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Reviews

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Buying a Fishing Rod for My Grandfather by Gao Xingjian
I like the author's direct style and minimalist approach to description and dialogue. It's all very real and keeps things brief (as all books should be, IMHO). These stories, however, don't have much plot or direction, despite being enjoyable reads. You could read it in a day or two and have a feeling of accomplishment. . . . Worth a look.
Foundation and Empire by Isaac Asimov
Foundation and Empire by Isaac Asimov
This may be a classic and I may be a science fiction fan, but read Asimov's "The Gods Themselves" instead of this. His later work is definitely better. "Foundation and Empire" is like its predecessor ("Foundation") in that you get several stories told in different periods throughout Foundation history. Everything Asimov has come up with in these books is fundamentally good sci-fi story stuff, but the lack of character development makes you think while you're reading, "Why am I reading this?" I'll read the last in the trilogy ("Second Foundation"), but that's as far as I'm going to go with these.
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Desperation by Stephen King
Desperation by Stephen King
I'm 2/3 of the way through this book and the fiction quality is starting to degrade. The first part of the book is by far the best, when everyone is brought to Desperation, but the slew of campy stock characters gets to be a bit tiring. For example, Cynthia frequently says a bunch of stupid things that no one in that situation would say, things like "Don't call me 'cookie'." Don't get me wrong, it's a fast and somewhat entertaining read, but definitely not King's best (and neither is the Stand, for that matter). There are also hints of "deus ex machina" here, not to mention a lot of adverbs (and I say that zestfully, Mr. King).