On the back cover, Foer promised to present a complex analysis of the world solely using soccer as a metaphor. While he falls short of this, I walkedOn the back cover, Foer promised to present a complex analysis of the world solely using soccer as a metaphor. While he falls short of this, I walked away knowing more about the history/development of soccer, global political forces, and different cultures than I would have imagined. Given the topics, you would expect this to be a very heavy read. On the contrary, Foer is able to keep the subjects and metaphor alive with simplistic writing about complex tasks. Although this leaves me worried about what he's leaving out, it has convinced me to look deeper into soccer allegiances instead of treating them solely as fandom....more
Suzanne Collins weaves a majestic story that touches not only into the complicated mind of a confused teenager, but the underlying currents of politicSuzanne Collins weaves a majestic story that touches not only into the complicated mind of a confused teenager, but the underlying currents of political turmoil that shapes those lives. That is what struck me most about this look into a desperate, dystopian future - even though I know what is happening is abhorrent, I don't care. All I care about is Katniss and her will to survive. I forget about why the games are there and my desire to eliminate them.
That resonates true for all of us, especially adolescents. We know of the larger political/cultural/societal forces that impact our daily lives. But, until those forces directly impact our lives, we ignore them. This isn't about being self-centered, it is just about survival, as displayed by Katniss....more
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a perfect example in absurd humor. Make no mistake, you are not reading this book for it's plot, as it makes lThe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a perfect example in absurd humor. Make no mistake, you are not reading this book for it's plot, as it makes little sense when thought of logically. Rather, the plot serves as the latest device for Douglas Adams to make a quick one-liner or newest piece of satire.
That said, something has been lost in the 31 years since first publishing. Many jokes are rooted in the culture of late 1970s Britain and are lost on a younger audience (like myself). The best example of which is Ford Prefect, named after an iconic British car that hasn't been sold in 50 years. Other references similarly require a quick search to fully appreciate the joke.
One of the more remarkable things about Life of Pi is the author took what should be a pretty exciting event - becoming shipwrecked with a tiger and mOne of the more remarkable things about Life of Pi is the author took what should be a pretty exciting event - becoming shipwrecked with a tiger and made it to where I didn't care. The action was too busy building on obvious metaphors about God, spirituality, and humanity to focus on the essential ingredient - humans themselves. I didn't care about the main character, even after the first third of the book was about nothing but him. To me, Life of Pi is a disappointment considering what could have been....more
Water for Elephants is an enthralling look into the secretive and exciting world of a traveling circus through the depression. It is obvious that SaraWater for Elephants is an enthralling look into the secretive and exciting world of a traveling circus through the depression. It is obvious that Sara Gruen spent a considerable amount of time researching the history of circuses to craft a believable and realistic portrayal of the circus. She creates a great entry in the historical fiction genre as the time and place serve as a focus of the story instead of a mere accessory.
The great work of her as a fiction writer shines through in her crafting of Rosie the elephant. Rosie is undeniably an elephant, and Gruen doesn't conceal this fact. However, that didn't stop me from forgetting that Rosie was nothing less than human due to the depth of descriptions of her emotions, mannerisms, and actions.
Water for Elephants can be a bit heavy read due to the dark circus life set in the backdrop of the Great Depression. However, the finale will leave you feeling joyful and satisfied....more
The criteria for books like this is simple - provide a few laugh out loud moments with plenty of other smirks or snickers. This book failed in all accThe criteria for books like this is simple - provide a few laugh out loud moments with plenty of other smirks or snickers. This book failed in all accounts. It was enjoyable, but not something I would look at again unless there were no other options. The blog the book is based off of is a perfect example of what is in the book, with nothing expanded upon....more
I've had a few days to think about Mockingjay, and that time has lead me to one conclusion: this is a brilliant bloody book.
Many individuals are discrI've had a few days to think about Mockingjay, and that time has lead me to one conclusion: this is a brilliant bloody book.
Many individuals are discrediting the book based on the heroines (and really, Suzanne Collins) choice of a man. This series is much deeper than that as it focuses on a group of genuinely broken people looking for some sort of sanity. Characters go from conniving and manipulative to spontaneous and selfless in the bat of an eye, much like we all act. The series paints a brilliant picture of what it means to live in a struggle and the sacrifices that must be made because of it.
The story is excellent, but a quick few complaints about the writing style. As with the other two novels in the series, Collins spends the first third winding the story up, setting the pieces in motion. These sections are incredibly inner-monologue based with little dependence on the outside world. However, it always stands in stark contrast to the final sections of the book which can seemed rushed and forced. Things begin moving so fast that you can lose track of the environment, wishing for the slower pace of the first third. However, this should not be seen as a strong sticking point, as the plot and reasoning makes up for it....more
Short Story: Fever Pitch is an elegantly crafted memoir as an individual tries, and fails, to find the way that sport describes the ups and downs of lShort Story: Fever Pitch is an elegantly crafted memoir as an individual tries, and fails, to find the way that sport describes the ups and downs of life.
Story: At no point in this memoir do you doubt Nick Hornby's love for Arsenal or football in general. It shines through much of the way an individual's personality or temperament does. His fanaticism makes the memoir easy to relate and understand, as the reader is able to substitute in their own teams or obsessions that grip them. As a sports fan, the memoir was almost a reflection of the thoughts I have also shared.
The best parts of the book are when Nick Hornby attempt to use football as a metaphor for his life. When invest so much time and thought into our teams and obsessions its not unusual for us to see a winning streak as a prophecy of good things to come. For Hornby, this metaphor continually broke down, leading to a particularly poignant revelation as why this is so:
Sport and life, especially the arty life, are not exactly analogous. One of the great things about sport is its cruel clarity: there is no such thing, for example, as a bad one-hundred-metre runner, or a hopeless centre-half who got lucky; in sport, you get found out.
As for the writing, the memoir takes a bit of time to get rolling. The book is roughly divided into three sections corresponding with phases of his life: childhood to teenage years, young adult to twenty-something, and maturing adult. It isn't until he reaches his post-university years where I started to feel a connection with the book; however, that could do more with my current standing in life than Hornby's writing ability.
Overall, I say anyone that can relate to the passion of sport, or any obsession, should consider picking up Fever Pitch. Further, those looking for a way to understand or relate to their fanatical partners may also find understanding and joy in the memoir....more