John Green is incredible. His writing never ceases to amaze me. He is able to create so many characters who are witty and quirky and different, withouJohn Green is incredible. His writing never ceases to amaze me. He is able to create so many characters who are witty and quirky and different, without being annoyingly so. I am so sick of reading about teenagers who are so strange and avant garde that they seem to be fake and elitist--especially when they're written by adults who have no idea what in the world they're even talking about. John Green's characters are what all of those failed attempts are meant to be. They're nearly real.
I found this story line pretty predictable, but I read way too many books and watch way too many movies, so nothing even begins to surprise me anymore. It's not the plot of this book that is so interesting--it's the characters and the depth of Green's writing. He is able to make you truly care about everyone in his book--even the characters you grow to hate make you feel sorry for them, or hate them so much you care about their fate just for spite.
He is truly an inspiration for an aspiring writer just because his writing is so clear and natural. There are no overwhelming embellishments. Everything is simple and easy to read and so deep and personal and moving that it's hard to believe he managed to fit it all in one book. At one point I was even moved to tears, and I haven't cried in an eternity.
I have never yet been disappointed by John Green's work, and at this point I don't expect I ever will be. ...more
A lot of people are immediately turned off of Faulkner because of the unbearably long sentences and the racism you’ll hear so much about if you even bA lot of people are immediately turned off of Faulkner because of the unbearably long sentences and the racism you’ll hear so much about if you even begin to read about the man. But I’ve found that you quickly fall into the habit of reading the long sentences until it hardly seems to phase you anymore at all. You can read a paragraph that lasts an entire chapter and not bat an eyelash by the time you finish Absalom, Absalom! As for the racism, there’s some truth to it. Faulkner didn’t mince words, and with this novel racism is a huge issue. But I’d argue that Faulkner uses racism in a way that is even milder than what it probably was at the time the book takes place, and perhaps even milder than when Faulkner himself was writing. It’s still disgusting, the way the characters speak of other human beings, and although it was just as disgusting at the time, I don’t feel as if Faulkner made it any more so.
Absalom, Absalom! is a book that delights in revealing one tiny morsel of information at a time. It will go over huge chunks of the story in one single line, but in a way that leaves you so confused you don’t know you’ve already gotten the entire plot. Then Faulkner leads you back through the same details, more and more minutely, until the big picture begins to come into focus. Absalom, Absalom! is expertly written. ...more
Plenty of reviewers have noted that this book is not “objective” and not based enough on “hard facts.” Perhaps that’s because the book is mostly basedPlenty of reviewers have noted that this book is not “objective” and not based enough on “hard facts.” Perhaps that’s because the book is mostly based on the interviews and letters of Red Army soldiers – men who are so scarred by the war, and being immersed in Red Army propaganda, that they can hardly remember things as they actually happened, but only as the USSR told them they happened. I thought Merridale did a wonderful job sifting through each soldier’s account and balancing it with the verifiable sources she found. I will admit, however, that although the material was interesting, and Merridale’s not a bad writer, the book moved slowly at time. Sometimes the book would just repeat the same material over and over again, in different ways and from only slightly different perspectives, until it became too much for me and I had to put the book away again until I forgot enough about the last chapter to be interested again. All in all, an interesting read....more
The Rape of Nanking tries a little hard. Technically, it’s more journalistic than anything, and there’s no one anywhere, if they’re honest, who will tThe Rape of Nanking tries a little hard. Technically, it’s more journalistic than anything, and there’s no one anywhere, if they’re honest, who will try to convince you that journalism is meant to have no opinions – only fact. But The Rape of Nanking is so full of opinions that it’s almost difficult to get to the horrifying facts underneath. The atrocities the book covers are so horrible it’s actually difficult to read them at times. Especially when they’re accompanied with pictures. I almost had to force myself to keep turning the pages, and I have a hard heart and a steel stomach. An excellent book in introducing a reader to the topic, and I never once doubted Chang’s research (although other reviewers have noted some discrepancies, I’m not willing to look into those because I am simply not so interested in the book that I want to devote hours to re-doing research). Her writing is also excellent, if not a little loaded at times and overly preachy – the facts are horrible enough without so much commentary. ...more
Because of the subject matter and the exhaustive research that went into this, and that’s written into this book’s pages, reading Bitter Road to FreedBecause of the subject matter and the exhaustive research that went into this, and that’s written into this book’s pages, reading Bitter Road to Freedom can be like running a mental marathon at times. It’s difficult to read large chunks of it without needing a break because of how dense the book really is. It does help, though, that Hitchcock’s writing is a joy to read. He writes simply, but clearly, and does well in varying his sentence lengths and structures to make reading a book less of a chore than most historians (for some reason) think it has to be.
If you haven’t thought much about liberation, and you can stomach huge doses of atrocity, I highly recommend reading this book. It goes from country to country discussing each liberation, but also picks certain topics (like, for example, the liberation of death/concentration camps). If you are interested, at all, in World War II, this is an excellent read. ...more
This book was something different, kind of a treat for me, because it’s about World War I – not my comfort zone – but also about Russia, which is someThis book was something different, kind of a treat for me, because it’s about World War I – not my comfort zone – but also about Russia, which is something I’ve been interested in lately.
It’s meant for children, as per usual, but the shallowness of this book was not a problem for me, really. I felt like the length was suitable for the story. I would’ve liked a little more of a follow up – checking in on Misha, especially, because he was so important to Katya, and, thus, to you as the reader. But I like the way it ended, overall.
I really love the conflict between whether or not the Tsar & Empress were good or bad people – in the right or in the wrong....more
I got this book a looooong time ago from Emery and just dug it up from my mother’s house in my search for short books to read before the end of the yeI got this book a looooong time ago from Emery and just dug it up from my mother’s house in my search for short books to read before the end of the year.
I love the dynamic in this book. There’s a chess player and a ballerina – two professions you wouldn’t consider very similar – but the book plays up their similarities and differences and makes you realize that it could have, almost as easily, been about any two subjects that take intense concentration, talent, and practice to master.
I love the idea of this book. But I find it difficult to like the characters. None of them stuck out as particularly loveable to me. I didn’t like Phebe or Nikolai in particular, and Phebe’s parents weren’t much better. They were likeable enough, I suppose, but I didn’t feel a deep enough connection with either of them to actually love them.
It’s well written, the plot is a bit predictable, but interesting, and the theme is fascinating. But I need strong characters to really love a book....more
It’s been a while since I’ve picked up a new book in a bookstore and bought it for the cover price. So, City of Thieves was a very calculated buy. I pIt’s been a while since I’ve picked up a new book in a bookstore and bought it for the cover price. So, City of Thieves was a very calculated buy. I pored over it for almost an hour before I finally decided to take it home with me.
I have this knack for picking up books about World War II/The Holocaust without ever looking at the cover, even. And this was one of those. I was intrigued by the title, even more intrigued by the cover, and the back sounded good. So I read the first page. Then the first chapter.
And I took a risk and bought it because it seemed funny and touching and very relevant to my interests.
And I’m so glad I did. The characters, or, at least Lev and Kolya are interesting and make you fall in love with them. And they give you so much potential for slash, too, which is terrific ^^. The characters are always the most important thing in a novel: You want to love them and care what happens to them, or at least strongly hate them and want to know what happens to them.
I’m predisposed to like most any book (particularly fiction) that takes place in World War II, so the plot was automatically of interest to me. But it’s something I’ve never really seen before. The basics are general (a journey!) but there are plot twists that left me reeling. The language is a little vulgar, which I really like, especially in war novels. The plot is fresh. The feelings are relatable and painful.
I couldn’t put it down. But, I will say that the ending was a little bit of a letdown, even though I figured that’s where it was headed. ...more
Quite a lot of this book was incredibly biased. Plus, the thing cost $50 and it's a fricken' paperback of about 200 pages. What a rip-off. So, the booQuite a lot of this book was incredibly biased. Plus, the thing cost $50 and it's a fricken' paperback of about 200 pages. What a rip-off. So, the book and I got off on the wrong start from the very beginning.
Anyway, though, I digress. The book was incredibly biased as a whole. While most of the time I agreed, it still pissed me off. The overview of Feminism, for a start, was particularly pathetic. Then there were just some times when it was so very obviously biased toward one theory over another that you're thinking, "Well, why even bother calling this a text book?"
However, I did like the examples. I did like the outlook on religion. Those were the only things that made the book worthwhile, as I found most of it opinionated and redundant. Maybe, once again, it's because I'm living in 2009 and I'm a reader, but a LOT of it seemed blatantly obvious to me....more
This is one of the very few books (most of the others are Nicholas Sparks) that I enjoyed less than I enjoyed the movies. "The Wizard of Oz" is seriouThis is one of the very few books (most of the others are Nicholas Sparks) that I enjoyed less than I enjoyed the movies. "The Wizard of Oz" is seriously one of my favorite movies in the world. And the book would've been so much better if I hadn't already seen the movie so many times. But, as it is, most of my favorite parts and my favorite lines weren't in the book at all. There was also a lot of unneccesary stuff (so many heads being cut off!?) and the ending was rushed.
But I did absolutely adore the Tin Man. Sure, he was the one cutting the heads off, but he CRIED WHEN HE STEPPED ON A BUG! Awwwww. I love him. I think I've finally decided he's my favorite.
Dorothy always gets on my nerves in the movies, but it was ten times worse in the book. Jesus, she's so annoying. If I were any of the others then I'd never have anything to do with her.
But, yeah. The movie > the book. But it was still cute. I'd read the next one in the series to see how it goes after that....more