Highly intelligent narrative, dealing with relevant subjects wrapped in a wonderful and flowing prose, centering around precocious but very relatableHighly intelligent narrative, dealing with relevant subjects wrapped in a wonderful and flowing prose, centering around precocious but very relatable characters. Loved this book....more
For me this book really shows all the best qualities of Neil Gaiman's writing: The language flows rich and compelling, at times humorous, at times fulFor me this book really shows all the best qualities of Neil Gaiman's writing: The language flows rich and compelling, at times humorous, at times full of hubris, and the story wraps itself around your imagination and takes you with it, deep into dreams and myth.
I loved it. I had such a hard time putting it down (so I didn't). Recommending it to others leaves me at a loss for words, I've found: how to describe this book which seemed a mix of childhood nostalgia, warped memory, fabulous fable, twisted nightmare and upheaval of the known. Some of the descriptions (the food; home and hearth) brought such familiar warmth, but they float amidst a story full of the unheimlich distortion of the status quo, leaving one helpless as the protagonist, though not without a sense of wellness on the horizon.
In the end I felt like I emerged from the ocean, having seen and known a deeper truth, experienced a greater understanding, though it has faded since I read the final page, and left only the knowing that I read the spinning of a true master storyteller - something I maybe have not quite felt for Neil before. I think he should win awards for this. It's the sort of story that makes me feel that no one should be writing unless they can create something that transcends the genre like this.
And this is the sort of book I know I will be recommending and gifting to other people for a while to come.
Nostalgia drips off every page of this book, encased in beautiful language. A story of childhood, remarkable characters, an adventure at sea, and growNostalgia drips off every page of this book, encased in beautiful language. A story of childhood, remarkable characters, an adventure at sea, and grown up discovery. A+ writing....more
Masterful. Masterful in storytelling, language, descriptions, engagement. By the end of it, Cromwell (Crumb, Cremuel) is such a boss in his poetic jusMasterful. Masterful in storytelling, language, descriptions, engagement. By the end of it, Cromwell (Crumb, Cremuel) is such a boss in his poetic justice. But oh, beware.
"You can be merry with the king, you can share a joke with him. But as Thomas More used to say, it's like sporting with a tamed lion. You tousle its mane and pull its ears, but all the time you're thinking, those claws, those claws, those claws."...more
I picked this book up on sunday morning and could not put it down until I finished. John Green has such a pleasant writing style, such feeling for quiI picked this book up on sunday morning and could not put it down until I finished. John Green has such a pleasant writing style, such feeling for quirky characters, plot, and the teenage voice. Sure, his teens are larger than life, but they are fun, very relatable, and their witty dialogue so enjoyable. If I have one complaint it's that the secondary characters are so much more imaginable than the narrator, who is a bit bland in contrast.
This John Green novel especially has such a great turn. In the first part, Quentin has the night of his life with his dreamgirl Margot Roth Spiegelman. In the second, a mystery with clues keeps you locked to the pages, both anticipating and dreading the result, and in the third an all American roadtrip hurdles you straight to the conclusion. The novel is set during the last year of high school (prom, graduation, teenage love), which is so relatable, yet the stage center development of the mystery plot really sets it apart from anything average, and gives the narrative that extra drive and investment that makes it such an incredible pageturner.
I cannot believe this hasn't been made into a movie yet. It seems to lend itself to it so perfectly. ...more
Ok, so the characters are a little larger than life (but hey, it's fiction, it's escapism, and their precociousness makes them so very likable), and wOk, so the characters are a little larger than life (but hey, it's fiction, it's escapism, and their precociousness makes them so very likable), and with a book about "cancer kids", you know you are in for an emotional wringer, but it's oh so good getting there.
John Green just has an immensely pleasurable writing style, very easy going, and he's great at contemporary dialogue and finding the teenage voice. He also has a great knack at creating interesting and quirky characters, and adds in a good, welcome dose of humor.
The subject of this novel is an emotional one (teenagers dealing with cancer, bleak diagnoses, a quest, love, loss), but it was never sentimental, nor did I feel manipulated into tears (and there were tears). There is a lot of levity to go around, and several moments that were quite profound (especially the glimpses at the parents tripped me up).
It was great to read the kids' visit to Amsterdam: I loved the description of the city, it played as a very romantic setting, very whimsical. It's a side of Amsterdam that's usually ignored, so this visit came as a pleasant surprise.
What a wonderful read; a real pageturner. I'm currently reading Green's "Paper Towns" and like it even better: Even harder to put down. This author is going into my favs....more
This book is set up as a number of interviews with survivors and key players of the Zombie apocalypse. It's an interesting concept: There is no speciaThis book is set up as a number of interviews with survivors and key players of the Zombie apocalypse. It's an interesting concept: There is no special focus or storyline besides interviewees having been in the zombie war - in any sort of capacity - and therefore there is no character to latch onto, giving it a feeling of a collections of related short stories. It worked very well for me, picking the book up several times during the day to read short sections. There are a few narratives that particularly stand out (Redeker, the female soldier who is lost in zombie limbo, the Chinese submarine, the soldier at Hope battle). I admire how the author managed to give the reader an emotional wallop in a two-page interview.
The story was sometimes scary, sometimes heart-wringing, sometimes too horrific to imagine (without becoming too farcical): I thought this was a great and novel way of breathing new life into the undead book section....more
Captivating story, taking the idea of parallel worlds to a whole new original level. Took a bit to get into, but then went full steam ahead. The onlyCaptivating story, taking the idea of parallel worlds to a whole new original level. Took a bit to get into, but then went full steam ahead. The only downside is it's only half the story, and now I have to wait to get the other half. ...more
By its title and awards, I was steeling myself for a heavy read, but instead Middlesex proved to be interesting, eclectic, and refreshing. The pages tBy its title and awards, I was steeling myself for a heavy read, but instead Middlesex proved to be interesting, eclectic, and refreshing. The pages turn themselves. Not so typical a subject, perhaps a bit sensationalist and unrealistic here and there, but mostly quirky and engaging. Full credit for being original.
A wonderful page turner. Why 4 stars instead of 5? Because there are just a few pernickety tidbits that bothered me, but overall I really enjoyed theA wonderful page turner. Why 4 stars instead of 5? Because there are just a few pernickety tidbits that bothered me, but overall I really enjoyed the experience. King is a master of suspense and knows how to tell a good yarn. He expertly creates the setting and voice for the late fifties and forms his characters with panache. At the crux of this story I was literally short on breath and on the edge of my seat: what a storyteller!
Until the end of the novel I couldn’t decide what King would do: would Jake stop Lee or not? Would Sadie and Jake stay together or was it impossible? Would either die? If she died, would Jake try again? Who was the red-card man? How will the future change? Will something cause a reset if Jake succeeds?
I could imagine a whole lot of outcomes, including those that King eventually chose, but I could not predict which one it was going to be, making the story roller coaster exciting.
My nitpicks will seem elaborate in contrast to my praise above, though it is not my intention to bring the book down. I loved the story, but these sort of tales do tend to create inner conflict and for my brain to start crunching. (view spoiler)[
When reading a time-travel novel, there is always the ancient question of paradox. How can this happen if you change the past to have your motivation for travelling not happen? Actually King solves this clearly by introducing “strings”, or the AU (alternate universe). Jake changes the past so that Harry doesn’t become Hoptoad. But by doing so, past Jake would not know Hoptoad, and would not have a motivation to travel in time to prevent the tragedy, thus he would not go back to prevent it. Paradox! However, King says, once Jake exits the past he is on a new future string, therefore on a different string than his past self was and in a new reality disconnected from the past (so that Jake does not "disappear in a vortex" as time corrects itself). Another difficulty arises in that King then says that too many of these strings causes reality to collapse. In the end he doesn’t solve this to my satisfaction. After Jake almost destroys reality (the collapsing 2011), he then goes back in time again, and instead of following the green-card man’s advice to head straight back to reset all he’s done, he spends another 3 weeks in 1958, creating a new string, without erasing the previous hundreds of strings. Since the past was already collapsing with strings, wouldn’t this additional one have created an even more fractured future? Instead, the future appears to be fine (he didn’t make much alterations this time, but he also didn’t completely erase all previous strings by heading straight back the wormhole). I wish he’d have gone back immediately to erase this doubt.
Who is the color-card man? Where or when does he come from? Does “destiny” or “god” or “reality” put him in the spot? These men are quite ineffectual: how can they reason with an offender if they are barking mad when the offender comes through? Is he just ripped from his existence to hang around a wormhole until he goes nuts? Why did Al’s man stay red-carded for hundreds of times, while the new card man went critical in 2 goes (probably the fact that the future was so cataclysmically changed in one go, I suppose)? Who explains the new job function to them if they don’t show up until the previous incarnation is dead? I realize it’s supposed to be an open question, but inquiring minds want to know! Though I might as well ask why wormholes exist at all? If fate can create card-men, can’t they create a wall before the wormhole?
I realize fans might disagree with me here, but I don’t much like when King references his other novels within the narrative (the absolute worst was when he wrote himself into the Dark Tower as a character). Here I found the blatant references to It and the supernatural problems in Derry annoying, since it had absolutely no consequence on the time-travel story or plot, so it seems just an “in-joke” to the existence of the larger “Kingdom”. It just breaks down the fourth wall for me.
When Al Templeton realized he had cancer and wouldn’t make it to Dallas, he should have just shot Lee. He could have gone back to the future, see the outcome, and if JFK still had been shot in Dallas, then at least Jake would know Lee didn’t work alone, or Al could have gone back 2 minutes himself to reset his killing an innocent man. If JFK was not shot, he would have had success. If JFK had been killed otherwise and the future not changed, then there was no point for Jake to even try since history would obviously find a way to bring forth the same future.
I might have appreciated it more if the future had been beautiful with JFK in it. Then Jake’s conflict to reset the timeline to save Sadie would have been haranguing. Now his choice to go back in time and reset his actions was not much of a conflict, since the outcome was so horrible anyway that there wasn't any choice to make. Though perhaps King felt that if the future had been beautiful and Jake had reset it anyway just for Sadie, that it would’ve been too hard on the character as it might've been beyond redeeming and too selfish to dare to reset and risk failing the second time. For most of the book, I had predicted the story to go like this: Jake goes to back to 2011 and it’s wonderful with JFK in it: he resets it anyway to try it again (this time wanting to save Sadie and kill Lee early). He never gets to create the same future again as color-card man/fate kills him before he can change events again.
The moral of almost any time-travel yarn, of course, is that events naturally build to set for a certain course, and to change this in your megalomania is disastrous. Or that no matter what you try, the future will not be changed and will find a way to resume its equilibrium. However, I find the notion (in this book) that the whole of reality will collapse because of what we ant-like beings crawling on this tiny planet do to be somewhat ludicrous. Surely the universe doesn’t care whether we cross left or right, backwards or forward, or go nuclear or extinct tomorrow. Nothing that changes our timeline will have any consequence to the larger universe, in which our planet is such a tiny blib.
PS. What the hell is a Jimla and how did King manage to freak me out so much with it?! (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
A hefty book, in which the plot takes its time and slowly reveals itself, and which, in classic Murakami style, leaves a lot up to the imagination. DeA hefty book, in which the plot takes its time and slowly reveals itself, and which, in classic Murakami style, leaves a lot up to the imagination. Despite its length the book remains fascinating until the end, and despite a few jarring POV shifts (its 3rd person limited except in one or two inexplicable places where suddenly an omniscient narrator appears) the characters are craftily and enthrallingly built. Murakami writes sentences with clear brevity, never using any flourishes or ornamental language, but always very descriptive of scene, which I enjoy: there is a continuous detailed description of what a person is wearing, what they are making for dinner, what they are doing and thinking. Step by step, their throughts and actions are clearly and lineairly put on the page. Many actions and events are mulled over or summarised again later in the book, so that every step is clear to the reader (though maybe rather too repetitiously at times).
The road that the characters take is magical and spell-binding, the events surreal, and it all comes full circle in the end.
I imagine that one criticism of the story could be that nothing much happens, or that the plot is too slow, and I think to some extent that is true. But I was never bored reading this book.
Sherlock Holmes is as well alike as completely different from his contemporary silver screen embodiments. I never thought I would enjoy his adventuresSherlock Holmes is as well alike as completely different from his contemporary silver screen embodiments. I never thought I would enjoy his adventures as much as short stories are generally not my flavor, but I have enjoyed them greatly after all by reading them intermittantly, during breaks.
By use of Watson's POV, often times the details of Sherlock's sleuthing are missing, but Watson as the layman (though no fool himself) does bring out the humanity in Holmes. Moriarty, great evil mastermind, really is nothing but a shadowpuppet in his single tale; it is the only story that does not actually recount a mystery to be solved, and is mostly a (relaxed, vacationing, until the end) chase.
However, there are some great mysteries in this volume, and some interesting characters. ACD liked to have villains escape only to have their ship shipwreck. An author's shrug: Providence, eh, conveniently wraps things up. I also noted the reoccurence of people developing "brain fever" (a sort of general terms for nervous breakdown). Too bad the term has gone out of use: it's a sort of free for all when you just can't deal. "Sorry, brain fever."
I didn't think I'd get this far, or thought I's be satisfied after getting to "The Great Game" and be able to put Holmes to rest as ACD originally intended. But I won't stop, because now I want more. And there is more....more
The Satanic Verses was hard to get into. I actually started it about a year ago, read about forty pages, then put it aside. I’m really glad I gave itThe Satanic Verses was hard to get into. I actually started it about a year ago, read about forty pages, then put it aside. I’m really glad I gave it another go. What I learned is that if you give this book a chance, it is a wonderful, fascinating miasma of humour, mythology, analogy and symbolism. Several passages, including the brilliant and original opening one where Gibreel and Saladin fall from the sky from an exploded airplane, are extremely funny and ironic. Their relationship with one another and the people around them, and the double-layered path they take is an analogy for our own difficulties and the struggle of acceptance of self. But it were the mythology sequences (the villagers pilgrimage to Mecca and the story of the messiah, his Angel and the opposition and the true controversy about the corruptibility of a text written by men), which were most captivating to me. I love these sort of origin speculations and the warning about how dangerous it is to follow blindly, but also by how a certain faith creates a difference of perception (e.g. the alternate versions of what happened to the pilgrimage). Rushdie uses beautiful language that is captivating, and though his book was not what I’d call a page turner as you have to be constantly alert while reading to have complete understanding of what is happening, it was really worthwile, and one of the best books I’ve read this year. ...more
This book changed my life (or more aptly, my lifestyle). I added more vegetarian meals to my diet and buy no more meat from the industry; I buy only bThis book changed my life (or more aptly, my lifestyle). I added more vegetarian meals to my diet and buy no more meat from the industry; I buy only biologically approved.
Read this book and let your eyes be opened....more