Monday, August 2, 2010

the book butterfly returns

Me, that is.  Another 12 for this month.  I had a rough bunch though-I gave up on 2 and should have given up on a couple of others if I'm being truthful.  Here are my GoodReads reviews.


Life of Pi by Yann Martel.   image image

Well I am disappointed in this book. It took forever to get to the basic plot-line. I found the time with Pi and the tiger shipwrecked to be really interested and well-written. But I was seriously disappointed when I did some research and found out this book was entirely fictional. That took some of the magic out of it for me. The ending was really bizarre.
I hear M. Night Shymalan is interested in doing this movie, which would be right up his alley considering the end. I'm pretty sure I don't recommend this book. The middle section was ok, but the beginning and end were just strange.



The Carnivorous Carnival (A Series of Unfortunate Events Series #9) by Lemony Snicket imageimageimage

This was the first of these I'd read in several months--I needed the time off. It's true that it does get discouraging reading about one negative thing after another, happening to these kids! This one ended on quite a cliff hanger, as I guess they all do in a way, but this one seemed more so. I still get amused by the occasional wording, explanation, or tangent by this author. I can't bear to read them back to back, but I think I'll not wait another 6 months before reading the next.



The Shack by W. Paul Young imageimageimage

** spoiler alert **  I went into this book with some trepidation, knowing it was a bit controversial to some. Essentially, it's about a man named Mack who's 6 year old daughter was kidnapped and murdered. Over the years he's been focused on the sorrow and despair. He meets with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit in a shack who help him deal, heal, love, and forgive.

It's mostly controversial due to the form the trinity takes in this book. For example, God, is a large black woman. Now in my opinion, this is just the form the writer chose, for whatever reason, he felt that this form of God would be best accepted by Mack. Do I believe that the author thinks God is a large black woman? No, I don't. God appeared to Moses in the form of a burning bush. Is God's true form a burning bush? No, but it was the form that was most effective for Moses at that point in time. Personally, this is how I viewed it, and thus I was not offended or insulted or upset by this.

The first part of the book is very intense and interesting. The middle is a bit slow. But the last third is actually very good, very well written, and can be used as a lesson to us all in how to love and forgive, to move on, and how to accept things we can't change all the while gaining a bit of perspective re the big picture. I cried. :) I do recommend it, but go into it with an open eye and just enjoy the story.



The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara image

I just couldn't do it--I gave it 47 pages, but darnnit, it's just not my preferred style. It's too historically accurate for crying out loud! *wink* The perspective kept changing characters every few pages and I had a really hard time following and retaining anything that had happened with all the names and all the places. Perhaps some day I'll pick it up again, because the idea of learning more about the Civil War intrigues me...then again, perhaps this just isn't the book to do that.



The Princess Academy by Shannon Hale imageimageimageimage

Way cute story! I just love Shannon Hale's books. :)






The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett image

*mild spoilers being that I only got 1/5 thru*

I hate that I'm giving up on this book, but being that it's 970 pages long and I'm struggling at page 190, I think I'd better put it away before I waste 3 weeks of my life trying to get through it.

Could have been interesting due to:
Setting--middle ages
Characters--knights and witches and masons and monks
Premise--survival mostly, but also: building beautiful 12th century Architecture
Time frame--period of history frought with war and politics and uprising of church and state

Plenty of fodder for a good story right?

Yet this book lost my interest due to:
Size--970 pages. I mean really?
Unnecessary graphic sexploits--probably about every 50 pages, minimum
Size--the book weighs like 8lbs
Change of perspective--just when I get interested in one character, the POV is off to another...I really wanted to learn more about the abandoned baby and how the monks raised him; I was hoping he was the main character in fact. Maybe he is, eventually??
Have I mentioned size?--I started a week ago and I'm barely 190 in.

It just ain't happening.



The City of Ember (The Ember Series #1) by Jeanne DuPrau imageimageimage

I'd give this a 3.5 if I could. I liked it a lot, but didn't love it. In fact I did like it more than the movie--the movie was kind of low-budget and poorly acted--the book has more of the mystery of the found note in the mystery box, and problem solving, and searching and finding clues down under the pipeworks, etc. It was a nice quick read, too. I'm interested to see where the next book picks up.



Haunted (Mediator Series #5) by Meg Cabot imageimageimage

Definitely 3 and a halfish for this one. I think I'm liking these Mediator books more and more as I move along--certainly light fluff reading with a bit of fun romance in there. Nice little love triangle in this one too.

But, I mean, the author, Meg Cabot I mean, uses the phrase "I mean", like, way too often, I mean, each and every character uses it, the phrase "I mean", I mean.



Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India, and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert imageimageimage

I give this another 3.5 stars; it greatly held my interest. I read it within one 24-hour period. I really enjoyed Elizabeth Gilbert's writing style, and the fact that this was a true story just made it that much more interesting to me.

Now a caution. (and mild spoilers)

The first third, about Italy, was delightful, funny, and a very quick read. Favorite part of the book.

The middle third, about India, got a little wordy, mostly about prayer and meditation, and I skimmed a lot.

The last third, about Indonesia, goes PG-13. There are some adult themes and some strong language. Too bad, because up until that point, I really liked it and thought I could recommend it to everyone. Now, I'm not so sure. Just beware of sexuality and bad language in this book.



The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1) imageimageimageimage

I liked this first book in the series; it was easy light reading, full of adventure and interest, and funny in parts. I purposefully have not seen the movie yet because I wanted to read the book unspoiled, so now I look forward to watching that. This book premise, the hero, and the plot all remind me of Harry Potter--some similarities are almost too much--but the big difference is that this series of course is all about mythology and mythological gods and goddesses. I'm getting an education. I'll continue reading this series.

Edited to add: I saw the movie this week and really liked it. A few things were different, but I think only added to the plot and overall flow of the movie. It was really well done, cast, and acted. The special effects are amazing!



The Slippery Slope (A Series of Unfortunate Events #10)imageimageimage

I liked this one a little better than the others because a few things actually get solved. Of course as is always the case with these books, there were also several more mysteries introduced. I'm getting closer to the end though...I think there are 13, and this was #10.




Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

I have a goal to get through all of Austen's books in the near future because they are all so classic and iconic.  I do however get to the point that they all kind of blend together.  Aside from major character specifics, most of the plot lines are the same.  We are poor women who want to get married, preferrably to someone who has 5000 a year or more.  We will attend balls.  We will ride our horses in the countryside during a spring storm and end up down and out for 4 weeks+ from sickness.  We will vacation at friends and cousins homes for months at a time and get hit on (usually by the nemesis of the story) and we will stress about silly things such as carriages, new dresses, putting on plays, and whether our cousin finds us attractive or not.

Having said thus, I do enjoy the stories, I just find them kind of shallow sometimes, which begs the question, why are these books considered classics?  If someone wrote this book in 2010 it would be at the bottom of the heap and/or used for fertilizer.

Having said thus thusly, this book is about Fanny Price (the poor underprivileged individual of the story) who is plain, shy, and is raised and living with her cousins who are beautiful, outspoken, and the social butterflies of the circle.   She blossoms over the years and the dashing 'playah' of Mansfield park decides to wine and dine her, and then ditch her once he's proven he can captivate her heart.  She's not strong or brave like other Austen heroines, so this book has gotten a lot of critique over the years as Austen's least popular and least-liked book.  I didn't hate it, but I'd never read it again.

I hear the movie is infinitely better, so you may want to save yourself some tedium and just go borrow the 99 version from the library.


In summary, I gave up on 2, should have given up on 2 more, and my favorites were Princess Academy and The Lightning Thief.  So what are you reading?


leaner said...

I love this reviews. I am so glad that you do them. I am still in India in Eat Pray Love. Never left it. I have to say your description of the Indonesia part being PG-13 intrigues me *almost* too the point of wanting to read it... we'll see if I get there.

Anonymous said...

Just finished the Percy Jackson series as well as Rick Riordan's second series start called The Red Pyramid, this time about Egyptian mythology. I also started Leven Thumps, another fantasy series. I liked the first book, Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo, and will start the next one as soon as the library has it. Also excited for Mockingjay out this month!


wittygal said...

Thanks! I love that you do this. I think I will read a couple that you reviewed.

I have recently read Princess Academy too. Very cute!

Carca said...

HI Amie
I haven't been on your blog for a loooooonnnnggg time (due to school) but it is still great as ever!!! Love the book reviews!!!

jinxi~ aka angi said...

Id love to read The Shack. Id love to read as much as you do. Thank you for the reviews!!!