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Commentaires écrits par
A. Wolverton (Crofton, MD United States)

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The Last Good Kiss
The Last Good Kiss
by James Crumley
Edition: Paperback
Prix : CDN$ 13.87
64 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Don�t Judge This One by the Cover, May 22 2003
This review is from: The Last Good Kiss (Paperback)
By the drawing of the bulldog on the most recent cover, one might mistake 'The Last Good Kiss' for a cozy, cute mystery. That would be a mistake of monumental proportions. 'The Last Good Kiss' is a hard hitting, gritty, graphic hard-boiled novel about some pretty nasty people doing some pretty nasty things. It's also exceptionally well written.
C.W. Sughrue, a Montana P.I., is hired to track down a drunken writer. He finds his man, but along the way Sughrue takes another case, a case he knows will lead to nothing good. His job is to find a girl who ran away from home many, many years ago. The hunt for the girl leads Sughrue through a parade of despicable degenerates with no redeeming qualities.
It can be a hard novel to read and a difficult one to forget. In Sughrue, Crumley has created a detective who lives in a broken world, hoping that there might just be one good thing on the horizon, one good reason to live, one good thing to believe in. The settings, characters, all works, establishing the novel as one of the greats in the hard-boiled mystery genre. But again, if you are looking for a nice, cozy mystery to curl up with for a relaxing evening, this is not for you. Definitely not for kids.
244 hard-boiled pages

A Series of Unfortunate Events #1: The Bad Beginning
A Series of Unfortunate Events #1: The Bad Beginning
by Lemony Snicket
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 15.15
161 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 étoiles sur 5 Try It For Yourself, May 20 2003
When I first heard about the Unfortunate Events books, my first reaction was negative. I assumed the books were depressing, painful tales that would likely give kids nightmares and send them screaming to therapists. So I read one...and I was wrong.
'The Bad Beginning' chronicles the misadventures of three very...well, unfortunate...orphans: fourteen year old Violet (who longs to invent things), twelve year old Klaus (who longs to read books), and the infant girl Sunny (who longs to bite things...and people). As author Lemony Snicket warns on the book's back cover, this is "an unhappy tale about three very unlucky children." That it certainly is, but it is also much more.
The book can be viewed as a dark comedy for children, a fairy tale gone wrong, or Charles Dickens meets Harry Potter. Snicket moves the story forward with a fast-paced plot and many vocabulary lessons inserted throughout the story in very clever ways.
Many people may be critical of the Unfortunate Events books, citing that there are no happy endings. But life doesn't always turn out nice and neat like it did in the Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, and Little House on the Prairie books. There's nothing wrong with those books, but maybe they're not your thing. If that's the case, maybe the Unfortunate Events books will be more to your liking.

Live 1975: The Rolling Thunder Revue (2CD)
Live 1975: The Rolling Thunder Revue (2CD)
Prix : CDN$ 23.12
35 used & new from CDN$ 15.23

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Episode 44 - Alive and Kicking, May 16 2003
Bob Dylan must love performing live. With all that he's done and the almost legendary status he's attained, you wonder why he even tours at all. I think he really does enjoy connecting with an audience. Maybe it's still the feeling that many of us have that he's speaking for us even now, over 40 years after his debut. Maybe it's because we want to see one of the last of the major figures in music. Or maybe it's because he's still writing and performing great music. Whatever the reason, Bob keeps the shows coming and we keep going to see him. I've seen him four times and he's always been on target, but these 1975 Rolling Thunder Revue recordings show him performing at his absolute peak.
Disc One kicks off with a powerful, country-tinged "Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You," the perfect opener for this disc. Dylan's voice is strong, clear, and in command, as is the backing of the band. Dylan delivers new (at the time) tunes "Isis" and "Romance in Durango" with blistering power. "Simple Twist of Fate" and "Mr. Tambourine Man" show Dylan in a more intimate acoustic setting. There's just something brutally honest about one man, one guitar, and songs that drill straight into you.
I'd forgotten just how good Dylan and Joan Baez sounded together. After listening to them sing "Blowin' in the Wind," "Mama, You've Been on My Mind," and "I Shall Be Released," you won't soon forget how great they were together. And remember, this is all on Disc One!
Disc Two gets even better. Acoustic versions of "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue," "Love Minus Zero," and many other Dylan greats make the time pass all too quickly. Dylan's band is again in fine form for "Hurricane," "It Takes a Lot to Laugh," and much more. Baez returns to join Bob for "The Water is Wide," another standout. After the applause for "Sara" dies down, someone in the audience shouts out "Just Like a Woman." Dylan coyly replies, "Okay, we'll try it." Try it he does, blowing the audience away.
Dylan fanatics will immediately notice that several of the lyrics have changed, giving songs a whole new twist, especially in what must be one of Dylan's own favorites, the ever-evolving "Tangled Up in Blue."
There are so many great things about this two-disc set, really too many to mention, but I'll try: The bonus DVD is short, but very welcome. The booklet/liner notes? Top notch! The disc sound - for a live recording, near perfect. It's all great. Anyone new to Dylan who wants to know what the fuss is all about should purchase this set immediately. Then you'll know what the rest of us have known for over 40 years. In the words of Jack Nicholson, "The man's a riot."
Disc One: 51:01
Disc Two: 50:55

By the Light of the Moon
By the Light of the Moon
by Dean Koontz
Edition: Hardcover
36 used & new from CDN$ 0.17

4.0 étoiles sur 5 Another Non-Stop Ride with Great Characters, May 14 2003
Koontz has amazing skills. If you doubt it, read the first three pages and then try to put the book down. (Heck, read just the FIRST page!) Koontz has the ability to drop the reader directly into a situation that's impossible to turn away from. In this tale, a young man named Dylan is traveling with his autistic younger brother Shep. Dylan is abducted by a strange man who injects Dylan with a strange drug. The man tells Dylan that the drug is his life's work and that Dylan will be changed; in what way, even the man doesn't know. Then the man disappears...
Dylan and Shep meet a woman named Jillian, who has also been injected with the drug. Together, they seek to outrun the armed men looking for the doctor and his latest creation. But along the way, Dylan and Jillian discover that they now have strange powers...VERY strange powers. And Shep...he's acting even more unusual than he normally does...And what does all this have to do with images of doves, a church, and ice? You'll have to read the book to find out.
Koontz also has the ability to write likable characters that we feel like we've known all our lives. The theme of the good guy (or girl) overcoming evil is certainly not new, but it takes on a whole new meaning after 9-11. Koontz doesn't exploit that connection, but helps us understand through his characters how ordinary people can make a difference. It's very refreshing, and in a way patriotic.
But Koontz also has a good time with his story. The first meeting and the initial exchanges between Dylan and Jillian are funny, natural, and right on target. Unlike some other critics, I enjoyed the touches of humor. Koontz mixes humor and danger like oil and water, but somehow manages a mixture that works.
The weakness of the book? Others have cited it: the ending. I'll say only this: when you get there, you'll understand why it ends the way it does. Is it satisfying? In a way. Could it have been better? Probably. But Koontz is the author, not me. He knows what he's doing. So sit down, strap yourself in for an exciting, strange ride. Enjoy.
431 pages

by Patricia Cornwell
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
61 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 étoiles sur 5 Fascinating Forensics...and More, May 13 2003
This review is from: Postmortem (Mass Market Paperback)
Richmond, Virginia is under a terror watch. A serial killer labeled "Mr. Nobody" is strangling women at an alarming rate, leaving no usable clues. Medical examiner Kay Scarpetta uses her skills to piece together the clues, seeking to find the monster. Only someone is hindering her investigation...from within.
The strong points of 'Postmortem' include the forensic information and the writing. I don't know anything about forensics, but after reading 'Postmortem' I feel as if I've been given more information that I would have been given in a 101 course. Very well done. Also Cornwell's writing style is very readable, very intriguing, and very fast-paced.
Some critics have stated that Cornwell's writing declined after her debut. I don't know about that. I thought 'Body of Evidence' and 'The Body Farm' were quite good as well. But start with this one. If you like it, keep moving along the series. You can be guaranteed an exciting, edgy, gripping good time.
342 pages

Tenor Madness
Tenor Madness
Prix : CDN$ 16.41
33 used & new from CDN$ 6.49

5.0 étoiles sur 5 A Must-Have for Tenor Lovers, May 7 2003
This review is from: Tenor Madness (Audio CD)
The bad news is that tenor Olympians Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane joined forces in the studio just once. The good news is that it's available on TENOR MADNESS. The title track is battle of two gladiators, exchanging solos with such strength and imagination it's mind-boggling. Coltrane begins the exchange, which is really not a battle but rather a collaboration with Rollins. Although the piece is not really a competition, Rollins is every bit Coltrane's equal during the 12+ minute romp. This recording is astounding and timeless. It literally doesn't get any better than this.
So the CD goes downhill from there, right? No way. Sonny is as relaxed as a late summer morning on the second track, "When Your Lover Has Gone." Red Garland (piano) and Paul Chambers (bass) also takes solos that are as smooth as a velvet rainbow. "Paul's Pal" is a nice groove number with some outstanding brush work by drummer Philly Joe Jones. "My Reverie" finds Sonny floating a soft, smoky vibrato over the rhythm section. The disc concludes with "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World," a Richard Rodgers tune that the boys have great fun reconstructing. Great solos by all.
Very highly recommended.
Recorded in 1956
Total time: 35:24

The House with a Clock in Its Walls
The House with a Clock in Its Walls
by John Bellairs
Edition: Paperback
29 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Time Really Flies with This Ghost Story, May 6 2003
Poor Lewis...He's recently lost both parents, he's fat, and he's going to live with Uncle Jonathan, a relative he's never met. Lewis discovers that Uncle Jonathan is basically a nice guy, but a little weird. And something about his house is weird too. It's full of clocks, but one of them in particular keeps ticking...and ticking...and ticking...and no one knows where it is.
'The House with a Clock in its Walls' is a genuinely creepy story with strange, likable characters. Several humorous, light touches run throughout the book, but the scary scenes really deliver. Any kid (or adult) who enjoys the Harry Potter books will find this book a welcome addition to their reading while they wait for the next J.K. Rowling outing. Although the book is for both boys and girls, the book will especially attract boys who may not be interested in sports. Highly recommended.
179 pages with great illustrations by Edward Gorey

Two Women [Import]
Two Women [Import]
DVD ~ Sophia Loren
Offered by Planet Video
Prix : CDN$ 38.55
13 used & new from CDN$ 17.87

5.0 étoiles sur 5 A Powerful Film...An Unacceptable Video Transfer, May 4 2003
This review is from: Two Women [Import] (DVD)
'Two Women' is a stark film from the neo-realism school that still packs a solid punch. Sophia Loren plays a beautiful widow who seeks to protect her teenage daughter from the ravages of World War II Rome. She's proud, opinionated, but protective and loving toward her daughter Rosetta. The two women flee to the widow's village, where they meet an idealistic young man to whom they are both attracted. The tragic events occur quite late in the film, but by the time they do, we really know who these characters are, making the film extremely powerful.
Loren looks stunning and acts wonderfully, but all the actors in the film are wonderful as well. But Loren had (and still has) that quality that makes her the center of all attention every time she is on-screen. A stunning actress in a stunning role.
I cannot finish this review without commenting on the abysmal video transfer to DVD. This is without a doubt the worst looking and sounding DVD I have ever seen since the medium was invented. I wish Sophia Loren would sue this video company for the travesty they have done to this fine film. How in the world with all the technology at our disposal can such a poor product be released on the market? I only hope a proper version can be released soon. This is criminal.
99 minutes

Complete Idiot Guide Jazz
Complete Idiot Guide Jazz
by Alan Axelrod
Edition: Paperback
23 used & new from CDN$ 2.21

5.0 étoiles sur 5 A Difficult Subject Handled Expertly, May 2 2003
The task is an enormous one: How to explain jazz to someone who has little or no understanding of the musical genre. Just what is jazz? Maybe it really is a question that can only be answered by the famous Louis Armstrong quote, "If you've gotta ask, you'll never know."
But give Axelrod credit. He gives the subject expert treatment. Whether you know absolutely nothing about jazz (or any music, for that matter), or whether you have a degree in music, you'll learn plenty in this well-formatted book.
The author wisely gives readers a general overview of what constitutes jazz, what some of the major trends were, and a who's who of famous musicians. Axelrod does NOT immediately launch into a chronological history of jazz and that's a plus. Jazz does not have cut-and-dried periods. It's style changes intertwine and sometimes reemerge after years (and decades) of inactivity. After the first few chapters when Axelrod DOES get into more of a chronological look at jazz, it makes more sense. The foundation he has built can withstand a look at the various subgenres at that point. This makes for a much clearer reading and understanding of jazz.
Axelrod gives brief bios of the major players and band leaders. If you want to know more, he tells you where you can continue your search. Also very helpful is a listing of 25 "must have" recordings for the beginner, and an expanded list for those ready to branch out. Also provided are glossaries of musicians and jazz terms.
Some critics have knocked the book for not providing a sampler CD. Let me point out that the outstanding Ken Burns 5 CD boxed set covering the history of jazz barely scratches the surface. A "sampler" CD just won't do.
A great book for the beginning, intermediate, or veteran jazz fan.
approx. 300 pages

Wild Seed
Wild Seed
by Octavia E. Butler
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
15 used & new from CDN$ 5.65

1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Butler's Storytelling is Second to None, May 2 2003
This review is from: Wild Seed (Mass Market Paperback)
Very few African Americans write science fiction. Fewer still are African American women. Octavia Butler knows how to write great science fiction, but more importantly, she knows how to write and tell a great story. I encourage you to read just the opening paragraph from the "Look Inside" section. After reading the paragraph, I dare you to NOT keep reading!
In that first paragraph, you've got a very mysterious event, subtle foreshadowing, wonderful description, and a pretty good sense of who your main character is. And most importantly, you want to read on.
Doro is an extremely complex character who has been alive for hundreds of years, breeding slaves endowed with special powers. They are obedient only to him. It's simple; if they won't obey, he'll kill them. Doro has the incredible ability to take over the bodies of others (thereby killing the host) even at a distance of many miles. His power is immense. But he meets in Anyanwu a formidable opponent. (Or will she become a trusted friend?) Anyanwu (who has also lived for hundreds of years) is a healer who is able to adapt her body to any living form - mammal, fish, bird, or another human. Anyanwu's main concern is the safety of her children. Doro's main concern is exploiting them as breeding stock. Doro and Anyanwu certainly have different goals, but they each learn some hard lessons throughout the course of the book. So do we.
Butler's characters and landscapes are so well drawn and so real that you really never think about the fact that you're reading science fiction. In fact the term speculative fiction is really a better term for this story; there's very little science in the book, but there is a plethora of examinations of human nature (even if those humans live for hundreds of years).
Wild Seed is a completely absorbing, unforgettable book, made even more so by Butler's fascinating ability as a writer. It's been a long time since I read a book with engaging characters, vivid description, tension, mystery, and emotion. Wild Seed met all my expectations and then some. A powerful novel from one of America's most talented writers.
279 pages

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