Thanks to the publisher for an advance reader's copy.
A new Mary Roach book always feels like an extra special treat: you know it will be solidly enterThanks to the publisher for an advance reader's copy.
A new Mary Roach book always feels like an extra special treat: you know it will be solidly entertaining and informative, and will make you fascinated with topics that have never before crossed your mind. (At least for me, who lives like someone in the Middle Ages in terms of science knowledge. Aren't humors still a thing?) I would think that the focus of this book would have made me less interested than in some of her others, like Stiff and Spook, but I was completely engrossed with learning how the military uses science and technology to make war as effective and efficient as possible. I adore that she delves into the weird aspects of that science and leaves the less bizarre facets to other writers. There are a fair amount of gross-out moments, so maybe skip this for your lunchtime reading, but I'm impressed that she was able to make me even more terrified of submarines than I already am. ...more
Thanks to the publisher for an advance reader's copy.
Huh. This didn't end up being anything like I expected, and not really in a pleasant surprise kinThanks to the publisher for an advance reader's copy.
Huh. This didn't end up being anything like I expected, and not really in a pleasant surprise kind of way. The book's synopsis is somewhat misleading: technically, it's about a scavenger hunt for a lost Brontë inheritance, using clues hidden in literature, but the scavenger hunt elements are kind of few and far between. Catherine Lowell is more interested in exploring academic questions, like the importance of authorial intent in the reading experience, than in fleshing out the plot. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I was left kind of disappointed when the plot had sounded so incredibly fun. I would have liked a more philosophical book or something more plot-driven, but both were shortchanged here.
Samantha is also a...strange character. I don't think she had to be likable (she's not), but she at least needed to be more interesting. I never had much of a sense of her motivations so she ended up pretty bland, and weirdly aggressively negative. She did occasionally have some great unorthodox comments about famous literature, which I appreciated. Ms. Lowell also has a way with unusual metaphors, and I think she has the potential to become a really interesting writer.
In the end, I kept reading in the hope that the book would turn into something more enjoyable or more profound, but nothing about it felt satisfying. Too bad, when the ideas behind it were so good. ...more
Thanks to the publisher for an advance reader's copy!
Eligible was basically everything I've wanted from The Austen Project: a nearly faithful updateThanks to the publisher for an advance reader's copy!
Eligible was basically everything I've wanted from The Austen Project: a nearly faithful update of Pride and Prejudice, reworked in a way that made complete sense in the modern world. Lydia's elopement was still shocking! I was convinced that this couldn't be done in the 2010s, but Curtis Sittenfeld found an angle that toed a careful line between shock and acceptance by different members of the family. The reality show angle was a little bit goofy (and a little too drawn out, for me), but ultimately was a fun addition, and I appreciated the times that author decided not to be 100% faithful to the story, (view spoiler)[especially that Liz wasn't forced to live with her ex as her surprise brother-in-law. (hide spoiler)].
(view spoiler)[My only complaint, really, is that I thought the Liz/Darcy relationship was too underdeveloped for the book to end in an engagement. It matched the pattern of the original text well, but no one in modern times would get engaged after so few interactions. And I LOATHED the "hate sex" angle. LOATHED. But their other interactions were cute and full of sparks; I just wanted a lot more of them, or for the book to end with the start of their relationship, with an epilogue of marriage a few months down the line. (hide spoiler)]
Even though the size seems daunting, I raced through this in few hours. A very pleasant, satisfying read.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Ugh this series is so fun! I think I enjoyed this one a little less because I listened to it and the narrator used such a catty tone, which is approprUgh this series is so fun! I think I enjoyed this one a little less because I listened to it and the narrator used such a catty tone, which is appropriate but also made me hate the the name dropping more. I'm not sure what to expect in future since A is finally revealed, but I want to find out what else is in store for these horrible horrible people....more
Heavy-handed nods to diversity don't make a book diverse; they make it feel like different demographics were being checked off a list. I was annoyed bHeavy-handed nods to diversity don't make a book diverse; they make it feel like different demographics were being checked off a list. I was annoyed by this tactic from the beginning, but kept reading anyway. Once the school shooting started, though, it focused too much on the horrific details of children and teachers being shot as they try to escape, without adding anything to make me feel that I was learning something significant about why this happens so often in American schools. After reading some reviews online, it didn't sound like this resolved into anything more nuanced or enlightening, so I quit and skimmed to the end. Plus, the details of American teens and high school culture felt off, and the constant use of "opportunity" as a metaphor was obnoxious. I think the book is incredibly well-intentioned, but that's not enough to make it worthwhile.