Sep. 3rd, 2009 06:10 pm
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[personal profile] blue_ant
63. Surviving Antarctica: Reality TV 2083 by Andrea White
My sister recommended this book to me because we'd been discussing Hunger Games and other similarly themed books. In 2083, adults are picked to be part of reality tv shows relating to history and asked to reenact different moments in time. Usually very few survive. The newest show picks several kids and has them reenact Robert F. Scott's unsuccessful trip to Antarctica. The book is not only a thrilling read, it's also a fascinating study in teamwork and how adults underestimate the resilience of children. Plus, reading this is way better than actually watching reality tv.

64. Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson
A friend of mine asked me to read this so she'd have someone to talk to about it and so I did. My second Maureen Johnson book was far from disappointing, unlike much of the story for Clio, our main character. Clio's parents are divorced and her mom goes to Kansas with her boyfriend, leaving Clio in the care of her father -- the last place she wants to be. Having just purchased a new yacht, Clio's father takes her on a journey she, as the cliche goes, won't soon forget. The story is cute, tense and focuses on, among other things, a mystery Clio's father won't discuss. Johnson's characters are fun, interesting and at times frustrating. But, all in all, I enjoyed the book.

65. Battle Royale by Koushun Takami
I first checked out the graphic novel version of this book, but returned it without reading when I realized that there was an actual novel. The copy I read is over 600 pages and was so engrossing that it took me just over a day to read the whole thing. Koushun Takami's book is completely brilliant. While the violence is unprecedented and quite explicit, Takami's characters are sympathetic, especially when you don't expect them to be. Battle Royale is set in a world unlike our own, where teenagers can be taken to remote places and forced to kill their own classmates to survive. All of this done in the name of keeping peace. What Takami's characters do is try to find a way to survive, to work together, and what they discover is much more interesting. I completely loved the book and was pleased with the way it ended. I will eventually watch the movie as well. Highly recommended, though not for the weak of heart.

65 / 100 words. 65% done!


Sep. 3rd, 2009 06:04 pm
blue_ant: (sid [reading])
[personal profile] blue_ant
60. My Soul to Take by Yrsa Sigurdardottir
Another strong and surprisingly funny Icelandic mystery by Sigurðardóttir and, just like Last Rituals, it stars lawyer Thóra Gudmundsdóttir. One of the things I adore about Sigurðardóttir is her ability to include lots of humor during her mysteries. Plenty of Scandinavian mystery writers have a hint of humor here and tere, but Sigurðardóttir's is much more obvious. I think it adds a lot to her story. What could be a depressing story of the murder of an architect ends up being a fascinating case study on murder mixed with people's lives and how Gudmundsdóttir must balance her job as a lawyer with that of a mother, soon-to-be grandmother and lover (she and her husband are divorced). I eagerly await more of Sigurðardóttir's books.

61. Echoes from the Dead by Johan Theorin
Johan Theorin's Swedish mystery about a missing boy and his mother is an extremely addicting novel. The story starts in the 70s, with the disappearance of Julia's young son. Skip to the present and Julia's father wants to see her, 20 years after her son went missing. What starts as Julia trying to make peace with the fact that her son is probably dead ends up turning into a mystery no one expects. The story is strong, and at the end, quite brutal. I enjoyed reading it, but my low rating is because what happened at the end was shockingly disappointing. I don't mean to say that it didn't work, because it was quite effective, I just didn't like it.

62. Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson
This was my first Maureen Johnson book and I must say, I think I picked the right one to read. It's quite a cute book about a girl named Scarlett and her summer working in her parents' hotel. It sounds rather silly and simplistic, but it turns out to be nothing of the sort. It's cute novel about love, families and drama -- the theater kind. While Scarlett's life isn't anything like most of ours, she does go through what so many of us have dealt with -- first loves and a summer doing things for other people. I enjoyed Suite Scarlett and hope the remaining books in the series are just as fun.

62 / 100 books. 62% done!


Mar. 31st, 2009 07:49 pm
fiveforsilver: (Books [pile])
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
35. *Girl At Sea by Maureen Johnson (336) YA/Fic

A high school girl gets the summer job of her dreams, just in time to find out that she has to spend the vacation with her father in Italy. On a boat. Sounds great, right? Except her dad has a tendency for wild schemes that seem like a good idea at the time (to him) but never go quite right after all (especially for her). What type of crazy is he cooking up this time?

Girl At Sea was a stressful book to read; it never seemed to slow down. From the very beginning, and especially after she gets to Italy, it's just one thing after another - and often it's one near-disaster after another. On the other hand, it really reflects the feeling of the main character, who is resentful and angry at the situation she has been stuck in. It is well written and the plot kept me guessing, but it is not a book I'll read again.

36. *The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson (384) YA/Fic

It was a good book. I heard they tried to ban it in some school library because it has (the horror!) lesbians. Ridiculous. The issue seemed to me to be dealt with reasonably and fairly realistically (so far as I can imagine) and just like any other aspect of teenage life as opposed to something major. Well, of course it was major, because to teenagers everything is major, but it wasn't any more major than anything else.

37. The Shockwave Rider by John Brunner (246) A/SF

37 / 150 books. 25% done!

22 / 75 *new books. 29% done!

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

10374 / 45000 pages. 23% done!


Mar. 17th, 2009 11:19 am
fiveforsilver: (Edward Gorey)
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
26. *Castle in the Air by Diana Wynne Jones (304) YA/Fan

I don't remember exactly when I read this, but I just realized that I did in fact read it but forgot to post it.

It was amusing. Not my favorite DWJ ever, but I still liked it quite a bit.

27. *An Abundance of Katherines by John Green (215) YA/Fic

I picked up this book for two reasons. The first is that someone linked me to this video, which got me interested in the Brotherhood 2.0 project that John and his brother Hank did a couple of years ago (it's a year-long project of vlogs every weekday. I think I'm into June or July.). Eventually I realized that John is an author of YA books (I like YA books) so I thought I should check them out (making him the fourth author whose books I picked up after I followed some kind of web activity, after John Scalzi, Wil Wheaton, and Cherie Priest).

The second reason I picked An Abundance of Katherines is because I like the title.

The writing is good and the story is cute and the characters were believable. I have am looking forward to reading Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns.

28. *Looking for Alaska by John Green (221) YA/Fic

Another excellent book. Green has a knack for creating characters that are interesting to read about even when they're not really doing anything. I did find the second half of the book predictable, but that didn't make it any less of a good read.

29. *13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson (320) YA/fic

I read this in the bookstore, picked it up because John Green has mentioned the author several times in his vlogs, so I recognized her name.

Ginny's slightly-crazy aunt has given her a combination treasure hunt and scavenger hunt in a series of 13 letters. Each letter contains instructions for places to go, people to meet, and things to do or see. A solo tour of Europe is not something shy and quiet Ginny would ever have done normally, but with her aunt's letters to guide her, she takes the chance and goes.

This is the sort of book that you could (assuming the author did her research properly) follow along with in real life. Take a plane to this city, find this address. Take the ferry here, take a bus there, go to this museum and that cafe. It was a lovely journey to see new places and meet new people and, in the end, help Ginny accept her aunt's death.

30. *Paper Towns by John Green (305) YA/Fic

Quentin's next-door neighbor Margo runs away from home not long before their high school graduation and Quentin follows clues to try and find her.

Another fantastic book by John Green. One thing I really like about Green's writing is that, unlike a lot of authors, his endings don't just stop the book. The major event happens, then it still takes a while for everything to wrap up. If there's more than one major event, they're spaced out instead of all at once.

30 / 150 books. 20% done!

16 / 75 *new books. 21% done!

0 / 10 ^non-fiction. (hmmm)

8556 / 45000 pages. 19% done!


Jan. 1st, 2009 11:39 am
blue_ant: (reading [books and more books])
[personal profile] blue_ant
164. Let It Snow: Three Holiday Stories by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle
I've kept saying I'm not a fan of regular YA fiction, but I think it's clear that that's not true and this book completely helped reinforce that fact. Each of these stories was loosely interconnected, with it all coming together in the last one. What results are three great stories on their own, and a rather clever book when put together. The stories are about three people who are caught out by a huge snowstorm and how their lives intertwine (with each other and other people who only pass through the stories). I liked all three of them, but every time I read John Green's stories, I like him more. I didn't have a favorite, but I did like them all.

165. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Gaiman, as always, delivers. This novel is an expansion on a short story he'd already written. I liked how Gaiman created a history for Bod, making him more than just a boy in a short story who lived in a graveyard. While the book is a quick read, the story is strong, the plot is quite intriguing and overall, it's a really good book. If you like Gaiman, you'll definitely like this book.

166. How They Met, and other stories by David Levithan
I usually don't like short stories, but I've discovered that I'll read pretty much anything by David Levithan. His writing is strong and this book of short stories was no exception. He creates worlds withing a few short pages, that take you far away from your own. The stories alone, are quite good -- ranging from happy to melancholic, but their impact comes clear when they're put together in this book. Levithan's stories are not just about love, they are about everything else as well. They are, in many ways, very real and very realistic, while at the same time, drawing us in with the ideal that is found in so many novels. What results is a very wonderful journey through 'how they met' where 'they' is everyone.

167. The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan
I've never read a book of poetry quite like this. Each poem of Levithan's tells a story, but they are sometimes loosely connected (which you don't notice until the end -- and it's very effective). The poems are usually several pages, written in different styles, but on the whole, they are mostly quite powerful. I didn't like all the poems and obviously there were those I liked more than others. But that's the way it is with all collections. Overall, if you like Levithan's writing and don't mind poetry, this is a good book to read.

167 / 170 new reads. 98% read!


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