Coming back to Maupin’s San Francisco is like going home after a really long vacation. There’s something comforting and something genuinely nice about being back on Barbary Lane. (See the first quote under Additional Quotes).
I can’t believe it’s been almost three years since I binge read Tales of the City, More Tales of the City, Further Tales of the City and Babycakes. And like everyone else who has ever read a single one of The Tales of the city books, I’m finally taking the time to catch up on the series, which has spanned five decades so that I can read the final (I’m assuming) novel in the series The Days of Anna Madrigal released at the beginning of 2014. I won’t binge read them, but they’re such quick reads I plan to read them all this year.
After seeing this on Heather’s blog Between the Covers (direct link to her review) and seeing her recommend it to many other people over the intervening years and knowing we have similar book tastes I knew I needed to read this novel.
This was a fascinating take on (post) identity politics in a (potentially) war-torn country. It was incredibly difficult to decide how much was seriousness, criticism, sarcasm or some other commentary. I had a brief conversation with Heather about the book because I was so confused as I started reading it that I thought it might be a translation. In the end I felt Veselka did a great job but I’m still not quite sure what form of commentary she was using. The combination of the identity politics versus the environmental (both natural and manmade) issues made for a really interesting read. Veselka’s writing and story telling reminded me of a less controlled and less refined Margaret Atwood, so of course I was going to enjoy it.
My first, of what I hope to be numerous, library book of 2014! I trekked through the sub-freezing weather last week after finishing Blindness to grab this from the library. And although not as stark or disturbing as the first book, Seeing left me in just as much confusion and distress. Saramago is clearly a master at speculative fiction and created a second work in what I could only hope would have been a trilogy, but unfortunately Saramago died in 2010.
This novel takes place four years after the events in Blindness and this is fascinating because the first mention of the “white plague” by the omniscient narrator is on page 77 and the first mention by a character isn’t until page 157 (almost exactly half way through the novel). I actually had to stop around page 30 to read the premise of this novel again to make sure I hadn’t imagined this was a sequel.
My friend Dominic recommended this book ages ago and I’m so glad he did! After thoroughly enjoying The Velvet Rage I knew his reference would be worth it and I’d put it off long enough so bumped it up on my list.
First response to this book: what a way to start 2014! I can’t wait to hear what It definitely makes me wonder if this will remain one of the top books of 2014. I read 1Q84 in January of 2013 and it was one of my top five books. Finishing this book inspired me to immediately go out (and brave the sub-freezing temperatures) to pick up Seeing, the sequel.
The book starts out pretty slow, and considering the lack of action and movement throughout the world, moves surprisingly rapid after that. The basic premise is similar to any plague-type novel starts with patient zero (we assume) and slowly expand out, the difference is rather than a traditional plague people go blind for no reason and with no physical manifestations other than blindness. If you want a longer description of the novel check out this 1998 NYTimes summary.
As with my most re-reads of The Hunger Games and Catching Fire I’m realizing (once again) how much things change between re-reads based on where you are in your life, what you’re doing in life and any other number of uncontrollable factors. Looking back on my original review in September 2010, I see that my thoughts haven’t changed too much, but my understanding and appreciation of Collins’ storytelling/building has increased.
I’ll go ahead and get my major gripe of Catching Fire and Mockingjay out-of-the-way: these were not two books, they were one book that was split into two. They had to have been! And I can’t imagine the movie studio splitting the third book into two films unless they are going to add in a lot of additional information that is missing from the series. I mean sure, the books have contained beginnings, middles and ends, but the two books cannot stand alone because their plots are in essence the same plot. In comparison you have the encapsulated first novel. As with the last two reviews don’t read past here if you don’t want anything revealed! (AKA SPOILERS!)
As with my recent re-read of The Hunger Games and going back to re-read my original review of Catching Fire back in 2010, I realized how much my blog has changed over the past three years. (I’ve also realized how poorly proofed my old posts are. Seriously go back and read some of them and laugh at my horrible editing! I used ‘one’ instead of ‘won’ and have ‘wont” instead of ‘won’t’ at one point. As I said in that review, DON’T READ PAST THIS POINT IF YOU DON’T WANT ANYTHING RUINED.
If one of the novels had more potential than any of the others, this is it and this is most evident in the way the writers were able to create an AMAZING film out of a mediocre book. And as with the book itself I wished the movie would’ve spent more time in the arena itself rather than on the outside of the arena, but both the book and movie did have to set up the third book.
The Hunger Games Trilogy was one of the first books I reviewed when I started The Oddness of Moving Things and it was the first book recommended through my suggest a book page. I of course re-read this series with all of the hype surrounding the release of Catching Fire and I’m very glad I did. I blew through the trilogy in just over 72 hours (so similar to lat time).
What is most interesting looking back at my original review is how much my reviews/responses have changed. It seems like in 2010 I was more interested in providing a recap of the books rather than a response to the books. I don’t think there is anything wrong with it and honestly I’m sure it was exactly what I needed (something to organize my thoughts and keep me going while looking for a job), but it’s funny naturally things have changed to a regurgitation/thought explosion of my thoughts on a book, or series, or more often than not some random comment on Goodreads or Amazon that ticked me off.