Wednesday, November 09, 2011

7 boxes packed.

Starting out with a regular review:
Snuff, by Terry Pratchett.  Some events from an earlier novel played an important part in this, and I didn't remember them as well as I would have liked, but I was able to swim along ok.  Excellent, as always.

Book: The Emperor's BabeAuthor: Bernadine Evaristo
For my classes: Perhaps
Comment: The writing style of this book was interesting; it reminded me, in that way at least, of Witness by Hesse.  It would be interesting to pay more attention to the "verses"-- do they exhibit any uniformity of rhythm, are the line breaks obviously significant, etc.
The plot was less than spectacular, although one gets the feeling that it wasn't exactly the point.
I did not like how often times things were left fuzzy, rather vague.  The quickness of the story glossed over details.  Nor was I satisfied with the ending.
(I have no memory of this book.)

Book: End of an Era
Author: Robert J. Sawyer
For my classes: Maybe
Comment: I would not say this was one of his best works, although it was interesting.  He asserts, again, however, or at least demonstrates, that he only knows about 3 things: Toronto, archeology, and what I'm going to call strange sciences: time travel, alternate realities, and aliens, all of which were actually included in this plot.
There was an interesting suggestion though, concerning our origins: science has been unable to recreate the Big Bang.  The "theory" is that someone from far int he future traveled back to the beginning of the universe and got it all started.  "Created us in our own image."

Book: Enterprise: The First Novel
Author: Vonda N. McIntyre
For my classes: No
Comment: Although this book had most of the faults of all the other Star Trek books, its main flaw was that the characters presented in the book are markedly different from the selves they will become.  I could not resolve those discrepancies.  I rather disliked it.
(I have absolutely no memory of this book.)

Book: Equal Rites
Author: Terry Pratchett
For my classes: No
Comment: The presentation of Granny Weatherwax in this book makes me think it's one of her first: all her pieces are there, but they haven't yet become the Her they later are.
Sometime I'm going to go through and read all these Discworld books in order (at least chronologically, according to publication) and see if they fit together better.

Book: Eragon
Author: Christopher Paolini
For my classes: Maybe
Comment: I actually rather liked this book.  A co-worker at the writing center told me he thought it was crap-- that's because, in my opinion, he was reading it as an adult, instead of reading it how a child would read it.  The plot was good-- there was good character development.  The author did go a bit overboard with the cliches and the fancy/fanciful vocabulary and wording.  It was kind of stereotypical in that respect.

Book: The Ersatz Elevator (A Series of Unfortunate Events)
Author: Lemony Snicket
For my classes: I hope I can
Comment: I really love this series and I think kids will like them as well, all though the intended audience is very young.  I haven't got a bad thing to say about them, except perhaps that they do rely heavily on each other and can't be read independently.  Things like character development and plot progression are minimal, but appropriate for the intended audience.

Book: Exile
Author: R.A. Salvatore
For my classes: No
Comment: It's getting hard to come up with new things to say about this guy.  He's still in love with his one-sentence-foreshadowing-paragraph-thing, which I suppose I'll just have to accept as part of his writing style.
This one also had alot of attention to emotion, but it felt more natural, not nearly as forced as it was in The Halfling's Gem, although it could still stand to be better.
The story is still good.  Since I keep looking forward to the next one, they can't be all that bad, eh?

Book: Exiles at the Well of Souls
Author: Jack L. Chalker
For my classes: No
Comment: This book is setup, setup, and more setup.  In addition to all the faults held over from the first book, the author has an annoying habit of describing new people by recipe, beginning paragraphs with "take a..." or "start with..." or "imagine..."  Incredibly annoying.  But, of course, I will read them all.

Book: The Eyre Affair
Author:Jasper Fforde
For my classes: yes
Comment: I guess this would be a novel of alternate history.  however, unlike other such novels I've read so far, this uses the altered history merely as a background instead of the main plot.
It was well written in all the general ways.  My one concern is that it relied on grammar and literature (especially) knowledge to a degree.  Although important things are explained to a degree, readers would probably get more out of the reading if they were familiar with the subject (Bronte, Poe, Dickens, apostrophes, etc.).  With something approximating decent knowledge, many jokes are actually pretty funny.  Jane Eyre is a prerequisite.

Book: Factoring Humanity
Author: Robert J. Sawyer
For my classes: No
Comment: This book brings to the fore the concept that "no man is an island." There were many other topics presented that are interesting to think about-- the advent of Artificial Intelligence, scientific ideas such as other dimensions, and psychological concerns such as false memories.
The story was hardly gripping, but now that it's done, it starts many trains of thought, not the least of which was the warning about true AI, when compared to Golden's Star Trek books, in which Holograms fight for their rights.  One of the alien messages warned about AI (in this book)-- by their nature smarter and stronger than us, they would soon do away with humanity, having no need for life forms. 

Book: The Fairy Godmother
Author: Mercedes Lackey
For my classes: No
Comment: I have mixed feelings about this book.  I liked the main character and the story premise right off the bat, although the writing style seemed a bit juvenile.  Later in the book, the author brought in sexual elements that I felt were inappropriate to the story and the writing level, as well as to what I have gathered from other readings to be the author's overall style or personality.

Book: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Author: Newt Scamander (J.K. Rowling)
For my classes: unfortunately no
Comment: as Dumbledore says in his preface, a must-have for every home. A well-spring of information, this "text book" shed light no just on the Harry Potter books, but other fantasy books as well. Funny and informative.  Needs to be longer.

Book: Far-Seer
Author: Robert J. Sawyer
For my classes: No
Comment: I have said before that I need to not read so many books by the same author-- the fact that they all run together is due less to my poor memory and more to the author's lack of imagination.  "Shakespeare-- why did you write nine comedies when you could have written just one?"

Book: The Farther Shore
Author: Christie Golden
For my classes: No
Comment: Please see my entry on Homecoming, the first of this uninspiring duo.  I have nothing to add-- at least this author is consistent.
(I do not remember this book at all.)

Book: The Feast of Roses
Author: Indu Sundaresan
For my classes: Hmm.  A consideration.
Comment: this book reminded me alot of Imperial Woman by Pearl S. Buck.  The bad thing about these kinds of books, that follow the life of one person, end with their death, and that's kind of a down note, no matter what spin you try to put on it.
The book was rich in culture, but paid poor attention to the passing of time, giving very vague terms, like "many years" or "a great while."  In the first book, it at least gave the ages of the characters, since that is more helpful than throwing out "1606."
I think I liked the first book better, but this was still enjoyable, as well as informative.

Book: Feet of Clay
Author: Terry Pratchett
For my classes: No
Comment: I can't say that, academically, this book had many redeeming qualities.  Of course, I liked it, and enjoyed it, but other than as an example of style or social satire, I'm running out of things to say about this author.

Book: The Fellowship of the Ring
Author: J.R.R. Tolkien
For my classes: Yes
Comment: I guess it just took The Hobbit for me to get used to this writing style, as I am enjoying it very much.  He's wonderful with descriptions-- he just paints a picture for you.  His lack of commas still troubles me a bit, though.
I had a bit of confusion, for the book is a bit different from the movie and I can't seem to keep them straight.
The only thing I disliked about this story is how Sam remains in a low position.  He's such a wonderful character, but always goes around, following his "master" like a puppy, and it bothers me, because he is better than that.  But I suppose it can't be helped.

Book: Fiery Cross
Author: Diana Gabaldon
For my classes: No
Comment: In all her other books, the author was painstakingly careful about tying all the people into the story, leaving no loose ends.  At the end of this book, however, I feel that much has been left dangling.  There is no mention of a fifth sequel.  I find this out of the author's normal demonstrated character, and it bothers me.

Book: Fifth Elephant
Author: Terry Pratchett
For my classes: No
Comment: I'm really starting to come around to the Ankh-Morpork characters (Vimes, Colon, Nobby Nobbs, Cheery, etc.)
This was a good story; by that, I mean that it was fun to read, but that's all I got out of it.
There were a few typos and copy errors.  Usually, he doesn't have any of those, but a few pop up every once in a while.
I enjoyed it, but I can't recommend it.

Book: The Final Solution: A Story of Detection
Author: Michael Chabon
For my classes: No
Comment: Although it only ever call him "the old man," this book about Holmes' declining years is really rather sad.  He has no Russell, no Watson, no Housekeeper, and he's loosing himself-- it seems his is beginning to have some kind of dementia.  It's the only thing of which I have seen a Holmes character be truly terrified. It takes away some of the heroic from everything that went before.

Book: The Fire Within
Author: Chris D'Lacey
For my classes: No
Comment: Oh, what a horrible book.  I can't imagine why I even finished it.  Even for a children's book, it seemed very poorly thought out.  The characters were annoying and inappropriate to their own ages. The writing style was boring-- sentence structure didn't vary enough.  Lastly, the author used adjectives inappropriately.  He threw in alot of "suddenly"s as well, for no reason I could see and often for something that can only happen suddenly.

1 comment:

Right Is Right said...

You never know who is reading your blog. Even though you don't expect people to actually read some of your blog posts, I guarantee they do. I am surprised with the number of followers you have that more comments are not left.

Anyway, with all that typing, it is any wonder that you have any time to pack any boxes at all. Good luck with the move.