A short, but elegant play which engages the reader with verbal fencing and subterfuge between the main characters. The psychological duel between Dr....more A short, but elegant play which engages the reader with verbal fencing and subterfuge between the main characters. The psychological duel between Dr. Greenberg and psychiatric patient Michael Aleen will keep you fascinated, and ultimately will pull you down the road to the wrong conclusion. The cryptic contributions by nurse Miss Peterson won't help you sort out what's really happening either. At 56 pages, I sat down and read the entire play all at once. If you like writing that keeps you thinking and engrossed in the story, this is for you.
I became aware of this play after reading a news release on the internet that it was about to become a movie, with filming starting in November 2013 in Montreal. The announced cast members are Bruce Greenwood, Catherine Keener, Carrie-Ann Moss, and Xavier Dolan. I'm not sure how the play will be expanded, but I look forward to seeing it on the big screen. (less)
This is a novel of World War II as experienced by two British young people: Saba Tarcan, a half-Welsh half-Turkish singer recruited to sing for the t...more This is a novel of World War II as experienced by two British young people: Saba Tarcan, a half-Welsh half-Turkish singer recruited to sing for the troops, and Dominic Benson, an English RAF pilot. The two meet when Saba sings for a hospital burn ward in which Dom is recovering; the story continues when Saba defies her father to accept an invitation to audition for ENSA in London and Dom and Saba meet again. As Saba is sent to Cairo to begin her performance tour through the desert, Dom arranges to be assigned to fly out of bases in the same area. A mutual interest gradually develops into a romance simultaneously as the action continues through Alexandria and Turkey.
This was a well-written book that was easy to read. Gregson includes a tremendous amount of 1940's detail that adds but never detracts from the story. Exquisite descriptions of makeup, haircolor products, and clothing, to bustling street scenes and time spent by off-duty pilots and entertainers created an ongoing visual as good as any top-rated motion picture. The characters that inhabit this book are well-rounded and three-dimensional; none become the easy stereotype of being all-good or all-bad. They suffer from regrets, self-doubt, bad tempers, and other character flaws but continue to breath life into the storyline.
I have no problem recommending this book and would call it a "novel" and not a "romance." I look forward to reading Gregson's other novels.
I saw this book on NPR's Best Books of 2013 list. Usually I don't care about lists, but the brief description caught my attention. This is an innovat...more I saw this book on NPR's Best Books of 2013 list. Usually I don't care about lists, but the brief description caught my attention. This is an innovative story in that the main character speaks from multiple points of view. Justice of Toren, a 2,000 year-old troop-carrying starship is the main character. To make it even more interesting, it narrates mainly from two viewpoints: either as the ship, or as Breq, the Artificial Intelligence ("AI") of Justice of Toren trapped in a single female body. How can that be? Well, the story also involves two main timelines: when Justice of Toren was a starship, and the other when it's AI inhabits only the body of a lone-surviving ancillary soldier of the ship. If this isn't confusing enough, the ancillary cannot tell the difference most of the time between human males and females so it uses the preferred pronouns of the empire it serves, which happen to be female.
The stories of Breq and Justice of Toren unfold individually, joining as you realize what happened to the ship over 1,000 years ago in an act of treachery. You also find that the body of Breq is referred to as a "corpse soldier," a tool that the empire once used in it's rapidly expanding territories: as worlds were annexed, approximately half of the population would be taken, frozen, and kept on troop carrying starships. When needed, they were defrosted and were taken over by the artificial intelligence of that ship. Thus the corpse soldiers, or ancillaries, could be directed to serve the human lieutenants and captain. The ship could maintain complete control over the troops as well as total vigilance, being in a thousand places at once.
This is the basis of the story. From this point the story continues on but the main discussions seem to revolve around what it means to be human, what it means to be alive, and what happens when authority splinters and battles itself. There are certainly other issues to be considered as author Leckie weaves in many philosophical points of civilization vs. the "uncivilized."
This was an interesting and different storyline for science fiction. I look forward to the next book in the series. (less)
I received this book in a Goodreads First-Reads promotion. Also, I happen to be friends with the author, which apparently didn't help with my selecti...more I received this book in a Goodreads First-Reads promotion. Also, I happen to be friends with the author, which apparently didn't help with my selection to receive a copy of her book. I think she was as excited as I was when she saw her publsher's list of awardees about the same time that I found out.
That being said, I have no hesitation in writing this review and recommending her book. I also have no hesitation in giving it 5/5 stars; it is a well-written story with engaging characters and interesting dialogue. Other reviews will focus on events in the story; instead, all you need to know are the basics and that the author has done a meticulous (although not laborious) job of re-creating the world before the Great Flood.
In this tale, a young woman who has a large red birthmark on her face is married to Noah for her own protection. No one else has wanted her; she faces great danger in staying with her father as her birthmark indicates that she is a demon to the superstitious tribesmen. She has spent the last 19 years hiding in her father's tent serving him and has never been named. Noah is approximately 600 years old and has been searching for a wife who is pure of heart and also worships the God of Adam. If it were not for the danger she faced at home, she might have crumbled at what awaited her throughout her marriage to Noah.
Although tested in every way possible by Noah, her sons, her neighbors, and every imaginably uncomfortable aspect of life in ancient times, she perseveres and becomes a remarkable woman. Throughout this narrative, the author reveals the genuine and resilient spirit of a character who otherwise has barely been granted a mention in history.
The author utilizes a great deal of creativity, combined with warmth and humor, to make a largely unknown person a three-dimensional being about whom you cannot help but care. "Wife" is neither idealized nor glamorized yet becomes the strong pillar upon which Noah's family and his obedience to God rests.
There were parts of this story to which I can only surmise are based upon legends of which I was not familiar. I think that the author has done a worthy job of researching the settings and lifestyles of the peoples of that era, as well as employing a large reservoir of understanding into how interpersonal relationships actually work.
I can honestly recommend this book. When I finished it, I was staying with my husband in the city where he works; based upon my comments, he insisted that I leave the book with him when I went home!(less)
"...[A] mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge." And that is how Lord Tyrion Lannister suddenly became my new favor...more "...[A] mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge." And that is how Lord Tyrion Lannister suddenly became my new favorite character. Vulgar, profane, drunken, and whoring, he is nonetheless highly intelligent and witty. As nothing has been expected of him since he was born a dwarf, "The Imp" steals the show. Whether Martin intends for him to become a hero later in the series "A Song of Ice and Fire" is yet to be seen UNLESS you have been watching the hit series on HBO. I have only watched up to the end of this book and want to read ahead before watching any more.
George R. R. Martin has been writing commercially for a very long time; he sold his first story in 1971. As such, he is no "overnight hit." It seems that readers either love him or hate him, and I fall into the first camp. There are plenty of fantasy sword-and-sorceror books out there to read but this seemed to be simple yet complex all at the same time. It reminded me of a very drinkable wine; easy to go down but with lingering complex after-notes of flavor. The after-notes are rich and varied. What will eventually become of Arya? Will she become the mighty swordsman that seems to be her destiny? Will Lord Tyrion be able to restore sanity to rule in the capitol? Will the weird snow-zombies invade from the north? And what of Daenerys and dragons?
The book comes equipped with an appendix of the mighty houses of the realm to help readers decipher who is killing whom. I only wish that it had been more apparent in my Kindle edition; and yet I was able to put the relationships together without it. I found that I wanted to keep turning the pages and that after finishing, I am still interested enough to invest the time in reading the second book of the series. Friends tell me I am looking at a significant investment in time, but I'm willing to go along for the ride. (less)
**Spoilers** **I won this book through a Goodreads Giveaway**
This was an excellent book that really made me think. Michelle Cohen Corasanti has crafte...more**Spoilers** **I won this book through a Goodreads Giveaway**
This was an excellent book that really made me think. Michelle Cohen Corasanti has crafted a captivating story about what happened to the people already living on the lands that became Israel after World War II. There are no lofty references to ancient history or Biblical Israel to make an argument for or against the formation of modern-day Israel; instead, this is a very down-to-earth, practical tale that shows the effects of unfair government policies and horrendous military behavior on a Palestinian family.
This story focuses on Ichmad Hamid, the son of a wealthy family that owns an orange grove in Palestine in the 1950s. Ichmad is a mathematical genius who is the pride of his artist and musician father, a very enlightened and moderate person. As the story progresses, the youngest daughter is blown up by an Israeli Army planted landmine. They are not allowed to bury her immediately in accordance with their religion, but instead must wait days to receive a burial permit. The family is moved off of their lands. The orange groves are given to Jewish settlers; Ichmad's family is saddened and confused but not enraged. On Ichmad's 12th birthday, his father is arrested and taken to a horribly run prison for a crime he didn't commit. The family's house is demolished. More awful things happen to the family and their village. Work is impossible to find as Jewish people generally do not hire Palestinians. Travel permits to see his father in prison take the stamina of a marathoner to get. Throughout all of this, Ichmad remembers his father's teachings and does not give in to utter hatred. In the end, it is that ability to simply endure and not hate that rewards Ichmad with a hard-won education and success. Ichmad's ability to accept and embrace the Jewish people around him further rewards him with a life-long friendship with his Jewish physics professor and research partner. This is contrasted with his brother, who does give in to his hatred of the Jews. The analogy of Abbas shows how we all lose when we hate instead of reasoning and talking to others, even those who oppress either inadvertently or intentionally.
This might be taken as an anti-Israel or anti-Jewish book at first glance. But that is the impression only of those who do not take the time to actually read the book. The author's stance is far from being anti-anything, except anti-hate and anti-violence. Far from simple condemnation of the Israeli government, the author seems to point toward a condemnation of sweeping policies enacted and enforced without thought, and absolute power without check in the hands of young military personnel. There are good and bad Jewish people, as well as good and bad Palestinians. Some of the characters have noticeable gradations of both. Ichmad's inner struggles were interesting and realistic, but sometimes I wanted just a little more character development of everyone. I think some more gray areas in the characters of all would have been a little more realistic.
Overall, this was a very well written novel. The prose was articulate and graceful, the descriptions were detailed enough to paint a thorough picture in my mind of the surroundings and clothing without engulfing the characters or dialog. And the dialog was interesting and realistic. Finally, the author's background and previous experience residing in Israel do give her credence. I have already recommended this book to others.
Many reviewers focus on what they see as a bizarre, unequal, and abusive relationship between the main protaganists billionaire business man Christia...more Many reviewers focus on what they see as a bizarre, unequal, and abusive relationship between the main protaganists billionaire business man Christian Grey and recent college graduate, Anastasia (Ana) Steele. She did say yes to everything that happens in the story and could have left at any time. So she's naive, gullible, starstruck... or just plain dumb. Many women don't have alot of experience with men when in college; she may have been naive in the first few chapters but she progressed into being obsessed by him. And Christian? Why yes, he has a number of personal problems, money not being one of them. While the furor broke through the literate ranks about Ana's subservient role in what has been called an abusive and even sick relationship, I kept calling the book "Fifty Shades of Bad Writing" to friends. The plot was somewhat inconsequential; my impression of it was that it was a cross between an old Harlequin Romance and Hustler magazine. If Ana only had huge eyes and a heart-shaped face, this could have qualified as a Barbra Cartland Romance. Well, maybe if you vigorously scrubbed out all of the deviant sex.
The author's website says that E.L. James is a former tv executive from London. I have a two-part hypothesis about the character of Christian Grey: 1) The author put together what she thinks is a particularly hot man with problems that she would love to solve and found somebody to publish the fantasy; and 2) The author figured out a way to slap together a three-part story that clearly has its roots in the TV mini-series, complete with cliff-hanger and sold the idea to a publisher. It's pure formula.
It was the writing and the total lack of fact-checking that really disgusted me. The first big mistake that I saw was that Ana calls her roommate's Mercedes a "Merc." That's fair in Europe or the UK, but Ana is in Vancouver, Washington, and says later in the book that she hasn't been outside of the U.S. (page 46). Being a long-time Merc owner, this really slapped me across the face. That is, when I finished the incredible run-on sentence that euphemistically could be referred to as the second paragraph. EDITOR FAIL. There are so many things that an editor should have caught in this book that I don't think I have room for them all.
"Laters, baby!" You've got to be kidding. Skeezy, to borrow a slang term. How about this gem: "He jerks her ponytail back, 'It's only just not painful.'" Yes, but that sentence certainly is. Or "NDA." You mean "non-disclosure agreement?" I'm not aware of attorneys or business people throwing around that jargon because it smacks of self-importance and sounds STUPID.
The conversation with Air Traffic Control was so incredibly inaccurate! NO ONE gets on the air and says "P-D-X." They say "Portland Tower." That is to avoid confusion with another tower on the same frequency. Also, Christian doesn't preflight his helicopter before he takes it out; unbelievable. Or this bon mot, "[I]t's equipped for night flight." Ummm, they're all equipped for night flight, genius. A fixed-wing or rotary aircraft may not be equipped for instrument flight. Nice try, it's obvious you don't know how to fly. Glad that was cleared up so spectacularly. "PDX to call..." what the hell does that mean? Christian also says "...over and out..." to Seattle Control, ostensibly the tower. Was that from a WWII movie? Nobody has said that in decades. Ditto for having Seattle Tower say "...over." Really? And as mentioned above, the author got the registration wrong for the helicopter. Why would a US based business use a helicopter registered in Canada for flying around the US? That was a stupid mistake.
The sex contract? *YAWN* It was a crutch to expand the story. On pg 104 (Kindle) the contract says 7 hours of sleep; on pg 171 it says 8 hrs. I thought she didn't want to obey the rules on that so how did it get increased? On pg 175 she describes it as a "bloody contract." That might be fair if she's reading a lot of English novels, but I don't think most of those classics have the word "bloody" in them.
"Well this has full wireless N...." I think he's talking about a Mac since he mentions a "Me" account. So is he trying to say the laptop itself has it's own wireless network? The phrasing is atrocious. The author writes about Ana's feelings as "deer/headlights, moth/flame, bird/snake." How about describing the overall quality of the book as "trash/dumpster?" Her Subconscious and her Inner Goddess. Really unnecessary crutches in the narrative that became increasingly annoying with time. Crap, double crap, and jeez. All jarring while reading the text. Get the author (and the editor) a thesaurus. Some of the emails were entertaining, but overall, it seemed like another way to get out of writing a decent narrative.
Some of the story was humorous, such as on pg 397, "I gaze at my mom. She is on her fourth marriage. Maybe she does know something about men after all." ARE YOU KIDDING ME? It sounds like she doesn't have a clue. And, they have unprotected sex fairly soon after Ana starts on the mini-pill. Not funny at all. Just because she's having her period doesn't mean she can't get pregnant at this point.
Oh, and the sex? Gross and disturbing at times. But not as disturbing as the writing. (Ok, it's not fair to compare the sex to the writing; the writing is far worse.)
This is a classic novel of the American frontier and its people, circa 1757. Part of The Leatherstocking Tales, this novel delineates a highly romanti...moreThis is a classic novel of the American frontier and its people, circa 1757. Part of The Leatherstocking Tales, this novel delineates a highly romanticized view of native peoples, soldiers and frontiersmen. Set in the area of present-day New York and Canada, the tale revolves mainly around the friendship of frontiersman Hawk-Eye (Natty Bumppo, or the Scout) and Delaware Chingachgook. Secondary, yet essential characters are a British Major (Duncan), sisters Cora and Alice, Magua, and the son of Chingachgook, Uncas. Toward the end of the book it becomes clear that Uncas is indeed the Last of the Mohicans.
The first two chapters of this book seem to take forever to read as they are full of flowery descriptions of the native beauty of this rugged area. However, once past the beginning, the book gradually picks up speed. Another impediment is getting used to English as written and spoken in the late 18th-early 19th centuries.
This novel is the result of a dare. The author was acting as a tour guide in New York state to male members of the British nobility when one dared him to write a story involving a particularly spectacular waterfall at which they stopped. The result was this book, written between 1824 and 1826, and published in 1826. I'm glad I read it, but you must be interested in the wars between the French and British on the North American continent, as well as pre-United States history.(less)
Good book, not great. Definitely a movie tie-in. Gives some details glossed over in the movies, especially concerning Captain Pike's capture by Nero....moreGood book, not great. Definitely a movie tie-in. Gives some details glossed over in the movies, especially concerning Captain Pike's capture by Nero. Would have liked the characters to be fleshed out more fully with the new direction the franchise is taking, but perhaps Alan Dean Foster was prohibited from doing that; there is a second movie in the works for 2011. I can hardly wait!(less)
To begin with, I'm required to let everyone know that I received this book for free in a giveaway from the publisher. That being said, it still would...moreTo begin with, I'm required to let everyone know that I received this book for free in a giveaway from the publisher. That being said, it still would not affect my review.
This is the story of the three Grey sisters, Jane, Katherine, and Mary, princesses of the royal Tudor family. Their great-uncle was Henry VIIi, their cousins Queen Mary Tudor and Queen Elizabeth I, their mother Frances Grey daughter of Henry VIII's younger sister Mary, Queen of France. The story opens with a prologue set in 1574; then backtracks to open the story in 1553, with the narrative shifting from sister to sister for their differing viewpoints. At the beginning of the story the girls are aged: Jane 15, Katherine 12, and Mary 8. The story goes from there, telling of their parents' plotting and ambitions and how they used their daughters as political pawns to gain the throne of England. Lady Jane, as most people realize, was Queen of England for 9 days; many months later, she was beheaded by Queen Mary Tudor. The story weaves together historical events along with what the author believes would be the girls' perceptions. The life of these three girls was tragic, with Katherine and Mary and those they loved, suffering at the hands of Elizabeth I.
I read this book in just over three days, as I started it right before I went to bed the first night. It is a compelling story and very well written. It appears that the author has done her research well, and I enjoyed it. Toward the end, I really could not put it down for long, as I wanted to know how it would end for Katherine and Mary, as I really didn't know that much about Katherine and nothing about Mary when I started reading. I was saddened, but not disappointed. I can recommend this book without any reservations.
I have been interested in the Tudors decades before it was fashionable to do so, that being with the advent of The Tudors on HBO (a show that is gorgeous to watch but a bit of a disaster as far as facts are concerned). I remember watching the BBC's The Six Wives of Henry VIII on Masterpiece Theatre in the late 1970's. I was hooked. I've read a lot about various family members and still find it interesting to do so. I've been to Hampton Court Palace, Windsor Castle, and London among other places and am disappointed when other authors don't fully utilize different locations the way the should be in telling the full story of the Tudors. That being said, I think the characterizations and locations in this book were believable.
One note about the characterizations of Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth: it was interesting to see Queen Mary portrayed as being so kind and thoughtful and Queen Elizabeth as being SO awful. The author describes Elizabeth at vengeful and vain; I would add another "v": vile.
One thing I would add: I believe there is a typo at the top of page 279, line 1. It reads "William" Herbert and I think it should read "Henry" Herbert.