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review 2018-10-17 18:55
Guess who has a new favourite author?
Nights at the Circus - Angela Carter

This was bloody amazing!

 

The writing was gorgeous, the braided in stories colorful and as bizarre as you could expect, and even when at their most tragic, always running this underground hilarity out of sheer cynicism and pragmatic pizazz. All seasoned with a good dose of feminism and magical realism.

 

I laughed a lot, but it actually ran me through the whole gamut of emotions and I did not want it to end. Loved it, will read more by the author, and will buy whatever of hers I can find around here.

 

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review 2018-09-20 02:59
First half to see good, then the shots are fired
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil - John Berendt

When I was around two thirds in, I started idly concocting a review in my brain, about how the almost surreal elements and characters was what gave this narrative such a verisimilitude. Cue me over the 80% mark, just going to search for a detail, and finding out this is nonfiction. Sure, there are artistic licenses, but in essence?

 

I love it when knowing absolutely nothing about a book pays up in such ways.

 

As I mentioned previously in an update, the general tone reminded me a lot of latinoamerican writing. This has a lot to do with the conservative (and quirky) societies that brew in relatively small, isolated towns. You have the sedate and beautiful surface, and the decades, generations, long ugly undercurrents. Everyone "behaves" in public out of a certain need for society and peace, and whomever "pops" may as well go the whole nine-yards and wear it like a flag.

 

So, that's basically the aim: to illustrate Savannah. The plot as it were serves the theme. We go into the deep ugly undercurrents. Almost every ugly you can imagine. Sometimes you are enraged and amused at the same time from the sheer hypocrisy rampant. I spent most of the book in some queer state of entertained stupefaction because it is so grotesque you almost can't believe it. But you do. You recognize it. It is your hometown.

 

 

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review 2018-08-10 10:51
Big character
The Princess Diarist - Carrie Fisher

I laughed, and I grimaced, and I ran a gamut of other emotions, from surprise, to disbelief, to pain and sympathy.

 

I started to follow a print while listening because at first I did not always catch what Fisher was saying. There was much pausing, and after a while I kept doing it because there are minute differences here and there.

 

This is a very interesting lady. What astounded me the most is her capacity to write her 19-year-old self, with all the embarrassment and self-doubt. It's powerful enough to make you uncomfortable by proxy.

 

Back then I was always looking ahead to who I wanted to be versus who I didn’t realize I already was, and the wished-for me was most likely based on who other people seemed to be and the desire to have the same effect on others that they had had on me.

 

She writes an almost nude picture of herself, the good, the bad, the WTF (and there were many, many instances where I went WTF), the petty, the shy, the self-aware, the painfully young. There is this sense of "I'm at the last part of the slide, and I have little fucks left to give" mixed with the "still want to be liked".

 

There is a lot about her relationship with the character, a lot mixed feelings that in the end, amount to mostly positive.

 

“You were my first crush.” I heard it so much I started asking who their second one was. We know what a first crush is to a teenager, but what does it mean to a five-year-old?
“But I thought you were mine! That I had found you—I was the only one who knew how beautiful you were—because you weren’t beautiful in that usual way women in film are, right?”
He realizes that I might take what he’s saying wrong. He doesn’t mean it that way. I reassure him, touch his arm; why not give him an anecdote? “I know what you mean, it’s fine. Go on.”
He checks my face to see if I mean it. I do. He continues, “So my friend, when I tell him about my crush, he goes, ‘Oh yeah, she’s awesome! I have a total crush on her, too. Everyone does.’ I got upset. I coulda punched him.”
“Why?”
“Because you were mine and I wanted to be the one who loved you. Me, maybe even help you . . .” He got embarrassed. “Anyway—I wanted to tell you.” He shrugs, then adds, “Thanks for my childhood,” and walks off. Wow, what a thing to be given credit for, to be thanked for! Because he didn’t mean his whole childhood—he meant the good bits. The parts he escaped to.

 

It was a weird and nostalgic ride.

 

If you can find a common language that runs from five to eighty-five, you’ve got yourself something, and Star Wars fans have something.

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review 2018-06-13 01:55
Today Will Be Different
Today Will Be Different - Maria Semple,Kathleen Wilhoite

 

 

After having enjoyed Where'd You Go, Bernadette, I was excited to find another book by Maria Semple--and especially once I realized she had gotten Kathleen Wilhoite again, to narrate the audiobook.  The two books appear to exist in the same universe, as the central character's son goes to The Galen School, just as Bee does in Bernadette.  

 

Eleanor Flood used to be at the helm of an animated show called Looper Wash.  But that was years ago.  She and her hand-surgeon husband Joe Wallace had traded New York City for Seattle ten years before, based on the premise that Seattle was supposed to be the least religious city in the U.S.  They had a deal that they'd move back to NYC in ten years, switch again ten years after that, and keep alternating for the duration.  But Joe is well ensconced in his position as hand surgeon to the Seattle Sea Hawks, and the topic hasn't been broached in quite a while.

 

So, Eleanor decides that "today will be different," but her plans are interrupted when she gets a call from The Galen School letting her know that her son Timby is complaining that he doesn't feel well.  Eleanor is convinced he's faking sick because the same thing has happened a couple of other times recently, so she takes him straight to the pediatrician.  The visit reveals that the motive for being "sick" is conflict with a classmate, and the doctor prescribes "Mommy time."  An impromptu visit to Joe's office leads to the revelation that Joe had told his staff that the family was "on vacation" that week--which raises the question of what he's been doing while pretending to go to work every day.

 

So things take an odd turn as Eleanor attempts to figure out what's going on.  No, she can't just call her husband and have conversation, because then there'd be no plot!  Meanwhile, she and Timby have lunch with a former co-worker from her Looper Wash days, and he produces something she hasn't thought about in years: a hand-made illustrated book she made many years back, The Flood Girls.  What?!?!  Eleanor never told Timby she had a sister.  "I don't have a sister!"  Well, we'll see about that.

 

There were times when I found Eleanor exasperating, but she never completely lost me, and I enjoyed the payoff.  Kathleen Wilhoite again brings another dimension to the story with her narration.  I do wish someone had coached her on pronouncing "Clowes" and "Groening," though.  As in Bernadette, there is a scene where Wilhoite gets to showcase her beautiful singing voice.  In this case, she sings "Morning Has Broken."  Although I thought it was a pleasant enough song when the Cat Stevens version was popular in the 1970s, Wilhoite did something magical to it.  I almost teared up.  (Must see if library has her CD!)

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review 2018-01-26 21:29
Dead End by M. R. Forbes
Dead End: Ghosts & Magic, Book 4 - M. R. Forbes,Soundbooth Theater,Jeff Hays,Quirky Algorithms

Note: As this is Book 4 in the series, you really need to enjoy the previous books to get what’s at stake in this story.

Whew! Such a mix of feelings over this book. It was a great, wild ride but I am sad to say it looks like this is the end of the series. First, it was awesome to see Dani back in the mix. She is so good for Conor and just a great character herself. I love her snark and quick comebacks and her absolute certainty once she’s made a decision. There’s some unfinished business between her and Conor and that might break them apart. I was on the edge of my seat for part of the story waiting to see how things would be resolved between them.

Frank, the trogre, continues to be the heart of this little adventure group. Amos is a jerk with a noble cause (protect Dani). Prythi is also back and her cyber skills are put to the test. Then there is Ash, Karatona’s son. He’s a young dragon that owes his life to Conor.

On the other side, we have Samedi. He’s gathered so much power from tricking and cheating Conor. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Conor and his team try to stay one step ahead of Samedi… and sometimes failing. The woe! But Conor and crew rally each and every time. Even though there are zombies.

Death also enters the fray. Yep, that Death. Conor has to figure out what side he’s really playing for. There were so many ways for all to have been lost for our heroes. I was caught up for the entire story! I especially liked Forbes’s take on the Morrigan in this tale, even if the trio create a serious headache for Conor.

The ending was a deliciously tense bit! Conor has been dying for years from cancer but I really didn’t know how things would fall out for him. I also feared for his companions. Even throughout the action, there’s bits of humor tucked in everywhere. Ash and pixies and all of Amos’s comments! Snort laugh! The final ending was very fitting. Perhaps we will see Conor again some day but if this is all we get, it’s been a worthy series. 5/5 stars.

I received a free copy of this audiobook.

Narration:  Jeff Hays has done this series justice! He has a great, rough voice for Conor. I also love his voice for Amos, who is sarcastic or dissatisfied or making lewd comments all the time. All his female voices are feminine (he does a great job with them) and I loved having Dani back. He went the extra mile with the ultra-creepy voice for Samedi. There’s quite the range of emotions in this book, especially for Conor and Hays did a great job performing those emotions. 5/5 stars.

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