Such a sweeping poignant story. I honestly can’t decide if this book or The Kite Runner is the better one of the two: A Thousand Splendid Suns just ag...moreSuch a sweeping poignant story. I honestly can’t decide if this book or The Kite Runner is the better one of the two: A Thousand Splendid Suns just again proves to show Hosseini’s immense talent of storytelling.
The backdrop of this book is the nearly forty years of tragic turmoil in Afghanistan’s history, from the Soviet occupation to the end of the Taliban rule. This story, however, mainly focuses on the lives of two extraordinary women, Mariam and Laila, who will meet each other by fate and must persevere in their hardships during a time when flamingoes could not be painted without trousers because their long bare legs were too revealing. Over the course of the book, I really felt for and was moved by the characters. Hosseini, through his eloquent prose, paints a heartbreaking reality of how Afghan women were crushed under the rules and regulations of the Taliban and within their households. I do hope he writes more in the future and I am waiting for his next book.
Maybe I wasn’t a Nancy Drew fanatic, but I used to devour every book I could find in the Boxcar Children series and The New Adventures of Mary-Kate &...moreMaybe I wasn’t a Nancy Drew fanatic, but I used to devour every book I could find in the Boxcar Children series and The New Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley series as a child. I was a huge mystery reader back then, but not anymore. Picking up a mystery book again, in fact one of the best in the genre like The Hound of the Baskervilles, proved to loads to fun.
As this is my first Sherlock Holmes book, I’m not sure how the narration works in the other books but I loved it here. I’m glad that the story was told through the perspective of Dr. Watson, Holmes’ assistant. The infamous detective Sherlock Holmes is too cold and arrogant of a man and I probably couldn’t have put up with him if he took the front seat of the action. I liked how the readers got a chance to see Holmes’ wits and logic in the beginning before he went behind-the-scenes for the majority of the book until the very end. This allows Watson to shine through; his loyal charming personality as opposed to Holmes’ personality puts a twist to the story. (Apparently, in the book previous to this one, Holmes had died jumping off a cliff, but the public was so heartbroken that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had to start writing books pre-dating other Homes books. He sort of brought Holmes back from the dead this way.)
The resolution was predictable, but nonetheless, I enjoyed it. The daunting English moors, the beautiful descriptions, the page-turning plot with twists and surprises, and the interesting characters made up a great mystery. (less)
A pleasure read, but nothing more than that. This book shows the other side of Pride and Prejudice that all fans are curious about—Darcy’s perspective...moreA pleasure read, but nothing more than that. This book shows the other side of Pride and Prejudice that all fans are curious about—Darcy’s perspective of the story. I felt that Amanda Grange’s presentation of Darcy was realistic and flesh-like, and I enjoyed the scenes that were not included in the original book, such as the history between Wickham and Georgina, and the conversation between Darcy and Lady Catherine. (less)
I feared that Stones into Schools, like many other sequels, will just be a repetition of its predecessor. However, I was surprised to find that this b...moreI feared that Stones into Schools, like many other sequels, will just be a repetition of its predecessor. However, I was surprised to find that this book is a lot better. (Yes, I realize that I rated both Three Cups of Tea and Stones into Schools four stars. The reason is because I couldn’t rate Stones into Schools five stars since only my favorite books receive that, and I couldn’t rate Three Cups of Tea three stars because the generous work of Greg Mortenson didn’t deserve that. Rating books from a scale of 1 to 5 isn’t very effective sometimes, see?)
Anyway, the style of prose considerably improved from the first book, and the switch to first person point of view gave a stronger voice to the novel. In Stones into Schools, Greg Mortenson and his CAI organization’s mission to build schools for children expands from the mountainous and remote areas of Pakistan to its bordering country, Afghanistan. Following his policy of “last person first,” Mortenson will confront with his greatest challenge ever: to build a school on the “Rooftop of the World” at the elevation of 12,480 feet in the heart of the Taliban regime. Powerful and inspiring, this is the story of a failed K2 mountain climber who happened to take a wrong turn and has ever since devoted his life to promoting peace through education. (less)
This is definitely not the kind of the book I usually read: it’s pulp fiction, it’s a mystery story, and it’s an audio book. I wouldn’t have given thi...moreThis is definitely not the kind of the book I usually read: it’s pulp fiction, it’s a mystery story, and it’s an audio book. I wouldn’t have given this book a second glance if it wasn’t for the free copy I received from Galaxy Press. I really enjoyed the experience. It was a wonderful thriller, and I was so caught up in the action and suspense that I didn’t see the twist coming. The recordings were excellent. Different actors played the characters, and music and sound effects accompanied the narration. Great for a long drive. (less)
I wish Greg Mortenson’s story was written by someone else. Mortenson is listed as one of the authors for this book, but I doubt that he wrote more tha...moreI wish Greg Mortenson’s story was written by someone else. Mortenson is listed as one of the authors for this book, but I doubt that he wrote more than his acknowledgments. It is David Oliver Relin who contributed the writing, and honestly, his style of prose is terrible. To sample his writing, here are a few sentences:
"He leaned over the side of the truck to request a stop and saw the top of the bearish assistant's close-cropped head stretching out the window, and beyond it, straight down fifteen hundred feet to the bottom of the rocky gorge, where a coffee-colored river foamed over boulders."
“And by the time the rising sun iced the hanging glaciers of Masherbrum pale pink, like a gargantuan pastry dangling above them at breakfast time, Mortenson had agreed to shift the funds his board had approved for the doomed Khane school upside to this village whose headman had traveled so far downriver to educate himself.”
This awkward poetic-wannabe writing doesn't suit this non-fiction book. The story seemed like it was buried under a fluff of adjectives and overwrought expressions, and I repeatedly found myself trying to dig past it.
Criticisms aside though, I greatly appreciate what Greg Mortenson has done. His mission to build schools and educate children in the mountainous and remote villages in Pakistan is remarkable and inspirational. Here is a man who is truly doing something about foreign policy. It is unfortunate that his story is told the way it is, but I personally found Mortenson’s deeds to triumph over the writing in the end. His actions speak louder than the words. (less)
Garth Nix somehow masterfully ties a bow over this hell of a world. Seriously, cheers for him. This world he has created is so raw—-the portrayal of a...moreGarth Nix somehow masterfully ties a bow over this hell of a world. Seriously, cheers for him. This world he has created is so raw—-the portrayal of a world between Life and Death, the bells as a form of magic, and the path into Death as a river with Nine Gates are all very unique. The main characters have developed over the course of this journey and they’re all out there fighting in one of the best climatic battles I’ve read.
It took me a while to read this book, though. There were parts that were dull and frustrating, and there are a few plot-based explanations that are needed as well. Also, I was wishing to see a relationship between Lirael and Nick, and though Nix hints at a connection between them, he leaves it at that. Oh well, maybe we see more of them in Across the Wall, the companion book of short stories, featuring Nick.
You wouldn't want to be left hanging forever at the end of Lirael, I hope. So go ahead and find yourself a copy of Abhorsen. It really is a satisfying end to this marvelous fantasy trilogy. (less)
Even while having all those discussions in English class, this book read like just another survival story to me. Replace a group of stranded adults wi...moreEven while having all those discussions in English class, this book read like just another survival story to me. Replace a group of stranded adults with a group of stranded boys and you’ve got this book, right? It’s only when I finished the entire book did the meaning finally hit me. I then found myself flipping back to various parts and noticing more and more of the purposeful syntax and actions embedded into the story. It all came together, and I had this big “Ah ha!” moment.
Meaningful it may be, but I wouldn’t call this book anything more than “pretty good.” Some parts just seemed too peculiar to me. The Lord of the Flies was frankly an odd symbol used to depict the theme. Also, the barbaric and extreme actions of the boys were out of the norm and this never allowed me to like and care for them. Though this is probably intentional, it simply made an unpleasant story. It’s no doubt a classic, but I would only recommend it to gain a point of reference. (less)
I love how this series stays true to J.K Rowling’s novels and yet contains its own unique elements and perspectives. Sometimes when I’m reading it, th...moreI love how this series stays true to J.K Rowling’s novels and yet contains its own unique elements and perspectives. Sometimes when I’m reading it, the fact that it’s fan-fiction all together abandons me.
In reading the first few chapters, we come across an interesting plot twist: James Potter, his family, relatives, and friends, are spending an year in the States, and James and Ralph’s third year will be taking place at the American Wizarding school, Alma Aleron. I was at first wary about this, but I later enjoyed the school’s differences. And as usual, James and his friends are swept into another adventure—one that consists of the Vault of Destinies, the missing red thread of the Loom, the key to the World Between the Worlds, the sport of Clutch, and more. And also note that reading the back story, The Girl at the Dock, might give more clarity and insight to the events of Vault of Destinies. (less)