I've recently finished reading the book I, Elizabeth By Rosalind Miles. This book is as much fictional as it is nonfiction. It is basically a story told in first person, the life of the Great queen Elizabeth. Elizabeth herself is the narrator of said story and tells of her life from childhood, beginning in the final marriage of king Henry VIII to Queen Kathrine Parr. She tells of her trials as the last heir to the throne, being called a bastard by church and state, after her younger brother Edward and her Roman Catholic elder sister Mary. She explains to the reader about her love for England and how much she adores the people. Tells of her trials when she finally becomes queen, having to reject her true love to become Bellona, wedding herself to her country.
I recommend this book to any history lover, even though this story may not be fully historical (it's not easy to write in the shoes of someone who lived 500 years ago). Miles has a way in writing this story that makes you feel that you really truly can understand the hardships that Elizabeth had to go through and who she was.
THE CHILDREN OF THE LAMP by P.B KERR
This book is about 2 maternal twins, Philippa and John. One day, John wakes up from a dream of an earthquake which took place at Egypt. When he woke up, they discovered that their bedroom had the same cracks from his dream, so did his pillow. When they read the newspaper, comparison confirmed that the cracks were identical to what appeared in John's dream and their bedroom. A trip to the dentist followed this mishap. Finding out that both of them had grown their wisdom tooth at such a young age, their mother was extremely worried. The dentist reported that the twins' teeth would go in chaos if it wasn't removed right away. They had no choice but to go through surgery. In the midst of their surgery, in their sleep, they had a dream. The twins had the exact same dream and they were in it together. This dream became the start of their adventures and from this dream, they soon found out a secret which changed their whole life.
Its a great book. I would have unveiled that secret but that would've ruined the whole book. Just purchase or borrow it then read. Its exciting plus very interesting too!
Here it is ya’ll- coming in at just under 3 pages on Word. Books
nos. 13-25. And I have some more sitting yay! I’m catching up to
Leolac! I’ve tried something a little different with these reviews.
Having gained an ickle bit of confidence in reviewing 1-12 I decided
not to put the publishers summery but just mine. Tell me if I should go
back to the old version or where there is room for improvement. Kudos!
#28 - James and the Giant Peach (Roald Dahl). Cute, very cute. My first of his books (watched a couple of his movies, though this was not one of them). I love the theme where the kid who is abused turns out to be the natural leader and saves the day over and over again. In this case he was also the most level headed one, the most polite, and the one who was most cherished at the end. If I would have found these books when I was a kid, I think I would have been crestfallen when finding out that being the school loser doesn't automatically enable you to be the beloved after a series of trials.
Wait a minute...that is generally what happened to me. =D...abused child, school loser, friendless freak eventually turned into someone who is constantly told that she has value, worth, is cherished, has many great and close friends, and who has healed enough to believe these compliments and stay away from forces who may want to take them away from my mind. It just took until I was 20 to crawl out of the mud enough to reach ground level, and after a few years have past I feel as though I am starting to look up at the sky in order to achieve my best as a person instead of only "not sick."
On a lighter note, this book was a delight to read. Jereme Irons is a phenomenal performer! Yes, this was an audiobook.
#29 - The Little Princess (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
On my first afternoon in Toronto I decided that I would much rather explore the area around my cousin's place instead of taking the subway further into town and exploring something worth mentioning in a tour book. I found myself in a few quaint independent shops, spent a couple of hours in a used book store, and then crossed the street to get to a Chapters, found this book (been REALLY wanting to read it for awhile), sat down, and read it that afternoon.
When I get home I will buy it at a different store for half the price. It is hardcover (YES - a paper book) and definitely worth many more reads.
What I mostly got out of this, besides the fact that it was another British novelist, another dose of children's literature (I preferred to read more 'grown up' books when I was young, and am interested now in catching up, =D), and a chance to read a fabulous book...was the strength of character of Sara. Yes, there was the "stiff upper lip" mentality that has gotten a lot of people into trouble over the years - but if this character was able to go through all of those experiences, maintain her dignity and her health, and continue to be a polite creature to all around her...I think I can heal from my stress-sickness and claim a better life for myself.
Also, there are many examples of how her moment of being polite, or of holding her temper in check, has produced many positive ripples to others around her, sometimes wide enough for her to be oblivious to the complete effects. I read a quote lately mentioning that most business deals are not solidified because of a great presentation, but because of something as small as a thank-you note...and this book was another reinforcement for me to constantly monitor that I don't lose sight of "the little things." Smiles, hugs, notes, cards, extra and sincere thank-yous do stretch farther than any penny. =D.
#30 - All Quiet on the Western Front (Erich Maria Remarque)
Powerful. Wow...I wish I could send a copy of this book to every political leader, and world peace would arise much quicker than the efforts all of the Bob Dylan songs and UN efforts combined could ever accomplish. I read this one as an audiobook, and Frank Muller was a truly inspired reader. He normally reads Steven King novels, creating fun associations for me during the first tape. But King soon melted away when I became engrossed in the insightful, truthful, shocking analysis of Remarque's depiction of what it was like for 20 yr old boy-men to live in such saturation of war that they were never in their lives able to wash it off of their souls. Each chapter has jewelled paragraphs resplendent with life's and death's truths portrayed without shame, trepidation, or bedazzlement - as though grave markings were hammered into my skulls...one...at...a...time. Only a German author could have so clearly and unabashedly forced you to face such heinousness. Often I had to stop the tape and breathe in order to process the images and the emotions further, all the while resisting the urge to simply walk away from the book.
I needed to face this. I needed to know. This is what war is like. This book was not a protest work, sharing explanations regarding who was to blame and why or how you can prevent this further. It was a story of a simple soldier forced to grow and wizen up fast, falling first into the horror of his circumstance, then of his worthlessness, then of his isolation, as rats and gas and bombs surrounded him...and poppies grew in flanders fields.
If ever I could recommend a book...this would be one.
#18 - Harry Potter 1 (J.K. Rowling)
#19 - Harry Potter 2 (J.K. Rowling)
#20 - Harry Potter 3 (J.K. Rowling)
#21 - Harry Potter 4 (J.K. Rowling)
I spent most of the time remembering what I knew of the fifth book and trying to see what is happening beyond the school in the larger world. The last half of the fourth book made much more sense now. I was interested to find that all of a sudden in the fourth book there was an international flavour to the story. The entire ministry of magic in the earlier books have always been only English speaking, seated in England, and the Minister was able to just walk around wherever he pleased. Now in the fourth book there are wizards all over the world and there are issues like translation, etc. Also I was first aware of how the third book is the one where the whole series takes off - the first time that the book isn't simply a start-and-finish story...it's when the series really takes off and you can see that there is a larger history beyond Harry, with a wider present and a deeper past. I found a lot of clues and explanations that I still did not catch, though this was the third time I have read most of these (fourth for the first book).
Unfortunately, the copies I had of the audiobooks had some corrupted files and I was missing entire chapters at times. It was rather frustrating. I also don't have a copy of the fifth book - getting rid of it last year when I realised that most files were scratched.
#22-24 - Germany since 1945 (Lothar Kettenacker)
This was a very thorough textbook. I really enjoyed reading it. It was clear, concise, complete, and I can believe that I will read it again in the future. There was a lot of fascinating information - economic, political, cultural, etc. Lots of facts in here to chew on, ponder, and help me understand where my German sweetheart is coming from. I don't often like my textbooks. This also counts for three, according to my rules as I set them for myself, principally because I did read it three times studying for my tests and preparing for my lectures.
#24-27 - Ever Closer Union: An Introduction to European Integration 2nd Ed. (Desmond Dinan)
This was a boring and confusing textbook that is more of a political science text than a history text. I am not a political science student, and generally resented reading this. After doing so though, I can see how much more informed I am of the EU and can follow the news better. Okay...I'm glad I read it, but hated doing so for almost every single sentence. I am also happy that this course is finally over.
Sigh, =D. Now I have to get to book #36 before the end of the month and I will still be on track. Hm...I set a challenge for myself, as my German darling is coming for a visit soon and the month is already half over. I also started reading a few bricks: The Name of the Rose and a few books about Freemasonry...but we'll see.
I know I didn't like The Da Vinci Code, but I was told to give this one a try. I didn't enjoy it for two main reasons, though it was fun to look more at art history (took a course in HS and kept up an interest since) and to buzz around Rome/Vatican City with the characters (visited these over Christmas).
Reason 1 = less important one. Amateur author. He lectures first to relay info, and then tries to couch it in plot and character development. No one purely lectures without a bias or a hope to show off/hide himself - a trade mark of personality. I am a psych student, so I can see how people speak for them selves more than their knowledge, and I do admit I am biased. Also, the bad guys are REALLY BAD and the good guys are REALLY GOOD and everyone else isn't all that memorable. This lacks sophistication. The most irksome point though is how two or three people will sit there and argue very elaborately for several pages DURING A CRISIS...GRRRR...my rm often laughed at how impatient I was and unforgiving of characters who are indecisive. But this is forgivable as it was his first novel...to my recollection...and he's already far better than others who have published.
Reason 2 = most important one. At around page 40 I realised what premises he has made in order to support his fantasies in the novel (as in making it fiction, not a fantasy fiction novel). If I could swallow these few statements re: his beliefs, then I can accept his story and be carried away by the novel for a time. Conventions...there we go, I can remember my HS drama classes now. Because he couched his conventions in the school of art history and of the history of science, I was struck by the permanence of his ideas. So either he was using his current mindset in order to re-interpret the past (a no-no for historians to do) or his mindset has an element of wisdom to it as it is so permanent. I chose the former, thus rejecting his premises and then rejected his book.
Essentially I figured his conventions weren't wise, and in rejecting them I rejected the illusions he created with his story...couldn't get into the book, and then couldn't enjoy it.
Read this four times now, once as paper, three times as an audio-book (and once in French). Still catching things that I am missing...which is wonderful. I wanted to be prepared to read the sixth book this summer so that I wasn't so lost as when I read the fifth. =).
Those who haven't - they are pretty good. A lot of stuff to analyse re: child psych, moral philosophy, logical puzzles (not explicit ones per se), and British culture.
Started on the second already...=)...
and just feeling cranky this evening in general...
FINALLY! I found that I had a hard time reading audiobooks on MP3 without having a portable MP3 player. Also, as my computer is out on loan, I had to use my rm's unreliable comp in order to read it in pieces when I am in the house, sitting close to the speakers, and ready to listen (i.e. not doing homework).
Short review: this book was really well written. It was also really gross. I found out that I am not a horror fan and will do my best to avoid literary gore for the rest of my days.
Those who are into it though, do check it out...I think he's a great author.
When I was reading the first of this series, I had a lot of questions about my own sexuality that I wanted to answer. The book was remplissant with such tales that I could glean knowledge and experience vicariously. This second book was more along the lines of political intrigue, loyalty, war tactics...and after the troubles I had with my thesis adviser, I sensed that this book would be healing for me. I could take a step back - into a fantasy fiction novel - and see what happened in my own life from that safe a distance.
The book develops the story and the characters rather well. I am also learning more about who the author is. Unfortunately I am also seeing a plot and thematic pattern between these first two books, and am looking forward to my roommate finishing the third book so that I can see if my theories pan out or not.
I am loving the series so far, and am crediting a lot of my personal growth lately to reading this series and learning these characters. I am also having a lot of fun testing my knowledge of history and Christian mysticism.
The last sentence of this book was so amazing I laughed for a good three minutes. =D. I don't remember a book ever ending this well.
hugs people - good night...if I am lucky, I could get another read before settling to sleep...I have a lot started and a few close to finishing, =).