July 28, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling

I finished this in two days - If I could have stayed awake a little longer the first day I would have finished it then. I don't want to include any spoilers, so that will make the review necessarily vague. I loved this book, and thought it finished up the series very well. A lot of loose ends from prior books that I didn't realize were loose ends were tied up nicely. One of the strengths of the Harry Potter books is its internal consistency; a remarkable feat in such a long series. And I can still get lost in the stories of these fascinating people. I will miss all of them, even though I know I can revisit their world anytime I wish. And Ms. Rowling has said she will be writing an encyclopedia. What I really wish she'd write is "Hogwarts: A History." I can dream, right?

Children of God - Mary Doria Russell

This is the sequel to "The Sparrow," and it pales only in comparison to the original, but still is a standout among the books I've read lately. This one is considerably more uplifting and hopeful than the first, and I was glad to encounter Father Emilio as he continues to heal from his experiences even as he returns to Rakhat. The pacing of this book was much different, because it was more linear and there was not as much foreshadowing. I enjoyed it, and I'm looking forward to another of her books, "A Thread of Grace" which is also on my towering TBR pile.

Joy School - Elizabeth Berg

This is the first sequel to "Durable Goods" by Berg, and I enjoyed it almost as much as the first. It was nice to follow brave little Katie into her new home, where she makes some new friends. The people around her continue to be realistic, imperfect people, and she continues to rise above and remain her own person. I have the third book, "True to Form" in my to-be-read pile, and I am looking forward to spending more time with these people, which is a sign of a good series.

July 27, 2007

I'm back!

Studying for the bar exam was much more time consuming than I expected, but it's over now! Even when I had time to read, I had trouble focusing, so I mostly read magazines (or blogs) and not much fiction. But I am back, and hope to be able to focus on this blog much more than I have. Thanks for sticking with me!

Summer Reading Challenge Finished

I had to take some time off from reading to focus on the bar exam, but I still did okay with the challenge:

The Plague Tales - Ann Benson (read half and gave up)
The Mermaid Chair - Sue Monk Kidd (finished and reviewed)
Children of God - Mary Doria Russell (finished, but not reviewed yet)
What We Keep - Elizabeth Berg (finished and reviewed)
Durable Goods - Elizabeth Berg (finished and reviewed)
The Book of Ruth - Jane Hamilton (read half and gave up)
Harry Potter 7 - J.K. Rowling (finished, but not reviewed yet)
The Hours - Michael Cunningham removed from list due to time constraints

Not bad. I'm ready for another challenge!

July 12, 2007

Celluloid (Booking Through Thursday)

From Booking Through Thursday:

1. In your opinion, what is the best translation of a book to a movie?
2. The worst?
3. Had you read the book before seeing the movie, and did that make a difference?

1. I can think of a few "best" - I thought "The Handmaid's Tale" was pretty good, even if there were significant changes to the story. It got the look and feel of the book right, and I love Aidan Quinn, so there you go. "Minority Report" was good, although I didn't read the novella until after I saw the movie. Of course, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, despite the fact that I never made it through even the first book. "Legally Blonde" was a much better movie than book. And the best adaptation ever: The BBC version of "Pride and Prejudice" - the Colin Firth version.

2. The worst? From what I've read spoiled on the internet, the upcoming "Dark is Rising" movie will be dreadful. Too many changes, and one of them is they changed the family from English to Americans! Dreadful. I love those books, and I don't think I can bear to see them destroyed like that.

3. Generally, I prefer whichever version I saw first. I try not to be too judgmental if I read the book first - I'm not usually a purist, with the above exception.

July 5, 2007

Great Novel

From Booking Through Thursday:
What, in your opinion, is the (mythical) Great American Novel? At least to date. A “classic,” or a current one–either would be fine. Mark Twain? J.D. Salinger? F. Scott Fitzgerald? Stephen King? Laura Ingalls Wilder?

It doesn’t have to be your favorite book, mind you. “Citizen Kane” may be the “best” film, and I concede its merits, but it’s not my favorite. You don’t have to love something to know that it’s good.

This is a hard distinction to make, but for today I would give it to "The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood. (Incidentally, the film adapation was decent, even if they did change the ending!) It is a personal story that illustrates the larger world where she lives, and it is a warning of what religious zealotry can lead to if we are not watchful. Of course, I am partial to futuristic dystopian novels.

So little time

Still Reading "Children of God", and I have acquired both "Joy School" and "True to Form" by Elizabeth Berg - the sequels to "Durable Goods." The bar is July 24, so after that I will be back to my usual posting! I hope you will be patient. I'll try to do the usual Booking Through Thursday later tonight!