3.5 Stars Total: 4 Stars for Concept 3 Stars for Execution
I loved the idea of this book- that characters in a story have a life of their own once the bo3.5 Stars Total: 4 Stars for Concept 3 Stars for Execution
I loved the idea of this book- that characters in a story have a life of their own once the book is closed. It's a similar concept to one of my favorite books/series- Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. Perhaps because of that, I expected more from this book. Don't get me wrong, it's a good book. I just wouldn't call it a great book.
While reading Ink Heart I wished I could read the story within the story. However, Ink Heart itself did not suffer for not including it. It didn't feel like it was missing something. It's simply that the Ink Heart world Funke created was so great, that as a reader you wanted more of it-you wanted to read "the source" of that world. In Between the Lines, the reader is able to read most of the base story. However, I found myself nearly tempted to skip these parts and wished for more of the character/story development outside of the base fairytale. Unlike Ink Heart, Between the Lines did feel like it was missing something for not including more of this part of the story.
Between the Lines also seemed targeted at a younger audience than its stated YA classification. I know the base story is supposed to be a children's fairytale, but the whole book felt closer to a kid's book than a young adult novel.
I feel like this review is mostly negative. Again, it wasn't a bad book. It just wasn't the well-developed book I've come to expect from Picoult nor did it read as an engrossing young adult book. Still, it was a simple-fun-adventure. And the silhouette drawings were a unique touch.
Another reason I was drawn to this book was because Jodi Picoult and her daughter, Samantha VanLeer wrote it together. As my mother and I are working on a joint project, I was curious to see if as a reader you could tell where one author left off and another began. Thus, for me, the book came with the added bonus of Picoult's introduction in which she discusses the actual process of writing the book with VanLeer.
Favorite quotes from the book:
"Just because it's fiction doesn't mean it's any less true." ~Oliver
"He understood, in that crystalline instant, that courage wasn’t something you were bequeathed at birth, and it wasn’t a lack of fright. It was overcoming your fear, because the ones you love mattered more." ~Referring to Oliver in the book
"This was why there was music, he realized. There were some feelings that just didn’t have words big enough to describe them."
"The act of reading is a partnership. The author builds a house, but the reader makes it a home." ~Jessamyn Jacobs
"...Without even trying, Oliver makes me feel like a princess." ~Delilah
"I’ve never been in love, but I’ve always imagined it—weirdly—like some sort of OxiClean commercial. The TV host shows a scene from an ordinary day, and then takes a big old sponge soaked in love and swipes away the stains. Suddenly that same scene is missing all the mistakes, all the loneliness. The colors are like jewels, ten times richer than they were before. The music is louder and clearer. Love, the host will say, makes life a little brighter." ~Delilah
"No one ever asks a kid for her opinion, but it seems to me that growing up means you stop hoping for the best, and start expecting the worst. So how do you tell an adult that maybe everything wrong in the world stems from the fact that she’s stopped believing the impossible can happen?" ~Delilah...more
I got this book from the Chautauqua Library bag sale in July 2014. I hesitated to add it to my Chautauqua shelf as it is not typical of their recommenI got this book from the Chautauqua Library bag sale in July 2014. I hesitated to add it to my Chautauqua shelf as it is not typical of their recommendations. It is the first book in the Anita Blake series that I've read. In fact, it is the first Laurell K. Hamilton I've read. And it does not leave a strong first impression in terms of writing ability. If this were the first book pitched in the series, I don't think it would have been published. In fact, I think it is only because the series is so well established that this book slipped through the cracks. It feels like an inkling of an idea with underdeveloped characters and interactions. Why did I keep reading and give it three stars? The book was an easy read and felt compulsory. I finished it in a little over 24 hours. This probably has more to do with my current state of mind than with the actual merits of the book, but a book is never read in a vacuum. If you need a book that will require minimal thought and remove you from your own world, than this is it. And the plot does pick up in the second half.
If you start with this book, as I have done, you will feel plunked down in the middle of the series. However, Hamilton gives just enough information to connect the dots of this other-world she has created. While I was reading, I wondered if this would be annoying to faithful readers of the series. I know that I have read many series where I started to get annoyed by the recap - I wanted a new book, not a rehash of the ones I'd already read. Looking at other reviews, this does seem to be the case here, so patrons of the series, be warned.
Hamilton provides an Afterword in which she describes her writing method and the inspiration for this book. The glimpse into her creative process is interesting, as is the exploration into various view points that is included. However, the moment that sparked this book is just that, a moment. Within the book itself, it does not feel full enough to support a complete novel. It works much better as an anecdote or the comic included in the last pages.
Overall, would I recommend the book? It's a bit like a cheap wine cooler. The quality isn't there, but it's not necessarily trying for it. Instead it offers a brief escape with some fun flavors. ...more
As far as memoirs go, this is an odd one. Most of the book is imagined. That's not to say that it isn't based on fact, it is. But the mass portion isAs far as memoirs go, this is an odd one. Most of the book is imagined. That's not to say that it isn't based on fact, it is. But the mass portion is of imagined details that the narrator admittedly couldn't know. Why would a man take the time to write a memoir focusing mostly on someone else's life? Since we cannot know if any of the detailed life Maxwell writes about is accurate, this seems a more pertinent question than analyzing the actions of these peAs far as memoirs go, this is an odd one. Most of the book is imagined. That's not to say that it isn't based on fact, it is. But the mass portion is of imagined details that the narrator admittedly couldn't know. Why would a man take the time to write a memoir focusing mostly on someone else's life? Since we cannot know if any of the detailed life Maxwell writes about is accurate, this seems at least as pertinent a question as analyzing the actions of the people. The answer must lie in the few details Maxwell provides of his own life. That leaves us with a young boy that loses his mother early and later passes a boy from his past without acknowledging him. The relation of these two items and how Maxwell as an adult handles his sense of loss and loyalty is what the reader is left with.
This memoir was recommended by another author, Elizabeth Scarboro. For anyone interested in memoirs or alternate narratives, this is a good book. It is a quick, easy read and its unique writing style, following families and even a dog outside of the narrator's immediate scope, is worth the small time commitment. ople....more
4.75 - I'm not usually drawn to tragic books or books about illness. I am living with chronic illness myself and therefore get enough of these things4.75 - I'm not usually drawn to tragic books or books about illness. I am living with chronic illness myself and therefore get enough of these things in my own life. However, this book, and more specifically, this author, are being awarded a literary award at Chautauqua Institute this week and I wanted to read the book before I heard the author speak.
As someone with chronic illness, I am glad that I read the book. As Scarboro briefly mentions in the book, my experience with this illness and my husband's experience with this illness are uniquely ours and we cannot truly know how the other person is thinking or feeling. However, reading this life written by the "well-spouse" allows me a small window into that perspective.
As I quickly read the book in order to finish it before the award presentation, I had this strange feeling of rushing through Elizabeth's and Stephen's lives. However, I don't think this was just to do with my few-day-read. Elizabeth's and Stephen's lives were short together (and his in general). They rushed from one moment and one adventure to the next. Acutely aware that their lives were time-limited, they didn't want to let a moment pass unfilled. Elizabeth's prose were often clipped, jumping between people and places, immersing the reader in this feeling that there isn't time for full sentences and unnecessary words. As much as it's possible to share her experience with the readers, she has done so. When she emerges on the other side, she has to discover herself without Stephen and how this experience will shape her. The reader, is likewise, left to reflect on what this glimpse into Elizabeth's and Stephen's lives will mean to him/her....more
This book is being reviewed at Chautauqua this year. It has a great prose style and the sample touched on many of my innate yearnings and questions. AThis book is being reviewed at Chautauqua this year. It has a great prose style and the sample touched on many of my innate yearnings and questions. As someone who has tried to maintain a sense of Christianity while searching beyond its religious borders, into other faiths and spiritual practices, in order to compensate for what I find lacking within its religious dogma and to feed that deep need within myself, I am very intrigued to explore this book more.
The woman who chose to review this book at Chautauqua changed her mind and instead reviewed a different book. This is really a book that is great for discussion but on its own didn't offer enough appeal to keep me reading....more
Sarah Addison Allen writes magical realism better than anyone else I have read. There is something so refreshing about the intricacies of life revealiSarah Addison Allen writes magical realism better than anyone else I have read. There is something so refreshing about the intricacies of life revealing themselves in physical ways. I think we as humans innately yearn for such explanations. In the past, these stories would have been referred to as folk stories. Now, they are just a beautiful way to feel the meaningful unseen together. If this sounds deep, in some ways it is. The characters in Allen's books are always striving to overcome some very real calamity of modern day life. However, like a fairy tale, Allen's writing is delightfully entertaining. What could be heavy topics and dire prose, are light and enjoyable. Lost Lake certainly doesn't disappoint in this regard. Her fun multi-faceted characters traverse life on pages that could contain a predictable plot but instead is a compulsory read. The novelty is not in twists and turns of story-line but in rocks that express a soul's grief and alligators that speak to little girls. More please....more
This is truly a book-lover's mystery. There is a little something missing in the evolution of the characters that keeps it from meriting five stars. HThis is truly a book-lover's mystery. There is a little something missing in the evolution of the characters that keeps it from meriting five stars. However, it is still toward the top of my list of suggestions for people who love mysteries about books. The multi-layered obscurities unfold across countries and centuries. If you want to be introduced to Shakespeare and his process, compare book sellers in the 17th century with those in the 20th, and discover the ways in which book preservation and forgery can change the world, all while being surrounded by ghosts, catacombs, libraries, guns, cathedrals, and grave-robbings, then this is the book for you. Grab a cuppa and enjoy....more
This book contains a little bit of a mystery and a lot of history that's woven through a time traveling tale. It incorporates actual newspa3.75 Rating
This book contains a little bit of a mystery and a lot of history that's woven through a time traveling tale. It incorporates actual newspaper articles, photographs, and sketches of the time period. Part of the reason this book isn't a full 4 stars for me, is that instead of feeling seamless, the book draws attention to these elements which then feel inserted. I also believe the narrative could have supported a deeper mystery than the one that is peppered onto its pages. The beginning of the novel is driven by the idea of time travel and was a definite page turner. It became less compulsory as the story progressed, but the unique facts about the vivid 19th century New York City it portrays stuck with me and kept me returning. It is not the story I was expecting, but it is still one I would recommend....more
I am hesitant to read books that are hailed as tragic. I often feel I deal with enough of that in my own life, I don't want it in my books, which areI am hesitant to read books that are hailed as tragic. I often feel I deal with enough of that in my own life, I don't want it in my books, which are my escape. However, A Prayer for Owen Meany is also hailed as one of the best comedies. I hail it truly is a dark comedy worth the read. Some parts did bring me to tears, but most of them, after the fact, I also found myself laughing at or through.
I enjoyed the first 3/4 of the book better than the final segment. During the first section, I found the book especially hard to put down. A lot of the story is dedicated to when Owen and John are 10 and 11. It is hard to imagine that over 200 pages could be devoted to such a short period in young boys' lives without losing its entertaining quality, but this was definitely a romping good time and my favorite part of the book. There are so many comical scenes and the factual tidbits I picked up about New Hampshire and Canada were great.
Overall, I really enjoyed A Prayer for Owen Meany and Irving's style. Irving's disclosing of information through transient time periods and the trickling of details was well planned and enjoyable. There were some inconsistencies in the book that gnawed at me. These in no way affected the plot of the story, just my slightly OCD personality. I also felt there was a lag before the final revelation that could have used some editing. I would have preferred less recalling of the previous events and details and some of the information and events seemed unnecessary. I went from dreading getting to the final event to wishing Irving would just get to it.
I definitely recommend this book! If a tragedy can be fun, this is it! And I already miss Owen....more
This book had some good elements but wasn't quite the page turner that I was hoping for. It was interesting to read about fractals and then observe thThis book had some good elements but wasn't quite the page turner that I was hoping for. It was interesting to read about fractals and then observe them in my own life. However, the entire "puzzle" of the book was built around this concept and I didn't find it in-depth enough to sustain the mystery of the story through the entire book. In fact, toward the end of the book, it felt repetitive and unnecessary for the story.
I did get to hear Rosen read parts of this book aloud at Chautauqua (during my mom's and my 2012 vacation). The phrasing flowed and I think if I had listened to the audio of the book rather than read it I would have rated it 4 stars. The audio version would have allowed me not to get bogged down in some of the slower parts of the novel and would have highlighted the well-written phrases....more
I love The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe but generally lose ambition when trying to read through the rest of the series. I have listened to some ofI love The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe but generally lose ambition when trying to read through the rest of the series. I have listened to some of them on audio which was more enjoyable. ...more