This was one of the more fun books I read all year. It is set in the Old West during the time of the California gold rush and follows the exploits ofThis was one of the more fun books I read all year. It is set in the Old West during the time of the California gold rush and follows the exploits of Charlie and Eli Sisters, two hired guns with a reputation for dirty killings. These two brothers are out doing the bidding of a very powerful man when things start to change for them and they start plotting how to best ensure their survival with all of the double and triple-crossing going on.
No bones about it - this is a violent book. But then how could the lawless West be any different? What's interesting are all of the tender and contemplative moments that the author has peppered the story with to help draw the characters' changing lives out and the readers in.
The whole way through you never know how it's going to end. Ride of in the sunset? A duel at sunset? Gunned down in the back, payback for any one of the dozens of murders these two have committed? It was a brutal time and these guys were neck deep in it. But it's worth following all of the way through, to the end, to see just how far their killer instincts and brotherly allegiance will get them.
A very unique story for 2011 and I'm glad I read it. I am giving this one 3 out of five stars and recommending it to people I know....more
Prose is very good at connecting the big dots. That is, she does a good job at finding great examples of technique, character development, etc. That'sProse is very good at connecting the big dots. That is, she does a good job at finding great examples of technique, character development, etc. That's where I really found some value in this book, it added some new titles to my "to be read" list that I'm very excited about.
If you've ever taken Creative Writing 101 or Journalsim Reporting 101, Prose's concepts will be more of a review (but with GREAT examples) and not much else.
But if you like good writing for writing's sake, then this book will whet your appetite for some of the more classic books you may not have read....more
No doubt Helen Thomas is one of the most respected and recognizable reporters over the past 50 years. Over the years she has observed some of the mostNo doubt Helen Thomas is one of the most respected and recognizable reporters over the past 50 years. Over the years she has observed some of the most powerful people to pass through our nation's capital. And she's been at it long enough that she has an above average perspective on things. She can see the 'big picture'.
While, in this book, she often does reference the 'big picture' she spends a lot of time focusing on specific instances where the media shined or fell flat on its face. Needless to say, Thomas thinks reporters and the public were better off back in her younger days.
She talks about the difficulties back then that they had to work through to get the story. She also states that today's reporters couldn't cutit back then. I couldn't tell if she faults the easy access of information (ie Internet) or schools or what. But basically she thinks that reporter's are too lazy (maybe?) to do the real work.
It all comes across very "When I was young I had to walk to school barefoot, in the snow, uphill... both ways."
Maybe that's not fair to what the she was trying to say, but it's the impression it left on me.
Maybe "not enough constructive ideas on contemporary events", would be a better way to put it. She spends equal amounts of ink slipping in attacks on current policy as she does the media. too much subjectivity for a reporter, in my opinion. But, hey, she's 86-years-old, maybe she's earned the right to let it fly.
It's a great refresher course of all the names and places that have shaped our country over the past few decades and nn ok read for anyone who enjoys studying the media....more
I bought this book solely on the recommendation of Anne Kingman in the "Books on the Nightstand" podcast. Too be honest. I never... never... would havI bought this book solely on the recommendation of Anne Kingman in the "Books on the Nightstand" podcast. Too be honest. I never... never... would have picked up this book at the bookstore. It's just not my usual area. But this one, set in the dawning of WWII in the smaller border countries of Europe, really is well done. And I highly recommend it.
Yes, it is a bit of a romance book, but there is enough geo-political, nationalistic thought that it all kind of makes sense. Even though this one is a bit more heavy in the, ahem, 'relations' area than I'm used to, that really didn't get in the way either. All of the passions really make sense. Whether for other people, their country, their social status or their house.
Ah, the house. It is central to the story. It is the anchor of the story. Some have said it becomes it's own character and while I won't go that far I certainly appreciated the role it plays. The descriptions of such a modern architectural home were fantastic. The story follows a well-to-do couple in Europe in between WWi and WWII. They elect to build a modern house with glass walls all of the way around. The family and house are received about as well as you can imagine in such a traditional part of the world back in the early to mid-1900's. Much of the story revolves around the relationships of a core group of friends and society types. There is love, affairs, work, travel, etc. and then was looms. And all of the fantasy and such goes out the window when it comes time for them to answer: jew or not jew?
I'm told that if you read a lot of literary romance fiction, this one might feel cliche at times, but I never felt that way.
I did read this on my phone via the Kobo reader app and really enjoyed it. The bookmark feature was fun to use. I only noticed 6 errors, which is waaaaay less than any Kindle book I have ever bought. This is one I will look for though and buy as a paper book so that it can sit on my shelf for me to loan and talk about....more
This quick read paints a cold reality and stark story that must mirror some of the real-life experiences of WWII combat veterans. In the story we follThis quick read paints a cold reality and stark story that must mirror some of the real-life experiences of WWII combat veterans. In the story we follow a small squad of US soldiers as they push through the frozen cold on a quick recon-type mission. Outside of the harsh elements they are forced to deal with enemy soldiers, trust issues and a "sense of purpose", both that have life and death consequences.
What was amazing to me was how quickly I felt cold, lost and anxious. It's not a big book and the author does a good job of drawing you into the setting on the cold mountain side.
I give this book 3 out of 5 and recommend to folks who are already drawn to war stories....more
This was a fascinating book. It's amazing how much data is collected by those watching the internet. Tancer uses a very relaxed conversational style tThis was a fascinating book. It's amazing how much data is collected by those watching the internet. Tancer uses a very relaxed conversational style to explain some of the more technical and broader ideas. It's not hard to get lost when he's explaining the parameters for a dataset that he's compiled to help back up an argument.
This is a great read if you are at all looking to position yourself or a business interest online. At a minimum, you'll look at areas of the country differently when it comes time to take action online. The back few sections are really the most valuable for this. In fact, I think I could have read the parts on early adopters and targeting markets and been just fine.
Some of the points he makes early on in the book seem a bit more "circumstantial". Such as stating "why" people were searching for certain things and not just mapping out the trends (especially in the area of politics/religion).
So I'd recommend this book to anyone in business or following online trends. It is an easy read for both....more
I picked up this book after it was credited with "most memorable" character in a recent Books on the Nightstand podcast.
The story is built around a poI picked up this book after it was credited with "most memorable" character in a recent Books on the Nightstand podcast.
The story is built around a poor child born in Europe when princes still rode around their fiefdoms on horses and chamber pots were common.
What makes this child unique is that he has no scent. No odor. A fact which seems to be tied directly to his sense of humanity, his lack of ethics and his ability to dissect a scent into its various components.
It's this last skill that he learns to apply for himself and get out of the gutters. He begins making perfumes. Perfumes that no one else can.
Some of these parts of the book get a little old, as we revels in his ability to collect "the essence" of certain plants and animals to add to his perfumes.
The story really picks up towards the end as he seeks the ultimate human scent. How does he make this... lets just say there are lots of murders and lots of "essence purifying" going on. Up until its very fast and very fairy tale ending.
This was a good vacation read. Nothing fancy, just solid writing, fantastic period detail and good pacing. The story never slowed down, not even on thThis was a good vacation read. Nothing fancy, just solid writing, fantastic period detail and good pacing. The story never slowed down, not even on the parts that I didn't really enjoy.
I enjoy a good who-done-it. And this has a very satisfying twist to it and a great "reveal" of the why, when, where, etc.
The hook of the book is that Sigmund Freud himself has been called in to help solve some murders in New York City. The story is based on enough fact to make it really enjoyable. Much like some of the characters in Caleb Carr's "The Alienest". But then the Freud connection was one of the parts that I enjoyed least. The story/mystery was strong enough to stand on its own, without all of the psychoanalysis babble going on. At first, it was fun and I learned some neat things. But then when the characters start arguing with themselves over trying to diagnose murderers and motives. It got a little slow. So I skimmed much of the psychology stuff.
And then there is Hamlet. The main character in this book has a fetish for Hamlet. I was amazed that with all of the brutal beatings and killings going on, the main character was never so excited that he couldn't take time to dwell on Hamlet. I mean people are getting killed and this guy was wondering why no one has figured out what Hamlet's mom was thinking the day her husband died? I'm being a bit of a so and so here, but I really could have done without the Hamlet stuff.
But, I imagine a lot of readers will enjoy the connections made.
Overall, a good read during a vacation, but not one I could sustain over a few weeks while reading at night. Not sure I could stay interested enough....more