Wednesday, August 27, 2014

on book 37.

book 37 of 60: ender's shadow by orson scott card.
date started: 8.18.14
date completed:  8.26.14
i love ender's game, and this is its companion text. i *really* doubted that it would be as good. 

bean, the main character, can come across as a bit whiny, but he is (dare i say it) a more sympathetic character than ender.  even as he tries to ignore/hate/avoid ender while constantly being compared to him, bean grows to love and respect his future commander.

always the smartest in the room and ahead of everyone else, bean figures out the secret of the ansible and does the right thing for his team.  

ender may be the hero, but bean deserves just as much credit.  maybe even more given his unusual birth and genetic history.

while i hesitate to proclaim that this text is better than ender's game, i do think it surpasses it in engaging audience sympathies and leaving the reader satisfied at the end.  if not better, it is certainly as good.

mr. card, i may despise your politics, but i love your art.  please keep writing.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

on book 36.

book 36 of 60: bibliography and the sociology of texts by d.f. mckenzie
date started: 8.7.14
date completed:  8.11.14

this book was a total mindfuck.  seriously. BLEW. MY. MIND.

i have read a lot of bibliographical studies books in my life, and with that prior knowledge i have decided that this guy is the macdaddy of bib.  

much of the material in this book was written in 1986, but mckenzie is able to foresee technological changes to text that hadn't even been conceived of yet.  much like bradbury, he seems to *know* what's coming.  what an incredible mind.

because of this text, i have a plan to merge two major research projects that i have been frustrated with for some time AND some excellent source material to back up my claims.

i heart d.f. mckenzie.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

on book 35.

book 35 of 60: the titan's curse by rick riordan
date started: 7.28.14
date completed:  8.7.14

better than the second because it breaks form just a bit.  still a really fun, easy series, even if it is younger YA.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

on books 31-34 and catching up

i've been on vacation since the beginning of july, which apparently means no thinking or writing.  i have been reading though, so here's the lowdown:

book 31 of 60: one more thing by b.j. novak
date started: 7.3.14
date completed: around 7.12.14

i appreciated a lot of the stories in this book.  they were humorous and literally made me laugh out loud, which is quite a feat.

some stories were just ok, as is usually the case with a collection.  all in all, i enjoyed this one.

book 32 of 60: the sea of monsters by rick riordan
date started: 7.13.14
date completed: around 7.15.14

not quite as fun as the first one, but they are quick, entertaining, and it's fun to guess who's who in the ancient greek world.


book 33 of 60: to kill a mockingbird by harper lee
date started: 7.16.14
date completed: around 7.21.14

this is another re-read.  i have read this text every year since high school and intend on continuing to do so.  there's something about july that just screams for TKAM--maybe it's the description of the heat in maycomb...maybe it's that this is an incredible piece of writing that yearns to be read wholly and all at once.


book 34 of 60: fahrenheit 451 by ray bradbury
date started: 7.23.14
date completed: around 7.25.14

this is another re-read.  i have read this text every year since middle school and intend on continuing to do so.  my love of bradbury is rather apparent to all who know me or read this blog regularly (i mean, i named my dog after a character in it!), so i needn't say a lot here other than this text is so rich that i find something new every time i read it.  amazing.

probable next read: finishing the goldfinch by donna tartt (which might happen one day...we'll see...)

Friday, June 27, 2014

on book 30 and the half way point.

i'm halfway done with my challenge and right on schedule, yo!

book 30 of 60: the death cure by james dashner
date started: 6.24.2014
date completed: 6.27.2014

y'all, i tried.  i really did.  i HATED the first book so much.  the second one was much better.  this one was somewhere in the middle.  

i don't think i'll move on to the prequel.  james dashner, i'm done.

probable next read: i have absolutely no idea. 

on book 29.

book 29 of 60: cartwheel by jennifer dubois

date started: 6.15.2014
date completed: 6.21.2014

i think i like this book.  it was engaging, and generally easy to read.  the fact that it was ripped off from inspired by the amanda knox case neither troubled or interested me--it was simply just a book.

similar to my experience with marisha pessl, though, the ending just kind of fizzled out for me.  there was so much build up about the main character's uniqueness and difference from those around her that the ending felt like a cheat.  instead of working through all the interesting parts of this girl, dubois just stops.  she gives you resolution, but noting feels resolved.  i did enjoy the fact that we never really find out what happened, especially since the details don't matter as much as the characters in this book.

but maybe the dissatisfaction is the point.  read the book and that sentence will make sense.

i don't know that i'd recommend this to anyone, but it certainly wasn't bad.

probable next read: the death cure by james dashner

Sunday, June 15, 2014

on books 25, 26, 27, and 28.

i'm a bit behind.  on the blog, that is.  i'm right on track with my reading goal, but since i'm teaching summer classes, i have VERY LITTLE time to do any writing of my own.  in fact, i should be grading and prepping classes for tomorrow as i type this very sentence, so this post will cover four books instead of one.

book 25 of 60: lost at sea: the jon ronson mysteries by jon ronson

date started: 5.24.2014
date completed: 6.9.2014

ugh...i have...trouble...with jon ronson.  i adored them: adventures with extremists, and was entertained by the men who stare at goats, but i've abhored everything else he's ever written.  

sidenote--his psychopath test is the book that taught me it was okay to cull--to just stop and put a book down in the middle if you aren't getting anything out of the read.

so i was doubtful when i picked this one up.  

it was fine. fine, not good, not bad--just fine.  the stories were quick, engaging, and varied.  i tolerated them and even found a few to be downright interesting/entertaining.
book 26 of 60: four short stories by emile zola

date started: 6.3.2014
date completed: 6.8.2014

amazing, spectacular, peculiar, sad, and beautiful.  everything you would expect from the master that is zola. 

seriously, "the death of olivier becaille" might be the best piece of short fiction i've read in a very long time.
book 27 of 60: percy jackson and the lightning thief by rick riordan

date started: 6.5.2014
date completed: 6.12.2014

while this book series tracks a bit younger on the YA spectrum, A LOT of my students love it, so i thought i would check it out.

it was fun, lighthearted, and a delight to read.  i'm a sucker for ancient mythology, so it was great fun to see how a contemporary writer could work figures like medusa into contemporary settings.  so much fun!

i plan on continuing in the series, when i get to it...
book 27 of 60: confessions of a latter day virgin: a memoir by nicole hardy

date started: 6.12.2014
date completed: 6.15.2014

so i've had this memoir on my to be read for a long time, and some of my friends have read it and rated it highly, so i thought i would check it out.  plus, i've been craving a bit of narrative non-fiction, so this definitely fits the bill.

while this is a book very much about sex, and the writer's lack of it and quest for it, there is deeper, much more substantial material at work here.

hardy was, as the title implies, a mormon woman who chose, after suffering from an extreme case of cognitive dissonance, to leave the church.  the reasons for her split are multi-layered, only one of those layers dealing with sex.  she did not feel at home in her own society, being told that she had to be married, be a mother, and give up her career to be complete, accepted, and worthy of the eternal afterlife the LDS church touts. 

this book is uncomfortable.  while it kind of reads like an eat. pray. love. kind of tome (which is totally NOT my kind of read), ultimately it is timely (given all the press on the LDS community lately) and speaks to womens' rights. 

i'm not sure what, exactly, i think of this book, but i'm glad i read it.  i think there is always value in understanding that difference exists in the world and that we, as individuals, don't always fit where we imagine we should/will.

probable next read: cartwheel by jennifer dubois