Sunday, November 28, 2010

Anne of Avonlea

Title: Anne of Avonlea
Author: Lucy Maud Montgomery
Series: Anne of Green Gables, book 2
Genre: Children
Published: 1909

Recommendation: A decent series continuation for those who want to find out about Anne's further adventures.
Rating: 8/10

Summary: Anne takes a teaching position in Avonlea and goes through ups and downs of practical teaching. Marilla brings home twins, Dora and Davy, whose parents died and adopts them. Anne makes some new friendships.

Reactions: I picked up the second Anne book immediately after finishing re-reading the first one. I have also read this one before, but its events were less clear in my memory than those of the first book.

To me, the sequel doesn't quite measure up to the original story. There's something about boisterous, naive Anne that is so charming in the first book that's no longer present here. Nevertheless, it's fun to continue following Anne's life in Avonlea after college.

These are still children books despite the now grown protagonists, so the language and the plot remain uncomplicated and charming. Anne goes through some difficulties, but she also makes new friends, tests some of her theories on teaching, and earns respect of her students.

I felt the conclusion of the book, while wrapping up a chapter of Anne's life didn't give me any particular feeling of closure. More books were being written and many of Anne's adventures were just starting.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Anne of Green Gables

Title: Anne of Green Gables
Author: Lucy Maud Montgomery
Series: Anne of Green Gables, book 1
Genre: Children Lit
Published: 1908

Recommendation: An excellent nostalgic read for children or adults.
Rating: 9/10

Summary: Anne Shirley is a red-headed orphan who comes to live on Prince Edward Island, adopted by a brother and a sister Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert. The book tells the story of Anne's childhood, her life in quiet Avonlea and her endless endearing mischief.

Reactions: This is not my first time reading this book. I have read it as a teen and enjoyed the adventures of Anne Shirley very much. Despite knowing the plot of the book quite well, I found this re-read to be touching and highly enjoyable as well.

In the center of the book is Anne who is a smart, funny, compelling character that one can't help but fall In love with. She is sassy, full of imagination, and is getting into scrapes all the time, but at the same time she is good-natured and touching in her affection for others.

The beginning of century rural Canada is a compelling setting with beautiful and peaceful scenery, small-town politics, and simple views. The descriptions of the place make me want to book my vacation there. The book is sappy in places and is clearly missing people with malice or bad intentions. The worst people get up to is telling gossip; but this dream world weaves a net and it's fun to get caught in it.

This is as fun as it gets. Absolutely recommended.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Wrinkle in Time

Title: A Wrinkle in Time
Author: Madeline L'Engle
Genre: Children Lit
Published: 1962

Recommendation: Better appeal to teens than adults.
Rating: 7/10

Summary: Meg and Charles Wallace are very close as brother and sister. Their father has been missing for over a year and they haven't heard from him. Then Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which appear and take the children along with their friend Calvin on the adventure to find the missing father.

Reactions: A Wrinkle in Time is a classic children novel that I have heard mentioned many times, but have never had a chance to read before. Partially, I wish I had read it earlier because of it's teenage themes of fitting in and finding oneself that probably resonate better with the younger audience. As an adult I found Meg's overly quick friendship with Calvin surprising and Meg's angst over her appearance overly dramatized.

The plot is fairly simplistic as befits a children's book and the ending I found to be a little anti-climatic. Still it's cute and warm in it's own fashion and has that "everything will be ok feel" towards the end. However, I didn't find myself getting particularly warmed up to the characters in the book. Charles Wallace acts too old for his age, Meg is much too angsty, and Calvin barely has any role besides raising Meg's self-esteem.

Overall, I didn't end up enjoying the book as much as I hoped to, partially perhaps because of it's outdated feel and somewhat moralistic overtones. But it was good to get acquainted with children classic lit and I do think it would still be an interesting read for someone of a more suitable age.


Title: Cryoburn
Author: Lois McMaster Bujold
Series: Miles Vorkosigan
Genre: Science fiction
Published: 2010

Recommendation: A fun and touching adventure with Miles & co. taking on the world.
Rating: 7.5/10

Summary: Miles and Roic are attending a conference on cryo-revival in Kibou-daini. The conference is disrupted by armed protesters who kidnap some of the attendees. Miles escapes the attack but gets lost in the city's catacombs as a result. Eventually he is helped by a street boy whose mother is the key to the mysteries of CryoCorps politics.

Reactions: Having read all Miles Vorkosigan novels in one summer many years ago, I didn't remember much beyond the basic premises of the books and my sheer enjoyment of the novels back then. I eagerly picked up the latest book in the series.

There are several other recurring characters in the book besides Miles. There's his Armsman Roic, clone brother Mark, and Lisa Koudelka. However, most of the book is spent with Miles investigating CryoCorps and getting away with rather crazy plans. The plot is not too intricate, but it's well-paced and entertaining throughout.

Cryoburn barely requires having read previous books in the series, except for a few references to the past and for a better understanding of relationships between characters. I think some of the earlier books were better, but one could certainly jump into the series at this point if so desired. I would recommend starting with Shards of Honor though.

The book is not particularly deep, but it's a fun one. I enjoyed the mayhem around Miles as well as the younger characters of the novel. My book also came with a CD containing an e-book version, which came particularly handy as I started reading the paper copy but switched to the e-book version when I left for my vacation. It seems very generous to release the ebook version for free (the note on the CD states that the book can be shared) and I would be very excited to see more authors doing this.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

October Recap

Happy Halloween, everyone! Well, I am late with that, but better late than never. I didn't end up reading any horror this month, but I did see lots of fun costumes on Sunday. I think my favorite was a group of people dressed up as plants and zombies from "Plants vs Zombies" game. If you haven't played it yet, then I totally recommend you download it now and clear the rest of your day :)

As to the reading, I am falling behind my reading goal. Only 3 books this month. I do go on a vacation in a week, so perhaps my reading will pick up then.


Books Read: 3

  1. An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon
  2. The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys by Chris Fuhrman
  3. The Magicians and Mrs. Quent by Galen Beckett
Favorite book: An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon