Wendy (here_be_dragons) wrote,
Wendy
here_be_dragons

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Books - #98 through #102

I've passed the 100 mark! I'm not going to give myself a new goal through the end of the year, since I'm not sure I'll get much reading done during November (NaNoWriMo), and December (holidays). But, of course, I'll still keep counting. :)

#98 -
Bedroom Astronomy: Science that Really Sticks to Your Ceiling - the editors of Klutz

I bought this book at the local planetarium, to assist me in putting up glow-star constellations in my son's bedroom. In the back of the book are tear-out cards with holes punched in them in the shapes of constellations, so all you have to do is shine a filtered flashlight behind them, and then put the stars on the ceiling where the light shines through. Since I've been having a bit of difficulty getting the constellations the way I want them on my own, I thought this book would be helpful. Plus, it comes with glow stars, including some medium-sized ones that I needed, but hadn't been able to find anywhere else. So, I bought the book for purely practical purposes, but was pleased to discover that it's filled with lots of cool information about astronomy, as well, all written in a humorous tone for young people. It touches on physics, and the origins of the universe, and it has not only the stories behind the seven western constellations that are featured on the punch cards in the back, but it also tells some of the stories that people in other cultures told about those same stars. 10/10 (Permanent Collection)

#99 -
Confessions of a Sociopathic Social Climber - Adele Lang

I was disappointed by this book. It started out well enough, and at first I really enjoyed the writing style, but after the first 50 pages or so, it seemed as though there just wasn't much in the way of a plot. It's not a very long book, though, so I kept reading, and kept hoping for a plot to appear . . . but it never did. It was interesting as a character study, but went on about five times longer than necessary to explore Katya's character. Especially because Katya has got to be the least likeable main character *ever* - the book's title *is* disturbingly accurate. When I first read Bridget Jones, I thought Bridget was a real loser (although I've since come to appreciate her, and I do realise that having flawed narrators is part of the charm of Chick Lit), but compared to Katya, Bridget is a saint. Katya is thoroughly despicable. Not just quirky and thoughtless, but truly, truly awful. This might have made for a funny book, except that the author never took it anywhere, and after a while it became tedious to read.

I also felt that the author didn't make Katya consistent enough. Sometimes, Katya acted in ways that were awful, but believeable. Other times, her behaviour was so over-the-top as to be ridiculous, and I found this off-putting. It wasn't satirical enough to be really funny, yet Katya was far too horrible for me to feel any sympathy for her whatsoever. So I ended up sitting through 197 pages of Katya describing the awful things she did to other people, all the while not seeming to have a hint of remorse or any awareness that she really is a wretched excuse for a person, and then it ends. Disappointing. 5/10, 197 pages (BookRelay)

#100 -
Bridge to Terabithia - Katherine Paterson

I read this in honour of Banned Book Week, and because azriona expressed great surprise that I hadn't read it before. ::grin:: I'm not sure how I missed reading this when I was a child. It was published the year I was 11, exactly the right age for it, but somehow by the time I heard about it, I must have decided I was too old for it, or something, because I never did read it as a child (although I know that I'd heard the title before seeing it on the banned book list that's currently doing the rounds).

It's a beautiful book, and only took me a couple of hours to read. I think the author did a wonderful job of creating a powerful emotional response with a relatively small number of words. Great characterizations, and amazing how the author built them up so quickly. I really disliked Jess' mother, for example, and then toward the end of the book a single line made a lightbulb flash in my head . . . "Ah HA! So that's why she acts the way she does." Wonderful writing.

I am rather at a loss, though, to understand why this would be on anyone's banned book list. There is no sexual content, no profanity. There's a teacher who is a bit of a hippie, and someone dies. It must be because of the death. But honestly, I am hard pressed to understand how anyone could seriously be offended by anything in this book. It was poignant and beautiful. 9/10, 128 pages (Library).

#101 -
List Your Self - Ilene Segalove and Paul Bob Velick

This is a book of lists to be filled out as an alternate way of journalling. There are lists which pertain to a variety of areas - things like business, personal, culture, men and women, growing up - all of which are supposed to help spark the imagination, and allow some self-exploration through writing. I really like the idea, and what I've done is copy out all of the lists into an LJ entry, with the intention of filling them out over time and posting them in my LJ. I've done a few already, and I find they are thought-provoking and interesting to do. 9/10, 297 pages (BookCrossing Meet-up, will be passing along to someone else at the next meet-up).

#102 -
Pants on Fire - Maggie Alderson

This was a great read - Chick Lit set in Australia. I really enjoyed the story, about Georgia, a women's magazine editor who moves from London to Sydney after a failed romance, and then finds herself enmeshed in local society where everyone knows everyone else, and gossip is an epidemic. The book really kept my interest, and I stayed up way past my bedtime reading it one night, and finished it the next day. However, I did find the ending a bit anti-climactic and disatisfying. Even so, overall I'd recommend it - I enjoyed the characters and the setting, and found myself drawn right in to Georgia's world. 8/10, 380 pages (BookRing)
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