Thursday Quotables – #14

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Hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies, Thursday Quotables is the place
to highlight a great quote, line, or passage discovered
during your reading each week.

This week’s quote:

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Some women had that thing, that ability to insert themselves directly into life – and look so good doing it. They weren’t observers; they were in the middle of the action.  They were… alive.

- L. Marie Adeline, SECRET: A Novel

I need to get more of that back into my life.  What line caught your attention this week?

Thursday Quotables – #13

quotation-marks4
Hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies, Thursday Quotables is the place
to highlight a great quote, line, or passage discovered
during your reading each week.

This week’s quote:

Dianetics started as a system, not a church.  But then Hubbard realized…

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In addition to tax advantages, religion supplies a commodity that is always in demand: salvation.

- Lawrence Wright, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief

So tell me, what line made you nod in agreement this week?

Thursday Quotables – #12

quotation-marks4
Hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies, Thursday Quotables is the place
to highlight a great quote, line, or passage discovered
during your reading each week.

I’m back, huzzah!  The wedding was amazing and wonderful and perfect in practically every day.  I couldn’t have asked for a better day.  It’s back to the workaday world… which means I can read on my commute, yea!

This week’s quote:

Quick set up: an English teacher at a troubled school gives an essay test – “Why do we study mythology?” One student replies:

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The reason we study mythology is to gain tolerance for others even if they don’t deserve it.

- Bel Kaufman, Up the Down Staircase

So tell me, what line made you stop and think this week?

Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

11337018Title: The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Genre: Fantasy
Published: September 2011 by Anchor
Format: ebook
Source: library
Amazon | Indiebound | Goodreads

From Goodreads:

The circus arrives at night, without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within nocturnal black and white striped tents awaits a unique experience, a feast for the senses, where one can get lost in a maze of clouds, meander through a lush garden made of ice, stand awestruck as a tattooed contortionist folds herself into a small glass box, and gaze in wonderment at an illusionist performing impossible feats of magic.

Review:

Simply amazing. It’s been a long time that there’s been a book I’m reluctant to finish because I don’t want to leave the world that’s been constructed for me. The language is rich and beautiful, dripping with symbolism and hidden meanings. I’m looking forward to rereading this book in six months or a year to uncover layers that I missed the first time ’round.

The synopsis didn’t exactly grab me – two young magicians are trained from a very young age to participate in a game only their instructors seem to grasp the scale of. Nor did the characters, with a couple of exceptions, forcefully drag me into the story. Instead it was the world that captivated me. I would love to visit this circus, to marvel at its wonders and partake in its delights. When I was ushered out of the front gate at the end of the book it felt like a true loss… I’ll be back, but sadly I can only retrace my previous steps.

If you like immersive worlds, rich prose, themes and symbolism you can really sink into, and being led along even though you’re not exactly sure where you’ll end up, this is the perfect book for you. If you are curious and still have your sense of wonder you will lose yourself in its pages. If you like an A to C through B plot and have little patience for nuance, don’t bother.

Some notes on the medium – I read this as an e-book but I desperately wish I had a physical version instead. The timeline does some interesting things and I found myself turning to past chapters to compare dates quite a bit. There are also some foreshadowing passages I liked rereading once the corresponding section was over… both of these were hard to do on an e-reader. There were also many times I would see a reference and think, “Oh, I saw this before!” but grew frustrated before I could find it again. If you have a choice kill some trees and read it on paper.

The reader’s guide actually has some great questions in it – if you’re like me and just can’t let the world go it provides interesting food for thought.

Review: Tales from Q School by John Feinstein

Q SchoolTitle: Tales from Q School: Inside Golf’s Fifth Major
Author: John Feinstein
Genre: Non-Fiction, Sports
Published: May 2007 by Little, Brown, and Company
Format: ebook
Source: library
Amazon | Indiebound | Goodreads

Review:

First clue I made a mistake picking up this book – I didn’t know how many majors there are in golf.  I’m a sports fan and appreciate watching the Masters on TV but was left scratching my head, “The fifth major… out of six, maybe?” (Nope, there’s four.)

It only went downhill from there.

This book tries to follow the course of one Q School, the PGA’s qualifying tournament. Feinstein is so loosey goosey with his narrative, though, it’s hard to tell there’s any through line at all. Each chapter is filled with stories about players struggling through the three round tourney but most fall into one of two camps:

- Young hotshot gets into the PGA tour easily the first time, then ends up back in the Q School of Hard Knocks

or

- Older, established player becomes injured or otherwise loses their swing, requiring them to go back to Q School even though they were great

After a few chapters it felt like I was reading reruns. Add in Teflon names that just wouldn’t stick (from one page: Steve, Jeff, Joe, Brad, Patrick, Garrett, another Steve) and it was reruns.

Feinstein’s memory seemed to fail him at times, as well, such as telling the story of Mize’s amazing Masters shot no fewer than three times while leaving out helpful clues when a player reappeared. A little intro like, “so-and-so, the mini tour player that injured his back so dramatically,” or whatever, would have helped immeasurably. If it weren’t for the two Japanese guys in the pack or I wouldn’t have remembered anyone.

This book may have a little value for those who are already deep in the sport but lay people should stay far, far away.

Thursday Quotables – #11

quotation-marks4
Hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies, Thursday Quotables is the place
to highlight a great quote, line, or passage discovered
during your reading each week.

This week’s quote:

I’m reading non-fiction again, yea! Before I get to the quote - ramp meters are those stoplights that tell you when you can merge onto a busy freeway. They’re annoying, but engineer types swear by them.

Got it? Read on!

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In 1999, a state senator from Minnesota, claiming that ramp metering in the Twin Cities was doing more harm than good, launched a “Freedom to Drive” proposal that called for, among other things, shutting down the meters. The legislation died, but under another bill a ramp meter “holiday” was declared. For two months the meters were turned off…. And what happened? The system got worse. Speeds dropped, travel times went up. One study showed that certain highway sections had double the productivity with ramp meters than without. The meters went back on.

- Tom Vanderbilt, Traffic

Take that, know-it-all politician man! I love how, by giving people what they wanted, they could realize how awesome the previous system was.  Huzzah ramp meters! And roundabouts! And bulb outs! Woo!

I hope I have time to write the review for this book because I’m soooo going to Urban Planning geek out on you guys. :D

So tell me, what line caught your attention this week?

Review: Allegiant by Veronica Roth

17406183Title: Allegiant (Divergent #3)
Author: Veronica Roth
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopia
Published: October 22, 2013 by  Katherine Tegen Books
Format: ebook
Source: library
Amazon | Indiebound | Goodreads

Review:

I don’t know if I told you guys, but I’m getting married in a couple weeks and my life is kinda jumbled up and crazy.

~runs around arms flailing, Kermit-style~

So I present a review that matches my current state of mind – many thoughts about many different things. No spoilers, though.

First – I went to look at reviews on Goodreads to see what other people thought and with all the upvoted cover reveals and “OMG IT’S COMING” posts it was hard to find anything of substance. This is why the current system needs to be changed, people. Reviews containing nothing more than a GIF, the cover, and squeeing need to be stopped somehow.

Are you figuring out how to do that? Good. I’ll move on.

Second – Allegiant is all plot and will make zero sense if you didn’t read the previous books. I thought I’d be able to catch up in the first few chapters but woah, I forgot how many people died. “Here’s so and so, whose brother died.” “Here’s this other person, who lost all kinds of friends.” “Here’s another guy, who stabbed people back in book one.”

Oi.

Third – As in book two we alternate PoV between Tris and Four.  It wouldn’t be too bad… but they sound exactly the same.  And they’re often in the same room.  As if I need more brain scrambling!

Fourth – A lot of people don’t like the ending, but it didn’t bother me – everyone acted in character and did what needed to be done. It’s not a plot choice you see taken often, but it works.

Fifth – There’s an epilogue. I hate epilogues. This one was better than most, but seeing the “x years later” still killed me.

Thinking about reading Divergent but not sure if the series is worth it?  Here’s my rundown:

Book one is a fun, interesting dystopia that shows a lot of promise.  Book two is an angst fest that loses its inventiveness and made me dislike characters I previously loved.  The plot will drag you into reading book three… at which point you may have to give up on the characters and slog through just to find out how it ends.

My advice is to either stay away from the series or just read book one… if you can.