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review 2019-05-09 03:51
Top Shelf Writer Wisdom
Attack of the Copula Spiders: Essays on Writing - Douglas Glover

First 80 pages contain the most well-articulated writing advice I've ever encountered. Particularly his Do This, Don't Do That approach. Great for those of us who become easily flustered by the endless ways to write a novel. Of course it helps that my own strategy meshes well with his suggestions.

I fell in love with his rants on common failures of student writing, their lack of commitment, and the challenges of being a writer in a 'post-literate' society. Glover's greatest strength is his observations on how to make theme work in a mainstream way. He is obsessed with literary art, yet equally as obsessed with clarity. Only fools dress their characters in white and expect the reader to realize it's some kind of message on purity. At the same time, there is a place for texture and dramatic symbolism and he shows you how to do it.

The back half is a snooze, unfortunately. Pages and pages of literary analysis of obscure titles which don't even sound interesting. Much of his analysis contradicts the brilliant approach outlined in the beginning half. Still worth the price of admission for those first few essays. Will keep this book close to my heart and revisit it often.

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review 2019-04-12 14:00
Said the Spider to the Fly...
By a Spider's Thread - Laura Lippman

 

I honestly don't have much to say here except that I really enjoyed this updated look at Tess's life. She is still suffering some aftershocks after the events in the last book. Having to kill someone or she would be killed left a hole in her. She and her boyfriend are living apart since she feels like he is trying to "fix" her and keep her safe. She is back to rowing and doing investigations again. Her uncle brings her a new client who is trying to track down his wife and three children. He doesn't understand why she left and the police won't help him. When Tess starts digging deeper she figures out there are half-truths going on and a whole lot of lying. When she finally starts pulling things apart she figures out a long-standing conspiracy.


Tess was great to me in this one. She still has her two dogs and her family and her favorite aunt. Though she is a bit lonely without Crow around, she's making due. Lippman references a few times how the last case shook Tess's confidence. She doesn't know if she can be strong again, but we get to see her do just that a bunch of times throughout the story. I also think that Tess's cynicism was softened a bit in this one, but she's still no one's fool. Via Tess, Lippman always does a great job breaking down the history of the places that Tess is traveling to. 

 

We get introduced to a couple of new secondary characters in this one. We have Mark Rubin that has hired Tess to find his wife and children. I honestly didn't know what to make of him earlier on, but really liked that Lippman had things leaning one way until we get some shocking reveals here and there. Lippman also switches the POV's to Mark Rubin's wife Natalie, Rubin's son, and a mysterious man that has an unending hatred for Mark for some reason. 

 

We also get some familiar characters in this one, Tess's best friend Whitney, her aunt, and her aunt's long-time boyfriend too. 

 

I thought the writing was very good and that Lippman incorporated some more background on Orthodox Judaism which gave the book a different feel than prior ones. Rubin's religion definitely plays into what is going on or what he chose to not see. 

 

The flow was a bit off after a while though. I think once we realize as readers what is going on you may start to feel a bit impatient for things to get moving. 


The setting of Baltimore per usual seems to always have a presence in these books. We do have Tess traveling back and forth in this one, but for once the book stays centered in Maryland though Rubin's wife travels back and forth across multiple states.

 

The ending was really good and I didn't see the twist coming. I loved the epilogue and that we do see a hint of Tess's older cynicism rearing it's head. 

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text 2019-04-09 21:46
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
By a Spider's Thread - Laura Lippman

Bangs head about cover. Sorry, tried to fix, but oh well. It's still the right book :-)

Great installation in the Tess Monaghan series!

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review 2019-03-17 19:45
The Hatching by Ezekiel Boone

[Spider phobia warning]

27276264
I liked it but was bored with all the unneeded backstory of every character, even the minor ones who are just there to be killed. It was annoying how shallow this book was. It's about killer spiders, yet everyone is talking about how good looking they are and how their sex life is.

I've never been a huge fan of books with a lot of POV changes and there were so many characters that it was hard to know who is who. Too many to really feel an attachment to, so I felt nothing when they were killed.

The spider scenes were creepy and if you have a phobia, I'm sure it would be horrifying, but I would not say this book is horror at all. The first 100 pages felt like they were dragging and I couldn't help feeling bored. After a very intense scene with a rich man in an airplane (you know the one if you read the book), the whole book got a lot better.

However, the book ended with a boring cliffhanger, which was more annoying than anything. A lot of things went unanswered in the first book, so we can only hope the next book answers them and they don't end up being plot holes.


I'm currently reading the next book, Skitter and I'm liking it a lot better!

Source: www.goodreads.com/book/show/27276264-the-hatching
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review 2019-01-21 21:59
The Very Busy Spider
The Very Busy Spider - Eric Carle

The Very Busy Spider was published in 1984 by Eric Carle. This story is about a busy farm yard spider that will not stop spinning her web despite how many times her other farm yard friends try to get her to stop. Eventually, the spiders web is complete and has caught its first fly! When it reaches night time and the spider is sound asleep, the owl is amazed by the beauty of the web. Throughout the story, the students can see and feel the web growing until it is complete. As a fun science activity, I would have a printable of a spider that comes with cutouts for the parts of the spider for the students to glue in their appropriate spots! This would be a fun way for the students to easily learn about spiders. Fun fact: there is only one place in the whole world where there are NO spiders! This book is on a 1.3 book level according to the Accelerated Reader book leveling system.

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