I always enjoy David Sedaris, but I'll have to admit with this offering there was much material I'd already read or had experienced at his live shows. There are some new offerings towards the end that are pretty hilarious, but other than that I'd already heard most of it before.
First of all, if you've only seen the movie "The Shining" and not read the novel - please for the love of whatever you consider holy - read the novel. No offense to the late, great Mr. Kubrick, but he butchered the story with that film. Anyone who has not read "The Shining" must do so before picking up this sequel or the richness of the story will be lost.
I was a little worried about a sequel as most tend to be watered-down extensions of a great story that only serve to make the writer more money. And good on the writer for that, by the way, get it! But this was a truly great story. It held me so greatly that I was irritated to have to return to real life to work, or sleep or anything else normal folks do. I just wanted to remain in the world of the story. And honestly, I was curious to see what had become of little Danny Torrance.
As the now grown Dan Torrance struggles with past and present demons, he meets a little girl who possesses the same gift that he has - the shining. It is around her stunning abilities that the story evolves as good fights evil and man fights himself. It is classic King and I highly recommend diving into this story for a truly satisfying read.
...but not before you read "The Shining" dammit.
Will Patton did a remarkable job narrating, deftly switching from the voice of an innocent little girl to the raspy growl of pure evil. I'll be searching out other books that he's narrated.
I had abandoned this book and went back to try to give it another shot since I've loved a number of Jennifer Weiner's novels. Had to abandon it yet again. The book involves the television industry and she spends a good chunk of the book describing the process of writing and producing a television show in painstaking detail. If this is an area of great interest to you, by all means, pick it up. However, for me, the description of the biz significantly slowed down the action in the story enough to make me toss it.
I also had a difficult time with the incredibly whiny main character, Ruth. She is just so damned mopey and broken to a point beyond empathy. Also, she seems a little creepy and stalkerish as she creates relationships in her head with fellas who have shown no interest in her whatsoever.
The narrator only added velocity to my mental pitching of this book. She sounds like a fairly young person who hasn't quite got the hang of adding important inflections here and there. She mispronounces words. And you know? When certain young women? End statements with a high-pitched questioning voice? Drove me bonkers.
Did not like.
The main players in this novel are a collection of lost souls in the small town of Roma, Kentucky. The disappearance of one of its citizens causes major upheaval in their lives. The story explores the insecurities, hopes, and delusions of several characters ranging in age from middle school school to near-retirement. I felt invested in the these people, but I felt that a few could have been developed a little more. It's definitely not a read that will have you skipping away with a smile on your face, but the author does a good job of delving into the quiet despair that we can create within ourselves when we choose one path and abandon another.
What an interesting read. It goes by pretty quick and the action is spare but important. The story is about an ad guy who, strangely enough, focuses more on how he'd like his life to look than actually taking part in it. The narrative is largely made up of the rapid fire internal thoughts of the main character - similar to your own stream-of-consciousness, but far easier to follow than you'd think in a book. The vast details he gives about the daily functioning of the ad business can take you from engaged to glazed over, but then your are hit with an emotional bit of backstory or a current tense situation and you stick with it. I liked the parallel between the main character's facade and the one that the ad industry provides to the public. This is the writer's debut novel and he's done a good job developing his antihero through the course of the story.
I enjoy Nick Hornby's books - being a music dork myself, it's fun to see someone else nerd out over the little details behind the making of some of the greatest albums of all time, or even some of the most mediocre. This book takes a look at the stress that being a hardcore fanboy can put on having to exist in the real world in a relationship. They say there are three sides to every story, his side, her side, and the truth, and that's pretty much what's explored here. There is the rabid fanboy who teaches courses at University on his obsession, his girlfriend of over a decade who has been dragged along for the ride, and the musician himself with the real story of his life. It's a pretty quick read that ping-pongs you between a fan's speculation and scrutiny of the tiniest details of his favorite musician's life and career, and the musician's battle to sort out his own real life in the face of these nuts.
I think it's a funny thing when society is shocked by women who give voice to disturbing things. It's as if the "fairer sex" were incapable of acknowledging the darker side of the human psyche. This is what I love about Gillian Flynn. She writes her stories in a singularly dark, yet accessible tone. In this story, a reporter for a small Chicago newspaper returns to her hometown in BFE, Missouri to cover the murders of two young girls. This becomes a study in dysfunction tucked into a murder mystery interesting enough to pull you through to the end. Flynn is masterful in her ability to describe uglier feelings and events using language that is both beautiful and everyday. Not for the squeamish, but I highly recommend this book for its clever crafting and compelling story.
...because the book is a much more well-developed story. I saw the movie as a kid and watched it again just after finishing the novel for the first time. While I can understand why the film is iconic, it is a completely different interpretation of King's story and in my opinion just doesn't have as much depth or emotion. And I'm a Kubrick fan!
The story that most of us know: A writer takes his young family from Vermont out west to Colorado as he has taken a position as caretaker of a secluded hotel during its off season. King tackles issues such as alcoholism, self-esteem, and the strength of the family unit while telling a deliciously frightening story of the demons of the Overlook Hotel. He is one of the most talented storytellers out there, and I spent a good deal of time sitting in my driveway to listen to the end of a chapter before turning the car off and going inside my house.
Campbell Scott put me off at first as a narrator - I thought him to be a little too monotone at first, it was lolling me into a zone, not good when one is driving. But I stuck with him and he did brilliantly acting out the different characters, particularly the violent angry ones and I felt my pulse quicken during those parts.
I know it's said over and over again that the book is always better than the movie, but it's especially true in this case. Please treat yourself to this story, now one of my favorites by King.
This story definitely wasn't what I was expecting and in a good way. For those who are fans of the Walsh sisters stories by Marian Keyes, we've all gotten snippets of Helen Walsh's personality and have been entertained by her strong, don't-give-a-crap personality. It's been a long wait for a whole novel about the youngest Walsh. However, it was a surprise to discover that she's not quite as strong as we all previously thought, and this creates a closeness, an empathy for this character. While in the midst of investigating a missing person's case, she is constantly fighting her own demons and hell, most of us can relate to the stress of having to get the job done when you'd rather just crawl back into bed in a nice dark room. Keyes' signature talent for blending humor with difficult human situations and emotions made this book yet another enjoyable read. What's next for the Walsh family?
Overall, I enjoyed this book, though it did drag a little towards the end - I felt he took a little too much time with the last quarter of the novel and rushed the ending. But aside from that, Christopher Moore crafts a humorous imagining of the years between Jesus's birth and ministry, as told by his best buddy Biff. It's Biff's plain language that sets you giggling as you listen to his recollections. His character is also an interesting blend of lowly dude, slave to his baser instincts with a quick-witted, loyal, and courageous friend. I could quote several passages, but that kinda ruins the experience, so I won't.
I also have to give Fisher Stevens kudos for an amazing performance - he did a wonderful job of acting each character without seeming odd or pulling you out of the story. Some of his characterizations make you laugh out loud. I'll be looking for some other work of his.
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