Saturday, February 27, 2010

Finally! A Book I Love!

After two really crappy reads, I got to read a book that was fun and entertaining. Book number five was "Warriors: Into the Wild" by Erin Hunter. This is the first in a series of books about clans of cats living in the forest. It tells the story of Thunderclan cats and their interactions with rival clans, Windclan, Shadowclan and Riverclan.

Rusty, a kittypet, leaves his Twolegplace to join Thunderclan. He begins as a warrior apprentice and struggles with not only his training, but the doubt the other cats have about him not having warrior blood in him. He is a brave and thoughtful cat who wants to prove himself.

There are many characters to keep track of, but it didn't bog down my reading. There was a handy guide at the beginning of the book describing the different cats, their roles in the clan and different places in the forest, including maps.

This is a young reader's series, which makes it an easy read. It is not, however, without tension. There are some battles described in the book that end sadly and really draw you in. The end of the book wraps up part of the plot, but also contains a cliffhanger. I can't wait to get the second book in the series to see what happens to one of the young apprentice cats in Thunderclan.

If you're looking for something quick and easy, but not just fluff, give it a try!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Save Me from This Reading Hell

I purchased Book #4, "Holy Autism" by Daniel Forant, specifically for a book club I am part of. The group votes monthly for a reading selection. The books are put up for voting by their authors. The book with the most votes has a discussion, led by the author. The books are by first-time authors only. This being said, you can't expect to have great literature, but you would expect a good solid try by an author who is confident enough in his or her work to put it out there for us to critique.

The premise of the book is about a woman, Anna, whose autistic daughter Hellen, has been kidnapped because of some kind of secret only she understands regarding Christ and the Church.

What's the secret? I still don't know. The book was impossible to follow. Characters weren't developed, dialogue was confusing and I never knew who was speaking.

The reader is never told who kidnapped Hellen or what her experiences were while she was held captive. Anna is accompanied by a man, Adam, but their relationship is never described and we are not given any background information on either one of them. I never knew why they were in the places they were or how they got there. I never understood how they were connected to the other characters in the book or how they met them.

All in all, the book was horrible. Why did I read it, you might be wondering? Because I felt a responsibility to the group and to the author. I had not voted for it, but it was that month's selection and it was the first book selected since I had joined the group. I wanted to jump right in. Interestingly enough, the day before the scheduled discussion, the author himself pulled out of the discussion, then left the group. The group was left confused by his message and had no one to lead, so the discussion never took place. Officially that is. A few of us had some things to say and created our own discussion.

It was the common assumption that the author knew his work was completely worthless and didn't want to face the criticism. Whether that is the case or not, I for one felt jerked around. I bought his book, struggled through it and tried my best to find something constructive to say in support of him. Then he left the group in a lurch.

In no way do I hold the group responsible. The woman who moderates the group was very shocked by the author's actions and sent a very personal and thoughtful message to the group members. I will try to join them once again for a discussion in the future. However, at this point, I need to read something light and fun. My last two books have been miserable!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Book #3 Was A Big Disappointment!

My third book of the year was "The Poe Shadow" by Matthew Pearl. To sum up how I felt about this book: UGH. What a let-down!

I read Pearl's other two books, "The Dante Club" and "The Last Dickens" and loved both of them. This fell into the same category as the others, a historical novel, so I figured I would love this one as well. Boy, was I wrong!

"The Poe Shadow" talks of the mysterious death of Edgar Allan Poe and his fan, Quentin Clark, who is determined to find out what really happened to his favorite author and to protect Poe's already tarnished reputation. (Sounds cool, right?)

As it turns out, Clark is not a very likable character. He is obsessed with Poe's death and doesn't seem to care about anything else in his life. He ignores his work as a lawyer and neglects the girl he is engaged to marry without much turmoil. If he had in fact felt guilty about the people he turned his back on in real life while he was out chasing ghosts, I would have been much more sympathetic. Instead, I had a very hard time feeling sorry for him when all of his troubles came to a climax.

The book was repetitive, which did not help in trying to trudge through it. I did not need to read entire paragraphs over again, however, I was subjected to just that! Because it was so slow moving, I would go days without picking it up. I almost convinced myself, when I was not yet halfway through the book, to just give up on it. What kept me going was the curiosity of how Pearl would play out the circumstances of Poe's death and what a possible answer was to this nearly century and a half old mystery.

I'm not sure it was worth it.