked it.
While the topic might be simple, Alan Watts prose resonates so strongly from 60 years ago that it could have been written yesterday. It may have just...moreWhile the topic might be simple, Alan Watts prose resonates so strongly from 60 years ago that it could have been written yesterday. It may have just caught me at just the right time, but this book is bloody brilliant. I have marked passages that I will definitely go back to in the future to contemplate more fully.
I'm divided here. On one hand, there's a very engaging and important book somewhere in here. On the other hand, this book really is is an unabashed ma...moreI'm divided here. On one hand, there's a very engaging and important book somewhere in here. On the other hand, this book really is is an unabashed marketing piece for ROC. (Restaurants Opportunities Center). Which is an organization worthy of support and any positive word that it can get, but that really gets in the way of the very real stories that could have been told here.
Great books like (Nicked and Dimed and others in the same genre) really allows you to swim around in someone else's life a little bit, to live in a world that we normally don't. While this book lets you get ankle deep into the stories that it tells, each story is capped with how labor organizing was successful in helping in some way. Again, that's all great - but when the message the author is trying to convey drowns out the stories that it is attempting to tell, the entire effort suffers.
The message is important though - the people that make the restaurant industry work are invisible and are often taken advantage of. Something to think about next time I go out to dinner.
I'm going to try to keep this review spoiler-free in an attempt to waive off anybody attempting to read it. But if you've read the first two books you...moreI'm going to try to keep this review spoiler-free in an attempt to waive off anybody attempting to read it. But if you've read the first two books you're probably going to be suckered into this one.
You expect a little bit of disappointment with almost any end of a series, since the story almost never ever measures up to the promise. This one fails to deliver on almost every level, with a story that is insipid, dry, and almost unthinkable. A real departure from the first two books, which I had reread immediately before reading this one, so the story was fresh in my mind.
The first *major* misstep was to change the voice of the book so that the chapters alternated between Tris and Four. WTF? We spend the entire series in Tris' head, and adding another voice *really* took away from the story. Especially since there are scenes we get to experience from both sides, which seems repetitve more than insightful.
The *real* FUBAR is the plot. I will not spoil it (the plot itself reeks) but suffice it to say that the only worst choice that the author could have made was to make the entire thing a dream. And that would only be *marginally* worse. From the "magic" science to the Deus-Ex-Machina nonsensical ending, I really found myself wondering if I was reading some really really bad fan fic. Plot choices like this makes you wonder why you spent your time and money on the first two books. The first two -while vaguely formulaic in the "heroine categorized/stereotyped/trapped in a post-apocalyptic world which holds secrets wider than then her imagination" - actually were well written and enjoyable and promised toward some interesting bigger universe. Promise broken.
I'd rate this one star, but there were some glimpses of real moments toward the end, specifically Four's relationship/choices toward his parents. Those seemed like the most genuine moments of the book, but that was a few pages against the rest of the dreck.
I wouldn't have picked this up if it wasn't for Mr. Aslan's now infamous interview on Fox. But I'm so glad I did, because this was an oddly compelling...moreI wouldn't have picked this up if it wasn't for Mr. Aslan's now infamous interview on Fox. But I'm so glad I did, because this was an oddly compelling book.
To be sure, Mr. Aslan is playing with a bit of fire, trying to tease out the historical Jesus from the Biblical one. But it's a worthwhile effort. As he says at the end, the historical Jesus can be every bit as praiseworthy as the Biblical one, even if it is for different reasons.
What worked best about the book is the context he places on the time as well as how concepts such as the Jewish Messiah were construed. Knowing the historical events - most notably the destruction of Jerusalem circa 70 CE, but also the succession of Roman governors and personalities - really is key to understanding how Jesus' message was able to permeate as well as how profoundly problematic and heretical it was for those in power - both Romans and Jews alike. He makes it quite compelling, really.
It's actually fascinating to learn about how a tiny Jewish sect navigated itself into the most influential religious this world has seen thus far. Not only was Jesus' message at the right time, the subsequent transition from the James/Peter connection to Judaism to the Paul centric view that divorced itself from the law of Moses and embraced Gentiles was instrumental in Christianity gaining a wider foothold.
Although I wasn't around for the sixties, something about the age of the space race captivates me. I've read many of the books, seen the movies and th...moreAlthough I wasn't around for the sixties, something about the age of the space race captivates me. I've read many of the books, seen the movies and the TV shows (including the most excellent "From the Earth to the Moon"). I was excited for this book to come out, to learn a little more about that age and the people in it.
Overall, the book is middlin' successful. It's a daunting task to try to tell so many people's stories in a relatively small space. Consequently, some of the wives get very short shrift. I would have enjoyed a deeper dive into some of the lives than the broader approach. That being said, the author does some excellent research and its obvious her access to the wives and their stories was unique. I even learned a couple of new things along the way (most notably that Armstrong was selected in part because he was a civilian, not military.)
It's also an interesting thought experiment to think of how the space race would have unfolded if it had to happen today. Besides the overt sexism, there was a concerted effort by both the government and the media to control the impression the astronauts and their families made on the public. It would be unfathomable today for that to happen, and the peccadilos and idiosyncrasies of some of the astronauts (and their wives) would have been broadcast over TMZ instantly. When people think about the "simpler" and "good old" days, it's yearning for something that never really existed outside of a slim facade.
I'm really impressed with this series. This isn't a series where the character goes on an adventure and at the end of the book he wins and his allies...moreI'm really impressed with this series. This isn't a series where the character goes on an adventure and at the end of the book he wins and his allies are safe and the bad guys lose and the next book starts out again the same. Good and bad are nebulous concepts here, and Dresden cannot escape the consequences of his actions. His friends suffer. He suffers. It's great!
I also love it when a story has an overriding arc that you build toward, and this series seems to have that. And it has the courage to have its characters change significantly with the events. ("Changes" had me floored, as did the excellent "Ghost Story"). I just hope Mr. Butcher gets on with writing his ass off and getting this series finished sometime soon. (less)