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Let me begin by saying that I am an author, too. I understand the resistance to changing "your baby." We have all been there. But trust me, the editor is your friend. This book has a great concept with a lot of potential. Unfortunately, the writing leaves so much to be desired that I was not able to enter the world of the story in a meaningful way. The stylistic errors kept breaking the fourth wall for me. Please get an editor to go over this book. Then re-write it. You will be glad that you did.
1 POV- learn to use it. You cannot simply shift POVs so abruptly, and the character POV can only comment on what the character can see or experience.
2 Descriptions- don't simply use a thesaurus to spice up your adjectives. I was laughing at some descriptions of the car, such as "scuzzy" and "smutty". Instead of using a single word, why not create a similie? Instead of "smutty car" you could say, "Crusts of dirt hung like barnacles on the battered Honda." Or something, obviously not what I just wrote because that sucked, but just for an example.
3 grammar- make sure that your clause modifies the proper subject.
4- characters-if you name them, try to develop them, if you don't plan to develop them, don't name them and then keep using the names later. It is too confusing
5-realism-you can only suspend so much disbelief. If freakish things occur in your book, try to make the "non-freakish" things believable. For example, if I am going to believe the bizarre scenario (no spoiler) don't try to make me believe that the cat will rip the rapist's face off to protect her mistress. Trust me, kitties don't do that kind of thing. There was just way, way, way too much going on at the end. Way too much. Way. Too. Much. I was just so done.
6-Don't say things like "the doctor was a Nazi" in such a realistic way if he a)is not a Nazi, b)has zero significant role in the story c)does nothing bad. You ramp up the tension with the doctor in the first page, and that is the end of the doctor, why did you even include this? And the old lady, what was that for?
7-consistency- Don't say that the sky is "black" with rain and then in the next paragraph moments later say that the car was being burned by the bright sun. Did you notice what you just said in the last paragraph? And not to even mention that drought is a main feature of the book? If the rain is happening far far away, make it clear that a long distance has been traveled. Please remove inconsistencies.
I am not being harsh, just being honest. I think this book can be great. It really can. But please get input and re-work it. Remove unnecessary characters. Remove the veiny eye in the eyehole. Make the slow sinster thing come on much more slowly. Allow the characters to progress. If you need to pay someone to go over the book, do so. Then, follow the advice. A writer's group will also help a lot. Good luck and this is an awesome start.
I am old. Well, old enough to remember my mother CRYING with HAPPINESS when I went to get free vaccines at the local school. People were lined up for blocks. My Mom can tell you about how she never went to a public swimming pool, and summer time was TERROR of polio time. Okay, this wasn't that long ago, seriously. My mom would tell stories of the kids in iron lungs, the death, the fear, the isolation of epidemic time. I had a professor in college with withered legs and crippling post polio syndrome from his own encounter with polio. Measles was a deadly terror. Meningitis from Hib caused horrific brain damage in the survivors. But now, some lady with an autistic kid blames vaccines, and so everyone wants to stop vaccinating? Seriously? (And even if vaccines DID cause autism, I would rather have an autistic kid than a dead kid, to be honest)
YOUR decision to NOT VACCINATE hurts my children. In an outbreak, everyone is at risk. Don't be swayed by ignorance and emotionalism. Get the facts. Read this book.
And SHAME on those who attack the author of this book and try to discredit him. Where is your science degree? Conspiracy theorists, I have an extra roll of tin foil for you. Be sure to wrap it tightly.
Wafer thin book has fun activities and games that are suitable for elementary aged students. The reason it gets ONE star is because it is billed as a book for "middle grades and up." I'm not sure what type of students this author is working with, but it is too easy for older children, IMHO, unless they were just using it for entertainment.
Also, there are no MAPS in this book. It is fill in the blank type of activities. There are a few black and white maps in the back for reference, but they are not clear and crisp, they are small, and they are just kind of illegible grey scale. What were they thinking? I can get a better map by printing a free one off of the internet. These look like color maps that were xeroxed onto a grey scale printer.
I need to return this book, wondering how much money it will cost me to mail it, the gas, the envelope, ugh.
First reason for taking off a star: It took me too long to become invested in the story. I was kind of waiting for the payoff for about the first quarter to third of the book. I want to be interested from chapter ICHI.
Second reason for taking off a star: The political analogy is WAY too obvious. The Shogun is the Bush administration, with the conveniently Japanese "Bushido" translated into Bushimen, and if that was not too obvious, then the "Guild" is the military-industrial complex/big oil, and if THAT was not too obvious, there is an ongoing war with a xenophobic bent, except the "enemy" is "round eyes" so that white readers will identify with the oppressed middle easterners. And if THAT isn't obvious enough, they literally use the blood of innocent foreigners to feed the "Lotus" which is basically the oil product. Yes, I am an environmentalist, too, but please don't break the fourth wall by whipping your politics in my face. Subtlety is a virtue, and a very Japanese one at that.
Good things about this book: I think that it would make a better anime movie than a book, then we would not be bored by lengthy steampunk descriptions of boredom, we could simply "see" them on the screen and move on with the plot. The plot was pretty good, but too slowly paced in parts, and too quickly paced in other parts. I never felt deeply bonded or deeply sympathetic to the characters, even though there were a number of really good strong female leads. Actually, my favorite character was Kin, the artificer. He was the one who came across as most sympathetic, though his role was more minor. I think the reason for this is that we have a male author trying to convey the inner life of a female lead character. That is very hard to do.
The best thing about this book: The author is very insightful and thoughtful as he draws the motivations for the characters. There are lots of shades of gray, and lots of reasons for people to make the choices that they make. I thought that was very realistic and added an element of complexity to the narrative.
I purchased this book for an ESL student that has some trouble with pronunciation and word flow. I believe that reading stories aloud helps develop a native, natural feel for the English language. I cannot say enough that is good about this particular volume.
The language in these stories is beautiful. The vocabulary is rich. The stories are legacies of our culture that ought not to be missed. As I listened to my ESL student struggle to read a story aloud from this book, my heart ached for our children and our culture. The love that I feel for these stories and this literature is deep and I know that I did not instill that love in my own children nearly enough. As the years passed by, we were so very busy. We had lessons, we had AP tests, we had service projects, and even though our home did NOT have a television, we were still running on empty on that hamster wheel of life. Please fill your children's tank with stories that should by all rights be a part of who they are. Take the time to read these more complex stories to your older children. Don't stop reading when they tire of Goodnight Moon and start reading on their own. Yes, they have to read "Heart of Darkness" and "Slaughterhouse Five" but realistically, these classroom tomes are boring for them, and although they might spark their intellect, they do little to spark the imagination. I am 100% sure that the "Common Core" will only make this worse, as kids will increasingly be told to read Microsoft instruction manuals for credit so that they can become little heartless proles for big business. But I DIGRESS! Sorry about the political rant.
Anyway, as you may know from my other reviews, I homeschool. Next year, my high school senior (finished with all available AP English related classes) will do nothing but joyful, imaginative reading for credit. We will also work on writing stories together. I plan to have her read this aloud to me. I deserve a story.
I have to admit, I read this book on kindle just a week ago on a flight out to Tahoe, and I could NOT remember what it was about. Not at all. Nada. I had to look at the book description to recall what it was that I had read.
So, not exactly George Eliot or Shakespeare, not exactly Dean Koontz for that matter. HOWEVER, for the price, you will NOT find a better deal to entertain yourself on that long plane ride. The story is all action, and quite a page turner, and before you know it, you will have to power down that kindle for landing. I enjoyed myself for 99cents, and a tedious flight was made entertaining instead of excruciating. The only time I stopped reading was to say, "diet coke, thanks" to the stewardess. Just buy it right now.
This book reads like a romance novel. It is more well-written and less annoying than most romance novels, but I am just not a fan of romance novels. I was really expecting a bit more of an erudite treatise on an intellectual journey of faith, but in truth, this journey was a journey of the heart. For some people, this may be exactly what they would like to read, but what can I say--"Dammit Jim, I'm a doctor, not a romantic." I did like the poetry in the book. Most of the poems were old familiars from English class, allusions to Prufrock and bright tigers and such. But nicely worked in.
This book suffers from overly perfect dialogue, irritatingly cool characters, and disturbingly wise professors. Don't get me wrong, the message was great and the story was interesting, but I am the sort of person who--okay, well, call me cynical. This book reminds me of the kind of TV series that is popular today where impossibly attractive young intellectuals finish one another's sentences with increasingly brilliant insight in most unrealistic fashion. That doesn't actually happen in real life unless everyone is drunk, or everyone is a college student overawed by that latest philosophy class.
The author is right about one very important thing. Her insight into the life of a Christian academic is spot on. The thing that surprised me about Oxford was that the other academics were, for the most part, open minded. How many times have I choked on my chardonnay at some cocktail party listening to some academic ranting about how bad Christians are. Then they look at me and say, "well, not YOU, of course." Okay, thanks, wow.
Best points about this book:
1-Maybe, just maybe, someone will read it and learn to open his/her mind.
2-I think I will buy a volume of John Donne poetry. "Kind pity chokes my spleen" is possibly the best line I have ever read.
Worst points about this book:
1-It was not what I was expecting
2-It isn't really my style
Of course, neither of these criticisms should deter anyone from the purchase of this book, especially if their journey is a heart journey. Some may say that all journeys of faith are journeys of the heart, and that is true to some extent. It is definitely true that a personal journey is not "open to debate." I'm sure this will touch many readers out there.
This film is a work of art. The question posed by the filmmaker is this: "Are you interested in beauty, or only in its representation?" You will have to answer this question for yourself. Clearly, the viewers who were bored by this film are interested in neither.
The Russian "ark" is the Hermitage, a museum that serves as a vessel that preserves the culture of Russia through the flood of change and through the sea of eternity. Within her halls are ghosts of the past, from Pushkin to little Anastasia. Two ghosts travel the halls, in a sort of hallucination that leaves the viewer constantly unsettled and unsure of his own point of view. (literally, as the film is shot in POV frame of the narrator ghost) In a gallery, we find a blind woman experiencing beauty without its representation. She "sees" the art in her mind and through her fingers. She is otherworldly, and yet she may be the most grounded and least ghostly character in the film. She loves beauty itself. The Marquis (the non-narrating ghost)is deeply religious and he sees a sacredness in the artwork. He seems angry with a young man who only sees a pretty picture. For him, beauty is a characteristic of God Himself, and art is divinely inspired. In a forbidden room, we find a workman making coffins from empty frames, and we are struck by the horror of a world without art, a world full of death, uncertainty, and oppression of thought. This vignette is a type of anti-beauty, and it reminds us of post WWII Russia. With that horrifying glimpse of the modern era, we understand why the "ark" is necessary. It is a shocking picture of an entire culture coming to grips with its collective mortality.
The ending of the ark is perhaps the most striking and emotionally devastating moment I have ever encountered in a film. It literally took my breath away. We sail on, and the ark sails on.
If you are not interested in the philosophy of aesthetics, or the meaning of culture, or the immortality of the human spirit, you will have a hard time appreciating or understanding this film. Also, if you are seeking a historical documentary with pretty costumes, you will be baffled. So I will say that the Russian Ark might not be for everyone. But if you are the type of person who is bored and annoyed by movies that resort to cliche and car crashes, prepare to be amazed. This film is truly great.
I have a Tatung rice cooker that is old as I am. I am 49 years old. I use this product every single day, and it was old when my mother in law gave it to me 26 years ago. Now I am feeling sad, looking for a rice cooker for my son, for his new apartment at school. He grew up with this on the kitchen counter every day. I hope the new Tatung is as good as the one I have now, I will have to log on when I am 100 to tell you if it lasted as well. Here is hoping it does....Read more
I picked up this book at a Barnes and Noble while killing time. (sorry Amazon!) I started reading it and then I could not put it back on the shelf when it was time to leave, so I bought it. This book is like a punch in the gut, it will leave you gasping for a breath.
I admit, I don't know a lot about money, especially invisible money and mysterious things that bankers do with "derivatives" and "hedge funds" and all that sort of thing that you hear about but don't understand. My rating reflects the fact that Les Leopold made the boring and inscrutable world of finance clear and readable for a total ignoramus like myself. Not only that, he made it into a page turner.
I am not qualified to tell you if the conclusions made by Mr. Leopold are correct, or whether they are in some way biased or ideologically driven. However, he makes a very compelling case, and if what he says is true at all, it must give each and every American pause. Scratch that, it must give each and every GLOBAL citizen pause. If even a fraction of what he says is true, then we are in need of some very serious reforms in the global marketplace. I agree with the "tax per trade" idea like they have in Great Britain for starters.
I don't think that this book is either "liberal" or "conservative" in its outlook, and I think that no matter what your political preference, you will find this book to be enlightening. So if you are a "tea partier" or an "occupy Wall Street" person, you may be protesting the very same issue without knowing it. But you can bet your bottom dollar that there are people in power that want to keep the left hating the right and vice-versa while they laugh all the way to the bank. So go ahead-- keep sniping about your fellow Americans on Facebook while your country gets stolen out from under your noses.