Thursday, November 30, 2006

 

Book 72: Enduring Love


this book has been made into a movie. i saw the trailer a couple of weeks ago and thought it looked interesting, but i usually try to read the books first. this was a great novel. the writing has a dreamlike quality that pulls the reader in. i felt as though i was watching the events of the story unfold through a window on a rainy day. that might not make much sense, but it had a pleasant effect.

joe and clarissa are academic types, a childless couple living in london. clarissa is a professor of keats and joe, having once been on the path to research scientist, is now a free-lance science writer who is calm, rational, and well, scientific. they picnic one day near oxford and the events of that afternoon throw them into a whole mess. there is a ballooning accident; joe and several other men try to rescue the man and boy struggling, and one of the men dies. through this joe begins to feel guilt at his own survival, and he meets jed parry, another one of the would-be rescuers. parry begins to harrass joe, waiting outside his flat, believing joe is sending him messages of love. parry is determined to bring joe to god and to begin the love relationship he has deluded himself into desiring. it's was bizarre, but a book that i looked forward to reading. i think one of the most interesting facets of this book is the juxtaposition of joe's clinical and scientific mind with parry's, and then the unraveling of joe's mind and relationship with his wife as a result of paranoia. one thing i did find disturbing was the fact that wacko parry talked about god all the time. why do stalkers and serial killers in media always end up being "religious" while those who are sane and normal are the rational atheists. that's not quite fair. anyhoo, enough of this post. i liked the book and i requested the movie from the library. i think i would read more of ian mcewan.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

 

#57: The Princess


The Princess by Lori Wick was an entertaining novel. I have never read anything by Wick before. She is a Christian author and is pretty cheesy. The Princess is the story of Shelby and Nicolai and their journey towards falling in love. Nicolai is a young prince who agrees to an arranged marriage after his first wife's untimely death to uphold the law of his country. Shelby is the woman he married. So, as you may be able to imagine although Nicolai is kind to Shelby he has a hard time loving her and Shelby doesn't really know him at all so she has a hard time loving him. Not to spoil the ending but eventually they fall in love and this is the story of them getting there.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

 

Book 71: Judge and Jury


so i finished my last two books at anne's house, without bringing an adequate reading supply. i was stuck for a whole day without anything to read, so anne let me read this book. i do believe it was the last book she blogged about...another fabulous book by james patterson. this is only the second by him i've read. they are similar to another favorite of ours, mary higgins clark. both of these authors tend to write formulaic books...and this one was good. i read it in a day and a half. this one follows an fbi agent who has just arrested a crime boss, the horrid trial and all the intrigue we could handle the day after thanksgiving. nick, the fbi agent, gets dumped by ellen, the hotshot anesthesiologist (i had no idea you could be a hotshot in this field. i had to laugh a good three minutes about this ridiculousness before i could resume reading) and then of course falls in love with andie, the juror who experiences some personal tragedy at the hands of the crime boss. i hope i didn't give anything away by that synopsis, but i figured that out by reading the book jacket, so it shouldn't come as any surprise to anyone reading this book. i think i like james patterson. he writes mindless, easy-to-read junk. although i did just write that my brain was hurting with all the mindlessness. oh well.

 

Book 70: Into the Wild


this is another that got me by the cover. it's brief description of the contents sounded macabre in the extreme...about someone's decomposing body being found by a moose hunter. naturally, i couldn't wait to read it. this is the story of chris mccandless, a wealthy young man from the dc area who decided, upon his college graduation, to get back to real living. he traveled around the united states for almost two years, hitchhiking and working odd jobs, living out of his backpack and tent until he headed for alaska where he met his demise. the author does highlight mccandless' foolishness and improper perspective about nature, yet he gives the guy some credit, unlike most alaskans. he was woefully unprepared and uneducated about how to survive in the wilderness. and so he died.

this was an interesting and easy read. krakauer, the author, touches on the pull the frontier exerts over all of us. especially as americans, there seems to be something about wild and beautiful places that calls to us. we have been raised in an individualistic culture, and tramping out into isolation to commune with nature and look inside oneself is a natural application of our belief that we ourselves are teh pinnacle of society. man, this keyboard stinks. still at the champaign library, by the way. mccandless was a young man with big dreams and a firm conviction that the rules of civilization, his family, society, and even common sense, no longer applied to him. sadly, this cost him his life, and while many scoffed at his death and proclaimed is was some sad dreamer's just desserts, i don't think we are really that different. as americans we believe that we can do anything we set our minds to, in fact it's our duty to push boundaries, limitations and established anything. but i'm not actually sure that any of those things are actually true. i think they are, like the american dream and paul bunyan, myths of our american society we love to believe.

 

Book 69: Queen's Ransom


so, another murder mystery book, in the series about ursula blanchard. just a note of interest...i'm blogging from super anne's library. while i'm not loving this computer, the rest of the experience is all too heady. it's much bigger than the stow one which i most often frequent. industrial and functional, this library could use some more decorative touches, but it seems to have quite a selection. awesome. i love libraries!

on to the book. it was okay. i think i have been reading so many of these silly books that my brain is beginning to hurt. the pain is not from comprehensive difficulty, rather it's protesting drivel. this one in particular, was difficult because of the numerous sub-plots. i never quite understood what was going on, nor did i want to. anyhoo, i am going to make more of an effort to read better books. ha. think i'll have to use anne's computer at home to put up a picture. drat.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

 

#56: Judge and Jury


Judge and Jury turned out to be one of my favorite books by James Patterson. It is more of a trial story than a mystery and the Italian Mafia is involved so that makes it exciting. The two main characters are an FBI agent and a juror on the trail for the head of a Mafia family. I don't want to say too much about the story because I don't want to ruin anything. Like all James Patterson books the chapters were short, the font was big and it didn't take long to finish the book. Patterson produced another entertaining story and I enjoyed it. Sorry I don't really have much to say about this book either. It's a good Patterson book to read if you've never read one before.

 

#55: Calm, Cool and Adjusted


Well, I read the third book in the Spa Girls series and finished it with the same feelings I have about all of them. I thought it was ridiculous but cannot wait to read the next book by Kristin Billerbeck. This book is written from the point of view of Poppy the spa girl who loves to run, is a chiropractor and believes in eating all things natural. In this story she has to deal with the fact that she has become a little obsessive about health issues and get over some of her past. The basic plot line is Poppy starts going crazy and she has to chose between two different guys. It's a funny book buy I don't really have much more to say about it.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

 

Book 68: The Lazarus Hotel


I am here at panera in the vicinity of purdue university. after i finish posting i will drive around campus. as a big ten graduate i'd like to see the other big ten campuses. this will be campus number four. it's funny, somehow i always believe that some other place, like west lafayette, will be so different. maybe not all that more interesting, as it is indiana, but this isn't all that different from penn state. well, penn state is obviously better, but it brings up an issue in my life: the fact that i'm always looking for the next thing, the more glamorous and exciting friends, place to live, activities, a more glamorous me. yet everywhere i go, i'm pretty much the same, as is my life. as i hurtle towards thirty, i need to sit back and just enjoy where i am right now, with the people around me and the circumstances in which i find myself.

anyhoo, this is no place for random philosophical musings, it's about books! i just completed book 68. it was another my mom recommended. she had said it was similar to "ten little indians" and i guess it was. kind of. six or seven people are assembled in a hotel for a personal discovery course. they then personally discover they all knew a young woman, cathy, who had recently committed suicide. one by one, they are injured. unfortunately, only one person died. it wasn't that great. i couldn't really get into the characters. i doubt i'll read any more by this author.

so, thirty-two more to go. i fully intend to take advantage of my upcoming thanksgiving break by doing much reading. i'd like to finish through at least book 71. i am looking forward to the holiday, as am spending it with my co-blogger anne. i hope we can go visit the champaign library.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

 

Book 67: Death of A Dentist


why do i keep reading these dumb mysteries? because i have just about a month and a half to read thirty-three more books. so this was the usual hamish macbeth mystery. you know, the highlands of scotland, so often romanticized in movies and trashy paperbacks must be a rather depressing place. all the women in these novels are shrewish and ugly, the men all drink an excessive amount of whiskey and beat their wives. actually, these books are just kind of gloomy that way. i will try to read more edifying fare in the future. ha ha, i crack myself up.

 

Book 66: Celebration of Discipline


i rarely read books by christian authors that are "how-to" books. i usually find that they are poorly written, and though strive to make the christian life easier, are usually burdensome. it seems that they always boil walking with jesus down to a couple of formulas, or rules, really. i'd much rather read the bible or something that points me to god in other ways. i watch the movie "v for vendetta" last week and one of the characters said artists use lies to tell the truth. i think that can be true of secular literature; many times it shows us the character of god and the nature of man.

but this was a great christian book. richard foster takes us through the spiritual disciplines. he argues that by practicing these disciplines we place ourselves where god can meet us and bless us. some he wrote about include study, prayer, service, solitude, worship, celebration, confession, as well as several others. instead of feeling i had to do a bunch of stuff to walk with god, reading this book made me want to just spend time with him. whether that be studying the word, listening quietly as i stroll outdoors, or in serving at my church, i just felt a desire to know the lord better. this is an excellent book. i would highly recommend it and even suggest rereading it. i think i'd like to purchase if for myself so as to read more carefully again.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

 

#54: Memoirs of a Geisha


I have had the book Memoirs of a Geisha sitting on my bookshelf for about 4 years and something caused me to finally pick it up and read it. I am really glad that I finally did. The novel is a story of a girl who was sold at a young age to a family that would train her to become a Japanese geisha. If you are unsure what a geisha is, I learned through reading this book that she is an entertainer. She is trained for years in conversation, social graces, music, and dance and invited on a daily basis to entertain at multiple parties and social gatherings the gentlemen who are in attendance. Many people confuse geisha with prostitutes but they are not the same thing, although some of the morals could be questioned due to the fact that most of the men have wives but seem to spend all of their time with their favorite geisha. But, that has nothing to do with the book. It was an acceptable cultural activity in Japan prior to and shortly after WWII, which is the time period this book was set in. Although this story was fiction the depiction of this upper class society and culture in Japan was very accurate. The author, Arthur Golden, is very credible in his knowledge of the Japanese culture. His writing is also amazing. It was very easy to become captivated while reading and a beautifully written novel.

Monday, November 06, 2006

 

Book 65: The Devil In The White City


I remember when this book was a best-seller. it must have been sometime when i was doing quite a bit of traveling, because my memory of it has to do with airport book shops. then i saw that anne read this and liked it. that must mean it's a good book. it has been quite some time since i've liked a book so much that i can't wait to get home and read it. that's how i felt abou this book. it was engaging, interesting, suspenseful and thoroughly satisfying.

if you read anne's post, you probably don't my to give you another synopsis. i found the comparison between burnham and holmes fascinating; as each built his empire i read with rapt attention, watching their plans unfold. one dreamt of architectural supremacy and a city so grand that the world would not be able to forget; the other of hideous secrets and a castle full of death. the writing was informative yet tasteful, especially as larson recounted the horrors young women met in dr. holmes. this was the perfect amount of mystery and information for the reader.

i have only been to chicago once. i now want to return and go to all the places mentioned in the book. although the fair is gone, some of the buildings burnham and his partner constructed remain, as well as the park that housed the fair. a couple of buildings from the white city were turned into permanent structures, and it would be interesting to see them again knowing their past. so many interesting things came about from the fair: shredded wheat, ferris wheels, the midway to name just a few. i would also like very much to see the corner on 63rd street, the corner where HH Holmes built a peculiar and gloomy building filled with secret chambers, soundproof vaults and unusually large and hot kilns.

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