In all fairness this book might not deserve 5 stars HOWEVER I am adding at least one extra star because I'm a nerd and rarely get to see my people doIn all fairness this book might not deserve 5 stars HOWEVER I am adding at least one extra star because I'm a nerd and rarely get to see my people do anything cool. The Martian is a gripping, can't-put-it-down, thrill ride, from cover to cover. The fact that it is chock full of actual science, made fascinating, just adds that much more to the enjoyment I got from it. I found myself emotionally invested in the story and the characters. This fact is extra amazing because, to be honest, the characters were kind of all the same. Wise cracking, sarcastic, super intelligent. That's the sort of thing I can easily forgive in a first book and the rest of the story was executed so well, so enjoyably, that I find it even easier to forgive. It's full of ridiculous one liners that never failed to make me laugh (eg: "Look! A pair of boobs! -> (.Y.)" or "It’s true, you know. In space, no one can hear you scream like a little girl")
Don't expect to tell characters apart by dialog alone. Don't expect strongly developed gender specific characters. Don't expect major societal commentary. Above all, don't take it too seriously and you're going to be thoroughly entertained....more
I love stepping into a Nick Hornby novel. I can't believe it's been 5 years since his last one. I was going through withdrawls. I'm not sure why it'sI love stepping into a Nick Hornby novel. I can't believe it's been 5 years since his last one. I was going through withdrawls. I'm not sure why it's getting lackluster ratings here on GR but I really enjoyed it although I did go into it NOT EXPECTING IT TO BE FUNNY, which meant I wasn't disappointed. It was a fast, fun, easy read. I loved the dialog, I loved the story. It wasn't a laugh riot though it was amusing at times. It was a serious story told about funny people. I don't think the book was supposed to be hilarious
Bottom line, if you're a fan of Hornby, you'll enjoy this book just fine. It's remarkable how well he writes women. That is almost never done right. If you're new to Hornby, I STILL think you'll like it. Then you can go pick up the rest of his books, some of which are even better than this one :-)...more
I have been hearing nothing but how awesome this book is for a long time now and I have to say, it's a weSo good! (if you're a male child of the 80's)
I have been hearing nothing but how awesome this book is for a long time now and I have to say, it's a well deserved reputation.
I can't say that without at least mentioning the fact that I think this has a narrowly focused audience. Since I am a man, a nerd, and lived through all the 80's, And watched and played nearly every movie and video game referenced in the book, it was an awesome good time for me. If you aren't all of those things at once, I'm not sure how much fun it would be. ...more
This book has been on everyone's "best of" and "most favorite of all time" and "couldn't put it down" list for a long tSo much better than I expected!
This book has been on everyone's "best of" and "most favorite of all time" and "couldn't put it down" list for a long time. I have been hearing about this book solidly for a couple years now. The problem is I have a hard time trusting the opinion of the Internet en masse. It is so frequently…not one I agree with. This is the same people who keep putting Stephen King's "Dark Tower" on those same lists.
It's just so rare to find a fantasy book that isn't some version of a cut and stepped on Tolkien or Eddings world. I feel exceedingly lucky to live in a time where I have both Patrick Rothfus and Brandon Sanderson to continually break that mold and forge new ground.
I could barely put this book down to work and sleep and spend time with my family. I haven't been grabbed by a book that hard in quite a while.
It's good. It's great. Everyone said it and everyone's right. ...more
I hate making comparisons to Gone Girl since that's what everyone else has done but now I read it and...it's a valid comparison. Not that they're theI hate making comparisons to Gone Girl since that's what everyone else has done but now I read it and...it's a valid comparison. Not that they're the same. Girl on the Train is distinctly its own very, very good story. It is, however, reminiscent. If Gone Girl made a new genre, Girl on the Train is in that same genre. It's a multiple POV, dark mystery with a nice page-turning aspect to it that keeps you from letting it set for too long before giving it "just one more chapter...I'll put the kids to bed/cook dinner/go to work/get stitches later."
I can hardly give it a higher recommendation than, when Paula Hawkins publishes her next novel, I'm getting it on release day....more
I picked this up because I read a thread on the Internet about "books you just can't put down" and it was described as a Jack Reacher with a Sci-fi twI picked this up because I read a thread on the Internet about "books you just can't put down" and it was described as a Jack Reacher with a Sci-fi twist. Having read the book, I couldn't agree more. It also reminds me of classic Dean Koontz. Like "Lightning" or "Strangers".
It was a total page turner without being total crap. The writing style kept me interested, kept me guessing, kept me reading. It's a series but each book ends nicely. Connected and linear but not forcing you to pick up the next book to get the rest of the story....more
I really enjoy Miranda July's quiet, quirky stories. This book has a lot of elements that turned into her movie "The Future" which I also liked and II really enjoy Miranda July's quiet, quirky stories. This book has a lot of elements that turned into her movie "The Future" which I also liked and I liked seeing the origination of a lot of those elements.
Here's the deal. If you like Miranda July, you'll most likely like this book. If you don't, this isn't going to change your opinion. If you've never read Miranda July, I would personally start with "No One Belongs Here More Than You" as I think it's a marginally better book....more
This book was really surprisingly enjoyable for being quite dark in its nature. I saw it on a list of books with gallows humor and it certainly has thThis book was really surprisingly enjoyable for being quite dark in its nature. I saw it on a list of books with gallows humor and it certainly has that. I haven't read a book this well paced in quite some time. It was perfect. Kept me going without rushing or getting frantic. Its casual violence was a little hard to take but illustrated the main characters quite well. A couple brothers, riding the trails back in the old west, bickering with each other endlessly, like you do. Then, up comes a surprise, a danger, something to unite them and, boom, they are a united, lethal front, until the danger is passed and then it's back to the bickering. There's also some great, subtle economics lessons in here too about what it is like when you infuse too much money into a place too fast. San Francisco during the gold rush was unbelievably expensive and I really like how it exists as part of the backdrop of the story without getting in the way, it's just like an interesting little lesson in history.
Fun, dark, eminently readable, I enjoyed this book thoroughly. ...more
I know everyone says this but...I want half stars dammit. 3/5 is too low, 4/5 is a tad high. 3.5/5 is so much closer to reality.
There are a bunch ofI know everyone says this but...I want half stars dammit. 3/5 is too low, 4/5 is a tad high. 3.5/5 is so much closer to reality.
There are a bunch of these Dev Haskell Mysterys and they are going to be PERFECT as palate cleansers. They're just right. Light, fluffy and humorous without being too ridiculous or fluffy. Just enough of the hard bitten PI to give it some meat to balance the humor. These books are not what I'd go to if I wanted a real, gripping PI story. Lawrence Block and Spencer Quinn (amongst many others) cover that ground quite well. I'm going to be very interested to see if the successive books get substantially better or not. Maybe everything I'm saying is all due to first book rookie-ness. I'm not sure but I'll find out.
In the end I'm saying pick this book up. Pick it up when you want something simple. Something without too much complexity. Without any serious depth. Sometimes we just need a book like that. When we do, authors like Mike Faricy are there to help us out....more
This book seemed so promising but went so...sideways. I'm not sure I should rate a book I haven't finished but I got halfway through and I think thatThis book seemed so promising but went so...sideways. I'm not sure I should rate a book I haven't finished but I got halfway through and I think that gives me enough of an idea.
The premise is awesome. A decision made (or not) and then every other chapter examines the diverging futures from that decision. Love the idea, hated the book. For technical reasons. It was just that I couldn't get into the flow. It reads kind of like a David Nicholls book (who I love) but not quite. Which isn't fair for me to be sad that a book written by one author doesn't read like one written by another author but that's the feeling I kept getting. It drove me absolutely bonkers. It just felt like bad writing. Suddenly, I was halfway through a book and I didn't care what happened next, to anyone. I didn't care how it ended and I was having a hard time mustering up the desire to even pick it up and read it.
I'd been fighting a gnarly cold and eded up waking up at 2AM and couldn't get back to sleep so I picked up the kindle and pulled up this book and finally realized...I couldn't do it. Enough was enough. I was sick and feeling like crap, I didn't have to add a total slog through a crap book into the mix. ...more
This book is an absolute nightmare. Not the story he's telling, so much, but all the stuff around it. I only complicated my life after the fact by reaThis book is an absolute nightmare. Not the story he's telling, so much, but all the stuff around it. I only complicated my life after the fact by reading more about Chris Kyle (which was a mistake). If you see my review and are wondering if you should read the book. No. Just skip it. Pick another Iraq veteran's memoir. Surely there is one.
OK, first the book. I love good memoirs. I read a lot of them on a lot of subjects. Even if I'm not a fan of the job the person has, I can still enjoy the memoir, which is what I was expecting with this book. What I wasn't expecting was that Kyle's general worldview was going to be so abhorrent that I was going to find myself struggling to complete the book because I disliked him so much. He's not unique in his generally sexist, backwards, egomaniacal, kill-them-all-and-let-god-sort-them-out outlook. I've met plenty of military people so I know a certain personality profile excels in that environment and he has it in spades. I've met a lot of other military people, though, who aren't like that and they seem to do just fine as well. I was hoping Chris Kyle was going to be one of them and he wasn't. It isn't fair to him that I went in expecting that but there you go. It was just a constant struggle because as interesting as the stories were I just....didn't like him. Which made me not care. It was a vicious cycle.
After the book came the secondary accidental discoveries I made about Chris Kyle. Apparently at least 2 of the stories he told in his book were verifiably false. Not exaggerations but out and out lies. One of them got him involved in a defamation lawsuit by Jesse Ventura to the tune of $1.8m which the court found in favor of the ex-governor. Other stories where he is on record either in TV or radio interviews were later shown to be, again, verifiably false. It COMPLETELY wrecks what little interest I did manage to squeeze out of the book because now I'm just sitting here thinking that for all I know the entire book was mostly fabrication. I sincerely wish I didn't know any of those things.
In the end, I'm not happier for having read his book. I'm not better off having learned about his life in or out of the book and I wish I had just skipped it altogether. I rate it 2 stars to properly gauge how I felt about JUST the book and the content inside. ...more
I have to admit something somewhat shameful for someone who has read as much sci-fi and fantasy as I have.
I've never read Lovecraft.
I know, right? ShI have to admit something somewhat shameful for someone who has read as much sci-fi and fantasy as I have.
I've never read Lovecraft.
I know, right? Shameful. I've tried and failed more than once. Just couldn't wrap my head around the writing style. Thankfully he has written a complete mythology that so many people dip into. Pan dimensional beings we can only barely perceive and can only barely perceive us? That's a pretty awesome idea. 14 took that idea and ran with it in a very creative and very creepy way and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The writing was just shy of 5 star "loved it' but was still very good.
Want something creepy and weird, 14 is probably what you're looking for....more
It's been a while since I started a series I like this much. It's much better than I was led to believe it would be but for the life of me I cannot imIt's been a while since I started a series I like this much. It's much better than I was led to believe it would be but for the life of me I cannot imagine why I thought it was going to be sub-par. Somehow I was classifying it in the dystopian YA category like "Maze Runner" and "Divergent" and it's basically nothing like those. I should say, it's kind of like those but much better. It's also a fair bit like that "Snowpiercer" movie though, again, with a different, better, slant.
I think what I like the most is the mystery of it all. Like it or hate it "Lost" started out like this and I LOVED it. Nothing but a giant live-in mystery where you are finding stuff out just as fast as the characters are. I'm not sure you can just read the first one. I'm halfway through "Shift" and it's like every new chapter answers a question I've had since the beginning of "Wool".
I'm a huge fan of post apocalyptic and dystopian futures and I have read them ALL. With that in mind I am highly recommending this series. Hugh Howey has created a very complicated universe and is writing his way out of it superbly. It's all I can do to put the book down and concentrate on work and my family as necessary. He is creating that perfect level of sadness for the characters and how badly their lives suck without going totally overboard and making me want to eat a bag of cyanide at how depressed this possible future universe is making me (Cormac Mcarthy, I'm looking in your direction)...more
I got into some conversation over the Internet with someone who thought who thought Bukowski was overrated. It turns out he was heavily referencing PaI got into some conversation over the Internet with someone who thought who thought Bukowski was overrated. It turns out he was heavily referencing Paul F Thompkins who thinks that if you're over 22 you shouldn't like Bukowski anymore. That he is a pretentious drunk and his work is reprehensible and lacking in literary fiber (I paraphrase heavily. Google for Paul Thompkins Bukowski and you can read the whole thing) . Having read Bukowski many times post the age 22 I felt this was unfair so I pulled out Post Office for a re-read. I am happy to say it has held up well. Reading him under 22 is a total waste. I think you have to live life for a while to really get him. It helps if you've ever drank till you threw up only to keep going, or had jobs and/or girlfriends you downright loathed but kept way, way too long because it was more work to get rid of them. Life experience brings an empathy to his characters where if you've lived too cleanly I think you'll just be disgusted by his behaviors.
The story is simple: it is the semi-autobiographical writings of an unapologetic drunk and waster who worked for the Post Office for almost 12 years. He hated every second of the job but perversely kept at it because...why not. On his days off he went to the track and spent his money on booze and women but that's all backstory to the post office job itself. The boozing and women are all covered in other books. My favorite being "Ham on Rye"
The best way I can describe this book is that it's like Dilbert with a gritty, grimy overlay. That description misses the entire point though. It has all that stuff about the ridiculousness of an overly bureaucratic job, trotted out and mocked mercilessly by someone who doesn't...give...a fuck. Supervisors and co-workers don't know what to do about him and mostly just let him do his job, hungover and half assed. It is impossible not to read this book and compare his job to yours and find similarities.
Interwroven in all that job stuff is the character's life. The ups and downs of someone to whom a good day at the track can mean a months rent. Not because he wins a lot but because he lives in a total rathole. He is the epitome of aim low and you'll never be disappointed.
The character doesn't fit in the modern world. He is a dinosaur. Intelligent but unenlightened. Dismissing fags and blacks and women with a wave of his hand. He's not a hero but you still watch in awe as he goes about his business. Always entertained. He never strays too far too the dark side to become unlikable and in that it makes you wonder, how low WOULD you go to accept a friends bad behavior?
To Paul F Thompkins case that the work is pretentious, I think it is completely the opposite. Bukowski writes with almost no pretension whatsoever. He doesn't glorify the character's lifestyle, there are no moral lessons or overtones. He just writes what he knows, simple and unadorned, and in the end, whether or not you like it doesn't really matter. He doesn't give a fart in a high wind what you think about his work and, to me, that is as far as pretension as you can get. ...more
He's back, baby! Many of the reviews I write are for authors I am unabashedly a fanboy of so many of my reviews are suspect. With Neal Stephenson I finHe's back, baby! Many of the reviews I write are for authors I am unabashedly a fanboy of so many of my reviews are suspect. With Neal Stephenson I find myself in a different spot. I used to be absolutely ravenous about everything he wrote culminating in "Cryptonomicon" which, up to that point, was probably my favorite book of all time. Then he wrote the System of the World series, which I read, the entire bumpy ride. Then he did "Anatham" and I became very, very worried. that was 4 books in a row which were just not...enjoyable.
Thankfully "REAMDE" changes all that and banishes my worry. It's nice and big and a tad slow in spots but after so may Stephenson-less years, I was unbelievably happy to have a nice big nerd plot to wrap my hands around. It's a wonderful video game/spy adventure/military novel/buddy caper all mixed together and tied up in a bow. It's not quote as good as my beloved "Cryptonomicon" but it served very well to remind me of the kind of books I know he can wrote. If you were worried he didn't have it in him anymore, pick this up. You're be happily surprised....more