Only just recently, it has come to my attention that the final book in this series was actually written FIRST. THIS BLEW MY MIND. The final book tiesOnly just recently, it has come to my attention that the final book in this series was actually written FIRST. THIS BLEW MY MIND. The final book ties everything together so very neatly...Goodness gracious my perception of the world is crumbling around my widdle ears. OK so, these books are all really good aside from the whole my not being aware of the chronology of the publication and whatnot. They're all dragony and delicious. And also, it's like one giant fairy tale of awesome. Also, there are some versions of these books which are published with hideous cartoony covers. Those are lame. I can't stand books with ugly covers. The outside should be a glorious sneak-peek of the glory within. I'm rambling....more
EDIT: I'm re-readin' this, and the version I have has a little interview with Shannon Hale in the back. I like thatQuite possibly the best book ever.
EDIT: I'm re-readin' this, and the version I have has a little interview with Shannon Hale in the back. I like that she realizes that her books tend to have slow starts. Because I felt kind of bad about getting bored with Enna Burning when I started it and also not initially liking Princess Academy. Also, I kind of revoke the "best book ever" thing. I mean, not that it's not glorious. It's just that being amusing and easy to read and fairy-tale-like and therefore...glorious...doesn't seem to be enough to be the "best book ever." I must read more books and discover one which deserves this title...I guess this one still deserves the title of "quite possibly the best book ever," because it still holds that title by quite a margin....more
Honorary "dragons" shelving for being just that awesome.
EDIT: Also, I think I've read all the poems and most of the extra stuff, but I'm not sure if IHonorary "dragons" shelving for being just that awesome.
EDIT: Also, I think I've read all the poems and most of the extra stuff, but I'm not sure if I consider this as "read," yet. I think it's going to stay on the currently-reading shelf until I learn German and French so as to be able to read the pre-translated half (so it's quite possible that this book shall never be "read"). Seriously, Rilke has made me want to learn German and French so I can read his stuff in the original languages (and understand it...I've read parts of the the French/German and been able to tell what some of the words were, but it'd be nice to understand them without their translations, since translated poetry probably loses a lot of its meaning). ...I'm feeling pretty pretentious. I think Rilke was a feminist. Case in point: "We are only just now beginning to consider the relation of one individual to a second individual objectively and without prejudice, and our attempts to live such relationships have no model before them. And yet in the changes brought about by time there are already many things that can help our timid novitiate. The girl and the woman, in their new, individual unfolding, will only in passing be imitators of male behavious and misbehaviour and repeaters of male professions. After the uncertainty of such transitions, it will become obvious that women were going through the abundance and variation of those (often ridiculous) disguises just so that they could purify their own essential nature and wash out the deforming influences of the other sex....This humanity of woman, carried in her womb through all her suffering and humiliation, will come to light when she has stripped off the conventions of mere femaleness in the transformations of her outward status, and those men who do not yet feel it approaching will be surprised and struck by it." -letter to Franz Xaver Kappus, May 14, 1904 I mean, his portrayal of females tends to be a little outdated, but this was the early 20th century, so I think he has every right to be outdated. I think it's pretty adorable how much he seems to admire women so much that he says things like "The breaking away of childhood / left you intact." (in Antistrophes). I also really like Palm. That poem's so sweet.
re-EDIT: Okay nevermind about the keeping it on currently-reading indefinitely thing. It's read. I should re-read it, but still....more
A little cheesy in spots, and the dialogue (especially at the very beginning and very end) was rather contrived. Yay for Harry Potter. (I totally hadA little cheesy in spots, and the dialogue (especially at the very beginning and very end) was rather contrived. Yay for Harry Potter. (I totally had the exact same review up yesterday, but it was bugging me that I accidentally put it on the Deluxe Edition, so I copied it here. I'm a nerd.)...more
Byatt writes with such poetic frankness, and makes her characters into people with realistically unfolding lives and undefined motives.
Her short storByatt writes with such poetic frankness, and makes her characters into people with realistically unfolding lives and undefined motives.
Her short stories are satisfying, but in a kind of bittersweet way that echoes reality even when they are fantastic. I can't help feeling like I'm not mature enough for Byatt; her protagonists possess a level of developed...grounded-ness that is still mysteriously alien to me. They don't always resonate with me because I can't quite see myself as "adult" in the finished, fully realized (if not fully certain of what that reality's place is in their world) way that these characters seem to be. It's hard to express the not-quite-grasp-able quality of her characters. They're a paradox of solidly developed and fragile-ly disconnected from their (also solid) worlds. Maybe I'm wrong to see this artfulness as something which the more mature "get" better than non-grownups.
I particularly liked "Cold." And I greatly enjoyed the references to Keats' Lamia (in "A Lamia in the Cevennes"). The first story felt painfully long. Which was fitting. ...more
The final part of an extended love letter to the worlds of childhood fantasies. Bittersweet but satisfying. Definitely read like the trilogy had beenThe final part of an extended love letter to the worlds of childhood fantasies. Bittersweet but satisfying. Definitely read like the trilogy had been planned as such (i.e., without forced, shock-value-only complications a la GoT). Unpredictable enough, but not too much random subplot development or too much forced tidiness.
One (non-plot-related) complaint, though. The immediately-datedness of the slang (e.g., "FTW") sometimes irked me. Because it popped up outside of characters' speech. I get that the third person narration was adopting the voice/perspective of the people it was focusing on at any given time (is there a word for this? not quite free indirect style...). But sometimes it came off more as "look how hip I am" than "look at my realistic characters." I'm generally not a fan of writing that demands this kind of back-patting from its readers...but I indulged it in all the metafictional "books are so great" moments, and overall it was cohesive and set an appropriately sardonic-yet-reverent tone.
The sometimes-distracting/fanfictiony narration was pretty much my only complaint, though. I was happily immersed in Grossman's magical storytelling, and I enjoyed the slightly more optimistic (but still pretty gritty/emotionally-real) tone of the trilogy's conclusion....more
This book was pretty good. It wasn't great, but I gave it five stars because I am so very proud that I found out what it was called without rememberinThis book was pretty good. It wasn't great, but I gave it five stars because I am so very proud that I found out what it was called without remembering the author or title or really anything aside from the fact that there is a black unicorn that gets stranded with horses after being in the sea...or something. Mostly I just remembered a few flashes of the way I pictured the story...I think it's part of a series, but I've only read this one. Yay for unicorns....more
Inexplicably, I love this series. (I say inexplicably because I hate Tamora Pierce and her stupid little Alanna or Allana or whatever her name is. ThoInexplicably, I love this series. (I say inexplicably because I hate Tamora Pierce and her stupid little Alanna or Allana or whatever her name is. Those books are lame. But this series is super awesome. I think it's because of the baby dragon...)...more
McEwan represents complexity and ambiguities with eloquence. There are interesting thematic links between authority and childBeautiful and satisfying.
McEwan represents complexity and ambiguities with eloquence. There are interesting thematic links between authority and childhood and time and the act of creation and...life and death. The sense of completeness upon reaching the conclusion of this novel was kind too amazing for me to come up with an adequate review. McEwan is excellent.
There are probably weaknesses in plotting/tone, but I'm too impressed by the overall effect to care much at the moment. Maybe I'll feel compelled to update this upon further reflection?
Also: I like the connection between the prime minister and the last sentence. And the balance of life/death, lost and found. Excellent.
UPDATE: I found something about this that irked me! Gender! It didn't bother me too much, particularly because it was handled well. But there were definitely gendered reactions to loss and "female" versus "male" approaches to the world which kind of grated on my all-gender-is-performance/feministy leanings. And the way that the beginning of humanity depends so thoroughly on gender-definition. And the whole anti-abortion thing. (I'm trying not to give too much away because these are kind of essential bits of the plot that come up late in the book...but really most of the joy in reading McEwan's work is in relishing the words themselves and not so much in the nitty-gritty of the plot soooo I don't feel too bad if I've ruined anything.)...more