Fans are up in arms over the ending of this book. I don't want to spill spoilers, but I felt the ending was within the bounds of the world Roth had cr...moreFans are up in arms over the ending of this book. I don't want to spill spoilers, but I felt the ending was within the bounds of the world Roth had created, in the sense that such crimes against humanity would carry serious consequences. Although the fan outrage is interesting because Tris's choices toward the end of the book reflect her Abnegation origin. If the crux of the Divergent series is that fragmenting personalities into factions is a perversion of human nature, and that balance and moderation lead to healthier minds and healthier communities, then perhaps the negative fan reaction stems from a feeling that Tris's nature still felt unbalanced at the end?
To venture a no-doubt-flawed philosophical observation, our modern culture is probably least comfortable with the concept of Abnegation, relative to Dauntless, Candor, Erudite, and Amity, which all have much more overt rewards. I'm intrigued that such a popular YA novel had Abnegation front and center in its narrative as a value to strive for. Kind of cool in the grand scheme of things. (less)
Very beautiful. I'll have to mull this one over for a while for its many layers of meaning. I certainly had to take my time reading it, largely becaus...moreVery beautiful. I'll have to mull this one over for a while for its many layers of meaning. I certainly had to take my time reading it, largely because I often found myself crying quietly on the bus as I read it on along my commute, and one just isn't always in the mood to cry quietly on the bus. McCann's style creates an almost meditative reading experience, and the cry moments sneak up on you!(less)
I felt so gleeful as I began this. The book's premise and genre intrigued me in a way The Casual Vacancy did not (I suppose I'll read TCV...someday),...moreI felt so gleeful as I began this. The book's premise and genre intrigued me in a way The Casual Vacancy did not (I suppose I'll read TCV...someday), and the opening chapters delivered some moments that reminded me of Rowling's skillful character building and wry humor. I think I actually chortled aloud with happiness to be back in her imagination. Cormoran Strike appeared to me as a young Mad-Eye Moody.
This is a straight-up genre mystery. I'm fascinated that J.K. wanted to try her hand at writing one, and I'd love to know what hardboiled detective novels she's read over the years. Cormoran is a great character, but what stands out here, appropriately, is plot, plot, plot. The middle of the book bogs down a bit under the weight of so many details, and may try the patience of readers not interested in detective procedural work, but the ending was definitely surprising and satisfying.
Will there be more Cormoran Strike books? Goodreads librarians have marked this book as #1 of a series, but I'm not sure if that's just optimism. Having gotten her masterpiece off her chest, it seems Rowling is now just enjoying experimentation and storytelling. I hope she tries a Western or a romance or a science fiction thriller next!(less)
I can't remember the last time I felt fear, honest-to-goodness, throat-clenching fear, while reading a book. Actually cringing away from the page, or...moreI can't remember the last time I felt fear, honest-to-goodness, throat-clenching fear, while reading a book. Actually cringing away from the page, or covering up an adjacent page, because I didn't want it to taint me too quickly. And yet nothing could have stopped me from turning pages, and now I'm sad that it's over. Explain that! I am admittedly a wuss - I stay away from horror films as a rule. What this book brings to life is how crazy scary an idea can be. You don't need carnage or gore or monsters. Just an idea. Or an unknown. Our minds often play far more twisted tricks than anything we encounter in life.
Some status updates I thought of writing, but couldn't tear myself away from the book to write: p. 464: Don't go down there. Oh man, you're going down there. p. 476: Omgomgomg, this is Messed. Up. p. 527: Dude, finally. Yes, yes you are!!!!!!!!!
I'm taking the five-star plunge with Night Film. This book took some serious skill - the intricate plotting, the careful pacing, the character building. I cared about the narrator so quickly and enjoyed his voice so much, that I was annoyed when his sidekicks showed up. But then you come to care about the sidekicks, too. They are a wonderful little posse.
What will be the next pandemic? The next HIV, deadly influenza, or something worse that we can barely imagine? David Quammen convincingly argues that...moreWhat will be the next pandemic? The next HIV, deadly influenza, or something worse that we can barely imagine? David Quammen convincingly argues that the greatest bugaboo for the human race should be a zoonosis, an infectious disease that spills over from an animal population into humans. He travels around the world and talks to scientists who have worked in the virus-riddled trenches of HIV, malaria, Ebola, SARS, and an ever-growing list of other nasties with shocking fatality rates.
Particularly interesting is Quammen's notion that the historical rate of human population growth is itself an outbreak. We've proliferated like mad - at a speed unprecedented for a large mammal species. And what scientists know about outbreaks is that they always come to an end... While layman accessible, this detailed and hefty book takes perseverance, but it's well worth it for the amount of information you'll get in return.
I'm going to go wash my hands now. And stay the heck away from bats. It's always bats! (less)
This book must be so satisfying for any novelist who has ever been asked, "So what was truth and what was fiction?" Kris Jansma is clearly having so m...moreThis book must be so satisfying for any novelist who has ever been asked, "So what was truth and what was fiction?" Kris Jansma is clearly having so much fun playing with storytelling as his unnamed and unabashedly unreliable narrator baldly lies his way around the globe, trying on new identities at every stop. The fun is infectious, even though the characters are often quite miserable. In one chapter there is a novel within a story within the novel. Or something like that. After a while, you'll stop worrying about what's true and false and let the storytelling wash over you, because something honest can be discovered within a lie. While flexing his writerly muscles, Jansma manages to keep the heart and truth of his antihero in the same place as a parade of made-up names and settings marches by.
An exercise in meta and loaded with literary references, this book is a reader and writer's playground, but the message extends far beyond bookish folks. As we tell the stories of our own lives -- even if just to ourselves -- how many lies do we tell?(less)