I seldom read non-fiction, but this was a book club choice and I am very glad I read it. John Vaillant's prose is rich and quite poetic at times. But...moreI seldom read non-fiction, but this was a book club choice and I am very glad I read it. John Vaillant's prose is rich and quite poetic at times. But the engrossing writing does not overshadow the tale Vaillant set himself to tell. The main thread of the book is the story of how a centuries old golden spruce, that was sacred to the Haida, was cut down by Grant Hadwin, a logger gone environmentalist gone mad. In a more in-depth journalistic style and skillfully researched, Vaillant also tells us the historical factors behind the logging industry in the West Coast, and the difficult relationship between loggers and the indigenous people of the area. This is a multi-layered book, partially mystery, partially historical account, definitely haunting in the environmental questions it poses. (less)
After hearing so many great reviews, I was disappointed by this book. It gives the reader an overload on information on the architecture of New York i...moreAfter hearing so many great reviews, I was disappointed by this book. It gives the reader an overload on information on the architecture of New York in the late 1900’s, and on the theatrical scene of the time, which would be all right if as much care had been put on the characters themselves. The characters felt as if they were modern people transported back in time. As much as I appreciate the feminists undertones and struggles of Sara, the wanna-be-first-female-police-officer, respectable single-woman in 1896 did not go dining with a group of men in late evening, did not call bachelor’s in their homes, and did not stay all night on a rooftop with a male partner in a stake out looking for serial killers. I am not saying that they shouldn’t, just that the mores of the time did not allow it.
I could go on picking more holes on this book, but I feel I have spent enough energy on it already. I did give it three stars because the premise of the book is a good one. This 1800’s CSI is entertaining, if one decide to overlook the flat characters. And, is this really much different than most mystery books, where the story is plot driven in detriment of the characters? As mystery books go, yeah, I will keep the three stars… (less)
Someone in my bookclub suggested this book, and as far as books for bookclubs, this one should generate very interesting discussions when we do meet....moreSomeone in my bookclub suggested this book, and as far as books for bookclubs, this one should generate very interesting discussions when we do meet. To be fair to Robert J. Sawyer, it already has created an array of discussions around the kitchen table with my husband and kids. But, in many ways I feel it was not executed with the mastery it deserved. The author utilizes dialogue as a form of explaining ideas to no end, making the reading a bit tiring. The ending is too nice and the characters too naïve.
Would I recommend it? I already have. I recommended to a friend that enjoys discussions on ethics, morality and the plausibility of God. The caveat: Don’t expect a great literary work. (less)
I read the first two stories up to now. I enjoyed the first one better. Maybe because it’s surrealism seemed fresh, but by the time it finished the se...moreI read the first two stories up to now. I enjoyed the first one better. Maybe because it’s surrealism seemed fresh, but by the time it finished the second story it felt a bit stale. I seldom don’t finish a book, but I just don’t feel the energy right now to tackle the third story. Other bookalcoholics in this site will certainly understand my conundrum, but now I wonder, should I move this book to the “read” files, or leave it at the “currently-reading”? Should I just abandon it as it is, or force myself to read the last 80 pages or so? The neurotic bookreader in me freezes faced with such decisions and does nothing. So the book sits here for now… (less)