Langridge does a fantastic job channeling the spirit of the old Muppet Show in this collection, and hides plenty of Jim Henson and other easter eggs tLangridge does a fantastic job channeling the spirit of the old Muppet Show in this collection, and hides plenty of Jim Henson and other easter eggs throughout. If you're a Muppet fan, check it out. ...more
Chapter 17 is a horse chase that is well-paced and exciting. Beyond that, I can't say much to recommend this book. The exposition in the first few chaChapter 17 is a horse chase that is well-paced and exciting. Beyond that, I can't say much to recommend this book. The exposition in the first few chapters is especially painful. ...more
If Uncle Scrooge existed in the real world, most people would hate him. He's the richest duck in the world, yet he's so cheap he'll go to great lengthIf Uncle Scrooge existed in the real world, most people would hate him. He's the richest duck in the world, yet he's so cheap he'll go to great lengths to avoid paying full price for a cup of coffee. So it's a testament to Carl Barks' talent that this old skinflint is so beloved. You can't help but be amused by him and, usually, to root for him.
This collection isn't top-form Barks. The title story is terrific, along with "The Lemming with the Locket," and the short story "Heirloom Watch," but this volume also includes weaker stories such as "The Mysterious Stone Ray" and "The Golden Fleecing." The latter includes some fun mythological elements but also some uncomfortable caricatures and a weak resolution. (And is anyone else disturbed by the tailor in that story? He's not so much an anthropomorphized bird as a human being with a beak.)
Some might find "Riches, Riches Everywhere" a bit controversial, since it dispenses with the normal characterization that Scrooge earned his riches through hard work, instead depicting him with a supernatural ability to collect treasure no matter what he does. The sudden turnabout of the story's villains also feels like a weak resolution, but the comic business between Donald and Scrooge in the desert mostly makes up for all that....more
This book purports to reveal insights into the creative process through essays and letters written by accomplished names in various professions. ThereThis book purports to reveal insights into the creative process through essays and letters written by accomplished names in various professions. There are two approaches to compiling and presenting such work that I believe would succeed:
1. To dive deep into the material, excising most of the text and focusing solely on the most illuminating currents of thought specifically regarding the creation of each author's works. This would result in a very brief book best suited toward devotional study of one attempting to spark his or her own creative work.
2. To climb high on the bluffs overlooking the body of each essay and thereby place it in context with its surroundings, i.e., to provide a germane background on each author and the circumstances under which each piece was written. This would result in a much longer tome, also best suited to be read piecemeal and reflected upon.
Instead, the book stands ankle-deep on the muddy shore, dampening our soles and forcing us to bend and hunt ourselves for the points of illumination, or to scan the horizon behind us for further context. In most cases, the only context provided is the author's name and the name of the source from which the essay was culled.
This doesn't make the book useless; in some cases (Stephen Spender's "The Making of a Poem" in particular stands out), the author provides suitable context within his or her writing to make further sourcing or commentary unnecessary. The lack of such is most conspicuous and egregious in those essays providing commentary on another work left largely or perhaps wholly unpresented (Allen Tate's "Narcissus on Narcissus" and Henry James' "Preface to the Spoils of Poynton" proved largely unilluminating and almost completely unhelpful without further context).
In short, the book is a fine idea but uneven, at best, in execution....more
I'm a bit sad that this never made it to television. Done properly, it could easily have filled the void of Thanksgiving-themed family television specI'm a bit sad that this never made it to television. Done properly, it could easily have filled the void of Thanksgiving-themed family television specials. The design of the monsters fits well into Henson's pre-Muppet Show sketches from Ed Sullivan and other variety shows. ...more
I still don't understand why so many readers and reviewers are falling all over themselves to praise Michael Chabon.
By far, the most intriguing elemeI still don't understand why so many readers and reviewers are falling all over themselves to praise Michael Chabon.
By far, the most intriguing element of this novel is its setting. The idea of a Jewish District being set up in Alaska after an attempt to establish an Israeli state failed in the 1940s sets up fascinating possibilities. And the bare bones of the novel's story really aren't bad at all. It's just a shame that Chabon has to cram that setting and basic story so full of noir detective pulp cliches and overwrought prose that it's impossible to get through a single chapter without a dizzying amount of eye-rolling.
This probably wouldn't bother me nearly as much if Chabon were just a popular author taking up real estate on the sci-fi or mystery shelves, but the man has a Pulitzer, for crying out loud. He should be better than this. Someone find him a good editor or collaborator and show him how to be better than this. ...more
Though I mostly enjoyed the story, I feel very foreign to the work. Those of us reading with a limited (or essentially nonexistent) education of NigerThough I mostly enjoyed the story, I feel very foreign to the work. Those of us reading with a limited (or essentially nonexistent) education of Nigeria and its people would benefit from some annotations, appendices or at least a glossary to help us interpret unfamiliar words and customs. The book itself seems to assume readers will have that level familiarity, or be able to get by without it. That decision created a reading experience wherein I just shrugged my shoulders and powered through, absorbing the overall message and action but missing much nuance and characterization that I assume would have heightened my enjoyment....more
This is a nice gift book for Henson fans -- good for passing time on a rainy day or taken a page at a time as a short philosophical/creative devotionaThis is a nice gift book for Henson fans -- good for passing time on a rainy day or taken a page at a time as a short philosophical/creative devotional. Know that it is not exclusively a collection of Henson's sayings or writings, but rather includes quite a lot of quotes by people who were close to Henson, and by characters created through his production company. A more accurate credit would be "Jim Henson, his family, Jerry Juhl, Frank Oz, Dave Goelz, Joe Raposo, Steve Whitmire, Kevin Clash and a whole bunch of Muppets and other celebrities."
Plenty of reviewers have already described this book's major flaw: it spends far too much time trying to sell readers on how wonderful and revolutionaPlenty of reviewers have already described this book's major flaw: it spends far too much time trying to sell readers on how wonderful and revolutionary square foot gardening is.
Do yourself a favor and skip the first two chapters. Once you're past that tedious and unnecessary sales pitch, the book contains quite a lot of great gardening instruction, even for those who decide not to follow Bartholomew's basic approach. (Oh, you'll still have to wade through plenty of passages about how advanced and carefree square foot gardening is, as opposed to the apparently stupid and backward practice of row farming that sustained human agriculture for millennia, but at least there's a bit more substance between the passages starting in Chapter 3.)
The appendices, which include plant profiles, adaptable planning grids and planting charts, and for some reason an entire section about basil, are perhaps the best information in the book. Granted, nearly all the information in the book could be tracked down among various websites, blogs and gardening forums, but if you are new to gardening, have $20 to spend and are good at filtering out informercialspeak, you could do worse than buying a copy of this book. ...more
This is my introduction to Roth, and I really enjoy his writing style. He has some marvelous turns of phrase and is adept at natural dialogue. I wasn'This is my introduction to Roth, and I really enjoy his writing style. He has some marvelous turns of phrase and is adept at natural dialogue. I wasn't particularly engrossed by the plot of the titular novella, and found myself more often annoyed at the narrator and his lust interest than sympathetic to either of them; hence the three-star rating. The short stories were more interesting to me, particularly "Defender of the Faith" and "Eli the Fanatic."...more