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review 2017-07-22 00:13
I'm grinning like mad
And One Last Thing ... - Molly Harper

Start to finish, this was a huge entertainment. From the vengeful start to the amusingly ridiculous encounters with Monroe, plus the whole cast of secondary characters, all colorful in their own way, all of it was made to get laughs and smiles out of me.

 

I'd forgotten about this author, and the way she mixes humor into the embarrassing. It feels like reading a fictional "This looser is you, and that's OK, you can laugh at yourself and proceed being awesome".

 

Spirit-lifting Free Friday Read.

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review 2017-07-20 01:04
I liked better than WoT
Wizard's First Rule - Terry Goodkind

This is the good stuff. Epic fantasy with about as much patience with the "wait for the answers while I hint you to death" bullshit as I have, an uninformed protagonist that refuses to carry the idiot ball nonetheless, funny and wise wizard, and heavy hitter female (though I got tired of her "let me die before I hurt you" thing waaay before the end). And of the main villain's three appearances (yeah, neat on the rule), the squicky ruthless first, and his eminently charismatic second were a wonder.

Even better: it is pretty much self contained. We are left a lot of issues to pursue in subsequent volumes, but the adventure we start on we finish (and thank god, given all those pages).

It wont be soon, but I'm likely to keep reading this saga.

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review 2017-07-16 09:16
Some are Eventual
Everything's Eventual: 14 Dark Tales - Stephen King

This is a very well put together collection. What I mean is, almost a third in, it was good, but not awesome. Too much male perspective, maybe. But then it kept getting better an better, and I finished it very satisfied. Not as good as "Nightmares and Dreamscapes", but better than "Skeleton Crew" in my love vs meh stories ratio.

Autopsy Room Four: Weird mix between humorous and harrowing. Likely most of the laughs were out of sheer adrenaline.

The Man in The Black Suit: Childhood nightmare. That dialogue was... *shudder*

All that you love will be carried away: Dreary. Reminded me of Road-work, and his Bachman's writing.

The Death of Jack Hamilston: I guess this one goes in the same bunch with "The Fifth Quarter", but even more "The Wedding Gig". Not my thing.

In the Deathroom: Lots of testosterone on this one too, but it was awesome.

 

It occurred to Fletcher that in the end there might only be one way to tell the thugs from the patriots: when they saw their own death rising in your eyes like water, patriots made speeches. The thugs, on the other hand, gave you the number of their Swiss bank account and offered to put you on-line.

 

And that great line. I'm sure I've read it before, but I can't remember where.

The Little Sisters of Eluria: Bitter-sweet spoiler. Another reminder that I have to get this saga once and for all. And a big time *Ick!*

Everything is Eventual: So disturbing, to read what the young guy says, but to also read between the lines, waiting for the other shoe to drop for him too. "Firestarter" world?

Theory of Pets: I almost bursted something laughing. Then it turn on you. Loved it.

Road Virus Heads North: Revisited themes.

Lunch at the Gotham Café: It misleads you very nicely. It was great.

That Feeling, You Can Only Say What it is in French: Jesus! (yeah, terrible irony). This one was the best and most disturbing for me.

1408: King going Lovecraftian on you.

Riding the Bullet: Starts disturbing, gets harrowing, ends... bittersweet?

Luckey Quarter: That was depressing. I also kept wondering if she was an addict.

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review 2017-07-14 08:49
Treatise and character study
Anna Karenina - Larissa Volokhonsky,Richard Pevear,Leo Tolstoy

The foremost impression I'm left with, since I have the last part very present, is this literary symmetry: Anna takes about sixty pages to come in, by train, and leaves the book sixty pages from the end, also by train (yes, I know, some dark humor).

Next, also with the end very present, this sense that in the end, Levin and Ana essential difference is that when doubt harasses them, Levin goes back to what feels natural to him and trudges on, and Anna gives into despair.

For all that it's name comes from the woman, larger than life in the outside, and deeply uncertain on the inside, it was Levin the vehicle for most of the author treatise on... well, everything: agrarian reform, women's education, religion, politics, war, ideologies... At first I was interested. Passing the middle point, I just wanted the author to get on with it. I've gone over this many times: I have little patience for authors trying to educate or reform me through fiction.

While the Levin/Kitty side of the novel carries the most heart-warming bits, it's also choke-full of opinions, so whenever we got to it, instead of feeling like I was resting from Anna's turbulence, I started to feel dread at the amount of pages Tolstoy was about to bore me with his "insight". I totally get why the movies gloss so much over this side of the equation.

And it is some type of equation, or coin. I wonder if the author was trying to make Anna into a personification of reason, given the stab he takes at it in relation with faith in the end, with Levin as this second, him being unable to properly express himself, but finding peace with his own being at the end; Anna all poise, yet false, forever uncertain inside, speech coming out pleasant while thoughts looped and spun in place without answer. Also, passion vs. love. And romantic feeling against filial.

As for characters (beyond the two protagonist, because, you know, so mired into the theme), they were all so damned well fleshed out:

Vronsky with his honorable selfishness: I know it sounds like a contradiction, but the guy truly does not realize the damage he does, and in his own way, he follows a code of conduct strictly. It's horrifying.

Karenin... *sigh* Anna calls him a robot. At first, it looks like she's just over-reacting to her new feelings, ascribing the worst to her obstacle. It turns out she is over-reacting, but she's also somewhat right. The guy is a wonder of self-discipline, in his life and even where his feelings and though process is concerned. The way he twist and rearranges facts and ideas to suit himself is a thing to read. While writing this, I also wonder if his influence wasn't arresting much of Anna's internal disorder, if she didn't loose what little was keeping her peace when she left him, or if it was the other way around: a wild mare kept in tight reign, that suddenly tasted freedom and galloped non-stop into the abyss, with Vronsky spurring her.

Kitty with her innocence; Vronsky breaks her heart, but after some false steps, she comes on the other side just as sweet, and wiser.

Dolly and her big heart. Stiva forever on the rope by the miracle of his social nature. Sanctimonious Lidia. Betsy, so liberal but in the end unwilling to forsake societies constraints. Sergey and his empty rhetoric. Nikolay and his nihilism. Varenka.

I guess there was much more in all those many pages than proselytism. You can disregard this whole paragraph, I'm claiming that Levin ruined me, but really? Last night I went to sleep, and kept wondering: how much of these explorations impulse change? Much of what is disused in dialogues here feels like sides talking to hear themselves, not to seek understanding, and I was left thinking about social change, and whether writing heralds it, or just meanders over what society has already started to accept or war upon. I noticed many of the topics expounded on came and passed, discarded by history, yet things that are barely touched upon, like womens rights and education became an issue not long after that endures. What I'm trying to say, and I'm treading on deeply personal and weird territory here, is that I started to doubt how much social commentary in literature looks forward, and how much it's just a soap box for the author.

So, *wheoo!*, that's a looong commentary on a loooong book, and I'm still unsure what I'll rate it. No, I do know. It's really good, and as a character study is great, but I don't think it perfect because, for me, if you are going to fill a novel with ideology, it has to age well, and it has to engage even on those bits. So 4 stars.

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review 2017-07-12 04:02
Exactly what it says on the tin
Love Story - Erich Segal

Back from my visit home now. I did end up finishing it before departing, but couldn't take the time to update.

 

I kinda liked it, and I understand why it did so much noise back in the day. It's simple, it's sweet, and even while you are reading a formula (some type of mash-up between Cinderella and Romeo and Juliet)  it has this air of fresh honesty that charms. Dialogue sounds true too (like your mouth wasn't a sewer thorough uni).

 

There are bits where "society marches on" is a thing (like the doc telling the diagnosis to the husband first), and the end, that if you aren't expecting, you must live in a closed jar, but for the most it's a cute read to fill a couple of hours and a pop-culture gap.

 

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