Monday, August 18, 2008

book comments 7

What a blogging roll I’ve been on lately. Ha ha. ;o) Here are some more book comments for your perusal. I love it that reading fiction is part of my job now…and I am also really enjoying writing comments on all these books, even though I keep letting them pile up until there’s a huge stack to comment on all at once.

*singing* “Darling, I don’t know why I go to extremes…” (Thank you, Billy Joel. ;o)

Onward! for I have many books to review, and I suspect that only my hardiest readers will be sticking with me on this one. I’ve been reading a lot the last few months. ;o)

"Gretchen, I Am" by Reverend Carroll E. Jay
--ooh, a story about possession!
--allegedly a true story of how a 1970s Ohio housewife is possessed by the spirit of a 19th-century German girl
--has potential, right?
--written by the housewife’s husband, whose tone is pedantic when it isn’t put-upon and condescending
--literally, one of the worst books I’ve ever read
--This is what sometimes happens when you buy 90¢ used books at Goodwill.
--don’t recommend (the book, not Goodwill—sorry for the double negative)

"Sword-Dancer Saga" (novels of Tiger and Del) by Jennifer Roberson
--sword-and-sorcery in a setting that pits desert against icy mountains and male against (or with, as the case may be) female
--the adventures of male-chauvinist Tiger and fiercely independent Delilah
--wit, wisdom, action, magic, conflict, love, pretty much everything--what more could I want?
--I don’t know how may times I’ve read this series (6 books), but I re-read them again for fun this spring and thoroughly enjoyed them all over again.
--highly recommend

"The War of Souls, Volume One: Dragons of a Fallen Sun" (a Dragonlance novel) by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman
--first time in eleven years that I’ve read a Dragonlance novel
--fun, interesting, action, adventure, sorcery
--I got a little lost with all the recounting of history, since it’s been so long since I’ve visited the Dragonlance universe.
--Also, this seems to be set in something of an alternate universe, because a lot seems to have happened that I don’t remember having happened in the novels I read so long ago.
--I *loved* reading Tasslehoff Burrfoot again--didn’t realize I’d missed the little guy. ;o)
Addendum: And I *very* much missed Raistlin. *le sigh*
--recommend, but only to die-hard fantasy fans

"The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul" by Douglas Adams
--typical Adams in that it’s totally hilarious
--fun characters, even though the attitudes of some of the Norse gods irritated me a bit
--loved how very British it all is--I miss that dry sense of humor!
--I especially enjoyed the thread of the refrigerator throughout.
--recommend to anyone who enjoys a good satire and a good fantasy

"The Brontë Project" by Jennifer Vandever
--subtitled “a novel of passion, desire, and good pr”
--the most recent disappointment in my reading adventures
--story of the rivalry between a doctoral candidate with a Charlotte Brontë thesis and a French faculty member with a Diana Spencer obsession
--I was excited about this one, because I was intrigued by the Brontë connection and interested to see how the Diana mythology would fit in.
--story turned out to be an annoying, angsty (and most of you know how much I dislike that word, so you get a hint of how much this book irritated me) digression about one young woman’s inability to set any sort of boundary either internally or externally
--translation: The main character whined and refused to get a backbone through most of the story. I had a hard time sympathizing with her at all.
--What I really did enjoy, though, were the quotations from Charlotte Brontë at the beginning of each chapter.
--don’t recommend

"The Remains of the Day" by Kazuo Ishiguro
--the story of an English butler, post-WWII, looking back over his life and questioning whether or not he was justified in “just doing his job” by serving the people he has served; or if he should have taken more of a stand against certain decisions those people made; and whether or not he always acted correctly in various relationships
--fascinating look inside the mind of a gentle, quiet, subtle man whose life was one of noble servitude and, at the same time, unassailable pride in what he has accomplished
--poignant, heartbreaking; Ishiguro makes you fall in love with the main character
--As I was reading, I remembered that this story was made into a movie starring Anthony Hopkins. I’ve never seen the film; but as I read, I decided I must see it, because I could hear Hopkins’s voice in my head as I read. I suspect he was perfectly cast in the role.
--highly recommend

"Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West" by Gregory Maguire
--story of what happened in Oz before Dorothy and her little dog Dodo—I mean, Toto—arrived via twister
--basis for the musical “Wicked” (a musical which I still highly, highly, highly recommend!!!)
--SO much potential in this book!
--SO much about this one that I thoroughly disliked, I’m sad to have to say
--Unfortunately, this novel takes the innocence of “The Wizard of Oz” (film version) and tosses it into the gutter. There were so many sexual perversions in this novel, I really should’ve stopped reading. I didn’t. I kept thinking it would get better. It didn’t.
--very dark
--don’t recommend

BUT: I’ll say again that I DO recommend the musical “Wicked”—it takes the good parts of the storyline and brings back the fun and innocence of Oz that so many of us grew up with.

"The Soul Hunter" (Book 2 in the Day of Evil series) by Melanie Wells
--story of a woman named Dylan Foster who is struggling with her faith and is unwillingly drawn into the world of the supernatural by the evil plotting of a demon named Peter Terry
--fast-paced, full of dry wit and great dialogue…for all of which I am a total sucker ;o)
--creepy, because Wells does a great job of making the reader believe that this could happen to you
--I thoroughly enjoyed this one and intend to acquire Books 1 and 3.
--highly recommend

"The Misadventures of Benjamin Bartholomew Piff:You Wish" by Jason Lethcoe
--orphaned Ben makes a birthday wish and inadvertently jeopardizes the future of the entire world
--didn’t know wishes had so much power, didja? ;o)
--basically a children’s book endearing enough for an adult to enjoy
--totally sympathetic main character and fascinating magical universe
--This is what’s going on in our own backyard, and we don’t even know it.
--highly recommend to anyone who enjoys kids’ literature

"Little Altars Everywhere" and "The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood" by Rebecca Wells
--the stories of Siddalee Walker and her mother, Viviane Abbott Walker, and the long-lost tribe of Amazon women known as the Ya-Yas in Louisiana of the 1900s
--I first read “Divine Secrets” when I was in college, but had never read “Altars” till recently.
--I’m reminded that “Divine Secrets” is one of my favorites, and I was so sorely disappointed in the movie when it came out.
--These books epitomize, to me, the power and sorrow and joy and incredible strength of female friendships.
--I think I dedicate my recent first reading (“Altars”) and my recent re-reading (“Divine Secrets”) to my fellow Ya-Yas out there. I love you, girls!
--highly recommend

This makes 30.5 books I’ve read so far this year! I say .5 because I never did finish Wolfe’s “Man in Full.” I just can’t do it.

Coming soon: a review of the “Twilight” series by Stephenie Meyer!

No comments: