Thursday, October 15, 2009

Book Reviews

A few of the books I’ve read this year. I wrote this instead of grading papers. I actually have some great stories to tell about a trip I just took, but I’ll have to post that at a future time.

Anna Karenina – My first Tolstoy. Anna is one of the most annoying characters in all literature, IMO. (Spoiler!) She should have jumped under the bus much, much earlier.

War and Peace – My second Tolstoy. Much better than the first. The story is quite riveting and non of the characters made me want to gouge my eyes out. The only problem was Tolstoy’s 100-page rant in the conclusion about how stupid historians are.

Great Expectations – This was a lot easier read than I thought it would be. Dickens genius may not be his stories, but it is definitely in his characters. All of them are such interesting portrayals of different aspects of the human spirit. I did figure out who Pip’s benefactor was after about the 3rd chapter though…

Lord of the Flies – I have read this before, but it was in the pile of books Dad and Sara brought for my school’s library. Always a great book.

The Road – An interesting post-apocalyptic story about a man and his son traveling a road in search of food and safety. Love the idea, but it gets a little repetitive. And there was very little punctuation, which after a year of teaching English bothered me.

Digital Fortress – Dan Brown. One of the worst books I have ever read. It was written like a bad junior novelisation of a bad movie.

Free Willy 2 – A bad junior novelisation of a bad movie, but it was better than Digital Fortress.

The Super Adventures of Wishbone – Awesome. Just awesome.

Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass – Very strange. I enjoyed the two immensely, but Lewis Carroll was definitely on some interesting drugs. As for the Walrus and the Carpenter song, I don’t really see the religion analogy. It seems like it fits on a very basic level, but if you actually read the poem, there’s very little connection.

Audacity of Hope – Quite good. I read this around the time of his inauguration so I was doubly happy. Doesn’t quite deserve the Nobel Prize for literature though, sorry.

The Poisonwood Bible – A great novel about a family of missionaries in Congo/Zaire. It pretty much exactly spells out my feelings about missionaries (not positive!) as well as covering a lot of Congolese politics around the time of their independence. Spoiler – The US screwed that country over pretty effectively.

A State of Blood – Covers Idi Amin’s time in Uganda, written by an ex-comrade.

Hitching Rides with Buddha – A hilarious story by Canadian Will Ferguson who lived in Japan for several years. The book covers his journey hitchhiking from the North tip of Japan to the South tip. Interestingly, much of the cultural confusion he experiences there is directly relatable to things that have happened to me here in Rwanda.

Zanzibar Chest – A good, but a bit pompous story about a journalist in Africa. He covers all the major events in Africa through the 80 and 90s.

The Long Road Down – Ewen McGregor and some other guy ride motorcycles from the UK to South Africa. Meh. Too much pompous actor dialogue.

Krakatoa – An extensive discussion about the Indonesian volcano. A lot of great information, but a bit too extensive.

I read a lot of other books this year but either I can’t remember their names or they didn’t deserve a mention.


Deirdre said...

The Road Movie comes out on my birthday. It's a sign.

Thanks for the book reviews.


Anonymous said...

I LOVE that you ready "Free Willy 2!!!"


Anonymous said...

That is supposed to say "read," not "ready." I probably wrote that because I am READY to see you!

Jennifer C. Huvluv

Caitlin Rose said...

Jennie really likes Free Willy. She really enjoys how the Willy's struggle mirrors Jesse's conflicting feelings about the abandonment and loss of his mother and his new foster family. Although Jesse does in fact free Willy and return him to his family, it is Willy who makes it possible for Jesse to truly find the family he has been searching for. See Jenny, it's a metaphor.