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hthayer has commented on (4) products.

Angelmaker (Vintage Contemporaries) by Nick Harkaway
Angelmaker (Vintage Contemporaries)

hthayer, March 3, 2014

I am so torn about this book -- I loved it and yet I have one overwhelming complaint that compels me to give it only three stars.

First, the good: This book is deliciously well written, with virtually every sentence, every paragraph a tumbling glory of words that are enough to make any bibliophile smile and laugh aloud at the sheer clever audacity of the language.

The bad: The words become an avalanche that bury the story, the tangents and the clever asides, the rollicking similes and metaphors (what does an accordion falling into porridge sound like, anyway?), the over-the-top character and place descriptions build and build until the reader is helpless against the onslaught. The world building was wonderful and the few characters who I could clearly keep ahold of were well-developed and interesting. I think that the story was interesting too, but I don't know because I was so lost at the end that I could barely figure out what was happening. Characters came and went to reappear thousands of words and worlds later without reintroduction with the expectation that I would remember everything about them and their backstory, which is somehow critical to the action, but I don't know because I am lost in yet another paragraph that is busy circling around to pat itself on the back with its own cleverness.

I wouldn't want to give up on the wonderful language, but it would have been helpful if, at the end of every chapter, there had been a recap that told me what had actually happened or if when a character reappeared after a long absence there had been a note in the margin that would remind me who they were.

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The Sense of an Ending (Vintage International) by Julian Barnes
The Sense of an Ending (Vintage International)

hthayer, February 10, 2013

Self-absorbed, pompous, pretentious twaddle. Just because words sound impressive and seem inscrutable doesn't make it great literature if the words, once examined, don't actually MEAN anything. Nothing about the story, the characters or the writing will make up for the 3 hours of my life lost to this ponderous exercise in public self-gratification. The only way that I can possibly forgive the author is if I were to discover that he was having us on and wanted to figure out if people would actually buy meaningless nonsense if it were dressed up in enough impressive-sounding words.
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Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson
Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir

hthayer, April 26, 2012

This is the perfect bathroom book. Now, let's be clear on how I feel about Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess: I have followed her blog for a while and I find her witty, potty-mouth geeky humor to be chokingly funny. I find her quest to get celebrities to hold twine (c'mon Nathan Fillion) hilarious. I admire her courage in being up front about her struggles with anxiety and depression and the fact that she continually turns her crazy ideas into fundraising for charities. Her exhortation to live life to the fullest and be Furiously Happy should be a mantra for all of us. So to say that I was excited to get this book is an understatement. And I think it belongs in the bathroom.

First, as much as I love Jenny, her writing has to be sipped in small doses. Just as one shouldn't drink whiskey by the pint, any more than a chapter at a time can be overwhelming. So you should keep it some place where you won't be tempted to drink the whole thing at once. Also, it is so funny that you might need to pee, and if you are already close to the proper facilities, that is all for the best.
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Soulless (Parasol Protectorate #1) by Gail Carriger
Soulless (Parasol Protectorate #1)

hthayer, September 4, 2011

At first I was dubious when my friends were recommending this series, after all, vampires and werewolves tend to make for juvenile reading and generally pretty bad writing. But once they mentioned that dirigibles were involved, I decided to give these books a try. These are simply So Much Fun! Well written steampunk with Victorian manners, a smattering of sex and romance (tasteful, of course) together with vampires and werewolves makes for a highly entertaining read. The world that the author has created is believable and fun and she is a gifted author who knows how to turn a good phrase.
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