88-94

Oct. 3rd, 2010 11:04 am
fiveforsilver: (Books)
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
88. *The Boneshaker by Kate Milford
Young Adult, Fantasy/steampunk, 372p

A strange medical fair comes to town and unlike most of her neighbors, Natalie is not convinced that they are really there to help people.

The Boneshaker is well-written with an intriguing plot and Natalie is a great character, but I'm left a bit disappointed at the end of the book. There are too many loose ends, too many things that were superficially explained but never really explained. It's a fun book but ultimately unsatisfying.

89. *Doctor Who: Cobwebs by Jonathan Morris, read by Peter Davison
Science Fiction, Audiobook, 2h19m

Excellent story.

90. *Doctor Who: Apollo 23 by Justin Richards, read by James Albrecht
Science Fiction, Audiobook, 5h31m

The American English (dialogue and accents both) was not very good.

91. Deerskin by Robin McKinley
Adult, Fantasy, 320p

92. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Young Adult, Fantasy, 471p

93. Fire by Kristin Cashore
Young Adult, Fantasy, 461p

94. *Omnitopia Dawn by Diane Duane
Adult, Science Fiction, 352p

Excellent new science fiction novel by one of my favorite authors. I didn't even know she had a new book out until I happened to see it in the store! I can't speak to how realistic the MMPORPG or hacking is, but the characters are fantastic and the story is intriguing. Although it reads as a stand-alone, it is the first in a trilogy and I eagerly await the upcoming books.

94 / 160 books (59%)
53 / 80 *new books (66%)
3 / 7 ^non-fiction (43%)
23508 / 48000 pages. (45%)
Audiobooks: 54h19m

25-29

Feb. 26th, 2010 10:06 pm
fiveforsilver: (Books)
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
25. *The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Percy Jackson & The Olympians, Book 1
Young Adult, Fantasy, 375 pages

Greek myths updated for the present day.

Some parts of this book were extremely predictable and some were less so, but either way it was a fun read. I enjoyed it, but it didn't really grab me - I may read the rest of the series some day but I don't need to run out and grab them all right now.

26. *The Magicians of Caprona by Diana Wynne Jones
Chrestomanci series, book 4
Young Adult, Fantasy, 269 pages

27. The Midwife's Apprentice by Karen Cushman
Young adult, Historical Fiction, 122 pages

28. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Young Adult, Fantasy, 471 pages

(mostly quoted from previous review)

A Graceling is a person with a gift, an almost magical ability to do something (although it's never referred to as magic). Someone Graced with speed, say, or swimming, or juggling can perform feats in that area that no regular person could hope to achieve. In Middluns, Gracelings are feared no matter how benign their Grace may be, and that fear is multiplied with Katsa's killing Grace. Even her uncle the King fears her, though he uses his authority to force her to dole out punishment across his kingdom. But what if she decides she will no longer only be his pawn?

Katsa is a wonderful character who grows constantly and believably over the course of the book. The only thing that bothered me, both times I've read this book, was the climax of the book. With such an enormous build-up, the climax was shockingly brief and unsatisfying and the first time I read it, I was concerned for most of the rest of the book that something was wrong and things were somehow not what they seemed.

I enjoyed Graceling from beginning to end, with that one exception, and I am looking forward to the upcoming book in the series (Bitterblue).

29. Fire by Kristin Cashore
Young Adult, Fantasy, 461 pages
Companion to Graceling

(quoted from previous review)

Fire is a monster - an unnaturally beautiful creature who can control the minds of people and animals around her. Fire is also human. As a human monster, she is mistrusted, hated, feared, and desired. Her father was a monster and also a monster, cruel, controlling, and indiscriminate in the use of his abilities, but Fire was raised with human morals.

It's not easy to describe this book, because the story is less about people running around doing things then about the various characters learning about each other and themselves. And yet the story moves quickly and there is certainly action, since Fire's country is at war. Fire is a wonderful book.



29 / 160 books. 18% done!


12 / 80 *new books. 15% done!


0 / 7 ^non-fiction. 0% done!


7854 / 48000 pages. 16% done!
Audiobooks: 9h03m

146-150

Dec. 21st, 2009 12:04 pm
fiveforsilver: (Firefly [stick])
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
146. *Fire by Kristin Cashore
Young Adult, Fantasy, 461 pages
Companion to Graceling

Fire is a monster - an unnaturally beautiful creature who can control the minds of people and animals around her. Fire is also human. As a human monster, she is mistrusted, hated, feared, and desired. Her father was a monster and also a moster, cruel, controlling, and indiscriminate in the use of his abilities, but Fire was raised with human morals.

It's not easy to describe this book, because the story is less about people running around doing things then about the various characters learning about each other and themselves. And yet the story moves quickly and there is certainly action, since Fire's country is at war. Fire is a wonderful book.

147. *Makers by Cory Doctorow
Adult, Science Fiction, 416 pages

I liked the idea of this book and I would have enjoyed the main story and the geekery of it, but there is an odd obsession with weight and obesity starting on the first page that I found very off-putting. I suppose the idea is not inappropriate in a "near-future fable", given current political and social views, but the way it's handled made me cringe. Frequently. Fat people are (ironically) 2-dimensional characters, called "the obese" or, later "the fatkins", no matter who's talking. Doctorow assumes that all fat people want the same thing (to be thin) and will do any idiotic, untested thing to get it. And to assume that being thin will make people happy is just plain stupid. But of course they get what they deserve in the end, right?

I think I would have liked this book without that (unnecessary and cringe-inducing) subplot but it was so annoying and distracting that it overwhelmed many of the good aspects. I won't be reading it again and I don't recommend it.

148. *Fire: Tales of Elemental Spirits by Robin McKinley and Peter Dickinson
YA/Adult, Fantasy, Short Stories, 297 pages

Of the five stories in this anthology, I quite liked Phoenix by Peter Dickinson, absolutely loved Hellhound and First Flight by Robin McKinley, and didn't particularly care for Fireworm or Salamander Man by Peter Dickinson.

149. The Android's Dream by John Scalzi
Adult, Science Fiction (humorous), 396 pages

150. *The poison eaters & other stories by Holly Black
YA, Fantasy, short stories, 158 pages
Early Reviewer

It was like reading a book of fables, but I couldn't work out what the morals were supposed to be (which may be a plus, actually). There was a real mixture of stores I liked and stories I didn't care for but regardless, it was a fun little book and a quick read.



150 / 150 books. 100% done!


78 / 75 *new books. 104% done!


5 / 10 ^non-fiction. 50% done!


43383 / 45000 pages. 96% done!

20-23

Mar. 8th, 2009 10:32 pm
fiveforsilver: (Books [Alanna])
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
And to make up for February, I seem to be on a roll in March, finishing three books this weekend alone.

20. Juniper by Monica Furlong (198) YA/Fan

Reread.

21. He, She, and It by Marge Piercy (429) A/SF

This is a reread, but it's been a while. Wonderful post-apocalyptic, pre-cyberpunk SF.

22. *The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (374) YA/SF

Recommended by my sister.

Every year, each sector has to randomly pick two teenagers - a boy and a girl - to play in a sadistic event called "The Hunger Games", a fight to the death where the winner gets extra food and gifts for the next year, not just for themself but for their entire sector.

It was wonderful. It was horrible. It was an amazing read, and I am looking forward to the next in the series, although I can already imagine some of the things that will be in it and I'm sure it will be another heartbreaking read.

23. *Graceling by Kristin Cashore (471) YA/Fan

Another book (strongly) recommended by my sister.

A Graceling is a person with a gift, an almost magical ability to do something (although it's never referred to as magic). Someone Graced with speed, say, or swimming, or juggling can perform feats in that area that no regular person could hope to achieve. In Middluns, Gracelings are feared no matter how benign their Grace may be, and that fear is multiplied with Katsa's killing Grace. Even her uncle the King fears her, though he uses his authority to force her to dole out punishment across his kingdom. But what if she decides she will no longer only be his pawn?

Katsa is a wonderful character who grows constantly and believably over the course of the book. I was so surprised by some of the plot developments that I exclaimed out loud several times. The only thing that bothered me was the climax of the book - with such an enormous build-up, the climax was shockingly brief and unsatisfying and I was concerned for most of the rest of the book that something was wrong and things were somehow not what they seemed.

I enjoyed Graceling from beginning to end, with that one exception, and I am looking forward to the upcoming books in the series.


Currently reading:
The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie (at work read)
Tithe by Holly Black (at home read, about to start it)



23 / 150 books. 15% done!


9 / 75 *new books. 12% done!


0 / 10 ^non-fiction. 0% done!


6364 / 45000 pages. 14% done!

19-21

Feb. 26th, 2009 08:38 pm
blue_ant: (carli [reading])
[personal profile] blue_ant
19. The Ayatollah Begs to Differ: The Paradox of Modern Iran by Hooman Majd
Think about everything you know about Iran, and then forget it all. Majd gives us a unique insight into the life, religion and politics in Iran. An Iranian himself and grandson of a well-known Ayatollah, Majd is given unprecedented access to a country that remains a mystery to most Americans. The Ayatollah Begs to Differ is a journey in two separate worlds: a public world where people don't often speak freely or dress as they wish and the private life, a world behind walls where almost anything goes. It is the juxtaposition of these two worlds that Majd explores, showing us the differences between them -- as well as the differences and similarities between our own cultures. Filled with discussions on both present day Iran (the book was published in 2008) and they history of Iran (once known only as Persia to Westerners), Majd takes care to explain, hold up and dispel many of our (Western) myths about the country.

The book is more than just a book about Iran. In some ways, this is a book about travel. Majd, a well-traveled writer, discusses his travel within the country as well as a few outside (he lives mostly in the United States). But it is also a political book. Majd never shies away from addressing conflicts or issues that we (Westerns) feel we know well. He discusses Bush's role in Iranian culture, the nuclear arms issue, terrorism, of course Iraq and Palestine. Of course, the book is also a study on religion, because no book about Iran could be written without talking about Islam. And last, this book, in many ways reminding me of Rob Gifford's book, China Road, is also a study about the people of Iran. Individuals as well as the many different groups that make up the country.

Written in first person, Majd's book is an excellent and engaging read. Recommended for anyone with even a casual interest in Iran.

20. Football Against the Enemy by Simon Kuper
I'd been told that I'd like this book. In actuality, I'd been told I'd like the 2003 edition of this book. Sadly (or maybe it was fortunate), the only edition I was able to get (from Michigan State University, of all places) was the original 1994 edition. My friend was right, I absolutely loved this book. Kuper's writing is exceptional, the style he uses is exactly what I look for when I read non-fiction. Football Against the Enemy is not just a book about sport. Sure, it's a book about football, but it's also about everything in between. It's a travel book about what football means to the world. There are lots of these books out there who do a decent job explaining football and the world. But what Kuper does best is turn it into a travel book. This is not one of those Fodor's guides, nor is it a third person look at sports through the lens of an outsider. Kuper starts as an outsider almost everywhere he goes and somehow always ends up an insider. He talks with fans (of course), be they politicians or just average citizens of the world. But Kuper doesn't stop there, he talks to players, former players, managers, former managers, owners, and everyone in between. This is the story of football, with more than little history. Eventually I'll read the updated edition, but for me, the 1994 version was a brilliant read.

21. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
I don't usually go in for the whole fantasy thing, but there was something about Cashore's book that caught me. Not just the whole idea of Grace (being born with a special skill), but also the fact that the main character, Katsa, is an extremely strong female character. She holds her own many times and I enjoy how Cashmore explores Katsa's attempts to deal with the life she's forced to live and the world she must live in. There were several surprises, some them more dramatic than others, but Cashmore built them up subtly, thus allowing us to feel the same sort of surprise that Katsa herself feels. The ending was a bit of a surprise, but I was quite pleased with Cashmore's choices. I look forward to more of Cashmore's book, regardless of whether this is the first in a series or just a one-off.



21 / 100 words. 21% done!

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