Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Stone of Farewell by Tad Williams

Stone of Farewell (Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, #2)Stone of Farewell by Tad Williams

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked this one better than book one of the series. Williams does a good job of cliffhanging the end, especially when you consider how many different POVs there are. There were a few choices made by some key players that kind of bummed me out. But heros are best when they are falible, I guess. I'm pretty excited now to jump into part one of the conclusion, but I just started school again, so my pleasure reading time has got to be limited. Bummer.

I've heard that this is one of his lesser collections, so now I'm really excited to check out one of his more notable works.

View all my reviews

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

This one gets four stars from me.
I just finished reading this one aloud to my son. We had a lot of fun with it. I'm not sure what I was expecting when I started it, but there was something about this book that caught me totally off guard. Whatever it was, it took me a couple chapters to get used to it, but then I really liked it. It might have just been the pace and the rhythm. I've been reading Harry Potter out loud for so long, and this was completely different. When you read a book aloud, the story's voice tends to get IN you in a way that it just doesn't when you read silently. This story's voice was more personal- being in first person- and more modern, I think, than I expected.
My son enjoyed it a lot, but I also found myself getting excited for reading time everyday. I want to know what happens next! I waited to see the movie, so it was all a surprise to me. A pleasant surprise. I can't wait for The Sea of Monsters.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest by Stieg Larrson

Hrm. Quick overview of this lovely trilogy..

And if you've not read any of these, this probably won't make any sense. So. Sorry. In advance.

Book one -

Men definitely hate women in this one - A LOT, Nazis and big corporations are the roots of all evil - OF COURSE, who needs big boobs anyway (or I mean boobs at all), or condoms for that matter, or to be faithful to one's spouse.., and all those names..good grief. My review of this one is here.

Book two -

The giant blond dude from Rocky IV/man who feels no pain from the Brosnan (slash fake) Bond movies makes an appearance and boy is he pissed, Lisbeth is actually in this one - like she does stuff and everything (I mean everything), again with the names...holy crap....but this one by far my favorite of the three.

Book three -

Lisbeth is in the hospital and now she's pissed, duct tape cures all ills (my husband slash life partner could've told them that!), hot Amazon women are attracted to middle-aged, over-weight men, Lisbeth is still in the hospital.., ack, those names! I wanted to ram my head into the wall they were so confusing, Salander is still in the hospital..., stalkers are always skinny nerdy men, Swede's like to use the word whore a lot, giant blond freak makes an appearance at the beginning and the exact end of the book - in between I completely forgot about him, wha? Salander finally leaves the hospital?? Just in time to save the day? Not really, and the mysterious sister? She never shows...ah, come on!!

A really funny take on this series is in The New Yorker. I laughed myself silly it was so. spot. on.

3 stars

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

First off, I really like the title which happens to be suited perfectly for this book. Just as the title suggests things aren't always as clear as they seem and life has a way of unraveling for Okonkwo, the main character. You could consider this book as a modern Greek tragedy. Many themes transpire within this book that are thought-provoking and I must admit it wasn't always comfortable subject matter for me to necessarily enjoy pondering. It left me with mixed feelings all the way through starting from trying to understand the culture through the eyes of the character's, mainly Okonkwo, to becoming frustrated with mis-communication amongst the different parties and wanting to understand what progress truly means or doesn't mean in the long haul.

If anything, it was a learning experience to read this book and an emotional investment that I don't think I was fully prepared for with this book. I didn't think I undervalued people or that I couldn't adapt when necessary but now I see all of this in the struggles Okonkwo has and so my perception is different now. I want to try harder to be a better person. There really is so much to take away from this classic and so much to re-evaluate. This is the type of book that re-reading in a few years will bring on a whole new vision to it, perhaps in each 1o years of life, it will change for the reader.

Also, there were things in this book that I couldn't ever understand because I just can't relate to that strong of emotion or experience. I might not be meant to. I'm not sure if I'd like to or if I could become more aware. These struggles in between change and tradition are real either within myself or in the life of Okonkwo and because of this simple thread I think this book will always be thought of as a classic. For that reason, I'd say you should read this tragic book at least once.


Okonkwo ruled his household with a heavy hand. His wives, especially the youngest, lived in perpetual fear of his fiery temper, and so did his little children. Perhaps down in his heart Okonkwo was not a cruel man. But his whole life was dominated by fear, the fear of failure and of weakness. It was deeper and more intimate than the fear of evil and capricious gods and of magic, the fear of the forest, and of the forces of nature, malevolent, red in tooth and claw. Okonkwo's fear was greater than these. It was not external but lay deep within himself. It was the fear of himself, lest he should be found to resemble his father.

Credit where credit is due: Achebe uses this opening stanza of, yes, a William Butler Yeats’s poem “The Second Coming.” Sorry, I didn't include this originally in my post and I do appreciate Hamilcar for helping me realize this. :) I love Yeat's by the way and this must be why it stood out in my memory. It is where the title of the novel is taken, as an epigraph to the novel. A nice touch, I think.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world

209 pages, Originally published in 1958, My rating: 3 stars

Reviews from fellow 5-squared reviewers: