Someone really enjoyed their engineering degree. And fart jokes. Don't get me wrong-- I love fart jokes. I struggled through the jargon (surely very eSomeone really enjoyed their engineering degree. And fart jokes. Don't get me wrong-- I love fart jokes. I struggled through the jargon (surely very exciting for some). Maybe I shouldn't be surprised that a man picked for long-distance space travel wouldn't write very emotionally after being stranded on Mars, but his happy-go-lucky narration was tiresome. I related more closely with Venkat. ...more
Coming of age story against the backdrop of astronomical apocalypse? Yes please! The narrator starts growing up faster as the world begins to spin sloComing of age story against the backdrop of astronomical apocalypse? Yes please! The narrator starts growing up faster as the world begins to spin slower-- just a little at first, but soon that small change wreaks havoc. Walker spent time with astrophysicists to make sure she got the (theoretical) details mostly right, so this doesn't come off as science fiction. At one point, people must choose whether they will get up with the sun and go to bed with the moon (even if the days are now 60 hours long) or stay with the traditional 24 hour clock. This split gets violent, and we see what happens to our bodies and minds when the circadian rhythm is demolished.
Before this book, I had read The End of Night (nonfiction about light pollution and the right to clear skies) and after it I read Sleep Donation (a novella about a nationwide insomnia epidemic.) I'd suggest all three, read in a row, to really make you nervous before you go to bed.
Age of Miracles read like a less maudlin Virgin Suicides and a much scarier Forever. I can't wait for Walker to write some more....more
I really wanted to like this on the recommendation of the entire internet, but the dialogue was embarrassing. It sounded like the journal entries I wrI really wanted to like this on the recommendation of the entire internet, but the dialogue was embarrassing. It sounded like the journal entries I wrote as a teen that I sincerely believed would be compiled and published after I got famous for my big-word-using abilities. It's pompous, navel-gazing and just really not that smart. I got tired of reading it, but finished so I could write a review.
When I was younger I read a bunch of those weird young-girl-dying-of-cancer books, passed down to me from my sister. Looking back, they are like romance novels in their formulaic structure, and nothing ever really changes. I guess Green was trying to build a better mousetrap, but it's all the same. At least in the cheesy 80s Dying Girl genre, the teenagers talked like teenagers.
The only parts that were genuine tearjerkers were the scenes with her parents. Pretty much all the parents' dialogue is lovely and believable, and I'd rather have read a whole book about that relationship.
I don't know why exactly it bothered me so much, but every literary reference was so common I thought maybe Green was getting some bucks from the SAT test prep industry. If the teens were going to be so much more high-minded than every other person on the planet, through in some slightly more interesting pieces. This was only what would have been on a 10th grade English syllabus, and Hazel is supposed to be extremely well-read and above the popular fray.
This was annoying in the same way Ready Player One was. It relied on feeding the audience bits of literary/pop culture references and congratulating itself on simply reminding the reader of something. Not creating anything, just curating. And what a boring collection.
[NOTE: I read YA fiction and still children's fiction as well. My beef isn't that "teenagers are annoying when they speak", but that these don't sound like teenagers. They don't sound like anyone, except perhaps John Green.]...more
It was tough starting out as the author really wanted everyone to know how deep and well-traveled he was, but it came out sounding like that obnoxiousIt was tough starting out as the author really wanted everyone to know how deep and well-traveled he was, but it came out sounding like that obnoxious acquaintance who starts every story with, "When I was backpacking through Europe..." or any sophomore year Philosophy major. I almost stopped reading in the 2nd chapter, but was loving the historical facts about artificial light. Every once in a while he would revert back into purple prose and sentences that began, "I imagine..." but then we'd hear from an expert and things would sizzle again.
It was an easy read for the layperson and a great introduction to light pollution. I've got a variety of arguments about why that topic is important, and I had no idea before I started. I want to read all the source books, and I want a telescope (unfortunately, San Jose, or any city, it a terrible place for star-gazing.)
In the dozens of experts he met with and writes about in this book, only one was female. There was another woman mentioned, but she was a citizen on the island he was visiting (Tark). I've been told that astronomy is one of the STEM fields rife with women, and yet he couldn't seem to find any. Every time he brought in a new scientist or founder of an activist organization, men, men, men. It was a super bummer.
I'd read it again, maybe after I cross out all the junk about his own pondering of the universe (seriously, you'll want to scream at the book). ...more
Honestly, I can't rate a book I didn't finish, and I didn't even get through the 2nd chapter of this one. I was looking for harder science and mind-blHonestly, I can't rate a book I didn't finish, and I didn't even get through the 2nd chapter of this one. I was looking for harder science and mind-blowing connections between brain and music, but this just seemed touchy-feeling and devoid of hard facts. I would read a whole page then wonder, "What did I read? What was the content?"...more
This was wonderful-- not as laugh-out-loud funny as "Gulp", but still quite a lot of poop jokes. It made me even more interested in space travel evenThis was wonderful-- not as laugh-out-loud funny as "Gulp", but still quite a lot of poop jokes. It made me even more interested in space travel even as it made me less interested in being the person traveling. I want to read about astronauts so much more now that I understand they were just people. Roach is a great gateway drug to subjects you'd never think you'd read about too much....more
I finished reading this for the second time only a few minutes ago. I re-read the prologue several times, not wanting it to end, and came to the interI finished reading this for the second time only a few minutes ago. I re-read the prologue several times, not wanting it to end, and came to the internet to find other people who loved the book. Until I can physically hand my copy to a friend wanting to borrow it, I'm going to feel a little bereft.
My best friend lent me a copy in junior high, the first time I read it. At that point, I was reading mostly for plot and things to talk about for coolness factors. Yes, I thought it was great then, but the second read, more than 10 years later, was one of the richest reading experiences I have ever had.
It is only a "book about rabbits" if you want to look at it shallowly, and can only be called that if Animal Farm was a "book about animal husbandry". If you were on eye level with the characters in this book, you wouldn't smirk at them as bunnies. It's a book about what constitutes a society, and what actions can be justified to keep it safe. The characters travel through several different complex communities, each with its own system of law and cultural life. They just all happen to be rabbits.
If you secretly loved the "dust" and "turtle" chapters of The Grapes of Wrath (but wouldn't admit it in middle school) you will love this. The care given to the ground-level descriptions of weather and flora are so gorgeous they made me slow down, even as I could feel the tension of the plot getting tighter. Much care is given to Lapine idioms and etymology of names, so that they are unique to rabbits but not cutesy.
This is a frame story, with the rabbits telling tales of El-ahrairah, the "Prince with a Thousand Enemies" for entertainment and to reinforce the importance of trickery among rabbits. They're damn good folk tales, some supposedly inspired by Br'er Rabbit, and don't slow the plot down no matter where they are placed. Pay attention to these stories! They are wonderful and necessary for full enjoyment.
If a book can make me feel like a rabbit, then another book could help me feel like anyone in the world. This one makes me want to go find more. The best book makes you want to read another one.
Note: this is not a children's book, though I am sure there are children who are up to reading it. It has a lot of violence, non-glorified but detailed and upsetting. I'd suggest either reading it aloud, or reading it first so you can talk to them about it....more
Beautifully crafted until Harington writes himself into the last third of the book. Skip that last section, and it's amazing. Multiple narrators, age-Beautifully crafted until Harington writes himself into the last third of the book. Skip that last section, and it's amazing. Multiple narrators, age-regression hypnosis, story in verse....more