I primarily read books to be entertained, plain and simple. Every now and then I'll read non-fiction, and I dabble in the literary from time to time.I primarily read books to be entertained, plain and simple. Every now and then I'll read non-fiction, and I dabble in the literary from time to time. It's not that I don't like literary fiction (I have an English Masters, after all), but I'm generally busy enough that when I finally have time for a break, I don't want to have to think all that hard. I want plot. I want entertainment. And I don't want to have to ponder the meaning of anything.
Most of the time, at least.
Every now and then I come across an author or book that makes me reevaluate my tastes. Something that makes me wonder if maybe it wouldn't be better if I just read high brow stuff all the time. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, by Michael Chabon, is one such novel.
It's centered around Prague and New York City during World War II. It ties in historical events and details with complex character studies and then frames it all around the rise to power of . . . comic books? Yup. Comic books. And it does it all in a really riveting, involving fashion.
Chabon's text is not always easy to read, and that has to be on purpose. His vocabulary is so much better than mine, I at first constantly found myself looking up the definitions of words, until it got to the point that I just guessed what the words meant and kept on reading. (Remember: I don't like having to think to much.) But he uses language so effectively that this doesn't turn into a stumbling block. It makes me wish I had a better vocabulary myself--that the flaw is with me, the reader, being unable to rise to meet the challenge of him, the author. (Sort of like when you try to play a piece of beautiful music, only to discover it's beyond you.)
This book wasn't beyond me. I loved it. And I got through it in 9 days, which is a testament to how good it is. Usually a "you have to think" book is going to bog me down for a couple of weeks at least.
If any of this sounds remotely entertaining, I strongly encourage you to check this book out. It's well worth your time. Already read it? Let me know what you thought....more
It's rare these days when I'll start a new series and actually continue with it. As I've said in other reviews, I'm just too aware that each book I reIt's rare these days when I'll start a new series and actually continue with it. As I've said in other reviews, I'm just too aware that each book I read is also another book I *don't* read. So I need to find a book I really enjoy to make me decide to stick with it for the next in the series.
Much of what I read comes to me through Kindle book sales. I'll see something interesting, I'll read reviews on Goodreads, and I'll buy it for later. Senlin Ascends is a book I'd heard about from a number of sources, and then one day it went on sale on Amazon. The concept was intriguing: a man goes to a steampunk Tower of Babel and works on making his way up the tower. I didn't know much more than that, but I decided to give it a shot.
I bought the second book as soon as I finished the first, if that gives you any idea what I thought about it.
For the first while in the first book, I didn't think I was going to like it. The main character was quite weak and did some fairly foolish things. But the setting was more than a little intriguing. This Tower of Babel is truly enormous. Each level is basically its own world, and it's all very well described to the point that it feels real. And as I kept reading, caught by the setting, the main character began to grow and evolve as well. By the end of the book, it had really grabbed hold of me, and I was truly invested in the outcome.
That's a tough trick to pull off, but it does a great job of it. In the end, it's an impressive work. I gave it an 8/10, though again the middle and end were much stronger for me than the beginning, which is always preferable, I find. If you're looking for a good steampunk read with very light fantasy elements, this is a good one to try.