I received this book for free through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers.
1968 was a fascinating year. This book was not.
I was really looking forward to reading this book because I wanted to learn more about this pivotal year in history. So many important events happened in that year and I was hoping to find some interesting insight into them. Unfortunately, the book left much to be desired.
The book consists of essays from different authors. None of the essays resonated with me. I kept waiting for one to really hit me, but it never happened. Even the ones about the topics I was especially interested in (ex. Kennedy assassination and Mexico City Olympics), didn’t leave much of an impression on me.
There were a few things I liked. One was that the last essay did provide a conclusion to the book. Sometimes with nonfiction books, there’s no wrap up at the end when I feel like there should be one. Luckily, this book did provide some closure.
I also liked the Nightly News segment at the beginning of each section. Those were one of the more interesting pieces to read.
Lastly, the parallels the book made comparing 1968 to 2018 were very interesting and thought provoking.
Overall, the book provides a good baseline to the events of 1968, but ultimately did not manage to do it in an engaging way.
The mixed reviews of this book fascinate me! I am wondering of this is due to how hard it is to understand the hard science. I am not a theoretical physicist, so my own understanding probably didn't even scratch the surface. But I became fascinated with the idea of sending messages to the past and considering that instead of having paradoxes, the universe would split and start a new timeline.
This story had a slow start and and found it hard to get into and understand the storyline, but once I did I was hooked!
I reread this on audio, narrated by Campbell Scott. I was a kid when I read it the first time and it helped solidify my lifelong love of the horror genre. I hoped it would be as scary as I remembered.
Knowing what I now know about Jack after reading Doctor Sleep (if you haven’t read it, you should) helped give me a different slant on his character making him a wee bit more sympathetic instead of the flat out villain I remembered. It also helped that he wasn’t actually written as an unhinged loon from the get go but as a flawed man struggling to keep his family afloat and intact while he battled with the dangerous demons of addiction, anger and regret. I had forgotten all of that or it likely went over my head when I first read it and Jack Nicholson’s performance lingered in my brain instead. Wendy is a better character in the book, for certain, because we get her inner thoughts instead of all of the endless screaming and Danny was such a wise little boy which makes sense considering his gift/curse. I didn’t catch that on the first read because I had never been around kids his age.
It’s most definitely a frightening book but in a very different way than the film. Much of the horror is internal with the dread and ghosts of the hotel slowly creeping up on you rather than smacking you in the face with their presence (and floppy boobs!). I enjoyed all of the backstory of the hotel (even dog-man is there!) and there’s quite a bit of it and the sense of utter isolation and helplessness amidst the storm is terrifying.
My 12 year old self would’ve given it a five. My grumpy, grown up self gives it 4 ½. Campbell Scott is an excellent narrator and does a low-key performance that doesn’t over-exaggerate the scenes or dialogue which worked for me.
A year in the life of a raccoon, particularly a female, is challenging and then there are the kits one must raise and teach to survive before winter comes and the cycle starts again. Calamity Jane is the final book of Sam Campbell’s Living Forest series, focusing on the year in the life of a raccoon introduced in Looney Coon yet in a different style than the rest of the series.
Campbell begins Jane’s story with her emerges from a several weeks long nap in mid-February to get out and about, eat some, and meet other raccoons especially one big male in particular. The book then shifts into spring as Jane reemerges on the hunt for food as quickly and as much as possible before having to feed her four kits. Taking up most of the book, the spring is when young kits are in the most danger first because they rely on their mother and then when they’re eyes open they begin exploring much to their mother’s fear in some cases. Eventually Eno, one of Jane’s kits, begins living with a nearby farmer and his family after a misadventure but later reconnects with his mother and siblings. The most shocking turn of events is the apparent death of Jane when hunters enter the Wildlife Refuge she lives in and attack her, though by then she had weened her kits off of needed her and able to survive on their own. But later that fall, Jane returns after proving harder to killer than the hunters expected to the joy of the farming family. The book ends back in the winter with Eno not comfortable his human family’s sleeping habits and heading back to his old home to get some much needed sleep with his siblings and mother.
Like Sweet Sue’s Adventures before it, Calamity Jane is written differently than other books in the series. Focusing on Jane and her kits, the book follows them in a style meant for young readers. With the addition of over 50 photographs, this book is definitely for young readers than readers for all ages. Given that Sam Campbell passed away the same year as this book was previously published, one wonders if his health changed the way he wrote the last two books of this series though interesting information for nature’s citizens isn’t diminished.
Calamity Jane like its predecessor is a children’s book to get them interested in nature and giving them a wonderful introduction to Sam Campbell’s writing so they can be interested in the other books in the Living Forest series.