January 20th, 2012

Baboon

First Book... "Altars and Icons"

So I joined Goodreads and the Goodreads app on Facebook, so I could better keep track of my 50-books in 365 days challenge... if you belong and want to friend me, I am RottAndArtist@gmail.com there. :)

The book I read 'first' for the challenge was:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1461805.Altars_Icons

"Altars and Icons: Sacred Spaces in everyday life"
by Jean McMann

It was about how people instinctively create sacred spaces, very like an Altar or a Shrine- pretty much everyone does it. Ya know?

The book profiles spaces with a picture and the person's explaination of the peices and/or space entirely... what it means to them, why they started it, how they use it or if they simply display it... a HUGE range a things, from genuinely religous or spiritual to completely non-religous.

I think the best part about it was that it explored that human urge to build 'shrines'... little spaces we manipulate to our own pleasure, no matter WHY. Having the people be the ones to explain it was really facinating.

I think this would be a great book for anyone contemplating paganism or priest(ess)hood, because it touches on some very intimate things in a very soft, almost casual way. Very thought provoking. :)
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zuko, dietotaku

Book #3: Watchmen

(Yes, I do count Watchmen as a novel. Not just because of its accolades, but because the dialogue alone is at least a novella.)

Watchmen. Read it. That's all I can really say. If you haven't read any graphic novels, I'm not sure if I would say this is the one to start with, just because A) it's heavy and B) it will give you unfair expectations, because Watchmen is better than most ordinary novels I've ever read. And it's such a fantastic use of the medium. But if you're a comic book fan and you haven't read it, what is wrong with you? Watchmen rewards its readers. The characters are complex, the story is intricate, and the payoff is great. Also, it justifies rereading better than anything else I've ever read.


Witch

Witch
by Marie Brennan
Sequel to Warrior

I ready Warrior yesterday and really enjoyed it so of course the only logical book for me to pick up today was the sequel. I must admit some disappointment in this book though. The plot is still great and the characters are riveting however I feel Brennan stretches herself too thin. In Warrior there are 2 main characters and the perspective flip flops between the two. A few supporting characters stand out in Warrior as well but in Witch it seems more of those supporting characters have been elevated to main character status and the perspective tries to show points of view from too many different characters. In order to expand on one area of the plot others lie forgotten only to be loosely tied up near the end of the book. I feel Brennan would have been better served choosing to focus on one or two characters again and finding another way to show us what is going on in the rest of the world. Additionally, I found myself feeling frustrated that though the perspective changes from one character to another the voice remains the same. One character seems to think the same way the other characters do so there is not enough character definition. Overall I enjoyed this book but I don't think I will be reading Brennan's third book that is out now.
Liverpool

Book #3: Hard Times by Charles Dickens



I read this book several years ago when I was at school and did not get much out of it; reading it again, I saw it all in a different light.

The book paints a vivid – and bleak – picture of an industrial town, where Thomas Gradgrind, one of the principal characters, seems obsessed with bringing up children almost like robots, by stopping them from being cheerful or having any imagination; he seems like he should be a hateable character, but strangely, he ends up very sympathetic, and the book explains that he behaves like this because of his very conservative upbringing.

Then, a girl called Sissy Jupe shows up in his class and has a very liberal way of thinking; he almost kicks her out of the class, until he finds that her father (a clown) deserted her, and decides to raise her himself.

I really liked the way that the book portrayed the massive class divide in the city, with characters protesting against Mr. Bounderby, who runs the city bank (very similar to the recent protests that have taken place, so just as relevant in today’s context!).

The book is relatively short (for Dickens), and the cast of characters is not particularly big, with not too many plot strands to have to follow, and strangely, just about every character seems to be redeemable in some way, as many of them seem to have their own personal demons.

I definitely recommend this.

Next book: Never Look Away by Linwood Barclay

Rising Sun

Rising Sun
by Michael Crichton

I have sort of a love hate relationship with Michael Crichton. I always love his books but I really don't know why. Typically his subject matter is of no interest to me but I simply can't put the book down as the story is so riveting. I feel a little like he always tricks me into learning things I have no interest in. Rising Sun is perhaps a little better in this regard since I do love a good murder mystery. The plot walks a fine line between the murder investigation and the Japanese politics surrounding the murder. Crichton does a fine job of walking that line in my opinion and I devoured this book in the span of an afternoon. I have a number of his books in my collection, a fair mix of ones I have never read before as well as old favorites and I have not been disappointed yet. I do wonder a little as to how much is fiction and how much I am actually learning but I don't really care all that much Crichton spins a good story.
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Nineteen Minutes - Jodi Picoult

This book faces you with all the questions you don't want to ask; when one is bullied is it OK to retaliate? if so, to what extent? could it really be your childs fault if bullying has brought them to do what they have done? Do childhood friends always stick around? If you're a parent.. how can you really tell that your child is having issues? Do you want to get involved? Are you doing parenting the "right" way?
This is an extremely captivating book, Jodi Picoult definitely has her way with words and always know how to put a good twist in her books.