Monday, October 27, 2008

Book for November

Our book for November is:
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd.

I read this book a long time ago and I remember basically nothing. I do remember it was good ... and it had bees in it ... other than that, I'm drawing a blank. I think it will be a good one to discuss amongst ourselves. Happy reading!!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

My Thoughts Exactly

This is an article written by Shannon Hale (most of you know how much I love her) and it pretty much sums up my feelings exactly.

It's not that I don't like the classics (I do, promise) but this explains why I love books like Shannon's or the Twilight Series. I love the stories and characters. I can devour Twilight a million times (and I am getting close to that :) because of the story in the book. That's the whole reason I fell in love with reading in the first place. (And yeah, I read Nancy Drew under the covers, too)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

the curious incident of the dog in the night-time

Well, once again, I agree with everything Carly said in her book review. I also loved the description of "special needs." I also cheered when Christopher overcame some of his fears and managed to find his mother. Well said, Carly.

A few more things to add - it did feel like the book was actually written by someone with autism. I don't personally know anyone with autism and I confess to not knowing that much about the disease. It was very interesting to read all about how his mind worked. When something happened in the book that would elicit feelings, Christopher followed it up with a chapter on something factual - like the constellations or a math problem.

And yes, I did like the math problems in the book. That comes from being a "math geek." I thought all the information in the book was really interesting.

It must be so hard for families who have autistic children. Bravo to them! While I didn't appreciate some of the language Christopher's father used, you could tell that he loved his son very much and would do anything for him. I was glad to see that by the end of the book, Christopher and his father were getting along better. I thought it was clever of him to suggest rebuilding their trust as a "project" to do together. Very clever, since it's so rational - which is exactly the way Christopher's mind works.

A very interesting book - cleverly written and pretty inspiring. I'm glad we could read this one together.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

I finished this book a couple of days ago and I've been trying to think of something intelligent to say about it. I hadn't heard about it at all before, so I enjoyed reading something completely new to me. While reading I discovered that it is on the list of the National Endowment for the Art's top 100 books. I don't agree with all of their choices (I hate Catcher In The Rye - anyone else?) but figured it was worth checking out.

The first thing I noticed in this book was that the chapters were prime numbers. The main character and narrator, Christopher, has some version of autism and is very good with numbers. I am not. (I was pleased to recognize the prime numbers before he explained them!) I did my best to follow his explanations of mathematical and logical problems, but I admit to skipping over some of the paragraphs involving formulas, quadratic equations, or similar. I don't know the value of N, I never will, and it makes my brain hurt to think about it. (Sarah admits to being a "math geek" - her words not mine. I wonder if she could figure them out?)

I found Christopher's narrative to be very interesting and quite funny at times. His description of "special needs" was great; by Christopher's definition we all have special needs. I liked the way he justified his actions, explaining why he did something or didn't like a certain situation but did so without apologizing for his choices. And I inwardly cheered for him when he managed to temporarily overcome his very real fears of new places, strangers, and stimulation to get where he wanted to go. He is definitely an unlikely hero but I found it reassuring that, with perseverance, he could accomplish what for him is a major task. And if he can do it, so can I.

The author did a wonderful job of creating his narrator. We see what Christopher sees, and we understand more because his mind does not process all of the information in the same way. The way the book is written, complete with run-on sentences and descriptions that are literal facts from Christopher's perspective, gives the impression that what you are reading is a novel written by someone with autism. I liked the way he used different fonts and elements important to his narrator (math, lists, diagrams) to tell Christopher's story.

So, in short, very cleverly written and unexpectedly inspiring.


I finished Brisingr (twice) and I liked it. I was initially disappointed when Paolini announced he intended to write a book 4, instead of his originally planned trilogy. I was anxious to find out what happens with the characters and the storyline. This book satisfied some of my curiosity, but it does leave me wanting book 4. I hope he finishes it soon! (though I think it’s still going to be a couple of years …)

Some general observations, free of specific spoilers:
• Paolini’s writing has improved. Obviously, he’s no longer 15 years old, as he was when he wrote Eragon. Thus, he’s matured, and consequently, so has his writing. Though he is still very descriptive – lots and lots of details.
• The characters in the book also mature. Eragon matures quite a bit, as does Roran, Arya, and Saphira.
• The book is bloodier than the first 2. There’s more fighting and more bloodshed as the armies of the Varden and Galbatorix collide. Innocent men, forced into serving Galbatorix, are hewn down. The whole of Alagaesia is thrown into an all-out war.
• Paolini is finding his own style – he still borrows from other well-known fantasy novels, but I feel like this one is more his own. He comes up with a couple of things that are quite unique to this book (can’t say more, it would spoil the book).

All in all, The Inheritance Series is one I would recommend to other people, for their reading pleasure … esp if they like fantasy, but even if they don’t like fantasy (like me).

Now for some specific spoilers, so stop reading if you haven’t read the book (or its predecessors):

• Agh! Oromis and Glaedr die! So sad! When the 4 of them departed Ellesmera together, I expected that Oromis and Glaedr would die eventually … but I was not expecting it to be so soon! I figured they would be killed in book 4 … not so soon after they all parted! And to be killed in such an underhanded, sneaky way upset me. I mean, I know it was in battle … but ugh, I’m still upset. Aaah, it made me very sad to see them die! And they didn’t even finish off Murtagh and Thorn. Grrr!
• Ergaon & Arya’s relationship. Arya has started to open up to Eragon; she's becoming open to the idea that she could potentially love him. I think she is uncertain of her feelings for him, or perhaps unsure of the depth of her feelings for him. She is definitely fond of him and has some affection for him. I don't think she actually loves (let's have children together and all) him yet, but she is developing a rather deep affection … an affection that will be love in book 4?? I think so.
• And what about Sloan? Was Eragon right not to kill him? I felt so bad for him; I almost think Eragon should have killed him … but it wasn’t his place to meet out a punishment.
• I thought it was a little slow in the middle. Sending Eragon to Farthen Dur (sp??) to sway the dwarves’ vote (though YEA for King Orik!) … the long and detailed description of how Eragon’s new blade was made (though it turned out to be kick-butt … I just didn’t want all the forging details) …

Predictions for book 4:
• Well, Eragon and Saphira are going to kill Galbatorix. Duh! It’s not going to be easy, somehow they will have to separate him from all his dragon hearts … but it’s going to happen. I have a feeling Elva will somehow play a role …
• The last dragon egg will hatch, mature, and will eventually become Saphira’s mate.
• The last dragon egg will hatch for Arya, making her the last Rider.
• I’m undecided on this one – but I think that possibly the Dragon Riders will be no more. Eragon, Saphira, Saphira’s mate/Arya’s dragon will all leave Alagaesia. You know, it will be the classic "humans have risen above the need for supernatural heroes, now the average man will have to become a hero …" with the average man represented by Roran.
• Arya and Eragon will wed … or maybe not wed, but fall in love and sail off together, leaving Alagaesia forever. This fulfills the last part of Angela’s prophesy about Eragon’s future.
• Roran and Katrina can finally go home and settle without fear of the empire. It would be extremely heartless if Paolini killed them off in book 4. Man, I would be so upset … although, maybe Roran will die (or Katrina?) and “when all seems lost” Eragon will go to the Vault of Souls and retrieve Roran’s soul? Somehow that last part of Solembum’s prediction is going to have to come true. Or … maybe Arya will die and Eragon will go retrieve her soul??

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Twilight Poster & Trailer

*Edited 10/10/08*

I had to add the link to the newest movie trailer ... seriously, I swooned. People don't ever swoon anymore, but man, I did. It's brilliant!! It looks amazing!

GAH! Sorry people, but I couldn't resist. LOOK at this poster! OH MY!!!!! I'm not going to make it, waiting 44 more days. The wait just might kill me ... (click on it to make it bigger ... yum!)