Profile for David Cady > Reviews

Browse

David Cady's Profile

Customer Reviews: 349
Top Reviewer Ranking: 4,829
Helpful Votes: 3535




Community Features
Review Discussion Boards
Top Reviewers

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
David Cady RSS Feed
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
pixel
Parrot and Olivier in America
Parrot and Olivier in America
by Peter Carey
Edition: Hardcover
232 used & new from $0.01

66 of 73 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Reader in Limbo, November 13, 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I haven't read many of Peter Carey's books, but have enjoyed tremendously those I have. "Jack Maggs" was a clever, pitch-perfect reworking of Dickens' "Great Expectations," and "True History of the Kelly Gang," for which he won his second Booker Prize, brilliantly chronicled the life of Australia's Billy the Kid. I was so looking forward to his take on post-Revolutionary France and America, confident that it would be a colorful, evocative ride. And while the novel certainly evoked the early 1800s in meticulous and rich detail, it was also a dense, overly written bore. I simply could not get into this book, no matter how hard I tried. Carey's inspiration, Alexis de Tocqueville's "Democracy in America," obviously means a great deal to him, but he didn't find a way to successfully share the "why" of that with this reader. In his acknowledgements he writes that the piece "may not suit everyone," and that his personal reading list -- which he used, in part, as research, and is available on his web site -- may be "interesting to literary mechanics and other specialists [but] absolutely no use to anyone else." And therein lies the problem, I think, with "Parrot and Olivier...": it's an exercise rather than a story, a literary hat trick rather than an engaging entertainment. But as this and "C," another book I couldn't fathom, were both short-listed for this year's Booker, perhaps I'm just a literary nitwit. Regardless, if today's "literature" is this impenetrable and dull, I want no part of it.
Comment Comments (21) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 12, 2012 3:06 AM PDT


C
C
by Tom McCarthy
Edition: Hardcover
130 used & new from $0.01

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Missed Connections, October 15, 2010
This review is from: C (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I was looking forward to Tom McCarthy's "C" for a number of reasons: a glowing review in the New York Times; ecstatic praise for the author from Zadie Smith, a writer whose books I love; its "nomination" for the Man Booker Prize. All these combined to promise an exhilarating literary experience. Sadly, I was mistaken. "C" is described by its publishing house as "unusual" and an "outrageously original postmodern adventure." Personally, I found it to be self-consciously arch, convoluted and, worst of all, boring. And I'm not someone who shies away from "difficult" reading. Nobel winners Naguib Mahfouz and Jose Saramago are favorite authors, as are former Booker honorees Peter Carey, Ian McEwan and Kazuo Ishiguro; but McCarthy (who ended up not winning the Booker this year) is not in their league, at least in terms of providing an entertaining experience. He can certainly write (and overwrites at times), and he has a distinctly individual point of view. But for all its obsession with communication, "C" keeps the reader at a distance. It's as if McCarthy has said, "I'm doing this for me, you may like it, but if you don't, who cares. In any event, aren't I clever?" And maybe that type of single-minded egoism is what makes a great Artist. But I prefer writers whose attitude is more along the lines of "Come listen to this wonderful story I have to tell. I'm so excited to share it with you, I think you're going to love it." Great literature doesn't have to be impenetrable, which is a lesson McCarthy could learn. But his style is his style, and who am I to suggest he alter it, particularly as it's made him the flavor of the month? I just don't care for the bitter aftertaste.


Bury Your Dead (Chief Inspector Gamache, Book 6)
Bury Your Dead (Chief Inspector Gamache, Book 6)
by Louise Penny
Edition: Hardcover
69 used & new from $1.08

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Bury"-ed Treasure, October 12, 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is the first of Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache books that I have read, and I was instantly impressed with how solid her storytelling technique is. This is old-fashioned mystery writing of the best kind, with complex, troubled characters, well-placed red herrings and intriguing twists and turns. It's a good enough mystery to make me want to go back to read Penny's earlier work to see what all the fuss and awards were about. I will not, however, read the book immediately prior to "Bury your Dead," as the denouement of that novel ("The Brutal Telling") is revealed in the early chapters of this one. In fact, a good deal of "Bury Your Dead" is spent in unraveling the mistaken conclusions reached by Inspector Gamache in that previous case; which would seem to make reading "The Brutal Telling" redundant. Had I known, I might have started with the very first Gamache novel, and not this one. That said, for those who already know Penny's work, I doubt they'll be disappointed by this intricate, emotionally rich tale of murder and regret.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 9, 2011 1:58 PM PST


Madison and Jefferson
Madison and Jefferson
by Andrew Burstein
Edition: Hardcover
66 used & new from $2.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Proud Americans, October 12, 2010
This review is from: Madison and Jefferson (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
In these days of political turmoil, "Madison and Jefferson" is a valuable, perhaps essential, reminder that this country's very existence stemmed from men and women who took their governance into their own hands, building, from the embers of rebellion, a society the world had never seen before. Compared to the titular heroes of this tale, today's politicians (right, left, or moderate) seem like veritable Lilliputians. And it's to Andrew Burstein and Nancy Isenberg's tremendous credit that their tale is told in a lucid, comprehensive manner -- perhaps exhaustively so -- that is also ceaselessly entertaining. Others here have done a marvelous job of spelling out this history's virtues, and I can only applaud in agreement. This is an oft-told tale, yet the authors have found a fresh way of telling it, digging deep into the societal structures and expectations that formed each man's character, and introducing individuals heretofore unknown to myself, who were particularly influential in helping to shape these future presidents' futures. This is fascinating stuff, made even more so by viewing it all through our present day prism, where we can evaluate just what we as a nation have continued to get right...and what we have not. "Madison and Jefferson" is writing that demands time and concentration; it's not a superficial, throwaway read to pass the time on the subway, listening to music on your iPod. As Arthur Miller wrote, "Attention must be paid." For the serious student of the random steps and twists of Fate that made America America, "Madison and Jefferson" is a very welcome addition to the historical conversation.


Home
Home
Price: $11.88
48 used & new from $3.70

21 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Home" Maid, September 28, 2010
This review is from: Home (Audio CD)
Any new recording from Monheit, one of my favorite singers, is always more than welcome. That said, this isn't my favorite of her albums. "Home," a self-produced effort, certainly has a homemade feel to it, but to me that translates into a kind of slapdash looseness and an almost improvisational quality that, oddly, doesn't show off Monheit to her best advantage. Her voice sounds thinner and less solidly in control than in the past, and she doesn't seem to inhabit any of the material; these are pretty superficial renditions, lacking Monheit's usual emotional depth.

I download music, so don't have any liner notes that might explain the thinking behind the project; perhaps the offhandedness is the point. But "Home" feels almost UNproduced, as if Monheit and her musicians simply sat down and did their thing; it sounds as if the recordings were done live, and left as is. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, but neither does it suggest a guiding hand that might have created a cohesive whole out of its disparate parts.

As far as the selection of tunes, it's less interesting to me than on previous discs. ("I'll Be Around" being a notable exception.) The one new tune is negligible, and I could do without the cutesy duet with John Pizzarelli.

If you're a Monheit fan, you're going to get the album, and will, hopefully, like it more than I. But if you're just looking into this remarkably talented performer, this isn't the album with which to start.
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 27, 2010 11:05 PM PST


Star Island
Star Island
by Carl Hiaasen
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.53
384 used & new from $0.01

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Same Cut of Meat, Duller Knife, September 22, 2010
This review is from: Star Island (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I really wanted to like "Star Island." I mean, I've enjoyed Carl Hiaasen's work in the past, he was always good for a chuckle. And he seems like such a nice guy, who wouldn't wish him well? Problem is, he keeps writing the same book over and over again. With the same characters. Wacky stuff happens in Florida, there are lots of machine-gun-rapid one-liners (everybody's funny in Hiaasen books, regardless of their background), much drugging and drinking, more wacky stuff, chases, mistaken identities, even wackier wacky stuff, financial shenanigans etc. etc. It gets old.

This time around, Hiaasen attempts to shake things up by lampooning celebrity culture, putting a no-talent Lindsey Lohan-type pop singer front and center. Problem is -- there, I've said it again -- none of the absurdities Hiaasen's come up seem all that absurd, given the real life foibles of Lohan, Paris Hilton, the Kardashian sisters and the like. And, maybe it's me, but he seems a little too -- shall we say -- mature to know how a young celebrity would actually think and behave. For instance, would a girl barely out of her teens really be into Shirley MacLaine's audiobooks on reincarnation? I can't even imagine her mother listening to them. Shirley MacLaine was so...80s, no?

Hiaasen also relies way too heavily on words like "puke" and "dump" (as in "she took a...") to punch up his punch lines. As if these words alone are enough to make the material side-splitting. After a while, the whole thing just seems labored and tired, without edge or any real satiric weight. Less than stellar, "Star Island" makes for a bland, been-there-done-that destination.


The Elephant's Journey
The Elephant's Journey
by Jose Saramago
Edition: Hardcover
162 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Journey Worth Taking, September 18, 2010
This review is from: The Elephant's Journey (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Around the time that Toni Morrison won the Nobel Prize, I saw an interview with her in which she was discussing the general public's misunderstanding and avoidance of "literature." She related a conversation she'd had with a woman who was bemoaning the fact that sometimes, when ready a particularly dense book, she had to go back and read a passage again, or maybe thrice, simply to understand its meaning. Needless to say, for Toni Morrison, this was precisely what made literature a JOY to read; that one is actively involved in the reading process, unlocking the secrets of the author's words, delving into the intricacies and beauty of language.

I was reminded of this interview while reading fellow Nobel laureate Jose Saramago's enchanting new trifle, "The Elephant's Journey." Truthfully, nothing Saramago writes could ever be considered a trifle, but compared to most of his other works, this is a relatively straightforward, linear tale, almost fable-like in its simplicity. I have long been a fan of this writer's. I haven't read all that much of him (three or four books), but I've always enjoyed his unique storytelling style. The lack of punctuation, the run-on sentences that move from one thought to the next (something another reviewer found impossible to deal with) make for a hallucinatory experience, one in which we are swept along by a river of words, immersed in thoughts and language (and logic) that take us to another world entirely; indeed, introduce us to a new way of imagining our own. You have to think when you read Saramago, you can't be a lazy reader, but you also have to just open your heart and FEEL.

Of course there are moments of esoteric philosophizing (this IS Saramago, after all), but they are few and far between in this novella size fable (and they are often very amusing). Basically, it's a charming, heartfelt tale in which an elephant changes the lives of all who cross its path as it is transported by royal entourage from Lisbon to Vienna. Saramago seems to be saying that we never know when something unimaginable, something outside our ordinary lives, may pass our way, making us rethink our understanding of what the world can offer. It is never too late to let the extraordinary (including extraordinary literature) transport us to another place, a place where we unlock our own true, limitless potential as thinking, feeling human beings. No one on the planet writes like Saramago, and if you're going to stick your toes into his particular stream of consciousness, this is the book with which to start.


Hollywood
Hollywood

17 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Michael, I Need More, September 10, 2010
This review is from: Hollywood (MP3 Music)
I have to say, this isn't my favorite Bublé track. It's catchy and fun, but pretty slick and superficial. I mean, the message that "Hollywood is dead; you can find it in yourself" is kind of disingenuous coming from a guy whose publicity machine works as hard as Michael's. His record company sure knows how to play us fans, offering dribs and drabs instead of full albums. And we slavishly enable the process 'cause we love the guy so much. Oprah (whose name is dropped in "Hollywood" BTW) might call that a dysfunctional relationship.

Which leads me to the fact that this single is coming off the soon to be released "Crazy Love: Hollywood Edition." Really? it was a good album, but do we really need a new version of it? Instead of something completely new, I mean. And for those of us who download, how many of the tracks are going to be "album only?" Look, Michael, I don't mean to whine, but I'm getting tired of this on again, off again thing we got going here. If we're going make a go of this, you gotta be more forthcoming, stop holding back so much. If you can't give me full albums more often, I just might have to switch my allegiance to that Connick guy. (Okay, just kidding, but you know what I'm saying...)


Kaleidoscope Heart
Kaleidoscope Heart
Price: $5.99
84 used & new from $1.39

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Queen of Everything, September 9, 2010
This review is from: Kaleidoscope Heart (Audio CD)
How often does a new artist's second album equal their first in originality and quality? Not often, right? Okay, now how often does a new artist's second album actually SURPASS their first in originality and quality? Well, miraculously, that's what Sara Bareilles has accomplished in "Kaleidoscope Heart." Perhaps not a miracle, though, given her obvious, seemingly boundless, talents. This is pop music of an extraordinarily high caliber: super smart lyrics, complex yet addictively tuneful music, all of it emotionally honest and real. Truly, there isn't a single song on this album that isn't a winner - and that NEVER happens, does it? And did I mention this woman can sing like no-one's business? If you're reading this review, you're at least curious about "Kaleidoscope Heart." My recommendation: Stop reading and start ordering.


Bad Boy: An Inspector Banks Novel (Inspector Banks Novels)
Bad Boy: An Inspector Banks Novel (Inspector Banks Novels)
by Peter Robinson
Edition: Hardcover
193 used & new from $0.01

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Bad, Not Good, September 5, 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have been losing patience with Peter Robinson's Inspector Banks series of late, and unfortunately, "Bad Boy," the latest entry, was no exception. I thought the book started well, with an interesting set-up and some actual tension, but then somewhere along the way the storytelling slackened, and I stopped caring how things would turn out, particularly for Banks' dim-witted daughter (although there was never much doubt in that respect). Banks, as a character, is practically non-functioning, except for an odd 10 page expository section in which he regurgitates plot points that we, the reader, know from already having read the book. Perhaps Robinson felt the need to have Banks actually DO something, given that this is a Banks book; whatever the reason, it's redundant and unnecessary.

To be fair, there was a nice surprise towards the end of the book, and I was heartened by Robinson's return to a less complicated plot structure (the last Banks novel was an unfortunate mélange of spies, international terrorism, murder mystery and romance). That said, I wish "Bad Boy" worked better than it does. As an entry in a series that has long been a favorite, it's wholly insignificant.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20