Monday, July 23, 2012

Review: Divine Misdemeanors

Divine Misdemeanors
Divine Misdemeanors by Laurell K. Hamilton

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really liked this - it was randomly given to me (I think) and so I read the 8th in the series first. But it made me sufficiently curious that I'd like to go back and read the rest. The sex was sort of meh and the mystery not as mysterious as it could have been, but I enjoyed the political aspect of it all.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Review: Steppenwolf

Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reread time!

I first read this book as part of an eleventh grade history project that involved putting a book into its historical context. I have a vague recollection that the radio was very symbolic in that essay. The assignment was a bit of a turning point for me - I loved to read but never quite got how we were supposed to analyze books and identify symbols in English class. This is probably where my first major in university came from. So, the book keeps its four stars simply because it was such a pivotal book in my life.

This read through it was a bit more of a three star read. I think as a teenager I was a bit more inclined to be sympathetic to Harry's disdain of popular culture and outsider status. Now I just find him to be a grumpy old man who grumbles about kids these days. I did think the book had momentary flashes of genius though.

Plus, this time round when he referenced Borobudur, I knew what it was because I've just been there. Dude was well travelled.

"these pictures - there are hundreds of them, with names and without - all came back. They rose fresh and new out of this night of love, and I knew again, what in. My wretchedness I had forgotten, that they were my life's possession and all its worth. Indestructible and abiding as the stars, these experiences, though forgotten, could never be erased their series wastage story of y life, their starry night the undying value of my being. My life had become weariness. It had wandered in a maze of unhappiness tha Ed to renunciation and nothingness; it was bitter with the salt of all human things; yet it had laid up riches, riches to be proud of."

"Nobody wants to avoid the next war, nobody wants to spare himself and his children the next holocaust if this isto be the cost. To reflect for one moment, to examine himself for a while and ask what share he has in the world's confusion and wickedness - look you, nobody wants to do that."

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Review: The Cursed

The Cursed
The Cursed by L.A. Banks

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book is book 8 of a series that I've only read book 2 of, so it's possible I would have liked it better with all the context provided by the other books.

That said, it was too biblical, with too many scenes describing fighting, and the sex was all weird white light and chakras, rather than anything very hot.

Vamp porn fail.

However, the plot drew me in enough that I was curious as to how it ended and I enjoyed that the characters weren't just middle class white people, which seems the norm with vamp porn books.

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Sunday, July 01, 2012

Review: Mockingjay

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

One of the strengths of this series, I think, is the way the author doesn't sugarcoat war - people die and the characters we come to love aren't spared. But I hated the ending. It felt sort of like a cop out. Katniss doesn't seem to grow as a person or a leader and that rang false for me.

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Despite the geologists’ knowledge and craft,
mocking magnets, graphs, and maps—
in a split second the dream
piles before us mountains as stony
as real life.

And since mountains, then valleys, plains
with perfect infrastructures.
Without engineers, contractors, workers,
bulldozers, diggers, or supplies—
raging highways, instant bridges,
thickly populated pop-up cities.

Without directors, megaphones, and cameramen—
crowds knowing exactly when to frighten us
and when to vanish.

Without architects deft in their craft,
without carpenters, bricklayers, concrete pourers—
on the path a sudden house just like a toy,
and in it vast halls that echo with our steps
and walls constructed out of solid air.

Not just the scale, it’s also the precision—
a specific watch, an entire fly,
on the table a cloth with cross-stitched flowers,
a bitten apple with teeth marks.

And we—unlike circus acrobats,
conjurers, wizards, and hypnotists—
can fly unfledged,
we light dark tunnels with our eyes,
we wax eloquent in unknown tongues,
talking not with just anyone, but with the dead.

And as a bonus, despite our own freedom,
the choices of our heart, our tastes,
we’re swept away
by amorous yearnings for—
and the alarm clock rings.

So what can they tell us, the writers of dream books,
the scholars of oneiric signs and omens,
the doctors with couches for analyses—
if anything fits,
it’s accidental,
and for one reason only,
that in our dreamings,
in their shadowings and gleamings,
in their multiplings, inconceivablings,
in their haphazardings and widescatterings
at times even a clear-cut meaning
may slip through.