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Tuesday, August 16th, 2005
9:19 am - I forgot the format.

indieoboe
Wuthering Heights:

The Earnshaw Family's life is turned upside down when Dad brings home a scary street kid and commands everyone to love him. Some do more than others.

All movies based on this book are romantic nonsense. Most references made to this book are romantic nonsense. This book is not a bloody romance. This book is about spoiled, petulant, self-indulgent people who live in the middle of nowhere and try to get revenge on everyone else.

I didn't care for it.

My new Invader Zim rating system works like this: Curses are bad, waffles are good. Scale is out of five.

Wuthering Heights receives 4 curses and 1 waffle. The waffle is because it's historically important or something. I'm not sure. It's a little waffle.

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Monday, July 18th, 2005
2:11 pm - Fall of Angels by L.E. Modesitt Jr

thatkaringirl
Fall of Angels (Saga of Recluce)
L.E. Modesitt, Jr
Fantasy

First off, I'd like to summarize the series, Saga of Recluce. It's set on a world in the middle ages, but there is a sort of magic that some people are able to use. It's about order (black=good) and chaos (white=not good). Wizards/Mages are rare, but powerful. Black is a creative force. Depending on the person, they can shift weather, heal injuries, reinforce strength in wood, metal, etc. Black mages find it difficult to tell lies or to kill people. Some of them can't even hold a sword. White is a destructive force. White Wizards are often employed by kings because they can spy on people using a screeing glass and they can throw firebolts. Recluce is just one island on this world and they are known for their lineage of Order.

Each book is a stand-alone story and doesn't necessarily need to be read in order. I have not read them all, but the ones I have read focus on one person who is discovering their black powers. By the end of the book the world has changed (usually due to war and/or politics and the intervention of the new black mage), but the fun thing is that the hero is often very humble and has a very humble trade. For example, when the black mages discover their powers they are trying to make a living as a blacksmith, carpenter, etc. Since they can control order they are very good at their trade and they do a lot of experimenting and building. The plot can be predictable, but the characters are very believable and fascinating.

The Fall of AngelsCollapse )

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Sunday, June 19th, 2005
9:45 am

nonsex_elijah
i know a lot of people have read this, but i just have to recommend the little prince by antoine de saint-exupery to everyone. if you haven't read it, you need to. if you have, read it again, especially if the last time you read it was as a child.

it's one of those children's lit books that means so much to both kids and adults. it's about a pilot that crashes in the desert and meets a strange boy from another planet. it's just, perfect. read!

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Tuesday, February 8th, 2005
5:31 pm

radiojedi
X-posted to my personal journal
Fiction
A Delirious SummerandFlabbergasted by Ray Blackston. I actually read these in this order, though Flabbergasted is the first of the two. I enjoyed both, though I liked Delirious more overall. Blackston is a fairly new fiction writer, offering fresh characters, witty dialogue, and humerous situations. Both of these books explore the world of single men in the world of Christian dating. I have no desire to really give away the plot, so I'll just leave it at that--read these. They are funny, light reads, and may even bring a tear to your eye at times. You can find them at Barnes and Noble easily enough, amazon, or borrow them from me if you know me (though I do always recommend folks buy books from newer authors that are good so that they sell and can keep writing). 8.5 out of 10, for both works

White by Ted Dekker, the last book in his trilogy. Finally, I was able to read this book, after not having time to do so for months! Like the previous two, I devoured it. Dekker's two worlds-colliding comes to an unexpected end, with gripping symbolism that forces you to think about Christ in new ways. His writing style, his imagination, and his ability to capture Truth is reminiscent of Tolkien and Lewis. If you don't read any other books I tell you about, read this (but make sure to read the first two in the series before). All I can say is that I'm ready for more Dekker! A rare 10 out of 10

Crystal Lies by Melody Carlson. This is a very unnerving, uncomfortable read at times, but realistic and hopeful. The protagenist is a mother whose teenage son is a drug addict, who risks everything to save him, only to be continually disappointed. Also dealing with a breaking marriage, she faces the realization that she has put her life and her faith on hold, only to enable her son to continue his lifestyle. Carlson is best known for her works written for young adults, but this novel will surely put her on the map for adult readers. 9 out of 10

Silenced by Jerry B. Jenkins. I got frustrated easily with much of the Left Behind series, especially the last book. But Jenkins, on his own, has started a similar series of books. The first, Soon, was a fast and exciting read, which caused me to want to read the next. Silenced continues the story, of a world without religion, where a world-agent whose job is to hunt down factions of religious groups, becomes a believer and a double agent. This book continues to look at his struggles to maintain his identity, which is harder in the face of an assignment which causes him to work closely with the world leader. I liked the first book better, this definatly moved slower and seemed like a transitionary novel. I only recommend it if you want to continue on with the series, as I plan to do. But by itself, it wasn't that great. 5 out of 10

The Long Awaited Child by Tracie Peterson. I like her work, mostly, so I tried this book and found it to be boringly predictable. Couple wants kids, can't conceive after 10 years, and decides to adopt even though woman has fears about losing the adopted child ("It happened to my friend, it could happen to us"). Couple brings pregnant teen into home until baby is born. Woman and teen fight a lot. And then there is a "surprise" ending that is far too predictable. But I won't spoil it for anyone. 4 out of 10

Pacific Hope by Bette Nordberg. Again, a very predictable book, this time about a troubled marriage that is heading towards divorce after husband was unfaithful. Husband, of course, realizes his loves wife and wants to make amends, so he promises divorce if she still wants it only after she travels with him from CA to HI to deliver a small boat via sailing. Husband's business has issues, as someone is doing something highly illegal (not him).... Nordberg's story is predictable, but her characters are somewhat complex, and her writing is memorable. 6 out of 10

At the Scent of Water Linda Nicols. This is a story of a troubled marriage where you don't quite understand what happened until much later. The couple is separated, living in other states. Husband has held out for years, hoping she will return. Her father's health brings her back home, where she sees her husband for the first time in years and wonders about the direction her life out west had been heading. This book is very poignant, well-written, and delivers a vision of broken humanity finding hope that the reader takes to the heart. Buy it and lend it to all your friends. 9 out of 10

Non-Fiction

Strange Virtues by Bernard Adeney. This is an excellent book that all Christians, especially ones interested in cross-cultural encounters, ought to read. Adeney has lived in multiple cultures, so he speaks from experience, scripture, and research when asking the quesion of how ethics ought to be considered in an intercultural setting. America, for instance, does not have bribes as a part of normal life. That is something other countries see as a perfectly acceptable norm. What, then, is alright for a Christian to practice in other cultures? Excellent book, one that I will definatly use in teaching for years to come. 9 out of 10

Who Can be Saved?by Terrance Tiessen. I am definatly not Reformed in my theology and usually don't pay much attention to Reformed theologians, since I personally don't find much value in what they say (no offense to my Reformed friends here). An area in theology where I had thought Reformed scholars were weak was in the area of Christianity and other religions. I'm an inclusivist, so naturally, exclusivist theologians don't have much to convince me otherwise. But, Reformed theologian Tiessen provides a detailed text addressing many of the issues surrounding the relationship between Christianity and the world’s religions, focusing especially on salvation. Looking at how God saves people, Tiessen addresses the specific challenges: who needs to be saved, who God is trying to save, to whom God reveals Himself, the standard people are judged, if salvation is possible through only general revelation, if salvation is available for those who did not believe in Jesus, if infants are saved, who is able to believe, why should missionaries be sent. In regards to how the religions fit into God’s purposes in the world, Tiessen analyzes several issues: how religions come into being, how the people of the Covenant relate to other religions, the degree of revelation in other religions, if there is salvation in other religions, how believers can discern God’s grace in other religions, the benefits of participating in interreligious dialogue, and warnings against participating in interreligious activities. Tiessen is both an inclusivist and an exclusivist; he argues that Jesus is the only means of salvation but acknowledges the grace and work of God in other religions. While I don't personally agree with everything he says, much of the book is worthy to consider. So, anyone interested in theological questioning should buy this book. 9 out of 10

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Sunday, September 5th, 2004
12:39 pm - Man Out of Time by Margaret Cheney

balaam42


Not the best writing style in the world, the book is often dry and sometimes a little awkward. But the subject matter, the life of Nikolai Tesla, is so incredibly interesting that it frequently makes up for the weaknesses of the author's style.

Tesla was a fascinating man, and made many significant contributions to the sciences and the culture of his day. AC power and motors, radio, high voltage and high frequency electronics. As the title of the book indicates, many of Tesla's ideas did not seem to fit with the time period in which he lived. He could have been rich many times over, but didn't have the business acumen to make and hold money, and frequently needed to search financing although he gave many of his ideas to the world without adequate compensation for them.

His struggles and relationships with the other giants of industry at the time are incredible. He worked for Edison and then competed fiercely against him. He socialized with J.P. Morgan, with Westinghouse and many more powerful figures in the sciences and in business.

His experiments were big and bold and impressive and his claims were more so.

I will be searching for a better written biography of the man, but he himself was an inspiration and incredible and I recommend reading about him.

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Monday, August 23rd, 2004
2:51 pm - The Fairy Godmother

musicalsguru
The Fairy Godmother
Mercedes Lackey
Sci-fi/Fantasy/Fairy Tale

This book is about a woman named Elena who is supposed to be a "Cinderella," evil stepmother and all, but the Prince in her kingdom (there are 500 kingdoms) is only 12. So she becomes an apprentice fairy godmother. She is in charge of helping Tradition fulfill the various stories, and she ends up turning a spoiled prince into a donkey to teach him a lesson. She also has to stop the harmful Tradition endings from happening, and she takes a big risk when she brings the spoiled prince home to work for her, as Tradition is very stubborn.

I really like this book a lot. It's kind of a Harry Potter type book. The whole fantasy realm is well thought out and the characters are very believable. It kind of feels like a young adult book, but it is aimed more at adults. I definitely recommend it and it is a fun long (432 pages) but quick read.

current mood: content

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Thursday, August 19th, 2004
1:49 pm - Change of Tongue

indieoboe
Ok, this is admittedly a niche market, but no book I have read thus far captures the current emotional state of South Africa like this one, by Antjie Krog (most famously known for 'Country of my Skull'). It moves back and forth between contemporary scenes (from 2000-2003) and flashbacks of her childhood. She mingles with presidents, folk, and volk alike, in a unique position as an Afrikaner to both observe and analyse, which she does with a journalist's eye and a poet's pen. There are a few profanities sprinkled in, but half of them would be totally unfamiliar to an American reader. I really couldn't put it down.

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Friday, July 23rd, 2004
12:09 pm - Jane Fairfax and Five Minute Marriage

musicalsguru
Jane Fairfax
By Joan Aiken
Jane Austen companion novel

Five Minute Marriage
by Joan Aiken
Jane Austen like but not a companion

Jane FairfaxCollapse )

Five Minute MarriageCollapse )

current mood: blah

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Tuesday, July 20th, 2004
10:25 am - White as Snow

musicalsguru
White as Snow
By Tanith Lee
Fantasy/Fairy tale

This is another fairy tale interpretation, this time Snow White. The story combines Snow White and the myth of Persephone/Demeter/Hades. It starts with Arpazia (Queen) at the age of 14, and the birth of Coira (snow white). It has an interesting clash between Christians and Pagans in the woods. Both Arpazia and Coira become involved in it.

I don't know if I would recommend this book. It was an interesting twist on the fairy tale and myth, but it was a little vulgar at times with Arpazia's rape and Coira's affair with a dwarf. I shouldn't be too surprised because the subtitle is " a dark sensual retelling of Snow White." If that doesn't bother you, than you may like it, especially of you like Gregory Maguire's books.

current mood: undecided

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Monday, July 19th, 2004
2:45 pm - Timeline

thatkaringirl
Hey there.

A book I've read recently that I would recommend was Timeline by Michael Crichton. I have read several of his books and enjoyed them. I just love the research he puts into them. This one was about Time Travel (a favorite thing of mine). Much better than the movie of course. But now I want to watch the movie again so I can say "HA" when they make stupid deviations.

The characters are really well developed, the story moves along at a good pace, and at the end I even went back to reread a couple of bits. The technology is always convincing enough to make me want to research more myself. He had a very interesting take on time paradox and alternate realities that I'm not sure makes sense. I love to argue time paradox.. so everyone needs to read this book so we can talk specifics.

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1:46 pm - Briar Rose

musicalsguru
The first post.

Briar Rose
by Jane Yolen
adolescent fiction? (officially Sci Fi)

This is an interesting melding of Sleeping Beauty and the concentration camps of WWII. It is about a woman whose grandmother's dying breath is a declaration that she (grandmother) is Briar Rose . The woman decides to find out why she said that, and her search leads her to Poland and the extermination camps.

I really like this. It was a quick read, and it was very clever. It was not very light hearted, but it wasn't too depressing. The way that the legend of Briar Rose fit with WWII was really well thought out. There was a brief paragraph about gay sex, but it was short and not very graphic.
I recommend this book.

current mood: accomplished

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