Neil Gaiman weaves tales of fantasy and creates worlds entirely believable, to the point that you are terrified at the prospect some of these alternat...moreNeil Gaiman weaves tales of fantasy and creates worlds entirely believable, to the point that you are terrified at the prospect some of these alternate realities might exist. He excels at creating both places of beauty and places of mystical horror - which turn out sometimes to be the same place. A good man to read to escape to another world and identify with the complex characters, but then be very glad to be back safe and sound in your own home after the tale ends.
This book is a recent collection of short stories and verse by a man who has quickly become one of my favorite authors. Like all short story collections the tone of each story/poem is very different; in one tale you might be reading a cute poem about retelling the story of Goldilocks, and in the next story one of the plot points involves a pedophile running an orphanage. But unlike other short story collections I have read, there isn't a tale in the collection that I didn't enjoy at all - of course I have favorites, but each contained a gem somewhere in it for me.
And, if you decide to read this book, make sure to check out the introduction, which is a work of art all to itself, going over the story behind the story, and making up stories inside of it all. Just read it...you'll understand what I'm talking about.
Not quite what I was expecting, but I still enjoyed it. I was expecting a straight forward walk through the people and places behind these age old rhy...moreNot quite what I was expecting, but I still enjoyed it. I was expecting a straight forward walk through the people and places behind these age old rhymes. What I got was a mad romp through English history as Eddie Izzard might present it. The author might start off with an explanation of the rhyme, but eventually he will end up in a rant about European historical characters that are only marginally related to the rhyme. His humor is so off-the-beaten-path that the American publishers decided to add a glossary for British slang and pop references.
I enjoyed the book, however, and I was exposed to much European history that I probably never would have heard otherwise. I would recommend the book to any history lover, along with anyone who wants to learn a thing or two about the seamy lives of British aristocracy -- and anyone who also has a healthy amount of ADD.(less)
This book serves the double purpose of action and information. If you are looking to do some knitting work for a charity this book will give you a var...moreThis book serves the double purpose of action and information. If you are looking to do some knitting work for a charity this book will give you a variety of options to choose which suits your need. This book supplies you with patterns and instructions for knitted donations as well as hooking you up with a website and contact information. It's also just a great read if you are looking for an uplifting look at how people are helping others through knitting, now and in the past.
There is always the danger of being outdated quickly in print form (since charities come and go), but I just went through all the charities listed, looking to "like" them on Facebook. While not every charity had a Facebook Page, I was only able to find one charity from the book that didn't look like it was operating any more -- and I certainly don't regret reading the touching tale.
While I'm sure people who don't knit will not find this book as fascinating as I did, I would recommended it to any knitter (and most of the charities have crochet options, too).(less)
I picked up this book at random from the large collection of Agatha Christie stories at the library. It has been so long since I read any of her myste...moreI picked up this book at random from the large collection of Agatha Christie stories at the library. It has been so long since I read any of her mystery stories I didn't mind reading any of them a second time. I quickly realized, however, that this collection contains mostly stories that are unusual for Christie. The first part of the book features hardly a death and is mostly made up of kitschy love stories -- although, by no means poorly written and enjoyable enough for light reading. Then stories of the supernatural take over. The last half of the book is comprised of classic ghost stories, with the perfect balance of dark and light. These are very contrasting genres to stick together in one book, romantic fiction and supernatural horror, which will probably irritate most readers, but the plots are solid so perhaps this gives the reader an opportunity to expand their reading base.(less)
Although my interest in the series waned in the middle, this final book really pulls it altogether. Frankly, I didn't think Rowling would be a talente...moreAlthough my interest in the series waned in the middle, this final book really pulls it altogether. Frankly, I didn't think Rowling would be a talented enough writer to take all the little details scattered throughout the series and pull them together, but she does so in surprising ways. I got caught up in the story in a way I haven't since the third book.
I had put off reading the last one, simply because I was sick of Pottermania. However, I am glad I came back to it -- a good send off.(less)
A collection of fantasy/horror stories by Jack London? This was my first thought after discovering this on the shelves of the library. As I found out...moreA collection of fantasy/horror stories by Jack London? This was my first thought after discovering this on the shelves of the library. As I found out later, much of London's writing is in this genre. I am a classic ghost story fan, and having enjoyed The Call of the Wild/White Fang as a child I thought I'd really like these. While it turns out the book is nothing like I thought, it was still enjoyable - albeit more for historical reasons than for entertainment value.
As it turns out only the first story in the book is anything resembling a ghost story. Most of the tales are classic science fiction, reminiscent of H.G. Wells, or horror reminiscent of H.P. Lovecraft. (What is it with initials?) While the short stories in this collection present some amusing or terrifying situations that are good ideas for fiction, the tales tend to bore me before they are over from lack of character development. However, that's a personal preference that wouldn't bother some others. I'm sure London's science fiction inspired many writers, as the forward in this version claims.
Other stories are just completely socialist propaganda, although I have to agree with the criticism that London, despite joining the party, never really understood the real structure that makes up the idealism of socialism. The socialistic worlds he creates in his stories function like the government of Stalin; not something that would convince too many people I don't think, but still interesting to the student of history or human nature.
There are a few stories that stand out in my mind as marvelous. One of these is the last story in this collection, "The Red One". This tale alone makes the entire book worth whatever boredom you might suffer in the dryer stories. I might go so far as to add "The Red One" to a list of must-reads for any reader of English.(less)
I have now read most of Robert Louis Stevenson's works. To me his books are mediocre, but his poetry is wonderful. My opinion on his short stories now...moreI have now read most of Robert Louis Stevenson's works. To me his books are mediocre, but his poetry is wonderful. My opinion on his short stories now is that they are very hit and miss. There were a few tales in this collection that I consider masterful ("A Lodging For the Night" and "Markheim" stand out to me); and then others that seem to have a great idea behind them, but Stevenson simply can't bring them to fruition ("The Suicide Club" and the infamous Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde spring to mind).
Regardless, this collection is a good survey of his short works and I would recommend it to those wishing to acquaint themselves with Stevenson.
But he had an approved tolerance for others; sometimes wondering, almost with envy, at the high pressure of spirits involved in their misdeeds; and in any extremity inclined to help rather than to reprove. "I incline to Cain's heresy," he used to say quaintly: "I let my brother go to the devil in his own way." In this character, it was frequently his fortune to be the last good influence in the lives of downgoing men. - Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde(less)
Picked up a little copy of this book from 1920 at an estate sale because it looked cute. Upon reading it, I discovered it contains a wonderful little...morePicked up a little copy of this book from 1920 at an estate sale because it looked cute. Upon reading it, I discovered it contains a wonderful little parable. While set in the Muslim faith, it contains a sentiment common to all faiths, about faith.(less)