Monday, December 21, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Good Lord. Is the King of Really Heavy Books — the author who is a one-man argument for the hernia-preventing benefits of e-books — running out of viable plot devices?
This is, after all, the guy who wrote entire volumes about cell phones turning fellow citizens into ravenous zombies, about possessed and murderous 1958 Plymouths and about evil, immortal clowns who live in the sewers and prey upon children. Really, now. How much gimmickry can one writer expect us to stomach?
Those statements are all completely fair and true. Trouble is, when it comes to "Under the Dome," they're also all entirely inaccurate.
Because "Under the Dome" is one of those works of fiction that manages to be both pulp and high art, that successfully — and very improbably — captures the national zeitgeist at this particularly strange and breathless period in American history.
The town of Chester's Mill, Maine — just up the road from the equally fictional Castle Rock, home to so many of King's unsettling yarns — is minding its own business one dazzling October day when an unseen force field descends upon it, slicing in two pretty much anything that was crossing the edge of town at that moment.
What happens in ensuing days is even more unsettling. Except for Internet service and spotty cell-phone signals, the town is isolated and imprisoned in plain sight. And inside the dome, society slowly, inexorably, almost methodically begins to fall apart.
The chief protagonist, Dale Barbara, is a just-retired Army man who fought in Iraq and did some things he isn't entirely proud of. He has repaired to Chester's Mill as a fry cook, trying to lay low. But in the days before "Dome Day," he runs afoul of some of the local cretins and becomes persona non grata through no fault of his own. In fact, he is trying to leave town when the dome falls and narrowly escapes becoming one of its first victims.
And why not? Chester's Mill in late 2009 is a microcosm of America at the same time, with all the angst and post-9/11 fear and suspicion of fellow citizens that pervades the entire republic. Add to that the notion of an entire society being watched and watching itself through a translucent bubble — a reality-TV metaphor if there ever was one — and you have novel as cultural document.
The end, and the resolution, are less important than the path taken to get there. As usual with King, it's all seen through a fun-house mirror. And though the requisite supernatural elements are there, the really troubling thing — as with so much in society today — is that the fun-house distortions of popular fiction are, to everyday America, more recognizable than ever.
The main reflection isn't that of Frankenstein or Dracula or the Joker or the Incredible Hulk. Instead, it looks a lot more like us. That's how Stephen King, at his best, has always been. What's really scary is that the world has caught up.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
As can be expected, the book is very somber and bleak. The Morales family is extremely religious, so there is a lot of talk about God and divine help, a concept which was absent from the first book. You may also argue that this book paints a helluva more realistic picture than the first one with the sheer amount of devastation and death. Though the book is marketed for teens, I still found it to be riveting - I think I finished it within a day.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
In their first semester of college at Smith, four girls who live on the same floor manage to forge a strong connection with each other, despite their completely different backgrounds. Bree is a Southern belle, April is the moody uber feminist, Sally has just lost her mother and Celia is the wannabe writer. The novel spans their wild times at college and what happens afterwards when the girls meet up for Sally's wedding. As can be expected during college, the girls experiment with their sexuality, drugs, alchohol, and social issues. As can be expected post-college, the girls have problems with relationships, jobs and finding their niche in the world. April is truly the only one that carries on with the feminism after graduation.
I think the problem with this book is that it tried too hard to be like a more socially conscious version of Curtis Sittenfeld's Prep but with college students instead of high schoolers. Instead, readers end up with something that's more chick-lit than Sullivan probably wanted (I'd chalk it up to the sometimes cheesy dialogue and heavy emphasis on sex). Despite all this, I'd still peg the book as a good beach read, though the "dangerous ending" that the book jacket details (and all that foreshadowing throughout the novel) is a little uneven.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
This is the first book I have read by Linda Castillo. When I was covering the book, and yes when processing books we do look at the flaps sometimes (or am I the only one who does it?). I saw that it had my favorite subject (to read about, not do) murder.
The lead character is ex-Amish chief of police named Kate Burkholder. Years before she had survived a brutal attack and now hides a secret past.
In this book young women are being murdered in horrible ways in the small town of Painters Mill, Ohio.
It's up to Kate and Special Agent John Tomasetti to catch the killer.
I liked the book, but I thought Castillo could have added more depth to Tomasetti and to the relationship between the two. I'm curious to see what the author does with the Kate Burkholder character in the next book.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Overall, I did enjoy this book, although the ending was a little rushed.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Monday, June 1, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Monday, May 11, 2009
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Portia Nathan is in an unenviable position - as an Admissions Officer at Princeton University, she has the job of deciding to either fulfill or destroy people's dreams on a daily basis. The problem is is that Portia doesn't really have much of a life outside of the admissions process; she's so immersed in studying the lives of the people applying to Princeton that she has virtually cut herself off from a life outside of that institution. Obviously, there are some major reasons for why Portia is the way she is. The rest of the novel delves into that.
I enjoyed this book, though the prose was a bit wordy, though I guess when you're married to a well known and award winning poet (Paul Muldoon), you learn a thing or two about semantics. My one complaint is that I totally called the one "twist" near the end. I'm usually really bad at anticipating plot, so I'm not sure what that says about Korelitz's narrative. But overall, a solid read.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
As the boys age, the political landscape of the country changes drastically, forcing Marion (the narrator) to flee to the United States. It is in this last segment of the novel where Shiva and Thomas Stone are able to experience some kind of redemption for the pain that they caused Marion.
Overall, an excellent novel - I was disappointed when I finished. The medical jargon can be a little much at times, but if you're into ER and the like, will be fine.
Friday, February 20, 2009
This book #6 in the Diane Fallen series. If you have never read Beverly Connors books before please do. Start with #1" One Grave Too Many". Shattered Graves follows the main character forensic anthropologist Diane Fallon as she and her team at the crime lab in RiverTrail Museum of Natural History try to find out who killed the mayor and police chief, who were harassing her and were hiding secrets of their own. I love the character of Fallon. And if you enjoy this series you will also love Ms. Connors other series that has the main character Lindsay Chamberlain an archeologist.
When I started this book it was with high hopes, I've always enjoyed Ms. O'Connell's books. But it has taken me over 2 weeks to read it, this is unheard of in my world. Now, I thought maybe it was because there was laundry to do, work, family...etc. No it's because this book was hard for me to get into. It sounded good on the book flap, brothers go into the woods only one comes out, years later bones start appearing on the family's porch.........................but what it doesn't say is the minutia of information on every person that lives in this town. It wasn't a bad book just a drawn out one. The odd thing was, the ending of this book was the best part of the story.
Monday, February 16, 2009
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Thursday, January 8, 2009
After reading some crappy books lately, written by bestselling authors, I went into reading this book not expecting much. I should have known better. Kay Hooper has not disappointed me lately. This book is the second installment in the Blood trilogy. This book picks up with Noah Bishop and his FBI Special Crimes Unit , which consists of psychics and mediums and its partner group Haven, a civilian investigative organization. They are in North Carolina trying to gather proof that the Rev. Adam Deacon Samuel is killing members of his flock. They find this hard to do since he is doing it by using psychic energy. I know this sounds a little funky, but trust me, it will make sense when your reading it. For me this book is perfect because I get murder and supernatural happenings all in one. Read all of Hooper's books, but especially the Bishop trilogies starting with Stealing Shadows. Finally, a GOOD book!!!!