Heidi Polk

Lord of the reads 13026 Reputation points Help-d956b624e3a70f299ff60fb4f6e79359
  • Towelhead

    a formulaic plot with few surprises

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    *Spoiler alert* i had extremely high hopes for this book when i first picked it up...i'm always interested in coming-of-age stories, especially when they profess to depict the struggle between dominating and minor cultures within the united states... i was ultimately disappointed, primarily because i feel that erian failed to truly bring jasira to life, at least within the confines of this novel... jasira is the daughter of divorced parents (american woman/lebanese man), living in the states in the early 1990s...after some issues arise with her mother's on-again, off-again boyfriend, jasira is packed off to live with her father, who is both strict and traditional... the story is primarily concerned with the sexual awakening of jasira and the topics of masturbation, teenage sexuality, rape and molestation are all discussed in full...i don't have a problem with these topics, but i feel like the author used her work less as a means to open up an honest discussion and more a...*Spoiler alert* i had extremely high hopes for this book when i first picked it up...i'm always interested in coming-of-age stories, especially when they profess to depict the struggle between dominating and minor cultures within the united states... i was ultimately disappointed, primarily because i feel that erian failed to truly bring jasira to life, at least within the confines of this novel... jasira is the daughter of divorced parents (american woman/lebanese man), living in the states in the early 1990s...after some issues arise with her mother's on-again, off-again boyfriend, jasira is packed off to live with her father, who is both strict and traditional... the story is primarily concerned with the sexual awakening of jasira and the topics of masturbation, teenage sexuality, rape and molestation are all discussed in full...i don't have a problem with these topics, but i feel like the author used her work less as a means to open up an honest discussion and more as a way to try and shock her readers...throughout this book, there's no real sense that can be gained of jasira's feelings or thoughts...she seems a bit like a loose cannon, going wherever she's pointed, and acting without thought of the consequences of her actions...perhaps erian meant for this to be a commentary on the failure of the community to intercede on jasira's behalf - if so, i did not feel this way at all... it's almost as though the plot itself followed the storyline of any similar movie-of-the-week...girl goes to stay with father, girl feels ignored, girl is curious about sex and investigates neighbor's porn stash, girl and neighbor begin by talking dirty, girl experiments with neighbor, girl experiments with classmate, girl ends up molested, girl embarks on series of sexual adventures with classmate, story comes out, neighbor is arrested, girl tries to continue life...i mean, that, in a nutshell, is the story... i also felt that stereotypes were everywhere in this book...the hippie-leaning, pregnant 'earth mother' type, who tries to protect jasira; the stern, remote father of mediterranean extract, who boasts of his success in america; the embittered vet, back from action in the gulf and with a prejudice against 'arabs'; the pubescent boy jasira must babysit who stares at her chest...even jasira's boyfriend, who is black, seems to fulfill the kind of sexual-prowess stereotypes that are usually communicated with a knowing wink... perhaps i built this book up too much before reading it for myself...i'm certainly willing to admit my own culpability...in addition, i also think this was erian's first novel, and i am willing to give her another shot and read some of her other work...this book, however, i felt fell far short of its potential... (more)

  • Memoirs of a Geisha

    a peek into a disappearing world...

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    highly enjoyable portrayal of events, though the introduction has convinced many that the events are 'the truth' rather than a historical re-creation of events through the journey of an entirely fictional character... there were a couple points where i personally felt unconvinced of the main character's actions/decisions, and felt that it was more of a man's interpretation of what a woman would do, rather than a woman telling her own story about actions taken or decisions made in her life... but the language that golden employs is highly descriptive, allowing you to really get under the skin of particular characters and to get lost within a world that no longer exists in the same manner as it did decades ago...

  • Making Money (Discworld)

    another great discworld offering...

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    pratchett takes his readers into the topsy-turvy (yes, i intended the reference) world of the disc, an enjoyable journey at any time, but perhaps slightly bittersweet this time - pratchett's recent announcement that he was diagnosed with alzheimer's means this may be the last foray into discworld; reading this book was thus more poignant than usual... old and new characters abound...though making money acts as a 'sequel' for going postal, it is not mandatory for newbies to read them in sequence in order to understand or enjoy the newest chapter in the ongoing discworld saga...(one of pratchett's gifts as a serial writer is that the story arcs continue throughout the series, but are written in such a way that both novice and diehard fans can appreciate the works at the same time)... enjoyable, light-hearted and with twists and turns to spare, this reader was reminded yet again why pratchett is a gift to the literary scene and will be missed by all of his fans, both new and old...

  • Breaking Dawn (Twilight Saga)

    Left unsatisfied...is this really how it ends???

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    *Spoiler alert* This book is the last in Stephenie Meyer's now (in-)famous Twilight series and, as such, it sums up the story of Bella, Edward and all other assorted characters. I had a lot of mixed feelings about this book; admittedly, coming to the end of a series is always challenging for the author and the readers alike, as it's the final chance you have to explore a world within which you've become invested. The following is a list of things that I noticed and/or things that caught my attention. First, I think it holds up better as the conclusion to the Twilight story arc, rather than an individual novel. In fact, while I personally don't mind reading books out of sequential order, I believe the average reader would have trouble if this work was their introduction to the series-at-large. I loved the fact that Meyer believably explained how/why the vampires had their individual gifts. I also found the depiction of the larger vampiric history fascinating and utterly be...*Spoiler alert* This book is the last in Stephenie Meyer's now (in-)famous Twilight series and, as such, it sums up the story of Bella, Edward and all other assorted characters. I had a lot of mixed feelings about this book; admittedly, coming to the end of a series is always challenging for the author and the readers alike, as it's the final chance you have to explore a world within which you've become invested. The following is a list of things that I noticed and/or things that caught my attention. First, I think it holds up better as the conclusion to the Twilight story arc, rather than an individual novel. In fact, while I personally don't mind reading books out of sequential order, I believe the average reader would have trouble if this work was their introduction to the series-at-large. I loved the fact that Meyer believably explained how/why the vampires had their individual gifts. I also found the depiction of the larger vampiric history fascinating and utterly believable. Hearing about the various vampires, both individual and those in covens, their gifts/talents was brilliant, especially when they all began to make appearances at the end...I didn't even mind the fact that it seemed a bit reminiscent of particular storylines lifted from the marvel/dc comics worlds, as I found Meyer's interpretation so interesting... however, the flip side of this meant that the reader was completely drawn in, prepared to witness this epic battle, and the ending was completely and utterly anticlimactic...she built and built and built and then it just seemed to fizzle out and all the various characters, with their abilities and powers just disappeared into the woodwork... I really, really disliked the fact that the book was broken up to depict different viewpoints too (i.e. Bella, then Jacob, then Bella)...I can understand why Meyer might do this, and it did provide a lot of insight into Jacob's constantly evolving character, but i think it made the overall story structure weaker, as it fractured the narrative and wasn't "pulled off" in an entirely believable manner... i REALLY disliked the view that meyer presents of marriage, the loss of virginity and pregnancy...it really surprised me that her depiction was so negative and misogynistic...how much more dramatically effective would it have been to show edward swamped with remorse after bruising bella's body, rather than consumed with rage, and determinedly manipulative in keeping her so physically busy so that she would literally collapse from exhaustion and wouldn't want to make love...and how surprising that the child growing in bella's stomach seems almost parasitic in nature, indicating bella's loss of sanity in wanting to carry the child to full-term...and how disturbing that with each day, as the child consumes more and more of bella, she becomes almost like a hollowed-out madonna...and the manner of bella's actual death...that she dies in childbirth...that rather than showing a positive scene with everyone welcoming and celebrating a new life, the scene is instead one of chaos that results in bella sacrificing herself and only being saved because of the vampiric poison pumped into her body...and the fact that her daughter is nicknamed 'nessie'??? i think the name renesmee is quite possibly one of the stupidest names i ever heard...but the fact that everyone comes to call her after what is essentially a prehistoric swamp beast is disturbing, to say the least... but not as disturbing as the fact that jacob imprints on nessie....i don't care how meyer cloaks this in werewolf and native american mythology, etc. etc...it's bordering on the obscene to have a legal adult in love with an innocent child...and the fact that she's bella's daughter introduces a whole slew of other issues that would no doubt preoccupy freud for many hours....not to mention the yeats-ian overtones... reading the book, there's definitely the feeling that meyer was rushed through it, to get it out for publication...and maybe it would've been better to allow her to work at her own pace...while there were some great points and characters, i was definitely dissatisfied with this last offering...and felt it was a bit of a letdown for the twilight series as a whole... 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  • The Historian

    Reader, unbury him with a word...

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    Elizabeth Kostova has created an extremely interesting work. She deftly blends established historical fact and creative imaginings into one whole, demonstrating the manner in which many historians, anthropologists and sociologists conduct their researches; her tale stands as an apt example of the way in which various disciplines combine to piece together the cultural past of the human race. The book is also chock-full of wonderful descriptions of the food, customs, people, geography and history of multiple locations in Europe, a plus for anyone who has yet to see these locations with their own eyes. Those searching for lurid tales of vampiric activity might be disappointed, as Kostova's book keeps horrific elements to a minimum; Kostova herself claims she "dislike[s] horror for the sake of titillation." This tale, then, is not strictly the backstory of the greatest vampire in popular culture. Instead, the book reads like an extraordinary tale of cat-and-mouse, a hunt for clues t...Elizabeth Kostova has created an extremely interesting work. She deftly blends established historical fact and creative imaginings into one whole, demonstrating the manner in which many historians, anthropologists and sociologists conduct their researches; her tale stands as an apt example of the way in which various disciplines combine to piece together the cultural past of the human race. The book is also chock-full of wonderful descriptions of the food, customs, people, geography and history of multiple locations in Europe, a plus for anyone who has yet to see these locations with their own eyes. Those searching for lurid tales of vampiric activity might be disappointed, as Kostova's book keeps horrific elements to a minimum; Kostova herself claims she "dislike[s] horror for the sake of titillation." This tale, then, is not strictly the backstory of the greatest vampire in popular culture. Instead, the book reads like an extraordinary tale of cat-and-mouse, a hunt for clues through the labyrinthine passageways of history to the identity of one of the most popular cult characters in history. This reader found it immensely satisfying; it's everything The Da Vinci Code tries to be, but Kostova is a far superior writer to Dan Brown and she is capable of conducting multiple narratives at one time, jumping through time and space so that the reader feels as involved with the events as her primary narrating characters. "Reader, unbury him with a word." (more)

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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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