Hearts in Atlantis is not a perfect collection, but it is in my eyes. I don't think he captured the 60's as perfectly as possible, but it suits his st...moreHearts in Atlantis is not a perfect collection, but it is in my eyes. I don't think he captured the 60's as perfectly as possible, but it suits his story. What I learned though is how the 60's continues to haunt the generation that "blew it" and how to fall in love with a character.
This book made me a believer in Ted Brautigan. In my head, he looks like Anthony Hopkins, and he's my favorite character in all of fiction. My heart broke, and it follows the path on the Dark Tower. "Low Men" became the symbol of lost youth before its time. That story foreshadows what becomes of the 60's all the way down to Sully-John's Bo-lo Bouncer hitting him in the nuts.
"Hearts in Atlantis" has a great heart, but fails slightly in execution. It made me think though, about how my life would have changed if my dad was drafted. Pete's a guy I wish I knew better.
"Blind Willie" made me laugh, and its moral gray area made me think. "Why We're in Vietnam" puts it all in perspective and "Heavenly Shades of Night Are Falling" gives you the closure you need.
I love these characters. Their pain was mine and my heart was in Atlantis with them. It still is, in the green and Harwich. I'll always be there, and now on the road, because "All things serve the beam."(less)
Feels kind of strange that King has never really run with a serial killer novel before. In a way, Mr. Mercedes, in the modern day, wou...moreReal Rating: 4.5
Feels kind of strange that King has never really run with a serial killer novel before. In a way, Mr. Mercedes, in the modern day, would be considered more terrorist than Ted Bundy, marked by Brady "Mr. Mercedes" Hartsfield's proclivity for mass killings. Perhaps it's King's first Bachman book that provides the answer.
Rage, King's first Bachman book, is about high school senior Charlie Decker taking his Algebra class hostage. As King noted in his essay, "Guns," this novel was the scapegoat for a shooting. This led to it being taken off shelves. That attitude is rolled over into Mr. Mercedes, where the killer uses unique ways to end his victims lives, first being a Mercedes into a crowd of people. King's killer is smart and creative. He convinces one woman to take her own life by one simple piece of misinformation. While in his head you get a glimpse of one sick mother fucker, with the sins of the mother visited on the son (poor Frankie).
On the other side of the coin is Kermit Bill Hodges, retired detective with a few open cases on his mind. Strangely enough, they're all closed by the close of the novel, but the Mercedes killing is one that brings him back from the brink of suicide, and into a thriller without supernatural stakes.
Your typical King tools are here: great pacing, well conceived characters, brilliant plot, all rolled into a supernatural-less thriller. Well worth the journey.
P.S. Totally caught that Judas Coyne reference.(less)
The mark of a good Young-Adult novel is the ability of the novel to look past its intended audience, reach out and grab any reader. Adult novels tend...moreThe mark of a good Young-Adult novel is the ability of the novel to look past its intended audience, reach out and grab any reader. Adult novels tend to lack that "Benjamin Button" ability to reach back through generations, to a certain extent, that being the teen adolescent. Young-Adult novels have the ability to move forward and capture an audience much older than intended. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is able to do just that.
What I love most about this book is how unfilmable it really is and to film it would be an unspeakable crime. Ellen Forney's art adds a whole new dimension to the book, giving Arnold added depth, but also providing a secondary way to view the world. That visual voice caries the power and innocence that Scout's voice did in To Kill a Mockingbird. To film this book would lead to a similar fate that Watchmen suffered at the hands of Zack Snyder: less substance, more filler.
Arnold's physical struggles are easy to relate to. For instance, being nearsighted in one eye and farsighted in the other is one I happen to share. That distorted view plays symbolically against all sides: Poor vs. Wealthy, White vs. Red, Alcohol vs. Death, Leaving the Rez vs. Being Stuck on the Rez. Arnold has the ability to see through all of that, to point out the differences and the stupid nature in both sides.
Above all, Part-Time Indian plays with the theme of hope in the most organic ways I've seen yet. Despite all of the death, the cruelty, the alcoholism, and the destruction of the Native American Indian, Arnold Spirit, Jr. is the exception to the rule. The hope that even the most downtrodden can change the outcome of their fate. Of the great works that play with the theme of hope, The Shawshank Redemption ranking the highest in my book, Part-Time Indian does an equally fantastic job convincing the reader that hope is viable. Hard to attain for sure, but still viable in a world that seeks to take everything from you.
Loving books is a divine experience among readers. Love leads to favoritism, and in books that's aloud. I love this book. It sits high on a shelf with few others. In the introduction to Walter M. Miller, Jr.'s classic, A Canticle for Leibowitz Mary Doria Russell noted that the difference between Literature and Fiction is that Literature changes you. And by that mark, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian more than rightly earns its place among the literary greats.(less)
Alright, let's just forget that a graphic novel turned me into a blubbering fool for a second. This is a beautifully told story about a largely misund...moreAlright, let's just forget that a graphic novel turned me into a blubbering fool for a second. This is a beautifully told story about a largely misunderstood man, but in a way the story is as much a myth about a real man. Box Brown tells the touching story of a giant man with an even bigger heart. It's told simply, beautifully, and it's told in a way that non-wrestling fans can enjoy. This is the best book of 2014. Period.(less)
Having read a few Kroese books, there are standards you can expect: it's funny, it's smart, and it's entertaining. Starship Grifters is all of that.
Re...moreHaving read a few Kroese books, there are standards you can expect: it's funny, it's smart, and it's entertaining. Starship Grifters is all of that.
Rex Nihilo, the star of the book is a wonderful blend of Han Solo and Zaphod Beeblebrox. He definitely got Zaphod's brain. His wonderful stupidity makes the book a joy to read. Even more so is his robot sidekick, S.A.S.H.A., who shuts down for fifteen seconds whenever she has an original thought. Together the two characters go on a series of adventures that are all connected by one thing: money... well, and cloaking devices.
What Kroese really does well with this novel is play up the bureaucratic side of every shady universe, a theme familiar to his Mercury series. Here it isn't as intricate, but doesn't need to be either. It serves the plot well from place to place.
If Kroese is to be faulted for one thing it's the world building. It isn't as intricate as his other books. Part of that has to do with how plot driven the book is.
Regardless of its faults, Starship Grifters is perfect for a fan of The Hitchhiker's Guide and Sci-Fi comedies in general.(less)
This is a very well written book that fails to defend the genre. At times it felt unfocused, and at others I really didn't care. For instance, nobody...moreThis is a very well written book that fails to defend the genre. At times it felt unfocused, and at others I really didn't care. For instance, nobody cares how much it would cost to get you to stop listening to a certain album and to take up a twenty page chapter? And did we really need an analysis of the Use Your Illusion? The other part of the problem is his justification of the misogyny that metal embodied. Hey, man, it's all capitalism. I enjoyed the history, but what I don't enjoy is being told I dislike something for the wrong reasons. Good writing isn't enough to save this; especially when you glorify something like Kurt Cobain's suicide because it was genuine. It comes of as bitter, especially when he credits Nirvana for killing the genre. Also a great move comparing a dolphin's intelligence with a "fucking retard." In the end you're left with a history, and a genre unjustified.(less)
If you come to Galveston expecting something as ambitious as True Detective, you will be disappointed in that respect, but in another you will receive...moreIf you come to Galveston expecting something as ambitious as True Detective, you will be disappointed in that respect, but in another you will receive a work that is just as rich in themes.
At the heart of this neo-noir story is an ex-con caught up in a bad situation. Granted, the reasons why, which you find out later, are completely absurd, but from this absurdity comes an examination of fate, redemption, the meaning of justice; and more, about a man trying to survive. In the words of Omar Little from The Wire "A man's got to have a code." With Roy, our protagonist, he has just that, and as the story moves forward, he becomes a good guy that's done bad things.
While the thematic elements are their, the plotting isn't. Instead Pizzolatto uses the berth of the novel to explore themes. The ending is shaky, even the latter quarter of the novel is a bit rough, but it's still a wonderful story and well worth the read.(less)
I really had no clue what to expect when I picked this up - a recommendation and tribute for a friend. What I got was a novel that I don't think will...moreI really had no clue what to expect when I picked this up - a recommendation and tribute for a friend. What I got was a novel that I don't think will ever leave me.
My exposure to Pet Sematary prior to the book is the film adaptation. Quite frankly, the film isn't even qualified to hold the books dick while it peed. If that is the way you know of this, go back and start again.
The setting is small town in scale, and I can relate. The family is your average family. Everything seems normal. In the background always lurks the Micmac cemetery; a purely supernatural force that seems to have an agenda on its own.
The way that force invades is disturbing, particularly in the final act, which will cause you to ache with horror, dread, and sadness.
Character wise, Louis and his family are beyond average. They're compelling and completely not at the same time. Jud Crandall on the other hand may just be one of my all time favorite characters. He's rich, colorful, and feels like he's part of your family. Like your grandfather.
The end result is a beautifully constructed novel that scares the shit out of you, because it could be your family. And in a way, it's one hell of a zombie novel. Definitely to be counted among King's best.(less)
There are a few ways that unsolicited emails can go: the first is starting with the delete button, and the second is hearing the sender out. I chose t...moreThere are a few ways that unsolicited emails can go: the first is starting with the delete button, and the second is hearing the sender out. I chose the latter with Mark Speed, and was thus rewarded with Doctor How and the Illegal Aliens, a Doctor Who spin-off that is brilliant and hilarious.
Mark's take on The Doctor Who, or should I say Doctor How universe, is refreshing and sorely needed. In this tale, Doctor How feels more like a member of the Men in Black as opposed to a time traveler. He does monitor alien life on Earth, all the while dispelling the Doctor Who universe, showing the audience how the real Doctor handles things. Along with his sidekick, Kevin, the Doctor seek to save the Earth from... aliens.
What's nice about this Doctor is how he's not a cardboard cut out of the Doctor we're used to. He's quirky, and bitter, and a bit of a germophobe, and has a shape shifting pet name Trini. The comedy itself is diverse, ranging from a "Who's on first" kind of gag, to the style of beloved British sci-fi comedy made famous by Douglas Adams. It's that diversity in the tale that makes this tale stand out.
I highly recommend Doctor How's first full length adventure, Doctor How and the Illegal Aliens, and look forward to many more adventures from Doctor Who's quirky cousin.(less)
“Time is a slippery thing: lose hold of it once, and its string might sail out of your hands forever.”
There are numerous beautiful quotes I could hav...more“Time is a slippery thing: lose hold of it once, and its string might sail out of your hands forever.”
There are numerous beautiful quotes I could have put at the beginning of this review. Anthony Doerr is full of them, and they all do what they're supposed to do: make you think. About their meaning, their construction, their marvel. This is a book that stuns from start to stop, and it's a book I won't be able to stop thinking about for a while.
First, a confession: It bothers me when critics or publishers pad a description of this book with a tag similar to this: "are there really any stories from WWII left to tell?" My answer would be an emphatic YES! If books like Lauren Hillenbrand's Unbroken or Adam Markos' A Higher Call have taught us anything, it's that this war is a bounty of human experience, more varied than we could ever know, and too real to those that lived it in color.
Doerr's narrative is a duplicitous, split between Marie-Laure LeBlanc of France, a girl who loses her sight before the outbreak of the war, and learns to navigate the world in a precise nature in numbers. Heartbeats, seconds, steps, it is all numbers and precise movements. Her love, though, is Jules Verne and his under the sea adventure. On the other side of the coin is Werner Pfenning, a German orphan who grows up with a scientific mind, particularly for radio. Both narratives eventually meet up in Saint-Malo, France. The walled city.
Aside from the beautiful language, Doerr works with the theme of light most wonderfully of all. Marie-Laure's grandfather, in the late 30's, used to send out radio transmissions, science programs. Werner, of course, used to listen to these programs. One such program pertained to how light was interpreted and created. This of course instilled the love of radio in Werner, who often had the quoted rolling around in his mind: "open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever."
Doerr further examines how war can tear us apart from our families, and how it can shape our futures against our wills. He shows us how the future of a person can be constructed by a simple radio or a first fiction love.
This is the best novel 2014 has produced. It's stunning construction, memorable characters and themes is what all great literature should strive to be: a vehicle through which change occurs in the reader.(less)