I have to disagree slightly with the previous review. I am an Austen fan, and learned much of what I know about customs and manners of the time by reading her novels, plus a few other authors. I found that too many things were annotated and it distracted from the novel too much. I did enjoy descriptions of carriages (with drawings!) and fire screens, for example, as well as other objects of the day that we no longer see. Some of the notes on what actions by characters were typical of the time were useful. But there were too many definitions of words that I think most Austen readers already understand. Some even fit with modern usage and yet the book defines them in a note. If you've read an Austen novel but were confused about it, this will most likely help. If you feel confident reading Austen, it may not be worth it.
If you're an Austen fan, you might be tempted to pick up this "last novel", as I was. It was a reasonable read, but if you're in the mood for Austen, it falls just short. Keep in mind that Jane Austen wrote less than 1/4 of this book, the rest completed by "another lady" (as credited on the cover). She does a decent job keeping the style and phrasing of Austen, and in general it's a good continuation. The dialogue is fairly well done and through much of the book, you could believe Jane Austen had written it.
But a big part of Austen's charm is her characters and how they develop. Part of the fun of "Pride and Prejudice", for example, is trying to figure out Darcy or Wickham, and seeing where they will go next. The characters in "Sanditon" do not quite measure up. Sidney Parker, for example, is puzzling to us readers, to his family, and to our heroine, Charlotte. But we don't untangle his personality gradually over the course of the book. It's as confusing as ever in the last chapters and then his "true nature" gets steamrolled out in a few paragraphs.
The plot, also, moves into areas that seem very "un-Austen". Austen's books are highly dependent on domestic life, social class and human nature, with plot "action " being secondary. The abrupt plot twists are unlike any I've read in Austen books. The second author's apology at the end shows she tried, and she readily admits she's no Jane Austen. So, an amusing read, but don't count it as another Jane Austen book to read.
When I saw that Anne Lamott had written a new book - this time about her son's first child - I was excited. The first book by her that I read, Operating Instructions, was about the birth of her son. I loved that book, so would this one be as funny, poignant, and true?
Nope. Sorry to say it falls short. Lamott still has her straightforward, hold nothing back style of writing, but somehow this book fell flat. In it, she discusses the events and her often irrational feelings during the first year of her grandson's life. Her now nearly 20 year old son and his girlfriend live close by and so she sees them all often. The usual parade of Lamott friends and relations come in and out of the story as well. Those who have read Lamott's other books also know of her strong Christian faith (however irreverently discussed at times) and that comes up a lot in this book as well.
But mostly what Anne Lamott does her is talk about her grandson. And it isn't more than occasionally funny. What she offers as poignant (the failing health of her uncle), doesn't do the situation justice. Maybe I can't see the truth in this book since I'm not a grandparent, but even the little glimmers of truth don't resonate well. The conflicts and difficulties aren't explored fully and feel flat and dull.
In one part of the book, Lamott complains about those Grandmas that annoy everyone by showing off pictures of the grandkids all the time. Unfortunately, that's pretty much what Lamott is doing with her entire book. I'm sure her grandson is really sweet. But worth reading a whole book? Not really.
Henry and Mudge are fantastic first reading books. They are not too repetitive or boring the way some early readers can be. The drawings are very engaging and the characters have real personality. The author also divides the book into "chapters" making it feel more like a "real book" than a picture book. These are good to read aloud.
This particular book is one of the best. Henry and Mudge explore the world of the elderly and discover just what the great grandpas can do and teach!
This is an important book. Coal mining supports us all since much of our electricity is generated by coal. Coal mining supports much of the Appalachian region with jobs. Modern coal mining is destroying the environment of this area and the health of industry workers and neighbors. And the industry has had the upper hand for decades. All these things are true. This book explores the complicated stories surrounding coal production in West Virginia and the people trying to create change. Read this if you care to learn more about our environment and what is involved in producing our energy.