June 5th, 2010

Dead Dog Cat


Yesterday, I also finished a graphic novel, a collection of web comic strips by Warren Ellis, called Freakangels: Volume 4 which continues rather well to keep me interested. The whole shebang from the beginning is online, and a new series of six panels is posted most every Friday.

Book 57: Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Book 57: Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief
Author: Rick Riordan, 2005.
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy. Greek Myth.
Other Details: Paperback. 384 pages.

I bought this first book in the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series in one of those tempting 'buy one, get one free' offers. My resolve to just browse melts away when I see those signs!

Twelve-year old Percy Jackson considers himself a fairly normal kid though he is dyslexic and also suffers from AD/HD. He seems to attract trouble and has been expelled from six schools in six years. His only real interest is Greek mythology, which is quite handy really as it transpires that he is a demi-god, the son of a Greek god and a mortal woman. After a frightening encounter with a Fury during a school field trip, his Mother reveals that his father, allegedly lost at sea when he was an infant, had wanted Percy to be sent to a special camp. This is Camp Half Blood, a place for children with a Greek god for a parent. Percy is quite bewildered by all this talk of gods, demi-gods and monsters. Yet after he arrives at the camp he soon begins to make new friends and also a few enemies.

When he is claimed by Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea and earthquakes, it creates something of a stir as the 'Big Three' (Zeus, Hades and Poseidon) had made a pact to not father any children with mortal women. Things get worse when Percy is accused of having stolen Zeus' master lightning bolt. If the bolt is not returned to Mount Olympus by the Summer Solstice, ten days away, an apocalyptic war will break out between Zeus and Poseidon. In order to clear his name and prevent the war, Percy has to undertake a quest assisted by two friends to recover the master bolt. Thus begins a road trip from New York to Los Angeles and encounters with various beings and monsters.

I've always enjoyed Greek myths and legends and this was a fun read that I zipped through in a couple of days. It is now doing the rounds of friends who are keen to also try it. Riordan is a masterful story-teller, updating these myths in a modern setting with a light-hearted touch. Of course, it's hard not to draw some comparisons with the Harry Potter series given the premise and the way that the Percy Jackson books have been titled and marketed. Certainly both writers have drawn on the rich well springs of myth, legend and folklore to delight readers of all ages.

Did you get that from Harry Potter? - A 2005 blog entry from Rick Riordan that tackles this question!

Note: It is also fun to scroll down to the end where among his recent reads he includes Twilight and makes some amusing comments.
did you know you could fly?

(no subject)

Book #32 -- Avi, The Seer of Shadows, 202 pages.

Horace is a photographers apprentice in post-Civil War New York. Spirit photographs are all the rage. But when Horace's employer orders him to create a fake spirit in a grieving mother's portrait, Horace finds out that ghosts are all too real.

Progress toward goals: 154/365 = 42.2%

Books: 32/100 = 32.0%

Pages: 8398/30000 = 28.0%

2010 Book List

cross-posted to 15000pages, 50bookchallenge, and gwynraven
Default Ron

The Sandman: The Dream Hunters and Murder on Lexington Avenue

The Sandman: The Dream Hunters by Neil Gaiman and Yoshitaka Amano
Pages: 128


Featuring striking painted artwork, this love story, set in ancient Japan, tells the story of a humble young monk and a magical, shape-changing fox who find themselves romantically drawn together. As their love blooms, the fox learns of a devilish plot by a group of demons to steal the monk's life. With the aid of Morpheus, the King of All Night's Dreamings, the fox must use all of her cunning and creative thinking to foil this evil scheme and save the man that she loves. This book also boasts an eight page section highlighting Yoshitaka Amano's amazing painted art.

Books completed: 9/50
Pages completed: 2685/15,000

Murder on Lexington Avenue by Victoria Thompson
Pages: 336


In Thompson’s fine 12th mystery set in turn-of-the-20th-century New York City (after 2009’s Murder on Waverly Place), Det. Sgt. Frank Malloy investigates the murder of Nehemiah Wooten, who was bludgeoned with a loving cup Wooten won for sculling at Harvard more than 30 years earlier. A follower of Alexander Graham Bell’s views on eugenics, Wooten was opposed to two deaf people getting married on the grounds that such unions would produce only deaf offspring, an attitude that earned him an enemy within his own home. Wooten’s attractive 16-year-old daughter, Electra, who could not hear, was hoping to marry a deaf teacher. When Malloy visits Wooten’s pregnant widow and her water breaks, he calls in midwife Sarah Brandt. Thanks to her access to the victim’s household, Sarah proves invaluable in helping him uncover the killer. While the psychology of the crime is less complicated than some might prefer, Thompson does a solid job bringing the past to life.

Books completed: 10/50
Pages completed: 3021/15,000


Default Ron

But He Doesn't Know The Territory: The Making of Meredith Willson's The Music Man

But He Doesn’t Know the Territory by Meredith Willson
Pages: 192


Composer Meredith Willson once described The Music Man as “an Iowan’s attempt to pay tribute to his home state.” Never once forgetting his roots, Willson reflects on the ups and downs, surprises and disappointments, and finally successes of the making of one of America’s most popular musicals. His whimsical, personable writing style will bring readers back in time with him to the 1950s to experience firsthand the exciting trials and tribulations of creating a Broadway masterpiece. A newfound admiration for The Music Man—and the man behind the music—is sure to follow.

Considering that I’ve been waiting to read this out-of-print book since I was 11, you can imagine the thrill I experienced when I realized it had been printed again. This insightful look into how “The Music Man” came to be is charming and sheds light on one of (in my opinion) the greatest musicals ever made. I got it thinking I’d read about the Broadway play during its run and the movie. Instead, I got a history on Meredith Willson’s background and how he developed the idea for the play that originally started out as “The Silver Triangle” before eventually becoming the vehicle for that loveable conman Professor Harold Hill.

Watching the pains, failures and successes Willson went through to see his story realized was fascinating. Whether or not you’re a fan of the play/movie, I recommend reading this book. It’s an insider’s look at what goes in to creating a Broadway show.

Books completed: 11/50
Pages completed: 3213/15,000