Showing posts from 2012

Book Review of Mythology by Edith Hamilton 1.7

General Information:

Name of Book: Mythology

ISBN:  9780316341516

Publisher: First Black Bay

Year it was published: 1942

Overall theme:

"The Greeks did not believe that the gods created the universe. It was the other way about: the universe created the gods. Before there were gods heaven and earth had been formed. They were the first parents. The Titans were their children, and the gods were their grandchildren." (24)

Part One The Gods, the Creation and the Earliest Heroes

1. The Gods

The Titans and the Twelve Great Olympians

Observations: The pages briefly introduce the Titans and twelve major gods of Olympus, as well as explaining about Olympus. Then afterwards there are brief biographies of the twelve major and popular gods such as Zeus, Hera, Pallas Athena and so forth. The author lists their Greek name and the Roman name equivalent, as well as pointing out that Apollo being called the Sun-God comes from a Titan, or rather it was confused.

The Lesser Gods of Olympus


Book Review of Greek Myths Vol I by Robert Graves Part 1.9

General Information:

Name of Book: The Greek Myths

ISBN: 0-14-020508-X

Publisher: Pelican Book

Year it was published: 1955

Overall theme:

"My method has been to assemble in harmonious narrative all the scattered elements of each myth, supported by little-known variants which may help to determine the meaning, and to answer all questions that arise, as best I can, in anthropological or historical terms. " (22)

1. The Pelasgian Creation Myth

Issue: The creation of the world by Eurynome, Ophion and introduction of Titans and planets as well as the first man by name of Pelasgus who taught people to make huts feed upon acorns and sew pig-skin tunics. Very similar to Genesis in Torah.

2. The Homeric and Orphic Creation Myths

Issue: A different creation myth, this one stating that Tethys was mother of all of Oceanus' children, or that Night and Wind laid an egg from which Eros hatched and set everything in motion.

3. The Olympian Creation Myth

Issue: Mother Earth emerges from Chaos, an…

Book Review for Tree of Souls The Mythology of Judaism by Howard Schwartz Book I Part I.15

General Information:

Name of Book: Tree of Souls The Mythology of Judaism

ISBN: 9780195086799

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Year it was published: 2004

Overall theme:

"With only one God, heaven would be a barren place, at least in mythic terms. Yet the actual Jewish view of heaven is quite different. There are seven heavens, filled with angels and other divine beings, such as the Messiah [Not jesus!], who is said to have a palace of his own in the highest heaven. The clestial Temple can be found there- the mirror image of the Temple in the earthly Jerusalem- as well as an abundance of heavenly palaces, one for each of the patriarchs and matriarchs and sages, where he or she teaches Torah to the attentive souls of the righteous and the angels..." (xliii)

"Drawing on the full range of Jewish sources, sacred and nonsacred, ten major categories of Jewish mythology can be identified: Myths of God, Myths of Creation...Each of these categories explores a mythic realm, and, in …

Book Review of The Music of Dolphins by Karen Hesse

Name of Book: The Music of Dolphins

Author: Karen Hesse

ISBN: 0-590-89798-5

Publisher: Scholastic

Type of book: Dolphins, feral children, speech therapy, giving back, survival, young adult

Year it was published: 1996


Mila creates headlines around the world when she is rescued from an unpopulated island off the coast of Florida. Now a teenager, she has been raised by dolphins from the age of four.

Researchers teach Mila language and music. She learns, too, about rules and expectations, about locked doors and broken promises, disappointment and betrayal.

The more Mila finds out what it means to be human, the more deeply she longs for her ocean home...


The only character that I knew and understood is Mila. Dr. Beck, Shay and others I couldn't understand them, although I did kind of understand Shay and wished to know more about her. We also learn about dolphins, Mila's family. I did feel that there is some contradictions, such as when the characters go and search for…

Book Review of Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Name of Book: Anna Karenina

Author: Leo Tolstoy

ISBN: 0-451-52449-7

Publisher: Signet Classic

Type of book: Russia, classic, 1870s, adultery, marriage, life, death, rejection, war, unhappiness, madness, St. Petersburg, Moscow, farming, peasantry, wealth, money

Year it was published: 1873-1877


Tolstyo's genius for viewing social classes in the largest possible context and for sketching the subtlest human gestures becomes most evident in Anna Karenina. To this novel he brought his troubling conviction that at his moments of most intense experience man is closest to death. This is the double drama of Anna and of Levin. Sensual, rebellious, Anna renounces respectable marriage and fine position for a passionate involvement which offers a taste of freedom and a trap for destruction. Levin, an eccentric and melancholy young nobleman, surrenders his individuality to live as a peasant.


The characters are well drawn but tend to be boring and insufferable. I couldn't stand …

Book Review of #3 Call Down the Stars by Sue Harrison

Name of Book: Call Down the Stars

Author: Sue Harrison

ISBN: 0-380-72605-x

Publisher: Avon Books

Part of a Series: Storyteller Trilogy

Type of book: Japan, Alaska, River people, evil, 602 PME, 590 PME, storytelling, 6447 PME-6427 PME, reunions

Year it was published: 2001


The Bear-god warriors came like a tsunami from the sea...

On that day of great terror and sadness, the girl called Daughter escaped with her grandfather across the icy North Pacific to find shelter on the islands of the Whale Hunters. But peace was not to be their lot. For here the mad medicine woman K'os was scheming vengeance against her mot despised enemy, the revered warrior and statesman called Cakliux- her son. And this young, innocent female from a far-off place was the key- the final, essential ingredient in a demonic brew of suspicion, hostility, and forbidden love that K'os would prepare with an expert poison the lives of those she hated and would see dead.


The characters are w…

Book Review of #5 The Dreamer Wakes by Xueqin Cao

Name of Book: The Dreamer Wakes

Author: Xueqin Cao

ISBN: 0-14-044372-x

Publisher: Penguin classics

Part of a Series: The story of the stone Vols I-V

Type of book: Marriage, death, suicide, karma, evil spirits, China, 1700s, debt, shame, Manchurian dynasty, wealth, poverty, living beyond means

Year it was published: 1760 (version I have 1986)


Divided into five volumes, of which The Dreamer Wakes is the fifth, it charts the glory and decline of the illustrious Jia family ( a story which closely accords with the fortunes of Cao Xueqin's own family.) The characters are set against a rich tapestry of humour, realistic detail and delicate poetry which accurately reflects the ritualized hurly-burly of Chinese family life. But over and above the novel hangs the constant reminder that there is another plane of existence- a theme which affirms the Buddhist belief in a supernatural scheme of things.


The characters are only outlines of themselves and don't distinguish individ…

Last Planned Books

Starting with New Years, I will try to make a bit of a different list rather than the one I always make. I will do it once a week maybe, and will include pictures and summaries of books I plan to read. Wish me luck! (These are books planned for the whole of 2013)

Books to be reviewed:

The music of the dolphins- Karen Hesse
Anna Karenina- Leo Tolstoy
The Story of the Stone- Xueqin Cao
5. The Dreamer Wakes
The Storyteller Trilogy- Sue Harrison
3. Call Down the Stars

Books I'm Reading:
Oleander Girl- Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni 25/288
The Odyssey- Homer 332/530 (Norton World Anthology Vol. A)
Cloud Atlas- David Mitchell 353/509
The Metamorphoses- Ovid 272/441
 The Almond Tree- Michelle Cohen Rosanti 27/348
The Scandalous St. Claires- Laurel McKee
1. One Naughty Night 73/684

Life in Ancient Egypt- Adolf Erman 53/550

Future Books:
Arabian Nights Vol. I
Arabian Nights Vol. II
Sir Gawain and the green knight- (Norton World Anthology Vol B)
Lorna Doone- RD Blackmore

Book Challenge of 2012 Complete


1.Are you there God? It's me, Margaret- Judy Blume
SR: July 1st, 2012
FR: July 8th, 2012
2.Pride and Prejudice-Jane Austen
SR: May 29th, 2012
FR: October 3rd, 2012
3.Bridge of Scarlet Leaves- Kristina McMorris
SR: September 4th, 2012
FR: December 8th, 2012
4.East Wind, West Wind-Pearl Buck
SR: March 1st, 2012
FR: April 21st, 2012
5.Coyote Dreams- Jessica Davis Stein
SR: May 1st, 2012
FR: June 12th, 2012
6.The Foreign Student-Susan Choi
SR: May 28th, 2012
FR: September 4th, 2012
7.Death in Venice- Thomas Mann (Norton World Anthology Vol. F)
SR: July 1st, 2012
FR: July 7th, 2012
8.Les Liaisons Dangereuses-Choderlos DeLaclos
SR: January 5th, 2012
FR: April 25th, 2012
9.Emma- Jane Austen
SR: April 16th, 2012
FR: May 29th, 2012
10.The Hundred Dresses- Eleanor Estes
SR: August 1st, 2012
FR: August 10th, 2012
11.Fall Into Darkness- Christopher Pike
SR:February 1st, 2012
FR: April 12th, 2012
12.One Friend to Another- Elizabeth Feur
SR: June 1st, 2012
FR: June 28th, 2012
13.The great…

Book Challenge A-Z #52 Bridge of Scarlet Leaves by Kristina Yoshida McMorris

Fulfilling the requirement:

The B letter for the title alphabetically.


Los Angeles, 1941. Violinist Maddie Kern's life seemed destined to unfold with the predictable elegance of a Bach concerto. Then she fell in love with Lane Moritomo. Her brother's best friend, Lane is the handsome, ambitious son of Japanese immigrants. Maddie was prepared for disapproval from their families, but when Pearl Harbor is bombed the day after she and Lane elope, the full force of their decision becomes apparent. In the eyes of a fearful nation, Lane is no longer just an outsider, but an enemy.

When her husband is interned at a war relocation camp, Maddie follows, sacrificing her Juilliard ambitions. Behind barbed wire, tension simmers and the line between patriot and traitor blurs. As Maddie strives for the hard-won acceptance of her new family, Lane risks everything to prove his allegiance to America, at tremendous cost.

Lesson learned: 

In war, everyone loses.

Link to review: click here

G17 Contagious: Why Things Catch on

Title of the book: Contagious: Why Things Catch On

Author: Jonah Berger

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Publishing Date: 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4516-8657-9

(from goodreads)

Why do certain products and ideas go viral? Dynamic young Wharton professor Jonah Berger draws on his research to explain the six steps that make products or ideas contagious.Why do some products get more word of mouth than others? Why does some online content go viral? Word of mouth makes products, ideas, and behaviors catch on. It’s more influential than advertising and far more effective.

Can you create word of mouth for your product or idea? According to Berger, you can. Whether you operate a neighborhood restaurant, a corporation with hundreds of employees, or are running for a local office for the first time, the steps that can help your product or idea become viral are the same.

Contagious is filled with fascinating information drawn from Berger’s research. You will be surprised to learn, for example, just how l…

E-Reading: Book Review of #9 The Sign of the Twisted Candles by Carolyn Keene

Name of Book: The Sign of the Twisted Candles

Author: Carolyn Keene

ISBN: 9780448095097

Publisher: Grosset and Dunlap

Part of a Series: Nancy Drew series

Type of book: Mystery, feud, foster parents, happy endings, 1930s, children's-young adult.

Year it was published: 1933


While solving the mystery of an old man's disappearing fortune, Nancy ends a family feud and reveals the identity of an orphan of unknown parentage.


Characters are typical. Nancy doesn't reveal any special talents in this books, and she is again the active and has more of a masculine role. Her father is not a background character and is active instead, while other characters are forgettable and unimportant. The villains are who you think they are and everything is tied up in a neat bow.


No idea what theme should be, except there are reasons for everything.


Its written in third person narrative from Nancy's point of view. Bess and George didn't play a large part in the novel…

G16 Book Review of Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin

Name of Book: Golden Boy

Author: Abigail Tarttelin

ISBN: 978147672496

Publisher: Atria books

Type of book: Hermaphrodite, pregnancy, appearances, Great Britain, choices, 1990s, 2006, family, relationships, teenagers

Year it was published: 2013


The Walker family is good at keeping secrets from the world. They are even better at keeping them from each other.

Max Walker is a golden boy. Attractive, intelligent, and athletic, he's the perfect son, the perfect friend, and the perfect crush fro the girls in his school. He's even really nice to his little brother.. Karen, Max's mother, is a highly successful criminal lawyer, determined to maintain teh facade of effortless excellence she has constructed through the years. Now that the boys are getting older, now that she won't have as much control, she worries that the facade might soon begin to crumble. Adding to the tension, her husband, Steve, has chosen this moment to stand for election to Parliament. The spotlight of t…

G22 Show & Tell in a Nutshell; Demonstrated Transitions from Telling to Showing

Title of the book: Show & Tell in a Nutshell; Demonstrated Transitions from Telling to Showing

Author: Jessica Bell

Publisher: Vine Leaves Press

Publishing Date: 2012

ISBN: 978-1480234475

(from goodreads)

Have you been told there's a little too much telling in your novel? Want to remedy it? Then this is the book for you!

In Show & Tell in a Nutshell: Demonstrated Transitions from Telling to Showing you will find sixteen real scenes depicting a variety of situations, emotions, and characteristics which clearly demonstrate how to turn telling into showing. Dispersed throughout, and at the back of the book, are blank pages to take notes as you read. A few short writing prompts are also provided.

Not only is this pocket guide an excellent learning tool for aspiring writers, but it is a light, convenient, and easy solution to honing your craft no matter how broad your writing experience. Keep it in the side pocket of your school bag, throw it in your purse, or even carry i…

G15 Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy

Title of the book: Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy

Author: Emily Bazelon

Publisher: Random House

Publishing Date: 2013

ISBN:  978-0-8129-9280-9


Being a teenager has never been easy, but in recent years, with the rise of the Internet and social media, it has become exponentially more challenging. Bullying, once thought of as the province of queen bees and goons, has taken on new, complex, and insidious forms, as parents and educators know all too well.

No writer is better poised to explore this territory than Emily Bazelon, who has established herself as a leading voice on the social and legal aspects of teenage drama. In Sticks and Stones, she brings readers on a deeply researched, clear-eyed journey into the ever-shifting landscape of teenage meanness and its sometimes devastating consequences. The result is an indispensable book that takes us from school cafeterias to courtrooms to the offices of Facebook,…

G14 Book Review of The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan

Name of Book: The Painted Girls

Author: Cathy Marie Buchanan

ISBN: 978-1-59448-624-1

Publisher: Riverhead books

Type of book: Ballet, Paris, poverty, sisterhood, 1878-1881, 1895, based on true people, statue, looking at self, France, Degas, relationships, working

Year it was published: 2013


Its 1878. After their father's sudden death, the van Goethem sisters find their lives upended. Left at the edge of destitution, Marie is dispatched to the Paris Opera, where for a scant seventeen francs a week she will be trained to enter the famous Ballet. Her older sister, Antoinette, finds work in a stage adaption of Emile Zola's naturalist masterpiece L'Assomoir.

Soon, Marie is modeling in the studio of Edgar Degas, where her image will be immortalized in the statue Little Dancer Aged Fourteen. Antoinette, derailed by her love for a dangerous man, must choose between honest labor and the more profitable avenues open to a young woman of the Parisian demimonde.

Set at a moment of p…

Book Challenge A-Z #51 Kenjiro by Pat Barr

Fulfilling the requirement:

The K letter for the title of the book, alphabetically.


Kenjiro...the ambitious, handsome samurai, who fought the barriers of race and sin that stood between him and the beautiful white "barbarian" he loved.

Elinor...the stunning Englishwoman, caught in a spell of intrigue and violence, enchantment and ecstasy, torn between two ways of life- and love.

Ryo...Kenjiro's sister, who traded a traditional future for a forbidden love and an independent life.

Felix...the proper Victorian, forever loving women he could not truly possess, from the married woman who broe his child to the young Japanese girl he was forbidden to marry.

Lesson learned:

Research, research, research!... Oh wait, you mean from the book? It's possible to find Asian men classy, but only if they act European.

Link to review: click here

Book Review of Bridge of Scarlet Leaves by Kristina Yoshida McMorris

Name of Book: Bridge of Scarlet Leaves

Author: Kristina Yoshida McMorris

ISBN: 978-0-7582-4685-1

Publisher: Kensington Fiction

Type of book: 1941-1946?, friendship, loyalty, brotherhood, crush, interracial relationship, Japanese male/American female, music, secrets, letting go, World War II, Internment camps, fighting, POW

Year it was published: 2012


Los Angeles, 1941. Violinist Maddie Kern's life seemed destined to unfold with the predictable elegance of a Bach concerto. Then she fell in love with Lane Moritomo. Her brother's best friend, Lane is the handsome, ambitious son of Japanese immigrants. Maddie was prepared for disapproval from their families, but when Pearl Harbor is bombed the day after she and Lane elope, the full force of their decision becomes apparent. In the eyes of a fearful nation, Lane is no longer just an outsider, but an enemy.

When her husband is interned at a war relocation camp, Maddie follows, sacrificing her Juilliard ambitions. Behind barbed wir…