This is one of those books that, if it weren't so rigorously foot-noted, one would accuse the author of making up.
Actually, if an author wrote this bThis is one of those books that, if it weren't so rigorously foot-noted, one would accuse the author of making up.
Actually, if an author wrote this book as fiction, the publisher would send it back marked "too unrealistic," and imploring the author to add a "dark side" to the hero.
It reads, almost note-for-note, like a Disney adventure movie from the latter half of the 20th century. Something in between Swiss Family Robinson and White Fang.
There are people who might be bothered by the Pollyannaish nature of the story and the characters.
It goes without saying that I am not one of them. I absolutely adored this book. I loved Elephant Bill, I loved the elephants, I loved every single one of the dogs, the otter we only met in passing, and I loved Susan. There is a part of me that wishes Croke had been a little bit less wholely uncritical, but some people are just good, some stories just don't have a dark side.
The story is thrilling, the characters and the setting are enchanting, and the details are enthralling.
If it weren't absolutely unfilmable, this would make for a knockout of a Hollywood blockbuster. It writes itself. (Note to all the Hollywood moguls who no doubt follow my Goodreads reviews: DO NOT ATTEMPT to film this. It doesn't matter how many people you have on set, you're not going to be able to get the elephants right safely. Maybe if you animated it. MAYBE.) As it is, it's a gripping book that reads more like an adventure novel (and a really good one) than a nonfiction book. ...more
Aren't video games fun? Wouldn't it be cool if our Dungeons & Dragons quest was real? Remember how much fun it was to read Otherland in high schooAren't video games fun? Wouldn't it be cool if our Dungeons & Dragons quest was real? Remember how much fun it was to read Otherland in high school? Weren't the Eighties a glorious time that young'uns today just don't appreciate properly, and isn't it fun to talk about Eighties trivia and exclude all those Not In the Know?
If you've thought even one of these things, even once, you'll probably enjoy Ready Player One. That's not to say that those questions might not get a little wearing at certain points in the novel, but it's still an amusing novel. However much he tries, Cline isn't Neal Stephenson. Nor is he even Tad Williams. While this book isn't nearly as clever as it would like to think it is (and is, in the end, fairly predictable) it is an awful lot of fun. ...more
I sat down to start this last night. I was excited to read about geological studies in the park, tourist impacts, political struggles, fire philosophyI sat down to start this last night. I was excited to read about geological studies in the park, tourist impacts, political struggles, fire philosophy, and carnivore impacts.
Unfortunately, the book starts in 1805 and only goes as far as 1877. Doug Smith isn't even in the index.
That's not to say it's not a good book; it's just not the one I was looking for....more
I have got to cut back on the memoirs of depressive, suicidal, female authors with writer's block.
In my defense, that's not really what I expected frI have got to cut back on the memoirs of depressive, suicidal, female authors with writer's block.
In my defense, that's not really what I expected from Dorothy Parker's biography. Before reading this, I had read some of her poetry and short fiction, and one quote from her book reviews (about Winnie the Pooh). I also knew she had a reputation for wonderful zingers. Based on that, and the inviting title of this book, I expected something maybe a little light, a little funny, maybe poignant.
It seems that most people throughout Parker's life (and after) expected that of her. And sometimes she delivered. But the real Parker was much deeper, much darker, and much more human. She struggled with her identity her whole life. She married the same man twice, but it's not the love story I always thought it was. She could be wonderfully kind to your face and then wittily cutting the minute you walked away. She struggled with writing, with money, with love, with drugs, with success, and with alcohol. Her life is a wonderfully compelling read, because that's the kind of person she was. Not always kind or wise, she was always witty, always funny, and always compelling.
I took a special, personal delight in her love for her dogs. Particularly her dachshund Robinson....more
I get the impression that this book was designed for people who don't usually read books. I'm not trying to be snarky (or not really), but the formatI get the impression that this book was designed for people who don't usually read books. I'm not trying to be snarky (or not really), but the format is totally disorienting. I started reading it as a Kindle book and was so confused by all the jumping around between photos, sidebars, inset boxes, and captions that I checked out the library book, figuring it'd be easier to read. It really wasn't. The pages, rather than being straight text in blocks are divided into three text columns a la People magazine, with photos and pull-quotes inset into the page, and tidbits printed in the margins.
I'd much rather just read a book. There was some interesting information in here, but it was very thin and shallow. The best thing the book did was to describe the often-disorienting fate of the American heiress who married an English nobleman. She'd been bred and reared to attract an Englishman, but was woefully unprepared to actually be married to one. The sense of loneliness, disappointment, confusion, and misplaced expectations was very well done.
However, the rest of the books was mainly a gossip column about who married (or was slept with or hunted or snubbed) whom, how much money everyone was worth, how much everything (the dress, the house, the wedding) cost, who was or wasn't invited, and what everyone said about it. What wasn't touched on (and what I found appalling) were all the obviously corseted women including one seven months (!!!) pregnant. I'd have been interested to hear more about the physical ramifications of corsets (because I know there were some) instead of all this fluff.
It was mildly entertaining and could be amusingly snarky in portions. But overall, this really isn't a book I'd recommend....more