Rarely do I find anything that fills me up with laughter as Gaiman and Pratchett have managed to do with Good Omens. Whether it is in the perfect chilRarely do I find anything that fills me up with laughter as Gaiman and Pratchett have managed to do with Good Omens. Whether it is in the perfect child's home of Tadfield, as experienced by young Adam the unknowing and unknown Antichrist, or the earnest rapport between Crowley and Aziraphale, earthbound demon and angel respectively, the writing is spot on in such a way that I cannot find anywhere else. Certain jokes and characters bring to mind the lovable antics of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy as well as its sharp, often relentless wit. It took me sometime to come around to reading Good Omens, but I am glad that it has....more
David Owen is part of what I have come to think of us critical environmentalists. These types are thoughtful, trained, and involved thinkers and activDavid Owen is part of what I have come to think of us critical environmentalists. These types are thoughtful, trained, and involved thinkers and activists--as well as whatever profession that might actually pay them--who generally share the tenants of environmentalism at large, have some pretty weighty critiques of their own. In one way, Green Metropolis is for an earlier generation of environmentalists than myself. It may just be me, but his thesis that urban style population density is good--in that it makes so many other, more obvious environmental issues easier or redundant--is not earth-shattering. Rather, what Owen manages is an insightful, well-researched argument to convert the anti-urban back-to-the-landers of his and later eras, which does include some among me, too.
Take, for example, the absolutely keen criticism of LEED certification and "green architecture": On one side you might find a corporate campus with wide, lush lawns, rain barrels, green roofs, CFL bulbs, thorough insulation, and bike racks; on the other you have a tall, decades old skyscraper, knee-to-knee with similar buildings, without a patch of green on any side in an asphalt metropolis such as Manhattan. Well, the former could pick up some level of LEED certification and the other, well, it probably won't, not because it is less green but because "green architecture" doesn't account for some of the easiest stuff a building or city might support or accomplish. How do employees get to work at either locale? How far do the employees have to commute to work? How effective is heating and cooling? And, for that matter, how effective are the bells and whistles like solar paneling or employee showers for bikers?
Owen manages to cut through what is essentially the recently born technological prowess and sets it aside, pointing out the many successes already around us. In addition, he deals heavily with the conflicts of driving less (fewer cars, less exhaust, less asphalt, etc.) and greater gas mileage (driving more cheaply, going farther, more traffic, greater commutes, etc.) and similar, counterintuitive environmental issues. Owen successfully and concisely challenges our expectations for greenness and environmental sustainability. He also, potentially, intertwines a larger argument about how we want our lives to look and what not only sustainable but satisfied communities ought to look like....more
A marvelous, elegant read. Eggers brilliantly covers the experiences of the Zeitoun family through Hurricane Katrina and into the injustices that follA marvelous, elegant read. Eggers brilliantly covers the experiences of the Zeitoun family through Hurricane Katrina and into the injustices that followed. Its understated, often journalistic style often feels dry, but it does succeed at making the most powerful snippets all the stronger. The faith, love, and commitment of Abdulrahman and his wife Kathy are palpable in the text; their fears and confusion are all the more real with each passing day. In understanding the painful episodes that sculpt individuals, families, a people, a nation, these strong personal narratives define a character that is otherwise difficult to grasp.
I cannot say that reading Zeitoun was always a pleasure--its somber subject matter and painful realizations prevent that--but it is quietly powerful and genuinely successful at charting its uncertain waters. From Dave Eggers, it is not what I suspected, but I am happy that he has told this family's story so successfully....more
While I understand many of the criticisms others have posted, Temperance takes on a mythic tone from the beginning. Though Malkasian frames the storyWhile I understand many of the criticisms others have posted, Temperance takes on a mythic tone from the beginning. Though Malkasian frames the story as a confluence of characters, place, and machinations, it becomes clearly a poetic yarn, a tale not of persons but of people. She describes, both visually and narratively, archetypes to which we yearn and from which we cower. Once I began reading I did not have any interest in putting the story down. He artwork varies from fluid and enchanting to grotesque and horrible, while the story is told through the generally muted voices of confused characters caught up in the tales they have spun around themselves in attempts to create love, meaning, and direction in their lives. I can absolutely understand the draw of this work. ...more