Good, not great. Think Christopher Buckley, but not nearly as funny. The novel works best when taking a satirical view of our very near future. I reco...moreGood, not great. Think Christopher Buckley, but not nearly as funny. The novel works best when taking a satirical view of our very near future. I recommend this book, but keep your expectations inline. (less)
The sweeping generalizations and conclusive statements pretty much gut his theories on life, society, etc. all made through the prism of pop-culture....moreThe sweeping generalizations and conclusive statements pretty much gut his theories on life, society, etc. all made through the prism of pop-culture. Might work better in in the context of fiction where a character can espouse these views, which feel like nothing more than than those of an intellectual who has devoted his life to reading to Entertainment Weekly, watching TV, smoking pot and making clever off the wall arguments for the sake of making clever, off the wall arguments. I'm pretty sure I can find those in any bar in any college town in America, but I'm even more sure That if i did, I would excuse myself after I finished my beer.
I chuckled here and there, but not enough give Klosterman another try, at least the non-fiction. I should add that I wanted to like this guy, but oh well.(less)
The Nine picks up about a decade after the end of The Brethren. It's good, but I could only give it 3 stars because it falls short of the standard set...moreThe Nine picks up about a decade after the end of The Brethren. It's good, but I could only give it 3 stars because it falls short of the standard set by The Brethren. Also, I don't mind an author having a political opinion, especially when I agree with it, but I don't like my books reading like MSNBC. It wasn't that bad, but it was a little too much. One other thought, it certainly was an O'Connor lovefest, but you also take away (even more so than the Brethren) that the Court is controlled by middle.(less)
I generally do not like to spend my free time reading books about the law. I picked this book up at my Dad's house during a recent trip. Due to the le...moreI generally do not like to spend my free time reading books about the law. I picked this book up at my Dad's house during a recent trip. Due to the length of the book and its subject, I thought the odds were long that I would get very far before putting it down and picking up some fiction.
I enjoyed this book more than anything I've read in a longtime. Now more than 30 years old, what was originally current affairs when it was published can be viewed looking back with some historical perspective. The last justice to join the Brethren in the book, John Paul Stevens, was the last of the Brethren to retire from the Supreme Court in June 2010.
The Warren Court was responsible for the major advances in individual rights in the sixties and early seventies , but today's society was still be shaped in the early year's of the Burger Court (recognizing that it continues to be reshaped after the time period covered by the book, just in a different direction). It makes one contemplate what America would like today if justice Douglas had retired just a year or two earlier. Or if Nixon hadn't botched (from the conservative's perspective) so many of his picks (Blackmun and Powell). But as the Court moved to the right, the center gained in importance. Stewart, Blackman, Powell and Stevens (all republican appointments) perform admirably in the face of Burger.
Burger - was he evil or stupid? That was the clerks' debate. Woodward and Armstrong leave you with the impression he's both. That is another thing I really enjoyed about this book, like Game Change, the curtain is pulled back. Imagine the contempt Justice Stewart must have had for Burger to permit himself to be the primary source for this book at a time he was still on the Court.
I really enjoyed this book, but I also think that as a result of it being written, those with interests in picking Justices are much more careful to be certain that the nominee is what they believe him to be (Roberts, Scalia, Alito). The stakes are too high (for both parties), and, without the benefit of historical perspective, the Court looks more like it is occupied by two political parties rather than 9 justices.
Excellent beach read. Two parts gossip and one part inside baseball. The Clinton campaign was such a trainwreck that in the narrative of the campaign...moreExcellent beach read. Two parts gossip and one part inside baseball. The Clinton campaign was such a trainwreck that in the narrative of the campaign I found myself rooting for them once they became the underdog. But I quickly reminded myself all of the reasons that I opposed Hillary (and Bill). Business as usual, built in negatives, etc. Obama is not the star of the book. The story here is how everyone else fares against the well-oiled Obama machine. As you know, nobody fares well, which makes for a good read. Edwards is unbelievable... a delusional, egomaniac who was willing to put the entire party at risk. Good riddance. McCain is who I thought he was. Palin is downright scary.(less)
So this book pulls together a lot of what you already know about fast food, the production and delivery of meat and other food products, the evils of...moreSo this book pulls together a lot of what you already know about fast food, the production and delivery of meat and other food products, the evils of corporations and suburban growth, etc. It doesn't stop there. It goes further and sets forth a lot of things you don't know, often the things you don't want to know before you bite into that hamburger, and puts it all together one piece at time. A jigsaw puzzle that fits neatly together to show a picture of a corrupt, broken system of food production from corporate farm to fast food table. In subjects such as these (delivery of food to an entire nation) there is a shock value, And Schlosser uses them to make his point. And his point is we can and should do better and it will take an effort from individuals making choices where they eat to greater government intervention. The book spends very little time heralding the advances in food production which permits greater numbers to eat at less cost, which could have balanced at least the shock value of some of his observations. Given the room for improvement in the areas he details, however, I wouldn't have spent too much more text on it either. I did get the sense that one of the things Schlosser was protesting against was the change in the American way of life: how and where we eat, how and where we live, where we work, how much we get paid, what we watch on TV, etc. This book has an agenda, and while it's not necessarily a bad one, it bleeds through the pages. Despite the agenda, I do think it should be required reading. That said, I'm not going to become a vegetarian either.
While I am sure it is probably still true that one does not want to spend any time in a state mental institution, it may be less true today than it wa...moreWhile I am sure it is probably still true that one does not want to spend any time in a state mental institution, it may be less true today than it was 50 or 60 years ago. Electro shock treatment, insulin shock therapy and lobotomies... it's practically medieval.
The Bell Jar isn't, however, an attack on methods of treating mental health in the 1950s (or at least not a frontal assault) or being a ward of the State (which Esther wasn't). That's territory covered by Kesey in a much more enjoyable read in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
The Bell Jar is an account of a young woman's descent into a deep depression in the 1950s. It didn't speak to me. I know, that's probably a good thing. But I did find it a worthwhile read. (less)
This book should have been at least 100 pages shorter. I get it. You worked as hard as you could, you cursed, you drank, you did drugs, restaurant aft...moreThis book should have been at least 100 pages shorter. I get it. You worked as hard as you could, you cursed, you drank, you did drugs, restaurant after restaurant went out of business it wasn't your fault. Gradually, you got your shit together. It's a good story, but it could have told better (and in less pages!). Thus, the "it's ok" rating.(less)
These are essentially the same soldiers in Generation Kill, but the US is now mounting the counter-insurgency -- The Surge. With the shock and awe par...moreThese are essentially the same soldiers in Generation Kill, but the US is now mounting the counter-insurgency -- The Surge. With the shock and awe part of the war long in the rear view mirror, one cannot read this gripping account and be struck by the similarities to the Vietnam War. Then endless patrols, the invisible enemy, land mines = IED & EFPs, etc. Finkel has given an outstanding accounting of the 2-16's year in Iraq. I read this and think by this time the whole thing had been bungled by Bush/Cheney to such a degree that any marginal success the Surge had, which Finkel certainly calls into question, what is the point? Of course, this in no way diminishes the soldiers of the 2-16's valor, which Finkel captures.(less)
A good summer beach read. Interesting characters, but a bit exaggerated. Better than a Man in Full, but essentially the same. Tom Wolfe is simply dwar...moreA good summer beach read. Interesting characters, but a bit exaggerated. Better than a Man in Full, but essentially the same. Tom Wolfe is simply dwarfed by his contempories Mailer and Updike. Not even in the same league.(less)
Dear God! The horror. The horror. More on that later. I had two false starts on this book before finally completing my read. It is a difficult book to...moreDear God! The horror. The horror. More on that later. I had two false starts on this book before finally completing my read. It is a difficult book to read. There is a good bit of untranslated Spanish. No quotation marks. And I had to go to my dictionary so many times that I found myself not going to my dictionary in order to make moderate progress at one sitting.
But, I DID like this book. The men in this book commit horrifying acts of evil which McCarthy relates in graphic detail. And you might think McCarthy is disturbed after reading about the Slaughter of the Gilenos, but this novel is based on historical events. The violence of the wars against the american indian is sanitized and/or romanticized in just about every medium except historical texts. McCarthy is brutally vivid. And denies the reader the type of vengence we've become accustomed to.
"The freedom of birds is an insult to me." -The Judge
Is the Judge a supernatural figure? He is learned (and self-taught?) in all subjects. All of Glanton's gang claim to have met the Judge before he joined their gang. We know this to be true of the kid. When the gang was being pursued by the Apache, the Judge was waiting for them, led them away, and delivered the gang from death at the hands of the Apache by producing gun powder from bat shit and other natural resources. He says that he will never die. There is other support for this. Perhaps so, perhaps not.
The novel's end is remniscent of No Country for Old Men (based on watching the movie) and I will leave it at that. I feel that if I read this novel again, I would bump it up to 4 stars. There's much more to be gleaned from this book and a second reading, with a spanish-english dictionary and a regular dictionary with the necessary patience would be a worthy endeavor. (less)