Wintersalen Sale
 
 

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to PowellsBooks.news
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Tour our stores

Customer Comments

Gypsi has commented on (98) products.

The Mutilation of the Herms by Debra Hamel
The Mutilation of the Herms

Gypsi, August 4, 2012

In this short work, Hamel writes succinctly and humorously about the an unsettling event for the citizens of ancient Athens--the night that most of the herms (priapic statues of the Greek god Hermes)were vandalized. Hamel explains why this incident was important and gives an interesting account of the both the response of Athens and the possible reasons for the vandalism. This is a quick and fascinating read, which is happily accessible to the layperson.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)



The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood
The Penelopiad

Gypsi, June 26, 2011


The Penelopiad is a retelling of the Iliad and the Odyssey from Penelope's point of view. It is told in first person by Penelope, thousands of years after the event as she drifts through Hades, and by the twelve maids who serve as a sort of Greek chorus, telling their version in a variety of ways from poetry to rhyme to courtroom drama. Atwood turns the traditional story of Odysseus around on it's ear, when she makes Penelope the center of the tale. New angles and possibilities arise, both from Penelope's telling and from the accusations of the maids. Odysseus's twenty year absence becomes, not a rousing adventure tale, but a burdensome trial for a wife to bear and Atwood skillfully takes the reader through a spectrum of emotions as Penelope and the maids deal with this ordeal.

A knowledge of Greek mythology and Homer's original tale is a must to appreciate the changes, both subtle and dramatic, that Atwood has made. Without that background, I doubt the reader would find any enjoyment in this novel.


Atwood's talent is clear in The Penelopiad as she deftly uses a variety of narrative styles. The result is a retelling that is at times shocking in it's difference, and believable enough to become entangled with the original, leaving the reader questioning.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)



In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Erik Larson
In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin

Gypsi, May 31, 2011


In the Garden of Beasts is an amazing book. It is a nonfiction account that reads with the ease and entertainment of a good novel. When I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about it. When I was reading it, I was engrossed.

Larson uses letters, journals and papers to tell the story of William Dodd, U.S. Ambassador to Germany in the thirties, of his daughter (Martha), and of Hitler's rise viewed through their eyes. Martha, socialite and party to many romantic escapades, found herself in a position to garner information that the Ambassador couldn't know and become the center of several intrigues herself. As for Ambassador Dodd, as he became more disillusioned with (and ultimately more fully aware of) Hitler's Germany, he became more of an outcast with the "in crowd" of the State Department, creating an entirely different, but important, conspiracy of sorts.

Despite knowing the ultimate outcome of the Dodds' adventure, In the Garden of Beasts is still a page turner and thoroughly fascinating. It was with reluctance that I turned the last page, and said good bye to these people that had consumed my mind so completely.

Larson's apparently has the ability to write a biographical account in such a way that makes it more enjoyable than most fiction. (I've not read The Devil in the White City, but that has been moved to the top of my to-read list.) I can not recommend this enough, regardless of your interest in the subject. My initial interest was not high, but I came away with new understanding and knowledge of the time period, US and German politics, and ultimately, human nature. In the Garden of Beasts is a must read.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(7 of 14 readers found this comment helpful)



In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Erik Larson
In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin

Gypsi, May 31, 2011


In the Garden of Beasts is an amazing book. It is a nonfiction account that reads with the ease and entertainment of a good novel. When I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about it. When I was reading it, I was engrossed.

Larson uses letters, journals and papers to tell the story of William Dodd, U.S. Ambassador to Germany in the thirties, of his daughter (Martha), and of Hitler's rise viewed through their eyes. Martha, socialite and party to many romantic escapades, found herself in a position to garner information that the Ambassador couldn't know and become the center of several intrigues herself. As for Ambassador Dodd, as he became more disillusioned with (and ultimately more fully aware of) Hitler's Germany, he became more of an outcast with the "in crowd" of the State Department, creating an entirely different, but important, conspiracy of sorts.

Despite knowing the ultimate outcome of the Dodds' adventure, In the Garden of Beasts is still a page turner and thoroughly fascinating. It was with reluctance that I turned the last page, and said good bye to these people that had consumed my mind so completely.

Larson's apparently has the ability to write a biographical account in such a way that makes it more enjoyable than most fiction. (I've not read The Devil in the White City, but that has been moved to the top of my to-read list.) I can not recommend this enough, regardless of your interest in the subject. My initial interest was not high, but I came away with new understanding and knowledge of the time period, US and German politics, and ultimately, human nature. In the Garden of Beasts is a must read.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(8 of 13 readers found this comment helpful)



Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
Oryx and Crake

Gypsi, April 2, 2011

When Oryx and Crake first opens, the reader meets the narrator (Snowman) and is immediately aware that there has been a disaster of gigantic proportions. The information about Snowman's past and this event trickle slowly, through his reflections and memories, at first more tantalizing and mysterious than informational and explanatory. By the time Oryx and Crake is finished, everything has become crystal clear for the reader, through a delightful process of hints, deductions and knowledge told outright, and then Atwood laughs at the self-satisfied reader with yet another conundrum as it ends. If you have read The Handmaid's Tale then you are familiar with this particular delicious style of Atwood's. Oryx and Crake delivers a fully satisfying, if often unsettling, reading experience.

I can't say that I "enjoyed" all of the novel, as the pre-apocalyptic world of Oryx and Crake is one not so much an alternate reality but a possible future was unnerving to me. Kiddie porn sites and snuff films are common viewing material for even young teens. The division between classes has become such that the elite live in guarded compounds which are like small cities. Personal freedoms have been lost, or more accurately, cheerfully given up; scientific discovery, often frightening and unnatural, has become the most important advancement for society. Probably the scariest part of the book is the close resemblance to our current society, and the question that poses of just how easy would it be to find ourselves in that situation, led their by the banner of "progress".

Oryx and Crake is a thrilling, terrifying and often uncomfortable read. It is not for the faint of heart or apathetic of mind, but makes excellent material for much thought and discussion.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)



1-5 of 98next
spacer
spacer
  • back to top

FOLLOW US ON...

     
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.