I read this book in two days because it was overdue at the library. I liked the premise that magical wardens control the elements, fire, air, earth, aI read this book in two days because it was overdue at the library. I liked the premise that magical wardens control the elements, fire, air, earth, and water, and that they need to do so in order to keep the elements from destroying mankind. The story itself, Joanne racing to Oklahoma, was just OK. The library doesn't have the second book in the series, and I don't think I'm interested enough to seek after it....more
In Poison Study, convicted murderer, Yelena, is given a choice: hang or become the next food taster for the Commander of Ixia. She chooses the later. But, poison is really the least of Yelena's worries. She has a General out to kill her, a magician who wishes to abduct her, fellow servants who spy on her, and a boss she's unwilling to trust.
I really liked Poison Study. I found Yelena resourceful and interesting, Valek mysterious and intriguing, and the country of Ixia well-wrought. I thought the mysteries came together really well at the end of the book. All the various clues pulled together. I didn't start guessing the conclusions too soon but nor did I feel like the reveals came out of nowhere.
Now, of course, I want to find out what happens to the characters next, but I'm a little wary because my fellow goodreads' friends who have read this series did not like the following books as much as the first. Since I don't think I can refrain, I am setting myself up for disappointment? Shall I just try to keep my expectations in check? ...more
This is the story of Anne Boleyn's rise and fall told through the perspective of her sister Mary. It is a story of the court and family alliances. MarThis is the story of Anne Boleyn's rise and fall told through the perspective of her sister Mary. It is a story of the court and family alliances. Mary first catches the eye of King Henry, and her family orders her to become his mistress so that they can benefit from Mary's favor. (Not that she gains much.) However, after bearing the king two children, he losses interest in Mary and set his eye on her vivacious sister, Anne. Anne Boleyn is conniving and ruthlessly ambitious. Gregory implies that all of Anne's plotting comes back to haunt her. She teaches King Henry to pursue his desires unswervingly, helps him to question the Pope, and leads him put aside his wife, Queen Katherine. Of course, once all of this occurs, Anne can never be secure in her marriage to Henry. While Anne seeks power, Mary chooses a different path. She marries for love against her family's wishes, she passionately protects her children from the intrigues of the court, and she helps Anne win and hold the king out of duty, love, and fear. What I love about this story are all the great ironies. Nothing will protect Anne from the king's wrath except a son, yet she gives the king his greatest heir, Elizabeth. I also loved how in teh book Anne curses Jane Seymour saying she hopes she dies giving birth to the king's son and that her son dies young as well, which is, of course, exactly what happened.
Ok. So I just read a whole bunch of other people's reviews and the big theme that I am picking up on is that people are annoyed that Mary is portrayed as an angel and Anne is well, devilish. Yes, at times I hated Anne. However, I found Anne to be high spirited, intelligent, and ambitious, which she surely was. However, as time went on she became increasingly scared and desperate. Mary was never in such a precarious situation. Also, I found Mary and Anne's complex relationship to be one of the high points of the novel. They are rivals who desperately need one another. Finally, this book is fiction, and with all historical fiction the reader must remember that historical facts will be mixed with suppositions and artistic liberties....more
I wanted to read this book because it looked as if it had a lot of elements I really enjoy: Gothic type mystery, haunted house, family secrets, WorldI wanted to read this book because it looked as if it had a lot of elements I really enjoy: Gothic type mystery, haunted house, family secrets, World War I, the 1920s. The book concerns sisters Hannah and Emmeline Hartford, aristocratic children who grow up over the course of the book. They chafe at the constraints of their class and find themselves floundering in the chaos of the 1920s. The other main character in the book is the narrator Grace, a housemaid at Riverton. She has her own unique connection to the Hartford sisters. Grace tells the story, practically from her deathbed as at 99, of the two sisters and how they witnessed a modernist poet commit suicide in 1924. Of course, things aren't really as they seem, and each of the characters plays a big part in the poet's death. So the premise was interesting, but I found the book to be kind of boring. It took too long for any of the secrets to be revealed and then when they were it was really underwhelming. I also wasn't a fan of the lack of denouement. ...more
In Suzanne Collins' new book, <i>The Hunger Games</i>, Katniss Everdeen lives in District 12 in the country of Panem (formerly North AmeIn Suzanne Collins' new book, <i>The Hunger Games</i>, Katniss Everdeen lives in District 12 in the country of Panem (formerly North America.) Katniss has a difficult life trying to provide enough food for her sister and mother. Every year the Capitol of Panem organizes a huge reality TV show, the Hunger Games. Each district has to send 2 children to fight the other contestants in this fight to the death. When Katniss' little sister is chosen as a tribute from District 12, Katniss unhesitatingly volunteers in her place.
This is the type of book I could stay up all night reading. But I really tried not to. The Hunger Games completely consumed my thoughts. I dreamt about it at night. The book is so intense. No wonder there's been so much buzz about it. And now I'm dying to know what will happen to Katniss and Peeta, Haymitch and Cinna, District 12 and all of Panem. I have a feeling the Capitol is going down....more
As I said, these Mercy Thompson books just keep getting better and better. In this book Mercy has to repay he debts to the fae by tracking down a murdAs I said, these Mercy Thompson books just keep getting better and better. In this book Mercy has to repay he debts to the fae by tracking down a murderer. In the process her friend and mentor, Zee, is arrested by the police and left to hang by his folk. Mercy won't rest until his name has been cleared. I really like Patricia Brigg's mysterious fae. They have all sorts of secrets, and Mercy discovers way more than she's ready for in this book. ...more
The Artemis Fowl books are just plain fun. This latest installment had quite a few surprises. I am pleased with Artemis' developing character. He'll bThe Artemis Fowl books are just plain fun. This latest installment had quite a few surprises. I am pleased with Artemis' developing character. He'll become a "good guy" yet. I think Number 1 is hilarious....more
The Mercedes Thompson books just get better and better. (I am currently read the third in the series.) In this second installment, the vampire seetheThe Mercedes Thompson books just get better and better. (I am currently read the third in the series.) In this second installment, the vampire seethe calls in Mercy's debt, and she has to help them get rid of a demon-possessed vampire who is wrecking havoc on the Tri-Cities. The vampires in Mercy's world are creepy--keeping houses full of victims and using magical truth-seeking, blood-stained chairs. Cory Littleton's visit to Mercy's house was absolutely chilling. However, despite all his evilness, I do like Stefan. All in all I enjoyed this second book more than the first. ...more
Before I even read Justine Larbalestier's new book i How to Ditch Your Fairy i I was completely captivated by the premise. Charlie (Charlotte Adele Donna Seto Steele)lives in a world where a lot of people have fairies. Not much is known about these fairies (they are invisible) expect that they endow their human with some kind of luck or skill. For instance, you could have a "Good Complexion Fairy" and you would always have good skin or a "Shopping Fairy" that finds you good deals. Charlie has a Parking Fairy, and she hates it because she is always being hijacked by different people and forced into their cars so that they can get a parking place. And so Charlie's mission is to get rid of her fairy. And that is no easy task.
I really liked this book. I thought it was funny, cute, and clever. I liked the characters; I liked how they went to a Sports High School; I liked how Charlie kept a running tab of various happenings. I think must have a Memory Fairy....more
In Noel Streatfeild's classic children's book about 3 orphaned girls, Pauline, Petrova, and Posy are given the last name Fossil because they are adopIn Noel Streatfeild's classic children's book about 3 orphaned girls, Pauline, Petrova, and Posy are given the last name Fossil because they are adopted by an archeologist. It's details like this that make Ballet Shoes so endearing. The girls go to a theater academy and start work as child actors to help pay the bills when GUM (Great Uncle Matthew)goes on an extended expedition. Pauline wants to be an actress, Posy has the makings of a great ballerina, and Petrova is just trying to survive her acting jobs while she dreams of fixing cars and flying airplanes. It really is a lovely story.
And, on a side note, I really liked the recent movie (with Emma Watson as Pauline). The 1930s setting was really well done. ...more
Mercedes Thompson is a shape-shifter. In her alternate reality, human's share their world with fae, vampires, werewolves and witches (and probably somMercedes Thompson is a shape-shifter. In her alternate reality, human's share their world with fae, vampires, werewolves and witches (and probably some other stuff too). But Mercy is special. Although she doesn't really fit in with any of these peoples, as a shape-shifter she can move back and forth between the different groups. In this book, Mercy has to help her werewolf neighbor, Adam, overcome some attackers and rescue his kidnapped, teenage daughter. Like most werewolf books this book is full of pack politics and dominance issues. I'm interested to see what else Mercy will find out about her powers.
And I agree with everyone else that has spoken out about the crazy covers on these books. ...more
There are parts of Utopia that I find absolutely hilarious. However, I have a hard time getting my mind around this book. Is Thomas More earnest or saThere are parts of Utopia that I find absolutely hilarious. However, I have a hard time getting my mind around this book. Is Thomas More earnest or sarcastic? I tend to think sarcastic, but I know that not everyone agrees. It was really fun to read this book right after we read Voltaire's <i>Candide</i> because Voltaire was so clearly influenced by More....more
Barbara Tuchman's book discusses the very beginning of World War I. In fact, after she lays out all the pre-war plans she only discusses the first mo Barbara Tuchman's book discusses the very beginning of World War I. In fact, after she lays out all the pre-war plans she only discusses the first month of the war. At times I found Tuchman's book to be too detailed, but it was fascinating to see step by step how the world unraveled. When I took "World War I and Modernism" I got this impression most of the leaders of the war where idiots, even though we didn't really focus specifically on military history. Well, this book really confirmed by suspicions. No one listened to anyone, and they all refused to change their pre-war plans. So sad. King Albert of Belgium is my new hero....more
I really enjoyed Kristin Cashore's debut novel, Graceling. Katsa lives in a land and time where a few people have developed super-human gifts called Graces. Katsa's Grace is particularly potent. She's been a pawn of her uncle, the king, for most of her life, but lately she's begun to rebel, forming a Council that attempts to help instead of hurt people. On one of these Council missions Katsa meets a man who will change her life.
I loved Katsa. Her power and determination are awesome. I especially liked how Katsa grew and changed throughout the book, becoming more comfortable with herself and others. I also loved Po. Cashore's physical descriptions of this intriguing character with gold and silver eyes are superb. But what I really admire, is that Po didn't just aid in Katsa's growth, he also faced challenges that forced him to change as well.
And even though much of this book could have become "survival story-ish," (i.e. boring) I was always interested and didn't feel like the tramping across forests and mountains was dull or repetitive.
I'll be looking forward to seeing what else Kristin Cashore comes up with.
I found this book about Greg Mortenson's work to build schools for children in Pakistan and Afghanistan to be fascinating, educational, and inspiring.I found this book about Greg Mortenson's work to build schools for children in Pakistan and Afghanistan to be fascinating, educational, and inspiring. I am so impressed with Greg Mortenson's determination, perseverance, and optimism. I was equally impressed by Greg's wife, Tara, and all the people that work with the Central Asia Institute in Pakistan. Also, I really learned a lot about Pakistan and Afghanistan, and it was nice to get what might be called an "insider's" perspective on these countries, their people, their problems, and what can be done to help them.
On a side note, several of my friends noted in their reviews that they found the writing to be less than stellar. I, however, didn't really have a problem with it. This might just be because I was primed for much worse. I thought that Relin really tried to give us a good, sequential structure (sounds like this was no easy task) and that when we did "jump back in time" it was actually a help rather than a hindrance to the flow of the narration....more
Scarlett's family lives in and operates a run-down hotel in New York City. The Martin family is in some financial trouble. The hotel isn't doing so weScarlett's family lives in and operates a run-down hotel in New York City. The Martin family is in some financial trouble. The hotel isn't doing so well. It's an absolute money drain. Meanwhile, Spencer, the oldest child and only boy, is given an ultimatum from his parents--find a paying acting job in one week or take a scholarship at a culinary school. Scarlett gets to work helping her favorite sibling while juggling the antics of a very strange guest, Amy Amberson, who eventually gets involved with Spencer's career as well. Scarlett's two other siblings, her beautiful older sister Lola and younger terror-of-a-sister, Marlene, have problems of their own. Lola is dating rich Chip and her very middle-classness is getting in the way of their relationship. while, Marlene is a cancer survivor who is slightly bitter and extremely spoiled.
Spencer was definitely my favorite character, funny and charming. I couldn't really get into Eric. I thought he was way too old for Scarlett. I liked crazy Mrs. Amberson. I really enjoyed the "excerpts" from made-up books that introduced each section of the story by explaining the history of the Art Deco building. I just wasn't wowed by Scarlett or the story. It was just ok for me. ...more
Nancy Turner's book about an Arizona homesteader is compelling. I enjoyed reading about Sarah's day-to-day existence and how she dealt with the trage Nancy Turner's book about an Arizona homesteader is compelling. I enjoyed reading about Sarah's day-to-day existence and how she dealt with the tragedy in her life that was all too common on the frontier. Plus, I have to admit that the love story was a huge draw for me. Jack and Sarah had a really interesting relationship. I also loved how Sarah was so feisty and independent. She certainly could take care of herself.
The book takes place between 1881-1901 and, as I read, I found myself thinking about other novels (Edith Wharton's, for example) set during this time period and how different life was in the territories compared to places like Boston and New York, London and Paris (lots going on in the art world at the turn-of-the-century).
Also, although fictional, the book is written in the form of a journal, and it made me think about how generally daily life doesn't seem like it's interesting enough to journal about, but, for someone reading a century later, our day-to-day existence may be really fascinating.
And finally, I was really surprised that no one brought up the guest appearance by the Mormon polygamists at book club....more
This book is really pretty different than the first two in the series. The setting is different; we are now in England rather than in Chicago. And theThis book is really pretty different than the first two in the series. The setting is different; we are now in England rather than in Chicago. And the kids don't work together as much. Instead Calder is MIA for most of the book, which is kind of too bad because he's my favorite of three kids. The premise is that Calder and his dad take a trip to England. They are staying in a small town that has recently received an anonymous gift of a Alexander Calder stabile. The town, however, is not a huge fan of the sculpture. Then one night, the sculpture and the boy of the same name disappear. Petra and Tommy come to England to try and help find their friend. The adults figure that the two kids would know best how Calder thinks, and that's how the author justifies their trip to England. I did like how Mrs. Sharpe is, as always, somehow involved in these cases. However, when the dust settles, I'm afraid the book really lacks foul play. ...more
I liked this sequel to Chasing Vermeer better than the first. In Blue Balliett's second book, Calder and Petra team up with Calder's old friend TommI liked this sequel to Chasing Vermeer better than the first. In Blue Balliett's second book, Calder and Petra team up with Calder's old friend Tommy to save Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House from being dismantled. I thought the children's detection by coincidence worked much better in this book than in the first because it was almost a ghost story. A series of strange, supernatural occurrences plague the Robie House's visitors, including the construction workers sent to dismantle it, the children, and Calder's dad. Combine this with Wright's mysterious persona and the series of strange and tragic events that actually did occur to the families that lived in the Robie House, and you have a pretty creepy foundation for the coincidences and codes.
I also really liked how the author handled the twosome becoming a threesome. I loved the demonstration that the kids put on in front of the Robie House. And, as always, Brett Helquist provides great artwork that contains a fun code.
[spoiler:] I also loved the idea of the carp swimming upriver and over the falls on a quest to become a dragon, and how Balliett connected that to Frank Lloyd Wright's career--the Robie House represents the beginning of the carp's journey and Falling Water represents his transition from fish to dragon. ...more
I don't usually read graphic novels, but I do usually read Shannon Hale. I had to see what her marvelous mind can do when she teams up with her husbaI don't usually read graphic novels, but I do usually read Shannon Hale. I had to see what her marvelous mind can do when she teams up with her husband Dean Hale and illustrator Nathan Hale (no relation). And, I loved this book. The story is so much fun. In the book, set in a fantastical wild west, Rapunzel learns that her mother is not really her mother but a terrible witch who is ruining everyone's lives. After Rapunzel escapes from her tower (which she does all on her own, thank you very much) she sets out to make things right. This retelling of Rapunzel has loads of girl power, a great setting, likable characters, and colorful illustrations. Shannon Hale strikes again. ...more
I started reading this book in the Barnes and Noble just to kill time. I found the illustrations and situations so funny that I kept laughing aloud anI started reading this book in the Barnes and Noble just to kill time. I found the illustrations and situations so funny that I kept laughing aloud and then reading little bits to my friend who was trying to read something else. So, I decided I would have to finish the book. After I bought the book I started over so that I could read it to Nate, and we frequently laughed aloud at Greg's ridiculous antics and hilarious drawings. The book doesn't have much of a plot; it's basically a collection of anecdotes related to us by Greg, a pretty pathetic middle-schooler, who is really concerned with his image. I think Greg needs to work on his moral compass. ...more
A couple of weeks ago I was staying in California with some friends, and I started reading their copy of this book. <i>Chasing Vermeer</i>A couple of weeks ago I was staying in California with some friends, and I started reading their copy of this book. <i>Chasing Vermeer</i> by Blue Balliett is a mystery involving two middle school kids, some strange letters, and a stolen Vermeer. (The author has a degree in art history from Brown University.) The book poses some interesting questions about the value of art to the public, the role of art historians and curators, and art's ability to communicate. The characters in Balliett's story discuss Picasso's well known statement "art is a lie that tells the truth." Plus, the kids are a lot of fun. The books is sprinkled with little codes, and Brett Helquist's illustrations are awesome as always.
As an art historian and a lover of children's literature how could I pass up this book? ...more
I think the best part about Angie Sage's Septimus Heap books are all the quirky details. I like how the wizards are called Ordinary Wizards except forI think the best part about Angie Sage's Septimus Heap books are all the quirky details. I like how the wizards are called Ordinary Wizards except for the one Extraordinary Wizard. The Young Army lads are called by their numbers (Boy 412 and Boy 409). Stanley the Message (now Secret Service) Rat is trying to get his wife Dawnie back. I also love all the ghosts. Alther is great and the Ancients are funny. Silas' dad turned himself into a tree, and Silas has never been able to find him in the forest. Aunt Zelda always makes some variety of cabbage for every meal and everyone hates her cooking except Septimus who truly loves it.
I'm not thrilled about Septimus having a dragon. I'm not sure why, but for some reason I'm just not enthused about that plot development.
The weird thing about the Septimus Heap books is that as I read them I always feel like nothing is happening despite the fact that things definitely are happening. I'm really not sure why this is. I think perhaps that everything happens with much less drama than I expect. ...more
This book reminded me a little of Shannon Hale's<i>Goose Girl</i> because it deals with animal magic. In The Princess and the Hound animaThis book reminded me a little of Shannon Hale's<i>Goose Girl</i> because it deals with animal magic. In The Princess and the Hound animal magic is feared and anyone who can talk to animals is punished severely. Prince George has animal magic, and he has striven his whole life to keep this a secret from the citizens of his country. Consequently, George is a very isolated individual. He is betrothed to Princess Beatrice, a very strange young woman who never goes anywhere without her hound. It is clear that George and Beatrice both keep some pretty serious secrets. ...more
Breaking Dawn was not what I expected. Very early in the book (chapter 2) I realized that a certain theory (I’m looking at you Pam) of which I had beeBreaking Dawn was not what I expected. Very early in the book (chapter 2) I realized that a certain theory (I’m looking at you Pam) of which I had been a great naysayer was, in fact, just what was going to happen even though I really, really did not want it to. And I was annoyed. Now we were going to have more of Bella being breakable, stubborn and in serious need of protection. Now we were going to have to endure more of Edward torturing himself while blaming himself for Bella’s injuries. (Not to mention the teenage pregnancy.)
Almost as soon as part two of this particular theory was realized I knew that part three, which concerned Jacob and the child, would be as well. (But sorry, Pam, no luck on part one.) And this truth became clearer and clearer as I read book 2 of Breaking Dawn. I actually enjoyed book 2 more than I thought I would. I found Jacob Black’s internal monologues and the chapter titles amusing. But, perhaps partially because I was in Jacob’s head, for the greater majority of book 2 I remained pretty annoyed about the pregnancy, and I just kept thinking that Bella was insane and let’s not even get started on Rosalie. I wasn’t shocked or outraged or surprised in the slightest with the end of book 2 because really I had known what was coming from the conclusion of book 1. But seriously, Renesmee? What a dreadful name. I cringe every time I read it.
It quickly became clear that I what I thought the books were about is actually only partially correct. For me, the first three books had very much been about how much someone would be willing to sacrifice in order to be with the person she loved. And yes, I still think this is a major theme of the books. Commitment always entails sacrifice, and I thought that Stephenie Meyer’s first three books, as good books usually do, pushed that idea to its extremes. Would Bella give up her family? Her future? Her mortality? Although it’s true that when we commit ourselves we end up getting so much more back that the sacrifice, although difficult, is worth it, Bella ends up not having to give up the things she thought she would—not Jacob, or children, or even Charlie; she didn’t even have a difficult newborn transition. Even the conflict between the wolves was over in an instant. I missed the tragedy of the previous three novels.
So I obviously seriously struggled through the first half of the book, but the second half was another story (ha). I was entranced by Bella’s transformation into a vampire. How wonderful to be inside a vampire’s head. Finally Bella and Edward can have a more balanced relationship. He doesn't have to worry about her breakable nature. She can finally start fighting for herself and her loved ones.
And then the Volturi. They are the most fabulous villains – powerful, ostensibly civilized and yet so very evil. I love how Aro is so polite, and Marcus is so bored, and Caius is just so bad. Ah, discussions with the Volturi are always fascinating. (I suppose these are some of the reasons I love New Moon.) Although I had been so unsurprised for the first half of the book, I truly believed that Bella and Edward and everyone else might not survive. Because, although we’ve never seen Stephenie Meyer kill off any of her beloved characters, there is a first time for everything. Perhaps Renesmee’s escape with Jacob would be our only happy ending. I was truly on edge. Here was the suspense I expected. I really liked learning about all the new powers brought by the other vampires, and Bella’s power is awesome. Better still, the Volturi live to fight another day. Perhaps we shall see them again.
I did like the book. On future rereads I am sure that the first half will not be as disturbing. (Although I don’t think I’ll ever be able to stomach the name Renesmee.) And as stated so well by our friend Garrett (I would love to know his role in the Revolutionary War), the book is about what results from sacrifice: family, loyalty, and true affection. ...more
In this third installment Amy has a pretty dismal beginning to her last semester of collage. She becomes the scapegoat in a society battle, and, moreIn this third installment Amy has a pretty dismal beginning to her last semester of collage. She becomes the scapegoat in a society battle, and, more importantly, she's dealing with some pretty heart-wrenching confusion thanks to Brandon. Luckily, she has the chance to escape all of that(or so she hopes) when the Diggers go to Cavador Key over Spring Break. Where, of course, things don't exactly turn out as planned. (Nope not at all. Although, in one case, in particular, they turn out much, much better.)
This book is much more about Amy rather than the capers of Rose and Grave. And I, for one, couldn't be happier about that. Amy's whole situation with Brandon felt so very real to me. And Poe? How I love Poe. I love the swimming lessons, the fights, the stares. Hooray for the preview to the next book. I was so happy that it began right where the 3rd book left off.
I really liked the first part of this book. Scott Westerfeld's creation of a "reputation-based economy" is fascinating. The cameras, the feeds, and tI really liked the first part of this book. Scott Westerfeld's creation of a "reputation-based economy" is fascinating. The cameras, the feeds, and the fame offer dead-on commentary on society's obsession with celebrity and the internet. I thought it was brilliant to have the city tracking the number of times peoples' names were said so that the citizens could be ranked in order of celebrity minute by minute. Also, I thought that Radical Honesty was hilarious.
However, and I'm finding that this is my typical reaction to the Uglies books, as soon as the characters left the city my interest in the book really plummeted. I was not a huge fan of how it all ended. If the zero-g people weren't really all that bad why were they stabbing everyone with their needle fingers?...more
So reading these books kind of made me feel like I was watching a show on the CW. Especially the first book--Amy goes to a Eli (which is basically YalSo reading these books kind of made me feel like I was watching a show on the CW. Especially the first book--Amy goes to a Eli (which is basically Yale), she is an editor for one of the school's literary publications, and she gets involved in a Secret Society. It was very Rory Gilmore (even though Amy and Rory do not have similar personalities). But, I have to say that I was very entertained. A little intrigue, some good-looking guys, trying to change the status-quo, it was all in there. And, on top of all that, Amy is a really likeable character. So, I'm going to read the next book in the series....more
The Secret Society Girl books are what secured my love (and I do mean love) of Diana Peterfreund. She's a rock star. The books follow Amy, who is tapped for a Secret Society, Rose and Grave, at the prestigious Eli University. The thing is, she is among the first class of women to be tapped for this secret society. The books feature intrigue, some good-looking guys, and battles to change the status-quo. On top of all that, Amy is a really likeable character.The conclusion to the series, Tap & Gown, is one of the best conclusions to a series that I've ever read. ...more