Friday, March 30, 2012

Dragons in the Waters by Madeleine L'Engle

Dragons in the Waters (O'Keefe Family, #2)Dragons in the Waters by Madeleine L'Engle
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Action-mystery-fantasy about a new character Simon on a freight ship to Latin America. Poly and her brother Charles are also there, but the story isn't really about them.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Arm of the Starfish by Madeleine L'Engle

The Arm of the Starfish (O'Keefe Family, #1)The Arm of the Starfish by Madeleine L'Engle


Technically this isn't part of the A Wrinkle in Time series. But it has the O'Keefe-Murry family in it, and chronologically, this falls right after A Swiftly Tilting Planet (Time #4), and about two more O'Keefe Family books before An Acceptable Time (Time #5, but also O'Keefe Family #4).

Spoiler alert: Even though the whole point of the book is that a new character Adam Edington is going to work for Calvin O'Keefe, Adam doesn't make it to the lab until about 40% of the book. When he does, he still doesn't get to work, but goes swimming with dolphins. Then a little bit of the starfish excitment, then more blah blah blah.

Also, Calvin and Meg, who are about 37 years old, have had 7 children by now. Poly (12 years old), Charles (10), Sandy (8?), Dennis (6?), Peggy (4), Johnny (2), baby Rosie a.k.a. Mary. Holy cow.

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Monday, March 26, 2012

The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being A WallflowerThe Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is more of a split score. I think I would have given it 4 stars if I'd read it when I was in highschool, and it's more of 3, maybe 3.5 for me now. The main character is a freshman in high school dealing with a lot of pain while trying not to be super awkward.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Beasts of Tarzan by Edgar Rice Burroughs

The Beasts of Tarzan (Tarzan, #3)The Beasts of Tarzan by Edgar Rice Burroughs
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

There are so many things wrong with this third book in the series. The racism everyone knows about. Though I continue to think that it's also generalized misanthropy because while the author's language is racist, the human characters are mostly all the same regardless of race. The animals are the noblest and most moral characters. Unfortunately, the animals might also be the most interesting character as all the other characters appear to be extremely one-dimensional. Also, the story dragged on so much. It could have ended several chapters before it did, but instead, the author created additional one-dimensional bad guys to oppose.

So what did I like? I liked the crazy troupe of animals. This is probably the book in the series that most inspired the cartoon Disney version of Tarzan (along with book #1). I liked that Jane gets the opportunity to be kind of bad ass in this one. I liked that there were additional good guys in this story, and I enjoyed their contributions. As for the action has everything- fighting, animals, ships, explosions.

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The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Return of the King (The Lord of the Rings, #3)The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Because this is part of the trilogy, the conflict was pretty much resolved about 60% of the way through the book. I actually really enjoyed that. The rest of the book was just about the things that mattered to the characters and their relationships. Solidly good.

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

I Know Why the Caged Bird SingsI Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is very disturbing in that there's violence, rape, and racism-- and to credit Angelou- the racism is the most painful somehow. The scene with the dentist is so heartbreaking. But the book is also full of love and humor. A classic.

I don't know if I this is the first time I read this autobiography or not. I had it on my shelf for ages, and I think I read it in high school.

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

Bridge to TerabithiaBridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's a beautiful book but I read it in maybe 4th grade and that was too early for me. I've always been vaguely hostile about how upsetting it was at that age. Never mind that I dealt with the real death of my great grandmother around that age, I just wasn't old enough to either use art to help me process the real death or understand the art because of the real death. I wish I'd read it in 8th or 9th grade.

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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

The Old Man and the SeaThe Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's beautifully written. It's about love, loneliness, poverty, injustice, and just going on in lonely old age.

The first time I read this I was lukewarm about it. It was only on my second reading that I appreciated the sadness (and happiness) of it more. But it was tough to get through both times even though it's short because it's so much fishing. It's as exciting as fishing will ever be, but it's still a lot of fishing.

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Monday, March 5, 2012

The Crucible by Arthur Miller

The CrucibleThe Crucible by Arthur Miller
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This play is moving, disturbing, and especially frightening for its realism- not just during the McCarthy era but in every scapegoat-and-"you're with us or your against us" era.

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Sunday, March 4, 2012

The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells

The War of the WorldsThe War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a fun apocalypse narrative. It's written in such a way that it makes perfect sense that people listening to it on the radio thought it was real. The ending seems a little weak in terms of believability but keeps the story fairly enjoyable.

The most amazing part is that this was written in the 1890s before human aviation.

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Friday, March 2, 2012

The Big U by Neal Stephenson

The Big UThe Big U by Neal Stephenson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is like a futuristic Lord of the Flies inside a big city university and dorm. The book is not good. It took me two months of slogging through it to finish it. I gave it two stars instead of one because I liked the idea (kind of) and the characters, but not the insane execution.

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