Okay, first of all I used to describe Celine Dion as my "guilty pleasure" if I talked about liking her at all. I love her voice, which I fell in love with when she sang "Here, There, and Everywhere" on a George Martin tribute album. When I listened to her, which I did from time to time (taking a break from, say, the Radiohead or the Beatles), I would do so alone (and if I was on Spotify, I'd swich my session to "private" so that everyone on Facebook wouldn't know what I was listening to.
Why was I embarrassed to like Celine Dion? Carl Wilson (not the Beach Boy) explains why in this short book about aesthetics and pop culture. I have a better idea about why I do what I do, and other people like music I dont'. While I may still enjoy Celine, Barry Manilow on the private setting it is not because I am embarrassed, it is because all my friends haven't read this book.
Joyland is not the hard-boiled thriller that the (beautiful) cover suggests, but rather a character-driven yarn, more comparable to Bag of Bones or Hearts of Atlantis. I listened to it compulsively, and yes, completed it by the pool at the beach. Michael Kelly subtle narration is perfectly in-character and right for the book.
George Saunders's tales of a vast suburban wasteland fit the times. It's a bit uneven, but It's worth the price of admission for the first tale, "Victory Lap" and the last, "Tenth of December" both of which I listened to twice. I also enjoyed hearing the author read his own stories.
This is a perfect audiobook. Anne Hathaway brings the book alive with many characters. I laughed out loud so often, I began to wish she weren't an oscar-winning actress so she could spend all of her time as a voiceover artist. This classic is highly recommended for those with or without kids.
What I expected: I don't like to write reviews based on my dashed expectations of a book, but I feel like I was led on a little bit here. Look at the very long title. I cannot be faulted in expecting a book that examines the cultural relevance of superheroes and how they have enriched the world.
What I got: While I did get a little bit of cultural history, everything seemed to be based on how they related to the author. The book is mostly autobiography: how the great comics of the past made Grant Morrison a great writer, and how Grant Morrison's great writing made the comics of today great.
Morrison's writing is indeed very good, and I know he believes all of his ideas will change the world. Still, I'd rather marvel at the miraculous feats of imaginary heroes.
Scott Hahn presents theology in a very accessible and entertaining manner. In Letter and Spirit, he demonstrates how Scripture was created for use in the Liturgy, and how vital it is to be immersed in both.
The writing is stark and clear; there is no judgment in the decisions that brought the bomb to Hiroshima that August mornign in 1945. The narrative simply follows a handful of real people as they cope with the unimaginable.
I can only imagine what it would have been like to read Hiroshima in 1948. A final last chapter (included in this audiobook) was added in the eighties which continues the stories of the survivors. Somehow I found their lives in the decades that followed more depressing than the horrors they endured immediately after the bombing.
Ed Asner's performance makes listening to the rather low-quality recording worth it.
Another very good Anne Tyler novel that charts the complicated waters of family through her quirky characters. It's one of her starker novels, but I still found it very satisfying.
This is about the tenth of her books I have read, which may be good. Newcomers should check out the books she wrote in the 1980's (Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, The Accidental Tourist) before moving backwards as I am now.
I picked this short story collection up during the Chirstmas holiday hoping to ration them (1 a day) but I ended up gulping them down 3 - 4 a day. While, I did slow down a bit toward the end, it is a remarkable collection, and most of the stories have an ever-so-slight undercurrent that something in reality is being bent somehow.
For the newcomer to Murakami, I'd recommend a noviel like 1Q84 first, but to someone who doesn't want to invest in a 1000 page novel, BWSW will probably do just fine. My favorite stories were "Birthday Girl" "Man-eating Cats" and "Hanalei Bay"
This is some pretty solid reporting of the Comic Book Scare of the late forties, early fifties. It may be a little long for its topic, but very informative and enjoyable nonetheless. It makes me wonder what comics would be like if the brakes hadn't been put on creativity for twenty to thirty years.
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