I think that one of the measures of a good writer is their ability to make the reader truly care about the characters and/or the issue that they are w...moreI think that one of the measures of a good writer is their ability to make the reader truly care about the characters and/or the issue that they are writing about. In this case, Barbara Kingsolver took a topic that I honestly could not have cared less about, and wrote a book that had me completely gripped from beginning to end. This book left me actually caring about that issue and thinking about it for weeks. Prodigal Summer is a novel about the interconnectedness (is that a word?) of EVERYTHING. The novel follows three distinct story lines, each about a different aspect of nature and how every creature and every act is connected. This is mirrored in the unseen connections between the characters and the interweaving of the seemingly separate storylines. This was a very well written novel that not only kept me interested in a story and in the characters, but taught me a lot about environmental issues that I had never thought about before. This book was extremely persuasive; I'm completely sold now. Please go read this book, and afterwards, I dare you to buy non-organic fruit.(less)
As a story, this adventure novel is kind of lame. But as an illustration of a philosophy, this book is fantastic. I really liked the philosophy behind...moreAs a story, this adventure novel is kind of lame. But as an illustration of a philosophy, this book is fantastic. I really liked the philosophy behind this book; I felt that it rang true to me. I would recommend this book to everyone, especially if you liked "The Secret." (If you haven't seen The Secret, that's a whole different conversation.) I don't want to try to explain the philosophies here; just go read this book. I think you'll like it.(less)
Could also have been called "A Catalogue of Potential High School Experiences."
I ended up really liking this book. It's nostalgic and sentimental and...moreCould also have been called "A Catalogue of Potential High School Experiences."
I ended up really liking this book. It's nostalgic and sentimental and yes, a little precious. There are more than a few parts that are pretty unrealistic, but at the same time, it rings true. Nothing in this book ever happened to me, nor did any of the characters particularly resemble any of my high school friends, and yet this felt real. This felt like high school to me. This is what high school is. I know I certainly put a lot of stock in mix tapes.
Anyone who gave this book a 1 or 2 star review is just really cynical. That's sad. Set aside your snarkiness and give this book a chance, because it was a really great experience.(less)
I feel a sort of obligation to like Neil Gaiman simply because he's good friends with Tori Amos, who I love. So that of course colored my decision to...moreI feel a sort of obligation to like Neil Gaiman simply because he's good friends with Tori Amos, who I love. So that of course colored my decision to read this book, and was hovering over me the whole time. I kept hearing things like "So where's Neil when you need him?" and "If you need me, me and Neil'll be hanging out with the Dream King" running through my head. But about this book. The premise of the book was actually quite intriguing. Every culture across the world has gods that go back hundreds, thousands of years. So imagine that every immigrant brought whatever god they happened to worship/believe in/tell stories about with them when they came to America. All these multi-cultural gods are just hanging out, trying to survive... but no one worships them anymore, so how do they stay alive? And on the other hand, the gods we actively worship (technology, television, fast food?) are plenty strong - but young and stupid. So these two factions of gods are going to have a war, fighting over the soul of America. And at the center of this war is one mere mortal named Shadow. There were a lot of things about this book that were really fascinating and worth reading. I actually quite enjoyed most of it. But at the same time, there were a lot of things about this book that I found to be unnecessarily... yucky. And by the end, I just wasn't quite sure what I was supposed to have gleaned from the whole experience. (Although there was a neat little twist.) If you are intrigued by the premise and have a strong stomach, then I would recommend this book. But if you don't particularly love gratuitous violence, blood, gore, sex, overall weirdness, etc... then I don't think you're really missing much by skipping this one.(less)
So if one were to compare popular fiction with dining, you could probably say writers like Danielle Steele, John Grisham, Nora Roberts, etc are the Mc...moreSo if one were to compare popular fiction with dining, you could probably say writers like Danielle Steele, John Grisham, Nora Roberts, etc are the McDonald's of writers. I would probably equate Jodi Picoult with Applebee's. Reading a Jodi Picoult novel is like casual dining. You pretty much know what you're going to get, and you don't expect anything life altering. But it's entertaining, it's atmospheric, and it certainly feels at least a bit more upscale. This novel is about a family: a mom, a dad, a daughter, and how they react to the daughter's rape. And also the dad's past in Alaska. And also the mom's affair. And also the towns' reaction to the rape. And also a sled dog race in Alaska. And there's also a graphic novel, and you learn a little about Dante... Basically, there is a LOT going on in this novel. I felt like the author tried to cram a few too many things into this novel, and in the end was unable to tie up everything nicely. A lot of things just got sort of thrown in there; there are themes and characters and locations running amok! But overall, I enjoyed this book. You'll get caught up in the story, and it is well written other than the overkill of plot lines. This is a decent read and I would recommend it. Maybe you should take it with you and read it while waiting for drinks at Applebee's.(less)