Sourcery

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3 1/2 Stars

More of Rincewind and the Luggage!  As far as Discworld characters go, Rincewind is not my favorite, so why am I reading all the Rincewind books at once?  Well I got an omnibus from the Science Fiction Book Club called Rincewind the Wizzard, which has the first four Rincewind-centered Discworld books.  It was sitting on my bookshelf for a while–since I had already read three of the four books, I was in no particular hurry to reread them, but it was something I was planning to do eventually.  Then I rented from the library the fifth Rincewind book, which makes mention of the chaos of Rincewind’s previous adventures, many details of which I could not remember, so I decided to go back for a refresher.

Anyway …. Sourcery is the story of an eighth son of an eighth son of an eighth son, who is by definition a source of magic, AKA sourcerer.  His extraordinary power sends the Disc all bonky and threatens to really mess things up, and it falls on the shoulders of hapless Rincewind to stop the sourcerer and save the Disc.  Hilarity ensues.

ben

Published in: on March 22, 2008 at 9:36 am  Leave a Comment  

The Light Fantastic

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3 Stars

Rincewind is back! This book is a direct sequel to The Color of Magic, perhaps the only direct sequel in the entire Discworld lexicon. This time Rincewind, Twoflower and the Luggage race across the Disc trying to stop it from crashing into a giant red star. Actually, Rincewind, as per usual, just tries to stay alive, while everyone around him goes crazy about the star. In the process we meet interesting characters and experience satirical adventure. Hilarity ensues.

ben

Published in: on March 20, 2008 at 9:43 am  Leave a Comment  

The Colour of Magic

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3 Stars

I am in the middle of a crazy Discworld kick.  Normally after two or three, I get sick of the style and stop reading them for a year.  But now I have read, like, six in a row and I am still going strong.  It’s weird.

The Colour of Magic is the first entry in the Discworld series, and this reading of it for me is actually a re-reading.  The story features Rincewind, an untalented wizard and practicing coward who has an uncanny ability to stay alive.  He meets friends and escapes enemies and has all sorts of adventures–like any Discworld book, the plot isn’t really important.  The first time I read this book, I absolutely loved it.  This time I only liked it. It’s not that TCOM is any worse now than it was back then, it is just that the newer books in the series are often better, so in comparison…

Oh, well.  It is still a fun book to read and a good introduction to the series.

ben

Published in: on March 18, 2008 at 9:24 am  Leave a Comment  

Delete All Suspects

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4 Stars

Oh, the Turing books. I love it when authors can come up with truly unique characters. These books revolve around a computer–an artificial intelligence based computer named Turing. Throughout the books, Turing explores her dawning self awareness, and how this complicates her existence. Each individual book has some sort of mystery–murder, embezzlement, scams–that Turing and her small group of human friends must try and solve. The stories themselves are pretty run-of-the mill, with criminals doing crimes that are eventually discovered through clever police work and a considerable amount of processing power. However, the interplay between the characters (several of which are computers themselves, and Turing is always trying to discover if these computers have become self aware also) and how a newly self aware computer explores her new world.

–Adrienne

Published in: on March 13, 2008 at 9:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

Bookseat

I’m going to start a new series of posts I like to call “Book Integration” or “how in the heck am I going to fit all these books into my super small apartment?!?” Since my husband and I have just moved to a new, very tiny place, and most of my books are still in boxes due to the sad lack of built in bookcases in our new space, I have been trolling the internets for brilliant ideas on how and where to incorporate my ever-growing book collection into our daily decor.

Today I found this:

Bookbench

This is a new design from Fishbol.com, an online design team. There’s very little information about this bookbench on the site, other than the dimensions (600X700X800 mm) and the material (plywood). No price or comfort levels mentioned–but then it’s from a design site, and these sites historically don’t take silly subjects like price and comfort into account when working on furniture.  It’s about the product!

I kind of like the look of this–it would work nicely for an empty corner or hallway nook (or an entryway, perhaps?), and give the reader a space to store  plenty of reading material. I’m worried about the materials, however. Plywood doesn’t seem like the best place to spend hours of reading time in blissful comfort. There’s also no convenient place to put the mandatory cup of tea or other refreshment that goes with reading a good book.

Over all, I’ll have to pass on this one, unless there’s a bare entryway in my future that is just begging for a bench full of books.

–Adrienne

–Source 

Published in: on March 9, 2008 at 1:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Dark is Rising

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5 Stars

I cannot say enough about this book (you don’t know what you’re talking about Ben!). I first picked up this book when I was in 6th grade, and I’ve made a habit of reading it every few years since. To me, this is the epitome of adventure fantasy. It has it all–an unlikely hero, daring fights, a seemingly insurmountable evil, and just enough humor to take the edge off.

The book is second in the Dark Is Rising series. I liked the first, but not nearly as much as this. The story is of a young boy, Will, who on his 11th birthday finds he is an immortal with an important mission: to unite the signs and turn back the rising evil. The story chronicles his self discovery and mastery of his powers, and the ultimate fight that results between light and dark.

What I especially like about this book is the lack of sugary “good is good and bad is bad” themes that are often present in books of this type for younger audiences. This book has loved ones working for the dark side, and good people doing evil things for the sake of the light. It’s a well written, complex story that is a great introduction into the world of fantasy adventure.

One part has especially stuck with me since the first moment I read this book. A member of the Dark enters into Will’s house on Christmas morning, in an attempt to capture Will’s soul. The Dark has the ability to read surface thoughts, so throughout the whole visit, Will thinks hard about the coming breakfast, instead of the number of secrets running through his mind. As the Dark man leaves, he mentions to Will’s family that they’d better feed him, because he seems to be very hungry. Ever since then, I’ve found myself mildly worried when I’m punching in a password or typing in my pin number. I mean, what if a member of The Dark is around to read my thoughts? So I always think another number while I do it, just in case. : )  Ah, books that stay with you–what more do you want?

–Adrienne

Published in: on March 8, 2008 at 1:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

Crazy Lady

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3.5 Stars

This was a cute book. Most of the Newbery Award books are pretty short, I’ve noticed, and this one is no exception. The story is of a young boy who, due to a minor indiscretion, must help the local “crazy lady” with her daily chores. The woman is ridiculed by her neighbors, due to her excessive drinking and her subsequent strange behavior, so the boy is upset at his punishment. He’s surprised to find the woman has a son about his age, who has some mental problems. The two boys become friends, much to the embarrassment of the boy’s old gang, and this helps everyone to grow.

It was a nice story, ended like you would expect, and left me feeling a mix of melancholy and happiness. That’s always a good feeling at the end of a powerful book.

–Adrienne

Published in: on March 6, 2008 at 7:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

March 6th is Read Aloud Day!

According to Holidays for Everyday, March 6th is Read Aloud Day (along with National Chocolate Cheesecake Day and the anniversary of the first day Oreos were sold…both of which deserve their own post). In honor of this wonderful holiday, I’ve put together a list of my favorite books to read out loud. When was the last time you had someone read to you? Let me tell you, it is a wonderful experience at any age.

My list:

the-giving-tree.jpg Ah, a classic.  There’s something so touching about this book, that just lends itself to hearing it in someone else’s voice. It’s the type of book that brings a tear to your eye and leaves you with happy chills at the end, and you always want to share that with someone, no?

the-raven.jpg Ooooo….creepy. Several years ago my husband made a poetry book for me for Christmas, and he included this book. The creep factor of this poem is crazy high–perfect for curling up and reading aloud.

when-the-frost.jpg This was also included in my poetry book, and this one has a much different feel than The Raven. The cadence and rhyming found in this poem is perfect for listening, and always gives me a chill.

where-the-wild-things-are.jpg There is nothing more fun than this book! Especially for one of my generation. What a great memory.

harry-the-dirty-dog.jpg Another one of those childhood memories. There’s just something about having books read to you as an adult that yo had read to you as a child. All I need now is to turn on the Smurfs while hugging my old bankie and I’ll be a child again.

oh-the-places-youll-go.jpg This is one of those early childhood inspirational books…and every once in a while it’s nice to remember that old inspired feeling. It just isn’t the same if you have to read it to your self.

make-way-for-ducklings.jpg This is the only book on this list that I didn’t love growing up. Nope. In fact, I don’t remember this book at all growing up. I actually got it as a present last Christmas as part of my goal to collect all the Caldecot Award winners, and my husband read it to me Christmas morning. I loved it. Have someone you love read this to you tonight, and I guarantee a happy evening.

–Adrienne

Published in: on March 5, 2008 at 8:41 pm  Comments (1)  

Free Book Alert!

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In order to celebrate the birthday of his blog, author Neil Gaiman has decided to put one of his most popular books on the web for free, for one month. Go, read, and enjoy!

–Source 

Published in: on March 4, 2008 at 9:49 pm  Comments (1)  

Everything on a Waffle

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2.5  Stars

It’s usually a pretty safe bet to pick up a Newbery Honor Book…most of the time those panel members really know what they’re talking about. I was a little disappointed with this one, though. Every once in a while, the people who choose the books go a little crazy. In this case, it seemed like the panel members just didn’t want the little readers to have to deal with any heartache or drama. I’ll explain in a minute.

The story was an easy read (as I figured, given the subject and all). It was about a young girl who lost her parents and had to live with her uncle, a real estate developer. He moves to her small town with grand ideas about upgrading it, much to the chagrin of the locals (including the local diner owner, who’s claim to fame is serving all meals on a waffle, hence the name of the book).

I guess the real problem I had with this book was it had the potential to be a real story, but it copped out right at the end. Too bad! It could have been great.

–Adrienne

Published in: on March 1, 2008 at 11:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Dilly of a Death

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2.5 Stars

Ah, silly little mysteries.  This is one of the books I picked up off the new mystery section, and you can just tell by the title that it’s going to be a stereotypical silly little mystery. This one had it all–female main character who has nothing to do with law enforcement (she runs an herb shop in a small town) who gets roped into the mystery and does all the solving.

It was really unmemorable–the only reason I even remember that the woman was an herbalist is because my mom loves these books (she’s an herbalist) and I remember that there was something to do with dill pickles because of the title. Ah well. I’ll probably read the rest of them…it’s still better than reading romance novels. 

Published in: on March 1, 2008 at 10:45 pm  Comments (1)  

Sweet as Sugar, Hot as Spice

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2.5 Stars

So I don’t like romance novels…I think I’ve made that clear. However, when a friend handed this to me, saying “I didn’t like the novels either, until I read this!” I thought I’d give them a chance. I should have known better (this is the same friend that started teaching just to meet a boyfriend. They got engaged before the semester ended. That’ll end well).

Anyhow, onto the drama in the book. This story was about an independent woman, who, in an obviously rebellious move, has opened her own sex education firm specializing in naughty videos showing the curious what good sex is really like. Her uptight but rich mother and very conservative and traditionally married sister both disapprove of her chosen profession, and wish she would just settle down and get married. She, of course, has different ideas. Blah blah blah, forbidden-love-cakes. Insert typically boring girlie movie storyline here, but with waaaaaay more uncomfortable sex. Seriously. It was like every page. Wait…maybe that’s why my friend loved these books? Huh. I know way too much about her now.

My overall impression? I still hate romance novels. They aren’t that interesting, the story isn’t great, and they are really just vessels for badly written sex scenes. I mean, at least some of the traditional ones have the laughability aspect going for them.  This book was written as if the author thought “I know…I’ll make the romance novel a real book again!” then wrote this series. Yep, a series. I really, really hope Tracy will decide she wants to read romance and read the entire rest of the section. Bleh. But it was still better than The Eight.

–Adrienne

Published in: on March 1, 2008 at 10:28 pm  Comments (1)  

X Out of Wonderland

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3 Stars

Well, talk about a strange book. This was part of my foray into the general fiction stacks at the library, and it was an interesting find. So here’s the story: A man, with the clever name of “X” is living in a wonderful land where he has a great job, until a natural disaster destroys his house and sends him on a roller coaster ride of  economics (sound like a country you know, much?). His adventure leads him to find the love of his life, land in Mexican (I’m sorry…”Southern Country”) prison, rise to the top of the industrial world, and make friends with a hitch hiker in a seedy bar. You know, your normal, everyday coming of age story.

Despite being really strange, I liked the story. Of course, it was very, very heavy handed with the symbolism and obvious comments on American culture, but over all in was an interesting read. It was also a very short story, which made it a quick read.

–Adrienne

Published in: on March 1, 2008 at 9:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Man Without a Counrty

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3 Stars

This collection of anecdotal stories shows off Vonnegut’s writing flair without involving the reader with anything to thought-provoking or memorable. It’s like at the end of an excellent symphony piece when to soloist comes out for an encore. You think, “Oh, that was nice,” but it doesn’t stick with you like the rest of the performance.

ben

Published in: on March 1, 2008 at 9:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

Building Harlequin’s Moon

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2 1/2 Stars

Larry Niven is famous for writing the Ringworld series, the first book of which I have (mostly) read and not much liked. However I have enjoyed reading other books of his which have been co-written with other authors. This book he wrote with someone named Brenda Cooper, but I did not like it. I takes place in a future where artificial intelligences and nanotechnology have run amok. A bunch of people flea Earth for a far away planet called Ymir, but run into some engine trouble on the way and have to make a pit stop in a barren star system, at a gas giant called Harlequin, where they can spend some time terraforming one of it’s moons into a livable enough planet to build a supercollider, with which they can create antimatter to power their ship the rest of the way to Ymir. Unfortunately, after a generation or two, some friction develops between the moon born labor and the bosses on the ship. This all sounds pretty interesting to me, but after this set-up nothing happens for most of the book. It’s like The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress without all the good bits.

ben

Published in: on March 1, 2008 at 9:38 pm  Leave a Comment