January 13th, 2010

Bike

Book 5

The poor weather here in New Zealand's south island, as well as an enjoyable book, has meant that I have completed another book. My latest was another Jasper Fforde's Something Rotten. No surprises for guessing that the literary detective Tuesday Next has to deal with Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. I particularly liked his soliloquy when confronted by a coffee shop in Swindon, UK:

"To espresso or to latte, that is the question, ...
Whether tis tastier on the palette to choose white mocha over plain,
Or to take a cup to go.
Or a mug to stay, or extra cream
Or have nothing, and by opposing the endless choice
End one's heartache
To froth, to sprinkle, perchance to drink and in that...."

"He'll have a mocha with extra cream, please."


I loved the use of an adapted England, which reminded me of Philip Pullman's adapted Oxford and Europe. Some things are the same, but others are just a little tweaked. As an example, the major sport is croquet, and Swindon Mallets make it to the final. While the idea of croquet as an aggressive sport seems odd, I guess it is no stranger than the varieties of football that have sprung up. I was also very amused by the idea that the important sporting matches were held up by legal appeals and that three lawyers were on each team, and that three high court judges pronounced judgements as the game went on. I thought of the America's Cup, which is no longer a sporting occasion, but a legal one, and the attempts by Ireland to reverse the result of a soccer game against France.

Anyway, a very enjoyable book with many literary jokes. With 393 pages, it brings my yearly page total to date to 1,573. My current book is on political philosophy and so may take more concentration, and will certainly be less amusing.
Knowledge
  • vylotte

Books #1 and #2

#1, Under the Dome, Stephen King
I am happy to see that SK is back to quality over quantity, it's obvious a lot of time and care went into this novel. It suffered at times from extra-itis, too many filler people going this way and that, lending nothing more than a string of names gathering here and gathering there without any emotional or situational impact. And on a purely personal note I found it stressful at times to watch people blindly following an obvious despot. But that comes from my own habit of speaking up loudly and quickly when I feel idiocy abounds

#2, The Umbrella Academy: Dallas, Gerard Way, Gabriel Bá
The team is back to save the world from yet another apocalypse, this one involving presidential assassinations, nuclear weapons, time travel and vampire Vietcong. A lot of fun.
  • Current Mood
    lazy lazy
Leaf on Book

Books #1-5

1) Urban Shaman by C.E. Murphy (Urban Fantasy, 416 pages)
Better than a lot of recent urban fantasy books. Interesting plotline but things felt a little discombobulated (not least of which the main character). I think Joanne could have been characterized a lot better than she was, and Murphy needed to flesh out her background more. The series has a lot of potential, though, and I'll keep reading. 3.5/5

2) Thunderbird Falls by C.E. Murphy (Urban Fantasy, 416 pages)
Liked this one much better than Urban Shaman. Murphy seemed to have a better handle on Joanne's character, though I do wish she had fleshed out more of the back characters. 4/5

3) Food Rules: An Eater's Manual by Michael Pollan (Health/Nutrition, 140 pages)
My main issue with this book was the price: $11 list price. How can the publisher justify slapping such a ridiculous number on such a small book?
Overall, a good set of rules on what to eat (and not eat), but not very substantive past that. This is essentially In Defense of Food boiled down into some guidelines for eating. Nothing really new here, but good to have it reiterated. 3.5/5

4) Coyote Dreams by C.E. Murphy (Urban Fantasy, 416 pages)
I'm glad I kept with this series, if only for this book. Joanne has become more of a character and less of an urban fantasy cliche, becoming more rounded and with more backstory. 4/5

5) The Wild Things by Dave Eggers (YA Fantasy, 288 pages)
This was a fun quick read and probably would have ranked higher except that as an adult, I found the story less enjoyable than I had when I was a child. First, Max was not a likable character and I wanted to reach through the book and smack him. Second, there was no real resolution to anything at the end of the book. While this is true to Where the Wild Things Are, it really nagged me.

However, there were some subtle things in the story that I really did like. Carol was essentially Max, something which I missed until right at the very end, and which added an extra layer of depth to the entire book. I only hope that Eggers Max learned something from watching Carol in action. 3.5/5
women, picasso, reading

3/50 The Awakening by Kate Chopin

      The story follows a woman, Edna, in New Orleans at the turn of the century as she tries to reconcile her roles as wife and mother and the societal expectations of a proper woman with her own wants and needs. These are struggles that women still feel today, even after we have been "liberated". I believe we all feel certain failures in our expectations of ourselves, maybe even more so after we were taught that we could have it all, do it all, be it all. No one can meet all those expectations. We all have to choose, just as Edna does. This is a timeless and introspective read.
  • Current Mood
    lonely lonely
Eric and Sookie kiss

No. 3 for 2010

Title: The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening and The Struggle
Author: L.J. Smith
Rating: 4/5
Book: 3/50 (6% completed)
Book in personal challenge with niun: 4/50 Fantasy, 3/50 Mystery and 0/25 Classics
Pages: 492 pgs
Total Pages 1,321/15,000 pages (8.81% completed)
Next up: The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks

I have a love/hate relationship with this book. Elena bothers me. She's the girl in school that I couldn't stand. I was never in the popular group and I was bullied. Elena brought back those memories for me. However, putting that aside, the book was good. I like Stefan. I dislike Damon. I will continue to read the rest of the series.

xposted to 50bookchallenge, 15000pages and bookworm84

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amy poehler

(no subject)

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4. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton - It had a slow start but was an okay book. Not many books about greasers and "socs" anymore, that's for sure, so itt wasn't something I usually read. Pretty good though.