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Interviews | March 17, 2014

Shawn Donley: IMG Peter Stark: The Powells.com Interview

Peter StarkIt's hard to believe that 200 years ago, the Pacific Northwest was one of the most remote and isolated regions in the world. In 1810, four years... Continue »
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Zmrzlina has commented on (20) products.

Eating Crow: A Novel of Apology by Jay Rayner
Eating Crow: A Novel of Apology

Zmrzlina, October 26, 2007

Restaurant review results in roasted restauranteur. Okay, so not restauranteur. Chef. But he also owned the restaurant. And the reviewer responsible for the chef roasted himself in his own oven, with a copy of the review tape to the door of same oven, decides that maybe he has been too harsh and apologies to the widow. And that feels so good, he decides to apologize to everyone he has every cause pain or misery. And that goes so well, he is tapped to be Chief Apologist for a new organization within the United Nations. Sound a bit over-the-top? It is, but it is also mostly delightful.

The apologies are deliciously themed (the author is a real life restaurant reviewer and knows his food), and the story moves along quite nicely. There is a good deal about the father/son relationship, as well as brotherly love. I adore stories with a male point of view and this one does it without too much testosterone or frat boy goofiness.

The ending goes a bit awry... I think the author decided he needed to toss in more testosterone. But all in all, I think this is a very entertaining read. Looking forward to reading more from Raynor.
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(4 of 9 readers found this comment helpful)

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Sijie Dai
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

Zmrzlina, October 22, 2007

A story that transports the reader through time and awakens the magic that is reading. Two young men sent off for "re-education" during the Chinese Cultural Revolution find their education in strange places. Elegant and finely stitched narrative.
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(9 of 18 readers found this comment helpful)

Michael Rosen's Sad Book by Michael Rosen and Quentin Blake
Michael Rosen's Sad Book

Zmrzlina, October 22, 2007

I stumbled on this book in the "aging" section at a chain bookstore. It really has nothing at all to do with aging. It has everything to do with death and sadness. It is never sentimental. It is a brutal, honest and beautiful look at grief and sadness.

Perhaps too intense for young child, though fine for middle school and older. And perfect for the adult who would sooner swallow knives than pick up any of the sappy grief books that sell so well in the chain bookstore... the "chicken soup for the grieving soul" sort of books that have a silver lining behind every sadness.
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(12 of 23 readers found this comment helpful)

The Thin Place by Kathryn Davis
The Thin Place

Zmrzlina, October 7, 2007

I started out not enjoying this book, then decided it was quite interesting, but the last chapter ruined it all for me.

The story of a young girl who has the gift of bringing people back from the dead is interspersed with the stories of others who are intimately linked to her life by virtue of living in a small town. Davis uses the ephemera of daily living... the police log, a long dead teacher's journal, nature almanac and horoscopes... to detail the events of one summer in a small New England town. She also pulls in all sorts of religious iconography to add to the mysticism.

The climax is abrupt, especially after so slow a build up, but that didn't bother me as such an event would be abrupt in reality. What bothers me is the climax leads to a too quick ending that neatly ties up lives that would have been better left to the reader's imagination.
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(7 of 13 readers found this comment helpful)

The Highest Tide by Jim Lynch
The Highest Tide

Zmrzlina, October 6, 2007

I am not a huge fan of coming-of-age stories (after To Kill A Mockingbird, why bother writing another!) but this one caught my attention because Rachel Carson has a role and my city, Pittsburgh, just named a bridge for her. Also, it takes place on the Washington coast, an area of the US I'm keen on visiting.

The story is fast moving and very interesting (lots of marine biology delivered without lecture). A bit too metaphysical in places for my taste, but that is done sort of tongue in cheek and it is easy enough not to take it too seriously. You can't help but love Miles, the protagonist. He is so strangely familiar, perhaps because he is the angst in all of us when on the brink of adulthood. A fine debut novel and I hope the author makes a sophomore effort.
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(16 of 32 readers found this comment helpful)

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