Yamhill, OR, United States | Member Since 2009
Wow, did I ever have a time with this one. It was a love-hate-love relationship. At first the book drew me in with the language. I am almost always about writing over plot so I was immediately drawn in by the words and their construction long before the plot even began to quicken. Some has been written about how Miéville repeats certain words and, while I noticed that (for me it was pugnacious and detritus), it was not too distracting. Actually, given that the landscape was usually strewn with detritus and and its inhabitants pugnacious, these were probably the best choices of words. That being said, the words were wonderful. I spent some time with my dictionary.
For me, the physical, steampunk world and the environment of Perdido Street Station were vividly drawn and easily recognizable, its technological content not so much. Atmospherically, it is vaguely 19th century, Victorian but that only a trope; this is a world definitely not that of our own. This is a world of many sorts of alien life that sometimes includes the humans themselves, humans who copulate with sentient, insect-like creatures. While we may not be at all sure about the time, the place is very well constructed.
Actually, let’s just cut to the chase; at the core, this is a story about the love and mating habits of a human (at least I think he’s human) and a vegetarian insect (my imagination had her looking kind of like a cross between a praying mantis and Angelina Jolie) who is an artist and spits a lot. Oh, and also it’s about giant, psychedelic, mesmerizing moths that literally have s#it for brains and that suck the dreams out of everyone in sight and turn them into zombies. I am not making this up. This is what this wildly acclaimed book is about. The sex and the insect wasn’t too bad but when we got to the moths and zombies, I started to wonder WTF was I reading.
Okay, Robert, calm down... Remember Angelina? The artist? I mean, the insect? Well her real name is Lin and she [sic] really isn’t an insect, she’s khepri, uhhh, she only looks like an insect. I guess that makes it better. And the s#it for brains stuff? It really isn’t s#it. It’s only called that. It’s really the moths’ milk. I guess that makes it all better now. Are you confused yet? I would not be surprised. And we haven’t even gotten to The Weaver, the multi-dimensional spider who speaks in torrents of free-verse poetry. The Orkin Man would’a had a field-day here.
It sounds like there’s a lot going on in this book and there is. There just might be too much going on, especially toward the end. While there was no lack of narrative stamina this reader weakened, weakened to the point of nearly giving up. Weakened not out of fatigue but out of a loss of interest. The narrative toward the end seemed to drone on and on. I actually had to get a fix from my fellow reviewers. I plugged into Goodreads, read some of my friends’ positive critiques of PSS, regained my strength and resolve to continue and continue I did to finish the book. I am not sorry that I did. But even in the ending, I was a bit disappointed.
The narrative of the book is all over the map. We have all kinds of contrivances, some biological, some technological. They come and they go almost as suddenly. However, there was one particular subplot that seemed to be somewhat central but for me, very poorly developed. A garuda, a winged creature by the name of Yagharek comes to our main protagonist, Isaac, for help in restoring his (its?) wings, wings which were lost as a result of a sentence passed on to him (it?) for having committed a particular crime. We do not find out what the crime was till the end of the book but it is how our hero, Isaac, responds to finding out what the crime is that seemed so unsatisfying. Something so central to the book here did not seem to me to be sufficiently fleshed out. It was at that point that I realized there were so many other instances of just that incompleteness in the book. Miéville throws everything but the kitchen sink into this novel but never fully or even moderately develops any of it.
While I found the author’s use of the English language often quite wonderful and beautiful, I found nothing terribly unique in construction nor could I identify any particular stylistic invention with perhaps one exception. The way the spider character, The Weaver, spoke was brilliant. The other characters: Meh. The author’s command of the language, the construction of sentences, how they were phrased were competent. I just expected more about that which he wrote. This was not a short book and to have spent so much time on drivel seemed a waste.
If I had to characterize the depth of scope for PSS, it would have to be superficial. Perhaps these characters just had no great depths to plumb, but damn it, I wanted to know more about Isaac and the garuda. How could the author be so incredibly detailed about the landscapes of this world but tell us so little about the psyches of its inhabitants? While I realize this work has received many awards, for me, in constructing it, I do not feel this author worked on it as hard as he could have. I certainly see the tremendous talent of Miéville but I do not believe for a moment he spent that much time particularly on the ending of this book.
In spite of all of the criticism I have wreaked on the book, I’m still giving it 4 stars. If I could, I’d give it 3.5 and give John Lee’s reading of the book 5 stars. As always, Mr. Lee’s narration was absolutely brilliant.
I finished this book searching and hoping for something redeeming at least in the ending. I never found it.
The book could easily have been written by an above average high school student.
Okay, only three words so as not to waste any more time on this book:
Silly, Simplistic, Uninspired.
This is probably the most enjoyable book I have read/listened to all year and the year is 2/3 complete. For those among us who gravitate to fantasy, this is certainly that. For those looking for something quite unique this is that also. For those among the hopeless romantics, you have come home. I loved everything about this book: the story, its depth and its ending. And narrated by George Guidall; what more could one ask for?
The nature of my world these days has caused me to cut back on the number of reviews that I am able to write. But I just have to share what I find to be the truly wonderful books I come across and this is one of them.
Brandon Sanderson is one of my favorite authors. His development of unique characters, worlds and systems-of-magic are perhaps for many of us without parallel in modern writing. It is in the actual writing that I am sometimes left frustrated. The story-telling is superb and keeps me coming back there's no question about it. I finished the book in less than a week and that after spending the previous week reading Book 1. Every available and non-sleeping moment was spent with the book. But there was always something missing... something that said this is still just not a literary work. Maybe it just seemed to me to be a bit too commercial. But Sanderson is young and I have no doubt that his writing will mature even more and I will come to a completely different conclusion about his place in history and the body of works considered great literature.
The production and narration by two premier narrators was excellent.
If you were to read one book on the subject of introversion, I would highly recommend Quiet. The book was superlative. The Introvert Advantage communicates many of the same tenets as Quiet just not as completely or entertainingly.
This book has been around and promoted for a while now. I've seen and been tempted but not so much till it went on sale. While I think it was worth the sale price, it was not worth my time. I was tempted to quit in a number of places but continued to hope it would somehow redeem itself. It didn't.
The book has almost 1000 ratings on Audible and over 4 stars. I don't get it. I thought the book was silly, trivial and uninspired. You can read what the book was about and why others liked it elsewhere. But for me, I'm done.
This was one great book. I loved every minute of it. Sure there were nautical terms bandied about (it's a book about the Royal Navy) and a awareness of these terms can help in its enjoyment but such knowledge is not essential. At first I thought this was a coming-of-age story and in some respects it is. And, while it could be classified as YA, this story has something for everyone. The actor/narrator Christian Rodska takes the book to a whole other dimension. His voices for all of the characters seem spot on.
The book is truly exciting, touching and hilarious. I highly recommend it. I loved it.
You’re presented with three doors. Behind one door is a car and behind the other two doors are goats. Sound familiar? It is. You pick door number one. Instead of opening your choice, Monty opens door number two and reveals a goat. He then asks you if you wish to keep what’s behind your original choice (door one) or change your mind to door number three. If you think it makes no difference whether you switch or not and that your odds are 50/50 either way, you might be surprised at the answer and enjoy reading this book. If you are surprised by the answer to this ridiculously simple challenge, you’re in for a plethora of awakenings about the assumptions we make of the numbers and statistics we hear in our daily lives.
Peppered with charm and wit; wonderfully read by Sean Pratt, I would highly recommend this title to anyone interested in a history of the development of statistics. Books about numbers are especially not easy ones to listen to but Sean Pratt reads this one at just the right pace and with just the right inflections to make listening to and learning from The Drunkard’s Walk totally accessible. I will often read two or three books at a time. This one, however, was just so captivating, it monopolized my complete attention. But then I’m a nerd and that too might be a requirement for truly enjoying this title.
There was a lot to like about this book. I felt it was original having been written in the 1st person with a protagonist who is autistic. My understanding is that the author has personal experience with a family member who is autistic and we can probably rely on its authenticity. Thinking and speaking from the perspective of one who is autistic was for me sometimes painful. I wanted to give up on the book at times. But I could not, which must say something for the book in itself.
From the aforementioned perspective, the book is quite simple. And this is not meant in any kind of derogatory sense in that respect. If most of us were more simple not only in how we view and feel about the world but also in how we relate about those things to others, there might be fewer misunderstandings among us. I think that the strongest aspect of the book is its ability to really get inside the head of the protagonist and help us to feel what he must have been feeling especially in his frustration with "normal" people. And truly, he was much more normal if not more ideal than many of us who do not carry the label of autistic.
I believe that the book deserved a better plot. The plot seemed almost too trivial given the nature of the subject material. The ending was not what I expected and it seemed too short. Further, I have to think that in the end, I would not have chosen for myself what the protagonist chose for himself. Perhaps the book was deeper than I thought and I might have missed something. But I don't think so.
I'd liked to have given the book a 3.5 stars rating but since I could not, and because for me it was quite original, I gave it 4 overall.
I think many of us are sometimes either encouraged to purchase or dissuaded from reading a book by a publisher’s summary. I know that I can be influenced by them. Like most things in life we are trying to decide about, we search for support of our position to do something that we are leaning toward such as purchasing a book. We use these summaries as well as the reviews of others to give us that little extra nudge to hit that “Add to Cart” button. In deciding to purchase The Art of Procrastination..., I believe that I was totally misled by the summary and in disagreement with most of the reviewers. This book was one of the smallest wastes of time I can imagine.
The book was one of the smallest wastes of time only because it was so short. I finished it in one round trip drive to and from a work assignment. Thank goodness I didn’t waste that time doing something that required my full attention... or... maybe I did. There’s continuing debate about whether we can safely multitask while driving. Though the book certainly was not so profound as to draw my attention away from the road. It was not so laugh-out-loud funny as to cause my eyes to tear up and obstruct my vision of the road. It was not so wise as to cause me to ponder and plumb its depths and unconsciously and dangerously change lanes. Not once did I think of Thurber, Wodehouse, or Harry Frankfurt’s *On Bullshit* though there was plenty of dung to conjure those thoughts and be analogous to the contents of this book along the country roads of my drive. The book was not for me at all insightful, charming or witty. It did not entertain, educate or illuminate.
I can only conclude that the author is, as he claims to be, the consummate procrastinator: Anything else the author might have had to do and that he put off doing, had to be more important than writing this book. If you are looking to procrastinate, justify and avoid doing something else more important then read or listen to this book. But I can promise you that almost anything else that you do instead will be more rewarding. If your wish is to discontinue your procrastinating, you will find no insights here: avoid it.
This is a wonderful little book. I have a hard copy but with Simon Vance doing the narrating and being on sale, I could not resist the audio version. This may not be a book for everyone. Taoism is probably a rather arcane subject for the uninitiated. For those who have delved its depths or even those who have not but have an interest in the subject, this is a great little primer. The book is simple and deep at the same time (yin and yang). It is both serious and humorous. The narration is impeccable.
If you are interested in further reading on the subject, for the original Tao Te Ching, I would highly recommend the translation by Stephen Mitchell who is also the narrator and available on Audible.
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