Elizabethtown, IN, United States | Member Since 2006
My reading list includes very few stories with post-apocalyptic settings. I have high regard for "On the Beach" and "Alas Babylon" but those were of another era. I wasn't sure I would enjoy "The Dog Stars." It was almost an impulse purchase.
I was very pleased with my purchase. Peter Heller has written a very well rounded novel. The overall melancholy and the episodes of violent encounters were there, as I expected, but it was the description of introspective thoughts and emotions which made the novel stand out for me.
Heller does an excellent job of introducing story threads into the novel and then following and expanding them with great attention to details and overall pacing of the tale. Nothing gets shoved into a corner or suddenly dropped in the next chapter.
Heller's writing of Hig's relationship with his dog Jasper touched me most of all, and a man's love for his dog is something that's as timeless as the constellations in the sky.
The Hunger Games are such a cross culture success that I chose to read Book 2 when the movie was released.
I read Book 1 from print, and although Carolyn does an excellent job of reading Book 2, her formal, almost British enunciation didn't match the voice of Katniss that spoke in my head. Suzanne writes a solid story, but I felt the action and details of "Fire" were a little thin and at times took a back seat to Katniss' internal angst. I could hear the rule of "writing 101" echoing in my head - "SHOW me the story, don't TELL me."
The ending was well done, and I'm sure I'll get around to reading the third book in the future.
The story is well researched, and there is so much to learn here - how "post roads" worked in Europe, the scattered ruins of castles that still littered the countryside like dinosaur bones of the feudal system, the shifting alliances of the powers of the day.
If I were editor on this project I would make one change - just as the journey reaches it's penultimate point, with Louisa across most of the continent and Napoleon returned and growing stronger - just then the book takes a long detour to describe the background of Louisa's state of mind - everything from the details of her marriage to her miscarriage in St. Petersburg. These are interesting facts, too, but their placement in the book detracts from the story of the journey, and if I were editing I would rearrange the chapters for better continuity.
Tony's old school journalism training and talent are displayed well in this collection. I purchased this book for background research on some fiction I'm writing, and the stories were much more varied and entertaining than I expected. The title piece is pure entertainment, but other stories are more sober as Tony writes about the people and the culture of New Mexico. I'm not a personal fan of desert climates, but reading Tony's collection makes me want to visit New Mexico.
When the summary mentions MI5 in the early 70's, I think of the generation that lived in fear of repeating Burgess and the Cambridge spy ring. The generation that came after Peter Wright, after George Smiley.
McEwan makes references to this generation of brinksmanship, but it is just name dropping. This is not the spy novel I expected; this is part sappy love story and part a writer's description of his introversion.
The heroine is talented at describing her sexual needs and experiences, a talent which may in turn represent her generation. These depictions guarantee that readers will stay with the book through the slow sections.
I enjoyed the portrayal of daily life in England at a time of crisis. McEwan is a good writer, but Stevenson is a more talented narrator.
"Sweet Tooth" is a good book, but not the book I expected, so I was disappointed.
Okay, I was steered away from the use of anthropomorphism in maybe the ninth grade, maybe earlier.
I considered this piece for a long time before I purchased it.
The references to great road drivers is very entertaining. The hard turn into dark crisis in the middle of the book surprised me (I didn't know the plot before reading.)
The sudden appearance of the resolution may have put me off just a little; I like a solid ending, but this one came quick.
Yes, I cried at the end. I am a dog person, after all. It's been six years since I had my last dog put to sleep, and this book brought up many good emotional memories of time spent in a dog's company.
I thought the characters were well developed and put into a setting seldom used. In fact, it was the setting which made me select the book, not the topic.
And the topic - well, it's something we're all forced to have an opinion of in this age - not having an opinion on this matter is considered a crime of omission.
And that's why I would nominate this book for group discussion - because while reading this book I had several interesting thoughts - and that's a compliment to the author. What intrigues me is that I suspect my thoughts are not the normal reaction to the characters and the situation.
Well done. A book that gives me new thoughts, that is my compliment to the author.
This is a fine and unique collection of historical fiction pieces, with a postscript behind each story explaining the origin of the characters and the situation.
This novel became a movie with Jimmy Stewart and Marlene Dietrich - ignore that. The movie didn't work well. The movie was awful, and I never realized it was based on a Shute novel. Ben Elliot's great vocal characterizations bring the subjects to life. Shute writes on a subject he knows - aircraft engineering - but it's the character clashes, especially those in the decision making meeting rooms, that make this piece sparkle. Great surprise alliances when people are speaking bluntly - I love a good scene like that - it's as good as any courtroom scene written in the past generation. Shute probably doesn't get his due for anything other than "On The Beach."
When I'm being eaten alive by stress in the workplace, I need specific techniques and tools to keep my sanity.
Instructions to "Take a deep breath and think happy thoughts," followed by ten seconds of dead air is not what I'm looking for. At first I thought my player had malfunctioned.
I'm not saying the author isn't correct, but it's too simplistic to be of any use to me.
When I finish a work like "Train Dreams," I wish I could ask the author, "What? What story are you telling?"
I have trouble staying engaged with stories which seem quirky and disjointed. This may just be me and my preference of style.
Denis Johnson is a talented writer, and there are sections of "Train Dreams" which show his talent and skill. But the story doesn't stay focused and connected from chapter to chapter. Some are straightforward, some quirky, a few just surrealistic. I don't like stories with odd and unattached threads. A Native American who never drinks, then on the last day of his life gets drunk on beer and struck by a train. Where does this take the story? At the end I'm left with no clear picture of Robert Grainger. Was he unfocused? Was he an underachiever? Was he overwhelmed by a tragedy and the changing technology of his world?
I'm sure there are many Robert Graingers in the world, but I'm not interested in reading about them.
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