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!

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