Jurassic Park has been a reread for me and I have to admit that I have forgotten some plot points, especially towards the end of the novel. And I have to say that I didn´t like this book as much this time around (my initial star rating being 4 stars).
Sure, it´s fastpaced and actionpacked and personally I enjoyed the (sometimes ridiculous) scientific explanations that Michael Crichton comes up with.
But there are a few characters that annoyed me immensely in this novel:
1. Lex. Whoever thought it´s a good idea to include bratty children in books, made a huge mistake. Here are two of my favorite conversations between Lex and her brother during a life and death situation:
There was a static crackle. He turned, and saw Lex holding a radio. She was twisting the knobs and dials. "How does it work?" she said. "I can´t make it work."
"Give me that!"
"It´s mine! I found it!"
"Give it to me, Lex!"
"I get to use it first!"
Tim has to find the right control button to swith the power on and thus safe all of them. In search of the right switch:
Over the radio, they heard the sound of raptor snarling. "I want to see," Lex said. "You should try VIEW."
"Well, I want view," she said. And before he could grab her hand, she had pressed view. The screen changed.
Lex is so stupid, the dinosaurs can´t even be bothered to snack on her.
2. The incessant ramblings of Ian Malcolm. At first he was entertaining, but then he turned into a rambling doomsday preacher.
3. John Hammond, who acts like a demented santa claus throughout the whole novel. He is an insufferable idiot.
Jurassic Park is an okay read, but I prefer the movie to the novel.
"He´s going away!" Lex squealed, clapping her hands. "He´s going away! Naah-naah-na-na-naah! Stupid dinosaur!"
I wonder, do obnoxious children taste bad or why hasn´t she been eaten by the T-Rex already? An eight year old child should know the concept of shutting up when a huge dinosaur is trying to eat you.
Colonel Race has arrived and it´s possible that he and Mrs Van Shuyler are siblings, they just don´t know it yet. Suchet uses almost the exact same voice for both of the characters with the exception that Colonel Race sounds like he has a badly fitted denture or front teeth like a rabbit. I have to admit, though, that I find Mrs Van Shuyler the more annoying one out of these two.
Robert Forester is depressed and the only thing that makes him feel better is to observe a young girl through her kitchen window at night. Robert stalking this woman is only the starting point of a novel, which in true Patricia Highsmith style is dark, twisted and deeply disturbing.
As in other Highsmith novels the life of a (seemingly?) ordinary guy takes a turn for the worse after making a wrong decision and throughout this book I sat on the edge of my seat, never knowing what´s going to happen next. And I love Highsmiths character and especially in this novel, she shows that evil lies in everyone of us, whether it´s someone you know or a complete stranger.
I can´t say that it is a particularly enjoyable read. As a matter of fact, it completely freaked me out. But it certainly is a brilliant Highsmith novel. Terrifying indeed.
Suchet´s voice for Miss Van Schuyler sounds like a chainsaw ... or fingernails on a chalkboard.
Themis, is this the voice that made you clench your teeth while listening to the audiobook?
"One must be strong," went on Mrs. Otterbourne, wagging the turban emphatically. "Strong meat - that is what my books are. Libraries may ban them - no matter! I speak the truth. Sex - ah! Monsieur Poirot - why is everyone so afraid of sex? The pivot of the universe! You have read my books?"
"Alas, Madame! You comprehend, I do not read many novels. My work -"
I had to chuckle while listening to this conversation. Poor Poirot. I have to admit, though, that I would love to see him reading Mrs. Otterbournes novel:
It was entitled Under the Fig Tree, by Salome Otterbourne. It still bore its original jacket, a gaily coloured affair representing a lady with smartly schingled hair and scarlet fingernails sitting on a tiger skin in the traditional costume of eve. Above her was a tree with leaves of an oak, bearing large and improbably coloured apples.
I like to think that Poirot keeps his books in a pristine condition, but I guess in this case, he will take the dust jacket off.
This book makes me anxious, primarily because Patricia Highsmith harps on a fear that possibly most human beings might have:
Deeply disturbing and harrowing. As much as I want to finish this book tonight, I need a break from it. Otherwise I don´t think I´m going to fall asleep.
I enjoyed listening to the audiobook of The Alienist, a story about a serial killer in New York of the year 1896. Essentially this novel combines historical facts, forensics, psychology and good old plain detective work and for the most part it is a compelling read.
I´m pretty sure that I would have struggled with reading the book instead of listening to it, though. There were some dragging parts to the narrative and usually it is easier for me to power through these passages while listening to it. And yet I even struggled with the passages while doing exactly that.
Another thing that bothered me about this book was the lack of character developement. I haven´t gotten the impression that anyones behaviour has changed one bit throughout the story. This could be because the story is told in retrospect by one of the main characters, but still, the lack of character growth didn´t sit well with me. I´m just expecting a bit more from a book with 500 pages. And I have to admit that I really disliked Lazlo Kreizler, the alienist, towards the end of the novel.
I´ve listened to the audiobook, narrated by George Guidall, and I really enjoyed listening to his narration. I think I have made the right choice by listening to this book instead of reading it.
I´ve read this book for the Serial / Spree Killer square for the halloween bingo.
Since today is a bank holiday in Germany, I decided to get lost in a Patricia Highsmith novel. So far we have the main character Robert, who stalks a woman, because she seems to be perfectly at ease with her life and the house she lives in:
But the second and third times he had seen her, at two- or three-weeks intervals, he had realized what he liked, and that was the girl´s placid temperament, her obvious affection for her rather ramshackle house, her contentment with her life. All this he could see through the kitchen window.
His pleasure in watching her, he realized, was very much connected with the house. He liked her domesticity, liked to see her take pleasure in putting up curtains and hanging pictures. He liked her best pottering around in the kitchen, which was fortunate, as the kitchen had three windows and all the windows were somewhat shielded by trees that gave him concealment. There was also on the property a small tool house six feet high, plus the broken-down basketball goal at the end of the driveway, which had provided a screen for him once when her boy friend had come up the driveway with his headlights blazing.
Highsmith is the best at creating disturbing characters.
Well, the main chararcter, Constance Langton, is a complete moron.
For the last 40 pages this book has taken a complete nose dive, so at the moment I´m not a happy reader.
The Seance is really good so far. I love the atmosphere that John Harwood creates with his writing and the way the novel is structured kind of reminds me of Wilkie Collins´ works.
And it´s a book that could be used for a variety of squares:
There is a haunted house, there are ghosts and supernatural elements in the story, the house is surrounded by a dark and gloomy wood, it fits the horror genre and the gothic square, a huge part of the story takes place in London (even though the haunted house is outside of London) and since the book has been published in 2008 it fits the "Modern Masters of Horror" square as well. It could even fit the locked room mystery square, although I don´t think that it would be the perfect book for that one.
I decided to go for the haunted house square with this novel.
The small town of Lymstock gets terrorized by a person, who sends out poison pen letters to the inhabitants of the village. At first the villagers consider the letters to be of no importance, but this changes when one of the recipients of the letters dies.
I neither loved The Moving Finger nor did I dislike it. Overall it was an okay read, with a plot that won´t make a lasting impression on me.
I liked the gossipy nature of the small town setting and the poison pen letter plot and I enjoyed the brother-sister relationsship between Jerry and Joanna. I could have done without the romance plot, which wasn´t a very convincing one. Overall I don´t think that Christie is good at writing romances, which makes me want to pick up one of her romance novels in the near future. Just to see if my assessment is right.
My biggest complain about this book is that it is called a Miss Marple novel, even though Miss Marple only makes an appearance in about 10 pages of the novel. Of course, during this short amount of the time she is responsibly for solving the case and all the other characters (especially the police officers) are apparently too stupid to solve the crime themselves. I know, I know, that´s the way Miss Marple operates, but in this book it bugged me a lot.
I´ve read this book for the "Terror in a small town" square for the halloween bingo and since the person, who writes the letters, is wreaking havoc in the Lymstock, it´s a perfect fit for that square.