Ratty (blinger) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Books 3, 4 and 5 - 2011

Book 3: Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner – 307 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
Cult bestseller, new buzz word..."Freakonomics" is at the heart of everything we see and do and the subjects that bedevil us daily: from parenting to crime, sport to politics, fat to cheating, fear to traffic jams. Asking provocative and profound questions about human motivation and contemporary living and reaching some astonishing conclusions, "Freakonomics" will make you see the familiar world through a completely original lens.

I think this book has suffered at the hands of its own success. Whilst I enjoyed it, I somehow expected there to be more, more than I’d heard on TV or read as quoted in magazines or newspapers. Unfortunately, I was quite disappointed to find that this wasn’t the case, and whilst I won’t claim I didn’t learn something, to a degree not only was I really only expanding on the knowledge I’d already gained from this book from outside sources, but that some of the points were really just economic support for things that I thought were common sense. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the book, nor that its not a worthy addition to the world of social science/economics, but more perhaps that the book had been so hyped up for me that I went in expecting much more. A shame for me, but still a good read.

3 / 50 books. 6% done!

1150 / 15000 pages. 8% done!

Book 4: A Series of Unfortunate Events: Book the Second: The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket – 190 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
There is nothing to be found in the pages of these books but misery and despair. You still have time to choose something else to read. But if you must know what unpleasantries befall the charming and clever Baudelaire children read on...The siblings endure a car accident, a terrible smell, a deadly serpent, a long knife, a brass reading lamp, and the re-appearance of a person they hoped to never see again. Then again, why trouble yourself with the unfortunate resolutions? Avoid these books in Lemony Snicket's international bestselling series and you'll never have to know what happens!

Very similar to the first one, but nonetheless a nice quick read. There does seems to be a movement towards more violent children’s books lately but then living in a post 9/11 world, I guess this shouldn’t be all that surprising – kids seem to see much worse on TV these days! I must say that the way Snicket constantly explains the meaning of words gets annoying after awhile. Having said that, I was discussing this series with my sister recently (she’s up to about number eleven I think) and she mentioned that she liked that he did that. Given that she’s more in the demographic of these books (she’s fourteen), evidentially my dislike of it is purely because of my age. I intend to try and read a least a couple more of these this year, though if they are all as repetitive in the storyline I don’t think I can manage too many in a given year before I get sick of them. Best leave some for the future when I need a quick, brainless read. Overall, I would recommend it (and the series itself) if you’ve got little ones that you read bed time stories to.

4 / 50 books. 8% done!

1340 / 15000 pages. 9% done!

Book 5: Nobody’s Prize by Esther Friesner – 306 pages

Description from Amazon.com:
In this sequel to Nobody’s Princess (2007), Helen of Sparta dons a male disguise and, along with her brothers, stows away on the Argo, the ship Jason sails to find the Golden Fleece. She views this as her last free adventure before she takes on the responsibilities of wife, mother, and queen of Sparta. Yet, as usual, she gets more than she bargained for: crazy Herakles; evil Medea; and a chance reunion with the Athenian king, Theseus, the bridegroom from whom she has once escaped. Friesner again melds myth and fiction into an exciting adventure for both Helen and her readers. This sequel introduces a more mature Helen, who menstruates for the first time, witnesses love affairs (including those that demonstrate Medea’s powerful hold on men), and finds her own object of desire. Readers will rejoice in Helen’s escapades and will hope for a future chapter, perhaps in which she becomes Helen of Troy.

This one wasn’t quite as good as its predecessor but it was still an enjoyable read, especially if you’re seeking a teenage heroine with more backbone than, say, Bella Swan. Helen is one of my favourite historical/mythological (depending on your view of these things) figures and I really appreciate the fact that Friesner has taken the time to go back and tell a story about her as a youth, especially one that portrays her in such a light (ie. That she wasn’t aware of her beauty, nor trying to use it to manipulate). The writing’s a bit immature at time and the plot drags in spots, but Friesner has brought in just enough of the original mythology to keep things ‘real’ whilst still putting her own (sometimes modern) spin on things. It’s a good piece for those pre-teen and teen girls out there seeking a female character actually worthy of role model status. A nice bit of fun.

5 / 50 books. 10% done!

1646 / 15000 pages. 11% done!

Currently reading:
- Angelology
by Danielle Trussoni – 453 pages
- The Star King
by Susan Grant – 358 pages
- Jennifer Government
by Max Barry – 335 pages

And coming up:
- The Davinci Code
by Dan Brown – 593 pages
- The Star Prince
by Susan Grant – 395 pages
- Under the Dome
by Stephen King – 877 pages
Tags: academic, economics, kidlit, lemony snicket, pagan, teen lit, young adult

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