Archive for the ‘reading links’ Category

Review – “The Body of Christopher Creed” by Carol Plum-Ucci

The Body of Christopher Creed The Body of Christopher Creed by Carol Plum-Ucci

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I didn’t know what to expect when I began this book. I was surprised at the rawness that some of the characters portrayed and the authentic picture of the culture of school kids. The theme, don’t judge a book by it’s cover, is appropriate to the age group it’s geared towards and adults too; without being preachy about it. Overall I enjoyed it.

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Read in Dec 2009


Review – “Anthem” by Ayn Rand

Anthem Anthem by Ayn Rand

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is an odd book at first. It is a cross between 1984 and Brave New World. The narrator, Equality 7-2521, and in fact everyone in the society Rand depicts, does not use, and does not know, the concept of the individual. Equality speaks of himself as ‘we’ and ‘us’, this becomes confusing to the reader when there are more than one person in a scene. Once I understood, and I had to read the first page a couple times, slowing down and thinking about what was happening as I read, I understood it and it became very interesting. It is only fifty-eight pages but it is full of interesting questions about authority, the good of the many vs. the needs of the individual, and duty to society. After reading The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, which are long, boring at times, but ultimately interesting, this shorter story was a nice change in style. When Equality discovers the power of “I” and gives himself a name it is easy to want to cheer with him.

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Review – “Watership Down” by Richard Adams

Watership Down (Scribner Classics) Watership Down by Richard Adams

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The main characters, Hazel, Fiver, and Bigwig, along with some other rabbits leave their home based on the ‘feeling’ that Fiver has about some impending danger. Fiver is the mystic, often having feeling/visions that Hazel has to convince others to heed. The group meets other warrens (a rabbit home} and rabbits that live very differently than Hazel’s band of bunnies.

I knew that this book was about rabbits. That is all I knew however. Despite having rabbits as the main characters and the plot centered on finding a new home this book was interesting. The characters are well-developed and have personality. There is a great deal of information about rabbits that Adams included (including quotes that precede chapters from a book about rabbits) that add to the realism of the story. The story has enough action and suspense to keep you turning the page. It is very easy to pick out the themes of freedom vs. safety, leadership vs. tyranny, and being oneself. Overall an enjoyable read.

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Review – “The Book of Air and Shadows” by Michael Gruber

The Book of Air and Shadows The Book of Air and Shadows by Michael Gruber

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
The idea behind this book was good. It was also interesting because part of it is written in first present tense, looking back on the events that lead up to the narrator (Jake) writing down what has happened. It also switches over to another character (Albert) who eventually crosses paths with Jake. This part is written not from Jake’s POV but third person limited to Albert. The narrative is also interrupted by letters from 16th C. that, eventually, involve Shakespeare.

This being said the beginning is dreadfully slow. The epistolary portion painfully details the family history of the letters’ author, the characters of Jake and Albert are not terribly well-developed. I normally devour books, read 300 pages in a day, but this book took me a couple days because I wasn’t into it. There was too many shifts, even when Jake and Albert meet the POV jump from Jake’s first person to Albert’s focused third did really offer any new insights that made that jump worthwhile.

The idea of discovering a new Shakespeare play and the basic plot line I think is good, it just wasn’t executed well enough.

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Review – “Alice I Have Been: A Novel”

Alice I Have Been: A Novel Alice I Have Been: A Novel by Melanie Benjamin

My rating: 5 of 5 starsHistorically based on the relationship of Alice Liddell and Lewis Carroll, Alice I Have Been: A Novel, chronicles the friendship, the emergence of the story of Wonderland, the falling out of the Carroll and the Liddell family, and Alice’s path to adulthood, marriage, and old age. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel. The relationships and characters were well developed. I especially liked reading about Dodgeson (his name before published as Carroll) as a photographer (something odd there) and bumbling professor. Light and breezy on the surface this story has a shadow that runs through it that is not always banished by the light of Alice’s innocence. View all my reviews >>

What I’ve been reading

In the last couple weeks I’ve read: Iron Elves: A Darkness Forged in Fire by Chris Evans; Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith; Scorpia (Alex Rider, #5) by Anthony Horowitz; Ark Angel (Alex Rider, #6) by Anthony Horowitz; Earthseed by Pamela Sargent; The Alchemyst (Nicholas Flamel, #1) by Michael Scott; The Magician (Nicholas Flamel, #2) by Michael Scott.
The Iron Elves book was very interesting. At it’s heart is the basic story of a epic warrior who was dishonored, lost motivation, doesn’t fight anymore being sought out because of a new threat. It involves prejudice, good vs. evil, humor ( I laughed aloud as I read some parts), and good characters (that may seem familiar if you’re a fan of this genre). It is the first of a series and I believe is the only one published at this time.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies follows the plot of the Jane Austen novel that shares two thirds of the title. It is a bit silly. Once I realized that the silliness was intentional I was able to enjoy the book. The Bennet sisters are an elite fighting team who spent time in Japan studying “the deadly arts”

To be continued . .

Hodge Podge

Well, we’re a couple weeks into school now and starting to get into the groove; 5 am is starting to be a little easier to see each morning. My classes are deep into poetry now and I can smell propaganda on the horizon (it smells like freshly baked bread, but is really just a ball of dough in the oven). The grading program is finally ready to be used and I’ve entered all my assignments so far and inputted 3 of my 4 class grades.

As I’m writing this, and I started to write this over the weekend but had so much grading to do put it off, I realize that this is kind of boring. What is really on my mind is the gay marriage issue that will be voted on in Maine this November. Let me see if I can squeeze some more day to day stuff out before I begin to rant.

I am reading The Italian, by Ann Radcliff; again. [The title links to an ebook, author to info] I had to read this book for class during my undergrad and {gulp} didn’t finish it. It isn’t a easy book to read and I think that without the unofficial concentration in 18C literature I would not have decided to re-read it and be getting it this time. It reeks of the Gothic sublime. Supernatural innuendos, long soliloquies about the beauty and majesty of the scenery and how it moves the characters towards their own sublimity through association. It does have all the elements of a great tale though, unrequited (so far) love; creepy, evil monks; a kidnapping; a chase and pursuit of the kidnapped and subsequent daring rescue from a self obsessed, power hungry/abusing abbess; and comedic scenes – I’m surprised some Hollywood director hasn’t made a crappy movie of it [they may have and if you know please comment and tell me about it]. I’m on pg 215, not quite halfway, and finding myself enjoying it. This is much different than the first time I read it and it proved to be a potent sleep aid, much like I’d imagine a shot of elephant tranquilizers would be.

I’m really digging the new Weezer song, “I want you to”. If you click on the title of this post it will take you to the site and you can listen for free – tell me if you like it. It plays on a loop – I think I’ve heard it 12 times now and I’m not sick of it yet!!

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