Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Weekly Read: 16

To celebrate actually finishing The Island, I managed to finish 3 books this week! Yay! Hopefully that means I am back on track. :).

READ: The Island | Aldous Huxley
This one was really hard to read. If it wasn't on the Lost Lit List, and I wasn't so stubborn, I would have given it up weeks ago.  The main reason this book is even on the Lost List is the reason I was initially so excited to read it: "Lying there like a corpse in the dead leaves, his hair matted, his face grotesquely smudged and bruised, his clothes in rags and muggy, Will Farnaby awoke with a start." This is almost exactly how we first view Jack on Lost.  Unfortunately the rest of the book doesn't live up to it's promising and dramatic beginning. The plot was sparse and every time something interesting happened, it was bogged down again by the author's overwhelming philosophical treatise. There were a few good ideas here and there, but if I had wanted to read a philosophy book, I would have picked one up. Instead, I got a philosophy book disguised as a novel.  The characters were secondary to the descriptions of the ideal society of Pala, and I didn't really get to know any of them. It was disappointing. 

READ: How to Train Your Dragon | Cressida Cowell
A few weeks ago, I went to see the movie based on this book and loved it! I immediately wanted to read the book, as I was sure it would be just as great. After reading it, sure, it is cute - the book has a great design, with funky, engaging fonts, sketches, and info pages about dragons. But other than the main character, it didn't really have much in common with the movie. Not only was the plot entirely different, but the world they lived in and how they interacted with dragons was entirely different as well.  I was most disappointed in the differences between the movie and book versions of Toothless, Hiccup's dragon.  I doubt that the order I met them plays a part in my preference for the movie version, because the book-Toothless is really whiny and obnoxious, without any of the movie-Toothless' lovable quirks and mannerisms. Pretty much the only likable thing he does in the book is save Hiccup at the end, and even that is rather begrudgingly. Overall, it was a cute, fun read, and would be great for kids (provided they know that it's not really like the movie).  I'll probably pick up the rest in the series from the library eventually, but certainly not with as much enthusiasm.

READ: Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter | Seth Grahame-Smith
This was delightfully interesting and fun to read - and by read, I mean listen to in my car on my way to and from work. :) I've tried listening to audio books before, but haven't had much luck in the past. This time was completely different, and I very much enjoyed listening to it - it made my commute a much-anticipated part of my day.  The book itself was a surprisingly well-mixed history of both Abraham Lincoln and the rise (and fall) of vampires in America. In this book, Grahame-Smith had none of the monster-integration problems that plagued his first book, probably because all of the writing was his own work.  The interweaving fact and fiction felt real, accurate, and natural, especially the details about the disappearing Roanoke settlement and Lincoln's motivations behind the Civil War and abolition of slavery. I didn't necessarily like the beginning - a vampire gives Grahame-Smith Lincoln's lost journals - mostly because it was an awkward transition, and set up a strange shift between first and third person that persisted throughout the novel, as we switched from biography to "excerpts" from the journals. This part probably would have been easier to follow had I been actually reading instead of listening, but I eventually got used to it.  Overall, I would definitely recommend this book, and can't wait to read a proper Lincoln biography!

STARTED: The Lost Symbol | Dan Brown
I really enjoyed both Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code when I read them about 6 years ago, so I was very excited when I saw Dan Brown had a new novel coming out. The only reason I've waited so long to read it is because we picked it for our book club, and I wanted to wait to read it until right before the meeting, as I can be forgetful. That meeting was initially scheduled for today, but luckily we pushed it back a week, as I didn't have enough time to finish the book this past week, and now I can savor it. :)

Up next week: Finishing The Lost Symbol, and then reading whatever I feel like. I'm sort-of straying from the Spring Challenge plan I set up, mostly because The Island put me in a weird state. Right now, I just want to read happy, fluffy stuff. Happy reading to all of you, too!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Weekly Read: 15

STILL READING: The Island | Aldous Huxley
I'm embarrassed to admit that I still haven't finished this book. There just hasn't been that much time for reading this week. Gah. I will say, though, that I only have about 75 pages left to go, so if I don't finish it next week, there is something seriously wrong with me. And then I can go on to everything else that I mentioned in my last post. That is all. :)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Weekly Read: 14

I am sad to report that this is the first week I have failed to finish a book. :( I blame it on The Island.

STILL READING: The Island | Aldous Huxley
I just don't feel inspired to read this one. It's taking a massive effort, and I can't seem to let myself read any other book, because I feel like I would never pick this one up again. Ugh. I'll try again this next week, but I might have to abandon it. :( I hope it doesn't come to that.

STARTED: Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter | Seth Grahame-Smith
When I heard about this book, I was instant interested in reading it. I was reluctant to buy it, though, because I had been really disappointed after reading Grahame-Smith's Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which didn't live up to my expectations. I requested it from the library, and when it finally came in on Saturday, I swung by to pick it up. To my surprise, I had accidentally requested the audiobook version! Rather than return it and wait for the actual book, I checked it out anyways, and popped the first CD right into my car's CD player. So far, it has been great! A fun mix between vampire lore and Abraham Lincoln biography. I'm definitely going to have to read an actual biography when I'm done, to separate fact from fiction. I'm on disc 3 of 9 right now, and so hopefully will be able to finish this one up in about a week on my way to and from work. Turns out getting the audiobook was a blessing in disguise. :)

Next week: I WILL finish The Island, or stop reading it. Oh, and I just got How to Train Your Dragon, which I am very excited to read as I loved the movie. That is all.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Weekly Read: 13

Another week of not reading as much as I wanted. When did my life get so busy?

READ: The Betrayal of the Blood Lily | Lauren Willig
This one was pretty easy to read. :) The Pink Carnation series is my favorite kind of fluffy fiction because it involves happily-ever-after romances and history. This story had a lot of potential with the added benefit of being set in India, but I felt like parts of it were really slow. I wish that the Marigold had been more central to the plot, as in the end, I didn't really care who he was or really get what was so bad about him. The characters were enjoyable, but I wanted more from them. Also, about this title - where does the Blood Lily come in at all? I read in the front of the book that it was suggested by a reader, but it doesn't have any relation to the actual book it seems. If they wanted to go with that for the title, they should have changed the name of the spy to the Blood Lily instead of the Marigold. I'm glad I read it, and will read the next, but it just wasn't as good as I expected.

READ: The Diaries of Adam and Eve | Mark Twain
I love reading retellings of Biblical stories, and this one was recommended to me as both funny and a quick read. In this little tale of Adam and Eve, we get to look into their lives and see what life might have been like for them, told in short, first-person accounts. This was sweet and lighthearted, though I'm not sure I love how Adam originally viewed Eve, and why she never explained to him where babies come from. I just wish that this book was longer - we didn't get to hear nearly enough from Eve. I especially was looking forward to hearing the bits about the snake and the fall, as well as the babies being born from her perspective. The biggest drawback for me, though, was I didn't really feel God. One of the major aspects of the Bible story is God's relationship with Adam and Eve in the beginning, and that is completely absent from Twain's story. I enjoyed reading it and laughed quite a bit, but it left me wanting more, both in content and spiritual depth.

STILL READING: Island | Aldous Huxley
Yep, that's right. I'm STILL reading this one. It's just moving SO slow, and I don't feel motivated to read it. Normally, I would have just stopped reading it altogether, but I really don't want to give up on it, not just for my challenge, but because it's on the Lost List. Humph.

Next week, I am really hoping I finally finish Island. And then, who knows. My sister-in-law is in town, so I don't anticipate getting too much reading done. Here's hoping you have been luck than me! :)