First of all, I love Maeve Binchy. I love the way she weaves characters in and out of each other's lives. How their relationships change and they just go with the flow. How she always brings out the most poignant aspect of the relationships without getting muddled up in all the baggage.
Next, you have to listen to the introduction! Once you understand that she has written this story and is performing it as a gift for her friends at the festival, it takes on so much more meaning! The audience laughs at the parts of the story that are poking fun at them! I love the comeraderie that is so evident in the context of the reading. It means so much more as her performance than it ever would as written text!
This is by far the best writing so far in this series. Maybe Sagara got a new editor for this book or something. On the other hand, the cursing has moved up a level. It is totally unnecessary and adds nothing to the book; it just means I have to be really careful not to have it on around my kids. Lots of f-bombs in this book. :( Other than that, it is the best book this far in the series!
The characters in this story are great. There is a lot of depth to a lot of characters--even characters who will likely only appear in this episode. Kaylin is pretty juvenile, but it is interesting to watch her begin to mature. She has such a pure heart, you always want to root for her! In this episode, I was really interested in the change in the Barrani characters, who have seemed very flat in the others. I'm especially interested to see where things are going with Lord Nightshade!
In my opinion, the writing in this book is pretty sophomoric. There are too many complicated, awkward, run-on sentences that are difficult to follow. It seems like the author is trying to make herself sound more intelligent than she is. On the flip side, it's a great story, and I'll definitely be listening to the rest of the series!
I only got the excerpt because it was free, but I'm definitely going to buy the whole book! For a strong left-brainer like me, who has memory trouble to boot, it is revelational! Where to start? First, it is very well researched and written. Too many books of this type are filled with broad, sweeping generalities founded on who knows what; this book is not like that! Also, it is a lot of new information--a new way of thinking about thinking--but it's not so intellectual that you can't follow it. It's easy to follow and to keep up with.
There's on concept--that doing something mildly distracting will help your brain focus--that rings so true to me. I've had so many employers and teachers who insisted on the sit-in-this-room-behind-this-desk modality of work, it is enlightening to hear someone verify what I have always believed--that getting outside, going for a walk, doodling, reading something off-topic but not too intriguing, etc. will free my mind to roll around ideas and find a better solution to a problem. I have found this to be true over and over--as long as I was putting pressure on the problem, I couldn't see a solution, but as soon as I let it go, I could see what should have been obvious! This is only one of numerous principles of how the mind functions that is described in this book. I can't wait to hear the whole thing!
Jonah Lehrer performed this book so beautifully. His conversational tone makes you feel like you're sitting in Starbucks together and he's telling you about this interesting thing he discovered. He was a great choice for this book!
This story may have been the first of its kind, and was probably a new and fantastic thing a hundred years ago; however, since then, it has been done repeatedly--and better. I especially disliked the ending; it's so irrational and idiotic, but I won't spoil it for those who haven't heard it.
I'm going to read the next hunger games book. The story was pretty good (not my favorite, but all of my friends are reading it) but the performance was pretty annoying. McCormick tends to use the same intonation--an over-dramatic intonation--for nearly everything a given character says. I realized the second time through that a lot of my distaste for certain characters was due to her intonation, not the character himself! It made it hard to identify with the characters, so next time I'm reading it off the printed page, so I can add the tone of voice!
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