April 12th, 2010


Books 14 through 18

14. The Magicians, by Lev Grossman. An interesting if depressing book. I do wonder if there will be more in this universe; there's enough material and unanswered questions. It has magic, so it could be called a story for those who want something grittier and more raw than the Harry Potter series. There are a lot of nods, winks, pokes and even jabs at several well-known fantasy series, such as Harry Potter, Narnia and Lord of the Rings. But it's more of a character study of Quentin, the lead character. He's looking for happiness and fulfillment throughout. He discovers he has magic powers -- that doesn't do it. He discovers he's very powerful, more so than most of his classmates. That doesn't do it. He finds wealth, prestige and a life of leisure -- guess what? Then he and his friends discover something life-changing. Telling more would be giving away too many spoilers.

15. The Indian in the Cupboard, by Lynne Reid Banks. No, I've never read this before. My best friend recommended it. This is a very charming story, mixing real life with magic in a very believable and credible way. Omri is given two birthday gifts that at first are less than thrilling: an old medicine cabinet from his brother and a plastic Indian figurine. But when he puts the plastic figurine in the cabinet, Omri discovers the Indian comes to life. Omri is thrilled but soon discovers that there are unexpected complications and responsibilities that come with such a discovery. This story is rather even and "PC" for its time, and I really liked the emphasis that Little Bear is human, a living thing with his own life.

16. The Outsiders, by S. E. Hinton. I saw a staged version of this a while back (very well done, too) and my best friend found me a copy of the book. Finally got around to reading it. Excellent story! Ponyboy, a "greaser" takes the reader through his world, which in his eyes basically is made up of people like him and "socs," the rich kids. In Ponyboy's eyes, the "socs" have everything and get away with anything. However, Ponyboy discovers that isn't necessarily true. The feud between the two rival groups comes to a head after a "soc" is killed by Ponyboy's friend Johnny and the two go on the run.

17. Who Killed...? Cleveland, Ohio, by Jack Swint. A short, succinct collection of 15 unsolved murder cases in the Cleveland area. Each case fills a chapter, with numbers and contact information at the end (a nice touch) for those who might have information. The cases include the infamous Torso murders in the 1930s, the death of a young woman which launched not only a murder investigation but an investigation of all levels of the Medina county government at the time, and the murders of four women withing a short period of time in the 1980s. The stories are concise; it's almost like reading a version of America's Most Wanted.

18. Oceanology, various authors. I love the "Ology" books! This is one of the newest in the series, a birthday gift (THANK YOU, KIT!). Oceanology takes its readers to the depths of the oceans aboard the Nautilus. There's a neat diagram of the fabled sub, maps of the journey, notes, asides, information on ocean life and more. Love the nods to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Lowly Beginning of Vulnerable LogiPop Flirt College

The Beginning of Desire, by Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg
This was a really challenging read for me (I haven't read much Torah analysis AND the author is way smarter than I am), but despite its denseness, the poetry kept me reading. Not just lyrical writing, but also chunks of REAL poetry, Stevens and Rilke and so on. And Kafka! *swoon* Glad I finally read this book (I've been trying it off and on for years.)

Logicomix, by Apostolos Doxiadis et al
Fictionalized retelling of Bertrand Russell's life that also works in a lot of period history & basic logic / foundational-math stuff. It's also pretty meta because there's a recurring thread where the writers/artists of the comic are arguing about how to write the comic. I loved it even though I was already pretty well versed on the history/theory bits (thanks W. Kaufmann & D. Hofstadter)... and if I'd discovered it at eighteen before I knew all that stuff, it would've blown my mind.

Pop Goes the Library, by Sophie Brookover and Elizabeth Burns
Fun book with interesting ideas. Confessed I skimmed some of the parts that felt too "marketing"y to me, but overall I really dug it. The authorial voice is spot-on.

The Vulnerable Observer, by Ruth Behar
This book broke my heart, as it was meant to, and made me all wistful about anthropology as a lifestyle. Excellent, frank writing. Not outdated in the least even though it's about 15 years old.

Mean and Lowly Things, by Kate Jackson
This is an extremely specific and densely-packed book about every single non-science-y thing you might want to know if you were going to be an independent field scientist in the Republic of Congo. Who did a lot of snake handling. Also the author's warmth, fierceness, pragmatism, and intelligence shine through every page, which also makes it a memoir, I suppose. Man oh man, this book is completely awesome.

How I Paid for College, by Marc Acito
Funny & raunchy coming-of-age story. Good reading if you were quite fond of a bunch of Play People in HS or college; couldn't say how actual Play People might feel about it.

Flirt, by Laurell K. Hamilton
Fluff. Short, briskly-moving, at-least-there-was-some-plot-in-it-but-does-the-protagonist-really-have-to-overanalyse-every-single-thing-that-passes-through-her-mind fluff. I enjoyed it but it felt self-indulgent.
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6. Final Target by Iris Johansen

Final Target
Title: Final Target
Author: Iris Johansen
Year: 2001
# of pages: 387
Date read: 1/26/2010
Rating: 3*/5 = good



Melissa Riley arrives at her sister's isolated Virginia country home to find herself plunged into a deadly drama. There the renowned Dr. Jessica Riley is attempting to draw the daughter of the President of the United States out of a severe catatonic trauma. The last thing young Cassie Andreas saw was an organized team ruthlessly murder her nanny and the Secret Service agents sworn to protect her. But to free Cassie, Melissa and Jessica must trust a mysterious, charismatic man.

Michael Travis made his fortune in the international underworld. He risked everything to save Cassie during that terrible night of bloodshed. And he has entered into a secret bargain with the President. But is his show of concern all a treacherous charade? Melissa and Jessica have no choice but to accept Travis as their ally--and to follow a dangerous plan that will lead them into the world of a killer who'll destroy anyone standing between him and the... FINAL TARGET" -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

This book was a good thriller, but could have been better. I liked the character interaction, especially between Cassie and Melissa in the "tunnel" and between Travis and both Melissa and Jessica Riley. I didn't like that it took the author a long time to explain what Travis was involved in and why various people were after him.

Book 19-21

Book : Splendour - Anna Godberson
Genre: Teen Romance? / Teen Historical fic (almost)

Plot:(from Harper Collins...may spoil previous Luxe books)

My thoughts: Surprisingly less trashy than I was expecting.

Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)

* ~ * ~ *

Book : You Belong to Me - Mary Higgins Clark

Genre: Murder Mystery/Suspense

Plot: A book is written about how lonely women may be targeted by serial killers. When the author appears on the radio, commenting on another women's disappearance, a serial killer decides it's their mission to cover up their tracks.

My thoughts: Not the best MHC book I have read. I had the killer worked out way before the end based on the "the obvious person can't be the killer" theory.

Rating: 2.5 stars (out of 5)

* ~ * ~ *

Book : I heard that song before - Mary Higgins Clark

Genre: Murder Mystery/Suspense

Plot: Peter has lived most of his life as a "person of interest" in two murders. One of the murder victims mothers is now dying and causes the investigation to be re-opened. But, will new evidence create new theories or will it prove Peter's guilt?

My thoughts: This one had me guessing for most of the book. I rather liked it.

Rating: 3.5 stars (out of 5)

21 / 50 books. 42% done!

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Books #11-20

I have several 'themes' in my reading for this year, which will become more and more apparent as I post more lists. By 'themes', I mean both authors or genre. The most obvious authors I am focusing on this year are Scott Westerfeld (whom I had heard about before but only started reading this year), Isobelle Carmody (I've read Obernewtyn Chronicles, Legendsong  Saga and Gateway Series, but not her stand alone works) and Truman Capote (whom I admire greatly for In Cold Blood and Breakfast at Tiffany's and so wanted to read more). Genre wise, the main theme is YA, as most of my favourite authors and those of my friends write YA. I also read the blogs of some YA authors (mainly Sarah Rees Brennan), so I also read a lot of reviews for YA. It's also just awesome!

And now, the books:
11. Specials by Scott Westerfeld
So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld

13. Extras by Scott Westerfeld

14. The Hero and The Crown by Robin McKinley

15. The Gathering by Isobelle Carmody

16. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor

17. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

18. Summer Crossing by Truman Capote

19. Keeping Peace in the World by Adam Hibbert

20. Scatterlings by Isobelle Carmody

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