January 18th, 2010

Dead Dog Cat


I just finished reading the new book by David Weber & Eric Flint, set in the Honor Harrington Universe, called Torch of Freedom. It starts pretty painfully, with an extensive rehash of all that's gone before (well, not really ALL, but it almost seemed like it), but once we got past that, it was a pretty quick and interesting read. I'd call it "fair", overall, though I like the series as a whole, and I want to know what happens next, I'm afraid that it's all become too unwieldy to get each novel running.


First few books of 2010...

1) Men of the Otherworld ~ Kelley Armstrong ~ 384 pages ~ AWESOME 4/5
A nice collections of short stories that delve into the past of one of the main characters from Kelley Armstrong's women of the otherworld series.

2) A Touch of Dead ~ Charlaine Harris ~ 208 pages ~ GOOD 3/5
A poor collection of short stories that fit in between many of the Sookie Stackhouse novels.

3) Blood Promises ~ Richelle Mead ~ 480 pages ~ AWESOME 4/5
A long, and unfinished (in my opinion) story in the Vampire Academy series. This is book 4.

# 5 Every Book Its Reader

Every Book Its Reader: The Power of the Printed Word to Stir the World

Nicholas Basbanes

The subtitle of this book directly states the book's premise, that books have the power to change lives, and indeed to change history.

Basbanes supports his premise beautifully, with examples of historical figures, interviews with respected critics, authors, and literary academicians, and with examples of social programs. He also covers the subject from myriad angles, some obvious, some more finely nuanced, and each fascinating.

To say that I loved this book is possibly an understatement. I first learned of Basbanes when I caught a half-hour long interview with him on Book TV. I was immediately drawn to the program and to him, as one bibiliophile to another. Oh, he's certainly a more serious and erudite bibliophile than I, but I so strongly identified with his love of books - of the printed word. The interview took place in his home, and I was mesmerized by his bookshelves, if a bit envious.

Every Book Its Reader is everything I expected from Nicholas Basbanes. I strongly intend to re-read it in the near future. I read it this time for pleasure. Next time I'll read more deeply, probably even taking copious notes, (and not just jotting down the titles of interesting books to explore.).

This, my friends, is a Book! I wonder if any true bibliophile could read this without being touched, moved and inspired.

Caleb- snug as a bug!

Book 4: Oryx & Crake

Oryx & Crake
Margaret Atwood
Fiction; fantasy; scifi
374 pages
In Oryx and Crake, a science fiction novel that is more Swift than Heinlein, more cautionary tale than "fictional science" (no flying cars here), Margaret Atwood depicts a near-future world that turns from the merely horrible to the horrific, from a fool's paradise to a bio-wasteland. Snowman (a man once known as Jimmy) sleeps in a tree and just might be the only human left on our devastated planet. He is not entirely alone, however, as he considers himself the shepherd of a group of experimental, human-like creatures called the Children of Crake. As he scavenges and tends to his insect bites, Snowman recalls in flashbacks how the world fell apart.
While the story begins with a rather ponderous set-up of what has become a clichéd landscape of the human endgame, littered with smashed computers and abandoned buildings, it takes on life when Snowman recalls his boyhood meeting with his best friend Crake: "Crake had a thing about him even then.... He generated awe ... in his dark laconic clothing." A dangerous genius, Crake is the book's most intriguing character. Crake and Jimmy live with all the other smart, rich people in the Compounds--gated company towns owned by biotech corporations. (Ordinary folks are kept outside the gates in the chaotic "pleeblands.") Meanwhile, beautiful Oryx, raised as a child prostitute in Southeast Asia, finds her way to the West and meets Crake and Jimmy, setting up an inevitable love triangle. Eventually Crake's experiments in bioengineering cause humanity's shockingly quick demise (with uncanny echoes of SARS, ebola, and mad cow disease), leaving Snowman to try to pick up the pieces. There are a few speed bumps along the way, including some clunky dialogue and heavy-handed symbols such as Snowman's broken watch, but once the bleak narrative gets moving, as Snowman sets out in search of the laboratory that seeded the world's destruction, it clips along at a good pace, with a healthy dose of wry humor.

I thought that this was a unique read and interesting look at the life of a man after a horrible virus is spread throughout the world. How the virus came about is such a twist, that I cannot say any more about it, but it really does keep you on the edge of your seat. I thought that the concept of this novel was great, but some things really went wrong in this book. I found Atwood's use of flashbacks, mid-sub-chapters, to be a bit confusing and that made the book a bit disappointing for me. I can understand it if the flashbacks occurred each chapter, but even within the sub-chapters, it became a bit frustrating to decipher the time period a lot of the time. For the most part, this book was difficult to put down, but there were those times that the story of Snowman seemed to lag in places. Overall, though, I recommend everyone read this book. I think that I will read the sequel as well once it is released in paperback.

**Next Read: I just started reading The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood.
got books? [books busy]
  • sio

1/10th of my year's goal read

#5 - The Wise Woman by Philippa Gregory - Alys, young apprentice to a rumored witch, flees and joins an order of Catholic nuns. when the abbey is ransacked, leaving Alys the sole survivor, her life takes a very different turn.

i found this to be darker than some of her past works (The Other Boleyn Girl, The Constant Princess) probly because one of the central themes is witchcraft. it DID make for a very fascinating read overall and the ending was a complete surprise.

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next i plan to read the following:

Hand of Isis by Jo Graham
The Life of Elizabeth I by Alison Weir
and some more romance novels i need to go through and trade in
Chopper fanspazz

First post of the year! (5/50)

1-5: One Piece 24-28

Non geeky terms: One Piece has a really simple art style compared to many manga, and while some people are turned off by how strange it looks, I think that's part of what drew me to the series in the first place. You can't find another manga like One Piece, and being simple also allows for some fun expressions while keeping focus on the story at hand.

Volume 24 is the start of the Skypea arc, and the rest of the volumes I read this month continue through on that. From being in the fandom, I get the feeling it's the arc that nobody loves but nobody hates, and I can see why; the manga-ka Mr. Oda did some experimenting. He tried some new expressions, some new writing techniques, and this is also the start of One Piece's infamously long arcs. At times it felt choppy and had growing pains, but you can tell that One Piece is growing into something even cooler reading this. my biggest gripe has nothing to do with the manga itsself, actually, but the fact that VIZ upped the price 2 bucks a volume. DX

Anyways, if any One Piece fans are here who care for some more nerdy reactions, they're under the cut.
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