I haven't fallen in love with a book so hard since I first read the Lord of the Rings trilogy in middle school (at the apex of my dorkitude). All of t...moreI haven't fallen in love with a book so hard since I first read the Lord of the Rings trilogy in middle school (at the apex of my dorkitude). All of the characters were really great, well-fleshed out and unique. I have much love for Smyke, the fourteen-armed obese effete Shark Grub, and Urs, the little foodie Wolperting! There's also a funny little character who is basically a lobster / chicken with a funnel for a hat and a barrel for a body. And soulless death machines, and living fog, etc. The plot meanders a bit until about halfway through, when the adventures really start to pick up. The last third of the novel was so tense and harrowing that I only paused reading to go to the bathroom, or to stop my soup from boiling over.
I usually hate it when people describe books and movies using only other books and movies, because I think it's lazy. That said, I do think an efficient way to describe this is: Lord of the Rings epic battles with a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy sense of whimsy, and a little dash of J.K. Rowling for sweetness.
NOTE: though one might get the impression that this is a kid's novel, featuring animal creatures as protagonists and all - it is definitely NOT, and also not a novel for those sensitive to violence. Though I absolutely adore this book, I am not entirely sure I would go rush out to see a movie based on it! Leave it to Germans to think of the most creative torture scenes...(less)
Walter Moers is an impressively creative author. I would love to live in a world with treacherous sugar deserts and other geographical formations, whe...moreWalter Moers is an impressively creative author. I would love to live in a world with treacherous sugar deserts and other geographical formations, where vampires are mere pests that feed off bad smells and noises, where old people live in a tornado, and where you can conduct cinematic dreams in a giant's brain! I can't think of anything I've read that can rival the creativity exhibited in Moers' books - maybe Lord of the Rings comes closest, or perhaps One Hundred Years of Solitude. But even Tolkien borrowed heavily from Norse mythology, and as far as I know, Moers' source for most of his creations is his own bizarre, demented mind! He is especially good at crafting lovingly intricate, mouthwatering descriptions of food. Mmm...those dumplings. Where was I? Right, the review. I might rate this slightly less than one of Moers' other books, Rumo and His Miraculous Adventures, if only because the story is much stronger and more cohesive in Rumo. And this book probably isn't for everyone, judging by the mixed reviews here on Goodreads. It's not so much a novel as a collection of stories starring Bluebear, interspersed with encyclopedic entries about this madly fantastic world Moers has created. As such, it doesn't really have much of a plot.
If you are looking for an epic adventure, I'd recommend you read Rumo instead. If you're just looking to escape in a world about a billion times better (and tastier) than our own, definitely pick up this book!(less)
I read this over the course of...a month? Maybe two months? Right before bed, and it served its purpose, which was to be interesting enough to read fo...moreI read this over the course of...a month? Maybe two months? Right before bed, and it served its purpose, which was to be interesting enough to read for a few pages, but not so interesting that it would keep me awake and turning pages. (less)
Like some previous reviewers, I found that I enjoyed this even more than Kitchen Confidential. It's a behind the scenes glimpse into his thoughts when...moreLike some previous reviewers, I found that I enjoyed this even more than Kitchen Confidential. It's a behind the scenes glimpse into his thoughts when filming episodes for the Food Network, as they sent him around the world. I really appreciated his honesty, and though he obviously maintains a certain amount of bravado on his show, which involves eating things like still-beating cobra heart and warthog anus with a smile...here he'll admit when he wants to eschew the jungle sticks and go for a pampered hot bath in a hotel sometimes. Who wouldn't?
There is, amidst the many f-bombs and epicurean binges, a surprising amount of thoughtful reflection on places like Vietnam and Cambodia - visceral revelation as to the impact of how his home country's policies affect others. Here's my favorite quote: "Once you’ve been to Cambodia, you’ll never stop wanting to beat Henry Kissinger to death with your bare hands."
This, in a foodie travel book??? Hell yeah it is, and this is why I am counting 'A Cook's Tour' among my favorites.(less)
Beautiful, just beautiful. Patti Smith tells the story of her and her forever-buddy Robert Mapplethorpe, growing together (and apart) as artists, and...moreBeautiful, just beautiful. Patti Smith tells the story of her and her forever-buddy Robert Mapplethorpe, growing together (and apart) as artists, and does it in such an eloquent and unpretentious way. Even as she mentions other renowned artists she encounters, it never seems like name dropping, probably because of her straightforward, matter-of-fact tone (won't include spoilers, but I laughed out loud at a few of these interactions with familiar names). Like other reviewers, after reading this, I do sadly regret that I was born too late to be a half-starved idealist roaming around NYC in the 60's, with no possessions but an unwavering devotion to art. Thankfully I don't have to tighten my belt or invent a time machine, and can live it vicariously through Patti's words. (less)
An interesting premise bogged down by the epic soap drama of self-indulgent characters, alternately as dull as toast (Anna, Spence, basically everyone...moreAn interesting premise bogged down by the epic soap drama of self-indulgent characters, alternately as dull as toast (Anna, Spence, basically everyone) or so incredibly annoying that I had to put the book down (Ramona)! This is one of the many books out there in which the ideas dwarf the writing. (less)
Not as solid as Book One, which was sublime in its hilarious dementia. Or maybe, like another reviewer suggested, you automatically love the first Moo...moreNot as solid as Book One, which was sublime in its hilarious dementia. Or maybe, like another reviewer suggested, you automatically love the first Moomin book you read and nothing else can compare. I didn't care so much for the first story in this collection, but the others were charming as usual (especially the one in which Moomin tries to build a house). Also, "Misabel" is a fantastic name and I am totally stealing that if I ever have a daughter!(less)
This was a fun, fast read! I expected it to be a bit dated, given that it is a cyberpunk novel that came out in what was functionally the Bronze Age o...moreThis was a fun, fast read! I expected it to be a bit dated, given that it is a cyberpunk novel that came out in what was functionally the Bronze Age of the internet and all, but surprisingly it held up pretty well in most cases.
But the incredible, frenetic pace of the action scenes was bogged down by several scenes in which the characters would expound, at length, about Sumerian / Christian mythology blending with technology and viruses and blah, blah, blah...in smaller doses it would have added intellectual depth to the novel, but there were too many scenes of characters conversing just for the purpose of exposition and nothing else. Another thing that bugged was the name of the "Da5id" character - how do you pronounce that?! Why not just call him either "David" or "5." How effing annoying would that be to have to say his name out loud?
Minor cavils notwithstanding, the first and last part of the novel (the "bread" if you will) are really entertaining. (less)