Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator

The sequel to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator is much less-known, and will probably never become a movie. It will most likely never see the fame of the first, and yet I like them about the same. 

In this novel, Wonka takes Charlie and Grandpa Joe home in the great glass elevator. They pack the rest of the family into the elevator and blast off, intending to head back to the factory. Of course, pandemonium ensues and they go too far up, up into the sky, up out of earth's atmosphere. And so their zany adventure begins. 

I enjoyed this book. It's a nice easy read and great for kids! 

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Outsiders

The Outsiders

"Two of my friends died that day; 
one a hero and the other a hoodlum"

The Outsiders is one of my favorite books, and has been for a very long time. It's also probably the book I have read the most.  I recently re-read it and I guess I just didn't realize how short it is; it's been a while since my last read. But I still loved it. And maybe it's short length is part of its charm. I love a book that I can just sit down, read, cry, and leave. It's like a good crying movie in book form. 

This book is traditionally read by 8th graders; it can be such a poignant novel for those kids, if they let it be. I hope they do. Because this was a life changing book for me. I love it. It's a coming of age story laced with the conflicts of socioeconomic status, inability to get out of poverty, and love of sunsets. Read it. Love it. I do! 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

This novel tells the story of two children, one Chinese and one Japanese but both American, during WWII. They become friends and puppy love takes over. But racial differences during the war make it hard for them to even see one another. And then they start placing the Japanese-Americans into Internment Camps. 

Ford's novel bounces back and forth from the 1980s - "Present" - and the war years as the Panama Hotel is re-opened and belongings from Interned Japanese are found. Memories are sparked. And then the ending is exactly what you would suspect. 

The story had a few good moments and a very sweet succinct ending. Yet at times I was bored by the story and found it rather predictable.  Didn't love it. Didn't hate it. Not sure I would recommend it, but I won't berate you if you love it.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Lost Boys

Lost Boys

So I was pretty excited to read this book. It's by Orson Scott Card; I've enjoyed other works of his. He's a pretty good guy. Whatevs. And this is what it says on the back:
"As Stevie retreats into himself, focusing more and more on a mysterious computer game and a growing troop of imaginary friends, the Fletchers' concern turns to terror...And as evil strikes out from the most trusted corners, it's suddenly clear: Stevie's next on the list."
I thought I would love this.
I love creepy books. Ya know, ones that mess with ya. Nothing terrible. Mostly along the lines of Jodi Picoult. 
And then I find out the characters are Mormon. Kind of annoyingly Mormon. They keep having religions discussions throughout the book. And then they give us their formula for how they get new callings. Puke.
And the wife is terribly whiny. She's pregnant and has three other small children. From what I understand that's hard. I also understand that I was the same age as the oldest in the book when my Ma had baby number four. And I don't remember my mom being unable to make dinner or being unaware of what was going on in my life. Yet the wife in this book was totally unable to fulfill her homemaking duties, and is often whining to her husband that he should just quit his job and come home. 
And the book is a bunch of padding & fluff -- lots totally irrelevant to the actual  plot. I just kept waiting for the real story to happen.Waiting and waiting and waiting. 400 pages of waiting!
And then the ending is just terrible. It was almost too real in the emotions and the possibility of my children [who are far off in the future!] being hurt or taken. But at the same time, it was totally ridiculous and impossible. [Spoiler: Ghosts, Spirits, Apparitions, Whatever you want to call it, OF THE DEAD CHILDREN. I didn't buy it.]
And I felt totally creeped out and couldn't sleep. 
I think this is probably Card's worst work ever. I haven't read everything he's ever written, but I have read a fair sample, and this is a fair assessment. 

Also, I apologize for my ridiculous use of bold. I kind of feel like a teenage girl right now.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Angela's Ashes

So my amigita favorita had the lovely idea that we, along with another chicita bonita should start a book club. [I'm the only non-ginger allowed, so back off! :)]

And so we read Angela's Ashes.

Angela's Ashes 

Not gonna lie. I legit picked this book up on a dollar day at the bookstore with no idea what it was about. I just looked at the cover and assumed it was a holocaust novel. My bad. So it was sitting in my pile-o-books-to-read when Nat suggested our book club and reading this. However, with the wedding and the moving and the honeymooning and the five other books I was reading, Angela's Ashes took a back burner. 

My first thought on finishing this book was that I clearly need to read Joyce again because I'm starting to think all Irishmen are the same.  But seriously.  Near the end of this really started to remind me of Portrait. Maybe Stephen Daedalus knew Frank McCourt? Okay I'm being ridiculous. 
My second thought was "Why is this book titled Angela's Ashes? I don't get it!" 

But I did enjoy this book. I didn't speed through it, but I did read it rather quickly. I do recommend this book. It also has a sequel, apparently, which is now going on my list.  

But really. Anyone know why a nice gent like McCourt would title his memoir with his mother's name? 

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Island

"Which is better - to be born stupid into an intelligent society 
or intelligent into an insane one?"

A follow-up to Brave New World, Huxley offers a cross between utopia and primitive-ity for a "sane" society. Island has many of the same themes as Brave New World, but they are dealt with very differently. 

Drugs are still used, but they are used to put the society in an enlightened state for the purpose of gaining knowledge. Likewise with the trances, as they are used for hyper-learning. This "sane" society merges the best of the East and West, as well as utilizing the best of technology, science, and religion, as opposed to being slaves to it. 

To be completely honest, the book was a little over my head and I will definitely have to re-read it in the future to gain a better understanding.