July 6th, 2011

50bookchallenge2011

Neil Gaiman, Terry Goodkind and an iPod shuffle

The Wolves in the Wall by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Dave McKean

B&N Synopsis

There are sneaking,
creeping, crumpling noises coming from inside the walls.

Lucy is sure there are wolves living in the walls of their house — and, as everybody says, if the wolves come out of the walls, it's all over. Her family doesn't believe her. Then one day, the wolves come out.

But it's not all over. Instead, Lucy's battle with the wolves is only just beginning.

OK, I'm including this one last time, because while my nephew was here I read it at least 15 times - for real. So I think it's fair to post it twice. I got tickled, because by the time we'd read it five times, he was quoting it to me and "reading" it back to me! This is a great book for adults and children. It's definitely become one of my favorites!

Book 26/40

Now, does anyone know anything about the new Sword of Truth book that's supposed to come out this fall? I'm excited, because I'm hoping that after a hiatus, he maybe got re-energized and will churn out a story to rival the original first few books of that series. You know, before they got bogged down and became a train wreck of too many characters and philosophies. I never read his mystery novel he wrote, although I do have it waiting in my Audible queue. Anyone else excited?

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El Corazon

77. And All the Saints

And All the Saints
by Michael Walsh

Started: June 24, 2011
Finished: July 6, 2011

I had never heard of Owney Madden before reading this historical novel about his life as a gangster in New York in the early twentieth century, but I'm a bit fascinated now. I'm not sure how accurate the story told here is but it was interesting nonetheless. One of my biggest complaints about most historical novels is that the author does so much research about the time period that they feel the urge to cram way too much background information into the story. Walsh doesn't do this for the most part. He lets the story lead the way with the research making a reliable backdrop. This isn't a great book but it's a good read. 383 pages. Grade: B
***
Total # of books read in 2011: 77
Total # of pages read in 2011: 23,417
 

HP Kels writing

Books 36-40: Christopher Moore, Civil War, young adult fantasy



 36. A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore (400 pages) When Charlie's beloved wife dies giving birth to their daughter, he suddenly finds himself with a new job in addition to running a thrift store; he is Death. Charlie has to collect the souls of the dead so they may pass on to their next lives. Meanwhile, he also has to deal with nosey employees and his baby daughter's giant hellhounds. Brilliant, hilarious, original, poignant, even moving tale of the bizarre, done in typical Moore fashion: with vivid, varied, and human characters in a twisted, magical, and thoroughly believable bizarre world. Moore tackles life and death and all that is in-between perfectly, with humor and pathos, with depth and lightness. One of his best novels, right up there with Fool and Lamb. Grade: A+

 

37. Shadow by Jenny Moss (377 pages) Shadow is forced to always be at the Queen's side due to a dire prophecy. She is neither servant nor royal, and lives a sad, invisible life. When tragedy strikes the palace, Shadow and the handsome knight Sir Kenway must flee in the wake of mystery and conflicting alliances. Eventually, the selfish and emotionally-scarred Shadow must learn her role in the kingdom. An interesting idea and a deeply flawed narrator give this young adult fantasy potential, but slow pacing, flat characters, predictable and clichéd plot ruin all potential for something extraordinary. A decent young adult novel, but not destined to be a classic. Grade: C+

 

38. Jayhawker by Patricia Beatty (214 pages) When Lije's father is killed on an John Brown-inspired anti-slavery raid in Bleeding Kansas, he wants revenge, joins the Jayhawkers, and becomes a spy amongst the Bushwackers. A decent young adult novel, but, like so many of them, is really just trying to string history into a historical narrative, and really lacking any skill in delivery, engaging characters, and even well-crafted plotting. Young readers will be bored. Grade: C+

 

39. What This Cruel War Was Over: Soldiers, Slavery, and the Civil War by Chandra Manning (350 pages)

What were the causes of the Civil War? Some say slavery. Others that is was state's rights vs. preserving the union. But what about the soldiers, the enlisted men who fought the war, what did they think? Were they as racist as we now perceive? Were they fighting for their homes? For their country? Why did our country fight it's most horrific, most bloody war for four long years, amongst itself? What possibly could start and sustain such a conflict? Historians, history books, modern thinking have all created certain perceptions of the war, and, for the most part, tried to rewrite history to make it more comfortable to us.

This brilliant, magnificently thorough book is an examination of the thoughts and attitudes of the enlisted soldiers of the Civil War, Union and Confederate, black and white, as represented in their letters, diaries, essays, newsletters, and other writings. Manning investigates their opinions on the causes and purposes of the war and slavery, which are one in the same. She brilliantly delves into how those opinions, thoughts, and attitudes were formed by the differing societies of the North and the South (particularly their religious beliefs, their societal demands, and class and gender roles), how this civil war would form a new definition of the United States. 

The Civil War, in four horrific years, absolutely revolutionized thought and society in the United States. Our country fought it's most bloody, most horrific war, not only amongst itself, but due to racism. It is a shocking horror that racism can not only be that entrenched, but that motivating of a force. A force that can cause a Civil War between the ideals of equality and freedom and the personal desires for safety, success, and preservation of loved ones. This is a Civil War that rages in every person, in every society. 

I have never read any Civil War (and, perhaps any historical nonfiction) book this engaging and fascinating. Every page is underlined and starred; the back cover is filled with notes. Everyone I know has gotten an ear-full of this book. Not only is this book everything that anyone interested in the Civil War could desire, with its brilliant and fascinating information and exploration of the psychology and sociology of the time (with its wonderful focus on the enlisted soldier), but it is something every American should read to understand how our society should work and how it once horrifically failed. Furthermore, it is a book that every human should read. Our country went through a Civil War that stands for the Civil War within every human being: that between the desires for the personal freedoms to provide for the self and family, and the desire to fight for greater ideals for a better society, the civil war between the personal and the societal. Grade: A++

 

40. Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen (350 pages) After the sudden death of his parents, veterinary student Jacob joins the circus, where he falls in love with the elephant Rosie and her rider Marlena. Both of his loves, though, are horrifically abused by August, the animal trainer. The setting of a circus during the Great Depression, and Gruen's obvious affection and knowledge of the period and setting, create an engaging book, but the plot and main characters leave much to be desired in terms of originality or interest. Though gritty and unflinching, particularly in its look at animal cruelty, the book's potential is wasted, sadly. Turns out to be pretty meh. Grade: C+


Eric in Robe

No. 38 for 2011

Title: 10th Anniversary
Author: James Patterson & Maxine Paetro
Rating: 5/5
Book: 39/50 (76% completed)
Pages: 395 pgs
Total Pages: 15,343/15,000 pages Completed the 15000pages Challenge!
Version: Book
Next up: Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares

This was an awesome book! Definitely one of the best ones in the series. I couldn't put this one down and I was always anxious to find out what was going to happen next. There was a part in the book where I was actually yelling at the book, as if it would make a difference.

Great book!

xposted to 50bookchallenge, 15000pages and bookworm84

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