eels! i picked this book up with only a mild interest; when i put it down, i had developed a bona fide fascination with eels. an excellent read, engaging and informative, with historical, social, economic, biological and gastronomical context.
interesting for a while, if you enjoy trivia. however, this book is written in a looser, more "rollicking" style than the previous book, Stiff. in some ways, Spook is more a comedy of manners and less a book about investigating the possibility of the afterlife. i didn't finish it. hopefully mary roach will emerge from her sophomore slump with something even more clever, even more controversial, than her lovely first book.
maybe a tad too long, but generally riveting, gory, and enjoyable. (caution: do not read while eating.) zombie uprising tie-ins with actual world history make it especially good/chilling. the documented cases of zombie attacks towards the end of the book was the most exciting section after the fascinating/disgusting "zombie physiology". glad to know that the sequel is an oral history of the zombie war! that's totally next on my list.
Sebold starts her book on a gripping, gory, horrific note - and then seems to spend the rest of the novel making up for that edginess with chick-lit-inspired serendipity and miracles. However, lovely literary turns of phrase and adroit use of metaphors and similes make the text itself a pleasure to read. The antagonist, Mr. Harvey, feels one-dimensional; there is no room in this book for him to be anything less than purely evil. He is real, in the sense that he is eating green grapes and building doll houses. But he is not a multi-faceted and thus credible character. Even with an omniscient point of view, the reader is not shown how Mr. Harvey becomes entirely evil. At one point did the innocent boy of his flashbacks turn into a serial killer? This is a lost opportunity in the book, I feel. Despite coming up short when compared to Lolita or The End of Alice, Sebold's imagery makes the text pleasant and more page-turning than not. One caveat: with all the heavenly storms of flowers mentioned, and all the sweet teenage coming of age, I can see this movie relying on some deft CGI to turn out a celestially-powered thriller/chickflick blockbuster.
the rather fascinating story of how oysters and new york city developed together, and how they changed the "natural" landscape of early america. kurlansky is an excellent writer; read this book and find new respect for an industrious mollusk.
truly edifying information that dropped my jaw on multiple occasions. however, i think the book is a little bit too long. just a tad. but those who loved The Botany of Desire won't be disappointed with Omnivore.
an accessible, visual way to get a handle on well-labeled data about global warming and climate change. the family anecdotes from al gore's life felt sort of thrown in, but i can see why having them in the book is a good move - people are always calling al gore stiff, unemotional, cardboard, etc. but who cares about charisma when the man can fit an enormous amount of useful data into a book that's *easily readable and absorbable*, with lots of arresting photographs. charts are labeled, sources are cited. i dunno. i think this is a dazzling reach-out to a broad spectrum of people, including the folks who don't read that much; it looks like a coffee-table book, but it actually contains substansive and useful data! and that's really an achievement. i'm glad i read it and i'm glad al gore is around, doing what he does. maybe we can all pull ourselves together and avoid a global cataclysm for another hundred years or so.
Lovely, meditative reading on how animals survive the north woods' winters. Includes information on dormancy, torpor, hibernation, "antifreeze" in blood, etc. Animals discussed include weasels/ermine, kinglets, chipmunks, moths, bees, and many others. My favorite section involved the goings-on of mice living in the sub-nivean (under-snow) zone. This is an Intriguing, well-written book that brings a much-needed chill to any sweltering summer day.