That Was a Great Review

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That Was a Great Review

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1InigoMontoya
Mayo 3, 2007, 5:21am

We're getting such great reviews, I thought I'd create a new thread where we could discuss them a little more without making things too complicated on the game thread.

Jenson_AKA_DL, I haven't read any of the Dark Tower series, but I'm tempted to as your description of The Gunslinger was so evocative of mood. I really like stories that put me in the place, if that makes sense. Then again, I'm not a big horror fan...

2reading_fox
Mayo 3, 2007, 5:51am

I've read - though not reviewed -the Dark tower series, starting with The Gunslinger. Its not horror per se, Though as Jenson says it is dark fantasy with a lot of violence in places, ther eis not that creeping sense of terror that a good horror story can produce.

It is a really odd 7 part series. the first couple of books were written before Stephen's accident. 17yrs were to pass before he finished it.

I liked the gunslinger, and wanted to read more about the character, but to me it gets less gripping as the books progress. I don't know if that means the rest of it would grow on Jenson, or if you'll be even less impressed.....

The ending to book 7 The Dark Tower is really annoying. I can understand why it is so, and that no other ending is appropriate, but nethertheless I really didn't like it.

3reading_fox
Mayo 3, 2007, 5:59am

Inigo - I was surprised by your review of Flyaway to me such attitudes would be quite common, particularly for older persons whose characters were shaped in the 50s. Not acceptable today, but
I've read most of Desmond Bagley's book, and they all feature a main protagonist caught up in events that only marginally concern him* at the time.

I like them for quick read thrillers.

*yes its always a him, pretty much exactly the same person in each book, although the name changes. I can never tell them apart. I think there are 2 Max Stafford stories, though i can't remember what the other is.

4InigoMontoya
Mayo 3, 2007, 6:28am

You know, I was surprised as well. I'm not usually so sensitive to that and I generally recognise attitudes that are shaped by place and time. For example, as you know, I'm reading The Bafut Beagles where all the dialogue is in pidgin English, and Durrell is called "Massa" but it's not at all bothersome. I think it was the fact that it was written and set in 1978 but yet the mindset of the whole story, not just Max, was the fifties. I suppose I would say it was anachronistic without giving me a reason as to why it should be.

I agree that as a quick thriller, it was fine. I didn't find this particular story that thrilling, but I do acknowledge that it could have something to do with reading it before, even though I couldn't consciously remember it.

I think the other Max Stafford story is Windfall.

5Jenson_AKA_DL
Mayo 3, 2007, 9:48am

Inigo - Glad you enjoyed the review :-) I also wouldn't classify the story as a "horror" in the scary sense, I'm just a total whimp when it comes to violence.

I liked the reviews I've read for Flyaway and Treasure Island. I thought I had read Treasure Island before, but now that I've read the review, I'm not so sure I actually did. I didn't see that there were any other reviews posted for the group yet, if I missed any please let me know.

I'm having fun with this! Thanks a bunch!

6InigoMontoya
Mayo 3, 2007, 10:14am

It's just those three so far, Jenson, but we should get more soon. We'll live or die on the number of active members, so if you can think of anyone else who might want to come along, let them know about the group. The only condition is that they haven't reviewed all their books (unless they want to re-review).

7InigoMontoya
Mayo 5, 2007, 9:29am

kayaalder, there can be no greater praise of a book, I think, than to learn that you are spurred to buy the rest of the series. Nice review.

Reading_fox, I've never read Tinker, Tailor but I saw the BBC adaption when it first aired. I think the whole country was hooked at the time. Loved it and your review.

You haven't, however, answered a very important question that I have about that book and all other by the same author.

L or C?

8reading_fox
Mayo 5, 2007, 5:43pm

C.

But I'm not a librarian and therefore file things how I want to. I suspect the "correct" answer is in the MARC records or somesuch, but I don't know what all the numbers mean, so I go with what I can remember.

9InigoMontoya
Mayo 5, 2007, 7:31pm

I'm the same, and it's C for me too. And M for Daphne du Maurier. But it's L for Ursula LeGuin. I make no sense to myself.

10marysargent
Mayo 6, 2007, 6:57pm

adamallen, that WAS a great review. Thanks for the laughs and your 1984 photo. Something to add to my list: check out adamallen's reviews.

11Caramellunacy
Mayo 6, 2007, 7:51pm

I agree with >10 marysargent:
Adamallen, that review totally rocked my socks off! Where IS my Motley Crue CD?

12Jenson_AKA_DL
Mayo 7, 2007, 9:28am

Adamallen - I agree, that was a very good review! I think I will take your suggestion and see if my library has the book.

13InigoMontoya
Mayo 7, 2007, 11:00am

Adamallen, or as I shall now ever think of you, Avamullen, that was a wonderful review. I MUST GET THIS BOOK!

14adamallen
Mayo 7, 2007, 5:54pm

I'm glad you all enjoyed it.

Ah, the power of the mullet...

15adamallen
Mayo 23, 2007, 10:13am

Jenson_AKA_DL,

Great review of the Christopher Moore book. I've been wanting to read one of his for a while and I own two (You Suck!: A Love Story and Fluke: I Know Why...). I was awaiting your review and you've convinced me to pick one of those up soon!

adamallen

16Jenson_AKA_DL
Mayo 23, 2007, 10:57am

You're welcome! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

17adamallen
Mayo 28, 2007, 9:36pm

reading_fox,

I was very interested to read your review for Lord of the Flies. I must admit, I'm somewhat surprised by your comments (but I've never read the book). Oddly enough, I'm still curious to read it as the plot sounds intriguing and I'm interested to see if I feel the same as you did. I'll post when I get around to reading it myself so you can have a look if you're interested. I have Lolita up next though...

adamallen

18reading_fox
Mayo 29, 2007, 4:43am

I read a lot of fantasy so I'm quite happy to suspend disbelief, but for contempary novels I feel this shouldn't be necessary, but in the case of LotF it is. I suppose my main complaint could be that it is not sutble, the point is made without any attention to the surrounding details, which is a shame, for such a hyped up nobel winning book. Let me know when you've read it and I'll be interested to see how you feel about it.

19Jenson_AKA_DL
Jun 1, 2007, 7:20pm

Reading Fox - I really enjoyed your review of My family and other animals. I think that will have to be another one for my wish list! It looks like a book I would have loved when I was in school.

20Jenson_AKA_DL
Jun 25, 2007, 2:58pm

Reading_Fox - Another good review with your latest on Stupid White Men. I hadn't realized how much time had passed since the book was published.

I'm really looking forward to my next GRTB! selection, Fangs and Fur, Blood and Bone: A guide to Animal Magic by Lupa. I've read bits and pieces of this book over the last couple years but haven't actually sat down to read it cover to cover.

21adamallen
Jun 28, 2007, 2:23pm

Reading_Fox - I also enjoyed your review.

22reading_fox
Jul 19, 2007, 4:46am

Just in case you haven't noticed the oft requested review rating feature is here!

23marysargent
Jul 19, 2007, 8:22pm

Reading Fox, thank you for your review of Kissing the Gunner's Daughter. It was just what I wanted to know. And well said. Written.

24reading_fox
Sep 7, 2007, 1:11pm

elbakerone that was a great review of Watership Down, just one point - lupine is wolfish (often used to mean werewolf). Rabbit like behavior might be leproid from the family name in latin.

It's been a long time since I re-read Watership, I'll try it again soon.

25elbakerone
Sep 7, 2007, 3:26pm

Thanks for the catch reading-fox. It was supposed to read "lapine" meaning rabbit-like... which I now realize may be a word Ricard Adams invented. (Just goes to show how well developed his book world is....) :)

26reading_fox
Sep 7, 2007, 5:11pm

lapine may well be valid too - that would be from the French I guess....

27geneg
Sep 8, 2007, 11:06am

Supine rabbits may be lepine. Leporidae. Lepus.

28elbakerone
Sep 25, 2007, 3:33pm

Carlos - just read your review of Fishboy and I loved your line "The sort of novel Melville and Faulkner would have written had they been collaborating and had a supply of hallucinogens handy." Too funny! Never read Fishboy but I think that gives me a pretty good picture of the type of book it is.

29reading_fox
Abr 22, 2008, 4:31am

Fyrefly - I was quite surprised at how little you enjoyed Magician: Apprentice. It is by no means Tolkein, but I've always found it captivating - classic high fantasy, swords and spells and kitchen boys rising to great things. There are many more meaningful tales out there, but for pure fantasy fast paced fun Magician is one of the best. If you found the writing and characters trite, I'd advise avoiding the other oft recommeneded work - The Belgariad by eddings. In fact, avoid all of his work, because it is even shallower.

30CarlosMcRey
Abr 22, 2008, 9:17pm

Well, looking at the reviews, I'd say Magician: Apprentice certainly is one of those books people either love or feel vaguely disappointed by. I have to admit I fall into the latter camp and thought firefly's review was pretty spot on.

I could see that Feist was trying to take it somewhere interesting, combining epic fantasy with realistic medievalism and sci-fi elements in an action-packed story. But it never really gelled for me, and I think Feist's writing was largely to blame. Feist may have done his research about feudal society, but he never really convinced me these people weren't just SCA members.

That said, I did think firefly's summary/recommendation was a bit harsh. The book's not particularly memorable but it's pretty inoffensive. I imagine there is definitely worse epic fantasy out there.

31InigoMontoya
Abr 25, 2008, 3:54am

Fyrefly98, thank you for the review of The Darwin Conspiracy. It was very informative and made me want to go out and find the book for myself and one can't say fairer than that.

I really liked the structure you adopted as well with the summary, review and recommendation sections. Was it your own idea to do that or a consequence of some discussion about reviews?

32InigoMontoya
Abr 26, 2008, 6:24am

I'm slowly going through the game threads and catching up on all the great reviews. Certainly, everybody's getting a thumbs up from me.

marysargent, I could see you so clearly in a store, consulting The Asian Grocery Store Demystified for your culinary exploits. It reminds me of a time when I used to keep a list of books I wanted to get in a little notebook and dig it out in bookshops. The internet made the process obsolete, but I've never forgotten that geeky thrill.

33fyrefly98
Abr 26, 2008, 10:40am

Shoot, didn't realize this thread was here...

Magician: Apprentice just didn't do it for me. Pug's story was interesting, but the writing was pretty awful, and once the story shifted focus away from Pug it just bored me to tears - actually, to sleep... several times. Maybe if I'd read it towards the beginning of my fantasy-reading life, I'd have liked it more - I can certainly see how it could have become an "old favorite" if I had a sense of nostalgia about it - but I've read enough better fantasy, epic and otherwise, that I just couldn't get myself too excited up about it.

Inigo - glad you liked the review of The Darwin Conspiracy - it's a fun read, and I'm glad you picked it for me. Hopefully you'll enjoy it as well.

The summary/review/recommendation format was my own invention, started in June or July of last year, although it was certainly informed by some of the discussion on Talk about what people want in a good review. I started it because I was posting my reviews on my LJ for a while, and while reviews on an LT page have the book description from amazon right there, friends reading my LJ might not have any idea what the book's about, so I started adding in the Summary section. The Recommendation came about once I realized that the last sentence of almost every one of my reviews started with "Overall..."

34reading_fox
Jun 10, 2008, 7:30am

Elbakerone you were asking for comments on Avoid Boring people:

I thought that was a very useful balanced review, when reading an autobiography you can't fully seperate the thoughts of the person from the text and ideas. Not too harsh at all, he has said some remarkable comments, and deserves to be called on them. Although some have almost certainly been exagerated by the media.

35elbakerone
Jun 10, 2008, 10:32am

Thanks r-fox. I actually went to one of Watson's lectures last fall (where I bought the book and had him sign it). As a scientist, I've always held him on something of a pedestal - many will agree he's this generation's Einstien - and even though I'm pretty open minded and believe that everyone's entitled to their own opinions, some of his remarks were pretty offensive.

I think I was actually trying NOT to like the book but ended up being fairly entertained by it. I know it's impossible not to let personal feelings color my reading and reviewing but I tried to remain unbiased.

36elbakerone
Jul 7, 2008, 4:35pm

sjmccreary - Just wanted to say that I liked your recent review of People of the Book. It sounds really interesting and after your comments, I think I'll have to check it out!