book review

This tag is associated with 4 posts

Animal Farm – Quick Review and Thoughts Part 1

Animal Farm

Animal Farm (Photo credit: Ben Templesmith)

I started and finished George Orwell‘s Animal Farm a couple of weeks ago, through a library loaned audio book, but am just now finding the time to write about it.  Have I mentioned the I love the ecollection from the library?

Anyway – Animal Farm.  GREAT book!  4 out of 5 stars on my Goodreads.  Apparently most of America read this early in life, but it was never required reading during school for me so it took me a little longer to find it.  It’s a very quick story which I could see appealing to younger crowds for the simple reason that it focuses on a group of farm animals that revolt and create their own farming community.  However, there are so many societal and philosophical questions throughout the book, both subtle and some not so subtle, that I found myself taking notes on my thoughts.  It’s the first time I can remember a book, which wasn’t required reading, stirring such a reflective mood.

I’ll use the next few posts to review my overall thoughts, some of which may seem more of a rambling than anything else since I’m not sure I actually found any conclusive feelings to any of the themes I found within the book.  Themes such as

  • Society’s putting too much value on intelligence.
  • Does higher levels of intelligence open a person to more opportunities in life and if so, is that actually a good thing?
  • Does high intelligence automatically lead to abuse of those of lower levels?
  • Is capitalism a foregone conclusion?  If so, is that a good thing?
  • Are we destined to always separate ourselves into classes, whether that be social, political, or ethnic?

For those interested in watching a film version, here is a classic animated version of Animal Farm.

More to come…

Patrick Rothfuss – The Wise Man’s Fear – 400 pages to go

The Wise Man's Fear

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve allocated every minute of my reading over the past three weeks to The Wise Man’s Fear.  I know its been three weeks because the library only allows you to borrow ebooks for 21 days before they’re returned, and today is the day its leaving my Kindle.

I don’t want to give any final judgment on the book, but as of today I have been very happy with it.  Book one, The Name of the Wind, was Outstanding!  This one is also very good, adding depth and back-story to many of the characters introduced in the first book while introducing several new, diverse characters.  That character development, along with learning more about the rules of ‘magic,’ have easily been the best parts.  The time Kvothe spends at the University had me staying up late, falling asleep with my Kindle on my chest.

My only struggle with it has been the question – where is this going?  I had thought it would again follow the timeline of the University, with conflict and diversity intertwined.  I’m now 600+ pages into it and there really isn’t any main conflict, although many of the small conflicts had me completely absorbed.  The book has taken an interesting turn into political intrigue, which I have to admit has been a good twist, but beyond that I don’t know…

Since I’m someone who struggles to commit to a book for more than a couple of weeks, I’m going to add a chapter or two from Close to Shore in between longer stints with The Wise Man’s Fears.  We’ll see which I finish first.

Book Review – The Color of Magic

I finally finished reading The Color of Magic this week, which is actually the third time I’ve read it.  It’s been at least 10 years since the last time and it was almost like reading again for the first time.

The Color of Magic is the first of Terry Pratchett‘s novels set in a fantasy realm called Discworld.  The story follows two main characters – Rincewind, a wizard of sorts, and Twoflower, a visitor to the city, Ahnk-Morpork.  They have several adventures and meet many fantastic characters and creatures throughout the book, including thieves, warriors, dragons, and even Death.  The book is separated into four short but linked stories that could stand alone, but do flow one into the next.

When I first set foot in Discworld, I was probably around 12 years old.  At that time, Terry Pratchett spun a tale of whimsy and happiness.  I took note of those things a normal 12-year-old would, the escape into an alternate reality that was clearly more exciting than our own.

The second time in was just a few years later and not much had changed, although I do remember finding it much more comical than before. The interactions between Death and Rincewind are great.

This time is took me much longer to read it than ever before.  It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy it as much as previously, because I did.  It was because I spent about half the time reading and the other half thinking about a passage in the book.  Pratchett touches on politics, religion, and common misconceptions. There is so much depth in his writing, so much philosophy and satire, that I completely missed previously.  Pratchett obviously has a great sense of humor but within that humor lies deep contemplation and intelligence.

Overall Grade:  4/5 stars (only because one of his other books is the bar I’m using for a 5/5)

If anyone else has read it, I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts and reactions to it too.

Cover of "The Color of Magic"

Cover of The Color of Magic

The Best Books I Read in 2011

Cover of "The Name of the Wind (Kingkille...

Cover via Amazon

Looking back, I actually read a lot more than I have in a while.  Much of the volume came from adventure type books, the same genre as where the Da Vinci Code would fall.  This type of mass market paperback is readily available for 99 cents at Goodwill or in the clearance section of Half Price Books.  Normally, I’m an avid fan of fantasy fiction like that from Robert Jordan and George R.R. Martin, but found that the quick pace fit perfectly with what I needed.  They still provided the escape that I needed but without taking a month to read an 800 page book.

James Rollins and Steve Berry were new authors I tried out and will continue to read.  I also really enjoy the ‘Pendergast’ novels by Preston and Child and highly recommend giving them a shot if you’re at all interested in supernatural thriller/mysteries.  The Pendergast character is a very interesting take on an FBI agent.

There are also a few books on the list that my wife put me up to reading.  No need to point them out, I’m sure you can guess.

The Book of Lies by Brad Meltzer (decided to give this one a try after watching one of his shows on the History Channel)

Map of Bones by James Rollins

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

The Charlemagne Pursuit by Steve Berry

The Romanov Prophesy by Steve Berry

Water for Elephants (believe it or not, this book is a hundred times better than the movie. The book has much more of a focus on the circus which is really well researched and interestingly portrayed.)

Reliquary by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Dance of Death by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Cemetery Dance by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Written in Bone by Simon Beckett

The Mephisto Club by Tess Gerritsen

And easily, the best book I read last year was The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (pictured above).  It’s a fantasy fiction novel, his first, and was everything a fan of that genre could hope for.  I’ll be submitting a book review to YCN and will add an update here with that link once it’s posted.

I know there were several more, but trying to remember 12 months worth is actually pretty difficult to do.  Especially since, if I don’t enjoy a book I’ll quit reading it after 50 – 100 pages, which means lots of other novels keep coming to mind that I didn’t actually finish.


The Rabbit Hole

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