since i think it's required in the vast majority of American classrooms, i read this right along with everyone else somewhen in high school, and utter...moresince i think it's required in the vast majority of American classrooms, i read this right along with everyone else somewhen in high school, and utterly hated it.
wow, what a difference 2 decades makes.
the prose is just lovely, and Fitzgerald had a marvelous talent at metaphor (descriptive and lush, without being too damn clever for its own good). it's a relatively simple story of love and yearning for things you can't have (or never could), and i guess my teenager brain wasn't emotionally mature enough for subtle glances across the room and quiet desperation.(less)
the first in a new "paranormal romance" series (cuz apparently, i like my porn to involve fangs or werewolves) that's so far surprisingly good. my cow...morethe first in a new "paranormal romance" series (cuz apparently, i like my porn to involve fangs or werewolves) that's so far surprisingly good. my coworker who's been keeping me stocked in the supernatural crack that's been fueling a month-long book-bender has found a real winner in this new author. you can tell from the first book that there's some carefully considered world-building going on, and the plot is far more than mere filler between bedroom scenes.
nutshell recap: a woman finds out as she's approaching her mid-20s that she's really a half-vampire. the ruler of the vampire race, good friends with her deceased father, arrives to see her through the physically dangerous transition to vampirehood. we get introduced to all of the rules of this particular universe at the same time our heroine does, and many of the supporting characters in here earn their own books from the get-go. i devoured this one in its entirety on a plane ride home, and its sequel the very next day. lots of fun.(less)
the problem with tolkein is that his writing is so dense that it feels like you're wading through setting concrete to get to the good story buried und...morethe problem with tolkein is that his writing is so dense that it feels like you're wading through setting concrete to get to the good story buried underneath. this book, the first in a trilogy, has the exact opposite problem: sentences are so short and choppy that they become distracting to the good story.
'watchtower' has taken a familiar story - the kingdom is overthrown by an interloper and the young prince must rally help to reclaim his birthright - and throws enough new twists to make it interesting. those short, choppy sentences work well for the action sequences. there's a good dash of old-school feminism (it was originally published in '79), including an open but not explicit lesbian couple. the characters here feel real: nobody is either epically heroic or epically evil. unfortunately, it never *quite* comes together, and it's slow in some places. the story is good enough to entice me into reading the next one in the trilogy, though.(less)
Butcher is now on the 9th of his Harry Dresden books, and in a truly magical feat, the series is still going strong. there is NO point in starting the...moreButcher is now on the 9th of his Harry Dresden books, and in a truly magical feat, the series is still going strong. there is NO point in starting the series with this book...new readers will be lost in the alluded-to but not explained background stories of each of the detailed characters. with a lot of authors balancing this many people, everyone's voices start to run together; not so here, so once you've caught up with the other books, there's no problem keeping up.
the whole series is a lot of fun, and each one is a pretty quick read. they're all well worth checking out.
the sci-fi channel started running a tv show based on these books in january 07, and while the show is pretty good, these books are worlds better.(less)
Jim Butcher's harry dresden series starts out pretty solid, and only gets stronger as time goes along. in this first one, our intrepid wise-cracking w...moreJim Butcher's harry dresden series starts out pretty solid, and only gets stronger as time goes along. in this first one, our intrepid wise-cracking wizardly p.i. has to figure out who in chi-town has been using black magic to kill people. basically, imagine if harry potter was in his 30s, bitter, and american, and you'd have this harry.
the series is a lot of fun, but definitely read them in order, as there's a story arc that gets increasingly referred-to but not explained as the books go along. (less)
i stumbled across a beat-up copy of this one at a used bookstore, and bought it off of the recommendation of a classmate with a rather sarcastic sense...morei stumbled across a beat-up copy of this one at a used bookstore, and bought it off of the recommendation of a classmate with a rather sarcastic sense of humor. the book was probably beat up from its former owner dropping it all the time after laughing too hard to keep a hold of it. arranged in a series of vignettes that can be read in any order (though there are several in-jokes that become apparent as you read, this one can certainly be devoured in sporadic little short-story-sized bites), it takes a little while to get used to Sedaris' style of humor. utterly self-deprecating and weirdly quirky, once you get in to it, these tales induce the sort of laughter that make other people stare at the crazy chick cackling like a drug fiend. good times.(less)
the first entry in Kelley Armstrong's "women of the otherworld" series is still her strongest, and it's a really good read. this story of a woman unwi...morethe first entry in Kelley Armstrong's "women of the otherworld" series is still her strongest, and it's a really good read. this story of a woman unwillingly changed into a werewolf avoids any mention of mysticism or ancient curses and makes the idea that werewolf packs are hidden in the world quite believable. supporting characters are individuals instead of generic stock copies of each other, which is good considering this is basically a tale of human(ish) relationships.
shame about the covers, though, since all the paperback ones have this generic "nighttime" or "supernatural" look, while the 1st ed hardback had one of the best covers in recent memory (a faceless woman in a 'flaming june' colored dress, limbs twisted at strange angles...a blonde tail subtly peeking from below the hemline).(less)
Yagharek is a garuda, an eagle-man from the desert, who has lost his wings in punishment for one of the worst crimes among his people. feeling trapped...moreYagharek is a garuda, an eagle-man from the desert, who has lost his wings in punishment for one of the worst crimes among his people. feeling trapped earthbound, he journeys to the crowded, crumbling city of new crobuzon to seek help from
Isaac is a rogue scientist; he can't be bothered to teach a steady class at the university, and he'd much rather dabble in research on whatever topic catches his fancy. Yag's need to fly, and the possible solution in Isaac's pet theories on crisis energy launches him into a creative frenzy. when he comes up for breath, he slips away from the censure of the nearby faculty to live his open secret cross-species love for
Lin, an up & coming bohemian artist, is a khepri - a russet-skinned woman with a scarab beetle head. she's just taken a once-in-a-lifetime commission for a truly grand sculpture, one that will require her most bravura work. she'll never gain fame from this potential masterpiece, given the requirement of secrecy from the patron
Motley is possibly the city's prime crime lord, a shadowy figure with webs extending everywhere into the city's underbelly. he's cornering the market on a new drug who's effects are far worse than sobriety ever could be, something that will take many lives in its production.
these people's lives interlock in ever-closer patterns along with beautiful monsters, , robo-monkeys, steampunk clockworks, demons that exist in alternate planes of existence, AI, Shelob (?!), Crime and Punishment and Justice, and the crumbling mucous-dripping stained stench of the decaying city streets. Mieville gets full marks for creativity - this book is overflowing with imaginative ideas & nightmares. getting to all those pearls, though, necessitates have to wade through a whole lot of baroquely ornate prose rife with excessive descriptors. more than once, it starts to feel a bit too clever for its own good (e.g., my dictionary says that palimpsest = "writing material used one or more times after earlier writing has been erased", though each of the half-dozen times that word ostentatiously crops up, it generally means something closer to "a stench of many layers"). the first 200 pages are a slowly meandering stroll through the gritty, tired city before the story sharply veers off into exciting horror novel territory, and then finally fizzles some under its own weight. it felt like work to push through the last chunk of it, and i put down the book feeling it was solidly (somewhat disappointingly) a 3 star read.
24 hours later, though, all those ideas are still boiling up through my brain, and it occurs to me that the idea of "choice-theft" as the highest form of crime is a far more elegant way of phrasing my own personal morality. something that gets that far under your skin is pretty damn impressive, even with all the palimpsests of mucous.(less)