Saturday, January 01, 2011

book comments 33 and my book count for 2010

Welcome to 2011, everybody! I intended to write this post before the new year was upon us -- but instead, I spent the last week of 2010 in bed with the flu. So here are my very brief comments on the books I've read since August:

"Lord Prestimion" by Robert Silverberg
--had high hopes for this one because I've loved Silverberg's "Kingdoms of the Wall" for years
--broke my own rule of not reading a book from a series without having read the rest of the series first
--shouldn't have broken my rule
--cutting unnecessary description would cut 50% of the novel; sorry, but I simply don't care what the jungle looks like
--skimmed the 2nd half of novel, read the end and found out guy gets girl, didn't finish
--don't recommend

"Sybil" by Flora Rheta Schreiber
I wrote more extensively about this book here.
--totally fascinating story of a woman with Dissociative Identity Disorder (aka multiple personalities)
--Schreiber's style is a bit dry and academic at times, but Sybil's story still kept my attention.

"The Inferno" by Dante Alighieri
--kept having to remind myself that Dante was writing from a 15th-century mindset --
'cause I had a real problem with the dude's worldview
--I mean, really...children in hell?
--And don't even get me started on the physicality of Dante's "hell."
--Oh. And his view of the nature of God. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.
--I can't figure out if Dante was informed by Catholic thought of his time, or if his work has informed Catholic thought since his time. Or both. I kinda think he messes with Catholic minds the same way Milton ("Paradise Lost") messes with Protestant minds.
--interesting read, though only in small chunks at a time (took me 6 months)

"His Majesty's Dragon" by Naomi Novik
--Napoleonic Wars + dragons = awesome history/fantasy mashup
--There are sequels. I will be reading.
--highly recommend

"Protector of the Flight" by Robin D. Owens
--had high hopes for this modern fantasy, too
--Sadly, the protagonist didn't interest me by the end of Chapter 1, so I gave up.
--might be a good read for teen girls with keen interest in horses and fantasy
--don't recommend to adults

"The Dragons of Babel" by Michael Swanwick
--had high hopes for this, my first real steampunk read
--sadly, no go on this one either
--both story arc and protagonist's main goal get lost in oodles of (albeit cool) action sequences
--beginning of the story really grabbed me -- but after he killed off the dragon (almost immediately), it just wasn't exciting anymore
--don't recommend

"Necroscope" by Brian Lumley
--really interesting take on the vampire legend, plus all sorts of paranormal goings-on
--a few very gritty scenes, so let the reader beware
--recommend only to horror fans

"World War Z" by Max Brooks
--of all my zombie reads thus far, this is probably the best yet
--premise is post-zombie-apocalypse, world is recovering and cleaning up, people are telling their stories of how it all went down
--This novel, more than anything else, showed me how the zombie genre is really all about the survivors
--highly recommend to genre fans

"Serpent" by Clive Cussler
--my first Cussler read, and enjoyable
--vivid descriptions and extremely clear characterization
--gotta admit, I didn't care for the details of all the boats, diving gear, digging equipment, etc.
--Cussler got me into the head of the main female character early on, then didn't spend much time with her after that --> disappointing
--but kept a good pace throughout, which kept me reading
--recommend to adventure genre fans

"The Walking Dead, Vols. 9-11" by Robert Kirkman et al.
--continuing graphic novel adventures of Rick & co., trying to survive in a world filled with the living dead
--still enjoying this series immensely
--highly recommend to graphic novel and/or zombie genre fans

Courtney's Total Count of Read Books for 2010: 58.5

2009's book count was 46 (or 49, if you look at the plumped count), so: In 2010, I achieved my goal of reading more books than in 2009! Yay me. I hope somebody gives me cookies.

Or at least more books to read. ;o)


Tony said...

Now that's what I call serious reading; if it was a typical year in your life then you must be a very well-read lady.

But I see from your Profile that you believe that "Jesus sacrificed himself for the eternal freedom of humanity".

Most people agree with Jean-Jacques Rousseau: "Man was born free, and he is everywhere in chains": this must mean that the sacrifice was in vain.

I guess you must have read him, so presumably your observation of the world differs from Rousseau's. Or perhaps two thousand years has not been enough, and we must wait longer for our eternal freedom.

thegermanygirl said...

Thanks for visiting my blog again, Tony. I appreciate that someone still checks in, even though I haven't posted anything here in nearly a year.

You might think it strange enough, but I agree with Rousseau (whom I have, indeed, read). I've never belonged to that segment of the Christian population that believes in original sin; I have never believed that any of us is born tainted. We are truly born free in every sense of the word. We are born innocent, untainted, fresh, new.

But I believe we put ourselves in chains as we carry on our lives and make our choices. We say and do things that cause each other pain, and each word or action that causes pain is just another chain we clamp around our own wrists. There is not a single one of us who has not caused harm to another.

We are "everywhere in chains" because we lock ourselves away from each other and lock ourselves away from the one power in the universe that can break down all the doors and unlock all the chains.

The sacrifice that Jesus made was not in vain, because the freedom he offers is available to anyone who wants it. The crux of the matter is that he can't give freedom to those who don't want it. He won't force his freedom on anyone. Each of us will spend eternity exactly the way we want to. And that's the most liberating part of the whole deal.

Tony said...

Thank you for replying to my comment. What you say makes no sense at all to me: I always thought that original sin was a key element of Christianity. But then I suppose one can pick'n'mix to make a version that suits one. (Catholics can't, of course!)

Anyway, what do I know? All religious faiths are a complete mystery to me.

Every good wish.