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review 2020-07-29 18:04
A Cold War thriller devoid of thrills
Show Of Force - Charles D. Taylor

When I was growing up, my local library was one of my favorite haunts. It was by walking through their stacks and perusing their displays that I came across many of the books that I would take home to enjoy. One of these was Charles D. Taylor’s novel. Before Tom Clancy made his millions churning out tales of Cold War-era conflicts between the superpowers, Taylor published his tale about a battle between American and Soviet armadas in the Indian Ocean. I can still remember how I was drawn to the stark minimalism of the dustjacket, and how eagerly I devoured the description of the battles that waged between the opposing vessels. Recently I encountered a paperback copy of the book at a used bookstore, and seeing the book again brought all those memories of reading it flooding back, inspiring me to reread it to see how well it well it has held up.

 

What stands out most today are the very elements I avoided when I first read it. More interested in the naval battle than I was in the characters, I skipped over Taylor’s development of the novel’s two central figures. Though commanding forces on opposing sides, the two men, David Charles and Alex Kupinsky, are both portrayed as honorable men who over the course of their careers develop a strong friendship towards one another. Taylor first matches them up against each other during the Cuban Missile Crisis, when the two young lieutenants find themselves on ships facing off against one another in the blockade. They meet face-to-face over a decade later while stationed as naval attaches in London, by which time they have gone on to further distinction in their respective careers.

 

All of this is meant to add a layer of tragedy to the battle that the author situates at the heart of his novel. Yet for all of his effort Taylor fails to develop his two main characters beyond this. Instead they become little more than archetypes of great naval officers – smart, dedicated, brave, and patriotic leaders of men. Even the log entries and letters that Taylor inserts between the chapters don’t do a lot to differentiate them or flesh them out beyond the roles they perform. And these two represent Taylor’s most sustained effort to develop any of the characters in his book, as the rest are often little more than names or even just titles inserted to play supporting roles.

 

This matters when it comes to the action. It was here where the contrast with someone like Tom Clancy stood out for me; by developing his characters to the degree that he does, Clancy used them effectively to convey the emotional impact of the action in his books. By contrast, the action in Taylor’s novel comes across more as zapping targets in a video game, with little real emotional impact conveyed in the description of the thousands of men dying as a result of the battle. It all feels incredibly hollow and pointless, an excuse for writing up what amounts to a paper exercise hypothesizing what a 1980s naval battle might look like. The artificiality of the premise and the conditions only underscores this, as it’s all so Taylor can have his ships pounding each other to smithereens.

 

In retrospect, its easy to see why novels such as Taylor’s are not regarded as great literature. For all of the enthusiasm their authors bring to writing them, by prioritizing the action over the characters they leave out what it takes to make for truly gripping fiction. The result is little more than a series of descriptions of imagined battles that in this book are conveyed with all the enthusiasm and punch of the rattling off of a list of ships’ names in a column. It makes me realize just how much my appreciation of the book is tied up with nostalgia for my naïve youth, and how in the end this caused me to remember this book with more fondness than it deserves for its merits.

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review 2020-06-14 14:31
Thomas Middleton and Early Modern Textual Culture
Thomas Middleton and Early Modern Textual Culture: A Companion to the Collected Works - Thomas Middleton,Gary Taylor

I haven't read this cover to cover. It's divided in to three sections, about the literary culture of the time, the dating and authorship of works attributed to Middleton by the editors and textual notes about e.g. text variants and other detailed editorial matters.

 

I bought the book because I found, reading the Collected Works this volume is companion to, that I could not dispense with discussion of authorship, especially in cases of collaboration. On that front I have no complaints. The textual notes are not of great interest to me but I have little choice but to accept the editorial decisions made, anyway.

 

The section on cultural aspects of writing and distributing works in the era was a severe disappointment. The essays are clearly best suited to academic journals and use Middleton and his work as examples simply to justify being placed in this volume. I skimmed or skipped most of these 330p of essays, which could have been interesting if written for a general audience in similar vein to the essays introducing the actual Collected Works itself. I'm still using the book along side the Collected Works regarding authorship and general editorial aspects but I'm done with section I.

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review 2020-06-08 14:54
Daisy Jones & The Six!!!
Daisy Jones and The Six - Taylor Jenkins Reid

german and english review

Netgalley ebook

 

Inhalt: Daisy Jones, jung, schön, von ihren Eltern vernachlässigt, hat eine klare Stimme und einen starken Willen: Sie möchte mit ihren eigenen Songs auf der Bühne stehen. Als sie zum ersten Mal gemeinsam mit THE SIX auftritt, ist das Publikum elektrisiert von ihr und Billy, dem Leadsänger der Band. Die beiden zusammen sind nicht nur auf der Bühne explosiv und führen die Band zu ihrem größten Erfolg, auch Backstage sprühen die Funken …

Ein fesselnder Roman über den rasanten Erfolg einer 1970er Rockband, das Geheimnis ihrer Trennung und zugleich eine bittersüße Liebesgeschichte.

 

Meine Bewertung: Hat sich schon jetzt einen Platz in meiner Top 10 für dieses Jahr gesichert!!!

 

Ich glaub über das Buch gibt es kaum noch etwas Neues zu sagen, dass nicht schon irgendwer erwähnt hat. Deswegen müsst ihr euch das jetzt nochmal alles durchlesen.

 

Das Buch war großartig. Ich fand es super, dass das Buch nicht einfach so die Geschichte erzählt hat, sondern die Interview Form benutzt hat, das hat das Buch einfach zu etwas ganz besonderen gemacht. Und vor allem hat es deutlich gemacht, wie unterschiedlich mehrere Personen eine einzige Situation deuten können.

 

Die Charaktere. Uff. Hab ich sie stellenweise gehasst und für die selbstsüchtigsten Menschen auf der Welt gehalten und sie verflucht? Oh ja. Aber ICH HAB SIE TROTZ ALLEM GELIEBT. Sie waren echt alle total kaputt aber das hat sie total echt wirken lassen. Der Drang die Namen googlen zu wollen um noch viel mehr über sie rauszufinden war echt manchmal extrem groß. (Da das nicht geht, brauch ich ein detailierteres Buch über Karen und ihr Leben).

 

Die vielen verschiedenen Beziehungen in dem Buch und alle waren so unheimlich kompliziert und haben mir das Herz schwer gemacht. WOW.

Kurz gesagt; ich hatte einfach viel zu viele Gefühle für alles und jeden! Ich bin echt auf die Serie gespannt und ob sie auf Gefühlsebene da mithalten kann.

 

***

 

Summary: Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six: The band's album Aurora came to define the rock 'n' roll era of the late seventies, and an entire generation of girls wanted to grow up to be Daisy. But no one knows the reason behind the group's split on the night of their final concert at Chicago Stadium on July 12, 1979 . . . until now.

Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock 'n' roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.

Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.

Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.

The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice.

 

My review: It managed to save a spot in my top 10 list for this year, already!!!

 

I think there isn't anything I could say about this book that hasn't already been said. So you have to read everything all over again.

 

This book was incredible. I just loved how it didn't just tell us the story in the usual way, but that it was told in interview form, it just made this book that much more special. Especially since it made clear that lots of people can have a totally different few of one and the same situation.

 

The Characters. Uff. Did I hate them in some parts and thought they were the most selfish people in the world and cursed them? Oh yes. But I STILL LOVED THEM A LOT. They all were such a mess but it just made them feel real. The urge to google the names and find out even more about them was really strong. (Since that isn't an option I just really need a very detailed book about Karen and her life).

 

The many different relationships in this book were so damn complicated and left me with a heavy heart. WOW.

 

To makes things short, this book just gave me the feels about everything and everyone! I'm so intrigued about the show and if it can keep up with all the emotions.

 
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review 2020-06-08 14:04
An Irish Country Family
An Irish Country Family - Patrick Taylor

Not too much to say. This one was just boring. There's some slight tension because of a new character who just disappears into the ether. Taylor really needs to stay in the present day in his books. Him jumping back a few years to show Barry on rotation was not needed and was boring. I don't know how much longer these books can go. This used to be one of my favorite series because Taylor actually didn't just have happily ever after endings for people all of the time. These books usually surround a big problem in the village that O'Reilly really doesn't need to get involved with and then it's solved in like 5 chapters while we readers get flashback scenes that no one asked for. Here's hoping the next one self corrects.

 

"An Irish Country Family" deals a bit with the Troubles in Ireland (it's 1969) and with Barry and Sue trying and failing to get pregnant. Taylor also has Doctor O'Reilly dealing with a new arrival to Ballybucklebo who seems focused on preventing the village into making a nearby location into a place for men and women to listen to music and dance. Taylor also has readers following Barry back a few years prior to the start of "An Irish Country Doctor" to watch him during his medical rotation. 

 

The characters are the same in this one really. We have Barry and Sue both getting frustrated that she can't get pregnant. I liked that Taylor had them discussing adoption, but you know that flamed out quickly.

 

O'Reilly still wants Kitty to retire but apparently he's not going to? I don't know, that whole plot-line needs to be dropped. It's annoying. Also I wonder why everyone goes to O'Reilly about things they can do without him. We had the whole surprise that took forever to unfold. We had the Marquis asking O'Reilly to accompany him when he honestly didn't need him. 

I loathed the newcomer to the village and once again we have a man that does something horrible to a woman and it's just ignored? I don't know what to say here. It's a weird choice. 

 

The writing was just okay in this one. I think I just got frustrated because the book seem to be moving at a glacial pace. Seeing the dates in the chapter headings made me feel impatient. 

 

The flow of the book was off. Why Taylor decided to show Barry 6 years in the past made zero sense. Thankfully his chapters were short, however, they were not necessary. I hope this is the last flashback of his we get. Taylor kept doing this with O'Reilly and it soon wore out its welcome for me as a reader. 

 

 

With regards to the setting, I think it's weird that Taylor wants to have Ballybucklebo be this perfect place in Ireland where Catholics and Protestants get together. There are some mentions of the fighting going on, but that's it. It's a weird choice and I don't know if he will ever get into more details or what in the series.

 

The book ends on a happy note, but also I had some confusion about things since we hear about a character who is moving but it's not mentioned before and I went wait what and then decided to move on because I didn't care a whit.


I still say "An Irish Country Girl" is the best book in this series. Taylor would do better to write more like that instead of the mismash between characters and past and present that isn't really working that well anymore.  

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text 2020-06-07 12:48
Reading progress update: I've read 368 out of 368 pages.
An Irish Country Family - Patrick Taylor

Eh this wasn't great. I skipped over all of Barry's flashback chapters. I really wish Taylor would stop that. It doesn't work or even matter when you are in the present day. And Taylor has another terrible man that assaults a woman but nothing really is done to them. I just felt let down by the time I got to the end of this one.

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