Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wasting Police Time

by PC David Copperfield

Grade: Unfinished
Read to: Page 105

I found this quite fascinating, actually. It is graded "Unfinished" not because I didn't like it, but because it was kind of hard to read the whole thing. Some of it was rather similar to all the rest of it, if you know what I mean. It was basically a blog made into a book.
However, I liked how much you learned about the police "culture", (like you learned about butler "culture" in The Remains of the Day). And I loved how politically incorrect he was! All he said about basically everything was very cool and agreeable (meaning able to be agreed with by me).

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

INSERT: The Children of Men

by P. D. James

Grade: Good
Inserted: After Band of Brothers

There's that certain modern quality...I can't quite grasp it or describe it. Perhaps it is simply a grown-up quality. Anyhow, this book had it, and I don't enjoy it.
However, this book was good. It's amazing she wrote it in 1992, when the possible percussions of birth-control were certainly not thought about. Extremely prophetic, in an exaggerated sense, considering that Europe is dying.
The main character was interesting as well. I like the middle-aged Oxford professor type. He reminded me slightly of the main character in Gentlemen and Players.

The Remains of the Day

by Kazuo Ishiguro

Grade: Good

Certainly slow moving. But I loved how deep it seemed to go into butler "culture". I loved it way more than Never Let Me Go. They both were a bit tragic, but I understood this one more, it was extremely proper (written by a Jeeves, you see), and it really wasn't entirely unhappy.
I liked how Ishiguro managed to convey that the narrator was mistaken in his ideals, even though the narrator himself was obviously convinced he was right. I suppose that's what all good authors should be able to do.

(There's a doctor in this book. Why was he stuck in? He sounded like an Agatha Christie doctor. I suppose that's what they were like in those days...Where they though? That somehow seems unlikely. Anyway, his name is Dr. Carlisle, and I don't quite understand why he was so insistant in his questioning about whether Stevens enjoyed talking to the villagers.)

Book of a Thousand Days

by Shannon Hale

Grade: All right

The most fascinating thing about this book is that it happens to be set in Mongolia--which, of course, is the country which I am researching right now.
Otherwise, it had some interesting parts--I liked how the princess didn't have some dramatic change in character. It seemed like most authors would have made her have one. However, I didn't find it very interesting.'s fine. All right.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Anansi Boys

by Neil Gaiman

Grade: Good

Some of it I didn't like at all. Mostly middle bits. The part with the ghost was boring. The end was great, though. I loved Spider at the end, and the part where Charlie sang.
Speaking of Spider--I thought he was cute at the end. From about when he lost his tongue onwards. Fat Charlie was nice as he wasn't a typical hero exactly. And I always like stories about gods and people with superhuman powers. It's been compared to Douglas Adams, and it certainly reminds me of The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, but I liked it better, I think. The characters seem a bit more character-like, while the Adams people never go quite far enough for me to like them (for the most part).

Here are some random Spider quotes that I liked for an unkown reason. Just to clarify, I don't actually like people like Spider usually. It's just that he happens to be handsome, which I dislike, so I expected to hate him. Since I didn't hate him, I was pleasantly surprised. Any person in whom I am pleasantly surprised, I tend to like a lot.

"Spider's eyes were like puddles after the rain, and Charlie saw things in them he had not seen before: affection, perhaps, and confusion and, mostly, apology."

"Spider said nothing, but a miserable expression crept across his face, and he no longer looked like a doctor: now he looked like a man who had borrowed a white coate from behind a door and was worried that someone would notice."
(Actually, he looks like Charlie. That's why I liked this quote.)

"And then, after the kiss was done, how he stood, like a man who had just discovered the art of standing and had figured out how to do it better than anyone else who would ever come along."
(Interesting way of portraying happiness.)

"'Do you think we can make this work?' she asked.
'I think so,' said Spider soberly. 'And if I get bored with you, I'll just go away and do something else. So not to worry.'"
(I imagined him saying this perfectly seriously. No joke here whatsoever. It only works that way. Other way is not funny.)

Weird thing I didn't understand: Why didn't Rosie and Spider have any kids? Not that I minded exactly that they didn't, it's just that he seemed to emphasize it, and I don't understand the significance.

Charmed Life

by Diana Wynne Jones

Grade: Good

I've been seeing this book at the library for ages, but I always thought it was either stupidly modern, or very badly written. As it turns out, I was quite wrong. I really enjoyed it. Cat was very sweet, I thought. Much more the type of main character I enjoy than is often found nowadays. I liked how Chrestomanci had a wife, and she was rather plump and vague. And the illustrations were cool.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Band of Brothers

by Stephen Ambrose

Grade: Good
Reason: I don't think I would have been have been able to get through it if I hadn't seen the mini-series. However, with that, I was interested in the people, so I finished it.

Favourite parts: The descriptions of the men, especially of Captain Sobel and Lt. Spiers. Also the parts at Bastogne.

Least favourite parts: Towards the end, it got a bit more boring. And there were too many references to people that weren't in the series much. Of course, that wasn't Stephen Ambrose's fault.


by Patricia MacLachlan

Grade: Good
Reason: It's a little book. Short, and sweet. Lovely prose, as Christina said.

Favourite parts: Oh, I don't know. It was too short to really have a favourite part.
Least favourite parts: Ditto.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

A Song for Summer

by Eva Ibbotson

Grade: All right
Reason: It was good. I read it all the way through, and I like Eva Ibbotson's style of writing quite a bit. However, there was lots I didn't like. There were lots of pre-marital sex (nothing graphic, though) and I didn't like the hero all that much.

Favourite parts: Whenever music was mentioned. To think, I actually knew who Stravinksy and Schoenberg were! Also this quote:

"Jean-Pierre came...a brilliant mathematician who professed to loathe children and could send them out of his classes reeling with excitment about calculus..."

I would love to be able to do that. I would ADORE it. Reeling with excitement about calculus? Ah, the glory...

Least favourite parts: The end was weird. I'm glad poor old Kendrick had a moderately happy ending.

Kiki Strike Inside the Shadow City

by Kirsten Miller

Grade: Good/To Own
Reason: Kiki was totally like Kay-Kay-Bay (an OC of mine). I'd like to buy it to put in a thief collection, together with Montmorency and Evil Genius. Otherwise, it was all right, but not spectacular.

Favourite parts: The descriptions of Kiki, most of the things she said and did. I loved her. I loved her motorcycle and her hair and her affection for her bodyguard.

Least favourite parts: The other girls could have been more interesting. The had some potential, however, so I'm hopeful about the sequel.

I, Coriander

by Sally Gardner

Grade: All right
Reason: It was kind of strange...but that wasn't the problem. I'm not sure what it was. Somehow, I didn't like it very much.

Favourite parts: I liked how some of the secondary characters were portrayed. Hester and Gabriel were rather sweet, I suppose.

Least favourite parts: I didn't like Tycho as much as I ought to have, and I wished Edmund Bedwell was nice, which he wasn't at all.

Sorcery & Cecilia OR The Enchanted Chocolate Pot

by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer

Grade: Good
Reason: It was fun, but it could have been better. I like the heroes to a certain extent, and they had potential, but they were too similar to each other, so I couldn't decide which I liked better. Same with the heroines.

Favourite parts: I liked how bad James was at sneaking. Also the title is pretty cool.

Least favourite parts: There were some parts that I thought could have been written better, especially parts that had potential, but weren't as good as I'd hoped.