August 28th, 2010

Dead Dog Cat

(no subject)

Yesterday morning, I finished reading a book by Raymond Feist, called At the Gates of Darkness. I had a bit of trouble starting to read it, but once past the first chapter or so, it caught me up and pulled me along. It was a pretty fast read, then. It's another book of his Midkemia series of books, a fantasy novel.
books - love anim.

Book Review: Books 54 and 55 for 2010

54. Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer, 1997, 404 pages.
55. Escape by Carolyn Jessup, 2007, 413 pages.

It is quite unusual for me to read two non-fiction books in a row. Some years, it is unlikely that I read two non-fiction books! However, my husband bought Into Thin Air on the advice of his sister, was thoroughly engrossed by it, and afterwards recommended it to me in the warmest possible terms. I’ve yet to be steered wrong by my husband’s literary advice and read it promptly. Escape I bought from a clearance sale at a bookstore: the jacket liner made the story sound like a fascinating one, and on the back of the book was a strong recommendation for it by Jon Krakauer, whose book I’d just finished reading. Destiny and an unbeatable price made it an easy choice.

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The oceans continued to rise, the planet failed to heal itself, civil society broke down in Canada and the United States, and after a conflict of unspecified origin and duration in which some part of the continent is rendered uninhabitable more permanently than Carthage a new tyranny has emerged in which a capitol district somewhere in the Rockies exacts tribute from twelve inhabitable districts that exist, apparently (the social scientist in me is going to rise up angry shortly), as providers of different kinds of resources for the capitol. It is time for The Hunger Games, Year 74.

Imagine Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" (a short story unaccountably popular with high-school literature teachers) to select participants in Ultimate Survivor with no immunity challenges, no tribal councils, no holds barred, the dimensions of the cage subject to change without notice, and nominations to be voted off more permanent than they are on Top Shot.

So much for the plot. I want to devote Book Review No. 20 to the dubious social science. We have a remote capital made possible by a science in which insects can be weaponized, birds trained to be stool pigeons, gene-splicing is slightly less sophisticated than that of Jurassic Park, holding sway over a continent with a regional division of labor more rigid than the one the late unlamented Soviet Union attempted to impose on its Central Asian republics, and in the aftermath of unspecified ecological, economic, and political collapse. (I suspect the concept of post-apocalyptic exists because thinking through the cause, duration, and consequences of apocalypse itself are too much like work.)

Yet we meet none of the brains or muscle behind this tyranny. The capitol appears full of glitterati, nancy-boys, corrupt officials, and unspecified wealthy patrons who can bestow gifts on the game-players when they're not betting on the outcome of the game. (Author Suzanne Collins does not name the money unit for these bets: I suggest quatloos.) The game itself occupies the capital for a great deal of each year, and work in the satrapies apparently stops for the duration.

The book is the first of a trilogy, in which the survivors of the game inspire a rebellion. I'm not sure whether to invest in the rest of the series to see how this revolution plays out, although that might be a quick way to rack up book reviews toward the fifty. The society as Hunger Games reveals it is unstable enough as to be unsustainable. Perhaps, if you'd like a real world model, you might consider the implications of 1991 - 1917 = 74.

(Cross-posted to Cold Spring Shops.)
Chow Time

No. 34 for 2010

Title: Fly Away Home
Author: Jennifer Weiner
Rating: 4/5
Book: 34/50 (68% completed)
Pages: 397 pgs
Total Pages 12,316/15,000 pages (82.11% completed)
Next up: The Postcard Killers by James Patterson and Liza Marklund

I like Jennifer Weiner but her last two books have been lacking I found. The story was good and the characters were likeable but there was not much of a plot. "Little Earthquakes" and "Goodnight Nobody" still remain my favourites.

xposted to 50bookchallenge, 15000pages and bookworm84

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  • blinger

Books 18 and 19 - 2010

Book 18: Aphrodite’s Blessings: Love Stories from the Greek Myths by Clemence McLaren – 202 pages

Description from Amazon:
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This book was on my to-read list for a while and I’d ordered it from the library only to have not received it six months later – a quick email to the library revealed that the book had been lost (nice of them to tell me). So I did some more hunting and finally managed to buy a copy from book depository. And I’m glad I did, because not only was it a great little read, but it revealed another ‘clue’ to me. Now you may ask what I mean by ‘clue’. And I will tell you. Now while I’ve been writing my own book, I have constantly been on the look out for clues – little things in real life that tell me I’m on the right track with my story. And in this book I spotted one in the story about Psyche. The fact that one of my characters has the middle name Psyche was already rather significant to me, but then part way through the story, Psyche mentions a girl called Adrasta. What’s significant about that you ask? Oh, Adrasta just happens to be my main character’s given name. Yep, so maybe a bit lame, but it meant a lot to me! Having said that, the actual story itself is pretty cute – young, written more for 12-15 year olds than me at 23, but I enjoyed it all the same.

18 / 50 books. 36% done!

5796 / 15000 pages. 39% done!

Book 19: Goddess of the Sea by P.C. Cast – 344 pages

Description from Amazon:
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This is the first in P.C. Cast’s Goddess Summoning series, the series she was working on before the vampire phenomenon took off and she started writing the House of Night series. Personally, I’ll always be a goddess/god/mermaid/merman/centaur/alien person. Werewolves and vampires have never really done it for me – probably because they’re so…trendy…and conventional. But oh well, back to the book. So this is the first in the Goddess Summoning series where ordinary woman summon goddesses and become embroiled in love affairs with unusual men – in this instance, a merman. This book’s got rave reviews on Amazon but it was a pretty standard romance novel to me – the main character was pedestrian, she fell for the love interest easily despite little previous romantic experience and despite a reasonably clever ending, it never really felt like it was stretching all that much. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it, it just didn’t quite hit me the same way Elphame’s Choice and Brighid’s Quest did. I have the next two in the series, Goddess of Spring and Goddess of Light, so I intend to keep going though I may postpone them for awhile as I’d like to take out a few other books first.

19 / 50 books. 38% done!

6140 / 15000 pages. 41% done!

Still catching up – and failing!

Currently reading:
- The Constant Princess
by Philippa Gregory – 486 pages
- Angels and Demons
by Dan Brown – 620 pages
- How to Lose an Extraterrestrial in 10 days
by Susan Grant – 377 pages

And coming up:
- The Glass Castle
by Jeannette Walls – 341 pages
- She’s Such a Geek: Women write about Science, Technology & other nerdy stuff
edited by Annalee Newitz and Charlie Anders – 223 pages
- The Boleyn Inheritance
by Philippa Gregory – 514 pages