Thursday, August 26, 2010

Books on Tape?

So, since I've been commuting around the Seattle area and been in all sorts of traffic jams I decided that maybe books on tape could cure the road rage and give me something to do during the long hours. (Ok...not even one hour...but it feels like days when you're on the 520 bridge going 5mph when you're lucky.) I'm so used to doing something while listening that it was kind of weird to just listen and drive. Not take notes like in jr. high, high school, college. Not color like in elementary school. Just listen and drive. It was kind of soothing, but I don't know if I actually remember the story...or if I was driving safely. I was listening to "Three Cups of Tea" which starts out with a climb of (insert name of 2nd tallest mountain in the world here, starts with a K I think?) and I was just listening and imagining the surroundings. It was kind of fun...but was I really looking at the road? I don't know...I may be very against books on tape after my next car accident. Could you imagine if I was listening to James Bond while driving? I'd race every car on the road. Well, I'll warn you against the dangers of books on tape if I drive off the road or get a speeding ticket in the near future.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The White Queen - Philippa Gregory (5)

Ok, I have to admit this, I love Philippa Gregory. I love history for its stories, but I have a hard time keeping them straight. So I like being able to follow the story all the way through, even if I don't know how much is completely true and how much is questioned. But really, history is written by the victorious, so we always have an interesting side of the story, don't we?

I also have to admit that I like the part when people are falling in love and happy more than when they are plotting over the thrown. Politics don't interest me as much as love...which is probably why I'm really bad at history in general because I space out about who's fighting who and why and would prefer a good battle at Troy over the lovely Helen with goddesses arguing over whose best.

This book has the good fortune to be as historically accurate as possible, has some love scandals, war, magic, curses, politics, everything you could ask for in a well-rounded novel. So if you're into that kinda thing, definitely read it.

Now, dear reader of mine, tell me: what time period of history interests you most? I've always taken to books about Ancient Greece (mostly mythology), Cleopatra, Elizabeth I, and the Holocaust.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pirate Latitudes - Michael Crichton (4)

I wish this book had been published while Crichton was still alive, because I feel like its missing some of the suspense most of his novels have. There isn't really enough tension in it. Don't get me wrong - this book makes Pirates of the Caribbean look like a children's movie. It's about real pirates, not pretty-boy Orlando Bloom. Captain Hunter has all the finesse of Jack Sparrow without the lurking question of how he could possibly think through his boozey stupor. Yet no matter how bad things got for Hunter, I just wasn't on the edge of my seat...

Feel free to disagree. If you like anything that has to do with pirates, and can handle the gore of actual throat-cutting pirates, you'll probably really like this book.

What Should I Read Next?

I like conversations more then monologuing. So let me know - what are your favorite books? What book should I read next? I warn you that I just got a stack of books from the library, but I got them last night and I already finished one, so I may make it to your book quicker than I think!

My favorite, favorite books
1. The Harry Potter series
2. A Little Princess
3. Pride and Prejudice
4. Gone with the Wind
5. Ender's Game

I've loved a lot of books, so feel free to give me all sorts of suggestions. I usually stick to fiction and shy away from horror. So tell me: what do you think I should read next?

The Lost Boys - Orson Scott Card (5)

This is a 5 of the page-turner variety. It's a little bit of a horror novel, but it's Card so it's still a little sweet (if you've read the sequels to Ender's Game, you know what I'm talking about). If you're a computer person, you may giggle a little, as the main character is a programmer and this was written in 1980-something.

A brief synopsis: Step Fletcher, his wife DeAnne, and their 3.5 children (DeAnne's preggers) move to North Carolina so Step can start a new job. Turns out, a bunch of little boys around their oldest son's age have been disappearing. Also, Stevie is tormented by his teacher and fellow students so he only plays with his imaginary friends. But soon you have to ask the question, "How imaginary are these friends?" dun, dun, dun!

You should definitely read it. Fair warning: you'll need a Kleenex at the end.

What is the saddest book you've ever read?

The Penelopiad - Margaret Atwood (5)

This is definitely a 5 because I love Atwood's style - I always devour her books. I also love Greek mythology, and The Penelopiad is Odysseus' wife's side of the story. It's a pretty read but not much happens. If you like poetry and looking at flowers, or are a particular Margaret Atwood fan, definitely read it. If you would prefer something fast-paced and plot-driven, you'd be better off reading The Odyssey.

I sometimes think of books like these as mythological fan fiction. Do you have a favorite mythological story? Or have you read some mythological fan fiction that you found particularly good?

How I Read

I think it's important to note that I read some books very differently, so my rating system may be completely arbitrary. A "5" could mean that I simply couldn't put it down, even though it's literary trash of the Twilight variety. Or it could mean that finally, those last 20 pages were so good that I have to rate it well, even though the first 120 pages took me six months to get through (a la Sophie's World). So just because you liked one book I rated a 5, don't assume that every book I rate a 5 you'll love as much as I do.