Not one of my favorites of his, but still had a few really good essays...the ones that stood out to me were the one about China (#2 to Go), the one abNot one of my favorites of his, but still had a few really good essays...the ones that stood out to me were the one about China (#2 to Go), the one about his lost passport (Cold Case), and the one about his colonoscopy (The Happy Place). The latter made me want to get a colonoscopy. Not out of fear, but because it sounded pretty fun. Really. I did not so much care for the few monologue-type pieces he wrote from awful people's points of view; to be sure, they were really great character studies, but the people were just TOO awful to be enjoyable. I would have loved to hear them actually performed at a speech meet though.
My favorite lines...
"Gambling to me is what a telephone pole might be to a groundhog. He sees that it's there but doesn't for the life of him understand why."
"Pigs eat meat--a pig would happily eat a human--but most of the pork we're privy to was raised on corn or horrible chemicals rather than on other pigs and dead people."...more
Installment #2 of the trilogy was not quite on the level with #1. We replace the first protagonist with a new and lessMeanwhile, back at the office...
Installment #2 of the trilogy was not quite on the level with #1. We replace the first protagonist with a new and less interesting one--a former government operative sent in to shake things up at the flailing Southern Reach organization. I didn't identify with him as I did with the biologist, and found him a bit bland. The story, perhaps to reflect the personality of this new character, is a bit more manic, more choppy. There are a lot of confusing flash-forwards, with backtracking to explain how we arrived at that point. A lot of bizarre, disjointed inner monologues. And of course, an office setting can't quite compare with the exotic weirdness of Area X, not to say that some severely unsettling and whacko things don't happen there.
But I'm not saying this is a bad book--it's still dread-filled and terrifying, and leaves the reader mind-boggled trying to sort through all of the clues and evidence, to figure out if they even ARE clues and evidence. It's also pretty awesome to get the skinny on things our 4 members of the 12th expedition didn't know, and at the same time know things from the 12th expedition unknown to the Southern Reach offices. The (would this be the proper use of the word?) LITERAL cliffhanger at the end is quite a successful tease, and has me ready for #3....more
Danny Torrance is back as a 40-something alcoholic (damn those genes!) with a bit of his childhood shine remaining. Although this story features a fewDanny Torrance is back as a 40-something alcoholic (damn those genes!) with a bit of his childhood shine remaining. Although this story features a few cameos from the type of evil spirits and monsters that inhabited the Overlook Hotel, it focuses more on the tricky mind games involved in the shining itself. Dan makes friends with a young girl wielding an exponentially stronger shine, and gets wrapped up in a plot to save her from a weird roving band of half-human, half-vampirish creatures who sustain themselves with the supernatural energy they siphon away from children with the shine.
I thought this was much better written than The Shining, and King's several decades of practice are evident. It was great to find out what happened to the main characters from the first volume of the series, and to know that Jack Torrance's legacy wasn't utter disaster in all directions. And I will now view RVs and lost children ads with a new and suspicious perspective....more
A great, easy-to-read story about misfits and losers finding love. I'm a bit too young to fully appreciate all the mid-80s pop-culture references, butA great, easy-to-read story about misfits and losers finding love. I'm a bit too young to fully appreciate all the mid-80s pop-culture references, but at least they weren't completely over my head. The teen angst and sexual tension made it hard to put this one down....more
Although perhaps not the highest quality literature I've ever read, Outlander was wildly entertaining and full of great smut.***mild spoilers ahead***
Although perhaps not the highest quality literature I've ever read, Outlander was wildly entertaining and full of great smut. This would definitely fall in my sophomore English teacher's "cheeseburger and fries for the brain" category...not very healthy, but very satisfying! I found some parts to be very predictable, where I was a few steps ahead of the author, and I felt the whole wolf attack scene was akin to jumping the shark...I mean, come on! The girl's having a hard enough time! But other than that, I loved the language (I could hear the accents very well in my head) and descriptions of 18th century Scotland, and as a botanist I enjoyed all the medicinal plant talk. As for the whole domestic violence issue, at which many reviewers have taken offense...I understand it (not the same as condoning it). I don't feel that the author was glorifying or excusing the violence, even given Claire's wishy-washy response to it; it just seems like it might be a realistic portrayal of the culture of that time, and just because it's unpleasant doesn't mean it should be avoided. Jamie was a product of his time, and while it would be great if he were an uber-sensitive progressive male and bucked the accepted trends in punishment, it would probably ring false. I do wish, however, that Claire had stuck to her guns a bit more and not let him off the hook so easily.
Now, the question is...do I start the next book in the series, or watch the TV series?...more
Intense and weeeeeeeird. This book definitely passes the Bechdel test, with four female scientists exploring a deserted exclusion zone, never encounteIntense and weeeeeeeird. This book definitely passes the Bechdel test, with four female scientists exploring a deserted exclusion zone, never encountering a (fully-human) male, except in flashback. Area X defies all rules of the biological world we know, filled with odd mutants and possibly alien life-forms. The tension never abates; the entire story is laced with dread and the inexplicable, generated both by the environment and the four women themselves, who all have their own secrets. I found a soul mate in the biologist narrator, a closed-off observer who doesn't quite fit in with the rest of society..."Observation had always meant more to me than interaction." "...but I also wasn't in the habit of engaging in small talk, nor in broad talk, as I liked to call it. I didn't care about politics except in how politics impinged upon the environment. I wasn't religious. All of my hobbies were bound up in my work. I lived for the work, and I thrilled with the power of that focus but it was also deeply personal. I didn't like to talk about my research. I didn't wear makeup or care about new shoes or the latest music. I'm sure my husband's friends found me taciturn, or worse." I very much hope that I will encounter her again in the two following installments of this trilogy....more
Not one of my favorite King books...definitely from his less-polished earlier days. It heavily employs 2x4-to-the(Mild spoilers ahead...nothing major)
Not one of my favorite King books...definitely from his less-polished earlier days. It heavily employs 2x4-to-the-head foreshadowing and that annoying tic of his, interrupting paragraphs with little snippets in parentheses
(voices in your head)
and then continuing on with the paragraph as if it never happened. I rather liked the main premise of the story, caretaker and his family isolated in a mountain retreat over the winter, and the subplot of people with "the shine", a sort of sixth sense. The hedge animals subplot was rather tacky, I thought; if they only "moved" menacingly while your back was turned (is it real? is it a hallucination?) it would have been more spooky, but their physical attacks seemed over-the-top and ridiculous.
Overall, however, it was entertaining and kept me up reading way past my bedtime (and hearing strange noises in the night)....more
This was a super-fun collection of stories about elements and the scientists who discovered and fought over them. Who would have guessed there was soThis was a super-fun collection of stories about elements and the scientists who discovered and fought over them. Who would have guessed there was so much drama involved in chemistry--it's like a soap opera! It also helped me to name 79 out of 100-odd elements on an internet element quiz, so I'm feeling pretty puffed up about that. As a chemistry teacher, it gave me a lot of little fun anecdotes (well, I think they're fun anyway; my kids stare at me like I'm an alien, as usual) on the topics we're learning about....more
**spoiler alert** I found this book thoroughly entertaining, and found myself laughing out loud at some of the completely absurd, sociopathic things s**spoiler alert** I found this book thoroughly entertaining, and found myself laughing out loud at some of the completely absurd, sociopathic things said and thought by the main characters. Things that I and (probably) other people think, but would not ever say out loud for propriety's sake. The main reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 was the ending...I was too dismayed and disappointed in Nick to rate it higher.
I almost completely sympathized with Nick, and felt from the beginning that he was innocent. I identified closely with him, preferring to be alone a lot and having a hard time expressing feelings. It seemed from his narration that he was being honest about his surprise at Amy's disappearance, even though it was obvious he was hiding other things and had douchebag tendencies; on the other hand, I was suspicious of Amy from the beginning, since her side of the story was told through a diary, which we all know are not always accurate and can twist the truth. Although she was an awful person, I rather enjoyed and admired her exquisite attention to detail in her escape plot, and especially loved her spot-on critiques of Midwestern culture (being a Midwestern girl myself). As a person who generally does not care for mysteries or thrillers, I give this book an enthusiastic seal of approval....more
Pure summer reading fluff...I adored Four's character in the trilogy, and was glad to get more of his point of view, especially since he is so guardedPure summer reading fluff...I adored Four's character in the trilogy, and was glad to get more of his point of view, especially since he is so guarded and mysterious most of the time....more
I don't know...this book just didn't do much for me. I found the premise a bit preposterous, and Charlie too unlikeable. Smart Charlie, anyway. I didI don't know...this book just didn't do much for me. I found the premise a bit preposterous, and Charlie too unlikeable. Smart Charlie, anyway. I did enjoy looking for clues of his intellectual progression in the quality of his letters, however; the use of proper punctuation, gradual changes in spelling, etc. Mostly, I couldn't get over my annoyance with the doctors in trying an unnecessary procedure on humans that hadn't been thoroughly tested in animals first, something that would never fly in real life....more
Another book I have read in order to keep up with what my students are reading. I was expecting a cutesy teenybopper drama, and was pleasantly surprisAnother book I have read in order to keep up with what my students are reading. I was expecting a cutesy teenybopper drama, and was pleasantly surprised to find it had real depth and charm. Instead of martyrs putting on a brave face and tackling their diseases with grace and humility (a la Miss Melly in Gone With the Wind), this book was full of anger, sarcasm, ugliness, dark humor, and human weakness. Not ALL of it, of course, but enough to make it seem real....more
A good, creepy, post-apocalyptic book for kids. I had never read it as a kid, and am a bit surprised that it's a kids'/YA book; it's very dark and theA good, creepy, post-apocalyptic book for kids. I had never read it as a kid, and am a bit surprised that it's a kids'/YA book; it's very dark and the language is not simple. I was taken aback by the abrupt ending, but liked it anyway....more