Profile for vampsandtramps > Reviews


vampsandtramps' Profile

Customer Reviews: 16
Top Reviewer Ranking: 15,838,507
Helpful Votes: 144

Community Features
Review Discussion Boards
Top Reviewers

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

Reviews Written by
vampsandtramps "Lindsey" RSS Feed (St. Louis)

Page: 1 | 2
Offered by skyvo-direct-usa
Price: $12.62
63 used & new from $1.93

5.0 out of 5 stars Mary opens up!, July 5, 2009
This review is from: Mountains (Audio CD)
One of my favorite CDs of all time! I loved Mary's work with Helium (in all of it's Medieval-Cartoon-Monster glory), but this has a special place it my heart. It's more of an intimate, confessional-type CD. As some other reviewers have noted, it's uncomfortable at times, like you are peaking into her diary with such unrestricted to her personal doubts and fears ("Fire Myself" is a great example, but also check out "The Bell" and "Dungeon Dance").

Not to worry, she didn't lose her weird, indecipherable metaphors and animal imagery. It still sounds like she grew up in a cave raised by unicorns, taking short field trips on a pirate ship to watch the lambs frolick and occasionally make a blood sacrifice. Check out "13 Bees," "Poison Moon", and "Valley of One Thousand Perfumes" for the weirdest stuff. It's still generous with strange percussion, including some clapping; and of course some strange, repetitive melodies. She is always herself, never derivative, often creepy, always brilliant! And in this CD, she's also vulnerable, a side she really hasn't shown as much in her three other solo works. A must!!!

Thirteen Tales of Love & Revenge
Thirteen Tales of Love & Revenge
Price: $19.99
17 used & new from $12.02

1 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Awkward, Confused; Often Pretentious, Sometimes Enjoyable, July 5, 2009
I had such high hopes for this CD after hearing a snippet of "Secret" but I found myself cringing constantly during my first listen, due to inane lyrics, overwrought pop melodies and the artists' complete lack of musical identity. When listening to the much-celebrated opening track, it starts moody and a little bit goth. It quickly gets repetitive and tired, and the spoken dialogue at the end is awkward - not the moody, weird vibe they were going for.

The phrase I kept thinking of when listening to this CD is: Trying too Hard! Even the cover is trying to summon some sort of quirky-girl vibe that these girls just do not have. Some of the songs are terrible Gossip Girl-type trash ("Boring"), others sound like The Cardigans, others sound faintly like Poe. They remind me of middle school girls who decide to go "weird" for a while, but they're just too nice and cute! Case in point: The song "Kill Kill Kill!" does not feature any dark desires to enact revenge. Instead, here are the lyrics:

"And it's kill... kill.. killin' me
It's Kill Kill Kill Kill Killin' me
That I'm still in love with you"

That's really when my jaw hit the floor. The title leaves you to believe it's going to be dark, indulgent, confessional - but it's a sappy Cardigan's style love song! Not that there's anything wrong with that kind of music. Just be honest about what kind of music you are producing, and choose a musical identity instead of trying out several during the course of one album!

On the plus side, these sisters do have great vocal talent, and despite themselves have produced a few very enjoyable songs ("Sticks and Stones" is a fave, but "Three Wishes" and "Go to Heaven" are also okay.) I will keep an eye on them, but I'm not keeping this CD!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 28, 2012 8:42 AM PST

The Golden Notebook: Perennial Classics edition
The Golden Notebook: Perennial Classics edition
by Doris Lessing
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.23
281 used & new from $0.01

34 of 42 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The insufferable Anna Wulf, June 9, 2006
Like many other reviewers, I struggled with this book. For more than 600 pages, Anna Wulf explores every thought and emotion that comes into her head and tries to make sense out of her life. This might be an interesting book for fiction writers, who might understand the elaborate process Anna goes through to create characters and combine her life with her art. But for the average reader, this is just too much and too long.

I am very patient with novels. Perhaps too patient, because I should have put this one down sooner. I got all the way to page 500 before I realized I just couldn't go on. And it's quite depressing to invest so much time in a book and then put it down. Doris Lessing says herself that no one should force themselves to read a book they are not connecting with. I should have taken her advice sooner. But while some books you might not just be 'ready' for, I don't think I will ever be ready for this one.

It's disappointing because I am a Doris Lessing fan. The Four-Gated City explores many of the same themes - an emotional breakdown can be constructive in order to build yourself back up whole and understand the world around you. Anna Wulf did have a fragmented mind, as demonstrated through her keeping of four separate notebooks. She was kept together by the routines of her life, such as making breakfast for her daughter. When she didn't have anything constructive to do, she thought herself to death. And if you read this book, you'll likely be right there with her - going crazy.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 21, 2009 2:34 AM PDT

Heterophobia: Sexual Harassment and the Future of Feminism (American Intellectual Culture)
Heterophobia: Sexual Harassment and the Future of Feminism (American Intellectual Culture)
by Daphne Patai
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.89
35 used & new from $4.91

18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Feminist Aptitude for Being Offended, April 21, 2006
I agree with a lot of what Daphne Patai argues in this book. I knew I would going into it, since I've read many other books by critics of feminism (Camille Paglia and Katie Roiphe). Patai uses several telling examples of how radical feminists at colleges and universities are always looking for things to be offended by. If someone gives them a look they don't like, they can file sexual harassment, and the offending professor may likley be fired because the school is afraid of state and federal money getting pulled. She also persuasively argues that radical feminists convince college-aged women to be offended by things that are not inherently offensive. In this way, they have reduced women to helpless victims whose self-esteem can be ruined by an unwelcome compliment or hug. Radical feminists also infantilize women by promoting the idea that grown women cannot give sexual consent. If they are in a sexual relationship with a professor, it's because they were manipulated and coerced. Pathetic.

I was infuriated by the examples of men's lives who were ruined by frivolous sexual harassment charges. When competent, educated women can only deal with a come-on by seeking the authorities, feminism has major problems.

One passage I particulary liked: "What has become of feminism's early assertion of the dignity and drive of women? How have these admirable qualities come to be transformed into the frailty of perpetual victims, desperate to grasp the helping hand of the law so as to be shielded from the harshness of life, especially from the unrelenting brutality of men? What remains of feminist mistrust of authority and bureaucratic meddling?"

Now, the problems with the book. I don't think the "Sexual Harassment Industry" is ever really defined. Who is profiting from these cases? Is it feminists, college administrators, lawyers, the government? Well, it's certainly radical feminists, but the whole thing is a little hazy. Kind of like Naomi Wolfe's notorious book The Beauty Myth - who is the group of men who are conspiring to oppress women with images of beauty? Who is this group of people profiting from sexual harassment cases?

Also, every example comes from a university setting. This may be because universities are more susceptible to this kind of thing because the government can yank funding if they aren't in compliance with Title IX. But I would have liked to see some examples from the real world. We all know college is an ironically stupid place, where ridiculous academic ideas flow free without any common sense. Thankfully, college is not a microcosm of the world. Are frivolous sexual harassment suits a problem in the real world?

As Publishers Weekly noted, Patai doesn't have the same style as Camille Paglia or Katie Roiphe. It's not as witty and is more level-headed, which is probably a good thing. I did end up skimming through the last section of the book, in which Patai criticizes feminist theory and forgets about sexual harassment for a while. The first two parts are superior.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 30, 2009 8:15 PM PDT

Martha Quest: A Novel (Perennial Classics)
Martha Quest: A Novel (Perennial Classics)
by Doris Lessing
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.48
90 used & new from $0.01

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A matter of 'trying on.', January 30, 2006
"For the majority of women everything, including the greatest of sorrow, resolves itself into a question of trying on."

This Proust quote opens the third part of Martha Quest, and while its really insulting, it describes Martha to a tee. She doesn't really know who she is so she tries on different personas. I normally can't stand coming-of-age novels (hated Portrait of a Young Man, This Side of Paradise, Look Homeward Angel) but this is a wonderful book. In the background there are issues of race and culture - the arrogance and insensitivity of the colonialists.

Martha can be a frustrating character, but she is fascinating and the readers have the edge because we can see her missteps. Her worst trait, perhaps, is she takes ideas and views for granted. When someone asks her if she agrees with equal rights for the native people, she nonchalantly says "Of Course," and doesn't think of it anymore.

I disagree with the reviewers who say this book can stand on its own. I would be upset if it ended so abruptly and didn't have a sequel (or in this case, four.)

The Beekeeper
The Beekeeper
100 used & new from $0.01

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lacking passion, but full of quirk, May 20, 2005
This review is from: The Beekeeper (Audio CD)
As has been thoroughly noted, "The Beekeeper" as a whole lacks punch. Tori's words sounds angry, but her music sounds subdued. A woman scorned does not sing like that. Her voice is generally lacking passion on this CD.

It's often lyrically and musically predictable. Take this line from the first single, Sleeps with Butterflies: "Are you having regrets about last night? I'm not." Do you want more lyrics from other songs? Are you sure? Okay, how about "Take a walk down memory lane, past a watermelon stand on the way" or "The sexiest thing is trust." I cringed at many of the lyrics, which were repetitive and obvious.

Musically, it's got a little jazz, a little funk, a little gospel, which shows that she's not done taking risks. I'm not sure if all the risks worked out for her this time, though. "Sweet the Sting" is a gorgeous, groovy song, one of the best on the album. But on other songs like "Cars and Guitars" and "Ireland" she makes some weird noises like she's impersonating musical instruments and it's a little awkward. Both those songs could easily be put in a car or travel commercial.

Other songs are completely forgettable, like "Mother Revolution" and "Ribbons Undone." She could have made this 19-track album a little more tolerable with a little editing. Many songs were also overproduced - and Tori is best straight-forward and raw.

Still, those who see no redeeming qualities in this CD are really missing something. She's matured, changed, yes, but her songs are still weird and at times mesmorizing. The title track, "The Beekeeper," is a complete masterpiece. For those unsure whether to invest in this album, I would recommend downloading the title song and "Sweet the Sting." If you 'get' the songs, try "Parasol," "Marys of the Sea" and "Witness." If you're feeling particularly weird, try "The Power of Orange Knickers," which despite its odd title is pretty smart.

Absalom, Absalom! The Corrected Text
Absalom, Absalom! The Corrected Text
by William Faulkner
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.02
167 used & new from $5.52

20 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Know what you're getting yourself into, May 9, 2004
I can understand why this book has so many 5 star ratings. Its ideas on the decay of the South are pretty brilliant and perceptive, and the plot is devastating. However, the language, although poetic, is enigmatic and completely exhausting. What's more troubling is that every character in the book has the same way of talking, without ever stopping or completing a thought. Sentences literally go on for over a page. Apparently, that's how every single person talked in 1909.

"Not cowardice which will not face that sickness somewhere at the prime foundation of this factual scheme from which the prisoner soul, miasmal-distillant, wroils ever upward sunward..." This continues for quite some time. While an occassional sentence like this would add a sense of mystery and mysticism to the novel, when the whole thing reads like this, you get pretty tired. Another reviewer noted this sentence: "I became all polymath love's androgynous advocate." What?

I do like the narrative style though. You have a basic idea of the plot from the beginning, but pieces get filled in my different sources, leading to the overall picture of murder, decay, revenge. I didn't think the characterization was very good though, and that to me is the most important part of a book. Sure, you know who Sutpen is, but you don't really understand him. Ellen is called a moth, desperately clinging to the light but not understanding why. That's pretty a beautiful simile, but not incredibly useful, since we don't know why Ellen is a moth, just that she is.

Basically, if you're going to read this novel, know what you're getting yourself into, and read it slowly, or you'll have to go back a million times and re-read.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 21, 2011 9:17 PM PST

Look Homeward, Angel
Look Homeward, Angel
by Thomas Wolfe
Edition: Paperback
186 used & new from $0.01

8 of 36 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars self-indulgent, self-pitying, pretentious, cliched, May 5, 2004
This review is from: Look Homeward, Angel (Paperback)
OKay, I think my title pretty much sums up the book. But I suppose I should elaborate. In general, I do not like coming-of-age stories because all the author does is reflect on his youth without any plot. The main characters are always flawless heros, in a struggle against a cruel world that cannot understand their genius. Of course, no character in a book can be flawless. The authors just use the novel format as an excuse to lament on the cruel injustices that happened in their youth. I was punished in school when I didn't deserve it! I had to work at a job I didn't like! Boo hoo, poor me! No one is as smart as me! I have really deep thoughts! It's me against the world! Yep, arrogant, self-indulgent, and self-pitying all the way.
Wolfe's writing is also particularly bad and cliched. "Negroes" are always snoring "through blubbering lips." When they are awake, they do everything "sleepily." You never see Eugene's mom without her pursing her lips. You never see his brother without him saying "damn!" The bad descriptions wouldn't be so intolerable if they didn't happen over and over again. And for the record, I like description, and I don't judge novels for racism that was considered politically correct in their day. I love Conrad, for example. But this is pretentious and generic and bad. Avoid at all costs.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 25, 2011 12:13 PM PDT

Nostromo: A Tale of the Seaboard (Classic, 20th-Century, Penguin)
Nostromo: A Tale of the Seaboard (Classic, 20th-Century, Penguin)
by Joseph Conrad
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
126 used & new from $0.01

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A little more Nostomo, a little less Costaguana, May 4, 2004
Nostromo is one of Conrad's best characters, a man with a dangerous singleness of intention and of dashing good looks. Unfortunately, he does not appear regulraly in the story line until the last 120 pages. Much time is given to explaining the politics of Costaguana, a fictional South American country. I understand that revolution and corruption is essential to the plot of this novel, but I think Joseph went a little overboard. He has such a talent for characterization, and he focuses so much in this novel on history and confusing minor figures.
That said, when Nostromo does appear in the book, he steals the show. As one character puts it, he has "a particular talent for being on the spot whenever there is something picturesque to be done." A dying woman says to him, "(You are) always thinking of yourself and taking your pay out in fine words from those who care nothing for you." Indeed, Nostromo's main purpose in life is to have a reputation as a hero, to be well-thought of and well-known. Other characters shine in this book as well, such as Decoud, a "man with no faith in anything except his own sensations," and the doctor, with his "misanthropic mistrust of humanity." Charles Gould is an intriguing figure who confuses his materialism with idealism. His wife is uncorruptible. Outstanding, compelling characters who are engaged in a plan to protect silver from revolutionary thugs.
This has all the great ideas Conrad explores in other novels, such as the corruption of ideals, moral ambiguity, intellectual farce, the fleeting nature of purpose and order, and the absurdity of blind faith. He is contemplating the "immense indifference of things," the imperfection of men's motives. It's worth the effort to get to the heart of this story, especially if you are a Conrad fan. If you're unfamilar with his work, I'd recommend starting out with something else.

Heart of Darkness and Other Tales (Oxford World's Classics)
Heart of Darkness and Other Tales (Oxford World's Classics)
by Joseph Conrad
Edition: Paperback
102 used & new from $0.01

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full of crazy characters and vivid images, May 2, 2004
Heart of Darkness is, without a doubt, one of the best and most confusing books ever written. It is probably the most discussed book of the 20th century, and an obscene number of academic papers, criticisms and interpretations have been written about it. What does it mean, everyone wants to know. It is so impenetrable, to use one of Marlow's favorite words. Even if you don't want to spend the time figuring out the "message" (if there is one), this is a great novel simply for the characters and the images.
Our narrator, Marlow, is a fascinating character in himself, and he always makes me smile with his wit and insight, though he can be a little pretentious. Kurtz is an enigma, a man who has set himself up as a god with unclear motives. He is taken care of my a Russian harlequin, a hilarious idealist who forgives that Kurtz once threatened to kill him (you can't judge a man like that by ordinary standards!) Marlow comes across many others, such as the fat Englishman who cannot stop fainting on their way to see Kurtz. The imagery is evocative and haunting. A group of starving indiginous men are referred to as a "bundle of acute angles." The scenery is described better than a movie could portray (Apocalypse Now does the jungle no justice.)
It's a short book too, so you have no excuse for not reading it!

Page: 1 | 2