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Posts Tagged ‘Fiction’

Book: The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
Pages: 218
Entertainment Rating: 4/5
Snooty Rating: 4/5
Total Rating: 8/10
Books Read Total: 32/50
Pages Read Total: 7066/15,000

A solid story of love, loss, secrets, discovery, horror, and some sort of forgiveness. I found this book very readable and I read it straight through (it even prompted me to spend an extra 20 minutes on the treadmill this morning) but I never quite felt like I got what I was looking for. The plot is great, but I got lost in the execution. I didn’t feel particularly sympathetic or angry or really any sort of emotion, despite the emotionally driven plot, and it seems to me that that’s a fairly significant shortcoming. I wouldn’t say don’t read it, because it is an interesting book, but I can’t quite agree with the LA times when they say that it “ensnares both heart and mind”. Unless maybe my heart is made of stone (which we know is not the case from the emotional gushing that sometimes appears on this blog).

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Shameless vacation reads!

Book: Narcissus in Chains by Laurell K. Hamilton
Pages: 630
Entertainment Rating: 4.5/5
Snooty Rating: 1/5
Total Rating: 5.5/10
Books Read Total: 30/50
Pages Read Total: 6301/15,000

I don’t think the actual plot began until a solid 250 pages in, but it was certainly an amusing read. These books are really more like watching chick flicks than reading.

Book: Cerulean Sins by Laurell K. Hamilton
Pages: 547
Entertainment Rating: 5/5
Snooty Rating: 1.5/5
Total Rating: 6.5/10
Books Read Total: 31/50
Pages Read Total: 6848/15,000

More plot than the last, and SO MUCH witty dialog I thought I’d never stop chuckling. Why any of those men put up with that chick is beyond me.

At the moment I’m reading Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell which is proving to be quite interesting, and I’m listening to Children of Dune on my trusty Mp3 player.

And just because it’s been a long time since I included these little gadgets, here they are:

31 / 50 books. 62% done!

6848 / 15000 pages. 46% done!

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Book: Matters of Choice by Noah Gordon
Pages: 448
Entertainment Rating: 3.5/5
Snooty Rating: 2/5
Total Rating: 5.5/10
Books Read Total: 29/50
Pages Read Total: 5671/15,000

–Insert summary here–(sorry)

Before anyone starts judging me, I read this book at the beach. I’ve been on vacation for the past few days (still am, as a matter of fact!) and at my mom’s suggestion I’m reading some more entertaining, beachy reads this week. I’ve got Western lit, art history, anthropology, Spanish and contemporary Buddhism courses starting in almost a week, so it’s safe to say this is some of the last breezy reading I’ll be doing.

All that said, this wasn’t laborious to read. I didn’t realize that it was the third part of a trilogy until just now when I went searching for a cover shot. Apparently the first two novels are of a much higher caliber, so don’t tell any Gordon fans that I picked it up thinking it would be some cheesy romance (which it is, a bit, in parts.) Anyhow, I wouldn’t go out of my way to recommend it, but I wouldn’t scream “Don’t do it!” if someone took it out of the Library or found it left behind at their grandmother’s house.

Now, I’m going to admit that the book I’m reading now is one of Hamilton’s Anita Blake vampire books. You have every right to ridicule me but I’m telling you her books are hard to ignore. I can never decide if I’m weirded out enough to put the book down. On a similar note, I was in the bookstore the other day and since when is V.C. Andrews considered kid lit! I wouldn’t touch another one of her books with a ten foot pole, let alone give it to a kid!!

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Book: The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck
Pages: 281
Entertainment Rating: 4.5/5
Snooty Rating: 4/5
Total Rating: 8.5/10
Books Read Total: 28/50
Pages Read Total: 5223/15,000

I feel that since it has been such a long time since my last book I owe it to myself to really dig deep into this one. Somehow I can’t do that, despite my adoration of Steinbeck and Ethan, his lovable protagonist. Perhaps the reason I find myself refusing to delve into this story more is because I understand that what Ethan ends up doing is bad, and yet I love him nonetheless. His quick wit and charming banter held my attention far longer than the underlying commentary, though that is what originally drew me to the book (besides my obvious love of Steinbeck, of course.)
Regardless of how much I examine this book I feel there is no denying that this is Steinbeck through and through. Rich descriptions and straightforward storytelling.

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Book: Melting Stones by Tamora Pierce
Pages: Audiobook
Entertainment Rating: 4.5/5
Snooty Rating: 3/5
Total Rating: 7.5/10
Books Read Total: 26/50
Pages Read Total: 4792/15,000

I actually finished this book a couple weeks ago, but somehow never got around to writing about it. A part of a series called The Circle Opens, I found this book as enjoyable as I found the preceding books so many years ago. Interestingly, this book was released in audio before it was printed. The actors did a lovely job, and the story is quite entertaining, if a bit over the top at times. I enjoyed this book, but I think much of my enjoyment was nostalgic. These are great YA books, but do not quite take that step beyond. Fun and quirky!

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Book: The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman
Pages: Audiobook
Entertainment Rating: 5/5
Snooty Rating: 5/5
Total Rating: 10/10
Books Read Total: 24/50
Pages Read Total: 4220/15,000


Book: Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
Pages: 572
Entertainment Rating: 5/5
Snooty Rating: 2.5/5
Total Rating: 7.5/10
Books Read Total: 25/50
Pages Read Total: 4792/15,000

Pullman is fabulous. Each time I experience his storytelling I think about it for days afterwards. While listening to this audiobook (narrated by Pullman himself) I was also reading Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons and couldn’t help but draw parallels between the two. While I recognize that Brown and Pullman play in two different arenas I think that in terms of depth of character and thought-provoking plots Pullman definitely has the upper hand. While he does have the advantage of a trilogy’s worth of pages to build his story I feel he has been true to those pages and made use of each of them. He’s neat. He cleans up after himself, if you know what I mean. While Brown (miserably, albeit with some witty bits) shoves a weak love subplot in to attempt to add some depth to his action packed adventure, Pullman captures the anguish and complexity of what love really is, but without disrupting the story in any way. As I said, he’s neat.

I am by no means “hating on” Brown’s book. I read all 572 pages in a matter of days (a feat for someone as busy as me) and I hated putting it down each time I forced myself to sleep. Brown can tell a suspenseful story, to be certain. There are no good places to stop, and when it comes to plot twists he has a field day. Still I find that when I’m on the hunt for content the most surefire place to find it is in a Young Adult or even a children’s book. Somehow these authors have taken responsibility for the power they have to captivate young and old alike, and they have put it to good, thought-provoking use.

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Book: The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke
Pages: 345
Entertainment Rating: 4/5
Snooty Rating: 3/5
Total Rating: 7/10
Books Read Total: 23/50
Pages Read Total: 4220/15,000

Funke tells the captivating story of two orphan boys on the run from their evil aunt who make their way to Venice, their mother’s fairytale. The characters were quite commanding, and it was very easy to take sides. Almost too easy, I think. Unlike Nancy Farmer, Philip Pullman, or Madeleine L’Engle to name a few, Funke tells a good story, but doesn’t present much else. It was a fun, quick read, but did not have the subtly (or not so subtly) challenging subplots that many successful children’s authors manage. It is, as one Amazon review puts it, “a solid adventure story”. I’d put it with Harry Potter. Some coming of age, some teen angst, some wonderful friendship, and lots of bad guys and adventures.

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