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Showing posts from August, 2012

Book Challenge A-Z #35 Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell

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Fulfilling the requirement:

The O letter for the author's last name alphabetically.

Summary:

In the Pacific there is an island that looks like a big fish sunning itself in the sea. Around it blue dolphins swim, otters play, and sea birds abound. Once, Indians also loved on the island. And when they left and sailed to the east, one young girl was left behind.

Karana is the Indian girl who lived alone for years on the Island of the Blue Dolphins. Year after year she waited for a ship to rescue her. But while she waited, she kept herself alive by building shelter, making weapons, finding food, and fighting her enemies, the wild dogs. Hers is not only an unusual adventure of survival, but also a tale of natural beauty and personal discovery.

Lesson learned:

Being on a deserted island is a lonely life.

Link to review:click here

Book Review of Quidditch Through the Ages by Kenilworthy Whisp (J.K Rowling)

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Name of Book: Quidditch Through the Ages

Author: Kennilworthy Whisp (JK Rowling)

ISBN: 0-439-29502-5

Publisher: Scholastic

Part of a Series: Harry Potter

Type of book: History, Quidditch, magic, Harry Potter

Year it was published: 2001

Summary: 

If you have ever asked yourself where the Golden Snitch came from, how the Bludgers came into existence, or why the Wigtown Wanderers have pictures of meat cleavers on their robes, you need Quidditch Through the Ages. This limited edition is a copy of the volume in Hogwarts School Library, where it is consulted by young Quidditch fans on an almost daily basis.

Proceeds from the sale of this book will go to improving and saving the lives of children around the world- work that is even more important and astonishing than the three-and-a-half-second capture of the Golden Snitch by Roderick Plumpton in 1921.

Albus Dumbledore

Characters:

There aren't any characters in the book, just a general version of Quidditch history.

Theme:

A lot of incidents make …

Book Review of Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

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Name of Book: Tess of the d'Urbervilles

Author: Thomas Hardy

ISBN: 0-553-21168-4

Publisher: Bantam classic

Type of book: rape, 1800s, marriage, values, adult, descendants of wealth, adult

Year it was published: 1891

Summary:

Violated by one man, forsaken by another, Tess Durbeyfield is the magnificent and spirited heroine of Thomas Hardy’s immortal work. Of all the great English novelists, no one writes more eloquently of tragic destiny than Hardy. With the innocent and powerless victim Tess, he creates profound sympathy for human frailty while passionately indicting the injustices of Victorian society. Scorned by outraged readers upon its publication in 1891, Tess of the d’Urbervilles is today one of the enduring classics of nineteenth-century literature.

Characters:

I found Tess to be a confusing character and couldn't understand a lot of her actions. Why couldn't she keep her mouth shut about not being a virgin? Doesn't she realize how she'll get treated if she tells t…

Book Review of The Red and the Black by Stendhal

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Name of Book: The Red and the Black

Author: Stendhal

ISBN: 9783829069908

Publisher: Konemann

Type of book: French, 1800s post French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars, peasantry, upper class, 1830

Year it was published: 1830

Summary:

Handsome and ambitious, Julien Sorel is determined to rise above his humble peasant origins and make something of his life-by adopting the code of hypocrisy by which his society operates. Julien ultimately commits a crime-out of passion, principle, or insanity-that will bring about his downfall. The Red and the Black is a lively, satirical picture of French Restoration society after Waterloo, riddled with corruption, greed, and ennui. The complex, sympathetic portrayal of Julien, the cold exploiter whose Machiavellian campaign is undercut by his own emotions, makes him Stendhal's most brilliant and human creation-and one of the greatest characters in European literature.

Characters:

Julian is a very cold character and the love had for Mathilde as well as Madame…

Book Review of #0 THe Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

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Name of Book: The Hobbit

Author: J.R.R. Tolkien

ISBN: 0-395-28265-9

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Part of a Series: Lord of the Rings

Type of book: prequel, fantasy, hobbits, dragons, dwarfs, wizard, magic, Gollum, origins, magic ring, adventure

Year it was published: 1937

Summary:

"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort."

The hobbit-hole in question belongs to one Bilbo Baggins, an upstanding member of a "little people, about half our height, and smaller than the bearded dwarves." He is, like most of his kind, well off, well fed, and best pleased when sitting by his own fire with a pipe, a glass of good beer, and a meal to look forward to. Certainly this particular hobbit is the last person one would expect to see set off on a hazardous journey; indeed, when Gandalf th…

E-Reading: Book Review of #1 No Risk Refused by Cara Summers

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Name of Book: No Risk Refused

Author: Cara Summers

ISBN: 9780373796953

Publisher: Harlequin Blaze

Part of a Series: Forbidden Fantasies

Type of book: Mystery, supernatural, 1812, 2012, New York, romance, adult

Year it was published: 2012

Summary:

From Newly Wedded magazine: "This castle in upstate New York is the stuff of fantasies! And a kiss under the arch might make your love-or lust-last forever..." Indulging a family request, CIA agent Cam Sutherland has returned to Castle MacPherson for the first time in years to investigate a decades-old theft. But more importantly, it's the place where-in a brief moment-Cam very nearly lost his heart and soul to wedding planner Adair MacPherson. And Adair is still as bewitching as ever. When Cam finds a seven-year-old erotic story written by her-and starring him-his blood damn near boils over. The only solution? To prove to Adair that fantasies are best made into realities...and the best magic happens between the sheets! Forbidden Fanta…

Book Review of The Italian by Ann Radcliffe

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Name of Book: The Italian

Author: Ann Radcliffe

ISBN: http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/

Publisher: http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/

Type of book: Gothic novel, late 1700s, young adult to adult, conspiracy, Inquisition, Italy, monk, hidden identities

Year it was published: 1796

Summary:

From the first moment Vincentio di Vivaldi, a young nobleman, sets eyes on the veiled figure of Ellena, he is captivated by her enigmatic beauty and grace. But his haughty and manipulative mother is against the match and enlists the help of her confessor to come between them. Schedoni, previously a leading figure of the Inquisition, is a demonic, scheming monk with no qualms about the task, whether it entails abduction, torture—or even murder. The Italian secured Ann Radcliffe's position as the leading writer of Gothic romance of the age, for its atmosphere of supernatural and nightmarish horrors, combined with her evocation of sublime landscapes and chilling narrative.

Characters:

The characters strike me as o…

Part XXII: The Three Generations of men from Tale of Genji

Spoilers from
The Tale of Genji

One of the favorite books that I enjoyed reading was The Tale of Genji, and getting to know the many loves of Genji and To no Chujo's descendants. I have to admit that with modern sensibilities its easy to dislike their characters and behaviors, yet one has to look past all that. (The version I read was the Seidensticker edition.) I've discovered the book completely by accident: when I was taking World literature class, one of the assignments was to read portions from Norton World Anthology Vol B of The Tale of Genji. (The chapters were from Seidensticker edition, portions from Chapter 2, 4, 12, 13 and 25. I think I desired to read The Tale of Genji due to the second chapter, The Broom Tree.) When I got my bachelor's degree, however, I rewarded myself by asking from The Tale of Genji, and since then I hadn't regretted my decision. I will simply discuss the men from the novel: Genji, To no Chujo, Yugiri, Kashiwagi, Kaoru, and Niou.

Genji:

Book Review of Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell

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Name of Book: Island of the Blue Dolphins

Author: Scott O'Dell

ISBN: 0-440-90042-5

Publisher: Yearling book

Type of book: Female Robinson Crusoe, Native America, 1800s, stranded, animals, taking care of self

Year it was published: 1960

Summary:

In the Pacific there is an island that looks like a big fish sunning itself in the sea. Around it blue dolphins swim, otters play, and sea birds abound. Once, Indians also loved on the island. And when they left and sailed to the east, one young girl was left behind.

Karana is the Indian girl who lived alone for years on the Island of the Blue Dolphins. Year after year she waited for a ship to rescue her. But while she waited, she kept herself alive by building shelter, making weapons, finding food, and fighting her enemies, the wild dogs. Hers is not only an unusual adventure of survival, but also a tale of natural beauty and personal discovery.

Characters:

There is only one character in the book, Karana. She does change throughout the novel and …

Part XXI: The Age of Innocence vs East Wind, West Wind

Spoilers from
The Age of Innocence
East Wind, West Wind

On the surface, these two books seem to have nothing in common: one takes place in 1870s New York, or "Old New York" as its styled, among the almost elite family of Archers and those they know where we see the customs and whatnots the "Old New Yorkers" have developed, while East Wind West Wind takes place in China in 1920s, also in a wealthy family. The Age of Innocence has a masculine point of view from Newland Archer's desire to marry May Welland to him meeting Countess Ellen, while in East Wind West Wind we have a wealthy girl who's married to a Chinese educated in America.

Still, dig a little deeper and you can see that these books are not as different as one thinks they are. Both are about the women, or rather the education and breaking from tradition for the women. While the question may be the same for the time period, can women become independent from men, the conclusions are drawn completely …

Book Challenge A-Z #34 Journey Home by Yoshiko Uchida

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Fulfilling the requirement:

The U letter for the author's last name alphabetically.

Summary:

World War II is raging. Yuki and her Japanese-American family are forced from their home in California and imprisoned in a US concentration camp called Topaz.

After months of unbearable life in Topaz, Yuki and her family are finally released. They are free, but are left with nothing.

WIth nowhere to go, and no money to get there, the road to rebuilding their lives seems endless. But in the end, it is their unyielding faith and courage that guide them home, reunited and hopeful.

Journey Home is an extraordinary story of one's family struggle to survive one of the most tragic episodes in US history.

Lesson learned:

the world never stays the same.

Link to review: click here

Book Challenge A-Z #33 Jacob Have I loved by Katherine Paterson

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Fulfilling the requirement:

The letter J for the title alphabetically.

Summary:

"Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated..." With her grandmother's taunt, Louise knew that she, like the biblical Esau, was the despised elder twin. Caroline, her selfish younger sister, was the one everyone loved.

Growing on a tiny Chesapeake Bay island, Louise reveals how Caroline robbed her of everything: her hopes for schooling, her friends, her mother, even her name. While everyone pampered Caroline, Louise began to learn the ways of the watermen and the secrets of the island where they lived. SHe dreamed of working as a waterman alongside her father, but she found that her dream did not satisfy the woman she was becoming. Alone and unsure, Louise began to fight her way to a place where Caroline could not reach.

Lesson learned:

If you're unhappy about something, please speak up instead of keeping silent.

Link to review:click here

Book Challenge A-Z #32 Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

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Fulfilling the requirement:

The S requirement for the author's last name alphabetically.

Summary:

"Ma-niac, Ma-niac He's so cool Ma-niac Ma-niac Don't go to school Runs all night Runs all right Ma-niac, Ma-niac Kissed a bull!"

He wasn't born with the name Maniac Magee. His real name was Jeffrey Lionel Magee, but when his parents died and his life changed, so did his name.

Maniac Magee was a legend. Kids were always talking about how fast he could run; how high he could jump; how no knot would stay knotted once he began to untie it. BUt the thing Maniac Magee was best known for is what he did for the kids from the black East End and those from the white West End of Two Mills.

Maniac Magee was special. And this is his story.

Lesson learned:

Changes don't happen over night but gradually.

Link to review:click here

Book Challenge A-Z #31 The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes

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Fulfilling the requirement:

The E Letter for the last name of the author.

Summary:

"I've got a hundred dresses." Nobody can believe it- Wanda wears the same old blue dress every day. "A hundred dresses- all lined up!" If Wanda really does have a hundred dresses, she's certainly keeping them hidden...but why?

Lesson learned:

Be careful of what you do or say. You don't know how they'll react.

Link to review:click here

Book Challenge A-Z #30 The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Fulfilling the requirement:

The G letter requirement for the title, alphabetically.

Summary:

The Great Gatsby captures all the romance and glitter of the Jazz Age in its portrayal of a young man and his tragic search for love and success. It is a rare combination: a literary masterpiece- and one of the most popular novels of our time.

Lesson learned:

Values change.

Link to review: click here

Planned Books

Books I'm Reading:
Pride and Prejudice- Jane Austen 17/326
The Song of the Lark- Willa Cather 28/417
The Foreign Student- Susan Choi 106/325
Vampire of the Mists- Christie Golden 29/341
Tess of the D'Urbervilles- Thomas Hardy 231/390
Great Illustrated Classics The Jungle Book- Rudyard Kipling 43/239
Island of the blue dolphins- Scott O'Dell 116/181
The Italian- Ann Radcliffe 114/289
Chenxi and the Foreigner- Sally Rippin 17/206
Quidditch Through the Ages- J.K Rowling 7/56
Traitors- Kristine Kathryn Rusch 45/382
Heavy Sand- Anatoli Rybakov 109/381
Ivanhoe- Sir Walter Scott 77/405
The Red and the black- Stendhal 453/598
Anna Karenina- Leo Tolstoy 22/807

Series:
The Story of the Stone- Xueqin Cao
5. The Dreamer Wakes 79/376
The People Series Quartet- W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neal Gear
3. People of the Earth 151/587
The Storyteller Trilogy- Sue Harrison
2. Cry of the Wind 39/474
The Angels Trilogy- Lurlene McDaniel
3. Until Angels Close My Eyes 374/552
Lord of the Rings- …

Book Challenge A-Z #29 Stanford Wong Flunks Big-Time by Lisa Yee

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Fulfilling the requirement:

The Y letter for the author's last name alphabetically

Summary:

"We interrupt your lives to announce Stanford Wong has flunked sixth grade!!!"

All right, so maybe there hasn't been an announcement like that. But that's the way it feels to Stanford. He's used to being a hero on hte basketball court, where he's the first sixth-grader ever to make the A-team, and just getting by in class.

But when he flunks English-Flunks it big time-and learns he'll have to trade basketball camp for summer school, Stanford freaks out. His friends can't know or they'll dump him. His had has to know and it's awful. The beautiful Emily Ebers will never like him if he's stupid. And when his mom hires a tutor for him-Millicent Min, genius, jerk, and poster girl from Chinese geekdom- Stanford knows it's happened: His life is officially over.

Lesson learned:

Anything is possible.

Link to review:click here

E-Reading: Book Review of #1 Gray Hawk's Lady by Karen Kay

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Name of Book: Gray Hawk's Lady

Author: Karen Kay

ISBN: 978-1-60928-974-4

Publisher: Samhain Publishing

Part of a Series: White Eagle's Touch, Night Thunder's Pride.

Type of book: interracial romance White female/Native American Male relationship,1832, American west,St. Louis, wilderness

Year it was published: 1997

Summary:

When Lady Genevieve Rohan joins her father in the farthest reaches of the American West, she expects to bring a bit of genteel English charm to his dry, academic existence. Instead, she finds her father desperately ill, and it's up to her to finish his study of the Indian and publish his work- or face the wrath of his creditors.

Her troubles mount when the men hired to capture a member of the Blackfoot tribe dont' bring her a docile maid to study. They present her with a magnificent warrior- proud, outrageously handsome and simmering with fury at the loss of his freedom.

The white woman is beautiful beyond compare, but Gray Hawk can't think past his…

Book Review of #2 Journey Home by Yoshiko Uchida

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Name of Book: Journey Home

Author: Yoshiko Uchida

ISBN: 0-689-71641-9

Publisher: Aladdin Paperbacks

Type of book: 1940s, WWII, Internment camp, getting on with life, survivors, for young adults

Year it was published: 1978

Summary:

World War II is raging. Yuki and her Japanese-American family are forced from their home in California and imprisoned in a US concentration camp called Topaz.

After months of unbearable life in Topaz, Yuki and her family are finally released. They are free, but are left with nothing.

WIth nowhere to go, and no money to get there, the road to rebuilding their lives seems endless. But in the end, it is their unyielding faith and courage that guide them home, reunited and hopeful.

Journey Home is an extraordinary story of one's family struggle to survive one of the most tragic episodes in US history.

Characters:

The story is told through Yuki's eyes. (Something interesting: Yuki means snow in Japanese.) The characters that do surround Yuki do go through some c…

Book Review of Jacob Have I loved by Katherine Paterson

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Name of Book: Jacob Have I loved

Author: Katherine Paterson

ISBN: 0-06-440368-8

Publisher: Harper trophy

Type of book: 1940s, twins, Rass, attention, desperation, good vs evil, religion, crabbing, small community, indifference.

Year it was published: 1980

Summary:

"Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated..." With her grandmother's taunt, Louise knew that she, like the biblical Esau, was the despised elder twin. Caroline, her selfish younger sister, was the one everyone loved.

Growing on a tiny Chesapeake Bay island, Louise reveals how Caroline robbed her of everything: her hopes for schooling, her friends, her mother, even her name. While everyone pampered Caroline, Louise began to learn the ways of the watermen and the secrets of the island where they lived. SHe dreamed of working as a waterman alongside her father, but she found that her dream did not satisfy the woman she was becoming. Alone and unsure, Louise began to fight her way to a place where Caroline could not rea…

Book Review of Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

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Name of Book: Maniac Magee

Author: Jerry Spinelli

ISBN: 9780590452038

Publisher: Scholastic

Type of book: 1980s, racism, Two Mills Pennsylvania, myths, legends, orphan, kid to young adult.

Year it was published: 1990

Summary:

"Ma-niac, Ma-niac He's so cool Ma-niac Ma-niac Don't go to school Runs all night Runs all right Ma-niac, Ma-niac Kissed a bull!"

He wasn't born with the name Maniac Magee. His real name was Jeffrey Lionel Magee, but when his parents died and his life changed, so did his name.

Maniac Magee was a legend. Kids were always talking about how fast he could run; how high he could jump; how no knot would stay knotted once he began to untie it. BUt the thing Maniac Magee was best known for is what he did for the kids from the black East End and those from the white West End of Two Mills.

Maniac Magee was special. And this is his story.

Characters:

Maniac himself didn't seem to go through a lot of changes while others like the brothers and even Mars Bars…

Book Review of The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes

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Name of Book: The Hundred Dresses

Author: Eleanor Estes

ISBN: 0-590-40400-8

Publisher: Scholastic

Type of book: Polish, different, artist, children's novel, bullying

Year it was published: 1944

Summary:

"I've got a hundred dresses." Nobody can believe it- Wanda wears the same old blue dress every day. "A hundred dresses- all lined up!" If Wanda really does have a hundred dresses, she's certainly keeping them hidden...but why?

Characters:

The characters do go through a change; Peggy was the active bully, while Maddie simply watched and didn't do anything about the bullying. However they are dynamic characters who seem to be ready to take responsibility for their actions.

Theme:

Be careful of what you do.

Plot:

The story is straight forward and its written from a third person narrative point of view, that of Maddie's. There is also a nice resolution as well, although the dress part did require suspension of belief.

Author Information:

born
May 09, 1906 in W…

Book Review of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Name of Book: The Great Gatsby

Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald

ISBN: 0-684-16325-X

Publisher: Scribners

Type of book: 1920s, wealth, post world war I, love, waiting, forever, values

Year it was published: 1925

Summary:

The Great Gatsby captures all the romance and glitter of the Jazz Age in its portrayal of a young man and his tragic search for love and success. It is a rare combination: a literary masterpiece- and one of the most popular novels of our time.

Characters:

I am not sure if Fitzgerald tried to go deeply into his characters' psyche or not, but if he did, I didn't see it. There seems to be little to no change in the personalities, but instead they strike me as some sort of drifters who don't let anything affect them. When I did a little research for this book, like the previous novels, this was also partly biographical. (Fitzgerald's wife broke up his engagement, although except him she didn't marry anyone.) The lifestyle that Gatsby and Daisy tried to forge didn&#…

An Ode to the Vampire Series by Anne Rice

The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice. My birthday book. Published in October of 1985, only few days difference between the book and my birth, but I outgrew it, my teenage self no longer finding the sustenance it needs. Guilt wracks my body for giving up, for not finishing, but life is short. If it was eons and eons long, I would not read it either, not wanting to waste my precious moments with it. I loved it in the past, amazed by her brilliant writing and lush descriptions. Ten years if not more has passed and my love has faded away. Should I feel guilty for not finishing the first three novels? I had hoped that I would be proven wrong and would like it, but alas, nay.

The book bored me to tears, every page a struggle to get through, the shining beginning dimming to a stale middle and a worse ending (if I recall right.) I will not read it anymore, nor will I touch The Queen of the Damned. I no longer care or desire Anne Rice, for she fell the way Danielle Steel fell.

Adieu my beloved vamp…

Book Review of Where We Belong by Emily Giffin

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Name of Book: Where We Belong

Author: Emily Giffin

ISBN: 978-0-312-55419-4

Publisher: St. Martin's Press New York

Type of book: adoption, belonging, 1990s-2013?, chick lit, possible half Asian male/WF relationship, choices

Year it was published: 2012

Summary:

Marian Caldwell is a thirty-six year old television producer, living her dream in New York City. With a fulfilling career and satisfying relationship, she has convinced everyone, including herself, that her life is just as she wants it to be. But one night, Marian answers a knock on the door . . . only to find Kirby Rose, an eighteen-year-old girl with a key to a past that Marian thought she had sealed off forever.

From the moment Kirby appears on her doorstep, Marian’s perfectly constructed world—and her very identity—will be shaken to its core, resurrecting ghosts and memories of a passionate young love affair that threaten everything that has come to define her. For the precocious and determined Kirby, the encounter will spur a…