I would have given this collection of short stories a better review if the last 3 stories in the collection were not such an ordeal to finish. But the collection starts off great (the opening story is a fascinating/sad/funny vision of heaven) and is followed by some good stories with well realized (sometimes unlikeable) characters.
The book covers the modern US urban/smalltown west of Idaho and Utah (which is not given much coverage in contemporary literature) and also gives an interesting portrait of Mormons (ex-Mormons) that rarely moves into over characterization or grotesque.
Hardly in the same league as the latest collection by George Saunders but worth a look if you are interested in the short story genre/stories set in Idaho/the Mormon/ex-Mormon experience.
These are some very accesible and relatively meatty short stories essays. I was impressed with Heppner's observation of culture (a washed up 80s band at a state fair; music videos) and his ability to really capture our times. Sadly many of the stories i did not fully apreciate (or understand what he was trying to do until near the end of some of the work). I will definitely be listening to these stories again. A great buy.
After listening to 'Season on the Brink' I did not think there could be a better sports book but then I heard 'The Game' by Ken Dryden and was blown away.
Dryden is not only considered one fo the greatest goalies ever (5 Vezina trophies) on one of the best teams ever 1970s Montreal Canadiens (6 Stanley Cups) but he is also extremely intelligent and articulate. A graduate of Cornell/McGill law school Dryden is a jock with an excellent ability to express himself and articulate his views of the game.
This book is not so much an autobiography as much as a collection of intelligent/articulate/accesible streams of consiousness about The Game of hockey. Dryden goes into great detail about among other things the workmanlike aspect of being a proffesional athlete; the changes to the game and its rules; the influence of the Europeans on what used to be 'Canada's game'; life on the road; the thoughts that go through an athlete's head in the midst of "the game''; the role hockey plays in Canadian identity (especially amongst youth) and why Canada has fallen behind as a hockey power; the business of hockey; and most importantly the colorful menagerie of teammates and locker room shenanigans/memories/camraderie from those great teams from the 70's (Lafleur, Shutt, Robinson, Gainey Lapointe, and of course the legendary coach Scotty Bowman).
Dryden has a modest view of himself as a player constantly questioning his ability and his need to never let the team down. He gives some honest psychological insight in to the high pressure/eccentric position of being a goalie.
I would reccomend this book to any sports/hockey fan (even layman) or person that values high quality non-fiction writting. This is not only a great sports book but an excellent piece of non-fiction literature; it is very rare that someone with this level of skill in his chosen field (hockey) is so clear, intelligent, and articulate in giving a first person view of his passion.
Dryden himself narrates the book and he is not exactly as articulate in his speaking as his writting but he manages to do the job.
This book starts off well but it just went on a bit too long and had long stretches of action that was not suspenseful or interesting; was Hill paid by the word?
As a whole this is a good fantasy novel. I would hardly call it a horror (it did not really spook me at all). The less you know about the plot the better, The book has a real 'fairy tale' vibe too it and I really did like the main protagonists but like I say Hill just lost me in his sea of needless action description.
The narration is excellent.
I will say this I laughed lots during Romance and the play is definitely not for the politically correct but I was a bit taken aback that a great dramatist like Mamet would write such a silly and entertaining play with no substance that I could find.
Mamet has written some great comedies (Speed the Plow) but this is one of the only works I can think of that exists solely to be silly and make the audience laugh. The play is bordering on absurdist in ths structure and dialog but I could not really irk out a real theme or point in this work.
There is mention of justice, arab/jew/christian relations, and sexuality but I am not sure how Mamet wanted to tie those ends together. But as a whole a real funny (if empty calorie) play.
The highlight is Fred Willard (Best in Show) as the judge with a bad case of hay fever.
OK if you have not read/listened to the work of Bradbury start there. If you still want more this collection is a rather good collection of stories (not as good as Bradbury's classics).
Most of the stories focus more on his sci-fi/fantasy side rather than his nostalgic small town life side (Dandelion Wine). I would almost say that the Joe Hill story is worth the price of admission; One of the best short stories I have heard in recent memory.
Charles Yu is trying hard to write in the vernacular of a Philip K. Dick or Kurt Vonnegut (sci-fi as satire) but mostly fails.
I read this book a few months ago and I have no memory of a memorable story or even anything that made me laugh. With the abundance of quality short fiction out there this is definitely a pass.
Hitch leaves on a high note discussing his favorite topics religion (or his problems with it), literature, and life.
This is actually a real good jumping off point if one is interested in reading further Hitchens at it almost purely Hitchens and his articulate opinions.
I will just list the strengths of this collection of stories rather than an actual review
1) Emma Donoghue is a writter that manages to capture interesting literary themes in very accesible readable/page turning stories
2) The time and place of the stories are clearly set at the beginging so the reader is not spending time figuring what period a story is taking place
3) All/most of these stories are based on actual events. Donoghue is a real good researcher and historical writer
4) All the stories have a general theme of people leaving or finding a physical/mental place which ties the stories together well.
A definitie reccomendation
This book is not so much about the US Dream Team as much as it is about a golden age of hoops. McCallum does a good job profiling the personalities of the team and what made the players legends. He also goes into the behind the scenes working (and ego) that went into picking the team and how the players interacted with each other on and off the court. The book has a behind the scenes feel that does not feel gossipy or tabloidy. The only thing this book was lacking was tactics and real good summaries of the games but I was glad that was not in this book because it would have really weighed down the narrative.
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