Whatcha reading?

Whatcha reading?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Hunchback of Notre-Dame: Victor Hugo

Interesting book. I still liked Les Miserables more. Though I understand why Hugo spent so much time describing the architecture it took away from the story for me. I would get into a section, then there would be a few chapters of description breaking up the flow for me. Even though I knew it was a sad story, I was still hoping for a happy ending. I didn't like any of the men in this story but the hunchback and was a fan of the goat. I want to know what happens to her!

Peace Breaks Out By: John Knowles

From the beginning this book seemed like an attempt to rewrite "A Separate Peace", or at least as a hope for a sequel to be as successful. I like subtle hints and this story seemed to push the reader into what to think. It also pointed out too much the similarities between Phinny and Pete and Wexford and Hochschwender as well as English vrs. German. There did not seem to be much of a storyline and a lot of filler to make it long enough. Wexford's friends set up Hochschwender as the one responsible for breaking out the glass in the chapel, then beat him up. Hochschwender, having a rheumatic heart, ended up dieing. In the end, the school blamed the war.

My Friend Flicka By: Mary O'Hara

I was thinking this would be an Old Yeller type story for young boys, but it ended up having a happy ending. A story about the coming of age and responsibilities as well as different parenting styles. It was a cute book, but not one I would recommend for any reason. Probably more of an old classic type story like Louis L'Amour's.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee By: Dee Brown

This book made me physically ill. I didn't even know one percent of the atrocities the Native American Nations suffered. White man did everything in their power for hundreds of years to make the Indians go the way of the buffalo, to extinction. After taking their land and putting them in the shittiest places they decided they could then use something in the new reservations, weather it be land for a train, road, lumber, minerals. If the natives were able to survive in these places, they then wanted them back for settlers, and it wasn't even there land to parcel out to begin with. After taking away their livelihoods and land to live off, for they were completely self sufficient which settlers couldn't seem to understand, They expected a thank you and still put a white person to oversee them to ensure they did not find happiness. The Whites started massacres over putting up a flagpole, or if someone sneezed it seemed. After reading this book I realized I would fight to the death rather than live the way the whites made them. I was devastated time after time the natives lost, whole tribes were wiped out, tribes hunted out others as mercenaries and deceived the very people they should have been helping. I was very impressed with Sitting Horse and his conduct. The whites feared him with good reason. He was a man of dignity and pride and would not cave to intimidation. He said "White man knows how to make everything, but not how distribute it" about how they treated their own poor". The same thing can be said today about white man in general. The Government even went so far as to call the natives communist, who must be wiped out. So many times I wanted to put down the book since I felt numb, but the desire to know the whole story prevailed.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Mythology By: Edith Hamilton

The first sentence in this book was insightful and I have never thought of it before " The Greeks did not believe that the gods created the universe. It was the other way around: the universe created the gods". This was a very comprehensible and complete list of characters I had never heard about. I also did not know that mythology started with only man on the earth similar to the story of Adam and Eve. The Story of Cupid and Psyche was also very similar to both Cinderella and Snow White...hmm...

A Stitch in Time By: Ann Rinaldi

This was a cute story for young readers giving perspective on early colonial life and the push for western expansion after the civil war. It covered universal topics for a children's story of adventure, scandal, love, and heartbreak complete with a happy ending.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Asylum Prophecies By: Daniel Keyes

Weird beginning. So the father hypnotises the girl with histrionic personality who knows a terrorist plan of attack and he tells someone on the phone in front of the terrorists that his daughter knows the secrets, yet the terrorist don't know she knows the plan? Ten pages into the story two people have been shot, a plot has been revealed and there is minimal character development. I really liked his non-fiction books, but this one has a lot "don't think of why it would happen like this, it just would" sections. Like the fact that all this is happening at an asylum, why would terrorist hide out working in an asylum? Raven's in the asylum as a patient and her dad just happens to work there, her mom had committed suicide earlier so he was her last relative. It seemed a little to convenient. Raven is kidnapped by the same terrorists that she "secretly" knows the plan from and they try to get information about the activities that they should already know about. The story got better as it went on, but the split personality came across as corny and the love scenes were out of place. I feel he tried to include too many undeveloped ideas into a single book. There weren't any characters that I liked either, but I was able to finish the story without too much frustration.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Brave New World Revisited By: Aldous Huxley

This...essay? made me laugh, then sober up real quick. Huxley spends the first chapter arguing that his vision of the future is better than Orwell's 1984. He does go on to explain why he is so bitter towards Henry Ford, which he did predict accurately. He was worried about the larger businesses, using assembly lines enabling them to put products out faster, would "gobble up" the little businesses. Although he did not go on to envision us relying on foreign countries for these cheaper goods, hurting small businesses even more. His theory of "herd thinking" versus "individual thinking" was a sort of epiphany for me. I knew this was true, but he explained how Hitler used it as "Herd Poison" which made it much more serious for me. The stress limit tested by Pavlov was equally interesting- people can last between 15- 50 days until stress before they break down. I also learned that Soldiers in World War II were given supplemental hypnopaedia instruction at night to go with their day time training with favorable results.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Brave New World By: Aldous Huxley

Frightening book for the insight Huxley had in 1932 about the future of society. The first chapter is reminiscent of cloning and test tube babies. Huxley thought out everything, shock treatment in babies to form the desired response to modeling a child for a particular life, to creating a need in people to keep them consuming and the economy running. There is an obsession about sex, yet sex is not necessary, other then for enjoyment. Yet instead of the government enforcing sterilization, they enforce condoms, Huxley dreamed big on some things and couldn't imagine a world much different than the one he was living in. Where Orwell (1984) included technology monitoring people, Huxley who wrote before the television was invented, had a different approach in learned behaviors and pills (closer to today's world). Where It was interesting that Huxley included "The two thousand million inhabitants of the planet had only ten names between them" furthering the idea that people no longer think for themselves and there is no need for names, since there are no parents to name them. He creates a world where there is no emotion, therefore no satisfaction in life. The story is woven by smaller stories progressing together. It amused me that the clothing style was still that of the 1930's. The "Georgie porgie " remix song gave insight on Huxley's sense of humor. Though I did not understand why Huxley was so against Henry Ford, and referred to his envisioned society as "Fordism", where the symbol is a T, from the model T, but the society isn't founded on production lines. The embryos are all worked on assembly lines, but is odd that it is done by humans, who make errors, there were really no advancements in his world. He gets his point across with his quote "getting rid of everything unpleasant instead of learning to put up with it". Which is basically what we do as modern humans.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A River Runs Through It By: Norman Maclean

I am confused as to if this is a story from the author's life or just includes some of his experiences. The reader fells an intimate kinship with the characters in the book and learns a lot about fly fishing. It was not until the end of the story that we find out how the little brother was killed and even then there are very little details. It took one paragraph to explain how someone who lived a simple yet satisfying life was brutally beaten to death. I don't remember the movie being much like the book.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Still Missing By: Chevy Stevens

So Disturbing. An amazing book, the story of the abduction is story enough without adding the rest, mind boggling. This book really gets you thinking about the abductor, whom no one knew and how this could actually happen to someone, maybe even yourself. The physical abuse was atrocious, but no one ever thinks about the rest in these cases, how thoroughly he psychologically screwed her up. Her mom was unbelievable- selling all of her stuff for a search and then donating it to charity instead of letting her have it back to live on. I cried through the entire book and read it in one setting. The people were just so unbelievably horrific. "The truth doesn't always set you free" was a great quote for the front cover. Still disturbed after reading it.

The Help By: Kathryn Stockett

One of those books you think about long after you've finished reading. The setting was reminiscent of Secret Life of Bees for adults. The characters are so real and described so vividly. Within less than 500 pages so much happens, it is one of those hard to put down books, where you get annoyed when someone interrupts you. All of the main characters are such strong and inspiring women, it was a very emotional and inspiring book. The entire time reading it I was stiffened up with fear for the characters. Her message was very much about taking a chance. After doing some research about Stockett, who is from Jackson Mississippi, I realized the character of skeeter was very similar to the author. Stockett is a wonderful writer and I just learned Dreamworks is making a movie from her book. This is exciting news since this is her first book.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hiroshima By: John Hersey

A devastating and depressing book due to its content, but uplifting in the courage of Japan's citizens. When asked about the bomb, most citizens claimed such things were to be expected during times of war. This story follows the lives of six citizens and where they were when the bomb was dropped to years later and how their lives changed. Very interesting book with plenty of informative facts about World War Two mixed with the telling of personal stories.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Tiger Eyes By: Judy Blume

A clever book for teens where the girl is not characterized as bitter or a goody two shoes, making it very believable. The protagonist's father was shot in a burglary and she found him. The book is about dealing with the loss of a parent and the change in family dynamics, while still having to go about daily life. Very well written for any age reader.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Sybil By: Flora Rheta Schreiber

Intriguing story about a woman diagnosed with sixteen personalities. While reading it I was completely absorbed and wouldn't even know how to tackle writing a story like this, Schreiber did an impressive job. There is a feeling of surrealness about Sybil, but then the cat could tell the different personalities and had favorites. Plus, why would Sybil make all this up and still go through electric shock therapy? What a terrible ordeal to go through, though very interesting to read!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

To Be A Slave By: Julius Lester

Intriguing story. I had not thought of slaves being brought to the Americas for exploration before Jamestown was even settled. They were ideal for the settlers since they did not know the lay of the land like the natives who could escape successfully, and they looked different unlike indentured servants who could run off and blend in with other settlers. Written very well for children, it alludes to the gruesome facts without going into gory detail. The story is created from a collection of quotes taken from actual slave accounts. I also learned that three fourths of the South's population did not have slaves and most owners had less than twenty slaves. The ending of the book was dark and ominous though "The white folks have been and are now and always will be against the negro". Did he feel that was an effective way to be objective?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Cat Who Had 60 Whiskers By: Lillian Jackson Braun

Braun's books are more cute and enjoyable than serious hair pulling detective dramas, so although this book did not get much praise, it was still enjoyable and did it's job, which was to entertain. Set in Moose County CoCo goes crazy over a box and once again solves a mystery, but not before someone is mysteriously killed by a bee sting and Qwill's home burns down. Light hearted and interesting read, from the monotony of life when you age to clever witticisms, it was enjoyable.

Something Wicked This Way Comes By: Ray Bradbury

Interesting children's story. Very Stephen King meets Cirque Du Freak. Two teenage boys find trouble when the carnival comes to town...in October. Bizarre and unexplainable events start to happen and the boys figure it out. Interestingly enough the one boy's father, who is a janitor at the local library and a well read, older, and unremarkable man is the hero. Unable to keep themselves out of trouble the father saves them...but was it too late? Interesting read for either gender and ahead of his time. After reading more on Bradbury I learned he wrote this story based on an event from his childhood. When he was 12 a carnival preformer "Mr. Electrico" tapped him on the nose and shouted "live forever" which inspired him to write everyday in order to "live forever". Incredible!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Finnegan's Wake By James Joyce

Holy Cow! After reading the first chapter twice and still not making any sense of it I decided to move on. Someone died, there was something about a guy on a horse and then I kept zoning off. Thank goodness I found this... "Finnegan's Wake is a work of comic fiction by Irish author James Joyce, significant for its experimental style and resulting reputation as one of the most difficult works of fiction in the English language."( Wikipedia) Well, that makes me feel better! Chapter two is easier to understand and in that I mean I COULD understand it. The character is evidently a man named HCE for "here comes everybody" apparently there was some scandal he was involved in with some girls. AAHHh- I give up! Some people hail this as an amazing work, but they are much more dedicated than me!

My Name is Mary Sutter By: Robin Oliveira

Very nicely written historical fiction. Set during the Civil War. Mary Sutter is determined to become a surgeon, but she is met with one obstacle. She is a woman. Interesting story and wonderful characterization. The reader becomes upset with the way Mary is treated as well as educated about the war. Although a bloody and gruesome time, some good comes from the devastation, like medical advances and the correlation between bacteria and illness. Mary eventually gets her wish, but continues to face hardships and begins to doubt her effectiveness and her wish.