Monday, April 27, 2009

My mind wanders.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Book 1: The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan. What a great book! I judged this book by its cover (the old grey one on the hardcover) and thought it would kind of suck; it does look a little old. I'm glad to have been so wrong. It will appeal to young readers, as there's plenty of action and the characters are really great. Older readers will see a different dimension, especially if they've covered Greek myths in any depth in school: knowing the possibilities and bases the author is drawing from, the foreshadowing is more apparent, but it's interesting to see how much detail the author uses. Another excellent fantasy-twinged problem novel for boys! There is a main (ish) female character as well, so girls won't feel left out, although girls don't seem too reticent about reading a "boy book." I like boy books because they are less likely to feel forced to include romance just because a girl character is present.  

Hacking Harvard, by Robin Wasserman. I didn't like this book so much. Eric's character was probably the best, and he needed to be more "main." Schwarz's character seemed stereotypical and underdeveloped, so he didn't really help the story much. More time was given to Max that I liked, especially since he was not a very good character at all: neither realistic, believable or likeable. I thought it odd that this book, which is mostly about boys, was narrated by a girl character, who doesn't even appear until part way through the book. It was really a let down all around.  

Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes, by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein; read by Johnny Heller. Playaway! I really liked the narrator of this one; he wasn't one of those polished off-broadway voice actors: he sounded like a real person who reads books, not a trained actor who acts books. I probably would have come away from this book with more information had I actually read it. It was helpful, however. I got something in a low C range when I took Philosophy at community college. This did a good job of explaining and illustrating the concepts, some of which I did remember vaguely from before. The jokes were mostly funny, and the concepts were clear without feeling dumbed-down.  

The Lost Island of Tamarind, by Nadia Aguiar. I fought nearly half-way through, but I'm quitting this. I'm sure kids love it, but it's not very well written or very exciting, and it just feels like a waste of my time. The author needs some remedial work in commas, and she seems to have forgotten details she mentioned just a few sentences ago (all the villagers went away back toward their homes ...[2 sentences]... all the villagers clustered around them and took them back to the village, etc). I thought this would be one of those books that's really geared more toward boys but would also be good for girls; it's not. Boys will hate this. There isn't any action and the focus is definitely on the older sister instead of the younger, more adventurous brother.

This weekend is AJA-Con (Anime Junkies Annonymous-Con). Most of the teens aren't actually dressing up as anime characters, but as characters from other books (and video games). I spent last weekend working on my costume; I will be Tiffany Aching. I have a black skirt I wear with my renaissance costume, I found a men's green work shirt at Goodwill, and I've made an apron out of a light green table cloth (also Goodwill-- Saturday was 1/2 off day!). Hemming takes forever without my mom's machine! I've got carefully-assembled pocket contents (black feather, paper clip, string, safety pin, golf pencil, penny, random key) in case I'm called upon to make a shamble. I have made a small Nac McFeegle from... really, random junk left over from other projects: blue felt and stuffing left from a youth craft project for a class, red pipe cleaners from my Halloween Medusa costume, a scrap of tartan from my renaissance costume, random buttons; I don't know why I have googly eyes. Of course, the Wee Free Men aren't a uniform blue, and this color wouldn't have been my first choice, but it's what I had. This picture isn't very good, but you get the idea. He is waiting in my office, guarding my pens.

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