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Review Date: 7/13/2010
Well a couple of things you need to know: In 1973 Pynchon wrote a massive novel that was so perplexing the Pulitzer editorial committee declined to give any award for Best Novel that year. Gravity's Rainbow wasn't about any particular character or plotline; what it had were themes and diversions, fantastic costumes and silly songs. That was the last we heard from the author for a few decades.
Not that Pynchon didn't work on anything else during those years, but he certainly took his time weaving together a multitude of storylines and styles for this novel. Quests for revenge bogged down by international politics, international politics bogged down by sexual perversion, and sexual perversion delayed in search of mythical lands. If you want to read it, you really need to get your own copy, since trying to read these 1000 pages during a two week library loan could be harmful. If nothing else, you are sure to learn some actual history, instead of all that made-up crap they sell in airports.
Review Date: 7/10/2010
The first book in a growing series by Hobb (previously writing as Megan Lindholm). Very strong characterizations and a richly detailed world that is explored from the limited perspective of Fitz, the illegitimate child of a noble prince. It is a nice take on the anti-hero story, even if Fitz can figure out what happened to his father and stop the invading barbarians he will still never hold the crown or be adored by one and all. It runs a bit long but is worthwhile. Successive books in the series get bogged down and leave the reader a bit numb.
Review Date: 7/10/2010
Everyone seems to love it, but I think it is junk. The post-apocalypse setting is made out of cardboard, the plot is cliche, the narrative voice is unbelievable, the overall book is manipulative rubbish. This is nothing more than a crass attempt by Scholastic to maintain public mindshare now that the Harry Potter cow is running out of milk.
Review Date: 3/15/2014
Patterson has basically patented a method of using ghost writers to increase his already excessive output. Here he has handed an outline to Andrew Gross, who did the day-to-day writing of the book. But unlike traditional ghost writing, here Gross gets a full cover credit. He has since gone on to develop his own series.
I only skimmed through this story. It is written at a fifth grade reading level, with extremely short chapters, convenient for the bathroom reader. It is set in the "Middle Ages" but the style is utterly modern, full of 20th century idioms that constantly poke through the scenery, particularly in the dialogue.
Yes, I thought this book was trash. I am only reviewing it because PBS shoved it in my face for some reason.
Review Date: 7/21/2010
If I am going to invest some serious time in a book series like this I need there to be two features to keep me satisfied: 1) the suggestion of a complex and detailed world which provides an occasional diversion from the primary plot, and 2) a unique take on the usual mythos, something unexpected, something more than the standard bag of cliche. Given those two features, I am willing to travel a few hundred pages while clumsy plot points are thrown at me. I am therefore not the ideal reader for the Kitty Norville series. I even read the second book in the series, in case the Midnight Hour was simply overworked to satisfy the publisher. It is all pretty vanilla.
Review Date: 7/11/2010
Woit was interviewed on public radio and I enjoyed his perspective on theoretical physics so I picked up this book. The first half is an utterly dry summary of the past 40 years in physics, and while I suppose Woit is being respectful to the people behind the science the book isn't interesting or coherent. I didn't finish the second half.
The debate over resolving the conflicts between string theory and the theory of relativity is not nearly as interesting as it first sounds.
Review Date: 7/14/2010
Helpful Score: 1
Contrived and highly overrated. I'm not sure why McEwan is so obsessed with upper class British families, but it hardly a subject I can relate to, or one that wasn't already covered extensively by the past, oh, two hundred years of British literature. Set against the background of an ambiguous terrorist attack, a genetically inferior thug invades the home of a brilliant brain surgeon. When the thug is subsequently shot in the head the narrator selflessly saves his life. The message here: The social elite will always remain unscathed by the perpetual violence in the world. I cried crocodile tears.
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