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GIVE THY JUDGMENT!1/16/2009 . Edited 8/11/2012 #1
LIST OF BOOKS THAT HAVE BEEN REVIEWED
IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This master post includes links that existed before the FP update that changed every page to only 30 posts (the old post count was 50 posts per page) because of this, these links do not take you directly to the review, you now have to do a little estimating.
Placed in alphabetical order.
If a reviewer has given a full rating (aka 5/5, 10/10, etc) it will be marked as HIGHEST RATING
Title - Author - Date of review - Post number - Link
1984 by George Orwell [June 16th post #42] REVIEW
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami [August 31st post #460] REVIEW
20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill [March 14th post #170] REVIEW
84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff [July 8th post #436] REVIEW
A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb [December 29th post #140] REVIEW
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens [December 5th post #375] REVIEW
A Civil Action by Jonathan Harr [March 18th post #172] REVIEW
A Clash of Kings by George R.R Martin [July 17th post #201] REVIEW
A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin [July 30th post #346] REVIEW
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain [January 21st post #154] REVIEW
Afraid by Jack Kilborn [August 4th post #81] REVIEW
After Leaving Mr. Mackenzie by Jean Rhys [December 13th post #124] REVIEW
A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin [April 8th post #316] REVIEW
A Gift of Mirrorwax by Malcolm Mac Cloud [November 21st post #253] REVIEW
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers [December 30th post #145] REVIEW
A Lion Among Men by Gregory Maguire [November 28th post #255] REVIEW
Alive: The Story of Andes Survivor sby Piers Paul Read [February 14th post#162] REVIEW HIGHEST RATING
Already Dead by Charlie Huston [August 10th post #450] REVIEW
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis [October 11th post #234] REVIEW HIGHEST RATING
Amnesia Moon by Jonathan Lethem [May 13th post #411 page 9] REVIEW
A Murder is Announced by Agatha Christie [May 30th post #417 page 9] REVIEW
Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman [April 5th post #179] REVIEW
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie [April 3rd post #315] REVIEW
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy [May 26th post #22] REVIEW
Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid [November 18th #117] REVIEW
April Witch by Majgull Axelsson [November 8th post #246] REVIEW
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer [August 8th post #217] REVIEW
Artemis Fowl: The Atlantis Complex by Eoin Colfer [August 7th post #216] REVIEW
A Separate Peace by John Knowles [June 21st post #45] REVIEW
A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka [December 12th post #377] REVIEW
A Song for Arbonne by Guy Gavriel Kay [May 31st post #26] REVIEW
A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon [June 21st post #427 page 9] REVIEW
Assassin's Quest (Farseer triology #3) by Robin Hobb [August 23rd post #88] REVIEW
A Study in Scarlet (Sherlock Holmes) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle [January 24th post #156] REVIEW
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini [February 24th post #166] REVIEW HIGHEST RATING
Atonement by Ian McEwan [October 11th post #235] REVIEW
At Risk by Stella Rimington [June 19th post #43] REVIEW
A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff [August 8th post #218] REVIEW
Battle Royale by Koushun Takami [July 20th post #445] REVIEW
Before I Die by Jenny Downham [May 20th post #21] REVIEW
Beloved by Toni Morrison [December 13th post #126] REVIEW HIGHEST RATING
Benighted by Kit Whitfield [July 4th post #58] REVIEW
Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie [September 20th post #227] REVIEW
Black Mirror by Nancy Werlin [August 17th post #86] REVIEW
Black Sun Rising by C.S. Friedman [November 13th post #248] REVIEW
Blaze of Silver (De Granville trilogy #3) by K.M Grant [August 30th post #92] REVIEW
Blood Red Horse (#1 of De Granville trilogy) by K.M. Grant [August 17th post #87] REVIEW
blueeyedboy by Joanne Harris [June 4th post #324] REVIEW
Bone by Bone by Bone by Tony Johnston [October 28th post #114] REVIEW
Boston Jane: An Adventure (Boston Jane #1) by Jennifer L. Holm [January 18th post #275] REVIEW
Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer [October 11th post #236] REVIEW
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh [July 5th post #433 page 9] REVIEW
Brother Odd by Dean Koontz [July 10th post #199] REVIEW
Candide by Voltaire [October 9th post #233] REVIEW
Carrie by Stephen King [August 28th post #223] REVIEW
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller [February 1st post #281] REVIEW
Catching Fire (Hunger Games #2) by Suzanne Collins [July 29th post #344] REVIEW
Chaos Code by Justin Richards [July 22nd post #204] REVIEW
Chess: A Novel/The Royal Game by Stefan Zweig [March 30th post #313] REVIEW
Cleopatra's Comb by Maria Ernestam [December 14th post #129] REVIEW
Company of Liars by Karen Maitland [page 8, 12th March #397] REVIEW
Contract by Simon Spurrier [June 23rd post #46] REVIEW
Crossing the Mangrove by Maryse Conde [Jan 18th post #6] REVIEW
Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs [February 3rd post #388] REVIEW
Dead Witch Walking (Rachel Morgan Series Book 1) by Kim Harrison [June 28th post #55] REVIEW
Death: A Life by George Pendle [page 8, 8th March post #396] REVIEW
DeathClutch by Brock Lesnar with Paul Heyman [August 20th post #455] REVIEW
Deception Point by Dan Brown [January 2nd post #261] REVIEW
Demon In My View by Amelia At-water Rhodes [December 29th post #141] REVIEW HIGHEST RATING
Doctor Faustus by Thomas Mann [May 31st post #419 page 9] REVIEW
Doctor Glas by Hjalmar Söderberg [July 22nd post #75] REVIEW
Doctor No by Ian Fleming [August 30 post #91] REVIEW
Dreadful Skin by Cherie Priest [March 8th post #303] REVIEW
Dubliners by James Joyce [October 27th post #113] REVIEW
Dune by Frank Herbert [January 7th post #265] REVIEW
Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert [April 6th post #403 page 9] REVIEW
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine [June 28th post #54] REVIEW
Equinox by Michael White [March 19th post #18] REVIEW
Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton [December 23rd post #137] REVIEW
Every soul a star by Wendy Mass [December 21st post #135] REVIEW
Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer [September 2nd post #96] REVIEW
Excellent Women by Barbara Pym [September 5th post #364] REVIEW
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer [December 13th post #123] REVIEW HIGHEST RATING
Extreme Measures by Vince Flynn [November 9th post #247] REVIEW
Fable: The Balverine Order by Peter David [January 6th post #263] REVIEW
Fatal Purity: Robespierre and the French Revolution by Ruth Scurr [March 17th post #171] REVIEW
Farenheit 451, Ray Bradbury [July 5th post #434] REVIEW
Faust by J.W. von Goethe [February 20th post #164] REVIEW
Fevre Dream by George R. R. Martin [October 23rd post #238] REVIEW
Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges [June 5th post #421 page 9] REVIEW
Fire in the Blood by Irene Nemirovsky [August 5th post #347] REVIEW
Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin Abbott Abbott [February 4th post #284] REVIEW
Flight to Canada by Ishmael Reed [December 13th post #127] REVIEW
Fool's Errand (the Tawny Man trilogy #1) by Robin Hobb [April 25th post #184] REVIEW
Fool's Fate (the Tawny Man trilogy #3) by Robin Hobb [May 6th post #186] REVIEW
Forest Mage (Soldier Son Trilogy book 2/3) by Robin Hobb [June 26th post #332] REVIEW
Forever Odd by Dean Koontz [July 10th post #198] REVIEW
Forget About It by Caprice Cane [July 5th post #63] REVIEW
From Russia, With Love by Ian Fleming [September 7th post #101] REVIEW
From Sleep Unbound by Andrée Chedid [September 26th post #367] REVIEW
Funhouse by Diane Hoh [July 21th post #447] REVIEW
Futureproof by N. Frank Daniels [July 4th post #61] REVIEW
Get Real by Donald Westlake [May 13th post #412 page 9] REVIEW
Girl Alone by Rupa Gulab [January 21st post #12] REVIEW
Girl Meets Boy by Ali Smith [September 4th post #461] REVIEW
Golden Fool (the Tawny Man trilogy #2) by Robin Hobb [May 6th post #185] REVIEW
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell [July 25th post #341] REVIEW HIGHEST RATING
Green Jasper (De Granville triology book #2) by K.M Grant [August 23rd post #89] REVIEW
Gun, with Occasional Music by Jonathan Lethem [March 4th post #301] REVIEW
Hadji Murad by Leo Tolstoy [July 12th post #440] REVIEW
Handling the Undead by John Ajvide Lindqvist [July 9th post #66] REVIEW
Harbour by John Ajvide Lindqvist [July 20th post #72] REVIEW
Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage by Alice Munro [February 14th post #291] REVIEW
Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk [March 19th post #19] REVIEW
Hazel by Julie Hearn [July 23rd post #205] REVIEW
Heart-shaped Box by Joe Hill [October 1st post #232] REVIEW
Hercule Poirot's Christmas by Agatha Christie [December 19th post #133] REVIEW
His Majesty's Dragon (Temeraire #1) by Naomi Novik [January 25th post #157] REVIEW
House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski [June 3rd post #189] REVIEW HIGHEST RATING
Hunger by Knut Hamsun [August 20th post #456] REVIEW
Hunger by Michael Grant [August 30th post #93] REVIEW
I am a Cat by Soseki Natsume [February 20th post #163] REVIEW
I am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe [June 21st post #428 page 9] REVIEW
I am Legend by Richard Matheson [July 22nd post #74] REVIEW
I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali, with Delphine Minoui [March 7th post #302] REVIEW
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou [March 10th post #304] REVIEW
Infinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon [April 27th post #406 page 9] REVIEW
In Free Fall by Juli Zeh [September 14th post #465] REVIEW
Intensity by Dean Koontz [December 14th post #128] REVIEW
Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice [June 3rd post #420 page 9] REVIEW
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer [August 9th post #83] REVIEW HIGHEST RATING
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison [August 8th post #448] REVIEW
Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk [March 28th post #311] REVIEW HIGHEST RATING
Irish Girl stories by Tim Johnston [August 24th post #458] REVIEW
Ishmael by Daniel Quinn [November 2nd post #115] REVIEW
Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott [February 25th post #296] REVIEW
Jaws by Peter Benchley [August 17th post #85] REVIEW
Jennifer Government by Max Barry [August 15th post #360] REVIEW
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clark [June 6th post #190] REVIEW
Juggling the Stars by Tim Parks [August 15th post #452] REVIEW
Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami [June 29th post #56] REVIEW
Kallocain by Karin Boye [June 18th post #327] REVIEW
Karma Girl by Jennifer Estep [August 9th post #82] REVIEW
Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson [September 3rd post #98] REVIEW
Kings of Morning by Paul Kearney [August 25th post #459] REVIEW
King Solomon's Mines by Henry Rider Haggard [page 8, April 3rd post #400] REVIEW
Kitty and the Midnight Hour (Kitty Norville #1) by Carrie Vaughn [January 21st post #276] REVIEW
Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence [November 21st post #252] REVIEW
Leah Mordecai by Mrs Belle Kendrick Abbott [February 4th post #283] REVIEW
Le Bal and Snow in Autumn by Irene Nemirovsky [August 5th post #348] REVIEW
Lemonade Mouth by Mark Peter Hughes [June 5th post #325] REVIEW HIGHEST RATING
Let The Great World Spin by Colum McCann [December 29th post #260] REVIEW
Leviathan by Scott Westerfield [March 19th post #174] REVIEW
Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel [July 9th post #334] REVIEW
Little Bee by Chris Cleave [August 19th post #219] REVIEW
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov [December 30th post #144] REVIEW
Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts by Lucy Dillon [February 2nd post #386] REVIEW
Love Life by Ray Kluun [January 17th post #4] REVIEW
Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O'Neill [October 22nd post #111] REVIEW
Macbeth by William Shakespeare [February 19th post #292] REVIEW
Mad Ship (book two in the Liveship Traders trilogy) by Robin Hobb [January 9th post #150] REVIEW
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson [June 6th post #422 page 9] REVIEW
Making Jack Falcone by Joaquin Garcia and Michael Levin [January 18th post #10] REVIEW
Martin Birck's Youth by Hjalmar Söderberg [May 14th post #319] REVIEW
Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian [January 21st post #277] REVIEW HIGHEST RATING
Maus by Art Spiegelman [February 13th post #160] REVIEW
Men Against the Sea by Charles Nordhoff and James Normand Hall [November 3rd post #369] REVIEW
Men and Cartoons by Jonathan Lethem [July 9th post #437] REVIEW
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt [July 14th post #200] REVIEW
Mission: Guardian Angel by Arto Paasilinna [July 21st post #73] REVIEW
Mistborn: The Final Empire (Book One) by Brandon Sanderson [April 6th post #180] REVIEW
Mistborn: The Hero of Ages (Book Three) by Brandon Sanderson [April 19th post #183] REVIEW
Mistborn: The Well of Ascension (Book Two) by Brandon Sanderson [April 11th post #182] REVIEW
Mockingjay (Hunger Games #3) by Suzanne Collins [July 30th post #345] REVIEW
Monsieur Ibrahim and the Flowers of the Qu'ran by Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt [July 4th post #59] REVIEW
Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem [November 24th #118] REVIEW
Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut [June 20th post #426 page 9] REVIEW
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie [August 3rd post #314] REVIEW
Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir by Dave Mustaine with Joe Layden [August 19th post #454] REVIEW
My Name Is Will: A Novel of Sex, Drugs, and Shakespeare by Jess Winfield [January 11th post #267] REVIEW
Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock [July 16th post #444] REVIEW
Nefertiti by Michelle Morgan [January 3rd post #262] REVIEW
Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga [February 13th post #161] REVIEW
Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan [July 27th post #209] REVIEW
No and Me by Delphine de Vigan [February 19th post #293] REVIEW
Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami [July 27th post #207] REVIEW
Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky [December 7th post #376] REVIEW
Obedience by Will Lavender [October 26th post #241] REVIEW
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens [February 21st post #294] REVIEW
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey [February 5th post #286] REVIEW
Orphans of Eldorado by Milton Hatoum [March 28th post #310] REVIEW
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood [March 11th post #169] REVIEW
Paperwalls by John Ajvide Lindqvist [July 12th post #67] REVIEW
Parrot and Olivier in America by Peter Carey [December 21st post #378] REVIEW
Peeps by Scott Westerfeld [March 15th post #17] REVIEW HIGHEST RATING
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi [January 24th #279] REVIEW
Persuasion by Jane Austen [November 21st post #251] REVIEW
Peter and the Secret of Rundoon (Third book) by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson [June 26th post #51] REVIEW
Peter and the Shadowthieves(Second book) by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson [June 23rd post#47] REVIEW
Peter and the Starcatchers (First book) by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson [June 20th post #44] REVIEW
Player's Ruse by Hilari Bell [January 4th post #383] REVIEW
Poison by Chris Wooding [June 26th post #50] REVIEW
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen [December 30th post #381] REVIEW
Property by Valerie Martin [June 18th post #330] REVIEW
Queste by Angie Sage [May 31st post #30] REVIEW
Random Acts of Heroic Love by Danny Scheinmann [January 18th post #8] REVIEW
Renegade's Magic (Soldier Son Trilogy book 3/3) by Robin Hobb [July 9th post #333] REVIEW
Requiem for a Dream by Hurbert Selby Jr. [October 11th post #237] REVIEW
Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky [March 24th post #307] REVIEW
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe [July 25th post #342] REVIEW
Rogue's Home by Hilari Bell [January 3rd post #382] REVIEW
Romeo's Ex: Rosaline's Story by Lisa Fiedler [December 10th post #122] REVIEW
Royal Assassin (Farseer trilogy #2) by Robin Hobb [July 12th post #71] REVIEW
Salem's Lot by Stephen King [September 6th post #99] REVIEW
Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey [August 10th post #449] REVIEW
Santa Olivia by Jacqueline Carey [November 6th post #244] REVIEW
Seven Deadly Sins: Settling the Argument Between Born Bad and Damaged Good by Corey Taylor [August 12th post #451] REVIEW HIGHEST RATING
Shaman's Crossing (Soldier Son Trilogy book 1/3) by Robin Hobb [March 19th post #305] REVIEW
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts [May 21st post #188] REVIEW
Sharp Teeth by Toby Barlow [September 18th post #226] REVIEW
Ship of Destiny (Liveship Traders trilogy #3) by Robin Hobb [March 29th post #178] REVIEW
Snuff by Chuck Palahniuk [August 14th post #356] REVIEW
Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury [July 31st post #211] REVIEW
Sonata Mulattica by Rita Dove [August 19th post #220] REVIEW
Son of a Witch (sequel to Wicked) by Gregory MaGuire [November 16th post #116] REVIEW
Sophie's Bakery For the Broken Hearted by Lolly Winston [June 16th post #35] REVIEW
Stardust by Neil Gaiman [July 27th post #208] REVIEW
Steve & Me by Terri Irwin [September 2nd post #97] REVIEW
Summer by Edith Wharton [September 29th post #105] REVIEW
Surrender by Sonya Hartnett [December 21st post #473] REVIEW
The 13.5 Lives of Captain Bluebear: A Novel by Walter Moers [January 23rd post #155] REVIEW
The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi [August 14th post #354] REVIEW
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho [September 10th post #102] REVIEW
The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers [May 27th post #416 page 9] REVIEW
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein [January 9th post #266] REVIEW
The Awakening by Kate Chopin [September 28th post #231] REVIEW
The Bad Beginning (Series of Unfortunate Events #1) by Lemony Snicket [February 27th post #297] REVIEW
The Bards of Bone Plain by Patricia A. McKillip [June 29th post #431 page 9] REVIEW
The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver [February 28th post #298] REVIEW
The Bell by Iris Murdoch [August 10th post #463] REVIEW
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath [September 26th post #230] REVIEW HIGHEST RATING
The Best of H. P. Lovecraft: Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre by H.P. Lovecraft [August 27th post #221] REVIEW
The Blind Owl by Sadegh Hedayat [June 24th post #430 page 9] REVIEW
The Blithedale Romance by Nathaniel Hawthorne [February 28th post #299] REVIEW
The Blue Mirror by Kathe Koja [December 29th post #142] REVIEW HIGHEST RATING
The Bluest Eyes by Toni Morrison [September 29th post #106] REVIEW
The Bone Palace (Necromancer Chronicles #2) by Amanda Downum [page 8, March 15th post #398] REVIEW
The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly [January 19th post #153] REVIEW
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak [January 18th post #7] REVIEW HIGHEST RATING
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba [May 21st post #415 page 9] REVIEW
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz [January 18th post #274] REVIEW
The Bro Code by Barney Stinson [June 16th post #41] REVIEW
The Brotherhood of the Rose by David Morrell [December 25th post #257] REVIEW
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky [September 11th post #225] REVIEW
The Butcher: Anatomy of a Mafia Psychopath by Philip Carlo [December 25th post #138] REVIEW
The Cider House Rules by John Irving [November 21st post #254] REVIEW
The City of Bones by Cassandra Clare [July 5th post #195] REVIEW
The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel [May 12th post #317] REVIEW
The Conjurer's Bird by Martin Davies [July 24th post #206] REVIEW
The Crow Road by Iain Banks [January 14th post #271] REVIEW
The Death of Ivan Ilyich; Family Happiness; Master and Man by Leo Tolstoy [March 6th post #395] REVIEW
The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson [July 7th post #196] REVIEW HIGHEST RATING
The Dog by Kerstin Ekman [May 8th post #409 page 9] REVIEW
The Dutchess of Bloomsbury Street by Helene Hanff [July 8th post #436] REVIEW
The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey [November 29th post #120] REVIEW
The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson [March 26th post #177] REVIEW
The Forest of Hands & Teeth by Carrie Ryan [September 22th post #228] REVIEW
The Forever Queen (A Hollow Crown in UK) by Helen Hollick [December 27th post #258] REVIEW
The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem [October 24th post #368] REVIEW
The Fourth Hand by John Irving [December 29th post #259] REVIEW
The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson [July 24th post #76] REVIEW
The Ghost Wore Gray by Bruce Coville [January 17th post #273] REVIEW
The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson [page 8, March 24th post #399] REVIEW
The Girl with Glass Feet by Ali Shaw [January 12th post #296] REVIEW
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson [December 2nd post #374] REVIEW
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls [April 10th post #181] REVIEW
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy [January 18th post #5] REVIEW
The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti [May 25th post #322] REVIEW
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood [December 13th post #125] REVIEW HIGHEST RATING
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss [May 31st post #418 page 9] REVIEW
The Host by Stephanie Meyer [November 17th post #371] REVIEW
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle [February 6th post #287] REVIEW
The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende [July 25th post #340] REVIEW
The Hurricane Party by Klas Östergren [February 25th post #295] REVIEW
The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky [December 30th post #143] REVIEW
The Iliad by Homer [January 7th post #264] REVIEW
The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares [June 12th post #423 page 9] REVIEW
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot [May 1st post #407 page 9] REVIEW
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde [August 27th post #363] REVIEW
The Indiscreet Letter by Eleanor Hallowell Abbott [February 5th post #285] REVIEW HIGHEST RATING
The Inferno by Dante Alighieri [March 1st post #394] REVIEW
The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells [July 9th post #336] REVIEW
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan [December 24th post #256] REVIEW
The Key to Rondo by Emily Rodda [January 2nd post #146] REVIEW
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini [November 19th post #249] REVIEW
The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin [August 24th post #457] REVIEW
The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters [July 1st post #57] REVIEW
The Lucifer Effect by Philip Zimbardo [June 6th, post #34] REVIEW
The Magicians by Lev Grossman [January 28th #280] REVIEW
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett [May 7th post #408 page 9] REVIEW
The Master Puppeteer by Katherine Patterson [July 4th post #60] REVIEW
The Memoirs of a Survivor by Dora Lessing [May 13th post #414 page 9] REVIEW
The Metamorphoses by Ovid [July 30th post #80] REVIEW
The Minds of Billy Milligan by Daniel Keyes [April 20th post #405 page 9] REVIEW
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie [July 9th post #335] REVIEW
The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie [May 12th post #318] REVIEW
The Odyssey by Homer [January 14th post #272] REVIEW
The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory [November 29th post #119] REVIEW
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton [June 18th post #329] REVIEW
The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus by Margaret Atwood [March 29th post #312] REVIEW
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky [August 6th post #349] REVIEW
The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux [August 14th post #357] REVIEW
The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho [June 24th post #48] REVIEW
The Pinocchio Effect by Henrik Diamant and Mikael Zethelius [March 19th post #20] REVIEW
The Post-Office Girl by Stefan Zweig [February 14th post #390] REVIEW
The PowerBook by Janette Winterson [May 13th post #413 page 9] REVIEW
The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain [August 14th post #355] REVIEW
The Queen of Spades and Other Stories by Alexander Pushkin [July 21th post #446] REVIEW
The Razor's Edge by William Somerset Maugham [June 28th post #52] REVIEW
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro [May 26th post #323] REVIEW HIGHEST RATING
Thérèse Raquin by Émile Zola [February 3rd post #387] REVIEW
The Road by Cormac McCarthy [March 26th post #176] REVIEW
The Romancers by Edmond Rostand [August 15th post #359] REVIEW
The Sable Quean by Brian Jacques [January 11th post #268] REVIEW
The Sandman #4: Brief Lives by Neil Gaiman [May 13th post #410 page 9] REVIEW
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne [June 17th post #192] REVIEW
The Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes [July 7th post #435] REVIEW
The Surrendered by Chang-Rae Lee [July 16th post #339] REVIEW
The Tempest by William Shakespeare [March 26th post #309] REVIEW
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells [May 20th post #321] REVIEW
The Underdogs by Mariano Azuela [March 22nd post #306] REVIEW
The Valley of Fear by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle [February 8th post #289] REVIEW
The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks [June 5th, post #33] REVIEW
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami [February 10th post #290] REVIEW
The Woman in Black by Susan Hill [June 16th post #39] REVIEW
The World According to Garp by John Irving [November 26th post #372] REVIEW
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-1/16/2009 . Edited by lookingwest, 12/26/2013 #2
Title: The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
Length: 374 pages (hardback copy)
First line of the book: "When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold."
Summary: (on inside flap) Could you survive on your own in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don't live to see the morning? "In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them to send one girl and one boy between ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sisters place for the games. But Katniss has been close to death before-- and survival, to her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love."
Opinion: When I first saw this book, I wasn't interested. Sure, a slightly noticable topic, but really, set in the future? Evil government? Pitting children against each other? It sounded like it was going to be predictable, if not preachy. To my eyes, it definitely wasn't worth the eighteen bucks on the price tag. The only reason I really started reading it was because my friend read it, and then brought it over to my house and gave it to me. Well, it was now free, so why not? And I liked it. The only reason I could think of for this sudden fixation was because it kept surprising me. Instead of focusing on how openly bad the government was, it put it in more of a... political viewpoint. I bolded the six words in the summary because while the rest of the summary does tell of things that happen in the book, those ideas are the important ones. I'm not sure exactly how much info these reviews are supposed to give out, but I don't want to spoil any of the book for you simply because the surprises are what make it an amazing book. My advice would be to visit the website I linked the title because that gives a good feel for it.
Rating: 9/10, just because I have a hard time giving anything a perfect.
First review, I think. Hope I did okay.
EDIT: Seems the link's not working. Type in this for the site:
I definitely suggest you check it out. They even have a game to see if you would survive the Hunger Games.1/17/2009 . Edited 1/17/2009 #3
Title: Love Life
Author: Ray Kluun
Genre: Tragedy / Drama / Romance / Semi-biographical
Length: 355 pages (paperback)
First line of the book: The average journey time's coming down nicely, I think to myself as I walk through the revolving door of Sint Lucas Hospital for the third time in as many days.
(taken from the back of the novel)
Dan and Carmen are the gorgeous big city couple with a seemingly perfect life. They are both young and successful within marketing, they belong to Amsterdam's high rollers, and are the happy parents of a small girl. Plenty of money and friends. But their life turns upside down when they get results saying Carmen has breast cancer. While she is forced to leave her trouble free life behind to an eternity of hospital visits and treatments, Dan takes the role of the supporting and understanding husband on the day -- by night he loses his inhibitions. Suddenly Dan, the notorious cheater, is forced to face the fact that his wife is dying.
How does real love look like? How is a good husband supposed to be?
Opinion: I won't lie to you. This book definitely had good parts and bad parts. For one, the first circa 120 pages are dreadful. This is where we get to become acquainted with Dan, the notorious and shameless cheater. He does it in public, in bars, while his friends can see. It's just plain sickening. Meanwhile, Carmen is going through hell, losing hair and such. I mean, the treatments and side-effects of the things she goes through sounds like torture. BUT she is still the one to be remorseful when she snaps at Dan. Carmen is the good part, if you couldn't tell. She's sympathetic and human (without going overboard on the flaws).
Dan rarely shows remorse in his acts, unless he is caught or risks being caught. He TELLS it sometimes, that he feels bad, but that is a major gripe I have with this book; some things he say he feels all the time, they are never really shown. We have pages and pages upon his sadness to realize his wife no longer has the same sex drive as before, but not even half as much of him thinking about his guilt, etc.
That is the difference between the two: Dan, while a family man, has his own pleasures as the focus. Needless to say, I didn't like him. By the time the book ended, I wasn't seething with hatred anymore, but I still don't like him. You can argue that his love for his wife was true, etc etc, and maybe it was, but just because you love a person doesn't mean you are allowed to disrespect them(...and then earn money by writing about your confessions of disrespecting your beloved one D=)
Yeah. I have some issues with the (very) unsympathetic (unforgivable) main character.
Carmen on the other hand (and Rose) both light up the novel. They feel more genuine.
I will not lie; during the last part of the novel I became teary eyed. I give credit to Carmen and Luna (their child. She is called Luna in my language at least). The novel definitely shaped up after those more-than-first-100 pages, but it's still not that well written. Medium. Yes, it is medium.
Reason: It is decent I suppose...1/17/2009 . Edited 11/7/2010 #4
Title: The God of Small Things
Author: Arundhati Roy
Genre: Tragedy / Romance / Family / Political (not much though - politics is more of a side theme) / Cultural / Religion (to an extent)
Length: 399 pages (paperback)
First line in the book: May in Ayemenem is a hot, brooding month.
(from back of novel):
"The God of Small Things explores the tragic fate of a family which 'tampered with the laws that lay down who should be loved, and how.' They are an eclectic mix: grandmother Mammachi; her spoilt Anglophile son, Chacko; her daughter Ammu; Ammu's inseparable twins Estha and Rahel; and Baby Kochamma, grant-aunt, determined to spread the bitter seeds of her early disappointment in love. From its mesmerising opening sequence, it is clear that we are in the grip of a delicious new voice... a voice of breathtaking beauty. The God of Small Things achieves genuine, tragic resonance. It is, indeed, a masterpiece."
(from a website because the summary at the back of the novel was a review):
This first novel is written in English by a native Indian who makes her home in India. It is the tale of Esthappen (Estha for short) and his fraternal twin sister, Rahel, and their divorced mother, Ammu, who live in the south Indian state of Kerala. Ammu, a Syrian Christian, has had no choice but to return to her parental home, following her divorce from the Hindu man she had married--the father of Estha and Rahel.
The story centers on events surrounding the visit and drowning death of the twins' half-English cousin, a nine year old girl named Sophie Mol. The visit overlaps with a love affair between Ammu and the family's carpenter, Velutha, a member of the Untouchable caste--"The God of Loss / The God of Small Things." (p. 274)
Told from the children's perspective, the novel moves backward from present-day India to the fateful drowning that took place twenty-three years earlier, in 1969. The consequences of these intertwined events--the drowning and the forbidden love affair--are dire. Estha at some point thereafter stops speaking; Ammu is banished from her home, dying miserably and alone at age 31; Rahel is expelled from school, drifts, marries an American, whom she later leaves. The narrative begins and ends as Rahel returns to her family home in India and to Estha, where there is some hope that their love for each other and memories recollected from a distance will heal their deep wounds.
The first time I read this book, I hated it. I found it really confusing, because it has a different chronology that most novels - it switches back and forth between events all the time, and it isn't until you've read the whole thing that it all falls into place. However, once I read it a second time, I appreciated the hints and links that are littered throughout the book. I think that with every additional reading of it, I noticed something new.
Something I really love about this novel is the style that it's written in. Because it's told from the twins' perspective, the majority of the time, it has a childish feel to it, even at the times when they're adults. They love playing with language and with words - for example:
'Rahel thought boot was a lovely word. A much better word, at any rate, than sturdy. Sturdy was a terrible word. Like a dwarf's name. Sturdy Koshy Oommen - a pleasant, middle-class, God-fearing dwarf with low knees and a side parting.'
Throughout the novel, Arundhati Roy's writing style is more like poetry than 'usual' novels. She breaks the boundries of language in a novel, but in a good way. I love that about it. Also, even though I found the order of events confusing at first, I find that it's a very clever technique that she's used. Because the whole novel is about remembering, and recalling childhood, the way she's ordered it makes it seem like someone recounting things as they remember them - memory isn't linear. Her novel shows this. The way that she focuses on the 'small things' (e.g. the character of Velutha, who is a Paravan, at the bottom of the Caste system in India) that are in the novel, only briefly mentioning the 'big things' (e.g. communism in Kerala). Because the majority of the novel is from children's point of view, it makes certain events more shocking than they would be otherwise, because it is really easy to feel how the twins feel and react to events that they are too young to understand. For instance, when Estha is abused by a man in the cinema, he copes with it by reciting a recipe from his grandmother's pickle factory. Afterwards, the man is referred to as the 'Orangedrink Lemondrink Man'. The way he describes what is happening makes it more shocking and very uncomfortable to read. Another instance where the children deal with an event they're too young to understand is when Velutha is nearly beaten to death and they witness it. The narrative is suddenly very clinical and without emotion, which is scary to read when it's from a child's perspective.
Even though the novel is told from a child's point of view most of the time, it is still written in third person. This allows Arundhati Roy to show readers more than just what Estha and Rahel see. There are some difficult issues tackled within The God of Small Things, like death, abuse, incest, racism, differences between western and indian culture... the way Roy incorporates these into the novel with writing from a child's perspective is commendable.
I would say that the three best things about The God of Small Things are characterisation, her use of stylistic devices, and the way she weaves the plot so intricately it seems like when you're reading it you're unpeeling layers of secrets.
Reason: I think it's brilliant once you've read it twice, but with just one reading it's confusing.
(I hope this was okay, haha. Sort of practice for English Literature essays...we're studying The God of Small Things in class at the moment)1/18/2009 #5
Title: Crossing the Mangrove
Author: Maryse Conde
Genre: Mystery | Culture | Several characters as focus
Length: 250 pages (paperback)
First line of the book: "My heart did not tell me! My heart did not tell me!" (this is dialog, for the record). The NEXT sentence is painfully long, however. I'd quote that too, but it'd take too much effort. :p
No one knows where Francis Sancher came from, but when the mysterious man dies, all of Riviere au Sel attends his wake. The people of this Guadeloupean village: friends, teachers, lovers, and enemies; recount the rumors, family conflicts, and superstitions that focused on this stranger, and in so doing reveal the wider history of their island culture.
No, thank you. The book starts off real bad. In the first chapter, which is only a few pages long, so many character names have been mentioned, I became lost and had no clue who was who. The start was also really plauged by unnecessarily long sentences. The author got over that, though.
The author has some nice descriptions, but unfortunately that is not enough. I came into the book expecting the mystery of Francis Sancher would be revealed (as promised by the back of the book) but unfortunately that wasn't really the prerogative. If you are into seeing the different culture that takes place in Guadelope. I, however, wanted more than an intimate travel guide.
The story has several main characters who all get one chapter each to tell of their lives and their thoughts on the deceased Francis Sancher. Sadly, almost no one of these 20 characters appeal. To put it bluntly: they all suck, I don't care about them, they have no redeeming qualities, and Francis Sancher came off as unintentionally schizophrenic and a cruel womanizer.
I eventually just ended up skimming through the last pages just to get it over with, because I was never prompted to care about these characters. Sure, they came off as realistic, but since they only had one chapter each, there was a lot of boring telling and little showing. For example, there is a married couple. The woman is repeatedly said to never talk back to her husband, but what is shown to us isn't that. What we see is her standing up for her children (and then whichever narrator mentions "It was rare to see her talk back" etc.
Reason: I didn't like it. Likable characters is very important to me.. This book did not even remotely satisfy that need.
Note: The book has been praised wherever I look, so my opinion is a minority opinion. If you think this seems like an interesting book, listen to yourself more than me, hah.1/18/2009 . Edited 11/7/2010 #6
Title: The Book Thief
Author: Markus Zusak
Genre: Historical - WW2 Nazi Germany / Political (sort of) / Family / Friendship / Love (in a young way) / Tragedy
Length: 554 pages (paperback)
First line(s) of the book:
First the colours.
Then the humans.
That's usually how I see things.
Or at least, how I try.
(from back of novel)
"HERE IS A SMALL FACT
You are going to die.
1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath.
Death has never been busier.
Liesel, a nine year old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs began to fall.
SOME IMPORTANT INFORMATION
This story is narrated by Death.
it's a small story, about:
some fanatical Germans
a jewish fist fighter
and quite a lot of thievery.
ANOTHER THING YOU SHOULD KNOW
Death will visit the book thief three times."
I fell in love with this book the first time I read it. I love the writing style he uses, and the way that it's narrated by death. It's a really original take on WW2 Nazi Germany. I also (though I don't normally) like the illustrations around the middle of the book...they're heartwrenching, as are parts of - no, most of - the book. But it isn't all doom and gloom - the author makes reading The Book Thief bearable emotionally by including snippets of dark humour, like when her foster mother calls her a Saumensch which is eventually something that becomes a pet name for Liesel, and it turns her foster mother into a funny character, in places. (Saumensch = dirty pig)...
Despite being narrated by death, the majority of the novel is following Liesel's life. However, we as readers are gradually eased into her character - at first, she's just a girl who is introduced as the book thief. By the end of the novel, however, readers feel as though they've know Liesel in real life (or at least, I did :P). But the transition from random character to main focus of the story is subtle.
I also like the way that this is described as 'just a small story, really, amongst other things', yet it's so hard-hitting. The childish point of view in it works well in this as well, makes it more shocking. (Haha, it sounds quite similar to The God of Small Things actuallly...they're both brilliant books XD) Another clever technique he's used is including a book within a book - there is a book that Liesel writes throughout the novel that is called 'the Book Thief'. It intensifies the tragedy of the novel.
The characterisation is done really well in this book. Along with the plot. And the writing style :P The writing style is really original, I've never really read anything like it before...the most similiar I think would be in The God of Small Things. It works really well, anyway. And Death, the narrator, is witty in a dark-humoured kind of way, yet you can tell 'he' finds it difficult to cope with his duties. The idea of this just being one story out of many reinforces that. EDIT: another piece of dark humour he includes is by calling the street that Liesel lives on 'Himmel Street' - 'Himmel' means 'Heaven' in German. This is ironic as a lot of bad events happen there, but then good things happen too :P
Rating: Has to be 10/10
Reason: It's just amazing. Seriously. And really original as well. It tackles an important and difficult time in history without patronising people or being too horrifying.
On Amazon:1/18/2009 . Edited 1/18/2009 #7
Title: Random Acts of Heroic Love
Author: Danny Scheinmann
Genre: Character Drama / Life/Death / Historical - WW1 Russia
Length: 428 pages (paperback)
First line of the book: The mind after a sharp blow to the head is like a house after a hurricane: unrecognizable shards, shreds and splinters.
1917. Moritz Danieki has survived fighting in the Great War. But at what cost? Abandoned in the Siberian wilderness, he is determined to return to his beloved Lotte, the memory of whose single kiss has sustained him throughout the war. What lies before him is a terrifying journey over the Russian Steppes. If he ever makes it, will she be waiting?
1992. Leo Deakin wakes up in hospital somewher in South America. His girlfriend Eleni is dead and Leo doesn't know where he is or how she died. He blames himself for the tragedy and is sucked into a spiral of despair. But Leo is about to discover something that will change his life forever.
For his debut piece, Scheinmann has produced one of the finest books I have ever read. Following the journey's of two characters, motivated by their love, it is a truly emotional journey from start to finish. Though the opening of the book may put many off, as it deals quite thickly with death and the deepest depths of the human soul.
We follow Moritz through his early years, his time in the Army, and his subsequent journey across the country on the off-chance that he may still find the woman he loves. All painted against the vivid backdrop of Civil War Russia. Simultaneously we find Leo, our second protagonist, on his own journey. Beginning as a somewhat pretentious, self-absorbed character he grows throughout the book, trying to shake off the spectre of his dead girlfriend and involving himself in a study of love within different species. Both stories are littered with brilliantly portrayed side-characters, written in such a way that they can make you laugh and cry at the same time. A highlight being the lecture on the fundamental nature of the universe.
The stories (as they could easily be split into two), are well thought out, with originality and a subtle flair to the writing. Scheinmann manages to shift from the more characters driven drama of Leo's world, to the contemplative thoughts of Moritz telling his own story with a practice ease. And it's once more astonishing in the fact that this is his first novel. It's obviously well-researched (6 years has been spent on it), with the historical context, and his understanding of particle physics shining through in short passages of the book.
The novel is inspiring, heartwrenching, and ultimately satisfying. It resonates with powerful writing, a tour de force of emotion and evocative ideals. A real "couldn't put it down" book once you've worked through the first few chapters. Indeed the icing on this proverbial cake will come right at the end, with a short message in the epilogue from the author on the inspiration for this story.
Rating: 9/10. Because of the difficult opening it can't get a 10, but is well worth reading all the same.
On Amazon:1/18/2009 . Edited 1/18/2009 #8
Title: I Am the Messenger
Author: Markus Zusak
Length: 357 pages
First line of the book: "The gunman is useless."
Summary: protect the diamonds, survive the clubs, dig deep through the spades, feel the hearts "Meet Ed Kennedy—underage cabdriver, pathetic cardplayer, and useless at romance. He lives in a shack with his coffee-addicted dog, the Doorman, and he’s hopelessly in love with his best friend, Audrey. His life is one of peaceful routine and incompetence, until he inadvertently stops a bank robbery. That’s when the first Ace arrives. That’s when Ed becomes the messenger. . . .
Chosen to care, he makes his way through town helping and hurting (when necessary), until only one question remains: Who’s behind Ed’s mission?"
Opinion: This book is utterly amazing. It's one of those books that you can't stop reading even if you have somewhere important to be and you haven't eaten in twenty-four hours. Not only is it a hilarious book with a lovable main character, the story itself has much to offer. At first, the plot seems random and even clueless, but the closer you get to the end the more the pieces start lining up. The message is a very powerful and universal one. The book is simply incredibly likable and relateable. Zusak takes Ed, the perfect picture of an average guy, and turns him, his life, his friends, and his story into truly inspiring things. Definitely recommend it. You'll find it hard to dislike this book!
Rating: 10/10 because I can't see any reason why I shouldn't.
Title: Making Jack Falcone
Author: Joaquin "Jack" Garcia (author) & Michael Levin (contributor)
Genre: True Crime
Length: 272 (only in hardback, was released in October)
First line of the book: "Petey Chops wasn't kicking up."
Summary: "Petey Chops wasn't kicking up. And if he didn't start soon, he was going to get whacked." So begins Making Jack Falcone, the extraordinary true story of an undercover FBI agent's years-long investigation of the Gambinos, which resulted in a string of arrests that crippled the organized crime family. But long before Joaquin "Jack" Garcia found himself wearing a wire with some of the Mafia's top capos, he was one of the FBI's unlikeliest recruits. A Cuban-born American, Jack graduated from Quantico standing six-foot-four and weighing 300 pounds -- not your typical G-man. Jack's stature soon proved an asset as the FBI looked to place agents undercover with drug smugglers, counterfeiters, and even killers. Jack became one of the few FBI agents dedicated solely to undercover work. (From Amazon.)
Opinion: When I went to the library I had no intentions of reading this book... I had heard of Jack Falcone infiltrating the Gambino crime family from another book I read, but it was vaguely mentioned. In any case, the book I read before this one was about the Lucchese crime family from a "mobsters" point of view...so I decided to switch it up and do the Gambino's from an undercover's point of view. I surprised to find that this didn't focus solely on his workings in the mob.
He also describes his other various undercover jobs as either, money launderer, gangbanger or thief of some sort...sometimes he'd have to juggle these aliases in the same day. It takes a lot of skill to drop one personality and move onto another over and over again without getting confused. Anyway, some of this book may come off as the author patting himself on the back...but anyone else would do the same thing had they done what he did.
The writing style is pretty laid back, it's an easy read. I found the main character to be very likable and funny which is always a plus when reading. Sometimes the author would get worked up and go off into a rant of some sort...it wasn't too distracting but it was a little funny. I did find typos in this though, which made me cringe but it didn't kill my overall view on the story. If you are a person who has read various book on organized crime then you might not find anything new in reading this... but, for entertainment purposes, this is definitely worth looking into.
Reason: I'm a tough rater...
On Amazon:1/18/2009 . Edited 1/18/2009 #10
Title: The Prince
Author: Niccolo Machiavelli; translated by David Wooton
Length: 75 pgs
Summary: In this work, Machiavelli gives advice on how one can acquire and keep kingdoms. [um... there's not much else I can say without giving spoilers]
Opinion: I love love love this book. Machiavelli presents such a pragmatic view of how politis should be conducted. It's a very easy read, although it takes time to let it sink in and to really "get" what he's saying. He also uses alot of history as evidence for his views. This is a bit of a drag since the reader may or may not be familiar with the events or leaders about which he is talking. But his point is always clearly made. I think this is a MUST READ not only for anyone interested in law or political science but alos anyone who wants to be a leader of anykind: a corporation, a sports team... a forum XD Yeah, people think his views are off-putting - a girl in class today said "He's so evil!" - but if you can put your "morality" on a shelf while you read, you'll see that every thing he says makes perfect sense and if properly applied would lead to... world domination!!!
Rating: 5 out 5!!
Fave lines: "Men are less nervous of offending someone who makes himself lovable, than someone who makes himself frightening. For love attaches men by ties of obligation, which, since men are wicked, they break whenever their interests are at stake. But fear restrains men because they are afraid of punishment, and this fear never leaves them."1/21/2009 #11
Title: GIRL ALONE
Author: Rupa Gulab
Genre: Romance/Humor/Drama (kind of)
Length: 204 pages (Paperback)
First line of the book: "My mother made me do it."
(From back of the book)
"Men may come and men may go, but cough syrup goes on forever..."
Cough-syrup junkie, emotionally insecure intellectual snob (she’s an English literature graduate from Calcutta University), faithful advocate of the 'Why me?' brigade, Arti believes that rock bands help her get centered better than shrinks. And that large doses of D.H. Lawrence and Woody Allen dilute the emotional neediness coursing through her veins.
In Bombay now, on her domineering mother’s orders to get a job or else marry a loser hand-picked from the matrimonial columns, Arti’s one objective (apart from bombing her Super-Bitch Boss’s office) is to keep alive her unrelenting search for the man with whom she can live happily ever after. But Arti has the unique talent of always falling for the wrong men. And as she stumbles from one disastrous relationship to the next, she realizes the potency of that all-important, universal truth: men only want you when you don’t want them any more...
An irresistible blend of satiric wit, romance (not of the mushy kind) and saucy tips on surviving single in the city, Girl Alone is a rollicking read from start to finish.
Opinion: I agreed with the last lines of the summary. It's a fun read, and Atri's struggles are very relate able (for people like us who are students even!) I recommend it for some light-hearted comic relief. As she traces the story of her life, the reader involuntarily develops a fondness for her. Well, I did. Being a Bengali and an intellectual snob myself, I could connect with her inner most thoughts. Well, even if you're not a Bengali, it doesn't matter....Atri is definitely a fun character to read about and analyze...as are her friends - Mo (Monica) & Jo (Jyotsna). If you are tired of reading "deep, though-provoking" books, read Girl Alone for a laugh. It's not serious literature - but it's out their making it's mark all the same! Hope you enjoy it (if you read it) as much as I did. It's great for tim-pass as well. I finished it in four hours last night but then again, I am a pretty fast reader.
Reason: it's not entirely enlightening and it is more like watching a romantic comedy movie, than reading something which really is literature - man, I am a snob!
Favorite Bit About The Book: I loved the way Arti code-named the people in her life! I can't reveal them though...it might ruin the story for you guys!!! :)
Link To The Book:1/21/2009 . Edited 1/21/2009 #12
Speaking of procrastinating.....
Author: Irvine Welsh
Genre: Mainstream Contemporary/Humor/Drama
Length: 344 (in Paperback)
First line of the book: "The sweat wis lashing oafay Sick Boy; he wis trembling."
Summary: (From Amazon "Review") Irvine Welsh's controversial first novel, set on the heroin-addicted fringe of working-class youth in Edinburgh, is yet another exploration of the dark side of Scottishness. The main character, Mark Renton, is at the center of a clique of nihilistic slacker junkies with no hopes and no possibilities, and only "mind-numbing and spirit-crushing" alternatives in the straight world they despise. This particular slice of humanity has nothing left but the blackest of humor and a sharpness of wit.
Opinion: The whole book (save for a few sections) is written in a Scottish dialect...I wasn't aware of that when I purchased it. So when I opened it and read the first page I about shit bricks thinking I bought it in another language on accident. At first the book can be hard to read but, it's a breeze once you get the dialog down (there's a glossary in the back to help too)...after awhile my conscience started talking in a Scottish accent and I kept referring to people as either "punters" or "cunts'. The movie based off of this book focuses more on Renton whereas the book has sections dedicated to multiple characters. It's an interesting way of going about writing and it didn't get confusing. Of course there's heavy drug usage, somewhat twisted, sex and very strong language...so if you're against/not interested in that, don't read it. I'm going to have to say I prefer the movie over the book (mostly because of the end: classic)...but this is now one of my favorite books & authors.
Reason: I think it could have ended better.
Link:1/28/2009 . Edited 1/28/2009 #13
I pretty much wrote a review for this book in BC, but nobody pays attention to that topic :(
Title: Let the right one in
Author: John Ajvide Lindqvist
Genre: Vampire | Growing up | Horror | Love
Length: 415 (paperback)
First line of the book: Blackeberg. It makes you think of coconut-frosted cookies, maybe drugs.
(Don't read the summary at Amazon! It is so much fail and it angers me because it contains spoilers. Stupid.)
Oskar and Eli. In very different ways, they were both victims. Which is why, against the odds, they became friends. And how they came to depend on one another, for life itself. Oskar is a 12 year old boy living with his mother on a dreary housing estate at the city's edge. He dreams about his absentee father, gets bullied at school, and wets himself when he's frightened. Eli is the young girl who moves in next door. She doesn't go to school and never leaves the flat by day. This is their tale.
Opinion: Well I loved it. This is my first vampire book, and I only wanted to read it because the movie was so wonderful as well. Of course, the book is better than the movie, but enough about that. What made me fall for this book was the characters and how relateable they were. Also, the descriptions. I loved those. The author would also sometimes tie in descriptions with memories the character had, which made it feel even more alive. To me, what this is, is a twisted tale of friendship and young love. I loved how Oskar and Eli bonded.
It's not easy for me to just fall in love with a book and read until my eyes can barely see. But that is what happened with this book. I read another review about this book, and I think it had an important point when it said "Cast your prejudice aside and read Let the right one in." This is so much more than a vampire-book. It focuses a lot of Oskar's real life situation (without Eli, the vampire, involved in it), like his bullies and his family. And that makes everything that much better.
Rating: 4.5 / 5
Reason: It had a weaker section toward the end that I think could have been done better.2/3/2009 . Edited 11/7/2010 #14
Title: Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat
Author: Lynne Jonell
Genre: Fantasy - Magical Realism
Length: 346 pages
First line of the book: Emmy was a good girl. At least she tried very hard to be good.
Summary: (from the back) Emmy's parents inherited a fortune and went traipsing around thee world, leaving her behind. Left in the care of her sinister, cold-hearted nanny, Miss Barmy, Emmy tried very hard to be good. She did her homework without being told. She ate all her vegetables, even the slimy ones. And she never talked back to Miss Barmy, although it was almost impossible to keep quiet, some days. But even good girls can have a mischievous streak, which is why she liked to sit by the Rat. The Rat was not good at all. It was actually quite nasty, as rats can be. But it was also quite unusual, as Emmy discovers when it bites her, flipping her very ordinary world on its end.
This book has been awarded the seal of approval from the Society of Rats for a Better World.
Opinion: A very cute, whimsical book. The target audience is preteens, but I still enjoyed it a lot. The elements of fantasy are woven into the modern-day setting very subtly and gradually, and my suspension of disbelief was never tested. The story was also very nice, and suited the characters (or vice versa).
Rating: 10/103/14/2009 #15
Title: Good Omens- The Nice And Accurate Prophecies Of Agnes Nutter
Author: Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Length: 402 pages (including authors' note at the beginning)
First line of the book: It was a nice day.
Summary: (My own, because the one on the back of the book is not informative and the one on Amazon has spoilers) All is going well for the demon A J Crowley and his arch-rival and drinking buddy, a book-collecting angel named Aziraphale. The two have become quite attatched to Earth and its occupants, and don't plan on going back to Heaven or Hell any time soon. Unfortunately, the emergence of the Antichrist and the imminent Apocalypse is threatening their interesting existence on Earth. So, rather than waiting around for the end of the world, our two unlikely heroes decide to avert Armaggedon.
Opinion: As a hug fan of Neil Gaiman's other works, I was of course eager to see what Neil Gaiman had cooked up with Terry Pratchett. The result was completely unexpected and side-splittingly funny. I love typical British humour, and the Pythonesque absurdity of some situations (The voice of Satan speaking through The Best Hits of Queen, for instance) tickled me. The characterization was spot on. There is a huge cast of characters, and all of them are memorable. The plot is multi-layered, and is handled with some excellent panache. My only complaint is that my favourite characters could have been featured a little more than they were... oh well. I am not complaining too hard. :)
After I read Good Omens, I felt the need to share the book with everyone I could. Not only that, but I had a mile-wide smile on my face three days after the initial reading. That's afterglow.
Rating: Definitely 9 1/2 points out of 10.
Reason: The main characters could have been featured more.3/15/2009 . Edited 3/19/2009 #16
Title: Peeps (or Parasite Positive in the UK)
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Genre: Science Fiction/Horror
Length: 304 pages.
First line of the book: After a year of hunting, I finally caught up with Sarah.
Summary: (back of book) A year ago, Cal Thompson was a college freshman more interested in meeting girls and partying than in attending biology class. Now, after a fateful encounter with a mysterious woman named Morgan, biology has become, literally, Cal's life. Cal was infected by a parasite that has a truly horrifying effect on its host. Cal himself is a carrier, unchanged by the parasite, but he's infected the girlfriends he's had since Morgan. All three have turned into the ravening ghouls Cal calls Peeps. The rest of us know them as vampires. It's Cal's job to hunt them down before they can create more of their kind. Bursting with the sharp intelligence and sly humor that are fast becoming his trademark, Scott Westerfeld's novel is an utterly original take on an archetype of horror.
Opinion: I was recmmended to read this book by one of my friends, who was also a Twilight fan. Needless to say, I was a little wary when I started reading it... right until the first graphic description of parasites that apparently eat away slugs' intestinal tracts and then blind them, making them easy prey for birds. Then I was on for the ride :). Graphic descriptions of parasites such as these occur at the beginning of every other chapter so perhaps people who are a little squeamish or really don't want to know about the parasites that are currently dying in the brains of fifty percent of the human populace might want to skip this book.
I thought that Peeps is an intelligent reinvention of the vampire myth. Lately there have been some really silly reinventions of vampires, so this idea was a breath of fresh air. There is intelligent commentary throughout the entire book- Scott Westerfeld shows he has some incredible knowledge of science as well as history. The main character, Cal Thompson, is a slightly caustic and very geeky character, therefore very easy to relate to.
I'd recommend this book to anyone who has a strong constitution and/or appreciation for an amazing piece of writing.
Rating: 10 points out of 10
Reason: Because there aren't enough good vampire books out there.3/15/2009 . Edited 3/19/2009 #17
Author: Michael White
Genre: Crime | Mystery | A sprinkle of family drama
Length: 320 pages (paperback). However! Page 287 and forward are not the story, it is background/history of the things the author took up. Such as alchemy. Optional reading of course.
First line of the book: He cuts off the gas pipe while the girl has an early dinner with a good friend, and he sees the gas stain the concrete and seep away from the car and down the hill before it slowly vaporizes.
(On the spot translation from Swedish - so don't judge by my crappy translation).
Oxford, 2006: a young woman is found brutally murdered, her throat cut. Her heart has been removed and in its place lies an apparently ancient gold coin. Twenty-four hours later, another woman is found. The MO is identical, except that this time her brain has been removed, and a silver coin lies glittering in the bowl of her skull. The police are baffled but when police photographer, Philip Bainbridge and his estranged lover, Laura Niven become involved, they discover that these horrific, ritualistic murders are not confined to the here and now. And a shocking story begins to emerge which intertwines Sir Isaac Newton, one of seventeenth-century England's most powerful figures, with a deadly conspiracy which echoes down the years to the present day, as lethal now as it was then. Before long those closest to Laura are in danger, and she finds herself the one person who can rewrite history; the only person who can stop the killer from striking again...
(Taken from Amazon/back of the book)
Opinion: It's an easy to read book, appears very well researched, and has quite a cool book cover I must say! Really, not kidding here, it has engravings and it's nice to touch. I have never molested a book of mine so much before. The cover also makes me look like a pagan witch, so hey, if I ever get any hare krishna at my door, I can just flash the book cover and they will run away.
I must admit - I read a lot of crappy reviews for this book...after I bought it. That made my interest cool off regarding wanting to read this book. Today I read it just because I was curious - is the first chapter that bad? And eventually first chapter turned into second, and then third, and you get the point, right?
But do not mistake my fast reading as a sign of brilliance on the book's behalf. It is very mediocre. Things are fairly obvious, you can guess who did what, how things will develop, and eventually I started to zone off regarding introductions of new characters. Things were always very convenient, and solved way too quickly too. I never felt any suspense nor that the three main characters lives were in danger (even if they objectively speaking, were in danger). But it's not total crap. Perhaps as I expected it to blow I was pleasantly surprised. To clarify: The book doesn't suck - but it's not good either.
There were parts I thought "hey that's nice/cute/cool" and parts where I had a strong desire to skim and zone out. Overall: interesting opening and ending (I really liked the ending, it wasn't as morally right as I thought it would be) but a very shaky story.
What I really hated and could never enjoy where the small historical flashbacks to Isaac Newton and his days. Those chapters were a pain to read, nothing about them appealed to me. Luckily they were just a very small part of the overall story.
I've seen this book mentioned as being a Da Vinci Code copy cat. I don't think it is at all. Da Vinci has religious themes, this has scientific motives and such. Ie, the main characters at one point have to crack a cryptic code in numbers. Although I am sure both have crazy cult people in robes :/
Reason: It didn't suck as much as I thought it would but I couldn't truly enjoy it either.
Personal trivia: I finished this book in less than 12 hour today. Not as a whole hours counted over several days, no no, I read the whole book today. XD It's been a long, long time since I done something like that haha.
((Going to finish the Pinocchio effect now, haha))3/19/2009 . Edited 11/7/2010 #18
Author: Chuck Palahniuk
Length: 416 pages, hardcover.
First line of the book: When the bus pulls to the corner where Comrade Snarky had agreed to wait, she stands there in an army-surplus flak jacket-dark olive-green-and baggy camouflage pants, the cuffs rolled up to show infantry boots.
Summary: (Off of Amazon) What elevates Palahniuk's best novels (e.g., Fight Club) above their shocking premises is his ability to find humanity in deeply grotesque characters. But such generosity of spirit is not evident in his latest, which charts the trials of a group of aspiring writers brought together for a three-month writer's retreat in an abandoned theater. The novel intersperses the writers' poems and short stories with tales of the indignities they heap upon themselves after deciding to turn their lives into a "true-life horror story with a happy ending." They lock themselves in the theater, reasoning that once they're found, they'll all become rich and famous. They raise the stakes of their story by first depriving themselves of phones, and then of food and electricity; eventually they cut off their own fingers, toes and unmentionables before they start dying off and eating each other. Palahniuk tells his story with such blithe disregard for these characters that it's hard not to wish he had dispensed with the novel altogether and published, instead, the 23 short stories that pop up throughout the book. For instance, "Obsolete," about a young girl about to commit state-mandated suicide, and "Slumming," about rich couples who pretend to be homeless, play so deftly with expectations and have an emotional core so surprising that they consistently, powerfully transcend their macabre premises to showcase the heart beating beneath the horrors.
Opinion: I got this book for Christmas, with the full expectations that it would gross me out, which is probably the main reason I got it... Anyhow, I feel that before I go on with this review, I should say that the content lived up to my expectations and even succeeded them. It looks like Mr. Palahniuk had a great time pulling out all the stops to make me vomit. :) As for other aspects of the novel... the over-all plot is pretty flimsy, which has been noted by every review I've read of the book, but the stories encompassed by the plot are impeccably written. Each story can be enjoyed seperately, and of course some of the stories that have become infamous can be skipped, at the expense of missing out on inside jokes later. As for the style and the description... Call me sick, but there were some parts where I was just laughing at the absurdity of some of the violence. A metaphor comparing the taste of a certain body part to kalamari particularly tickled me.
All in all, the book made me think of something an underchieving genius would write for his English class to get a rise out of his professor. It mocks us with how good it is.
Rating: 8 1/2 points out of 10.
Reason: Full points for mastery of description and style, but points taken off for a thin plot.3/19/2009 #19
And another one just finished :p Although I only had a few pages left, I did not read two whole books in one day.
Title: The Pinocchio Effect (Pinocchioeffekten)
Author: Henrik Diamant and Mikael Zethelius
Note: So it turns out there were no translations of this in English. My bad.
Genre: Non-fiction | Psychology | Humor
Length: 282 pages (paperback)
First line of the book: "As a struggling puppet you consist of 60 percent water and 40 percent prejudice and wishful thinking."
The Pinocchio Effect is loaded with exciting, smart and fun facts about human behavior. Here are hundreds of experiments that show that all humans are easy to manipulate as long as you pull the right strings. The experiments range from topics of love, sneaky lies and revealing body language to the latest discoveries in the marketing business and economy.
Opinion: Wonderful. Truly! As long as you accept it for what it is - a book meant to entertain you and give you some interesting insights and facts along the way - I don't think you will be disappointed at all. I found it very enlightening and my favorite sections were probably chapter 1 (You and Your Opinios), chapter 2 (You and Your Persuasion Skill) and chapter 4 (You and Your Friends).
The only downside is that the book tried to enhance too often that all people are easily manipulated puppets. It got boring fast. Luckily - there are many interesting stuff that makes you forget those remarks (until you see 'em again).
I'd recommend it to anyone, really, except it seems to only be limited to Nordic countries. Sorry.
Reason: The constant mention of the conclusion that we are all easily manipulated was very annoying and just had to detract even if just a little.3/19/2009 . Edited 1/12/2011 #20
Title: Before I Die
Author: Jenny Downham [this is her debut novel, FYI]
Genre: Young Adult | Terminal illness
Length: 305 pages (paperback)
First line of the book: "I wish I had a boyfriend."
Tessa has just months to live. Fighting back against hospital visits, endless tests, drugs with excruciating side-effects, Tessa compiles a list. It's her To Do Before I Die list. Released from the constraints of 'normal' life, Tessa tastes new experiences to make her feel alive while her failing body struggles to keep up. Tessa's feelings, her relationships with her father and brother, her estranged mother, her best friend, and her new boyfriend, all are painfully crystallised in the precious weeks before Tessa's time finally runs out.
Opinion: After my failure with Love Life (previously reviewed in this topic), I thought I had to give soon-to-be-dead-people-by-illness books another chance, so I chose this one. I was intriuged by the list and it sounded like it would be a good book. Though this is going to be a very mixed review from me. I will say this: the first ten chapters, and the last ten chapters are very good. They make you genuinely care and feel for the characters. Everything feels real.
It's that stuff in between that sort of p.isses me off. Tessa, our main character, is so incredibly selfish I do not think she deserved having it as good as she did. Her father worried sick about her constantly, made so many sacrifices for her, and she just demands and ignores. Not until the very end does she show ANY inclination toward other people's feelings. At all. Zip. Nada. It is all about her, and if you did not get the memo, she will guilt trip you about how you are going to live and she won't. And this isn't really acknowledged at all in the book. Blargh. Just because you're dieing doesn't mean you aren't supposed to give half a damn about others than yourself.
It's fucking annoying the way Tessa's mind worked.
I get it. She is dying. She is a teenager. Teenagers are the most annoying age. But that doesn't mean she has to be a fucking monster towards everyone ALL THE TIME. I seriously can't believe people stuck around with her and actually LOVED her when she gave nothing back. Would it kill her just to show an interest or feel a smidgen of guilt just ONCE? I think not. I don't demand much, just hint at a conscience! But no. Not even that.
This is a shame because I really, really liked Tessa at the start. But she never really grew other than more nasty, that is. I am very sensitive to characterization and if I spot something like this, I can't get over it.
All other characters are very genuine and real, but that doesn't mean they can't care about someone other than themselves. In fact, they all care a lot about Tessa. When I think about it, I don't think anyone disliked her aside from a neighbor. And that doesn't really count. :/
So yes, this is a story about a girl who is about to die. There are really no surprises, no twists. I suppose the author tried to do some twists, but I could spot them way ahead, so don't put your hopes on the plot department, this is all about Tessa (in case you did not notice). I guess the list could be the only thing resembling a plot, but even so I see people that keep spoiling the things she wants in their reviews. But I won't. I will give you at least that.
+ all secondary characters
+ easy to read
+ decent writing
- a bit unrealistic dialog at times (but nothing too jarring)
- even "twists" were painfully obvious
Favorite characters: The father (he put up with so much crap), and Cal, her little brother (he was young but having to deal with death affected him too. Loved him in the last chapter).
Reason: Would be 2.5 because I couldn't stand Tessa. Really. Once she hears superb news for another character she has declared to love, (my own reaction was happiness, I was very glad and thought this was major improvement for his life) but then she throws a hissy fit (oh, I mean it) and throws out the goddamn TV from the window because the character in question isn't there to be with her RIGHT THAT SECOND. Wow. You know, nobody really has the right to be that fucking angry to throw a TV out the window. Even Russel Crowe only threw a phone! And he has money to spare! Tessa is just... I don't know. She has no personality, she just has desires. And that's it. :/
Anyways, what made the grade go up a bit was that I really liked all the other characters. Their pain got to me, even though I never cried. But Tessa...goddamn. Good thing bitch is dead :D
Conclusion: Sentimental books might just not be for me.
Next up should be Machiavelli, The Prince! I haven't started to read it yet (and Tolstoy will just have to rot quietly to himself).5/20/2009 . Edited 9/13/2010 #21
Ahaha, so it seems Tolstoy did not have to rot in a corner :p
Title: Anna Karenina
Author: Leo Tolstoy
Genre: Classic | Tragedy | Russian literature
Length: 806 pages (paperback - complete and unabridged as the back said)
First line of the book: All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
Tolstoy's tumultuous tale of passion and self-discovery marks a turning point in the author's career. His compelling, emotional saga recounts the effects of nonconformist behavior — a society woman's adulterous affair and a landowner's unconventional quest for a meaningful existence — against a backdrop of late 19th-century Russia.
Opinion: I have tried to read this ever since I got it 10 months ago. I wasn't used to older literature, and not to mention the sheer size of it was daunting in comparison to what I'm used to. It also took quite some time to get into the book for me, but hey, on the other hand, I read 300 pages of it today, so I'd like to say it was a learning experience. Personally, Anna Karenina, the character, was not one I cared about. She is fully and completely absorbed with herself and her pain. Here's a quote from her that I think portrays her rather well: "You in your purity cannot understand all I suffer!"
Also, the book is divided into parts, and the final part, which serves as an epilogue of sorts, was far too long and drawn out, I kept dozing off. But Tolstoy deserves credit for thinking up so many characters. He was especially good with providing insights to them. I can't say I am smitten with the book, but it interested me, even if Tolstoy had a habit of side-tracking.
What the ratings mean: This is for my own comfort so I will not confuse myself in the future.
1 = I didn't like it , 2 = it was okay , 3 = I liked it , 4 = I really liked it , 5 = it was amazing
Credit to for those.5/26/2009 . Edited 6/1/2009 #22
[A review on this book has also been made previously in this topic by Nicki BluIs in January 21st.]
Title: The Prince
Author: Niccolo Machiavelli; translated by Daniel Donno
Genre: Non-fiction | Politics | Philosophy
Length: 97 pages (although the first 16 pages were an introduction by the translation company)
First line of the book: Those who wish to win favor with a prince customarily offer him those things which they hold most precious or which they see him most delight in.
Summary: In this work, Machiavelli gives advice on how one can acquire and keep kingdoms.
Opinion: I was thoroughly impressed by the way Machiavelli had thought all these matters through. He does not ramble nor side-track, he supplies evidence for all his reasoning, and he is very blunt, giving no chance to misinterpret. And these are all perfect qualities for a handbook in power politics. It was written centuries ago, and some aspects are of course outdated. I will illustrate by this amusing quote:
"But I surely think that it is better to be impetuous than to be cautious, for fortune is a woman and in order to be mastered she must be jogged and beaten."
But it having outdated qualities was expected. Yet it is still a very terrific book, because even if the world is different now, people are usually much the same.
He supplies a lot of examples to back up his ideas, and many of these you are probably not going to have heard of. I certainly didn't. But that didn't matter at all because he explains the important part of them and then explains why it is important to his example. He is really clear in the book.
The book has also been given the reputation of being evil and such. But that is not the case. Machiavelli on several occasions say it is better to be kind than cruel, and a prince should never ever be hated. But as he has a very practical way of thinking, of course he bring up points on how to deal with things if the prince is a cruel one, and the benefits of it.
Though it is always best to be feared than loved. But again, never hated.
This is definitely going to be re-read someday.
Reason: His logic. The way he put things down. I am smitten.
I would not recommend this to: Idealistic pansies.
Favorite quote: "If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared."5/28/2009 . Edited 6/1/2009 #23
|Engineer of Words
Title: The Metamorphosis
Author: Franz Kafka, translated by Stanley Corngold
Genre: Tragedy / Drama
Length: 55 pages [180 pages including notes on the text and critical essays]
First line of the book: "When Gregor Samsa woke up one morning from unsettling dreams, he found himself changed in his bed into a monstrous vermin."
Summary: The first line's a pretty good summary, since it's so short that it's made difficult to summarize. Essentially, the story deals with how he, his sister and parents have to deal with Gregor waking up one morning as a giant beetle.
Opinion: I found Metamorphosis a lot less funny than a lot of so-called literary critics, but that's not to say that beneath the rather morose surface it wasn't. The primary theme of the story is that of isolation, as Gregor can't communicate with his family after he becomes an insect, and that in my mind was what really permeated the text. The humor in my opinion came from his determination to himself that one day he would no longer be an insect and would work to earn the family money again like he once did; this was both amusing and really pathetic. Kafka does a very good job taking the reader into his own mind, as the feelings portrayed in Metamorphosis closely resemble those toward his real family.
Rating: 92/100. Perhaps some of the absurdist humor is lost in translation from German, but it is nonetheless an expertly crafted piece of writing.5/31/2009 #24
|Engineer of Words
I know it's been done twice already, but I wanted to contribute more to the thread. Here goes...
Title: The Prince
Author: Niccolo Machiavelli, translation by Harvey Mansfield
Genre: Political Theory / Nonfiction
Length: 105 pages [149 with notes and appendices]
First line of the book: "All states, all dominions that have held and do hold empire over men have been and are either republics or principalities".
Summary: Machiavelli wrote this work originally as a letter to Lorenzo di Medici, in which he states his infamous-to-be opinions about how to govern decisively and effectively.
Opinion: Machiavelli spins his incredibly thorough knowledge of European history to the date written into what is likely the most prolific work in the field of political philosophy since Republic. It's been a while since I read it, but what struck me was his propensity to be both logical and darkly humorous without having to try an iota to do either. The subject matter may seem dense to the reader, but this is only because he knows what is written so thoroughly that he goes through everything in a meticulous, careful manner. Machiavelli goes well beyond recognizing politics as a dirty game, in fact he encourages the reader to be as dirty as they need be to secure themselves in power.
"If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared." Point seen.
Rating: 88/100. It's not a beautiful piece of literature, but is highly rated because it embraces its own vile nature.5/31/2009 . Edited 5/31/2009 #25
Title: A Song for Arbonne
Author: Guy Gavriel Kay
Length: 509 pages
First Line of the Book: On a morning in the springtime of the year, when the snows of the mountains were melting and the rivers swift in their running, Aelis de Miraval watched her husband ride out at dawn to hunt in the forest west of their castle, and shortly after that she took horse herself, travelling north and east along the shores of the lake towards the begetting of her son.
Summary: "Blaise of Gorhaut is a warrior. He fought for his king and country, until the king died with an arrow in his eye at the battle of Iersen Bridge, and a dishonorable treaty ceded a good part of his country to foreign hands. He has broken relations with his father, adviser to the king of Gorhaut, and abandoned the use of his family name. Now Blaise is a mercenary. He never expected to work for the lords of Arbonne, the warm, fertile lands south of Gorhaut, whose people praise the love for women - they even worship a goddess instead of the god. They are a soft people, or so he thought. But for all their nonsense about love, their troubadours and songs, they will fight for their country when invasion comes from the north." -- From the back cover --
Characters: From a literary perspective, the characterization was amazing. The characters were believable, realistic, consistent, and well-done as a whole. Their actions made sense and were the effect of the causes brewing in their experiences and past. Even minor characters were not overlooked, and, in retrospect, every character had a role to play. The character relationships were pulled off nicely as well.
On a personal level, I had to say I had a love-hate relationship. Your mileage may vary.
Blaise de Garsenc: The main character, a mercenary ever since the treaty at Iersen Bridge, travelling the countries and participating in tournaments and wars until he ended up in Arbonne, under the service of Mallin de Baude, a minor lord, to train the corans (soldiers, basically) there; and ends up caught between and willingly embroiled in the impending war between Gorhaut, his homeland, that worships the god Corranos, and goddess-worshiping Rian.
I felt he was the best character in terms of development; his contempt for the Arbonnais is steadily replaced by his tolerance and then love and acceptance of Arbonne's customs, their troubadours and their songs, the Court of Love and beyond, breaking past his prejudiced views, to respect the hardiness and strength of their men. From the cold, implacable mercenary at the beginning, throughout the story, his past and the familial strife of it are revealed, intertwining with events of the past and contributing to the conflict. His dynamic with the other characters was compelling.
In regards to his personality, he was clever, noble, strong, etc; generally likable, even if only by the characters in the story. There were things I didn't like about him, but they were mostly personal irks. I felt things could've gone less smooth, wish people hadn't reacted so dependently on him, even if there were plausible explanations. The majority of the times I liked and or felt sympathetic to him were because of other characters.
Plot: The plot was very well done, despite some predictable parts. The first two-thirds of the book may be slow, but it builds up and then at the climax to the end, it's intense, emotional and fast-paced.
Writing: The book is positively packed with description, but the prose is smooth and elegant. The one thing I found jarring were the numbers of typos I found.
Setting: Guy Gavriel Kay wrote the book during two trips to Provence. To quote from a website, "He has said in the bibliography that A Song For Arbonne is, in some ways, a love song to Provence, and for that reason it holds a unique place for him among his work." The worldbuliding and meticulous care shows, as well. The descriptions were lovely and he touches a lot on the cultural aspects as well, including the people, like the troubadours. He is a prime example of authors who definitely do the research.
Themes: I like GGK's tendency to include themes woven through the text, but not in a message book way.
Rating: 8/10.5/31/2009 . Edited 5/31/2009 #26
|Engineer of Words
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Genre: Romance / Supernatural
Length: 498 pages
First line of the book: "My mother drove me to the airport with the windows rolled down".
Summary: Bella Swan moves to perpetually rainy Forks, WA to live with her father. While here, she ends up falling in love with sparkly wonder-boy vampire Edward Cullen, and they get tangled up in the vendetta of another crew of vampires who want Bella for a nice dinner. Other stuff happens too, I just forgot it.
Opinion: How can I condense my thoughts on this book? It will be difficult. First things first, let us establish one little fact that makes the rest of the story unreadable. Bella has absolutely ZERO personality. She is just sort of dragged along by the events in the story by happenstance, and never does a single thing to impede or assist the story. This has allowed the fangirls to place themselves in Bella's stead in lusting after precious Edward. Mind you, Edward is a "vegetarian" vampire and a superhuman superimposed right out of one of Ayn Rand's wet dreams. And he SPARKLES IN THE FUCKING SUN. Seriously?
Personally, I like my vampires to act like... vampires. You know, the whole sleeping in coffins and eating people and burning alive in sunlight and whatnot. But this story is not about that, au contraire. Twilight is the story of Bella meeting Edward and practically falling for him on the spot, then following him around everywhere like the clingy bitch she is and tripping over fucking everything because she's "loveably clumsy". The fact that Edward is such a nice guy and doesn't eat humans and is OMG SOOOO HOTT and all the other overly-adjectivized description she uses belies the fact that he's just as boring and static of a character as she is. The minor characters are, surprisingly, believable until you meet the Cullen family, in which case it's back to Meyer's high-school fantasy land.
Oh, and there's also a werewolf character named Jacob who is a native American stereotyped near the point of satire. All he does, apparently, is sit around, smoke, and retell his ancestors' lore. Again, I ask: Seriously?
I could go on, but I believe you are seeing the point, dear reader. The utter lack of depth to her main characters combined with a plot that's shallow and just an excuse for Edward to save Bella ad nauseum just pushed the feminist agenda back about 200 years. The fact that she wrote not one but four books, all of which are being made into movies, well... That just sucks.
Rating: 1/100. I give the book one point because it's better than its spawn on Fanfiction and here, but that's all. It's a deplorable piece of shit and a waste of money, time, and paper.5/31/2009 #27
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Genre: Romance / Supernatural
Length: 498 pages
First line of the book: "My mother drove me to the airport with the windows rolled down".
Summary: Bella Swan moves to Forks, Washington to live with her dad to give her mother and her mother's new fiance some room. As the story progresses, Bella meets the gorgeous Edward Cullen, and instantly falls in love. Much to her surprise, he feels the same. Though his love is more bloodlust. Bella quickly discovers that Edward is a vampire, but the Cullen "family" only drink the blood of animals. When mysterious nomad vampires threaten to kill Bella, Edward and the Cullens try to defend her. But in the end, Bella chooses to risk her life to save those she loves.
Opinion: Since it first took off in popularity, this novel has seen much scrutiny. And I must say, I take neither side. People need to learn to pick up books and enjoy them. I personally found them quite good. I believe that the book so isn't so much about vampires and romance as it is about life lessons.
The themes, power of love, trust, and believing in yourself, all have good morals behind them and can teach you to look at life differently. The story teaches you that what you see isn’t always what you get, that even if something seems scary, it’s not always so scary underneath. It also teaches the lesson of getting to know someone before you judge them.
I found the novel very deep and insightful, and adding the vampire twist made all the more exciting.
In the end though, what I found made it worth reading weren't the main characters. When I went out in search of a copy of the next novel, New Moon, I didn't want it for more Edward, and in all honesty I could care less about Bella. She was extremely fake. I wanted more about the side characters. I wanted to see how they would relate to the predicament. Most of all, I wanted to know more about Jasper. I found him very facinating.
Really what makes Twilight a good read are the side characters, Mike and Jessica, the Cullens, Jacob and Billy Black. They are the ones that carry the story.
I recommend this book to you as a good read, although not one of the best. I, however, ask you to read the novel not for the main characters but for all the characters. See the bigger picture behind Twilight.
Rating: 6/10 Because it takes careful thought and understanding to see what the novel is really about. Plus the two main characters are horribly fake. But it has good action scenes. :)5/31/2009 #28
|Engineer of Words
Title: Brave New World
Author: Aldous Huxley
Genre: Science Fiction / Satire / Dystopian
Length: 259 pages
First line of the book: "A squat gray building of only thirty-four stories".
Summary: In this work, Huxley presents a twisted and satirical vision of a utopian society where people are genetically predisposed to become certain "classes", and where sex is the opiate of the people well beyond what we know now. The main characters, Bernard and Lenina, go on a vacation to the land of the "savages" [people who aren't sleep-conditioned and genetically altered] and meet a half-savage by the name of John. Insanity ensues.
Opinion: Huxley has an extremely twisted sense of humor and is one of the better satirists in recent memory, which makes for a deliciously funny read. The society is based on keeping all but the super-elite ruling class happy, healthy, and stupid by means of encouraging rampant promiscuity; how Huxley didn't incorporate STD's into that I'm not sure. John Savage is essentially like a normal person, so his reactions to some of the "civilized" practices of Lenina and Bernard are absolutely priceless. The plot's not exactly intricate, but BNW makes up for it with over-the-top absurdity, cover-to-cover; the characters follow a similar method. It is, in summation, a through and through satire in the sense that it's impossible to take literally, but the message behind it must by all means be taken seriously.
Rating: 83/100. It's not mind-blowingly awesome, but a must-read for fans of satire.5/31/2009 #29
Title: Queste (book four)
Author: Angie Sage
Length: 570 (596 if you include the short comments on what happened to the characters at the end of the book. NOT an epilogue, mind you.)
First line of the book: It is the weekly market on Wizard Way.
Summary: Septimus and Jenna are trying to find a way to bring their brother back from the past, where he invariably got stuck. Septimus and Jenna learn about the House of Foryx, the place where Times meet, and also learn that their brother travelled there. A series of events finds Septimus on the Queste, a "reward" for apprentices finishing their 7 year apprenticeship - however, the last 20 apprentices to go on the Queste have never returned. Septimus, Jenna, and their friend Beetle find the House of Foryx where they find their brother and the end to Septimus' Queste.
Opinion: Very easy read. The plot moves along very nicely, and the characters are rounded out very nicely. While some action serves to be a bit predictable, the author has an infinite supply of tricks to pull - though I often put the pieces together faster than the characters did (though I enjoy that; makes me feel smart). In all, not amazing, but fun all the same.
Rating: 8/105/31/2009 . Edited 5/31/2009 #30
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