January 18th, 2012

Kanye Shrug
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Book # 2: Water For Elephants

"Water for Elephants" by Sara Gruen was a gripping page turner about circus life during the depression era in the United States. The romanticism, imagery, and gritty look into life during the early part of the depression made this book hard to put down. I would definitely recommend reading the book first and then seeing the movie.

Jacob Jankowski is 90 or 93 and living out the rest of his life in a nursing home. Although Jacob isn't quite sure of his age, or the name of the pretty nurse that helps him everyday, he can still remember the summer of 1931; the summer he ran away and joined the Benzini Brother's Most Spectacular Show on Earth. As Jacob reminisces about his days as an untrained veterinarian for the rag tag circus, another circus arrives in town, making him remember what it was like to be a young man in love with another man's wife and an Elephant named Rosie.
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Book 5 for 2012

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs.308 pages.
Mercy Thompson runs a small car repair business in the Tri-Cities. It's a tad unusual in that her customers include vampires and werewolves - and Mercy herself is a shapeshifter who can take the form of a coyote. When a young werewolf runaway arrives in Mercy's garage and asks her for a job, she gets dragged into something rather more dangerous than changing a few spark plugs…
I really enjoyed this one - good characters and worldbuilding and a dash of humour. The first-person narration suffers a little from not using contractions enough early on, but either it got better or I got dragged in enough that I stopped noticing it. I'll definitely be getting the next book in this series as soon as I can.

A Dance with Dragons (Bk 6)

I finally got A Dance with Dragons by George R. Martin, the fourth in his A Game of Thrones series. So far it is as good as the previous books, very good to curl up with on a cold winter's day. In this one, the tales of Jon Snow, Tyrion, And Daenerys are told.  Since the book focuses on these three, it is a little easier to follow than the first two books. All of the books are incredibly detailed. Martin refuses to lay any sheen of romance over the grittiness of life in these, which is refreshing to find in a fantasy series.
I've also read several books in Martin's Wild Card series. I'd like to read some of the earlier novels that tell how the Wild Card virus got started. My town is small and lamentably does NOT have a used bookstore (or a new one, either). Any ideas where I could get them, other than inter-library loan?

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Book Review: Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke

Originally posted by lexlingua at Book Review: Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke

"Can a magician kill a man by magic?" Lord Wellington asked Strange.
Strange frowned. He seemed to dislike the question. "I suppose a magician might," he admitted, "but a gentleman never could."

Ironically, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke is the exact reverse of this contemplation. It is the downhill path that a magician’s ambition must inevitably take him. If you are looking for a finger-biting adventure into the hearts of men, look no further. If you are looking for the best adult fantasy book of your reading year, look no further. Take up Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.

The book is based on an alternative history of England, when magicians once used to rule the land, the most illustrious being --- John Uskglass. Uskglass, or the Raven King, had courts in the human world, in the faerie lands and even in hell. But for some unknown reason, one day he was disappointed with his subjects and abandoned his kingdom, disappearing forever. With him, magic disappeared from England.

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Book 2 of 50, The winner stands alone, Paulo Coelho

Being a determined person and hating to stop halfway I should reward “The winner stands alone” with the nomination “It did it to me!”, where the second “it” refers to abandoning reading a book after 50-60 pages…  I did come back to finish it after a couple of months, only to ascertain my initial disappointment.

The story revolves around a Russian businessman eager to do anything (which for him means killing people in some sophisticated ways) to make his ex-wife return, a fashion guru from Middle East, and a couple of young girls pursuing their career in acting and modelling. I guess Coelho intended to show the glitterati world in all its profound brutality and moral and emotional emptiness, to show the difficulty of choice between fame and power on the one side and personal happiness on the other. Well… compared to his previous books which all made me pause in the middle of a sentence and think deeply for some minutes before proceeding with reading, “The winner stands alone” failed to do so. Together with the plot lacking in suspense it made the book join the myriad of novels which you forget having read a couple of months after turning over the last page.

Favourite phrases: “Sometimes the path only reveals itself once you start walking it”, “All human beings are different and should take their right to be different to its ultimate consequences.”


by Neil Philip
Eyewitness Books

I checked this book out of the library to get a broad overview on Mythology and got a much more broad view than I expected. Overall I found the book very enjoyable but it took me a lot longer to read/absorb than I am used to with my books. There were lots of great pictures and just a teasing taste of each item described. I don't feel like I learned much of anything but its a good book to whet your appetite and give you more focus on what you would like to learn regarding mythology. I recommend for readers of any age as an introduction to mythology.
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Book #2

Finally got my hands on the last book of the Earth's Children series by Jean M. Auel, "The Land of Painted Caves". This one was not as enthralling as the other books. Much was taken up by the descriptions of the, you guessed it, painted caves that Ayla must visit during her training as a Zelandoni. However, it does do a fairly nice job of tying up some loose ends while at the same time leaving the door cracked should Ms. Auel ever decide to continue. Alya's story continues on in the imagination of all of us who love the series. :)
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