Thursday, January 20, 2011

Book Reviews!

The last book review I gave was on Richard Dawkins Ancestors Tale. Since then I have read many books. I just wanted to review a few of the more noteworthy ones here.

The Lovely Bones
This book was given to me by my aunt Carmen. She found it in one of those second hand shops for a buck and change. I wouldn't normally pick a book like this up, but since it was a gift I read it. It was a pretty good read, although some of the metaphysical sections were creepy, especially towards the end. This book starts off with the rape and murder of a little girl, and then follows her spirit through heaven. I think it was written more as a drama, since I didn't find it particularly scary, but then again I read a lot of Stephen King, so almost anything else will be child's play in comparison. Overall, while not the normal type of book I will read, I did think it was interesting. Sebold shows us a view of heaven not often seen. It was a good read, but I don't think it is an instant classic, or anything special. Just a good story for people who like drama.

The Hunger Games/Catching Fire/Mockingjay

I had my copy of Mockingjay signed by Suzanne Collins herself at the official book launching event. I hadn't even heard of this series of books until recently. They were written for teens, but I still enjoyed The Hunger Games very much. I purchased all three books, and both me and Donna read them. We both agreed that the first and second books were better than the third. Mockingjay dealt only with the war which made a dictator like society more democratic.

These books had the feel of 1984, where your living in a society where you are always being watched and can be convicted of thinking negative things about the rulers of the society. Mixed with elements of Battle Royale (which made the first book quite entertaining), I would say these sets of books are classics. However, if you can only read one, read The Hunger Games (along with 1984, and seeing the Japanese film, Battle Royale, they all go well together).

The Tales of Beedle the Bard:
Yep, a Harry Potter book. In the 7th book of Harry Potter Hermione was given this book by Albus Dumbledore. The Tales of Beedle the Bard is Hermione's translation of the book from Ancient Runes. It also includes commentary by Dumbledore himself. There are many short story/fairy tales in this book. My favorite would have to be either the tale of 3 brothers, or Babbity Rabbity. In any case, this is a must have for anyone who wants to complete their Harry Potter collection, or for anyone wanting to know more about the series. If you are not a Potter fan, don't even bother with reading the Dumbledore commentary. It wont make sense.

The Liars Tale:
I normally do not read philosophy but this book caught my eye one day while I was walking around The Strand. It is about lying, and why people lie, and why lies are more valuable than the truth. As a scientist, many of the reasons given in the book disgusted me, but they made sense. If everyone always told the truth, there would be no fiction, there would be very little imagination, and life would be rather dull. We need ideas about life, which might not be true, to function. This book explains it all, with a history of philosophical ideas about lying. It is a bit repetitive and long winded at times, much like Dawkins Ancestors tale, so it is not for the faint of heart, but it was still an intellectually good read.

Right now I am reading Stephen King's Needful Things. In an attempt to save money, I am going to be reading a lot of the King books I purchased in high school but never got around to reading.

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