April book

Apr. 30th, 2010 12:28 pm
[identity profile] sonneta.livejournal.com
Apparently I only read one book this month. In my defense, I've been pretty busy with work and trying to finish up my graduate degree.

This Book is Overdue!: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All by Marilyn Johnson - Non-fiction about librarians in today's world. I was really disappointed by this book. I'm studying to be a librarian, so I figured this would be right up my alley. But the book just didn't really interest me that much, let alone inspire me. The chapters, and even the stories within the chapters, just don't flow all that well together. A lot of stories seem to be kind of pointless - there's an entire (long) chapter on Second Life, which I personally am not that interested in. I'm not sure what point(s) Johnson was trying to make in this book, but I don't think she made them very well. (Besides which, who besides people who *already* think libraries are a good idea is even going to pick up a book like this?)
[identity profile] sonneta.livejournal.com
Snow White and Rose Red by Patricia C. Wrede - Retelling of the fairy tale set in Elizabethan England. A nice variation on the tale that adds a lot to a disjointed story. Although perhaps not one of my favorite retellings, this book has convinced me to seek out some of Wrede's other work.

The Thirteenth Princess by Diane Zahler - Retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, now with a bonus princess who helps figure out what's up with her sisters. I liked it, but I didn't like this retelling as much as I liked Princess of the Midnight Ball. It wasn't quite as well-crafted, somehow.

The Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson - Annika, who was adopted by a cook and housemaid as a baby, is happy in her life until a beautiful aristocrat appears and claims to be her mother. I heard about this book from this comm! This was a fast & fun read. From the start, you could kind of tell certain things about certain characters (trying not to spoil anything), and also there was quite a bit of scenery description - more than I really like in a book. But it was still a fun book. And, if you would like to read about Vienna in the early 1900's, this is the book for you.

The Safe-Keeper's Secret by Sharon Shinn - About Fiona and Reed, two children (one natural, one adopted) of a Safe-Keeper - a person charged with keeping the secrets of a village - who turns out to have some secrets of her own. Once I got towards the end of the book, I realized that I *think* I have read this book before. That's okay, though, it was a good (re?)read. The only thing I didn't like about it was a certain part of the ending, but otherwise, another quick book with a fairy-tale-esque story to tell.

Stuff Christians Like by Jonathan Acuff - Based on the blog of the same name, Acuff takes a semi-sarcastic look at the often strange stuff modern Christians like and do. I literally laughed out loud a few times reading this book. Just as awesome as the website. The only complaint I have is that it could have used more original material (since I've been reading the blog since the beginning), but since I only paid around $8 for the paperback on Amazon, I can't complain too much.
[identity profile] sonneta.livejournal.com
A Book by Mordicai Gerstein - Meta picture book about a girl trying to find her story. This book had been soooo hyped to me through job stuff that I suppose it was almost inevitable that it fell short of the hype. I like the drawings, but the story wasn't quite what I had expected from the reviews. Okay book, not one I'd look to reread or recommend to kids.

The Lost Summer by Kathryn Williams - When Helena becomes a counselor at the summer camp she's been attending for years, will it change her friendships and even herself? Okay, first of all, they should have called this The Last Summer, since the girls keep going on about it being the last summer in various ways. Second of all, this book was okay I guess until it took a really weird and bad turn near the end. Not a good resolution.

Gateway by Sharon Shinn - Daiyu, an adopted Chinese teenager living in St. Louis, travels to an alternate world where most people are Chinese. After reading a friend's ravings about Sharon Shinn, I finally found one of her books at work. I liked it a lot - it uses a few familiar fantasy tropes (e.g. passing through a magical gateway to another world), but not so many that the story seems tired or cliche. I liked Daiyu's adventure, and even her mistrust, and how it all ended very nicely.

The Secret of Platform 13 by Eva Ibbotson - A gateway between worlds that only opens once every nine years leaves a boy accidentally on the wrong side; a wizard, an hag, a giant, and a fairy are sent to rescue him. Is it requisite of British fantasy fiction that a subway platform lead to a magical world? Kidding, although I have seen that one a time or three. I think someone in this comm had recommended this author previously. This book was fairly decent, though it was also really predictable. But it's also for kids, so maybe if you hadn't read too many fantasy-type books, it wouldn't be as predictable. A cute little story.

Hogfather by Terry Pratchett (reread) - With the Hogfather (think Santa Claus) out of commission, it's up to Death and his associates to save Hogswatch (Christmas) - and possibly the human race. Why yes, I do read this one practically every Christmas. So much fun stuff here, with spoofs on pretty much every Christmas song and tradition you can think of. (Like this year, I realized this one part of the book was a spoof on "Good King Wenceslas". You don't hear that song much here in the States, is how I missed it previously). This book is Exhibit A in Why I Love Terry Pratchett.
[identity profile] sonneta.livejournal.com
Sacred Hearts by Sarah Dunant - Historical novel about a young woman in love who is forced to enter an Italian nunnery against her will, disrupting the life of the whole convent. I like that the author takes a balanced look at convents in the 1500's - describing both the positive aspects and the negative, including the politics involved. Decent book, not wonderful nor horrible.

Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George - The fairytale of the Twelve Dancing Princesses retold. I like retold fairytales when they're done right, and this was done right. There are fun little additions to the story, like the fact that the soldier is a knitter. An enchanting fantasy.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins - Sequel to Hunger Games, this book finds Katniss and Peeta returning home as victors - but Katniss soon finds that they have unwittingly started a revolution, and the government isn't too happy with them. I think this book suffered from "second part of a trilogy" syndrome - meaning it felt like it was only there to remind us of what happened in the first book and set up what will happen in the third one. That said, it was still an engaging novel, and I truly look forward to the conclusion of the series.
[identity profile] sonneta.livejournal.com
Erratum by Walter Sorrells- Jessica Sternhagen's life gets pretty strange after she finds a book that features her as the main character. This is a pretty fast read & a fun mystery/suspense story. As long as you are OK with hand-wave-y science (it's... the 29th dimension! yes, that's it!), this is a good little fantasy.

The Almost True Story of Ryan Fisher by Rob Stennett- Real-estate agent Ryan Fisher tries to become the next big megapastor... even though he's not a Christian. I kind of love this author, now. He uses meta-references, footnotes, and appendices along with his sarcasm to craft a style all his own. Stennett is able to point out a lot of the flaws of modern Evangelicalism in the U.S. while at the same time telling an interesting story. I don't love the ending, as a lot of threads are left loose, but maybe that's part of the point.

Something Rotten by Alan Gratz- Modern spin on Hamlet, in which one Horatio Wilkes goes to visit his friend Hamilton Prince and tries to figure out who killed Hamilton Prince Sr. I admit I went into this book unsure whether or not I would like it (I've read a lot of bad YA spins on Shakespeare), but I ended up loving it. The novel isn't exactly the same as Shakespeare's tale, but it retains enough of the original to keep it recognizable to those who know the story. The novel focuses on the mystery aspect of Hamlet, and modernizes it for a teenage audience. It is fun and funny, and there are a lot of fun Bonus Shakespeare References from other plays for the nerds out there (and I am definitely one of them), like the fact that Horatio has sisters named Miranda, Rosalind, and Desdemona (among others).

four more under the cut )
[identity profile] sonneta.livejournal.com
Velma Still Cooks in Leeway by Vinita Hampton Wright- Christian fiction about a woman who sees the best and worst of her small town. I wanted to like this book, because for one thing, it takes place in (a fictional town in) Kansas, my home state. But I found it hard to keep track of when things were taking place due to use of flashbacks (and flashbacks within flashbacks). I also disliked how Velma would state something as fact that was really just in her experience. One of the main plot threads was pretty heavy-handed, and I predicted one of the big twists. Also, not that it matters, but have you ever gotten a picture of a character in your head, and then you can't get it out, even when the author's description contradicts it? Yeah, that happened to me with this book. In my defense, the author didn't describe the main character's appearance until later on in the book.

Purity Makes the Heart Grow Stronger by Julia Duin- Non-fiction about single (and celibate) Christian living. What I liked about this book: A lot of it rang true for me, and I did get at least one good idea for the future from it. What I disliked about the book: A lot of it seemed to be anecdotal evidence, and the chapters didn't really hang together-- jumping from one thought to the next with little or no transition. Also, the book was written in the 1980's, so clearly all of the statistics and such are outdated now.

July books

Jul. 31st, 2008 10:48 pm
[identity profile] sonneta.livejournal.com
Free for All: Oddballs, Geeks, and Gangstas in the Public Library by Don Borchert- Memoirs of a public librarian working in the Los Angeles area. I read this one for work. It is by turns sad, inspiring, disgusting, depressing, and humorous. This book gives a glimpse into what public librarianship is truly like- the highs and lows; the way you can help some people, and yet be powerless to truly help others. That said, I did find the book somewhat depressing (the "powerless to help" parts), and I could have done without some of the more disgusting parts.

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen- 17-year-old Ruby suddenly finds herself in a whole different world when she comes under the care of the older sister she hasn't seen in years. This book was a fast read. I do love Dessen dearly, but I feel like something wasn't quite right with this one. I guess my problem is that, whether consciously or not, nearly every plot point was pretty clearly foreshadowed. Also, the symbolism was a little clunky. Yes, I know the book is aimed at teenagers, and not 20-somethings with B.A.s in literature. But I've really liked Dessen's other books, and I feel like this one didn't quite live up to her other works.

Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell- 17-year-old Molly Gibson's world is thrown into upheaval when her widowed father decides to remarry. This is a cozy novel, and if you like Jane Austen, I think you'd like this one. Unfortunately, the author died before she could finish it, but you can pretty much tell how it will end. I also highly recommend the mini-series.

Storm Surge by Rene Gutteridge- FBI agent Mick Kline investigates a suspect's death, as well as the strange case of a death-row prisoner who insists on his own innocence. Now, I usually like Rene Gutteridge, but she's not exactly the greatest at characterization. That really, really shows in this novel. Plus, some of the writing feels unrealistic, and the plot is too predictable to really be suspenseful. Also, the ending of the romantic arc felt rushed. Disappointment all the way 'round.

The World's Last Night (and Other Essays) by C. S. Lewis- Essays on topics including "good work" vs. "good works"; religion vs. science; and the Second Coming. Lewis always makes me think about my own theology, which is good. There was one essay in this book that I didn't really like (or maybe I just didn't get it- I'm definitely not ruling that out; Lewis= way smarter than I am), but for the most part the essays were good. You can see Lewis developing the ideas he would use in Perlandra in "Religion and Rocketry", and "Screwtape Proposes a Toast" is always convicting.
[identity profile] sonneta.livejournal.com
Hi! I'm relatively new here, so I thought I should introduce myself. I'm a 26-year-old graduate student studying Library Sciences. I want to be a reference librarian, or possibly an archivist. I live in Kansas. Besides reading, my main hobby is making greeting cards.

June wasn't much of a reading month for me, because I was on vacation for most of it. Books I read in June:

At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon- An Episcopal Priest has to deal with quite a bit of the thing he hates most: Change. This book was a fairly fast read, and an okay book. The things I didn't like about it were that it was fairly predictable and somewhat slow. I also didn't like that a lot of plotlines are left open-ended (which I know is because this is the first in a series, but still). Even though I might be vaguely interested in what happens to these people, I'm not interested enough to read 7+ books.

Snitch by Rene Gutteridge- A rookie, a cocky undercover agent, a preacher, and a cop who is nearing retirement are all a part of an undercover operation. Fast and fun, much like the previous book in this series, Scoop. This is Christian fiction that's not preachy. The only thing wrong with it is that I would have liked a bit more depth of character- particularly with Mack, whom this book is ostensibly centered on.


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