Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Weekly Read: 8

I feel like I got a lot of reading done this week, but since I still didn't finish everything I wanted to before the end of the month, I am slightly disappointed. Oh well. 

READ: The Children's Book | A.S. Byatt
I'm very excited to have finished this one! I feel like it took SO long to read, mostly because the prose was so dense, I think. Once I got to know all of the characters, it was pretty simple to follow their storylines. What made it more of a dry read at times were the sections of pure history, when the characters were forgotten and instead we were given accounts of the current events of the time, of the movements in art, of the history women's suffrage, politics, and so on. To be honest, I didn't really care about all that - I wanted to know what was happening with the characters! I feel like this info, if it was essential to the story, could have been integrated more smoothly into the narrative. This book covers such a wide range of time, it is difficult to summarize what it is about. The importance of finding your true purpose in life and not giving up. The necessity of balance between fairy tales and reality in one's life. And in the end, your family is those you care about and who support you, no matter what. What I will remember most from this novel, though, is the rich, deep characters. My favorites were those who evolved and grew to be better than they knew they could be: Philip, Dorothy, Charles/Karl, Griselda, Elsie, Basil, Katharina. I most felt sorry for those who were broken, who couldn't adapt, and subsequently lost themselves. And the few I despised (Methley, I'm looking at you), I am relieved to say fade into oblivion, with no enduring legacy.  I'm very happy with how this one ended. And yes, it made me cry. :)

READ: Magic Study | Maria V. Snyder
I was looking forward to reading this one as it the second in a series following Poison Study, which I loved. This one was quite similar in style, naturally - another fast-paced story, filled with exciting action sequences. I enjoyed learning more about Yelena's past and family along with her. It was perhaps not quite as enjoyable to read as the first because it didn't have the uniqueness that made the first one so special. There were a few villains thrown in at the end that seemed extra and unnecessary. that probably could have been weeded out. Overall, though, this was a fun, quick read and a nice break after some serious reading. I'm looking forward to the third and final book in the series.

READ: The Doomsday Key | James Rollins
This one was for my bookclub, picked by my friend Montine. I wasn't sure how I would like it, as it is actually the 5th or so in a series, of which I have read none. In the end, the only negative impact that this made was I didn't care about the characters at much. There was background info on all of them that I was clearly missing, and as a result, they just weren't very deep, and for that reason, I do think it would be good to go back and read the first books in the series.  Overall, though, I did like this one. It was fun and interesting to read, very DaVinci-Code like. The history aspects of this story definitely made me want to read more about them, and it was easy to get wrapped up in the fast-paced story line. The ecological information in this book was interesting, too, as well as the facts on hunger and overpopulation. One thing that remains with me is that the amount of corn it takes to fill an SUV with one tank of ethanol would feed a starving person for a year. A YEAR. That is just ridiculous! This one ended up being a fun one to discuss, and I think we all had a great time at the meeting. :) Also, we need to take a group trip to Wales.

STILL READING: Bonk | Mary Roach
I was really hoping to finish this one for the Winter challenge, but it just didn't happen. And I'm not enjoying it as much as I did her first book, Stiff, which I LOVED. Perhaps my expectations were just too high. Or maybe there just isn't enough interesting to say about sex and reproductive organs. Oh well. I'm just under half-way through, and will hopefully finish it up on Monday, and be done with it.

Monday starts the new Spring challenge, with a new set of books to read. First up is finishing Bonk and Watership Down. Then, maybe The Monsters of Templeton. Happy Reading!

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