I've tried and tried to read The Book Thief but just can't get past the gimmicky narrator who reminds me of Andrew on Touched by an Angel. I think I'lI've tried and tried to read The Book Thief but just can't get past the gimmicky narrator who reminds me of Andrew on Touched by an Angel. I think I'll have to settle for the film because while I'm sure it's a good story I just don't like the writing/presentation/point of view. ...more
Started out really well but stalled on the middle. Went on vacation and didn't feel compelled to return to it when I got back.
The story of a professorStarted out really well but stalled on the middle. Went on vacation and didn't feel compelled to return to it when I got back.
The story of a professor alcoholic who runs over and kills a woman and her daughter in her driveway, starts off good. She is given an easy sentence (considering) and is sent to jail for a few years. Her time there is given a few chapters and then - voila! - she's out. She returns to life in a remarkably smooth fashion (considering). Her job is waiting for her. A temporary home is waiting for her (her own house being rented). Even the husband/father of the woman/child she ran over is remarkably forgiving. Some of this was just a little bit hard to swallow and the passage of time was handled bizarrely, and I found Patsy, our professor alcoholic not very likable. ...more
This was a strange, disjointed read, at least what I read of it. The author would begin a chapter with something about a famous alcoholic writer (CheeThis was a strange, disjointed read, at least what I read of it. The author would begin a chapter with something about a famous alcoholic writer (Cheever, Fitzgerald, Williams, Hemingway), weave in her own flowery observations while walking around town, weave in stats about alcoholism, weave in detailed synopsi of a story from whatever alcoholic writer she is focusing on in the chapter, and then hint at some alcoholism issues in her family. Wash, rinse, repeat for the few chapters I made it through.
She was trying to link all of these things together but it wasn't a seamless link. Very clunky, and ultimately, uninteresting.
I read most of it, because it's Laurie Colwin, but it's one of her earlier works (1975, I think) and it's mostly a lot of narrative thatHard to rate.
I read most of it, because it's Laurie Colwin, but it's one of her earlier works (1975, I think) and it's mostly a lot of narrative that doesn't really go anywhere. Young woman loses husband. Young woman reflects on relationship with said husband. Young woman falls in love with brother-in-law (husband's brother). Young woman goes to a conservatory for the summer and embarks on affair with a cellist even though she loves brother-in-law. Kind of lost me at that point.
Great title, some nice bits, but mostly disappointing.
By the same author, recommend (and highly): Goodbye Without Leaving,
This book was going along at a great clip! Loved the narrator and the quirky circumstances of her early childhood (this is not atwo stars = it was ok
This book was going along at a great clip! Loved the narrator and the quirky circumstances of her early childhood (this is not a spoiler: her "sister" is a chimpanzee) and then - wham! - once Rosemary reunited with her long missing brother Lowell (a human boy, not a chimp) the entire book came to a screeching halt. I skimmed pages and I think I even have a few left, but I probably won't bother to look before I take it back to the library.
I understand there was a lot more going on with this story than just a young woman trying to reconcile her early history and memories and the loss of her "sister" Fern (who was removed from the family home after an incident that is explained towards the end of the book), but I just didn't understand how this entire family came to a complete halt with Fern out of the house. Rosemary was five years old! What happened was sad and of course, to young children being raised with a chimp for sibling, having her removed would be traumatic on some level, but I just couldn't get over the idea that as researchers, the father and mother signing on to an experiment such as this (raising your kids with a chimp) should KNOW what could go wrong and be better prepared for the contingencies (i.e. what happens when/if things go wrong). I don't know. Ultimately, I just didn't really understand the intensity of the situation....more
This book, about the maritime mystery of the ghost ship Mary Celeste, started off great. The author draws you in to the Briggs family and their lossesThis book, about the maritime mystery of the ghost ship Mary Celeste, started off great. The author draws you in to the Briggs family and their losses at sea (pre- Mary Celeste). We meet Sallie/Sarah and her sister who claims to communicate with dead loved ones and the trouble this causes in the family.
After that, the book spirals off into different tangents. The first involves Arthur Conan Doyle (who really wrote a famous story about the Mary Celeste) and the second involves the mysterious spiritualist Violet Petra (who astute readers will know right away is the aforementioned seer sister). There is a lot of interesting stuff about the spiritualists and voyages to Africa and what not, but the reader didn't really get to revisit the mystery of the ghost ship until the last fifty or so pages and by then, I didn't care.
Well written from a language standpoint, but curiously organized. ...more
This is a graphic novel/cookbook. (Is that a first?)
I actually thought I wouldn't like the comic aspect, but I liked that better than the recipes. ThThis is a graphic novel/cookbook. (Is that a first?)
I actually thought I wouldn't like the comic aspect, but I liked that better than the recipes. The recipes didn't particularly inspire (the first recipe I came across? Kimchi Donuts. I think, yeah, I'll pass on that) and some of the recipes (tomato pearls) involved strange substances not easily found at a regular grocery store. Mostly it seemed like a ton of work.
I hoped to be swept away by new and interesting vegetarian entrees, but mostly was not. I think she's doing interesting things with vegetables (not just roasting or pureeing them) but I would rather enjoy her dishes at her restaurant than cook them in my home.
The comics were funny - particularly the first one about her experience as a vegetarian chef competing on Iron Chef.
Two stars (it was ok) because I didn't really like most of the characters. The only character I did like: Shandi's friend Walcott, the poet. The conflTwo stars (it was ok) because I didn't really like most of the characters. The only character I did like: Shandi's friend Walcott, the poet. The conflicts covered were all over the place and rather dizzying (let's see we have: Asperger's Syndrome, 2 mixed/no faith marriages, a pregnant virgin, genetics, and date rape). One of the big storylines is resolved with a surprise, but it wasn't enlightening, it felt more like the author played a prank on the reader, although if you keep the title in mind throughout it will make sense earlier.
All that aside however, I could give this three stars (I like it) because the narrative was compelling. I kept turning pages. The beginning chapters involving the hostage situation at the gas station were almost riveting. It slogged down towards the end as all the various issues were addressed, however, the ultimate ending of the story was very nice. ...more
Lots of detail about Manhattan/New York history, lots of detail about the two main characters - Coralie, the daughter of the curTwo stars = it was ok.
Lots of detail about Manhattan/New York history, lots of detail about the two main characters - Coralie, the daughter of the curator of The Museum of Extraordinary Things located in the shadow of Dreamland, and Eddie, a photographer with a complicated history and estrangement from his faith and his father - but it takes 225 pages (approximately) for their paths to converge and when it does, it's almost silly (spoiler: they fall instantaneously in love, and even for the queen of magical realism, this is over the top). Up to that point, the third main character seems to take center stage: New York. The characters don't just walk to the library, they walk to the Such and So Library, a Beaux Arts building on the corner of 4th and Main, blah blah, blah. Clearly, the attention to detail is a love letter from the author to her hometown and in any other context (not a story!) all of the detail would be interesting. But here it gets in the way of the story of these two people.
There are a few things that defy belief, even in the Manhattan of 1911 when it surely wasn't as populated as it is now. Eddie has such incredible luck as he works to find a missing girl! This aspect of the story was just kind of silly. As if the author had to rush to resolve everything. All of the pieces of the mystery are just handed to him by the man in the woods, the livery driver, the daughter of the owner of the Triangle Factory, and the daughter's maid. Very tidily wrapped up.
There is a lot of stuff going on in the story. It is sandwiched between the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire and the Dreamland/Coney Island fire and in between we have murder victims with mouths tied up in thread, union/labor stuff, and the most distressing thing: The Museum of Extraordinary Things which is a freak show curated by Coralie's underhanded and diabolical father. The things going on there aren't "extraordinary" they are disturbing. The things he asks of Coralie, are disturbing and hard to read. When his grand plan for keeping his enterprise going is revealed, I had the same reaction I had when reading The Silence of the Lambs all those years ago (before the movie). Very ugly stuff....more
Overall: two stars, it was ok Four stars for the actual situation and the pace
Imagine you are 22, married, the mother of two little boys. You are makinOverall: two stars, it was ok Four stars for the actual situation and the pace
Imagine you are 22, married, the mother of two little boys. You are making macaroni and cheese in your kitchen and the ceiling fan crashes down on your head. You wake up and don't remember anything - not one single thing of the previous 22 years. Not who your children are, who your husband is, your parents, etc. Also, not what a child is, what a husband is. Or what a spoon is. Or why you would need to eat, or what is eating.
This is what happened to Su Meck in 1988. She has never regained the memories of the first 22 years of her life and even in the present has difficulty with short term memories. This memoir (which isn't really a memoir since she is relying on other people's memories to fill in terrible blanks) recounts this experience and the fallout which continues even now.
The book is engrossing, a page-turner. Especially at the beginning. It does get bogged down a bit as similar types of incidents are recounted over and over. The fallout from the accident is wide and deep. Meck struggles to live "normally" and survives by relying on her husband (a most baffling and hard-to-empathize-with figure), on her very young sons who learned to navigate and read maps before they could read books, and by taking cues for proper behavior from those around her and mimicking. There is a monumental level of misunderstanding about her condition by doctors, by her husband and family about the level of injury she sustained.
While not a great work of literature, the story itself is the thing here and it is a fascinating (and sad) read. ...more
rereading for the seventh million time and loving every word
Love it so so much. Something new every reading. Though, still, I can't get excited aborereading for the seventh million time and loving every word
Love it so so much. Something new every reading. Though, still, I can't get excited about Amy and Laurie. Laurie and Jo wouldn't work, I see that (and after reading Alcott's correspondence/diary, she was ferocious in her determination not to allow the public to marry Laurie and Jo, so I have to hand that to her) but I still don't see Laurie and Amy together. That part of the story is the only part that fizzles for me.
Not ready to leave the March sisters yet ... may look into Little Men and Jo's Boys as I've never read those....more
An interesting idea: a man and a woman facing bankruptcy, head to Niagra Falls to bet the farm on the roulette wheel and try to save themselves from fAn interesting idea: a man and a woman facing bankruptcy, head to Niagra Falls to bet the farm on the roulette wheel and try to save themselves from financial ruin and reckon with their marriage at the same time.
This reminded me of this author's other work, Last Night at The Lobster. Interesting scenario but the author laser-focuses on all the wrong details. In this work, for example, as a reader I don't want to read every last detail about a Heart concert or a cataloging of the items at Ripley's Believe it Or Not or, goodness knows, standing in line at for this or that attraction at Niagra Falls. It would've been nice, on the other hand, to have more information about the decline of their marriage and just the people in general. The little details may be fun to write, but they are not always fun to read. ...more