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Reamde: A Novel
Reamde: A Novel
by Neal Stephenson
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.96
88 used & new from $1.74

4.0 out of 5 stars Strangely Entertaining but Falls Apart by The End, November 3, 2013
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This review is from: Reamde: A Novel (Paperback)
Strange book, not at all like most of what Stephenson normally writes. The first third was clever and intriguing; the next 400 pages were strangely entertaining; but the last third of the novel was really a total mess. The book falls off the cliff and makes very little sense once the characters coalesce around American Falls. Plus, the stakes of the novel were never as high as I thought they would be. I have a lot of complaints about this book; indeed, more complaints than things that I liked. Yet, what I liked I really liked. The book made me think, and I have to admit that I kept looking forward to picking it up again. That's a good trick, and so I have to recommend it. But just slightly, and I couldn't disagree with anyone who said that it wasn't for them.

Dragons of a Vanished Moon (The War of Souls, vol. 3)
Dragons of a Vanished Moon (The War of Souls, vol. 3)
by Margaret Weis
Edition: Hardcover
212 used & new from $0.01

4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An unfortunately poor effort . . ., June 28, 2002
Extremely disappointing. Weis and Hickman's Dragonlance Chronicles from the 1980s were very good and the Dragonlance Legends were fantastic. But they should have stopped with Dragons of Summer Flame. This book (and really the entire War of Souls series) seems like nothing more than an opportunity to revisit our old favorite characters for a couple of pages and introduce some new Krynn citizens -- most of which are incredibly boring and static. In fact, by the end of the first 30 pages of this book, nearly all of Weis and Hickman's dynamic characters (Tasslehoff, Palin, Dalamar, Medan, Laurana, Raistliln) are dead, not in the picture, or relegated to a deep background role. The writing is simplistic, there is no pacing, and -- well, plainly -- this book is just not fun.
i may be overly critical of Weis and Hickman, but only because they've shown that they can be terrific writers (see Chronicles and Legends, the Soulforge and their short stories). That's why it's a shame when they turn in an effort like this one . . .

John Adams
John Adams
by David G. McCullough
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $28.85
1057 used & new from $0.01

295 of 301 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Our 2nd President . . . Without the Singing and Dancing, June 11, 2001
This review is from: John Adams (Hardcover)
My curiousity in John Adams first piqued by repeatedly in my youth watching the musical "1776" (of which Adams is the main character), I looked forward anxiously to McCullough's latest take on America's 2nd President. It didn't hurt that McCullough's bio "Truman" is still perhaps my favorite political biography of them all. With all these high expectations, I was waiting for my hopes to be dashed. But, nothing could be further from the truth.
"Adams" is a terrific piece of work. Relying on a treasure trove of letters and correspondence written by Adams and his tremendous wife Abigail (both of whom were compulsive/obsessive writers), McCullough replays the history of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the Washington Presidency and Adams's tumultuous four years as President with vibrant storytelling and just the right amount of detail without getting weighed down.
In MuCullough's view, Adams was a brilliant, determined, forthright, nonpartisan, stubborn politician who was unabashedly American and ambitious for higher office only to the point that public service (according to Adams) was the greatest calling of all.
Anybody looking for a line by line history of America's birth, from 1776 to 1800, will probably be disappointed. McCullough skips over the details of the American Revolution and the drafting of the Constitution. He instead tracks the diplomatic journeys of Adams, who travels to England, France and Holland with Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson (both occasionally) as they try to negotiate various peace and commercial treaties.
The best surprise of the book? Abigail Adams, an amazing woman living entirely ahead of her time. Without her, McCullough obviously believes, John Adams would never have achieved his status in American history.
The only disappointments in the book? A skewed and very negative portrayal of Alexander Hamilton, and a less-than-complete discussion of why two of Adams's sons, Thomas and Charles, came to financial and physical ruin, while another, John Quincy, became our 6th President.
Though not quite as entrancing and new as "Truman," "John Adams" has its own charm. It's an amazing journey with America's inception, and a reminder of the greatness of all of our Founding Fathers, perhaps the most misunderstood of all being the delightfully stubborn and pigheaded Mr. Adams.
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It (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)
It (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)
by Stephen King
Edition: School & Library Binding
Price: $16.68
34 used & new from $11.65

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still A Great Book Even 10 Years Later, May 26, 2001
I first read IT when I was 18 years old, and I remember being scared out of my mind by Pennywise the Dancing Clown and really falling in love with the Losers Club. For a couple of years, I thought this was the best book I had ever read. Then, I hit my mid-twenties and sort of forgot about the book. Now, 10 years later and hopefully a lot wiser and more mature, I decided to pick up the book again. And, to my incredible surprise, I found that I still loved the book! Though IT is no longer nearly as scary to me anymore, it's still a great read because of the seven people that make up the Losers Club: Ben, Bill, Bev, Eddie, Richie, Mike and poor Stan. Each Loser is so well defined with so many terrific characteristics and attributes. And, there really is an eighth Loser: Henry Bowers, who I still believe may be the nastiest bully ever dreamed up by an author! As I believe another reviewer said, the scariest part of IT is not Pennywise nor what is behind IT, it really is the potential threat that you may one day grow up and forget your childhood years. There's something very poetic about the Losers going back home after thirty years and finding that the only way to defeat the unholy evil of IT is to capture this intangible thing that made them special three decades before -- belief. I look forward to forgetting about IT, and then reading it again in 10 years. I'll be nearing 40 by then, the same age as the grown-up Losers in IT. I can't wait . . .

Sea of Silver Light (Otherland #4)
Sea of Silver Light (Otherland #4)
by Tad Williams
Edition: Hardcover
168 used & new from $0.01

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally Satisfying Conclusion To A Fantastic Epic . . ., April 27, 2001
I had a terrific time reading SOSL, the last book in Tad Williams' "Otherland" fantasy epic! The last 100 pages of the third book -- Mountain of Black Glass -- were gripping and powerful, and I spent the last eighteen months waiting anxiously for the arrival of this book. When I started reading three weeks ago, I had my doubts on whether Williams could really come through with a conclusion that this series deserved, but he completely delivered on all levels.
The most telling sign of how much I liked this final book was the number of chapters in the last 250 pages for which I found myself stunned and surprised by new developments or sudden revelations. I also found myself smiling at the end of the 922-page epic, knowing that I'd read something that I would remember for a long time and recommend strongly to friends and family.
I agree with most of the other reviewers -- I was a little sad that I had finally reached the end because I wanted to know more about these characters and what will happen to them next. I also look forward to waiting a few years and then rereading this series from start to finish again. Those are the marks of a great writer and a great series.
I'll stop right here because I don't want to accidentally spoil anything. Just get yourself a copy of "City of Golden Shadow," the first book in the series, and belt yourself in for a long, great ride. You'll love it!

Edward M. Kennedy: A Biography
Edward M. Kennedy: A Biography
by Adam Clymer
Edition: Paperback
43 used & new from $0.01

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Uninspired Reporting and Dry Litany of Legislative Triumphs, December 22, 2000
Teddy Kennedy is one of the most fascinating American political characters in the last half-century, yet Clymer's book somehow succeeds in making him boring and dry. It's not that I objected to a bland description of Kennedy's legislative accomplishments over the last thirty years (which is what three-fourths of this book is); it's just that I gained no extra insight into the man and what drives him. I have great respect for Clymer's reporting skills with the New York Times, yet it seemed as if this book were written simply by merging a couple hundred memorable quotes from Kennedy's career with stale recitations of Senate bills, cloture votes, and parliamentary maneuvers. It would have been nice to learn a little more about the behind-the-scenes activities behind some of these great public debates, such as Bork, Thomas, Ireland and of course, the Kennedy campaign in 1980. Instead, each is treated like a very, very long newspaper article that doesn't ever end. I had high expectations for this book because I like Clymer's reporting, but I agree with another reviewer that the great Kennedy biography has yet to be written . . .

Ball Four : The Final Pitch
Ball Four : The Final Pitch
by Jim Bouton
Edition: Hardcover
49 used & new from $4.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, charming story, December 17, 2000
I really had a good time reading Ball Four. Over the last thirty years, the things that Bouton "reveals" about ballplayers are well-known in the year 2000 (such as the fact that baseball players are not demig-ds, and ocasionally have affairs outside of marriage or like to drink alcohol). History has shown that Bouton was right and Bowie Kuhn was wrong -- this book didn't destroy anything or anybody. Instead, what actually struck closer to home was Bouton's talk about how the advice he got from managers and coaches was usually run-of-the-mill tripe ("Keep the ball down! Keep the ball up!"). I've always thought so as well. This is a must-read for anybody who enjoys the game of baseball and its history.

A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 3)
A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 3)
by George R. R. Martin
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $26.27
130 used & new from $3.19

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic saga of struggle for power is a hit . . ., November 20, 2000
A word to the wise . . . the entire Song of Ice and Fire series of books is probably only for those who enjoy long, long epic sagas. This is a giant novel, but in this case, bigger is better. The story of the Starks and the Seven Kingdoms continues as the main characters continue their struggles for freedom in various parts of the land, even as greater threats from afar beckon. The book is extremely dense with nearly five hundred different characters (or so it seemed) and ten "point-of-view" characters, but it's exactly that detail which makes the book gripping and compelling. There are close to five or six plotlines going on simultaneously at all times, which makes reading the book a lot of fun and challenging at the same time. The book is filled with court intrigue, treachery, intense plotting, and smart and witty dialogue. I can't wait for the fourth book already . . . this is a terrific series.

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