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danielcshirley

Inside of a Dog...

...it's too dark to read.

Currently reading

The Satanic Verses
Salman Rushdie
World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

Festival of Earthly Delights, The

The Festival of Earthly Delights - Matt Dojny Definitely worthwhile. I haven't laughed so hard in a long time.

Dearly Devoted Dexter (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)

Dearly Devoted Dexter - Jeff Lindsay This one has a few plot threads that are vaguely similar to the series's season 2. But it was different enough that I never really knew what was coming. That's always pleasant.

Darkly Dreaming Dexter (Dexter Series #1)

Darkly Dreaming Dexter (Dexter Series #1) - Great book. Followed the series's season 1 pretty closely, with some surprising and entertaining differences at the end.

A Distant Shore (Vintage International)

A Distant Shore - Caryl Phillips meh - I felt like the non-linear narration distracted from rather than enhanced the story. Had trouble sympathizing with either of the main characters - she's obnoxious and crazy and he's relatively passive while all kinds of bad things happen to him.

A Mercy

A Mercy - Toni Morrison It was a small novel. It was ok, and I think I see what she was idling, bringing every type of person into the book. Where they Roy whn

Midnight's Children

Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie It was very good. Rushdie is enough of a celebrity that I'm afraid it didn't quite meet my expectations - but that a problem with unrealistic expectations, not a reflection of any failing on Rushdie's part as a writer.The story is dense and complicated, and the narrative voice is distinct and interesting. I look forward to reading The Satanic Verses. Even though I'm fairly confident it won't quite live up to its reputation as a book to be assassinated over.

Fasting, Feasting

Fasting, Feasting - Anita Desai Meh. The intended comparisons between Indian life and American life didn't work for me. Uma's story comprises about 2/3 of the book, and ends extremely abruptly, as if Desai forgot to finish, and her brother Arun's experiences in the US felt flat - the Pattons are dripping with stereotype - the carnivore father who doesn't understand why Arun's a vegetarian, the mother who's lost her entire personality to her family, the running-obsessed athletic son, and the bulimic teenage daughter.Two things that were mildly interesting about the book:1) At one point Uma begins having seizures that her aunt attributes to being "chosen" by Shiva. In contrast to every other aspect of her plain, unremarkable life, this potential blossomingof Uma's into a Hindu mystic seems bursting with mystery. Until nothing ever comes of it and one day she nearly drowns and never has a fit again.2) As Mrs. Patton takes Arun under her wing and enlists him to help her become a vegetarian, their relationship develops a fair amount of sexual tension - something Arun, as the POV character, seems intensely aware of, although he never does anything about it. It's possible that Mrs. Patton is aware of it, too, or that she's completely oblivious - you never really get that far into her head. And, like Uma's mysticism, the sexual tension never goes anywhere.

The God of Small Things

The God of Small Things - Arundhati Roy This is a deeply disturbing, profoundly thought-provoking, excellent book. I honestly don't remember the last time I had so much fun reading something. In many ways it's an ugly book, but Roy's prose is beautiful and the non-linear narrative is expertly woven.

The Swan Thieves

The Swan Thieves - Elizabeth Kostova Loved The Historian. Didn't love The Swan Thieves. Kostova is an intelligent writer, but this book lives and dies on characterization and first person narrative, and I didn't feel like the various narrators' voices were distinct enough. They all sounded like Kostova.In addition, the level of detail in Kate and Mary's narratives felt unrealistic to me. Kate's story is told to Marlowe over a couple of interviews, and her recollection of the details of things that happened years ago is superhuman. Likewise with Mary. She writes a kind of memoir for Marlowe to read, in a style that's too detail rich and, frankly, too coherent to be realistic. The prose works much better as a straightforward first-person narrative, without the trappings of the interview and the "recollection."The last thing that threw me out of the story is that Beatrice's story begins with a collection of her letters, which ostensibly came from Olivier's papers. But later in the story we get letters from her to other people, and letters to her from him and from other people, with no explanation as to how they came into his possession. Further, at one point Marlowe begins imagining her life after reading the letters, and those imaginings morph into Beatrice's actual story - with the unfortunate consequence that Beatrice's "real" story seems as much a product of Marlowe's imagination as her image is a product of Robert's.

Wit

Wit - Margaret Edson First reading for my Disability & Lit class. I may have more to say after the discussion, but for now, I'd call it "touching, but not moving."

The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series #5)

The Last Olympian  - Rick Riordan It was a decent book, but there were some rough spots in the writing. For example, several times Percy says that a character does something "for some reason" - and it's clear Riordan is aware that he hasn't developed sufficient motivation for the character.Also, Percy regularly has dreams in which he sees what other characters in the book are doing at that moment. It's a device that allows Riordan to get around limits in the 1st person narrative, but it felt contrived to me. At other times, Percy intuits complex motivations and off-scene actions of other characters when he doesn't have sufficient information - there is no reasonable way he would be able to understand or guess what happened or why.Overall, it was well-plotted and engaging, and given what Riordan was trying to do, it may have been a more compelling story written in 3rd person. As it was, there were just too many instances when the Author's Hand was painfully obvious, and I could not maintain my willing suspension of disbelief.

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1)

A Game of Thrones - George R.R. Martin I listened to the audiobook. Even at x2 speed, it was long. Richly detailed, well-crafted, and engaging. But it was very long. And I come away wondering who the hell I've become that I'll rate a book lower because it took too long to read.Really, it was a good book. I have a sneaking suspicion that even by the end, Martin isn't quite sure where the story's going. But he's certainly shown that he's not afraid to kill off his protagonists, which definitely adds dramatic tension.I'll probably end up reading the other 4 or 5 books; and I'll be sure to complain about it when I do..

Sweet Smell of Decay, The: Being the First Chronicle of Harry Lytle (Chronicles of Harry Lytle)

The Sweet Smell of Decay - Paul  Lawrence Pretty decent. I could kinda tell it was the author's first book, though. Characters often get introduced w/o sufficient description, and there wasn't enough exposition at the very beginning to orient the reader at all. Fortunately, things become clearer as you go along. Although I can't say the twists at the end were particularly surprising. Also, it's hard to fear for the protagonist's life when the book is written in 1st person. But I'd read the sequel.

Hamlet (Cambridge School Shakespeare Series)

Hamlet (Cambridge School Shakespeare Series) - Among the best works of English Literature ever.