Wednesday, July 1, 2009

June Reads

I've been reading LOTS lately, but I fortunately didn't have to do much frantic reading to finish up my 14 books for June. I can't believe that it's already July!
So here are this months' reads, and a short 'review' for each of them:

1. Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore with Lynn Vincent

This book was good. I don't have a whole lot to say about it. It was a biography...and the writing was pretty good, and it was easy to read. I guess I read it in two days (I was trying to finish up fast..maybe I did more frantic reading than I thought). Technically it was three, because there was one day I didn't read at all, but I read half of it on Saturday, the other half on a Monday, so it's kind of like two days.

2. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

This was very easy to read after the biography, even though I actually took longer to read it. I have read it once before, and liked it. It's not as good as everyone thinks it is. I've also read part of the third book, but never finished it. I'm planning to read that in a few months, after I read the second one, which I borrowed from Mikaela. My take: The movie is good, the book is good, the soundtracks to the movie are good. It's original, very different, and the characters are written well. I just can't work up enthusiam for this like I can for Harry Potter...Edward gets on my nerves too easily. After seeing the movie, I was on Team Edward for awhile (Twilight fans will know what I'm talking about) but after reading the book again, I prefer Jacob. So, I'm on Team Jacob again.

3. The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis
This was very good. I read it one day, 2-3 sittings, and I thought it was interesting. Still, not my favorite Lewis book...

4. Ben-Hur, A Tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace
I started this book over a year ago and finally finished it Sunday. It felt so good to be done! It was a good book. Not one I would want to read straight through, like some other books (it's not an easy read) but the prose was rich and there were several scenes concerning Christ that were very vivid. Those were my favorites. It's very different from the movie...but bookworms that are fans of it will enjoy the book. The only quote I have copied out so far is very long (I usually bookmark really good passages with long books like this to copy down later) so I won't try to put one it, but it feels so good to have read it!

5. The Iliad by Homer
Jason and I started this....sometime. I don't remember when. I read about half of it a few years ago, a different translation, and liked it pretty well, but got bored. I enjoyed it a lot this time, and again, it feels great to be finished with it. I'm pretty excited about the Odyssey, I think it'll be better, and probably more interesting to read. (The Iliad includes endless lists of names.....that are difficult to pronounce, and many of them are impossible to remember, as they are only mentioned a few times.)

6. The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander

I ordered this book several months ago, and have been meaning to read it ever since. I didn't enjoy it as well as I thought I would. I think some of the later books in the series will be better. I liked all the characters pretty well...except for Taran. Too bad he's the main character. It's reminiscent of Narnia, but nowhere near as good. The Book of Three was published fourteen years after The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. I know Lloyd Alexander was a Narnia fan. My favorite characters were probably Gurgi, Eilonwy, and Fflewddur Fflam, Taran's companions for most of the book. Lloyd Alexander may have been influenced by J.R.R. Tolkien, as well...Gurgi and Gollum have lots of similiarities. Overall, a good book, but it's not a new favorite.

7. Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis

Ah. This was good. Great. Excellent. I've read it once before, but I enjoyed it this time more than I remembered enjoying it the first time, and it was so much fun to read it, Lewis is at his best in his Space Trilogy. The philosophy and psycological occurances within Ransom's brain are so mind-boggering....what I especially liked about this one was that Lewis subtly pointed out some of the reasons for human behavior, which seems incredibly obvious after he's done it. The landscaping is genius, the inhabitants of Malacandra vivid. I'm looking forward to reading Perelandra now!

8. Holes by Louis Sachar

Overall good, but fans of the movie won't be getting anything that they didn't see in the movie, except for a few minor differences. I pretty much knew everything that was going on, what was gonna happen next, and how the book ended. Read the book before you watch the movie if you haven't seen the movie. I don't know if I've ever seen the movie all the way through all at once, but I ordered it from Netflix so I could get the full experience after reading the book, which won a Newberry Medal. On the other hand, the world of the book and the movie is vivid, stifling, and original. You can almost taste the muddy water, the onions, the spicy peaches, when they're fresh or when they're sploosh. Or feel the heat, the grimy dirt. I'm glad I took yesterday evening to read it. (50 chapters, but so easy I had no trouble finishing it in about 2 very long sittings, although I was occiasionally interrupted by phone calls. :D )

It seemed to Ransom that he had never looked out on such a frosty night. Pulsing with brightness as with some unbearable pain or pleasure, clustered in pathless and countless multitudes, dreamlike in clarity, blazing in perfect blackness, the stars seized all his attention, troubled him, excited him, and drew him up to a sitting position.
-C. S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet


Fatcat said...

I'm enjoying reading your book reviews. I've written some of them down to read myself.

Anna said...

Thanks for commenting! Glad you're enjoying them. I don't have a lot of confidence in my reviewing skills, really, but I'm glad if you found them helpful!

Mythopoeia said...

As always, I love reading your book reviews! 'The Book of Three' isn't the best fantasy out there, but I do really like 'The Black Cauldron' and 'The High King'; Lewis and Tolkien are definite influences, but I feel that as the series goes on, Alexander sort of comes into his own, so to speak. Though not as good as Narnia, no . . . I liked reading your review of 'Out of the Silent Planet' ('Perelandra's my fave, but I love the bit in OotSP where Ransom is trying to translate Weston's speech) and 'Ben Hur', as well. I read 'Twilight' once, but wasn't that impressed with it . . . But it was interesting to read your take on that, too. Congrats on meeting your quota again, and happy reading :)

Anna said...

Thanks Mythopoeia! I think I'll still give Prydain a chance and read through it. I just finished Inkdeath....I'm kinda sad the series is over. You were right; Dustfinger just wasn't quite himself, and the ending was too fast!

Symon Burton said...

Hi Anna I thought I'd leave a comment to let you know that you won July's Flannelgraph giveaway! What's the best way to contact you? Burton from Flannelgraph