Being a lover of The Extra Man, I expected to find this book to be an enjoyable romp through Ames' writerly and (mostly odd) erotic world. I was disap...moreBeing a lover of The Extra Man, I expected to find this book to be an enjoyable romp through Ames' writerly and (mostly odd) erotic world. I was disappointed. The first few stories were entertaining, but as I read on the stories soon turned to repetitive mush. I can handle a hefty share of raunch, but to me Ames' style didn't portray it appealingly. I know that many of his anecdotes aren't meant to be appealing (crabs, crack, manginas, etc.), but the least he could aim for was to make these antics a bit more endearing. It was all just a bit too much, and it all seemed a bit too forced. It produced a chuckle every now and then, but that's about it.
The stories compiled here are taken from his newspaper column, and I could see how they'd be more successful in that format - spaced out with many days between them. Now that I think about it, I wish I had read each story on a bi-weekly basis as if it were still being published in a paper. Perhaps I would have liked it better.
I think from now on I'll stick to Jonathan Ames' fiction and leave the rest for him to enjoy on his own. (less)
Perhaps it's just because I'm a redhead, but I found Still Life with Woodpecker to be a positively irresistible beauty of a book.
The book itself arri...morePerhaps it's just because I'm a redhead, but I found Still Life with Woodpecker to be a positively irresistible beauty of a book.
The book itself arrived at my doorstep after a month-long journey from Denver to Toronto. I didn't know if was on its way to me, and the mystery of why it took so long to get here is a mystery almost as great as the mystery of how to make love stay. My friend in Colorado bought it for me at a used book sale for 25 cents and the cover had been torn off. Along with the book she sent a note: "It's my favorite book. It has redheads in it."
The story is part romance, part sci-fi, part porno, part comedy, part action/thriller, part philosophy, and, really, part everything rolled into one. It's totally possible that if Leigh-Cheri had been a brunette (or a blonde), I wouldn't have been quite so taken with it. After all, it is a bit crass and ridiculous. It does have lots beyond that, though. Amongst all the ha-has and wink-winks, true resonance and profundity lurk.
If you wish to know the meaning of the moon, the inner workings of lasting love, the purpose of pyramids, or even the origins of the design on a pack of Camel cigarettes, look no further - Tom Robbins will oblige. (less)
Reading this fragmented novel is a sweet and sorrowful pleasure. It takes a little getting used to because of its incompleteness and general sense of...moreReading this fragmented novel is a sweet and sorrowful pleasure. It takes a little getting used to because of its incompleteness and general sense of disarray, but once you start to connect (and disconnect) the characters from the scattered note cards, you're presented with a building narrative that's rich in Nabokov's familiar themes. Oh, how I wish it had been completed! But, also, how glad I am that it wasn't - that readers have a chance to see the intimate details of Nabokov's way of creating.
The book may seem long when you take a first glance at its outside appearance, but I read the bulk of it while enjoying a leisurely breakfast and (somewhat large) cup of tea. Each page has, at the most, a paragraph comprised of about four or five sentences laid out on the page underneath a photocopy of the original index card on which the author wrote. The back of each page contains no words, but instead a copy of the reverse side of the index card.
It is also worth mentioning that the introduction by Nabokov's son, Dmitri, is also an intimate portrait of the author that may not ever have been divulged if the note cards had been destroyed as Nabokov had wished. Dmitri gives us a glimpse into the last days of his father, a glimpse of his habits, his illness, and his family relationships.
Sorry, my dear Vladimir, but I am so grateful to your son for defying your wishes. (less)
Oftentimes when I pick up a book of non-fiction, I'm filled with a mixed feeling of dread and excitement. Because I'm picking up the book in the first...moreOftentimes when I pick up a book of non-fiction, I'm filled with a mixed feeling of dread and excitement. Because I'm picking up the book in the first place, I'm obviously excited to read it and learn about the particular subject. On the other hand, I dread the very plausible and unsavory potential of the book: an interesting subject which has been somehow written into a book that is an utter bore. Luckily, this book turned out to be worth the excitement and not a let-down in the least.
Milgrom's book is a well-arranged collection of taxidermy lore and modern workings. She blends the museum, commercial, eccentric, artsy, novice, and personal worlds of taxidermy throughout the book, leaving the reader feeling as if they have gained a well-rounded knowledge of the subject. I found her style to be quite similar to that of Mary Roach in her book Stiff; a voice of a woman with immense curiosity, humor, and a somewhat cringing courage to learn everything she can about a subject that most would rather avoid. There are some aspects of the book that I found to be a little lacking, however, and I would really prefer to rate the book as 4.5 instead of 5. Some detail on non-taxidermy references was a bit patronizing, and there were a peculiarly frequent amount of sentences ended with exclamation points. Certainly there are some chapters that I found to be much more compelling than others, but mostly Milgrom kept me interested in all the intricacies of the craft that she chose to elaborate on.
You can tell from reading it that the author really devoted herself to her subject, and went to great lengths to portray a complete portrait of the taxidermy world, both past and present, orthodox and unorthodox. The titles claims that it is a book of adventures, and it most certainly is. (less)