I really liked this one. Eugenides weaves this incredible, fluid story spanning several generations of a Greek family. Fortunately, Eugenides doesn'tI really liked this one. Eugenides weaves this incredible, fluid story spanning several generations of a Greek family. Fortunately, Eugenides doesn't do what so many authors resort to when writing across the decades and create characters about as deep as a sheet of paper. Instead, each story is full and evocative, and the characters are well-developed, with feelings and quirks and personalities.
You've got to give credit to any author who can put a hermaphrodite in as the main character and still manage to elicit sympathy. Many authors would have failed one way or the other by making the story just a story about a hermaphrodite, but in Calliope/Cal, our heroine/hero, there's a story about a person. The book wavers betwee heartbreakingly sad and laugh-out-loud funny as Calliope learns she's different from other girls and goes back into the family's secret history as s/he makes the transition to Cal.
PERFECT FOR: when you want to read a non-traditional coming-of-age (coming-of-sex?) story....more
This is my mom's and my husband's favorite book, and being a huge Ian McEwan fan, I was pretty sure I was in for a good thing. So I nabbed it from myThis is my mom's and my husband's favorite book, and being a huge Ian McEwan fan, I was pretty sure I was in for a good thing. So I nabbed it from my mom, started reading and...never got into it. Tried again a little later: Same thing. And a little later than that: Still nothing. Finally, prompted by the release of the movie (I hate admitting that it came to that), I decided it was time to buckle down and read this thing.
The beginning of the novel isn't exactly boring, but I think I found it a little hard to get into because it's not very plot-driven. Rather, it focuses on thoughts and feelings and perceptions, and the plot doesn't make itself obvious until later. That's wonderful and all, but compared to my other favorite McEwan novel - Enduring Love - where the reader is ensnared into the story almost as soon as they open it up, it was a bit slow-going at first.
Not that authors have to write each book in the same manner, and not that a big, exciting bit of action has to occur immediately for a story to be good - this is Ian McEwan, not a dime-a-dozen detective story - but...I'm just trying to explain why I wasn't taken to the book immediately.
All of McEwan's novels, one reason I enjoy reading him so much, examine how a mere moment can change everything. Atonement beings with thirteen-year-old Briony, a storyteller who witnesses something she doesn't understand one summer's day in England. Compounding factors further her confusion throughout the rest of the day, until she ultimately, based on her misinterpretations, wrongly accuses a family friend of a crime.
The book carries you from 1935 to World War II to the close of the twentieth century, and after the first three parts are over, you realize that it's a sort of novel-within-a-novel and that it's been written as a way for Briony to atone for her crime. One wavers between being infuriated with Briony for her childish inability to see the difference between truth and fantasy and to grasp the magnitude of her accusations and having your heart break for her as she lives her life wondering how she can forgive herself.
McEwan, to quote The Weekly Standard, "writes like an angel and plots like the devil." His writing is lyrical and elegant; each word he uses is precisely the right one (e.g. "a pointillist approach to verisimilitude" - perfect! p. 339), which I admire about him. It's enchanting and gripping and whether you're looking for a love story, a war story or a humanizing story, Atonement is a must-read.
When it was over, I didn't have the feeling that I sometimes get where I wish it could continue on forever and I could hear more of the story. In a way, I was glad it was over, because what else was there to say?
Oh, Harry, Harry, Harry. Part of me wishes I had started reading you earlier so I could have had more time to languish in your wondrousness, and partOh, Harry, Harry, Harry. Part of me wishes I had started reading you earlier so I could have had more time to languish in your wondrousness, and part of me wishes I hadn't met you yet so I still had our encounter to look forward to...
Sorcerer's Stone is by far the most innocent of all the HP books, but it's just as enjoyable for adults as it is for kids. Throughout the book - and the series, really - I was just amazed by Rowling's imagination...how do you come UP with this stuff?? The names of characters, the different places - to say nothing of the entire concept of a young wizard going through adolescence at a school for witchcraft and wizardry - everything is just brilliant. Most wonderful of all, when you reach the end of this book, you still have about 3700 pages of Harry to go!!
To all you HP haters out there, I guarantee that if you just give it a try, you'll understand. I was a total non-believer for years. I had no interest in reading some lame-ass kids' book about wizards and magic and spells, and I vehemently refused to believe it might actually be as good as people say. How doltish of me....more
My love for Harry continued to blossom with Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban...after a confusing, odd book 2 (see review for Harry Potter andMy love for Harry continued to blossom with Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban...after a confusing, odd book 2 (see review for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets), HP and the crew were back in full force. This book foreshadowed some of the more serious, darker events that are still to come for Harry and Co.---the kids, they grow up so fast! (Sniff.)
I know critics denounce Rowling for having taken over the world with what is quintessentially pop YA fiction, but um she never claims to be the next Tolstoy. The books are so immensely popular, I believe, because they're incredible stories and Rowling is an extremely adept storyteller with a fantastic imagination. Rowling's writing is so visual and active that you can't help but be sucked in to the Hogwarts and the wizarding world, and as such fans of all ages develop a LOVE for the characters as they make their way through the series.
I can't recommend these books enough, but I don't think any readers of 1 and 2 are waiting for a recommendation to pick up book 3. Once you pop......more
Despite having come across the book repeatedly in bookstores, I never picked up the book for fear that it would be a cheesy lame romance novel. When IDespite having come across the book repeatedly in bookstores, I never picked up the book for fear that it would be a cheesy lame romance novel. When I finally did read it (at the urging of my aunt), I immediately added it to my "Really Good Stories" list, meaning that while it is pretty much a cheesy romance novel, lame it is not. It's so scandalous and intoxicatingly rich that you can't put it down. The characters are two-dimensional but distinct (it's amazing how you much you'll hate Anne in some scenes), and Gregory vividly describes the opulence of Henry VIII's court in all its pretty, licentious detail. History or fine literature it ain't--for that pick up an Alison Weir--but camp out under the covers, pretend you're a lovely little lady-in-waiting and just go with it....more
**spoiler alert** Flyboys tells the story of nine airmen shot down and, with the exception of one lone survivor, killed over Chichi Jima, an island ra**spoiler alert** Flyboys tells the story of nine airmen shot down and, with the exception of one lone survivor, killed over Chichi Jima, an island ravaged in the oft-overlooked Pacific component of WWII. The facts became declassified over half a century later, and Bradley had the opportunity to weave them into an amazing, never-been-told story.
The circumstances of their deaths are harrowing, and Bradley clearly did his research on the boys, but I still wasn't quite taken with the book. I simply wasn't as engaged as I should have been in a story of this magnitude. I'm never opposed to learning, but it was almost as if Bradley couldn't stop himself from putting every bit of information he knew of on the Pacific war that it became a bit cluttered and unfocused, and ultimately the book wasn't even really the boys' "true story of courage" - it was just an overstuffed take on anything that related to Japanese-American history, Japanese and American values, military policy, naval aviation, Japan's relationship with China, etc. in light of the Pacific war. I would have liked to learn more about the boys and their story, but they got a little lost in the shuffle.
You just kind of get the sense that outside of the "true story of courage" he's telling, Bradley just picked up a few history books and copied the big crucial parts into his book, even though while relevant to the big picture of the Pacific war, they weren't quite essential to this book. (I remember one line at the beginning went something like this: "In order to understand the story of the Flyboys, we must go back 3,000 years in Japanese history." Really now? Must we?) Again, I'm interested in pretty much everything, and reading a book about Japanese history 3,000 years ago and how it affected WWII could be fascinating, but this wasn't the forum. There wasn't enough time to give all the background, so by leaving just a bit in gave the book that chaotic and ambiguous feeling that confuses a book's identity....more
Terrible...really, really terrible. One could say this is my fault for reading a crap book like this, but...I had just dropped out of my sorority whenTerrible...really, really terrible. One could say this is my fault for reading a crap book like this, but...I had just dropped out of my sorority when I read it, so it was at least timely.
That didn't make up for the fact that the book sucked and had nothing revealing or expository to say. It was a sorority-girl-worshipping ode posing as a critique, but you'd have to be dumb as the sorority sisters are themselves not to see through that.
On the plus side, this book proves that sometimes you can judge a book by its cover. Um, okay boobs...clearly this is an academic, enlightening read about the corrupt and inane world of sororities, because you're certainly not just trying to lure me in with some bubbies, right?...more
Aww. I love this book...it's a story of unconditional love. Can anyone read it without crying??
Apparently a lot of goodreads readers, actually. I clicAww. I love this book...it's a story of unconditional love. Can anyone read it without crying??
Apparently a lot of goodreads readers, actually. I clicked on the 1-star reviews for The Giving Tree, and it seems many people have a problem with the fact that the boy never learns to give back...he just takes, takes and takes until the tree has given all of himself (literally) and he's nothing but a stump.
I understand their POV, but I think it's incomplete. For starters, as Boy ages, he does understands all the tree does for him and is to him. At the end of his days, Boy is with his tree, because he's old and wrinkly and now knows what's important--friendship and love. Bottom line, this is a book about unconditional love. What parent (I assume; I'm not one) wouldn't give their child everything they could to be happy? (And no, I'm not talking about toys....) I think it's brilliant....more