A pretty typical allegorical short story that didn't really do much for me. A few quotables and some moments of "that's a nice thought," but not muchA pretty typical allegorical short story that didn't really do much for me. A few quotables and some moments of "that's a nice thought," but not much more....more
I stumbled upon this collection randomly at the American library in my current town in Hungary, and I'm so glad I did. Very few collections of poetryI stumbled upon this collection randomly at the American library in my current town in Hungary, and I'm so glad I did. Very few collections of poetry stop me in my tracks, make me think. This one did just that. Especially "A Helping Hand" and "Love." Holub has a beautiful way of collecting images without it getting too obscure and without the lack of some kind of narrative threading them all together. Some poets I get lost trying to connect the dots. I did not in this case.
Highly recommended. Will definitely be searching for more of this Czech poet's work....more
A great collection, a clear voice, and some wonderful lines that stuck with me. Definitely glad this was sitting around in a random English corner ofA great collection, a clear voice, and some wonderful lines that stuck with me. Definitely glad this was sitting around in a random English corner of the library in Hungary. ...more
I had a poetry professor once very harshly criticize me for the same kind of enjambments I found all over this chapbook. Melodramatic, my professor caI had a poetry professor once very harshly criticize me for the same kind of enjambments I found all over this chapbook. Melodramatic, my professor called it. And this collection really made me feel the truth behind that. Perhaps I am missing something, but this whole collection felt like it was full of grand proclamations of a vague sort that I simply couldn't ground into reality. The imagery was so intangible for me, and I recognized some of the characters of Native American folk traditions, but couldn't quite connect them with the meaning Hogan was trying to achieve. I frequently found myself trying to read the poems and my mind would wander onto other things because not a single piece in this collection held my attention. I kept hoping to find something in one of the later poems, but then I had made it to the end and just...I didn't get anything out of this book. I'm sorry to say....more
I definitely respect the amount of research and work that went into this book. Clearly, Gaiman spent time and careful consideration into weaving thisI definitely respect the amount of research and work that went into this book. Clearly, Gaiman spent time and careful consideration into weaving this tale. There were enough twists and interesting characters to keep me amused, and I think he did a great job of fleshing out each story-line and moving the story along. His descriptions of the dreams were sparkling and interesting, and his prose was pretty tight.
As someone who has seen 48 of the 50 US States by road trip, and lived in northern Minnesota during winter, much of this book read true and spoke to experiences I've had during these travels and locations.
At times, the action kind of sagged and I felt a bit more like I was trudging through the book than reading on because I wanted to. I think it started to pick up toward the battle at the end, and it couldn't have come at a better time because I was starting to get a little worn out on meeting new people and this "impending doom" thing.
In the end, though, I guess one thing stuck out to me that I got from the bonus materials. In an interview, he mentioned something about being impressed by a book at an age when books could still change his life. I found myself wondering if this is the reason why I didn't get into this as much as I had hoped or expected. Maybe I'm out of that age range, as well. This was a well written book with plenty of positives, but it somehow...didn't move me. The whole time I felt just like I was reading to read, not necessarily because I was dying to enter into the world the book was presenting to me. I am curious to see how Bryan Fuller, my favorite TV director / producer, will translate this onto the small screen. After his treatment of Hannibal and the gorgeous visuals showcased therein, I think American Gods will sing in Fuller's hands. Perhaps it was because of this knowledge of its soon-to-be tv adaptation that made me wish for something more from the book. Overall, it feels like just another book I've read in the past, something I can talk about when it gets hyped up when the TV show airs, a point of reference for future media consumption. ...more
Well paced, succinctly written, engaging read. It's no surprise this book became popular, and I am definitely ready to move onto the next in the serieWell paced, succinctly written, engaging read. It's no surprise this book became popular, and I am definitely ready to move onto the next in the series and get to know Hannibal more. ...more
It is undeniable that Jack London knows his topic, and this novel was a great change of pace for me. I thoroughly enjoyed reading these tales of dogsIt is undeniable that Jack London knows his topic, and this novel was a great change of pace for me. I thoroughly enjoyed reading these tales of dogs / wolves, and also seeming the humanity juxtaposed with it. For me, it is hard to say which I liked more. I lean toward White Fang. The Call of The Wild moved at a bit more frenetic pace, sometimes too quickly, and I can see why White Fang is called the companion novel as they touch on many of the same themes, but White Fang definitely got deeper into the transformation and learning of lessons. Though I found Call to be too quick and surface level, there were also moments where White Fang slogged down through revelations I felt I had already been exposed to. Repetitions of lessons, or sometimes just lingering a little too long for my liking on a particular period of White Fangs life...the depth was there but sometimes I just wanted to move on in the story. Overall, I enjoyed the language and the vocabulary of these descriptions. I realize the dialogue is stylized after the way it was spoken then, but it is not my favorite style of speech. A good read, either way....more
Again, another collection of hit or miss poems for me and Pinsky. I had a poetry teacher once tell me of a abecedarian (like the alphabet poems that sAgain, another collection of hit or miss poems for me and Pinsky. I had a poetry teacher once tell me of a abecedarian (like the alphabet poems that show up in this collection) that they are party-favor poetry, tricks to hand out as a joke and forget about. And I agree that "ABC" in particular felt completely throw-away. "An Alphabet of My Dead," on the other hand, because of its wonderful narratives, was one of my favorites. Another one that stuck with me was "Samurai Song." Overall, what Iáve learned after three chapbooks from Pinsky is that I like him best when he leans toward narrative instead of lyrical poetry. I enjoyed spending time in his voice, though. There is something here that rings within me. If I was to go back and do this again, I think a "selected poems" probably would have been a better choice....more
After completing Sadness and Hapiness yesterday, and was pleased to see an evolution with this collection. I found the poems more refined, tighter, anAfter completing Sadness and Hapiness yesterday, and was pleased to see an evolution with this collection. I found the poems more refined, tighter, and the through-line more easy to follow. Each had a narrative that unfolded in a way that engaged me as a reader in a less convoluted way than the previous selection of poems I read. Though again, it was very "hit or miss" for me. Some poems ("The Cold," "Three on Luck," "Flowers," and parts of "History of my Heart") grabbed me more than others. Overall, a solid body of poems but simply not an outstanding collection....more
As one of the other reviewers said, I found this book uneven. There were a few that struck a chord in me and a few that just fell completely flat. ThiAs one of the other reviewers said, I found this book uneven. There were a few that struck a chord in me and a few that just fell completely flat. This is my first Pinsky, and I have two other chapbook-length collections of his to read next (all of which come after this collection, chronologically). We shall see if my review changes after further reading of this poet....more
This book started off promising for me. It is impossible to say the language of this book is of a register I had been lacking in some of the recent fiThis book started off promising for me. It is impossible to say the language of this book is of a register I had been lacking in some of the recent fiction I had been reading. But what first presented itself as appealing, it soon lost its flavor for me.
I wanted to like the book. I just moved to Hungary two weeks ago and was excited to partake in the country's celebrated author and only recipient of the Noble Prize for Literature. I found myself dissatisfied at many points as I read, however, and I wish I could give it a higher rating (I fluctuated between 2 or 3 stars).
Overall, there was a forcefullness that became harder and harder to swallow. The lofty nature of the propositions offered to me, the continually digressing mixed with philosophizing became too chaotic. I am accustomed to non-linear story telling, but this time around it failed me. The jumps between settings and which character was speaking and sometimes speech dictated in quotations, sometimes as part of the prose--it was so sudden and subtle that I found myself more lost than I should have been. I don't believe it was the author's intention, so much, either.
The fact that this is a translated work is readily apparent to me. At many points throughout the work, the syntax felt...off is I guess the only word for it. Additionally, there were some moments where the word choice just did not ring true. From what I have learned from Hungarian so far, it seems so far at odds with English structures that I am certain I am lacking a great deal of the beauty of the book in this translated form.
When the book became more straightforward, I enjoyed it. It's also not to say there weren't some good lines among the philosophizing that made me think. Yet, in the end, I simply do not feel attached to the characters (Kingbitter was such a whiny prick, in my opinion) and the statements I believe the author was trying to make. It very much alienated me as it reinforced how I would never be able to understand Auschwitz from the perspective of someone who is connected to it through family or religious ties. I already understood that I would never be able to understand, even before I read this. The book just made me feel even further away. For this reason, I do not think I will read Fateless(ness), his other and most famous work, simply because it also centers around the encounters there and I fear I will have similar issues with this author's style.
I moved to teach English in Hungary a few months ago and found this book in the very slim English section at the local bookstore. I waited a few monthI moved to teach English in Hungary a few months ago and found this book in the very slim English section at the local bookstore. I waited a few months to read it, and I'm glad I did. I had a chance to travel and enjoy the sites and the villages around Hungary, which just made this book so much richer. I would highly recommend this to anyone who wants to learn a little history of the area along the way.
I can't quite put into words exactly why I liked this book as much as I did. There are those who might be bored with this book, and I understand. It's not some huge action thriller, but rather 12 vignettes each with their own ups and downs. I found the characters believable and complex, and the writing never missed a beat. Just, solid writing. It's a book of quiet moments, despite the grandiosity of telling a nearly 400 year story.
I think I still need time to process it, but I can definitely say it thoroughly enriched my time here in Hungary, and what more can I ask of a book then one which not only kept me amused in the characters and stories, but also added value to my daily life and brought new insights into the world around me....more