Thursday, December 11, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
The plot centers around Kate Bickford, a suburban widowed mother of an adopted child named Tommy. Tommy is abducted in the novel's first few pages by the "man in the mask", who later appears in Kate's home and warns her to follow his "method" if she ever wants to see her son again. A local sheriff winds up dead, and Kate is arrested for his murder, which complicates her efforts to find her son. She is eventually released on bail and takes it upon herself to find the "man in the mask" and, ultimately, rescue her son.
The main problem I had with the novel is that it is sloppily written. I enjoy novels written for children and young adults, so it's not that I don't appreciate writing at a different level: I do, as long as it's good writing. There is a difference, and this difference is evident in Taken. The plot is also inconsistent, and several loose ends are never tied up. Also, the main character, Kate, never seems quite as worried or as devastated as you would probably be if it was likely that your child had been killed by an abductor. That really bugged me. Also, his portrayal of the lone African American character in the book is rife with stereotypes. Jordan even writes this character's dialogue using his conception of African American speech patterns and vocabulary choices, which, to me, is obnoxious and inappropriate. Finally, the climax and conclusion of the novel fell flat and left me with a bad taste in my mouth, plus it made me mad because it ultimately wasted time I could have spent reading something amazing! I keep a reading journal where I write down every book that I read, and, for the first time ever, next to the book's title I drew a little arrow pointing down to remind myself of how much I disliked this book! So, for all of these reasons I grudgingly give Chris Jordan's Taken 1/2 out of 4 Bananas.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Jack is the star of the football team and is with friends at a local diner celebrating his most recent victory, when a strange man walks past him and his eyes start flashing silver. Jack tells his parents about this strange occurrence, which ends up changing his life forever: the strange man is from the future and has been sent back to track Jack down and destroy him. As Jack discovers, his parents are not his true parents, as he also has been sent from the future to try and save the world (yeah, kind of like in "Terminator"-- but I forgave the author this obvious similarity because the rest of the book is completely original). The rest of the novel follows Jack as he eludes shape-shifters and makes strange new friends (a talking dog and a beautiful ninja-girl), while trying to understand his past and come to terms with the present.
Firestorm is really exciting and original, so it is definitely a great read for anyone interested in a relatively easy, action-packed, sci-fi type adventure. It also has some fascinating ecological detail worked into the plotline, so you get a little information along the way. It did take me a while to get beyond the author's writing style, however, because he wrote the book almost entirely (it seemed) in sentence fragments. Short. Sentences. Make it exciting. Although sometimes. It drove. Me crazy. You get used to it after a while.
All in all, I definitely recommend Firestorm and give it a hearty 3 out of 4 bananas!
Monday, September 22, 2008
Monday, September 8, 2008
Greg Mortenson had failed to climb K2, the most technically-difficult climb of any mountain in the world. He was descending the slopes when he took a wrong turn, got lost, and ended up spending several weeks in Korphe, a tiny village, where he saw students trying to scratch out their lessons in the dirt. Mortenson vowed to return with enough money to build a school for the children of the village that had hosted him so generously. The rest of the book describes the difficulties Mortenson had finding donors to help Muslims (he points out that everyone wants to help the Buddhist sherpas made famous by Mt. Everest) and explores why that is and why helping Muslims and Muslim countries is necessary in fostering world peace. He eventually found a donor and began to travel down the path that he will follow for the rest of his life.
Three Cups of Tea is important for all Americans to read, in my opinion, and that's not something that I say lightly. It forces us as a country to look in the mirror and ask ourselves what our priorities are and what we can do-- both as a country and as individuals-- to foster world peace. 4 out of 4 Bananas
Tally is an Ugly. She can't wait for her sixteenth birthday because, when you turn sixteen, you have the operations to become a Pretty. You have extensive plastic surgery to change the shape of your eyes, cheekbones, arms, legs, nose; your eye color can be changed, your hair straightened or lengthened, and liposuction will make you thin. Even more exciting, Tally will finally move to Prettytown, where her life will be nothing but parties, drinking, sex and fun 24/7. What's not to love? Then she meets Shay, who doesn't want to become Pretty. Through Shay, Tally meets a community of people-- all Uglies-- who are hiding in the Smoke and trying to live life as it used to be, without the debauchery and artificial beauty of Prettytown. Tally's beliefs are challenged in ways she could never have imagined, and in the end she is left with making a monumental and potentially disastrous decision. I can't wait to find out what happens in the rest of the series (Pretties, Specials, Extras).
I loved this book and thought that its social commentary on our obsession with beauty and perfection was right on. A must-read for anyone in high school. 4 Out of 4 Bananas
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Friday, May 30, 2008
Friday, May 23, 2008
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Thursday, May 1, 2008
I think that what I objected to in this novel was the voice of the characters, particularly of Ed himself. I loved that, as an Australian author, Zusak set his novel in Sydney and uses delightfully colorful Australian slang. My problem is that I felt like Ed is too whiny and navel-gazing, as are his friends. I felt like reaching into the pages and slapping him, saying "Get a life and quit your whining!" I also felt like some of the things the characters say (especially his rough-around-the-edges friends) are too romance-novel to be realistic. I don't think I'm a heartless reader, but it made me wonder if Markus Zusak himself is still going through some sort of "she loves me, she loves me not" teenage angst. Not that there's anything wrong with that!
My final issue with *I Am the Messenger* is the ending. I was gearing up for at least a satisfying answer to the question of who is sending Ed these messages for him to deliver, when... what? It was sort of a weird and all-too-quick wrap up for me.
Has anybody else read this? If you have, or if you do, let me know!
I hate to say it but I'm giving this one 2 out of 4 Bananas.
Monday, April 28, 2008
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
4 out of 4 bananas.
So after *The Good Earth*, I was in need of a good, fast-paced, Spring Break read. I turned to Patricia Cornwall's *Postmortem* ,recommended to me by Mrs. Cabaj. It was just what the Spring Break doctor ordered! I whiled away my vacation hours reading about Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta, who ended up being instrumental to the capture of a dangerous serial killer. I finished it last night and was cringing as I turned the pages of the book's final scenes. Scary and fun, for sure! Sometimes you just need a little brain candy, you know? Thanks, Mrs. Cabaj!
3 out of 4 bananas.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
As part of my new ranking system, I'll give this book 3 out of 4 bananas.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
3 1/2 out of 4 Bananas
Has anyone else read it? Tell me what you think!