Skip to main content
PBS logo
 
 

Jessica T. (jessicatok) - Reviews

1 to 20 of 30 - Page:
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Author: Jules Verne, Anthony Bonner (Translator)
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 34
Review Date: 3/22/2007


Different cover, oceanic background with fish swimming in the reflected light of the sun. I can't honestly say I remember reading this book, though I must have during my childhood.


The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Author: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.6/5 Stars.
 7
Review Date: 3/26/2007


Gorgeous black-background hardcover with gold lettering and borders, this Barnes & Noble classics series looks beautiful on a shelf; inviting and generously sized, it's a great read. There is nothing better than a rollicking good Sherlock Holmes mystery and this first book plunges the reader into the depths of Doyle's tales. Featuring "A Scandal in Bohemia, The Red-Headed League, A Case of Identity, The Boscombe Valley Mystery, The Five Orange Pips, The Man with the Twisted Lip, The Blue Carbuncle, The Speckled Band, The Engineer's Thumb, The Noble Bachelor, The Beryl Coronet, and The Copper Breeches," this twelve tale book will keep you guessing.


Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Author: Ian McEwan
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 180
Review Date: 5/7/2007
Helpful Score: 9


Molly is dead, victim of a terrible disease. She leaves behind three ex-lovers (two who are friends), and her husband. One of the ex-lovers is a politician who left Molly with a hidden secret, something that could destroy his political career. After she dies, the secret falls into the hands of Molly's lovers. They are faced with a terrible choice, one that their friendship hinges upon. This book is never dreary! The characters are intrinsically flawed, believable, and play well off each other; their foibles are mirrors of our own. It's a short read, beautifully written, and well-deserving of the literary accolades heaped upon it.


An Artist of the Floating World
An Artist of the Floating World
Author: Kazuo Ishiguro
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 3/18/2007
Helpful Score: 1


"Good writers abound - good novelists are very rare. Kazuo Ishiguro is... not only a good writer bu also a wonderful novelist." -New York Times Book review.

Winner of the 1986 Whitbread prize and shortlisted for the 1986 Booker prize, this book is about the artist Masuji Ono and is told mainly as he reminiscences about the past. It focuses on how his view of Japan as a dominating imperialist force during WWII now causes grief and difficulty for himself and his family in postwar Japan. The novel is written simply and lyrically, full of understated tension established in each dialogue, and gorgeously descriptive prose. It was even more understated compared to Ishiguro's other works, such as "Remains of the Day," or "Never Let Me Go," which I tended to enjoy a bit more. However, this is still well worth a read as Ishiguro's first novel.


An Artist of the Floating World
An Artist of the Floating World
Author: Kazuo Ishiguro
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 38
Review Date: 5/7/2007


Set in postwar Japan, Ishiguro chronicles the story of a painter whose pro-imperial Japan attitude during and after the war directly clashes with modern attitudes. Will he sacrifice his family and reputation for something he believed in, or will he capitulate to the pressures of modern Japan? Quiet, frustrating, and understated, this first novel was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. It is quite good, but Ishiguro's best work is yet to come. This is not the work I would pick to introduce you to Ishiguro's novels, rather, pick up "Remains of the Day," or "Never Let Me Go," and explore this book later. Worth reading.


The Awakening
The Awakening
Author: Kate Chopin
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 5/7/2007
Helpful Score: 3


The Barnes & Noble yellow-jacket hardcover edition, this book is sublime. Chopin's Edna Pontellier is stifled under the weight of her married life. But one summer, she changes bit by bit, leaving her housework and her duties behind. Touching, awkward, rebellious, and suffused with passion, Edna makes choices for herself that lead to a thought-provoking ending. This book stands alongside Sylvia Plath's "The Bell Jar," Flaubert's "Madame Bovary" and Lilly Bart in "The House of Mirth." I dare to venture that The Awakening is much better than Mme Bovary, as the protagonist is much more relevant to American readers. Beautiful book, beautifully written.


Chocolat
Chocolat
Author: Joanne Harris
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 240
Review Date: 2/18/2007
Helpful Score: 1


The lead character in this book is a bit sappy, a bit mysterious, and a bit mystical. The "villain" is ill-developed, but the book itself if a quick read and may be worth a couple hours.


City of God
City of God
Author: E. L. Doctorow
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 2.8/5 Stars.
 20
Review Date: 5/7/2007


Not as engrossing as Doctorow's previous works. For those who like the enmeshing of religion and the evolving prose of Doctorow's style, maybe worth a read. But this book is nowhere as engrossing as Doctorow's "Billy Bathgate," and I would wholly recommend that book over this one. Characters in this book are not as riveting or seem as fully fleshed out.


A Civil Action
A Civil Action
Author: Jonathan Harr
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 252
Review Date: 2/27/2007


True, but pedantic. The main character shows flaws but never rises to the occasion, simply stays a shallow, inconsiderate ambulance-chaser until the end. Might be interesting for tort lawyers, or complete non-lawyers. Well-researched, but ineffectual for me.


A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (Tor Classics)
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (Tor Classics)
Author: Mark Twain
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 12
Review Date: 3/22/2007
Helpful Score: 1


Hilarious fun. This is the mass-market paperback. Complete and unabridged.


Corelli's Mandolin
Corelli's Mandolin
Author: Louis De Bernieres
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 175
Review Date: 2/18/2007


A good read, compelling, starting with the life of one teenage girl and progressing through her life, but not entirely through her eyes.


The Count of Monte Cristo
The Count of Monte Cristo
Author: Alexandre Dumas
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 7
Review Date: 3/26/2007


Four stars because this is an abridged edition. Otherwise, it captures the feel of The Count of Monte Cristo quite well and cuts out some of the leisurely pace and unwinding. Which really might be better if you plan to read it again... and again; in the unabridged version, sometimes you felt like saying, "All right, get to the point," and this version does it for you. Other than that, a decent version. Beautiful trade-sized hardcover book. Very classy looking on a bookshelf.


The Da Vinci Code (Robert Langdon, Bk 2)
The Da Vinci Code (Robert Langdon, Bk 2)
Author: Dan Brown
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 3362
Review Date: 5/7/2007
Helpful Score: 3


Gripping and thoughtful, this novel is full of psychological and physical twists and turns. I must admit that I liked it, though my tastes usually run on the "modern literature" side. The tale of Robert and Sophie was surprisingly smart and believable, and despite the uproar, it is a remarkably good read.


Equal Justice Under Law : An Autobiography
Equal Justice Under Law : An Autobiography
Author: Constance Baker Motley
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 5/7/2007
Helpful Score: 1


Such a thoughtful autobiography of a young black girl who grew up to be a vivacious, energetic worker for the NAACP, dedicated to furthering racial equality. Though she's a lawyer, it's not too "lawyerly," and will give you an insight on snippets of constitutional law. Decent read. A bit slow in places.


The Greatest Generation
The Greatest Generation
Author: Tom Brokaw
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 180
Review Date: 5/7/2007
Helpful Score: 2


Excellent book, covers many different perspectives fairly. At the time it came out, it was a good reminder of the WWII generation. It stands next to Studs Terkel's "The Good War," and is a must-read for fans of history. It's quite a bit shorter than Terkel's book, for those who are not looking for a massive oral history lesson.


Henry and Clara
Henry and Clara
Author: Thomas Mallon
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 16
Review Date: 5/2/2007
Helpful Score: 2


A New York Times notable book, this book is actually very well written and is ambitious; a good book for readers interested in historical fiction, especially historical fiction based around "suburbia" in 1865.


House of the Spirits
House of the Spirits
Author: Isabel Allende
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 14
Review Date: 5/7/2007
Helpful Score: 2


Spanning the life of Clara de Valle, her daughter Blanca, and her granddaughter, Alba, this book is infused with an ever-present sense of mysticism set against the development of an unnamed South American country. As the country develops from a backwater to a democracy, and then turns violently radical, the characters are swept up in its wake. Each woman is portrayed against Esteban Trueba, the patriarch, a stern and angry man, and constant source of mingled respect and fear throughout the book. Well-written, interesting, and a good read.


If the Buddha Dated: A Handbook for Finding Love on a Spiritual Path
Review Date: 2/27/2007


A look at love bordering on the mystical. Attempts to be uplifting. Not convinced that the author actually found lover herself.


Ironweed
Ironweed
Author: William J. Kennedy
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 116
Review Date: 5/7/2007
Helpful Score: 2


I thought this book was interesting and somewhat well-written. The premise of the story is about bums and picks up where Kennedy's novel, "Billy Phelan's Greatest Game" leaves off. The lead character, Irish-American Francis Phelan is back in the city that he grew up in, where his past actions leave him filled with guilt; this is his attempt to come to terms with his decisions and appease the spirits who stalk his waking moments. There are a bevy of disparate and desperate characters, including Helen, his "woman," and Annie, his ex-wife. Despite the copious praise for this book, I felt that it had more pathos than necessary. I was glad it was a short read, and while it had some worthwhile inspired thoughts, I am not sure if I would have picked it to be a Pulitzer prize winner.


The King Must Die
The King Must Die
Author: Mary Renault
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 36
Review Date: 4/6/2007
Helpful Score: 1


Susan's review skillfully sums up the writing in this book. The author is skillful at keeping your attention; in the end, it is mostly a plot-driven book, which transitions seamlessly from adventure to adventure. It is not chock-full of brilliant insights, but it is a good yarn, and sometimes, that's all you need to keep reading. Worth picking up.


1 to 20 of 30 - Page: