Tuesday, October 24, 2006

An Odd Assortment

So I'm kind of a bum for not posting. I could whine about how busy I was writing essays for grad school applications and learning music for IWCC and what not. But I have read some stuff.  

Homeward Bound, by Harry Turtledove. This is the last book in a 4-book series, starting with Colonization: Second Contact, which is apparently itself on offshoot from a prior series. Harry Turtledove was one of the first authors I found when I started exploring alternative histories as part of fiction, and I have enjoyed these books. However, while I like his plots and characters, there are several things about his writing style I dislike and think he could improve. In the first two books of the series, he included far too many main characters. It was difficult to keep up with all the things happening around the world at the same time. The second big problem also relates to his characters: they don't seem very real to me. From the things they think to themselves, say to each other, and how they interact, it feels like the author has never witnessed human interaction. These seriously draw away from what is otherwise a good story.

How come I'm always Luigi?: a FoxTrot Collection, by Bill Amend. This is a compilation of some of the strips. I pulled it off the shelf because, several years ago in Young Adult Lit (Engl 325), we talked about using non-book literature, including comic books and comic strips, to help reluctant readers. Plus, I like FoxTrot. While comic books and strips have their uses and are enjoyable, I'm not sure what the best would be to use them in a classroom, if at all.  

Why Do Men Fall Asleep After Sex?: More Questions You'd Only Ask a Doctor After Your Third Whiskey Sour, by Mark Leyner and Billy Goldman, M.D. This is kind of a follow up visit, after their first book Why Do Men Have Nipples?: Questions You'd Only Ask a Doctor After Your Third Martini. The pair is funny, although not everyone might agree. Most of the answers are informative. In most cases, I would prefer if the answers were longer and went a little more in depth, but it doesn't spoil the reading, and the consensus seems to be that most readers are satisfied with the depth. I was trying to think why this one took me such a short time to read. In addition to not being very brainy, the type was big.  

Magyk, by Angie Sage. Possible subtitles include Septimus Heap and Book One, as both appear on the cover. Illustrations by Mark Zug. I should be done with this one tonight or tomorrow. This is strictly a children's book; that is, unlike some other books (The Phantom Tollbooth, Lemony Snickett's books, or the Harry Potter series), it is not really entertaining or exciting for older readers. The plot is so far fairly predictable, although young readers might not grasp all the foreshadowing. I dislike how the author overuses italics to give stress to words, whether in dialogue or narration. I'm not sure how I feel about the author's use of bold to highlight all "magykal" terms, names, or spells. I think I enjoy the proper names given to things. A great many items or actions are given special status through capitalization, that makes many of the things taking place in the book feel like they are part of a ceremony or history.

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