Heidi Polk

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  • Evolution and other stories

    An abundant variety of tales to choose from...

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    I went into this collection cold, having no idea of what to expect or what the author might have to offer. Below are my thoughts on individual stories within this collection... Evolution: I liked the main idea, but I think the pacing of this story is a bit unbalanced...not from the narrative progression (I think the use of going backwards in time is actually employed quite effectively within this piece)...rather, as the details of each day unfold, some days stand out more clearly than others, and this is what most led me to feel that the structure was not quite balanced uniformly...however, I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing, as it contributed to the surreality associated with going back in time and also with the crazy feelings Rob experiences while undergoing his 'evolution'...my only other criticism re: this story would be that there's almost a sense of 'reduced' feeling (especially towards the end of the story, when his wings first appear)...the days are few in numb...I went into this collection cold, having no idea of what to expect or what the author might have to offer. Below are my thoughts on individual stories within this collection... Evolution: I liked the main idea, but I think the pacing of this story is a bit unbalanced...not from the narrative progression (I think the use of going backwards in time is actually employed quite effectively within this piece)...rather, as the details of each day unfold, some days stand out more clearly than others, and this is what most led me to feel that the structure was not quite balanced uniformly...however, I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing, as it contributed to the surreality associated with going back in time and also with the crazy feelings Rob experiences while undergoing his 'evolution'...my only other criticism re: this story would be that there's almost a sense of 'reduced' feeling (especially towards the end of the story, when his wings first appear)...the days are few in number, and an enormous amount of things happen, but it feels like we, as readers are watching a story in rewind mode, where we only get a few seconds at a time - this was mildly frustrating to me, b/c I loved the idea behind this story, but felt we were only given brief bits of it, when I wanted the whole thing.. A Kitten Heel, the Sea: This hooked me from the beginning, and I was crushed by its length - too too short! (Especially with the last sentence, that just completely made me like, ooooh! Can't wait! Wait...where's the rest of it???) I actually hit refresh a few times, thinking my computer had just not loaded up the story all the way)...So, in a nutshell, loved the idea, found the language and imagery absolutely striking and I wish it could've been longer... Courses: I thought this story was interesting, though a bit short...What I really liked the most about it was the connection at the end that you felt between the narrator, her mother and her daughter, especially when the daughter breaks up the word uterus...It's a different kind of story, but definitely an interesting one... Falling: I wasn't as much a fan of this story...the idea is solid, but I didn't think it was executed quite as smoothly as it might have been...I think there are hints of a darker humor in it, they just need to be expressed more fully... Blackberry Jazz: Absolutely wonderful! I loved it... Noivy God: What happens?!?! Argh, just when I'm getting into it and then BAM! Cut off! (grumbles incoherently) The Little Red Coat: I liked parts of this story, though I felt the outcome was fairly predictable (especially when the priest waits for her)...Nice use of the Little Red Riding Hood imagery, though....I'd love to see this expanded more fully... Syrup: I liked the various images that the language of this story evokes, but I felt it couldn't quite stand on its own as is...It's like a picture half-completed, it needs more color and definition and development...but I did like the outline so far... Wintering: There were bits I found very interesting and some of the images I could see so clearly in my head...However, this is another one of those stories that I didn't quite get all the way into, either because of the intensely self-conscious tone to Senenca's thoughts, or perhaps it was just me...But I think there's tremendous potential to develop this story further, and would gladly reread a future version... Red Dress: Wah! Great story; reminds me of a short Hemingway story I read one time...really really good... Revelations: Hmmm, interesting...still thinking about this one... Covet: VERY interesting...I'll come back and write a better comment on this once I've had a chance to think about it more... The Load: I wanted to like this tale, but something about it just didn't quite fully engage my attention...but there were parts I appreciated and I would have loved to have seen maybe a slightly different version of events, or perhaps a little more explanation... Youth: I really really liked this story, especially when it was from the perspective of the older man - really good... Deliverance:I thought that this story was really really great, though I did have an idea about the direction that the story was heading...I especially loved the close attention paid to particular moments, like the heat emanating from the angel's physical presence, etc...I also loved the glimpses that you got of Ella's relationship with her brother... So, overall, I enjoyed the stories that were in this collection...My biggest frustration was that the stories I really liked felt far too short! (Which is a tribute to the author, that I was so immediately immersed within the stories)...A couple of them I would love to see expanded more fully and I definitely am interested to read more of the author's works in the future... (more)

  • The Looking Glass Wars

    A brilliant re-imagining of Alice in Wonderland

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    Readers, beware...if you have previously encountered Alice's Adventures in Wonderland or Through the Looking Glass, you have been deceived...for these are nothing more than lies, spun by the man who was the confidante of Alyss Heart, princess in exile and heir to the Queendom of Wonderland... Beddor strips away Lewis Carroll's fanciful tales to reveal the true (and much darker) Wonderland, an alternate world where magic and imagination are intertwined, card soldiers protect the citizens and mirrors are used as a means to travel throughout the land... The first in the trilogy, this book concerns Alyss Heart and her homicidal, power-hungry aunt Redd, who (believing herself to be the true ruler of Wonderland) murders Alyss' parents and takes over the queendom in a bloody coup d'etat, with the help of her assassin and personal bodyguard The Cat... Alyss and her bodyguard (Hatter Madigan) flee for safety and end up trapped in our world for years... With no way back to Wonderl...Readers, beware...if you have previously encountered Alice's Adventures in Wonderland or Through the Looking Glass, you have been deceived...for these are nothing more than lies, spun by the man who was the confidante of Alyss Heart, princess in exile and heir to the Queendom of Wonderland... Beddor strips away Lewis Carroll's fanciful tales to reveal the true (and much darker) Wonderland, an alternate world where magic and imagination are intertwined, card soldiers protect the citizens and mirrors are used as a means to travel throughout the land... The first in the trilogy, this book concerns Alyss Heart and her homicidal, power-hungry aunt Redd, who (believing herself to be the true ruler of Wonderland) murders Alyss' parents and takes over the queendom in a bloody coup d'etat, with the help of her assassin and personal bodyguard The Cat... Alyss and her bodyguard (Hatter Madigan) flee for safety and end up trapped in our world for years... With no way back to Wonderland and a story beyond belief, what will Alyss do? I have to say, this book was an absolute delight to read. It was fast-paced, exciting and wholly absorbing. I loved Beddor's interpretations (and incorporations) of bits from the Alice stories and thought he did an excellent job at creating this whole other version of Wonderland...I suppose there are portions that might annoy/irritate Carroll purists...but I think to read it with too critical an eye is to miss the point of the book - I don't believe Beddor is trying to 're-make' or 'update' the Alice stories...I think he is taking the tack of 'here's the story we know - what if it's a complete misinterpretation of what actually happened?' Alyss Heart was interesting, but I wasn't blown away by her character - a lot of it concerns the common themes of her growing up and trying to deal with this traumatic event that everyone considers to be in her imagination...Her character is redeemed somewhat by the end (though it's the second book where she really starts to come into her own)... Hatter Madigan was by far my favorite, and I loved the spin that Beddor put on him...(I have to admit, I kind of want his hat)... The Cat was suitably terrifying, but it is Redd who truly captures the imagination...she is a monstrously fantastic character, a twisted, greedy woman who is not afraid to use Black Imagination to achieve whatever aim she has in mind. A must-read! (more)

  • Small Gods (Discworld Novel)

    Goin' up to the spirit in the sky...

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    What would we do without Discworld and its incalculable ability to act as a mirror for us, the citizens of Roundworld? Within this novel, Pratchett takes on religion, its high and low officials, the nature of philosophy and just what it is that makes a true believer. There are prophets (true and false), journeys across the desert and into the deepest recesses of the soul... Fantastic examination of humanity, its desperate yearning for something 'more' and just how powerful belief can be...

  • The Fat Flush Foods: The World's Best Foods, Seasonings, and Supplements to Flush the Fat From Every Body: The World's Best Foods, Seasonings and Supplements ... to Flush the Fat from Every Body (Gittleman)

    It's pretty obvious what this book is about...

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    Very accessible and it had some entries that I didn't know about, so that's always useful... The best thing about this book is that it's well-organized and has quite a few tips about how to incorporate various fooods, herbs, etc. into your daily routine with a minimum of hassle... Good, quick read for the health-conscious folk out there...

  • Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People

    An interesting read, but different from what I had anticipated

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    This is a very interesting book, but it is more effective as source material than as a book that one can sit down and read... The actual general analysis that Shaheen makes is very small, limited only to the introductory chapter...the remainder of the book is a film encyclopedia, arranged alphabetically according to title... I did like the individual entries on movies I had actually seen, but didn't read every single entry throughout the remainder of the book - since it covers movies from the silent film era up to present day, it seemed like a bit of an arduous task to read about films I had never even heard of, let alone seen... However, I do recommend this book as Arabs in general remain one of the last major groups in Hollywood who are consistently stereotyped as murderous and dangerous 'others' to be avoided or killed off at every opportunity...this is obviously something that needs to change and I salute Shaheen for writing about it...

  • Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader

    A great collection for anyone who enjoys reading and all things reading-related...

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    What a great collection of essays! I'd prefer not to give my own thoughts about it (as commenting on what another thinks of the process of reading and their books seems highly suspicious and definitely predestined for failure, lol)... I will say that I really sympathized with a lot of the habits that Fadiman describes (especially applying proofreading skills to newspapers, menus, etc.! lol)... Since I love reading (and reading about reading, lol), this was a great collection for me - I'll definitely be on the lookout at the other works she has produced!

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Find me at: www.completelynovel.com/heidipolk

Interests reading, writing, museums, travel, jim henson, history, mythology, politics, language, astronomy, films, religions, philosophy, the vikings, the celts, tim burton, the victorians, anime, post-colonial literature, science fiction, human rights, international media, lively debates, the middle east, and Steampunk

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