Sunday, January 9, 2011

Extra Books - January 1 to 8

  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling
    • Published: 1997
    • Genre: Magical fantasy
    • Why I picked it up: Figured it was time to give the series another shot
    • Rating: 3.5 stars
    • Challenges: 100+ | Harry Potter 2011
    • My Thoughts: 
      • When I first started reading Harry Potter, there were four books out. I read each of them once (although I might have read the third one a few times...I actually liked that one) and then the day after each consecutive book was released, I would borrow it from my best friend, read it once and then returned it. This was a trend I had to stay on top of, even if I wasn't much of a fan, because it involved books in a way my generation had never seen before. I always knew the books were good, they just weren't my favourite kind of story.  Now that I'm older, I've decided to give the series another shot because I think I can appreciate it better.
      •  It's hard to give any sort of objective review of Harry Potter...everyone knows the story so well and there's the movies and all the different books; it's hard to isolate just the first one. What I noticed was that it was so small! Haha. I felt like nothing happened, but I suppose that's because I know what comes in the next five six seven books. That being said, I thought the book was kind of cute and I can see why it appealed so greatly to hoards of ten and eleven year olds. I am looking forward to when the story starts to bulk up, though.
  • Wild by Jay Griffiths
    • Published: 2006
    • Genre: 'Part travelogue, part manifesto for wildness'
    • Why I picked it up: Library browsing, looked good
    • Rating: 5 stars
    • Challenges: 100+
    • My Thoughts:
      • I first started this book in February, but I only read the first chapter (the best, IMHO.) Click here to read my thoughts on that. (I did start from the beginning again when I read it this year, just to clarify :P)
      • [See the link above for my thoughts on the prose].
      • The author uses a lot of sex metaphors...not all the time, but they do crop up often enough. I'm probably still too 'immature' to appreciate them properly :/
      • Griffiths isn't afraid of writing about the more brutal aspects, either.
      • The final two 'element' chapters, Fire and Air, seemed to kind of wander all over the place and weren't very similar to the previous chapters. They were more about the trials of Aboriginal peoples. The final chapter, Wild Mind, however, is where the book really returns to its strong points, about nature, about wild and how we as humans, with such real emotions and heart need it so desperately. Everything I loved about Wild was exemplified in the final chapter and it was a great way to finish off the book.
      • It makes me so sad to hear about the horrors inflicted upon Aboriginal peoples, especially those of the Inuit. While I definitely support bringing awareness to the terrible situations people found and find themselves in, I felt like this book was more about human rights of sorts than about the wilderness/wild at times. Not a bad thing, I fully appreciate what the author's getting just wasn't I really wanted to read at times (ie. Book could have used more wild, less people. or...something. It sounds bad when I put it that way >.<). 
      • It's hard to pin this book down into one was kind of all over the place. Most people will like one aspects of it, but not the rest. There were a few things I didn't really like, but I was able to overlook them in favour for the better parts of the book.
  • 1984 by George Orwell
    • Published: 1949
    • Genre: Dystopian scifi
    • Why I picked it up: Should have read it years ago
    • Rating: 5 stars
    • Challenges: 100+ | 2011 TBR Pile
    • My Thoughts: 
      • Excellent. I don't why I didn't read this ages ago...well, I do know why, it's because when everyone read it in grade ten I felt like I should have already had read it by then and I didn't want to be seen walking around with a copy and I knew the basic plot and about Newspeak and just never really saw the point in actually reading it. I got the idea, that was enough at the time.  I expected it to be some stuffy English lit type book, hard and dry to get through, even if the story was interesting. Well, obviously when  I finally started the book I found the actual writing to be very unexpected and far more 'modern' than I was anticipating. I had always thought of the whole plot as a short story, I never expected the actual story and the characters (I especially wasn't thinking of a Julia-type character). Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised =)
      • Nearing the end of the book, I was completely absorbed. I actually twitched a little when they were caught, when a third voice speaks after Julia and Winston. O'Brien actually terrified me, or rather the words he spoke did, I suppose. I've never experienced a book that really frightened me in whatever way. 
      • Excerpt that gave me chills and really made me think:
      • Anything could be true. The so called Laws of Nature were nonsense. The law of gravity was nonsense. 'If I wished,' O'Brien had said, 'I could float off this floor like a soap bubble.' Winston worked it out. 'If he thinks he floats off the floor, and I simultaneously think I see him do it, then the thing happens.' Suddenly, like a lump of submerged wreckage breaking the surface of water, the thought burst into his mind: 'It doesn't really happen. We imagine it. it is hallucination.' He pushed the thought under instantly. The fallacy was obvious. It presupposed that somewhere or other, outside oneself, there was a 'real' world where 'real' things happened. But how could there be such a world? What knowledge have we of anything, save through our own minds? All happenings are in the mind. Whatever happens in all minds, truly happens.
      • This is definitely a book that I need to buy and reread and mull over...lots to think about here.
      • Sidenote: When I was writing notes on my iPod, I was reading the part where they're trying to convince Winston 2+2=5 and I wrote Nineteen Eighty-five instead of Eighty-four. Spooky o.o

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