Reading Roundup: September 2010

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

No, I have never read this book before. I've only recently begun to read science fiction and similar things during the last decade of my life. I liked this book much more than I expected too. It was also different from what I had expected; it was much more philosophical and deep than I had anticipated. I think it was a good book and I'm actually glad that I read it as an adult and not when I was younger. Now I just need to read the sequel.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

There are plenty of reviews of this book out there to read, and I agree with most of them. I thought it ended the series well and was much more deep than I expected it to be. I'm still upset about a few of the choices the author made, just because I don't like to see people die.

The Passage by Justin Cronin

A review I read of this book mentioned that it is the type of book that builds to a point where it is impossible to put it down without finishing it. I agree--reading this was somewhat excruciating because I haven't had a lot of free time. I did have to sit and spend a few hours reading the last two hundred pages because I just needed to finish it. I also kept thinking "why am I reading an eight-hundred page book about viral zombies that cause the apocalypse?" It really is that good--it sounds bizarre, but this is an amazing book with a gripping plot and fascinating characters. It may not be the right book for everyone, but if you try it you may find yourself surprised by how much you like it.

Band of Sisters by Annette Lyon

This book was a nice break from all the post-apocalyptic fiction that I had been reading. I checked it out because the premise sounded interesting; my father has been deployed with the military and we have lived in military wards so it felt like a subject I knew a bit about already. I mostly liked the book; the main flaw that I felt was the fact that it focuses on five women in a very short span of pages and I felt like the characterization of each was somewhat superficial. I just wanted a bit more depth to the book. Other than that, it was a good read and I would recommend it.

Every Last One by Anna Quindlen

I had heard good things about this book and so I decided to read it even though I didn't know much about the plot. The author's writing style was a little difficult for me at first; the book is written in a first-person, present tense that felt a little distant at first. There is also a major twist in the middle that I didn't see coming and that took me a while to get used to. I ended up really liking this book by the time I finished it.


North & South

After reading the novel last month I decided that I needed to watch the film version. At first I didn't like it; it feels somewhat darker than the book, especially since many of the events that lay out the beginning of the story are condensed or eliminated. However, it grew on me and by the end of the four hours I really liked it. The acting is fantastic and the director has done a great job of really bringing out the themes of the novel.

The Blind Side

Mr. Fob and I agree that this movie was much better than we thought it was going to be. I think it's a good example of what can happen if a filmmaker takes a good story and doesn't mess around with it too much. The movie is a little slow and does not have a lot of major drama, but it works well and is quietly moving without being too sappy.


Kristeee said…
The sequels to Ender's Game aren't near as good as the original, in my opinion. I read Speaker for the Dead and Ender's Shadow and didn't go any further than that. I think Ender's Shadow was better than Speaker for the Dead.

I was pleasantly surprised by The Blind Side, too. I had no idea until the end that was based on a true story - when they showed the photos of the real people, I totally burst into tears.
Jenny said…
Have you read Heart of a Shepherd? Is a juv lit about this community of ranchers in Oregon that are in the guard and they get deployed and the youngest son and his grandparents are home to hold down the farm. I really enjoyed it.

I read Blessings by Quindlen and didn't really like it much. I will check this one out.
Becca said…
Yeah, the Ender's Game sequels following Ender are also very philosophical, but the story goes in odd places. I like the sequels following the Battleschool children better, starting with Ender's Shadow.

Good Science Fiction (and Fantasy) always makes you think, not cringe. :) It's just a vehicle to tell human stories outside the normal venue, explore ideas unencumbered by our world's baggage.

And I agree with you about Mockingjay, too.

I really enjoyed North and South, too. Have you seen Cranford? I liked that one a bit better, maybe because the characters were more lovable.
I was also going to say that the Shadow series is better than the rest of the Ender books.
Th. said…

No no no, Celia. Speaker for the Dead is Card's very best book.

I agree with your take on Mockingjay.

I'm looking forward to Passage someday.
FoxyJ said…
Mr. Fob thinks that Speaker for the Dead is better than Ender's Game, but that the Shadow series is actually a bit better too. I need to add some more books to my list.

Th.--I think you would love The Passage, but you have to be prepared to devote a significant portion of your life to it :)
I cried through the last 30 pages of Mockingjay. Finnick's death did me in. Like watching Brad Pitt get mauled to death . . . .

And yes, it was very dark. When I returned it to the friend I borrowed it from, we ended up speaking about the nature of war for nearly 30 minutes.

Best line in The Blind Side, "Who would have thought that we would adopt a Black child before we even KNEW a Democrat?"

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