Search This Blog

Friday, August 12, 2011

Book Review: Voltaire's Candide

I picked this up from one of our bookshelves, it's been sitting around the house for a while and Boy said he liked it. It was also short which is certainly a point in it's favor. I found it surprisingly entertaining. I was also surprised to have one of my coworkers claim it to be their favorite book when he spotted me reading it. While I wouldn't claim it to be a favorite, it is a good book and brings up a lot of things to think about. I found myself fortunate to have copy with explanatory notes as many of the references are few centuries out of date.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Book Review: Jean M. Auel's The Land of Painted Caves

I was so thrilled so see this book coming out this year and was eager to read it. Although it is quite lengthy it is a fairly quick read due to a fast pace and easily understandable sentence structure. The last in the series, I was a bit disappointed it seemed as though that author sort of ran out of steam. Much of the first part of the book I found difficult to plod through as the exploration and description of cave after cave I found not exciting enough to maintain my attention. After the first part the book is significantly more interesting. Unfortunately the author continued to focus heavily on her main character and many of the other characters that seemed interesting suffered from lack of character development. I would loved to see the main character's daughter come into her own as a character and source of plot development, but the daughter often seemed to be an after thought. The main character's impressive list of accomplishments became increasingly difficult to believe. I think it would have been sufficient for the character to be present for many of these historical events as an observer rather than an active and often key participant. This final book was not quite as good as the first few in this series but that may be in part now that I am old enough to notice the repetitive plot elements and be bored by them.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Book Review: Thomas Steinbeck's In the Shadow of the Cypress

As part of not having to go to school this summer I chose to indulge myself in reading for pleasure. Ah, books I have missed you! This one was recommended to me by my grandmother. It was very engaging and enjoyable. At less than 250 pages I thought it would be a quick read, but this is a bit more than fluff! The plot is complex and the author enjoys showing off an impressive vocabulary. I had to look up a lot of words from this book and there were a few that even couldn't explain to me. The story focuses in on one generation then skips a generation before surrendering the answers to questions the plot's twists and turns poise. Overall I found this to be an above average historical novel that was enjoyable and stimulating given the high reading level.