I was excited to see this book on Audible because I have heard much praise for Jane Smiley's writing. However, I was very disappointed in this novel. The main character of Alice Ellis's naivete bordered on imbecility, which often made the character and her actions, or lack thereof, unbelieveable. The long psychological descriptions, which often changed Alice's mental state from paragraph to paragraph, were also frustrating as this fluctuation of character made it hard to care about what happened to her.
I really enjoyed this book. Most of it focuses on the single astronaut accidentally left behind on Mars and all that he does to survive which sounds like it would be stressful and hopeless. However, the main character has a great sense of humor and his daily logs, while often recounting life threatening situations, is also filled with humor. There is also narration from NASA on earth and their reaction to discovering that the astronaut is still alive and the crew to which he belonged who is traveling back to earth.
There is a lot of detail about what he does to survive but it was told in such a way that I understood what was happening and wasn't bogged down by details.
This book was packed full of important information and once I started reading it, I started finding other sources saying the same things that this author was arguing about the human diet and the link between diet and disease.
This book has effectively changed the way that I eat. I recommend it for anyone who is struggling with how to eat to improve their health and longevity. It doesn't have easy answers for our culture but it has a lot of data to support the conclusion the author reaches. If you read this, you should also watch "Forks over Knives".
I haven't read Ruth Ozeki's first book, "My Year of Meats," but I certainly will now. Her writing is beautiful and completely engaging.
Although the first few moments of the book had me wondering about what I had gotten myself into as Nao introduced herself in her diary, but I kept going and I am really glad that I did. Nao and Ruth (the other main character--named for the book's author?) are both sympathetic and interesting characters. They are both struggling through hard situations in their lives and trying to figure out whether to make it through or to just give up. When fate connects them through the discovery of Nao's diary sealed inside a Hello Kitty lunch box inside a barnacled plastic bag that Ruth "happens" to find on the coast of Canada, their lives and stories become intertwined in interesting and surreal ways. The connection between Ruth as Nao's reader and Nao as Ruth's storyteller bridges both geographical distance as well as time.
I was sorry to reach the end of the story but very glad to have particpated in it--as a reader you definitely feel that you are part of what is happening as Ruth is part of what she reads from Nao's diary. In the end, the story, like the characters, seems to open up more possibilities than to close them and, as the reader, I knew this was a good thing--for everyone.
I just couldn't get into this book. I read almost half of it and kept wishing that I was at the end. I loved her other book--The Monsters of Templeton--but the subject of the book, a hippy commune, just didn't keep me interested. And the very small boy who is the main character kept making me think of Owen Meany. So I set this book aside.
This book was fascinating in many ways. First, I don't know much about the lives of the pioneers who settled Alaska and this was a beautiful description of what it must have been like. Second, the integration of a Russian fairy tale about a elderly couple and snow child into this stark, harsh world was incredibly appealing. It made the short, dark days and depression of the main character open up. Through out the book, the author seems to want the reader to decide for themselves if the snow child is really a child formed from a snow figure built by the couple or if she is an orphaned little girl with uncanny powers.
The telling takes you on an interior journey of the main character as well as a journey through the stunning Alaskan seasons. I know what I think about the snow child . . . but you have to decide for yourself.
Flavia de Luce is simply irresistible and I think that this may be my favorite of the series. She is at her 11 year old scientific best solving a complex mystery of her church organist's murder. My one complaint about the book is that it ends with a cliff hanger that will have me waiting on the edge of my seat until Mr. Bradley can write the next book. I hope he's hard at work.
I definitely felt as if I was in the hands of someone who knew what they were doing and where they were going and I was happy to be along for the ride. A great re-imagining of the wild west, mixing in mythology, and making a world that felt like a combination of the U.S. west while being settled and Australia. John Creedmoore may not have been a nice man but he certainly was an interesting one. Serving a power that he both craves and despises we follow him on a journey to the very edges of the made world along with Liv, a sheltered psychology professor who has come out west seeking, well, seeking herself and a way to heal.
if you are looking for something different--a story that feels both completely unfamiliar and familiar, that you can't predict where it is headed--then I'd recommend "The Half-Made World."
I didn't love this book as much as the first one, Half-Made World, but I liked seeing things from the perspective of a very different character. Harry Ransom is a hapless hero for whom nothing really works out as he plans, except that he has invented this incredible apparatus over which everyone wants control. He spends the majority of the book keeping it out of the hands of both the Line and the Gun and in the end, well, in the end you have to decide for yourself if he achieves his ultimate goal.
I enjoyed being re-immersed in this world but I missed the perspective of the characters in alignment with the great powers as those powers crumbled.
There are so many things about this book that I loved, I'm not sure I can even remember them all. I think what I found most helpful is Patricia McConnell's thoughtful and interesting progression through different emotions, similarities in how those emotions are expressed between humans and dogs, and how to better read and understand what your dog may be feeling in different situations. She gave excellent examples from her own work with fearful and aggressive dogs as well as examples of well socialized dogs dealing with unfamiliar situations. She did an excellent job of describing the deep connection that occurs between humans and dogs and exploring some of the foundations for that connection.
This is a book that I'm sure I'll read again because it had so much information in it that I felt I couldn't digest it all. I bookmarked many different places that I wanted to return to and to remember.
If you are an animal lover or interested in the connection between humans and other species, this is a great book to explore.
I loved this book--not everything about it but overall. I loved the relationship between Hig and Jasper most of all. the comfort and companionship across species in a world where human society has disintegrated. the author never even describes Jasper except to say, at one point, that he has short fur and he was a mix, but he doesn't hazard a guess at the breeds. So I imagined Jasper as a hound retriever mix with a sweet and concerned face. I also came to love the relationship between Hig and his ornery and often kind of awful partner in survival, Bangley. Very aptly named with his love of fire arms and explosives. I found the story interesting and engaging. I don't want to give away too much of the plot because discovering it is part of the pleasure.
The one thing I didn't find realistic was how Jasper was fed. I felt the author went for shock value when there seemed many unexplained missing options for how Jasper could be maintained.
The reader was great. In my mind he sounded how Hig would sound and did a good job with the voices of other characters as well.
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