I picked up this book after seeing Coates interviewed on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. During that interview I was struck by something that I reallI picked up this book after seeing Coates interviewed on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. During that interview I was struck by something that I really shouldn't have been: I was witnessing two black men speak about race, without interruption or censure or commentary from anyone else. I realized this is a conversation I've never been privy to and I realized what a horrible absence that is.
I read the book, hoping to learn more about the lives of black men -- a world that is apparently as foreign to me as any distant country -- and hoping to hear more of that conversation. I've not been disappointed. I've learned quite a bit.
Mainly what I've learned is that there is so much more to learn. I won't lie, I am still trying to wrap my head around his experiences and perspective. I'm still digesting his argument, his struggle, his questions. I know now I can spend a whole lifetime trying to understand -- and that I should.
Right now my review is to say: Please read this.
And the rest of my review is to quote some of the sections that stick with me...and I've dog-eared almost the entire book.
"My reclamation would be accomplished, like Malcolm's, through books, through my own study and exploration. Perhaps I might write something of consequence someday."
"The trouble came almost immediately. I did not find a coherent tradition marching lockstep but instead factions, and factions within factions....I had come looking for a parade, for a military review of champions marching in ranks. Instead I was left with a brawl of ancestors, a herd of dissenters, sometimes marching in step but just as often marching away from each other."
"The Dream thrives on generalization, on limiting the number of possible questions, on privileging immediate answers. The Dream is the enemy of all art, courageous thinking, and honest writing."
"I was learning the craft of poetry, which really was an intensive version of what my mother had taught me all those years ago -- the craft of writing as the art of thinking. Poetry aims for an economy of truth -- loose and useless words must be discarded and I found that these loose and useless words were not separate from loose and useless thoughts."
"These are the preferences of the universe itself: verbs over nouns, actions over states, struggle over hope."
"Now at night I held you and a great fear, wide as all our American generations, took me. Now I personally understood my father and the old mantra -- "Either I can beat him or the police." I understood it all -- the cable wires, the extension cords, the ritual switch. Black people love their children with a kind of obsession. You are all we have and you come to us endangered."
"The struggle is really all I have for you because it is the only portion of this world under your control."
"...the changes have taught me how to best exploit that singular gift of study, to question what I see, then to question what I see after that, because the questions matter as much, perhaps more than, the answers."
"I thought back on the sit-ins, the protestors with their stoic faces, the ones I'd once scorned for hurling their bodies at the worst things in life. Perhaps they had known something terrible about the world. Perhaps they so willingly parted with the security and sanctity of the black body because neither security nor sanctity existed in the first place."...more
The Premise Bestselling, critically acclaimed author John Rothstein has retired from public life. He keeps his current work unpublished and3.5 Stars
The Premise Bestselling, critically acclaimed author John Rothstein has retired from public life. He keeps his current work unpublished and tucked in a safe in his house, along with twenty-thousand dollars cash. Enter Morris Bellamy, a troubled young man who's Rothstein's biggest fan until Rothstein, in Bellamy's opinion, 'sells out.' Normal fans bitch on Facebook. However, this is the late '70s, so Bellamy does the next logical thing: murder the author, steal his work and cash, and bury both treasures until the heat dies down.
Then Bellamy does some other stuff and winds up in jail for a different crime. Because he's a jerk.
Fast forward a few decades and Bellamy is released, only to find some punk kid named Peter has discovered the treasure, spent the money to protect his troubled family, and -- the worst crime of all -- has read Rothstein's notebooks. Bellamy doesn't take too kindly this. Havoc ensues.
Thoughts, Opinions, and Sundry Items I would like to say that "Bill Hodges returns in thrilling new mystery" but, as you can see from the above premise description, in which Hodges plays no part, Hodges is really peripheral to this story...and I think it would actually be a stronger novel without the recurring characters. Bellamy and Peter were both so engaging that having Bill, Jerome (whom I love), and Holly interfere in the exchange between the two was almost an irritating distraction.
For example, the thread pulling these three characters into the situation was tenuous at best: Peter's sister's old best friend is Jerome's sister. So Peter's sister gets concerned enough about Peter's behavior to go, not to her parents, but to a former best pal that she doesn't hang out with that much...and trusts the people that said former best pal says to trust.
Yeah, not really feeling it. It read forced to me. Especially when you have an even better, built-in opportunity to ask Hodges for help: Peter's father was injured in the Mercedes murders. Hodges caught that killer. Peter's sister (maybe even Peter himself) could have gone to Hodges directly because of newspaper articles, proven track records, etc. without the weird convulsions of sister's-best-friend's-cousin's-roommate.
Totally dug the exchanges between Peter and Bellamy though. At first, I wasn't too sure about Peter -- but I think it might've been an unfair expectation on my part. Because of the 'Hodges Mystery' series label, I really kept expecting Hodges to show up and be the central hero. By the time I figured out that Peter was a kid who could hold his own, I was almost two-thirds in and, when Hodges does come into play in the story, I was ready for Peter to do all the butt-kicking and thinking against our villain Bellamy...so I was actually disappointed that Hodges kinda turns into a deus-ex-machina hero. Don't get me wrong -- Peter starts out strong and doesn't give up. I like that kid.
Bellamy is an interesting villain. The dude is messed up in the head. His NEED is palpable.
Also found the bits of myth-making in regards to Rothstein's fictional work very entertaining. Throughout Finders Keepers King intersperses bits of 'wisdom' from the Rothstein books. Including such gems as "Shit don't mean shit." Most of it sounds whack-a-doo...which is terrifying considering that, if you think about it, most of the quotable material or plot lines of any given work sounds whack-a-doo when taken out of context. We build whole societies on what we find quotable. ...more
There was a lot of stuff to like about this one but, to be honest, I kept putting it down and had to convince myself to pick it back up. And I wasn'tThere was a lot of stuff to like about this one but, to be honest, I kept putting it down and had to convince myself to pick it back up. And I wasn't 100% sure why until I got to the end.
The cover says that this is "genre-bending" and I see that...it's just I didn't know what genres were being bent. It starts as a really solid mystery, with cool investigators, an intriguingly horrible serial-killer case, and insight into that killer's mind that reads psychologically fascinating.
Then (view spoiler)[it turns out the bad guy isn't crazy at all and there is some weird supernatural stuff going on. Like aliens? Like devils or angels or gods? That part's never explained, which doubles-down on the frustration level. You basically discover: "The bad guy's not crazy and there's weird shit going down" but you never find out what that weird shit is really. Some kind of other-consciousness. (hide spoiler)].
So, the horror-turn I didn't see coming and it didn't pay off for me.
But, like I said, there's still a lot of stuff to dig about this one. I particularly like the way Beukes made Detroit itself a character and the presentation of the rise of the internet reporters. I thought that was well done. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Had I just picked this up having never read Chelsea Cain before, I think I might've rated this one higher. However, I really love Gretchen Lowell (welHad I just picked this up having never read Chelsea Cain before, I think I might've rated this one higher. However, I really love Gretchen Lowell (well, not love in her case...more love to hate) and Archie. The characters -- Kick and Bishop -- in this new series aren't quite as get-behind for me.
Some of that has to be that I felt like Cain was keeping her cards too close to her chest in order to have something else to write about in the next book. By the end (this may be a spoiler?) we still don't know anything about Bishop that's real -- who his wife is (does he really have one?), who he works for, etc.
And, speaking of Bishop, I didn't like his introduction either. Cain presents him as someone who 'gets it' in an almost prescient sense. So, if he's someone who understands Kick and her situation and he's behaving the way he is...well, he's a dickhead. And I don't know if I'll like him, in spite of the fact that I feel like I'm supposed to like him.
I don't know if any of that made sense.
Cain's strength here is the same as always: how the hell does she make these crazy situations seem plausible? Sexy female serial killers? Incredibly wealthy hunters of sexual predators?
I think it's because the characters (most of them, but Kick especially) behave the way a normal person would in those extraordinary conditions. Kick's bond with her dog, with the FBI agent who rescued her, and even with her kidnappers is wrenching to watch/read. Here I am, reading this kinda unbelievable situation, and I'm tearing up.
So I'm gonna pick up the next book when it comes out...just so I can see those cards Cain is holding so close. ...more
There's a lot of pseudo-science throughout this, so you kinda have to bear with it. But it's Matheson. There are legit scary moments throughout.
One pThere's a lot of pseudo-science throughout this, so you kinda have to bear with it. But it's Matheson. There are legit scary moments throughout.
One part really gave me the shivers early on and it's entirely owing to Matheson's writing style. Our four protagonists (Fischer, Barrett, Edith, and Florence) have arrived at Hell House and are exploring this Everest of Haunted Houses. They come across an old recording of Mr. Belasco -- long dead -- welcoming them to his home. Fischer, who has been in the house before, explains this recording and Belasco's behavior:
"Guests would arrive, to find him gone. That record would be played for them." He paused. "It was a game he played. While the guests were here, Belasco spied on them from hiding.
"Then again, maybe he was invisible," Fischer continued, "He claimed the power. Said that he could will the attention of a group of people to some particular object, and move among them unobserved."
"I doubt that," Barrett said.
"Do you?" Fischer's smile was strange as he looked at the phonograph. "We all had our attention on that a few moments ago," he said. "How do you know he didn't walk right by us while we were listening?"
What's fascinating about this passage is that, as the four protagonists are studying the record and the phonograph, Belasco could have moved by them...and while the reader is reading, focusing only on this phonograph and this recording, could some important piece of information have slipped by?
Bird Box does everything horror novels do -- except it does it blindfolded.
At first it took me a little bit to suspend my disbelief. The opening chapBird Box does everything horror novels do -- except it does it blindfolded.
At first it took me a little bit to suspend my disbelief. The opening chapters explain a weird plague: people going crazy from seeing something. Really? But, once I got past that hiccup of "Yeah, right" and bought into Malerman's world the story was freakin' terrifying.
What this something is...who knows? The book is told from the POV of the people who live, so there's no way of knowing. Ever. If you take off your blindfold, you will go insane and kill things like your children before you kill yourself. So the survivors -- of which I would never be one in this world because I hate not seeing things -- have to deal with everyday things in a world where they're not allowed to look.
Malerman presents good questions that add to the tension: Walking into a house, how do you know you're not followed by one of the creepy killer things you shouldn't see? Can you trust the others around you to be careful? Can you walk around your neighborhood blindfolded in order to get food? And what the hell was the snapping twig sound? ...more
Now, I don't like to psychoanalyze writers based on their novels -- but this one strikes me as Galbraith/Rowling going "I'm gonna kill someone so violNow, I don't like to psychoanalyze writers based on their novels -- but this one strikes me as Galbraith/Rowling going "I'm gonna kill someone so violently that no one could possibly remember I wrote the bestsellingest children's series of all time."
Because the murder in this one -- it's gruesome. Wonderfully so. And grossly so.
There are only two things keeping me from rating this a full-out five stars:
1. I kept falling asleep. And it has nothing to do with anything being boring or off-pace. I think it has everything to do with Cormoran being so exhausted in the early chapters. He's barely slept. He talks about how achy he is and now he's got this gory murder to solve. He wants to sleep so badly that I think it made me tired. So I didn't read this as quickly as I've read the others.
2. For about the last eighth of the book, Cormoran knows whodunit -- he even tells his intrepid sidekick/assistant Robin who it is -- but not the reader. There's about twenty pages of obnoxious card-holding. And there aren't really any extra clues after that, so you kinda want to go back and re-read what you've read to see if you can make an educated guess before the big reveal -- which you know will be coming any minute because the narrative practically screams "You'll know who it is any minute now! Just not now! But in a minute!" Which is no fun.
But it's still awesome. There's a lot of novelist talk, which is fun coming from the bestsellingest novelist ever. ...more
The Henry plays -- and a great deal of Shakespeare's history plays -- were written prior to 1594. These are Shakespeare's early attempts and a lot ofThe Henry plays -- and a great deal of Shakespeare's history plays -- were written prior to 1594. These are Shakespeare's early attempts and a lot of critics have pointed out: it shows.
Henry VI, Pt 2, is definitely rough. There are a crap-ton of characters, some of whom only show up once for a couple lines and then disappear. In a production of these plays, a lot of these roles would be doubled-up. The result is a somewhat chaotic read, though I bet it's much easier to follow on stage.
All I really have to say about this play is: Early Shakespeare is Still Shakespeare!
And I think Shakespeare might've missed his true calling: dark-Kill-Bill-style comedy.
Yes, I think Shakespeare and Quentin Tarantino should get together. Wait, scratch that. They'd never shut up so they'd never get anything done. Both are kind of long winded.
However! Jack Cade, the badass-but-not-too-bright leader of the rebels, who appears near the end of the play, is the epitome of a Tarantino talky-crazed bad guy. He makes decapitated heads kiss each other. He kills people for calling him the wrong name. He proclaims random laws. His scenes are straight out of Pulp Fiction. It's a good thing Shakespeare didn't have access to needles. (Or, maybe, a bad thing.)
Some of that shit was so disturbing I laughed out loud.
Do the nobles plot for an unreasonable amount of time? Yes. Is it sometimes difficult to follow characters and their motivations? Sometimes. Yes.
But I liked it way more than I thought I would. ...more
First, a brief low-down: A young man drives a Mercedes into crowd of job-seekers at a job fair. He kills eight people, wounds a bunch of others, and tFirst, a brief low-down: A young man drives a Mercedes into crowd of job-seekers at a job fair. He kills eight people, wounds a bunch of others, and then seems to drop off the face of the earth. Then we jump a year later and meet retired Detective Kermit William Hodges, a.k.a. Bill, who was the lead investigator on the case. Bill is depressed and considering suicide when the Mercedes Killer sends him a letter telling him to go ahead and off himself, unwittingly giving Bill a reason to live: namely, to hunt down the bastard who ran through a mass of people with a stolen Mercedes.
For those who may be looking for a horror fix...this isn't it. (Which isn't necessarily a bad thing.) Mr. Mercedes has more in common with Sue Grafton and J.K. Rowling's alter-ego Robert Galbraith than it does with The Shining or It. As a reader, I don't mind that at all. The bad guy is definitely bad and the good guy has enough questionable motives to make it a quick, interesting read.
There are definitely some plot holes and leaps of faith that the reader has to make, but if you read it quick enough (like I did) you won't think about the problems long enough to truly distract you.
My biggest issue (not counting plot holes and leaps of faith) with the novel related to a more basic issue -- it felt like the beginning of a series. I felt only marginally introduced to the main character (strange, right?) and his former partners. I was only gonna give this book two stars...then, lo, I arrive at Goodreads and find this is the first part of a trilogy? I have rounded my star rating up in hopes that the next couple novels will fix the distance-y issues I was experiencing.
An example of a 'distance-y' issue (a term I have coined my own self): The sidekicks. Jerome and Holly. First off, the sidekicks don't come into the story in any measurable way until almost the end, which was a bummer because they were great foils for Hodges that were massively under-utilized -- they could have presented the arguments and counter-arguments to Hodges thought process...rather than the reader going "What the hell, dude?" And considering the pivotal roles they play, it's kinda disappointing to not spend more time with them.
But, I mean, dudes, it's still King. Plenty of attitude and spark through the pages to keep 'em turning. I especially love the emails between hero and villain. Snarky. Good times. ...more
Liam Neeson was born to play Titus -- Taken has nothing on the revenge porn that this is.
The plot boils down to an escalation between Titus, who starLiam Neeson was born to play Titus -- Taken has nothing on the revenge porn that this is.
The plot boils down to an escalation between Titus, who starts off the whole thing by conquering the Goths and capturing Tamora, their queen. To prove a point, he kills her eldest son. Tamora, not one to be outdone, wriggles her way into the cozy position of Roman Empress and proceeds to f*** up everything Titus loves.
It just gets worse from there.
What I love about this is that no one is likable, with the possible exception of Lavinia who bears way more than a human being should. The fact that everyone is a punk makes the (very, very) extreme violence of this particular piece more bearable. Seriously, you're cheering on the death and dismemberment because these people are JERKS.
But my favorite bit about this is Tamora. She's a supervillain who makes me think of a more human Iago. She's passionate and hateful. It's mind-boggling how hateful she is. Though...considering the good guys are complete monsters...I don't know how she could be anything but. ...more