Beast is a truly touching story of growth (personal and definitely physical!) and the need for understanding and forgiveness in our relationships, andBeast is a truly touching story of growth (personal and definitely physical!) and the need for understanding and forgiveness in our relationships, and a reminder that every relationship has two sides. Every character in the book holds multiple, often contradictory, selves, and their actions and motivations are not always apparent at first blush to Dylan, who has to learn to make sense of it all while dealing with his own contradictions - and without the guidance of a father he feels he desperately needs. Spangler masterfully reveals the layers of lovers Dylan and Jamie, best friend JP, and Dylan's mom, each reveal showing a new wrinkle to their personalities and giving Dylan something new to work through. Beast is a wonderful and complex romance in the vein of The Fault in Our Stars, with cerebral and misanthropic lovers equally as charming; their fates intertwine around being in the wrong body instead of cancer. An intelligent, page turning must-read; I can't wait for whatever Spangler writes next!...more
In Chaotic Good, Whitney Gardner has assembled a party of unique and authentic characters, and sent all of them on their own quests that will individuIn Chaotic Good, Whitney Gardner has assembled a party of unique and authentic characters, and sent all of them on their own quests that will individually challenge them, and in the end unite them all. Like a deft Dungeon Master, she's managed to weave a common tale through all their stories, one of acceptance and openness. This is a book for our age, an example we desperately need about how to align to Good by listening and understanding and accepting our differences. But at the same time it doesn't pull punches when showing how cruel and unthinking people can be. Like Gardner's debut novel You're Welcome, Universe, this is also a book about navigating the often choppy waters of friendship - and family. The first thing you'll notice Chaotic Good is how Gardner excels at building characters. Every one of the characters - even down to minor ones like the owner of the fabric store and Cameron's dad - is fully realized, deep, unique, and has an integral part to play in the story. I'd say the characters are also loveable, but there's a notable exception - and I don't want to spoil anything but even this presumptive villain will win you over in the end. And of course our inimitable Chaotic Good Cameron is impossible not to love. She's fiercely driven, and like Julia from You're Welcome, Universe, she has a passion that is bigger than life, that jumps off the page and animates Gardner's prose. She's real and vulnerable. She doesn't always make the best choices. Like we all have at some point, she gets wrapped up in something that goes off the rails, and she ends up responsible for hurting people she loves. Actually it's hard to pick a favorite, when her twin brother Cooper, dungeon master Lincoln, spiritual guide Dotty, and coconspirator Why are all so terrific. This is absolutely essential reading for our age. It deals head-on with internet abuse and its real effects on people. I've never seen another book that deals with fandom like this - how there is nothing wrong about liking something without being the authority in it. Toxic fandoms ignite the fuse of this story, and honestly there is no good conclusion on how to deal with them, only object lessons on being a good person yourself. Gardner knows better than to wrap up with a tidy "here's how you deal with trolls" because, God knows, there is no easy answer, just "we all have to be better." Let's talk about the comics! Did you know that not only do the characters in Chaotic Good go adventuring together, but also that their story-within-a-story is presented in full-page comic interludes? These are so delightful you'll be counting the pages until the next D&D session. Funny enough, it seems to parallel with the actual anticipation for your next game session when playing D&D only once a week.... Blending words and illustrations in new ways is now clearly a hallmark of Gardner's work and something that really sets it apart. All told this is a raw and beautiful tale of hurt and acceptance and yes, even love, a very contemporary story where drama is masterfully employed in service of a central theme, and a sublime, unique modernization of Shakespearian cross-dressing love stories. A must-read, and makes me so excited for whatever Gardner has in store next!...more
Reading the LA Quartet in order, this is my new favorite. Ellroy weaves larger and larger webs between his dense cast of characters, all with shiftingReading the LA Quartet in order, this is my new favorite. Ellroy weaves larger and larger webs between his dense cast of characters, all with shifting alliances and their own angle. In LA Confidential, even after everything's been revealed, it's STILL hard to explain the entire chain of events, so interlinked is the intrigue between so many players - which unfolds over years! It's so dense and complex that I have to marvel at the hubris of whoever thought they could compress this story into a movie. Again, Ellroy one-two punches you in the gut with brutality and tommy-gun-fast dialogue, and keeps your mind racing through this genre-defining crime novel....more
Far more informational than I had hoped, perhaps even better than all the questions it answered for me was all the new questions it made me think up tFar more informational than I had hoped, perhaps even better than all the questions it answered for me was all the new questions it made me think up that weren't answered between its covers; without loading his book down so as to be unwieldy or frightening for the mathophobes, Lederman's managed to get at least this reader enticed to learn more. If only it had a list of other books that are great reads for the couch physicists out there.
Anyway, it's a must-read to round out all that your high school and college physics classes left out. Why my classes never even got to relativity, not to mention basic particle physics, is beyond me. :)
Also let me note that I'm not really a fan of the title. The book is hardly "about" the Higgs field, doesn't pretend that finding the Higgs boson will conclude our quest for knowledge, and only really gets to this and the big Questions about the universe at the very end. It's really just a history of and introduction to particle physics.
One happy thing about the book: Lederman repeatedly mentions the hunt for the top quark, and looks like his lab Fermilab found it just a few years after he published this.
One sad thing about the book: he pins a lot of hope on the Superconducting Supercollider project in Texas, which theoretically could have been powerful enough to discover the Higgs boson (and plenty other besides) - but the project was killed in the Clinton era and now all that's there is some empty tunnels. More than a decade later, the Large Hadron Collider is still offline, and its operational energies are a fraction of what the SSC could have achieved. I guess this vindicates somewhat his position on science evangelism....more