Saturday, October 30, 2010

Rincewind Returns!

Eric (Discworld, #9)Eric by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read several reviews and comments that indicated that many readers didn't particularly like this romp through Discworld. While it wasn't my favorite of the Discworld books (hey, this was only my seventh), it wasn't bad at all. First of all, it answered (mostly) the question of how Rincewind came back after Sourcery. Next, it featured The Luggage nicely. Third, there were bemused and befuddled demons. How could any of that be awful? Learning that Hell is much like business caught me slightly off guard, but didn't particularly surprise me. All in all, this was a very nice diversion.

View all my reviews

Just Because...

Pirate Monkey's Harry Potter Personality Quiz
Harry Potter Personality Quiz
by Pirate Monkeys Inc.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Hope for a Troubled Teen

WillowWillow by Julia Hoban

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After reading this one I had to remind myself that I am not the target audience. This book was definitely meant for young people, um, a few years younger than I am. For someone my age, the character development and plot were a bit shallow. However, when I was, um, a few years younger, this book would definitely have been one I would have read. It hasn't been so many years ago that I was a teen and I do still remember the confusion and absolute certainty I felt about many ideas that later turned out to be completely wrong. It is always hard to predict how others will react to you and when you throw in some extra-tough circumstances, the predictions go completely awry. Willow is a teen who was behind the wheel when her parents' car went out of control and both of her parents died in a horrible accident. That Willow would then blame herself is believeable, as is her certainty that everyone else blames her as well. Her reaching for something to get her through this is understandable and many girls do end up cutting. The resolution of her pain was certainly easier than it would be in real life. Still, seeing that there is a way forward would give the intended audience for this book one thing they really need: Hope. And, really, that is what is important.

View all my reviews

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Not About Rodents

Of Mice and MenOf Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It had been some time since I last read a work by Steinbeck. I had forgotten how well-crafted his writing is. Every word is carefully chosen and every sentence is molded to fit perfectly into the story. That said, I had also forgotten that there are no happy endings in a Steinbeck work. So much emotion is ever-so-barely contained in these 103 pages. Is there hope remaining at the end? Perhaps, but it is not the hope that we have come to expect in current popular literature. There is a reason that some works are classics.

View all my reviews

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Words From the Past

Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried (Bloom's Guides)Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried by Harold Bloom

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This one is a challenging read. It dips you in and out of the Vietnam War without warning and without the glossy, neat coating that some war stories give you. There is no moral, as there wouldn't be in real war story. This is one of the few in your face lessons from the author. In one sense, this is his therapy to process what he saw and did, but in another, it is ours. When I picked this book up I realized that I have only read a few books from the Vietnam War. I have ready many WWII and Cold War books, but not many that tell what appears to be the truth about Vietnam. No, this isn't a deep, historical or philosophical essay. O'Brien leaves the big picture to others and writes what he knows. It was at times gut-wrenching and at times deliberately confused. In other words, it was very, very real.

This is part of my current reading series taking me through my son's reading list for this school year. I know that we will have many conversations about this one. I have already warned him and will warn the rest of you to plan on reading this one during the daylight. Be careful! There are monsters and nightmares in this book.

View all my reviews