Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The magical internets is here.

My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey, by Jill Bolte Taylor. I was reticent to give my true opinion of this book, everything considered, but my feelings were mirrored by a librarian acquaintance, so here goes:
The author talks at length about how exciting the science part of brain science is, and how amazed she was by all the science-things she could observe during her stroke. However, most of what she relates is emotional, bordering on spiritual, and she seems to actually have very little to say about the science.
She repeated herself quite a bit, and, towards the end, I just stopped reading. I skipped the last 2 chapters, because they were more of the spiritual, already-said, not-really-moving bits.
This could have been so much more. Sorry if anyone thinks I'm too harsh, but I don't want to give this author a pass just because she had a hard time.

Magic and the Modern Girl, by Mindy Klasky. I don't know why I keep reading these. I read the first two sentences of every paragraph to extract the plot, skim the rest of the paragraph, and move down. It doesn't grip me, and the characters could be so much more than they are. There will, of course, be more installments, which I'm sure I won't be able to stop myself from reading, but I don't love them.

Into the Forest, by Jean Hegland. This was on the staff picks shelf at the library with a tag that read "this near-future novel blew me away. It begs to be read..." It did blow me away. It was beautifully written, emotional evocative and spot-on. A few bits seemed predictable, but the little tiny let-downs were more than made up for by the gorgeous language. If you haven't experienced the death of a parent or close relative, and wonder what it may be like, I recommend this novel (along with The Book of Lost Things).

The Storyteller's Daughter, by Cameron Dokey. I very much enjoy Dokey's retellings of fairy tales. She keeps the bones, the basic facts, of the story the same, but the reasons and motivations the characters have, the inherent level of magic in the world, allows the reader to look at the story from a different angle. I've got a stack of hers (although the fragments feel a bit jagged).

Princess Academy, by Shannon Hale. This was a little predictable, but that's not necessarily a bad thing for this reading level. Not spectacular, but certainly worth having on the shelf.

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