Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Gideon the Cutpurse, by Linda Buckley Archer

I grabbed this book from the juvenile fiction shelf, mostly because it had a fantasy sticker on the binding but also because I noticed its sequel sitting next to it, The Time Thief, which had an intriguing piece of promotion tagging the front cover. It said, "May very well give J.K. Rowling a run for her money." That's probably the best bit of promo they could have given a book like this. I might not have otherwise checked it out. Anyway, it's an adventure book that centers on two present day English adolescents (yes, they're 12) who accidentally land themselves in 1763. So historical fiction, if you will, as well as time travel adventure story. It's a trilogy, the third of which hasn't been published yet. Has lots of twists in the plot. Fun and fast paced. In a way it reminded me of the Peter and Starcatcher series. I really enjoyed both books. But I wouldn't go so far as to say it rivals Harry Potter. Oh, and apparently the title of the first book was later changed or maybe published differently in the UK and in the states, so depending on your library the first book can also be found under The Time Travelers (I like the original title better, personally).

I read The Lace Reader and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, which Amanda posted about. They were both really good. The Lace Reader was a little scary/exciting with some unexpected twists that make you want to read it all over again with your new, added perspective. I'm currently about 3/4 of the way through Guernsey and the Literary and Potatoe Peel Pie Society. I LOVE it. If you haven't checked it out yet, go do it. Right now. One of the best books I've read in a long time. I also read Mansfield Park by Jane Austen not too long ago. I really enjoyed it. It's a quiet, contemplative sort of book. Next up is Pride and Prejudice.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

"Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus" By Mary Shelley- Read by Chad

Dr. Frankenstein, with the hope of advancing science sets out to reanimate that which has pasted away. At the moment of success, religious and ethical doubts flood his thoughts to the point where he runs in terror.
The creature, finding himself alone in a world of fear and hate towards him, decides to track down his creator with the hope that he will create a female to accompany him through his new life. Frankenstein refuses to repeat the evil that he'd already committed. The creature cursed with solitude sets out to curse Frankenstein with the same fate.

The book makes a few parallels to the creation of Adam and Eve however in this case, after the creation of man, the creator curses the man and leaves him to fend for himself with out help, and with out a companion. Thus, in a sense, making the man or "the creature" drunk with hate and scorn towards his creator.
This book is terribly sad for both the creature and Frankenstein.
For a book that was written nearly 200 years ago, it is extremely relevant to the ethics of science today.
Don't look through the window at night in a lightening storm, it's a guarantee that the creature will be on the other side smiling at you. Dun, Dun, Duunnn....

Saturday, December 20, 2008

What I've been reading...by Chad

I had to break into Caitlin's account to post here since apparently, the only dude that can post is Austin.
So anyway,
Edward- "I love you, but I want to drink your blood"
Bella- "I love you, I'm not scard of you. Let's get it on".
If Jasper is so jumpy around blood (i.e. He nearly kills Bella when she gets a paper cut (wait, was that in this book?)) then what the heck is he doing in school? What, no one's got a paper cuts in school? I think I saw someone lose a finger once in shop.

Edward- "I'm in this book. JK".
Jacob- "Hi Bella, I'm not so secretly in love you and you hanging around all the time is sort of leading me on. P.S. I'm a werewolf."
Bella- "Thanks for helping me get over Edward. Oh, you love me? I love you too. JK. I'll be here tomorrow so you can hold my hand some more.

Bella- "Edward, make me a vampire"
Edward- "Alright, JK"

I thought the ending was anti-climatic. If the volturi were mind attacking them, I think it would at least have been cool if they did some mind attacking back. Maybe had the Amazon take out their vision or something.

My second time through this one. There was a bunch of stuff I missed from the first time. For examle, Bokonan predicted that his boat taken from the "Lady's Slipper" would sail again at the end of the world. It was made into the bed that Papa was in when he fell into the ocean.
Now I want to try a little Boko Maru with Caitlin. This book gave me a nightmare about Ice Nine. I haven't verified this, but I wasn't aware the cat's cradle is one of the oldest recorded games. I like this book.

My first time with Robinson Crusoe. I was surprised at how spritual it was. He spends 28 years on the island, 26 or so by himself. Over which time, he comes to appreciate the Lord's hand in all he has and all he is able to learn and accomplish. "If savage man come, they eat me, you get away". This is also where "My man Friday" comes from. I like Friday. I like the scene where Friday fights the bear.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Know-It-All

In my Real Simple magazine, they had some authors write letters to Santa as their childhood selves. The one by A.J. Jacobs was particularly funny, so I thought I'd get his book from the library. Hilarious. He decides he's going to read the Encyclopaedia Britanica from A to Z. The book not only goes over the odd things that he's learned (like how Rene Descartes had a thing for cross-eyed women, or this bit about Pythagoras that I liked,

According to the encyclopedia, members of the brotherhood , [which Pythagoras founded] were told to "refrain from speaking about the holy, wear white clothes, observe sexual purity, not touch beans, and so forth." That's what it said: do not touch beans.... It didn't say whether that meant all beans, or just certain beans like kidney or pinto. Just those four words.)

but he talks about how he tries to fit all of these new factoids into his daily conversations. This is something I'm always trying to do, so I felt like we would be two people of the same heart. He chronicles his quest to go on Jeopardy, join Mensa, and use his new found trivia knowledge to compete in the crossword puzzle tournament hosted by Will Shortz.

It was hilarious. The only down side was maybe 8-10 incidences of foul language, maybe 12. I normally wouldn't stand for that, but I was hooked.