(3.5 stars) I haven't read many novels aimed at "young adult" or teen audiences since I was a teen so it's hard to evaluate "The Hunger Games" and Suza(3.5 stars) I haven't read many novels aimed at "young adult" or teen audiences since I was a teen so it's hard to evaluate "The Hunger Games" and Suzanne Collins against other authors of similar work. This first book of a trilogy moves at a brisk pace with its plot and character development. Collins drops really effective cliffhangers at the end of each chapter, which reminded me of serialized fiction, superhero comics, and manga. Having said that, I found myself wanting a little more stylistic flair, given that this is a dystopian science fiction tale set sometime in the future. Collins sets forth many great ideas and establishes a mood of realistic cynicism that is surprisingly refreshing. To me, the ending was rather predictable once the outcome of the Hunger Game was determined. Does "The Hunger Games" live up to the crushing weight of the hype? Yes and no. Was this book compelling enough to encourage me to continue on with the trilogy? Yes, but with some reservations.
Random notes: 1. This is a rare instance where I actually read the book before I watch the movie. 2. Poor, poor Peeta....more
Music journalist Simon Reynolds examines mainstream pop music's seemingly relentless revivals and revisitations of past eras. Like many other critics,Music journalist Simon Reynolds examines mainstream pop music's seemingly relentless revivals and revisitations of past eras. Like many other critics, he wonders, and worries about, whether or not America and Britain are stuck on repeat. Is it possible to innovate when the past and the near-past are ever present, especially with the easy accessibility to the obscure and the well-known that the Internet affords us? How can we be nostalgic for a decade that just ended? Reynolds also looks at different forms of art — architecture, fashion, movies, TV, and more — to find out how they are afflicted with retromania. Toward the end of the book, Reynolds seems to argue that the music circles of the 2000s and of today are not saying much about the present day nor will they contribute much to the efforts of future revivalists because there was nothing original about them. At best, what musicians, singers, DJs, and producers did during this decade was reveal how seemingly disparate sources of music can fit together into a song. But can you create something new with this mosaic? At a time when critics and commentators argue that we live in an age of "atemporality," maybe it's time to forget the past so that we can move on with the future. Well worth reading....more
Quick points: - Easy to see how each story reflects Oates' personal history, which seems to influence her own writing - All worthwhile reads but here arQuick points: - Easy to see how each story reflects Oates' personal history, which seems to influence her own writing - All worthwhile reads but here are the stories that stick with me: "The Identity Club" by Richard Burgin; "Delmonico" by Daniel Handler; "Jack Duggan's Law" by George V. Higgins; "The Shooting of John Roy Worth" by Stuart M. Kaminsky; "Until Gwen" by Dennis Lehane; "The Shoeshine Man's Regrets" by Laura Lippman; "Case Closed" by Lou Manfredo; "Public Trouble" by Kent Nelson; "Officers Weep" by Daniel Orozco; "The Last Man I Killed" by David Rachel; "One Mississippi" by Joseph Raiche; "The Love of a Strong Man" by Oz Spies. - I'm not going to attempt to provide a summary and analysis of these stories. I mean, how do you compete with Oates? Especially when she takes Edmund Wilson (!) to task for his characterization of mystery stories as being overwrought and focused too intently on the plot. ...more
Odd to read this a decade after its publication. We have lived through the effects of many companies, commercial and nonprofit, that have consciouslyOdd to read this a decade after its publication. We have lived through the effects of many companies, commercial and nonprofit, that have consciously employed many of his ideas over the past decade. Is the world a better place because of it? Hard to say. But at least we have been given a tantalizing explanation for why certain phenomena happen the way they happen.
It's easy to see why Gladwell's book proved to be so influential not only in business but also in fields as diverse as the people and topics he discusses. "The Tipping Point" features some of the best nonfiction writing I've read — concise, lucid, complex. Can't wait to read the critical reaction to this book....more