This was billed as being like a modern day, classic Russian novel, and while it was certainly as heavy and depressing as any Russian novel, it lackedThis was billed as being like a modern day, classic Russian novel, and while it was certainly as heavy and depressing as any Russian novel, it lacked the strange beauty and philosophical depth of those books. Yes, there was a striking insight here or there, a great turn of phrase, a line or two worth highlighting at least every other chapter, and the characters had some substance. However, for some reason, I just didn't find myself drawn into the book. The novel was slow plodding for me, and I think I only forced myself to stick with it because it was so well reviewed and so acclaimed. I wasn't a huge fan of all the jumping back and forth in the timeline - it pulled me out of the story and made me less attached to the characters - and there was too much hopping back and forth between narrative heads for my taste. I certainly don't mind multiple points of view, but sometimes it seemed the viewpoint switched in the space of mere paragraphs. I wanted to like this book better; the phrases that were highlight-worthy were truly fantastic, but, in the end, I have to admit that it simply wasn't my cup of tea, even if I am an odd duck for giving it less than 4 stars. ...more
I could not feel attached to the characters in this book, perhaps because they are intentionally depersonalized in order to portray a sense of what liI could not feel attached to the characters in this book, perhaps because they are intentionally depersonalized in order to portray a sense of what life was like in Mao's China. I found the story dragged at times, perhaps to intentionally replicate the waiting experience. And while these features of the novel may be literary accomplishments on some level, they do not make for a good read.
I became more interested in the book about halfway through, interested enough to read on to the resolution, but I never really cared about the characters. The novel does raise some questions about love, marriage, and family, but it never fully explores them. Though the content of the book was depressing, I didn't feel much moved by it, probably because I simply could not connect to the characters. ...more
There’s the coming of age that happens in late childhood, and the coming of age that doesn’t happen until adulthood. This book is about the second – iThere’s the coming of age that happens in late childhood, and the coming of age that doesn’t happen until adulthood. This book is about the second – it is a story of growing up to discover that one’s father is only human. It’s a story about developing an independent conscience apart from one’s family.
Go Set a Watchman is not a black and white morality play. It allows for the possibility that a person can love justice more than his own prejudices, that he can act honorably toward all while holding what progressives regard to be immoral beliefs, that noble goals may be brought about in debatable ways that have unintended negative consequences, and that true bigotry consists in an unwillingness even to engage the ideas of others.
I wanted something more from this book, and I was left with some partial confusion. The ending rang somewhat unbelievable. It happened too quickly. I was nevertheless propelled through the pages.
It’s been so long since I read To Kill a Mockingbird that I wouldn’t trust my own comparisons, but I’m left with the impression that this book was generally more nuanced, more painful….and, well, more grown-up. But the characters did not jump off the page quite as much. It was considerably less romantic (I mean romantic in the literary / idealistic sense), and the truth is that most people prefer romance to the disillusionment that precedes growth. I can see why publishers did not think it would be well received by the market and asked her to re-write it to produce To Kill a Mockingbird as we know it. ...more
The book covers the real costs associated with buying vs. renting, marriage, divorce, raising children, being a stay-at-home vs. working parent, savinThe book covers the real costs associated with buying vs. renting, marriage, divorce, raising children, being a stay-at-home vs. working parent, saving, investing, and college. Most of the advice is quite basic, and some of it I wasn’t sure about. For instance, she says you’ll get a better return, long-term, if you invest your money in the stock market rather than paying off your mortgage early. Then she ends her comparison year on the relative returns (mortgage savings vs. stock market) in 2008. Hmmmm….maybe we should draw it out to 2009 and see how that would look? She says something about how if you pay down your mortgage early, you are gambling on the price of your house going up. I don’t see how that’s relevant. Whether the price of your house goes up or down – you still owe the money you borrowed. You still have to pay it back, early or on time. She suggests marriage is costly “especially when you end up divorced.” I think a better way to phrase that is that divorce is costly, while getting married and staying married typically increases an individual’s net worth as compared to being either single or divorced. (She does talk some about the economic benefits of marriage. ) ...more
The stories were of varying quality and interest level. I think Stephen King does well not just as a horror writer, but as an author of general characThe stories were of varying quality and interest level. I think Stephen King does well not just as a horror writer, but as an author of general character-centric fiction. This was not my favorite of his collections, but a couple of stories stood out. ...more
My dyslexic 3rd grader is reading these aloud to me as part of the Hooked on Phonic Master Reader program. They don't contain the greatest writing inMy dyslexic 3rd grader is reading these aloud to me as part of the Hooked on Phonic Master Reader program. They don't contain the greatest writing in the world, but they are written in such a way that he is actually capable of tackling them, and he seems to be enjoying the reading process more than usual. The stories are decent enough, and they have a Magic Treehouse flair - siblings Jake and Mandy traveling in time in this case, instead of Jack and Annie. ...more
This is a coffee table book, suitable for reading in small chunks from time to time, although I pretty much read it in two sittings. It provides a curThis is a coffee table book, suitable for reading in small chunks from time to time, although I pretty much read it in two sittings. It provides a cursory overview of the major figures and theories in psychology, as well as some of the terminology, and is a useful selection of information for someone not deeply versed in the topic. The arrangement is attractive except those portions in which black words are printed on a bluish gray background, which can make reading slightly difficult. ...more