Shelfari: Book reviews on your book blog

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Slaughterhouse Five

I finished reading Slaughterhouse Five yesterday. This was a good book, on the surface it seems fairly straight forward, and is an easy read, one fo the hallmarks of good writing. It has some seeming absurdity to it, but I think this is a device to render amusing, if not ridiculous - one of the tragedies of World War II - the firebombing of Dresden. Also, it allows us to look at the faculty of memory and the relativity of time. Both are fairly dense concepts, and no where near as straightforward as poeple like to think.

Kushiel's Dart

I finished reading Kushiel's Dart last week, though with work, I haven't had time to add any blog posts, so today, two will be forthcoming. This novel was interesting, I especially liked the near our reality setting, with minor differences created by an active god and fallen angels breeding with humans a la the nephilim. Kudos there. I also liked the political intriguing that happened in the novel, really the first part of the book was very well done. But the second half was pretty boring to me. Maybe I am tired of High fantasy, I don't know. I do know that I'm sick of the slave who empowers and frees him/herself plot device. If this spoils th ebook for anyone, I'm sorry - after all it is only a minor part. Plus who reads these posts anyway =)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Acts of King Arthur

I just finished reading John Steinbeck's The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights. I wish with all my heart he was able to finish this novel, as it took me back to my childhood and the persisting love I have for Arthurian literature. This novel was superb, and unlike many of the other noves I've been reading lately by Hemingway, Fitzgerald ad Steinbeck, this was a novel that practically turned its own pages. If you love Arthuriana and haven't read this, read it. It stops just short of the tragic aspects of the Death of Arthur.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Garden of Eden

Today I finished reading The Garden of Eden by Hemingway. This is one of the unpublished manuscripts posthumously published by Hemingway's estate. This was an interesting novel, I think Hemingway could have polished it to make it truly a great novel. As it stands, it deals with themes that seem too disparate at first look. Elements of it were surely inspired by his love of Africa, and others by the theft of his luggage - containing his unfinished writings - in Spain. The sexual and relationship elements could have worked better if they didn't dominate so much of the novel however.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Finished the Gap Cycle

Tonight, I finished reading This Day All Gods Die by Stephen R Donaldson, the final novel in the Gap Cycle. This is probably the most straightforward of the series, tying up all of the political machinations with a spectacular conclusion. If you haven't read this series, and you are a fan of sci-fi, do so. The novels are well written, though fairly heavy in terms of psychological and physical abuse. The aliens in the series, the Amnion are a frightening race, coldly logical and unemotional in their dealings wiht humanity and their desire to devour human identity into their own through mutagens which turn humans into Amnion. How a bunch of broken humans can dig past their own scars and trauma and transcend such suffering to save humanity becomes what this novel is all about. I hope readers will enjoy this series as much as I did.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

As fans of David Weber may know, his latest novel, Storm From the Shadows came out this week. I went out and picked it up right away. Knowing nothing beyond it being an Honorverse novel, I was pretty disappointed to see that it was more about Michelle Henke and would be another different viewpoint book than a mainline story novel. Happily, Weber put a nice forward into the novel explaining his vision for the series and how it would progress. That eased my worries and I was able to read the novel at my usual word devouring pace. The setup for the next phase of the plot begins in this novel in earnest, and I am eagerly awaiting the next books in the series.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Latest read

I just finished reading Chaos and Power, the next book in the Gap series. This series continues to be good, especially with it taking twists and turns that I could neither predict or expect. I like the direction of the novel, and the issues of victim and victimizer which it continues to explore and play on. Angus Thermopyle has definetely become the character that most intrigues me, as his role of victimizer in the first novel, The Real Story, has become continually a victim, depsite and physical empowerment, his character has continued to be victimized mentally and emotionally.

I'm also working my way through the Garden of Eden, and am finding it to be less interesting than his other novels. Maybe because it seems to be about a newly wed couple in the 30's. The wife has gender changing sexual fantasies and is rich, and the husband is a writer who has initial success. They are galavanting about Europe. Maybe this novel would have been better if Hemingway had lived to finish it, but True At First Light was a much better read - though it did seem to restate other ideas from his earlier work like game hunting in Africa.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

moving along

I've finished reading A Dark and Hungry God Arises, and have started Garden of Eden. The Gap series is a good read for serious sci fi readers, but definitely not for the faint of heart. The personal violence (against the soul and the body) is so low and vulgar that you almost have to wonder what kind of person Donaldson is. His writing either betrays some sick secret fantasies or he has a penchant for reading true crime. One has to wonder. At the same time, he has a compelling sci fi series that really looks at psychology and the way victim and victimized could continually turnabout again and again.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

latest read and birthday fun

I just finished reading Stephen R. Donaldson's Forbidden Knowledge, the second book in his Gap series. This is definately not sci-fi for the average fan. Donaldson typically writes about adult themes, and this book is no exception, with a main character who is raped repeatedly and forced into a stockholm syndrome like situation. The next book I intend to read is Ernest Hemmingway's Garden of Eden. I'm looking forward to this, as Hemmingway's novels are always captivating for me - I think his style is just approachable, it makes his novels flow easily. Which is a big difference from Steinbeck or Fitzgerald.

I also just turned 32, and celebrated in true dork style. My friend Jay and I played a huge game of Warhammer 40,000 that took up the time from 12:00pm until 5:30pm. We had a blast, though sadly I lost as we ran out of time - playing a massive 2 turns. Next time, we plan to play at his house and go from Friday througb saturday.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Today I finished reading Tender is the Night by F. Scout Fitzgerald, the latest novel in my attempt to repair my atrophied reading skills. Fitzgerald really tapped in to the American psyche, one could easily take the plot of this novel and jump it forward in time to the present. His fascination with the neuvo riche was something just beginning in his time, but now, fortunes are one and lost by people everyday - with the current economy, lost more of late than won. But the lottery and America's fascination with "reality" TV has made the process of gaining wealth for many easier.
Tomorrow, I plan to go to the library and get a couple of new novels, I've been focusing on Nobel laureates of late, but may look at other authors like DH Lawrence, I'm not really sure. I like to wander in libraries, just looking at books sometimes so we'll see how that goes.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

In the beginning....

Today I'm going to begin trying to document the various modeling and painting projects I am working on, as well as keep a record of the novels I am reading and my general thoughts on them. I'm hoping this will help me focus a bit more on my own fictional writing among other things.