Tinkers is an extremely well written book. Its sentences and paragraphs are beautiful and precise, and a pleasure to read.
The plot and story of it, though, don’t stand out the way the language does. Tinkers is an excellent book to read slowly and savor, like a book of poetry. It’s not one to plow through in a day, and it’s not a page-turner that will keep you up late; however, it’s definitely worth the time.
So this popped up when I went to Amazon.com last night. I’m going to call it like I see it: this feels like a scam.
For one thing, I’m not that prolific a book customer at Amazon; I bought a lot of books as Christmas gifts there, but otherwise Amazon’s my last resort for books.
Point two: How do you prove you hate your Kindle, and if you do hate it, why wouldn’t you want to return it? It can’t be transferred to any other account, and presumably you won’t be able to buy any new books for it, since Amazon sees everything you do with it, and, after all, you hate it so much.
Here’s the crucial clause in the suspiciously unrigorous and incomplete terms and conditions–>
So I’m baffled. Anybody else heard of this? Should I be looking for a catch this hard, or just buying one and saying I hate it? Or is that the catch?
Be warned, this book is rife with graphic language and the descriptions are often quite prurient, sexually, scatalogically, and otherwise. I won’t really be able to quote or fully express what exactly Roche discusses in this novel without the review being flagged NSFW. That said, this is an excellent novel, and the explicit writing certainly lends itself to that. You’ll see above that I’ve added “Chick Lit” as one of the labels. That’s a borderline definition. I feel it is fair to an extent (although I, personally, tend to regard chick lit as the antithesis to literary novels). It is, especially the first half, a novel very much concerned with the intimate details of women, particularly their relationships to their own bodies. But there is no name dropping of fashion accessories or anything silly like that, and this is undeniably an intelligent and emotionally complex book. … Continue reading »
Some news about books and ebooks from around the web:
Confused about ereaders? After CES pooped a thousand of them, it’s getting a bit crowded. Gizmodo has a guide to the major players, and news of a couple new Asus entries that will be available “this year” (meaning 2012). There’s a Samsung ereader, and a big newspaper reader called the Skiff, and probably another few dozen will come out this year. MobileRead has a guide to articles about there being too many ereaders. If you’re new to ereaders, let me provide a base camp for your shopping expedition: if you want a device to read books on, start by looking at the Sony PRS-300; if you want to read newspapers and magazines, start by looking at the Kindle. You might not wind up with those (they both have serious weaknesses, as do all ereaders), but they’ll provide a good baseline for comparison. And remember to breathe.
The publishing landscape is changing. The Wall Street Journal freaked out Friday, saying that the Web makes it impossible to get noticed from the slush pile. The Rumpus says there’s still plenty of slush (via), but then we’ve got to worry about piracy and people hating DRM, the Guardian is picking out the horsemen of the book apocalypse, and it’s starting to sound like ebooks are ruining publishing. Calm down, please (publishing is jittery and excitable), and let me posit another theory. Roughly 60,000 novels are published in English in the U.S. every year (via). For the sake of a conservative estimate, let’s cut that figure in half. Then we’ve got 100 novels a day (remember, that’s just in English, in America). Say 90% of them are obviously not your cup of tea. Soooo… haven’t been to the bookstore for a week? Enjoy sifting through 70 novels (67 of which, just guessing, are crap) to find your next read. Bookstores have become the new slush piles, and that is killing the book much more than the Web, or ebooks, or libraries, or anything else. Anecdotally, authors are now reading to handfuls of disinterested cupcake enthusiasts, literally, desperately trying to sell a couple dozen books. This is not good.
I bought this book on a dorky impulse (it’s the sort of thing that occurs often), mostly because Frankenstein is one of my favorite novels, and because I had recently read John Kessel’s awesome short story, “Pride and Prometheus.” Peter Ackroyd does Shelley’s book justice, deftly weaving historical fiction into the classic’s universe. The book offers a retelling of the famous monster story. In this version, Dr. Frankenstein’s laboratory is in a London warehouse (he’s from Switzerland), and he is best friends with the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, who of course was Mary Shelley’s husband. The mixing in of the biographical fiction is a welcome change for the familiar plot, and Ackroyd’s experience with historical fiction lends a feeling of freshness. … Continue reading »
This is the seventh and final installment in our Best Books of 2009 series. Read the other six here.
AKA, The Aaron Block Awards For My Favorite Comics of 2009, Presented By Aaron Block
Rather than pretend to claim any kind of comprehensive look at the best comics of the past year, I thought I’d give out special awards to the books that I most enjoyed. There are likely better books than what I’ve included here (Asterios Polyp anyone?) but these are the five closest to my heart.
“Fulfillment of Potential” Award — Detective Comics #854 — present, written by Greg Rucka; illustrated by J.H. Williams III
The critics who assailed DC for playing up the modern Batwoman’s sexuality, or who argued that a reviving her as a lesbian was mere tokenism, were silenced when writer Greg Rucka gave her the spotlight in Detective Comics 854. No mere token or object of fanboy fantasy, Batwoman is a strong, nuanced lead character, and Detective contains easily the most satisfying character work in mainstream comics. Though much of the story-so-far is familiar (particularly in the Bat-world: struggles with dual identity, loss of family members, bittersweet victories), Rucka manages to pull fresh ideas from those conventions, and all without irony or cynicism.
Artist J.H. Williams III deserves much of the credit for the book’s unique feel. More than a gifted storyteller, Williams continues to reinvent the architecture of mainstream comics, employing unconventional layouts that often stretch across two pages, but still reveal the scene gradually. And he continues to experiment with style, using a stable, Alex Toth-like line for flashback scenes and switching to an ethereal painterly style for the present. Credit is also due to colorist Dave Stewart, who’s vibrant reds stand out in nearly ever panel, particularly in Batwoman’s close-ups; her red hair and lips, contrasted with the otherworldly white of her skin and dark black costume suggest all of the emotional complexity of Rucka’s script.
Right off the bat: this is a YA book with an agenda. If the jacket copy is to be believed (and in this case, as is general, it isn’t really) a shocking twist occurs early on. This happens about 50 pages into the 350 page book, and in order to get through this review, I’m going to have to spoil that one. So if you require twists in your books, perhaps you should skip this review. I won’t spoil the plot point that catalyzes it however. … Continue reading »
Elmore’s epigraph for The Amateur American is from a John LeCarre novel. Pretty quickly, Elmore’s goal becomes clear: he wants to write a spy-ish thriller with an amateur protagonist.
Not a bad premise. Chuck is back for a second season, so I suppose people like the concept. OK, Chuck is an unfair comparison: Elmore’s a good writer with a funny, entertaining voice, and he creates some great characters.
But some pacing problems and the merging of the thriller narrative with a relatively ordinary young-man-abroad subplot keep this novel from living up to its potential.
Despite a relatively small oeuvre, Brendan Behan is perhaps the best-known Irish playwright of the last century that isn’t George Bernard Shaw. This book contains three stage plays and three short radio plays, and this represents the totality of his work as a playwright (he did also compose novels and memoirs). While I’ve read more of it than I have poetry, I am largely ignorant of plays as literature. I really enjoy reading them however, and this collection didn’t let me down. … Continue reading »