Reviews and Comments

Alex Cabe

CitizenCabe@books.theunseen.city

Joined 1 year, 8 months ago

It's not like I'm a preachy crybaby who can't resist giving overemotional speeches about hope all the time.

This link opens in a pop-up window

Mariama J. Lockington: Forever Is Now (2023, Farrar, Straus & Giroux) 3 stars

A poignant and lyrical young adult novel-in-verse about a Black teen coming of age in …

Verse Could Have Leaned Into Emotion More

3 stars

I feel like this could have used the verse form more. Verse is most useful to convey emotions, rather than events. The story had some twists and it was good that it was conveyed without breaking the flow too much. However, I've read and seen other works (e.g. Turtles All the Way Down and Inside Out 2) that give a better picture of what a panic attack feels like. It was unusual to see verse used in such a didactic book, as well.

There was a certain "fellow kids" factor where it was clear that the author was writing about a different generation and getting some things second hand.

I enjoyed how the story showed Sadie's family members coping with her anxiety. They all loved her, but had varying levels of maturity, understanding, and patience.

reviewed The Great Society subway by Zachary M. Schrag (Creating the North American landscape)

Zachary M. Schrag: The Great Society subway (2014, Johns Hopkins University Press) 3 stars

Drivers in the nation's capital face a host of hazards: high-speed traffic circles, presidential motorcades, …

Well Researched, Somewhat Episodic

3 stars

This was a very thorough history that showed deep research and enthusiasm for the subject.

I enjoyed seeing how decisions made at the start of the process shaped development for decades afterwards.

It was sometimes hard to keep track of names, I could have used a dramatis personae. Overall it could have done a better job tying everything together. The chapters felt episodic.

A. J. Sass: Ana on the Edge (2020, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers) 4 stars

Perfect for fans of George and Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the a heartfelt coming of …

Solid Introduction to Nonbinary Identity for Kids

4 stars

I thought this was a YA book going in, but I should have looked closer because it was more kid lit.

Overall a good explanation to kids of nonbinary identity, with pleasant and relatable characters in a brisk read.

The author had personal experience with skating and got pretty in the weeds on the terminology, which was fine, it added to the authenticity.

I think it was a bit underexplored why Ana didn't want to identify a boy. Those feelings were stated and alluded to, but not really shown.

Richard Matheson: I Am Legend and Other Stories (1997) 4 stars

I Am Legend is a 1954 post-apocalyptic horror novel by American writer Richard Matheson that …

Groundbreaking, but later authors would do more with it.

3 stars

This was primarily interesting to me because it showed me the early versions of tropes that have become familiar in the sci-fi and horror genres. It doesn't achieve greatness but sets the framework for later works by other authors that do.

It's kind of difficult to judge a book like this because things that were novel or big reveals have since become familiar tropes. The central concept of I Am Legend is rock solid, but it sometimes drags or goes on tangents, even with the short length, and I never found the scientific explanations either easy to follow or convincing.

Witch War was my favorite of the short stories, and I'd love to see someone adapt it or expand it into a larger book. From Shadowed Places had obviously outdated and questionable racial elements.

A lot of these felt like spec scripts for The Twilight Zone, so I wasn't surprised …

Jennifer Chiaverini: Switchboard Soldiers (2022, HarperCollins Publishers) 5 stars

Relatable Military Historical Fiction

5 stars

I picked this because I'm a Signal Corps vet and the book felt like it was written just for me. The characters were well-drawn. The real program was very selective, so every point-of-view character was an Amity Blight-style high achiever, which I enjoyed. They were different enough to give variety, but they shared the same dedication and optimism. I enjoyed spending time with them and going through their ups and downs. Grace felt the most relatable, but they all had their charms.

This took a long time to read because I had a busy month, but it never felt slow or dragged. I liked that it carried through the whole war, and would have been willing to stick around to read a dramatization of the soldiers getting their benefits.

As to the downsides, I wondered if the author had a background in advertising. Sometimes the descriptions were a little purple …

Richard Matheson: I am Legend (EBook, 2006, Blackstone Audio) 4 stars

Introduces a Lot of New Concepts that Later Authors Used Better

3 stars

This was primarily interesting to me because it showed me the early versions of tropes that have become familiar in the sci-fi and horror genres. It doesn't achieve greatness but sets the framework for later works by other authors that do.

It's kind of difficult to judge a book like this because things that were novel or big reveals have since become familiar tropes. The central concept of I Am Legend is rock solid, but it sometimes drags or goes on tangents, even with the short length, and I never found the scientific explanations either easy to follow or convincing.

Witch War was my favorite of the short stories, and I'd love to see someone adapt it or expand it into a larger book. From Shadowed Places had obviously outdated and questionable racial elements.

A lot of these felt like spec scripts for The Twilight Zone, so I wasn't surprised …

Ashley Woodfolk: Nothing Burns As Bright As You (2022, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company) 3 stars

From New York Times bestselling author Ashley Woodfolk, Nothing Burns as Bright as You is …

Poetically emotional

3 stars

The poetry was more effective than prose at describing emotion and less at describing events. This was a short snapshot of a book that showed a single moment in time.

The events toward the end of the book re-framed the rest in a clever way.

Because this was so short, I read it as a chapter a day over a month. I think that helped me absorb each chapter more instead of speeding through it.

Shūsaku Endō: Silence (1980, Taplinger Pub. Co.) 4 stars

Sustained by dreams of glorious martyrdom, a seventeenth-century Portuguese missionary in Japan administers to the …

Effective Character Study About a Time In History I Don't Know Much About

No rating

Overall I found this effective and a good companion piece to Shogun, and does not require the reader to be religious or Catholic to see the protagonist's point of view.

The character of Kichijiro was very interesting, and I tend to think the fumie came from Rodrigues' own mind, but that God was speaking to Rodrigues to Kichijiro. Kichijiro felt like the most fleshed-out Japanese character.

I thought it was kind of jarring to switch from Rodrigues perspective to third person, and I'm not sure I understand why Endo did it.

I thought the epilogue was effective in showing how the remainder of Rodrigues' life was just a footnote after the events of the novel.