I'm currently producing this group of five plays at Springs Ensemble Theatre and I cannot stop laughing during rehearsals. It's very distracting for tI'm currently producing this group of five plays at Springs Ensemble Theatre and I cannot stop laughing during rehearsals. It's very distracting for the actors.
Hoverman not only has a great sense of humor in these plays but a great sense of heart. While the situations are sometimes beautifully over-the-top (like a fist fight in the waiting room of a fertility center in "Nativity"...or "The Student" which is about a rather awkward student/teacher conference) there's always a sense of real people coming to terms with their sincere, personal selves.
My opinion of the book is four stars; my opinion of this edition is two stars because in the blurb on the back it may as well say "This one is guilty.My opinion of the book is four stars; my opinion of this edition is two stars because in the blurb on the back it may as well say "This one is guilty." Which was very unfair for such a fun story. I shall say no more other than to reiterate that I really enjoyed this one...because if I say any more I will be just as guilty as the book blurber for this edition. ...more
As informative as this book is, I'm still not 100% sure how to poison a person and get away with it...so I guess the "Handbook" isn't as handy as it'sAs informative as this book is, I'm still not 100% sure how to poison a person and get away with it...so I guess the "Handbook" isn't as handy as it's cracked up to be....
However, if you wanna know all about hunting bad guys with beakers and bunson burners in 1920s/1930s New York you will not find a better book anywhere than this one. I LOVED it.
Blum has an excellent way of guiding the reader through a multitude of areas that can get confusing in their 'high-context'-ness. Stuff like history if you're not familiar with the era or place; stuff like chemistry in any form; stuff like political science all get enough attention so, as a reader, you don't get lost lost and you're not bored to tears either. It's a fine balance and she handles it swimmingly.
This book also handles the intricately knotted tendrils of chemistry, crime, politics, and psychology in the best possible way. Cause and consequence - including the ever-irritating law of unintended consequences - are beautifully illustrated.
My favorite portions of the book were the sections that handled Prohibition's effects:
"So it was that as Prohibition moved toward reality - Wyoming had become the thirty-sixth state to ratify the amendment on January 16, 1919 - Gettler and his small staff returned to the idea that wood alcohol was about to increase in popularity. THe Eighteenth Amendment, now that it had attained full ratification, was scheduled to go into effect in 1920. Already, though, the medical examiner's office was charting a rise in alcohol poisoning, as New Yorkers hurried to find alternative supplies."
We're always looking for alternative supplies, aren't we?
The increase in drinking deaths, the government participation in poisoning its citizens (the government officials defending themselves with the all-too-common blustering defense: "They broke the law, they deserve to die!"...as if *abiding the law* and *life* have ever been synonymous), and the necessity of capturing real violent criminals (the kind who poison dozens of bakery patrons), all helped drive Charles Norris, New York's first medical examiner, and his crew to work round-the-clock to discover the make-ups of several poisons.
It's a great read. Really quick, to the point, and guarunteed to up your answer quotient on Jeopardy!. But, even more than that, I think that way Blum interweaves all of the seemingly disparate elements of the Prohibition period is helpful as a medium for looking at today's issues of concern like the economy, oil, immigration, and the reactions to Wall Street. These things, like the issues pressing in the 1930s, do not exist in a vacuum - and a good many of the problems Blum touches upon (corporation oversight, for example) are still with us today. I really think this is an entertaining and important book.
The Premise: Reporter Wendy Tynes operates a Dateline-esque sting of a probable pedophile named Dan Mercer. He insists he's being set up. When the casThe Premise: Reporter Wendy Tynes operates a Dateline-esque sting of a probable pedophile named Dan Mercer. He insists he's being set up. When the case against him is thrown out, she questions her conclusions. When she witnesses Mercer's murder...she's not sure what the hell is going on. Of course, as she digs deepers, the troubles (job loss, death threats, etc.) mount up.
The Big Issue: This is one convaluted story, with subplots within subplots within subplots. While Coben walks a fine line here, I think he basically pulls it off. Any of the plots/subplots separately would've made an interesting book - after all, most of them have graced the headlines of national newspapers. And, in my opinion, that's the weakness of the story. I can buy Wall Street traders ripping retirees out of their retirement. I can buy a reporter questioning her headlining pedophile story. I can buy shadowy figures out to seek revenge for any of the following: a child who has been abused, a man falsely accused, or kidnapping a teenager. I can buy a schizophrenic man holding the clues to everything in his broken psyche.
Way harder to buy all of that in one novel. And, oh yes, the above situations are all in there, plus some that I haven't mentioned....But I'm not giving anything away. I'd have to rewrite the book in order for anyone reading here to understand the different levels going on.
In the book's defense, however, the various layers - which make the story rather incoherent when you try to explain it to a stranger - do not let you put the book down. The pages keep turning. I finished this book in a one-page-turn-after-another day. But, if you're anything like me, you'll be left with a little tinge of: Really?
Lesser Issues (a.k.a. My Personal Pet Peeves): The way technology is presented. For example, I don't buy for one iota of a second that any reporter - local, national, international, or alien - worth their salt (as main character Wendy is portrayed) does not have a Facebook account...or that they would not know, at the very least, how to use the world's largest networking site. And I'll leave it at that.
The Good Stuff: The side characters rocked my world. I loved the "Fathers Club." I'm probably with the vast majority of the music business when I say that I don't think middle-aged white men should be trying to break into the rap sector, but as a reader I appreciated that Ten-a-Fly made the effort. (Yeah, I didn't list it above, but middle-aged-white-man-rapping is in this book too! Huzzah!)
Some of the other reviewers have mentioned Win. Only a few pages, but he's there and he makes an impression.
I adored the cartoony lawyers: Flair Hickory and the Judge Judy-esque Hester Crimstein. (Though I do have an issue with how Crimstein is portrayed as rather 'brilliant'. Mostly she was like a bulldog - any police department would've pushed charges with the evidence stacked against her client...so it struck me as strange that her questionable arguments had the cops in awe.)
Overall: Enjoyed this one. It's a good, quick read with (literally) a million points of interest. Definitely worth your time if you're in the market for an entertaining weekend.
Waaaaay before Orwell thought of pigs ruling the farm, Leigh Hunt (buddy of Percy and Mary Shelley and Lord Byron, and the credited author for this brWaaaaay before Orwell thought of pigs ruling the farm, Leigh Hunt (buddy of Percy and Mary Shelley and Lord Byron, and the credited author for this brief 1825 novel) imagined a world in which all the animals took over...and like humans, the animals put a donkey in charge.
The basic idea is that a guy drinks a special potion and learns to speak to the beasts on the eve of the Rebellion. Inspired and touched by the beasts' burdens, John Sprat, stands by and bears witness to the slaughter of humans and the rising of the animals.
And he also witnesses the animals being as ridiculous and frivolous as the humans ever were. In spite of calls for equality, the Ass King's favorites gain power and dominate the 'lower orders' of brutes. Elephants command the religious sector and dominate as much as the Donkey.
This was a super-interesting read, with some excellent touches. After all, who can resist descriptions of the animals' court behavior? They have kissing ass down to an art:
"The first day in every month there was a grand lick-tail, or levy, held in the palace, at which all the dignified elephants and noblemen attended. There were several gradations of licking pointed out to the animals; the nearer the root of the tail you licked, the higher were you in dignity; the high-priest and the royal family had a lick at the very top; a commoner could not approach within several inches. the tail was always held up on the lick-tail-days, by an elephant dressed in full pontificals."
Oh yeah, it's literal here.
And while that is certainly disturbing, it's also the best illustration of the heart of Hunt's argument: these kinds of rituals are ridiculous, partial, and unhealthy to the state of the world. The animals, who have taken over in the interest of equality are just as corrupt and hypocritical as the men they've routed.
"I gripped my right ear and twisted, which is how I tune out idiots."
Unfortunately, it's apparent thatAh...sarcastic narrators. This book's got one.
"I gripped my right ear and twisted, which is how I tune out idiots."
Unfortunately, it's apparent that everyone except John Corey (our fearless, convalescing-from-getting-shot-on-the-job narrator/hero) is an idiot. I sorta wish that his ear had been turned off for some larger chunks of the book -- because the reader has to wade through a lot of red herrings and schtuff to get to the meat of the book.
For example, getting a tour of Plum Island, the spot where world-threatening viruses are studied and possibly stolen, shouldn't be so long and tedious. For an example of that: there are numerous mentions of the ospreys -- but don't get all excited. It's not a clue. Apparently the bird has nothing more to do with the story than a narrative motif, which doesn't quite come off for me. The tour of Plum Island takes 100 pages and by the time you reach the end, witty repartee like
"I had to ask, 'But is the female screwworm fulfilled?' 'She must be,' Zollner replied. 'She never mates again.' Beth offered, 'There's another way to look at that.'"
is just a little frustrating. You want INFORMATION, not wit, by that point.
That being said, the characters are certainly likeable (you know, except for the ones you're not supposed to like)
And even the false leads are intriguing. Pirate treasure, virus hunting, international intrigue, historical implications, etc. You just can't get much better than that. The whole thing is an adventurer's wet dream. It's fun to go and figure stuff out along with Corey -- though the turn might be a little to easy to catch. I mean, I got the gist before they left Plum Island...which might explain why a lot of the copious detail felt, well, copious.
If McDonalds ruled the world: it would look like this book.
Or, rather, if Nike owned the world.
The Low-Down Dirty: Welcome to the not-so-far-away futuIf McDonalds ruled the world: it would look like this book.
Or, rather, if Nike owned the world.
The Low-Down Dirty: Welcome to the not-so-far-away future, where everyone is identified by the company they work for. Hence, our trigger-man (in every sense of the word, sort of) is Hack Nike. Hack Nike works for John Nike and John Nike. **No, that wasn't a typo. There are two John Nikes in this book. One is prettier than the other.** John Nike has decided that the greatest marketing scheme of all time includes shooting ten teenagers to make the new shoe, the Nike Mercury, that much cooler and desireable. The Johns ask Hack to handle it.
But Hack's not very good at this and outsources to the Police, who in turn outsource to the NRA -- who kill fourteen teenagers instead.
Now Hack is being hunted by the Government: Jennifer Government.
How it Works: Barry has pulled off a fast-moving, sometimes confusing feat of how-not-to-run-the-world. Considering the world-wide scope of this story, it's amazing the characters come together as well as they do.
You've got unemployed people (a.k.a. 'entrepeneurs') working on computer viruses to sell to the highest bidder. You've got a government that can't prosecute criminals unless the victims agree to pay for said prosecution. You've got ambitious corporate-ladder climbers that make the Enron assholes look like pansies. It's an exciting set-up for things to go wrong.
The most interesting parts are the people who somehow grow a conscience out of this whole debacle, and there are a surprising amount of them, which bodes well for humanity. Just be prepared, as a reader to keep a mental list of the cast of characters because Barry doesn't slow down to let you catch up. If you lose a person, you're outta luck for a little while until you can get your bearings.
British authors must have some kind of secret to writing scrappy orphan stories.
Not being opposed to books that start with a creepy man breaking intoBritish authors must have some kind of secret to writing scrappy orphan stories.
Not being opposed to books that start with a creepy man breaking into a house, murdering the family who lives there, and being thwarted by an infant and his ghost protectors...I thought this was a great book. The opening is certainly dark, but I can't imagine a coming-of-age-in-a-graveyard book opening with sunshine and happy little gnomes.
The creative concepts in this book really caught my attention. How would one raise a living child in a graveyard? If the ghosts can't leave, how do you get food? How do you educate the kid? How do you teach him to protect himself? How do you make friends? The answers Gaiman comes up with are soooo very interesting. Plus, it's all a very interesting take on the ultimate human question: What happens when you die?
Nobody Owens, Bod, is one of those characters that you want to cheer for. He works hard to do what's right, whether it's getting a headstone for the dead who long to be remembered or defending his fellow students from the classroom bullies. When he's told that he is kept in the graveyard for his own protection, Bod's reaction is to say that it's the man Jack, the man who killed his family, who should be protected - from Bod.
I love a can-do attitude.
The good news is life in the graveyard carries a story a long way. The only problem I had with the story was the reasoning - the 'why' - of the man Jack's assault on Bod's family was explained away in a sentence or two very close to the end of the book. The bad guys just seemed too simplistic, which was disappointing after so much mystery had been built around their 'society'. With the well-explained good guys balanced against the less-explained bad guys, the weight of the story shifted strangely, if that makes sense.
All in all, though, it's pretty darn good. I'd recommend it for middle school and up - and not because the opening is dark (which it is, no lie) but because there are a multitude of literary and historical references that I'm not sure younger readers would appreciate. There'd be a lot of blank stares unless there's an adult around to explain.
This is the first book in a long while that has made me both laugh and cry. The three interlocking narratives compliment one another well -- each charThis is the first book in a long while that has made me both laugh and cry. The three interlocking narratives compliment one another well -- each character (Aibileen, Minny, and Skeeter) has a distinct voice and the storylines come together very well.
The subject matter -- race, segregation, the Civil Rights Movement -- is covered with respect and an eye for detail. Though, with such a wide scope, it would be impossible to cover all the aspects of the subject...which has been a matter of some criticism directed toward the book. And it's really my only issue with the book:
While the story is very moving, and the characters well-drawn, I never felt the real danger of the characters' actions -- and having lived in the south, there are some very real consequences for breaking 'rules' even today. In the 90s, my mother (we are white) had a sore throat that she wanted checked out. She worked forty miles from our Georgia home and stopped at a clinic between work and home. She parked on the side of the building and went in, but was immediately stopped by a black nurse who said to her: "Oh, no, sweetie. This is the colored entrance."
Stockett does insert shootings and historical deaths and a police presence...but I really, really don't think that the risks presented in the story are representative of what would have happened in the 1960s. Most of the consequences are presented as social-outcasting. But it would've been their lives. Towards the end, that threat does pick up...but by the end, it's really too late to convince the reader of the danger.
(And apparently all white women are lousy parents.)
Having said that -- I still loved this story. I loved that it felt hopeful. I loved that Aibileen and Minny got to tell their stories. Aibileen made me want to hug my children forever. Minny made me want to sass the next few people I met -- just to do it. I love that Skeeter, a writer, got to write a great book. (I always cheer for writer stories!) I even loved lost, Marilyn Monroesque Celia. And I really, really super-loved to hate Hilly.
I read the first story of this book, "Murder in the Dark," and when I was finished I turned to my husband, shoved the book in his hand, told him to reI read the first story of this book, "Murder in the Dark," and when I was finished I turned to my husband, shoved the book in his hand, told him to read it and then he was to tell me HOW DID SHE DO THAT?
He didn't really have an answer but his comment defined what I thought of the rest of the book: "It's written with the confidence of someone who knows she can hit a homerun every time."
Confidence oozes through every one of these pieces.
Least faves (because they just seemed a little too forced - and I wish I had a better word for that sensation, but that's the best I've got!):
"Gertrude Talks Back": Queen Gertrude gives Hamlet her opinion on her current and former husbands. Fine. But the tone somehow seemed dismissive - and the character of Gertrude never seemed dismissive in the play - which is doubly odd considering the information she is giving her 'priggish' son. And, this may seem an odd critique, but I think the white space between the paragraphs doesn't do the story any favors. It gives it a fragmented feeling and I think that a piece riffing on Shakespeare would work better within the play framework - perhaps shaping the monologue in a block form like Hamlet's own speeches would have allowed the words to have more impact instead of making the reader adjust both the form and the words.
"Poppies: Three Variations": While this is probably the most complex exercise, it reads just like that: an exercise. She riffs on a verse about poppies by John McCrae by using the same words of that verse, in the same order, to tell three different stories. The first words of McCrae's verse is 'in Flanders' and all three mini-stories have with 'in' followed somewhere by 'Flanders' followed somewhere by the next word in the verse. It's a good way to stretch the literary muscle, but it's like watching someone work out - we admire their physique but prefer not to see the huffing and puffing and sweat that go along with it. Just give me the calendar, ya know?
The stories that I absolutely adore are the ones that have a satirical bite to them.
"Simmering": Oh! My FAVORITE by far. (I know, it's unfair to choose favorites, but there you have it, anyway.) It's all about what happens when men take over the kitchen. Go get this book and read that story.
"Murder in the Dark": It set the tone for the rest of the book. Is the author just trying to manipulate the reader throughout (I'm totally okay with the way Atwood manipulates, by the way), is she just a magician showing nothing of reality? Puts the power with the writer...so I think my writerly friends will enjoy this a lot...as well as readers who like to figure out the trick. I still haven't....
"Happy Endings": A choose-your-own adventure marriage!
Atwood also illustrated the collection, and some are as provocative as the stories - which are also dominated by the bits and pieces of male and female anatomy. Interwoven among the stories is the question of objectifying the body: "Making a Man," "Alien Territory," "Dance of the Lepers," and "Good Bones" hit on the question in a more direct way...but it's everywhere.
Well worth reading - and it won't take that long either.
No lie: there are some slow parts to this episodic narrative of the hunt for some not-so-slow viruses (AIDS, Ebola, Lassa, and Crimean Congo HemorrhagNo lie: there are some slow parts to this episodic narrative of the hunt for some not-so-slow viruses (AIDS, Ebola, Lassa, and Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever among them). But that's only to be expected. The real world is not like Outbreak and there is years of research behind vaccinations, understanding the origins of a disease, and developing treatments. Lucky for the reader that McCormick and Fisher-Hoch kept the narrative as fast-moving as they did, because it could easily, easily, easily get bogged down in technical detail.
That being said, the sections that delve into the social and physical consequences of these diseases are fascinating and quick to get through. As a reader, I definitely appreciated the circumstances and difficulties that face all medical staff, around the world. The responsibility is a heady one.
As far as the storytelling itself goes, I struggled with the two first-person accounts after Chapter 13. Intellectually, I understand that there are two people creating a larger picture for me...but I question the way in which it was told. The biggest jar was the switch from McCormick's narrative - which took the reader throughout central Africa, putting the reader flat-out on the road hunting for viruses and BAM! we were introduced to Fisher-Hoch's life experience (which was certainly necessary, I'm not saying it wasn't)in London.
After that, it's an alternating narrative with awkward transitions from one person's experience to the other like the following (initially in Fisher-Hoch's perspective): "This was a new Ebola all right, but it was an Ebola that had let us off the hook. This time. Still, there was trouble ahead. Joe experienced it all firsthand. Let him tell it:" (pg. 299) It becomes downright annoying in the final chapters of the book.
The other difficulty with readability is exhaustive repetition. I realize that these are very complex diseases and the methodology used to collect and examine the viruses are not easy. I appreciate the doctors' obvious and extensive education - but the reader of this book is not going to be an uneducated person, so it's unecessary to repeat, ad nauseum, what ribavirin is (a definition is given about four times - if the reader didn't get it after the first definition, the reader ain't gonna understand the stories at all anyway). Same with chloroquine treating malaria.
Generally these repetitions occur when telling the victims' stories and are used to illustrate the unsuspecting nature of the victims and their doctors...but the reader knows what's going on and understands that these mistakes happen, it's easy enough to say "like X situation, they did Y instead of Z" without defining everything over again.
However, if you want to understand the world medicine theater of the 80s and early 90s, I don't think you'll find a better overview than in this book. The relation of poverty to disease is well-documented here. It's here you find the epiphanies that led to the use of gloves, needle sterilization, and the use of disinfectants to protect from outbreaks. Here is why we screen blood. Here is the introduction of Hep C and AIDS - and an explanation for why these diseases are rampant in some areas and not others.
The sections where Kerouac talks his writing style. There are two selection/chapters that cover this "spontaneous prose": "TBest part about this book:
The sections where Kerouac talks his writing style. There are two selection/chapters that cover this "spontaneous prose": "The Essentials of Spontaneous Prose" and "Belief & Technique for Modern Prose." Both are kind of checklists; but how-to lists might be more accurate. Interesting, downright fascinating...though I'm not 100% sure what to do with stuff like #14 in "Belief": "Like Proust, be an old teahead of time." But I can certainly get behind #29: "You're a Genius all the time." (I tell myself this everyday. Heehee.)
And speaking of genius -- the essay "Are Writers Made or Born?" is AWESOME. Basically he separates the idea of great talents (what he refers to as interpreters...like a great violinist is not Mozart, for example, even though he/she plays well) and geniuses -- the Mozarts -- are people who create something new that hasn't been seen before. Worth reading even if you read nothing else in this collection.
Other stuff that was pretty good:
His arguments for Beat and what it is. His definitions are meant to clarify a lot of the philosophy of the Beat movement. I don't know if they clarify too much...but I think I caught a few details that I didn't know before. Probably one of his most interesting observations in "On the Beats" is "The dope thing will die out. That was a fad, like bathtub gin."
The stuff you have to wade through:
Sports. While he makes some really great arguments for why baseball strategy (walking the best hitters, etc.) makes for dull games and players who don't know how to swing for the fences...for the most part the sports sections are dull. The games and seasons he writes about are long gone, and the immediacy of a sports article doesn't reverberate through the ages like we would like. Even for a writer like Kerouac.
**spoiler alert** For me, the setting was the most interesting part of this graphic novel: underground London. The subterranean rooms offered a unique**spoiler alert** For me, the setting was the most interesting part of this graphic novel: underground London. The subterranean rooms offered a unique framework for the already-freakish elements of a circus. That the ringmaster, guides, and performers were all take-offs of traditional horror monsters made it feel like something entertainers would consider throwing together for a special Halloween performance.
With such a set-up setting, I anticipated a little more horrifying-ness. But, It opens with the three central characters meditating on the missing Miss Finch while eating sushi...which doesn't strike me as a stressful opening. The comfort and expense of a sushi restaurant tells the reader/observer flat-out that this isn't an Immediate Situation. Yet, when you get to the end, you realize that the disappearance happened a few minutes earlier...kinda cuts the tension in half pretty quick.
As it's presented, there's no real emotional attachment to the disappearing Miss Finch (we don't even get her real name). She is presented as cold, not fun, proper, English, and basically as someone they're stuck with for the evening. Miss Finch critiques the whole underground freak circus as being in 'questionable taste'. Yet, when the opportunity for her to fulfill her wish ("I wish with all my heart that there were some [sabertooth cats] left today. But there aren't")comes, it slips into Mantasy World. Half-naked, Miss Finch -- up until that point a scientific, academic woman -- comes out with a couple sabertooth cats that try to eat an old lady. Then she disappears, still half-naked, off into the 'sunrise' with the cats.
So, yeah, some thing didn't quite work for me.
Pieces that did work:
I was entertained by the three central characters. They were sarcastic and world-weary and hard to impress. Lots of snide little comments: "Jonathan had originally become famous hosting an evening talk show...he's the same person whether the camera is on or off, which is not always true of television folk." I enjoy that.
I think this is a testament to the old adage: the right word in the right place. As Sappho was a lyricist, a musician, a poet, every word is intriguinI think this is a testament to the old adage: the right word in the right place. As Sappho was a lyricist, a musician, a poet, every word is intriguing and beautiful...even if we don't know what order they go in. After thousands of years, the papyrus that holds Sappho's words has crumbled leaving only one poem intact. But you wouldn't know it if you weren't told.
Beautiful imagery capturing appleblossoms and wedding days still exist. Mourning for the loss of youth and beauty still haunts. Invocations to the gods, asking for inspiration and favors can still be heard. You can read these fragments over and over and still find something new.
Carson did a good job presenting the 'experience' of reading a papyrus destroyed by time. The reader gets a sense of how a translator would see it. My only issues are with the introduction, which seems short and doesn't quite introduce the reader to the elements of the ancient society that would help 'translate' the time as well as the language, and the notes section at the end...mostly the cross-referencing is difficult to follow, though the scholarship is obvious and interesting. ...more
***First off, just to clarify the description provided by Goodreads--it's not Miss Marple's nephew's wife. The main characters are a lovely young coup***First off, just to clarify the description provided by Goodreads--it's not Miss Marple's nephew's wife. The main characters are a lovely young couple that Miss Marple meets via her nephew.***
This book was written waaaay before it was published in 1976. It sat in a deposit box waiting for the light of day. So there may be some inconsistancies with the rest of the series...but Miss Marple is not a series that you have to read in-order, in order to enjoy it.
That being said, I can see why this book was slotted for the end. The crime is two decades old, a "sleeping murder" or a "murder in retrospect" that is triggered by the main character's (Gwenda) childhood memories. Today we'd call a case like this a 'cold case'. By utilizing a murder-in-retrospect as the central mystery, Christie creates a reflective element that enhances the book itself, and also her series in general.
Let me clarify that last statement a little bit. Miss Marple is a character who has solved, and survived, many different cases. At the opening of this particular case, she is hesitant to wake it up. "Let sleeping murder lie." But there's no way the two main characters, Giles and Gwenda, will let it rest. It doesn't matter how old the case, it needs solving. Miss Marple, of course, joins them in the investigation in spite of her reservations.
By focusing on this type of case, Christie seems to emphasize that no case is unimportant, no case it too old to ignore, and therefore, all of Miss Marple's cases are important, and no book or puzzle is too old to ignore. As a final book, Sleeping Murder gives the Marple stories a certain gravitas. It's worth reading just for that.
A creative idea that is surprisingly well-executed. Halpern's Twitter feed, Sh*t My Dad Says, is a great idea for a twOn Writing a Memoir Via Twitter:
A creative idea that is surprisingly well-executed. Halpern's Twitter feed, Sh*t My Dad Says, is a great idea for a twitter feed in general, and translated well into this short memoir in particular. I was concerned upon picking this up that it would be just a listing of super-self-referrential quotes, but Halpern manages to dodge that by putting plenty of his own life-experience in. He gives context, and that is an added bonus.
On Reading This Book During a Little League Game
It was very meta.
This was my favorite part, not only because I was on the stands at my son's baseball game at the time, but because it showed Justin Halpern (the author) understanding, as an adult, what he did not as a child. Young Halpern doesn't understand why he's forced to practice with the smelly kid. His dad shows him, via a confrontation with another parent...which is still not uncommon in the world of youth sports...that the kid is a talented player with a rough life, and that you should look past appearances to find out the truth.
I also think that this is the whole point of this book.
On the Point of This Book
There's a lot of cursing--but if you pick up a book titled Sh*t My Dad Says and you're not expecting that...well, I can't help you.
However, the cursing is just the outward appearance.
The stories and quotes are about being yourself, learning from your mistakes, living an honest, straightforward life, and shooting for your dreams. Halpern's dad, throughout all the cursing, all the lessons, obviously loves his kids. Justin Halpern is somewhat self-deprecating, which makes him come across a little slow, but it has to be that way, right? Otherwise his dad's Words Of Wisdom wouldn't ring like they should.
(And we inherently understand that Halpern's lessons got through, right? If not, there wouldn't be this book, the sitcom, etc. Gotta read between the lines, see past the appearances, and all....)