I'm only 180 pages in right now, but already the book is doing what A Clash of Kings did not: every chapter is exciting and impels me onward. Maybe alI'm only 180 pages in right now, but already the book is doing what A Clash of Kings did not: every chapter is exciting and impels me onward. Maybe all the set up in book two was a necessary evil for the creation of an entire world, but I just felt like I could do without a book that seemed to be almost completely exposition. I mean, I'm close to just skipping certain characters' chapters because they never GET anywhere.
Okay, I've finished the book now. It's incredibly exciting, but also incredibly convoluted. So much energy seems to have gone into creating a rich imaginary world that the plot has fallen mercy to the interferences of characters neither Stark nor Lannister. I've lost the story arc. The story is told in the same way that kids playing with action figures in a sandbox make up a story -- competing wants, competing viewpoints. Too much is going on. Certain narrators don't even show up in the last fifth of the book, and I'm not sure why not. Meanwhile, shit happens in this book that will both rock your world yet leave you completely unsatisfied, because while dragons exist in this world, poetic justice does not. I assume that Martin is going somewhere with all of this, but I don't know where that is. I don't even know what the central conflict is anymore.
Definitely worth reading -- I wound up reading the last 600 pages in one day -- but just be warned: shit keeps happening, and it won't stop happening. Can't stop won't stop....more
I became good friends with someone recently because she said to me, "Ice cream depresses me. Because, yeah, it's delicious, but we're still just goingI became good friends with someone recently because she said to me, "Ice cream depresses me. Because, yeah, it's delicious, but we're still just going to die."
And recently, I re-watched "The Land before Time." I remember watching it as a kid, thinking, "Why should I care whether or not these baby dinos make it to the Fertile Crescent or the Promised Land or the Hidden Valley Ranch? They're dinosaurs, and they're all dead now anyway."
So maybe I didn't think in those exact WORDS when I was a kid, but the point is, kids do wonder this kind of thing. It doesn't mean they're ready for Sartre.
This is a young adult novel, with an Accelerated Reader reading level of 6.1. The subject matter ends up being more suitable for slightly older kids. In that sense, it is a very good choice for struggling readers.
The story begins with the lines, "Nothing matters. I have known that for a long time. So nothing is worth doing. I just realized that." The speaker subsequently quits school and climbs a plum tree to ridicule his classmates. Worried that Pierre might be right, his classmates become desperate to find meaning in life.
Thus begins a palatable introduction for middle schoolers on existential nihilism. The first lines are very similar to things I've heard my middle-school students say, and the somewhat ridiculous plot which follows is entertaining, bone-chilling, and thought provoking. Perhaps not for adults, but certainly for a middle schooler.
I will say, though, the blurb on the book jacket is right: I have not been as creeped out by kids since The Lord of the Flies. ...more
A quick, satisfying read, alternately and simultaneously horrific and funny as hell, about a black African army unit fighting for the British in WWIIA quick, satisfying read, alternately and simultaneously horrific and funny as hell, about a black African army unit fighting for the British in WWII Burma. It reads like many other ensemble war novels, but the bombastic characters, smart writing, modest pidginization, and -- perhaps most notably -- the surprisingly obscure subject matter definitely make this book worth a look. ...more
This book jumped to the top of my queue after I read the first story,"Stolpestad," at the bookstore. I really enjoyed this collection. Lychack's proseThis book jumped to the top of my queue after I read the first story,"Stolpestad," at the bookstore. I really enjoyed this collection. Lychack's prose is outstanding, with sentences full of synesthetic description and imagination. The kind of writing you feel fortunate to read. ...more
I read The Street of Crocodiles after first seeing this book and becoming curious about the source material. I thought it was a beautifully written boI read The Street of Crocodiles after first seeing this book and becoming curious about the source material. I thought it was a beautifully written book, and Foer's description of what happened to Schulz made me incredibly sad that this talent was wiped from the earth.
While reading Tree of Codes, I was struck by how much I was brought back to Schulz's work. The words, the tone, unmistakably controlled by Schulz. If you go into this book expecting an entirely new book, you will not find it, nor do I think you are necessarily supposed to. If you read this without first having read Schulz's work, you may find a new story but you will miss the point of it.
Anyone who has lost someone will recognize the feeling of fleeting fragments, of memories that occur differently in your recollections or dreams than they did in real life. That's what this book was about to me: This lost life, the millions of lost lives, more remote each day, while the possibilities of what could have been become more numerous.
Notes: I will admit, it's a pretty cool book to pull out of one's collection. The gimmick, though, seems disingenuous: the cuts seem calculated, when examining them, to keep the pages sturdy enough, not to reflect the actual cuts of the source material. ...more