July 22nd, 2011

El Corazon

87. Shadow of the Giant; 88. Fake: Forgery, Lies, & eBay; 89. Factotum

Shadow of the Giant
by Orson Scott Card

Started: July 17, 2011
Finished: July 20, 2011

This wasn't bad by any means but the political talk in this book got a bit boring after a while. That being said, I'm still looking forward to seeing what happened to Bean and his kids. 363 pages. Grade: B-
***
Fake: Forgery, Lies, & eBay
by Kenneth Walton

Started: July 18, 2011
Finished: July 21, 2011

A reasonably interesting autobiography of Walton, who was involved in a big art fraud scandal on eBay a few years ago. 296 pages. Grade: B+
***
Factotum
by Charles Bukowski

Started: July 20, 2011
Finished: July 22, 2011

This might be Chinaski at his least likeable but it's still one helluva book. 205 pages. Grade: A+
***
Total # of books read in 2011: 89
Total # of pages read in 2011:
25,800

ragdoll

Books 1-10 2011

I've grouped a lot of these reviews, in part because I got delayed writing them to a point where I would need to reread them to recall all the specifics, and in part because I've ended up reading series that seem to have been to some extent designed to be read as a unit.

1. Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey (science fiction) - 22 Feb 2011
2. Dragonquest by Anne McCaffrey (science fiction) - 23 Feb 2011
3. The White Dragon by Anne McCaffrey (science fiction) - 2 Mar 2011
I reread the original Pern trilogy largely to brush up on the canon, and with the added clarity of the years in between my first time reading these books and my reread, discovered that they hadn't "aged" well - not even nostalgy can hide their flaws. I hate pretty much all the major characters (though Robinton, Piemur, Jaxom, Ruth, Brekke and F'nor less than the rest of the lot) by virtue of their perfection and uncanny ability to save the day. McCaffrey is a decent worldbuilder, however (if you ignore all the obvious flaws with her science) in that the books can readily be read for the setting, rather than for the story (which isn't really fantastic).

4. The Dolphins of Pern by Anne McCaffrey (science fiction) - 9 May 2011
Not an improvement on the first three books, rather the opposite, with the addition of Aivas as the Solution To All Problems. The dolphins were interesting, though some of their abilities showed how little McCaffrey really knows about science. Aside from the writer seeming to have (once again) succumbed to a temptation to make her main characters the first to discover some thing or phenomenon or in general implausibly save the day (which is part of why most of her major characters are so unbearable to me), the plot is actually somewhat enjoyable, if still not grand enough for me to consider the novel worth reading for anything but setting.

5. Warriors 1: Into the Wild by Erin Hunter (young adult/animal fiction) - 21 May 2011
6. Warriors 2: Fire and Ice by Erin Hunter (young adult/animal fiction) - 22 May 2011
7. Warriors 3: Forest of Secrets by Erin Hunter (young adult/animal fiction) - 25 May 2011
8. Warriors 4: Rising Storm by Erin Hunter (young adult/animal fiction) - 27 May 2011
9. Warriors 5: A Dangerous Path by Erin Hunter (young adult/animal fiction) - 28 May 2011
10. Warriors 6: The Darkest Hour by Erin Hunter (young adult/animal fiction) - 13 Jun 2011
I might honestly have recieved these books better had they not been so hyped, and had there not been claims of realistic cat behavior attached to them. As things stood, Rusty/Fire[whatever] annoyed me immensely a lot of the time, mostly by being too much in the center of everything that happened, as well as by getting away with things that seemed to fly in the face of established Warrior society. The books were decently well-written, however, and aside from some complaints I had about the animals' behavior and internal consistency, I enjoyed them well enough. Still, it's a setting that would have worked better as a tabletop roleplaying game than as a series of novels, and it falls more under guilty-pleasure fluff than thoroughly enjoyable literature for me. Mostly because Fire[whatever], especially in the later books, becomes a little too omnipotent.