Books Read In 2005

  1. The Five People You Meet In Heaven Mitch Albom *
  2. The Postman David Brin ***
  3. Nineteen Eighty-Four George Orwell *****
  4. Gap Creek Robert Morgan **
  5. Treasure Island Robert Louis Stevenson *
  6. Under the Banner of Heaven Jon Krakauer *
  7. The Edible Woman Margaret Atwood *****
  8. The Crystal World J.G. Ballard (no stars)
  9. Night Elie Wiesel ***
  10. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Maya Angelou **
  11. Memoirs of a Geisha Arthur Golden *****
  12. Mrs. Dalloway Virginia Woolf ***
  13. Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte *****
  14. Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe ***
  15. The House on Mango Street Sandra Cisneros *
  16. Candide Voltaire **
  17. Lord of the Flies William Golding ****
  18. Timequake Kurt Vonnegut **
  19. Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury *****
  20. The Hunchback of Notre Dame Victor Hugo **
  21. Prozac Nation Elizabeth Wurtzel *
  22. The Professor's House Willa Cather **
  23. The Robber Bride Margaret Atwood ***
  24. Neverwhere Neil Gaiman **
  25. 1985 by Anthony Burgess **
  26. To the Lighthouse Virginia Woolf *
  27. Girl With A Pearl Earring Tracy Chevalier **
  28. Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West Gregory Maguire **
  29. The More than Complete Hitchhiker's Guide Douglas Adams *
  30. A Child Called It Dave Pelzer **
  31. This Present Darkness Dave Pelzer *
  32. Midwives Chris Bohjalian ***
  33. The Island of Doctor Moreau H.G. Wells ****
  34. Billy Straight Jonathan Kellerman ***
  35. Plucking the Apple Elizabeth Palmer (no stars)
  36. Sometimes I Dream In Italian Rita Ciresi *
  37. I Know This Much Is True Wally Lamb ***
  38. Nanny Diaries Emma McLaughlin, Nicola Kraus **
  39. The Martian Chronicles Ray Bradbury ***
  40. White Oleander Janet Fitch ****
  41. Lucky: A Memoir Alice Sebold ***
  42. The Red Tent Anita Diamant ***
  43. Lady Oracle Margaret Atwood **
  44. Welcome to the Monkeyhouse Kurt Vonnegut Jr ****
  45. The Other Boleyn Girl Phillipa Gregory **
  46. The Outsiders S.E. Hinton ****
  47. Snow Falling On Cedars David Guterson **
  48. The Road From Coorain Jill Ker Conway ***
  49. Hiroshima John Hersey *
  50. The Rapture of Canaan Sheri Reynolds **
  51. The Man in the High Castle Philip K Dick *****
  52. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Ken Kesey ***
  53. Rebecca Daphne du Maurier *****
  54. History of Rome Michael Grant (rating pending)
  55. A Scanner Darkly Philip K Dick ****
  56. Lives of the Caesars Suetonius ***
  57. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time Mark Haddon ****
  58. Pope Joan Donna Woolfolk Cross **
  59. We Yevgeny Zamyatin ***
  60. The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck **
  61. Breakthrough by Ken Grimwood **
  62. Piaget for Beginners Adriana Serulnikov *****
  63. The Stranger Albert Camus ****
  64. Death of a Salesman Arthur Miller **
  65. The Crucible Arthur Miller ****
  66. The Last of the Mohicans James Fenimore Cooper ****
  67. Speak Laurie Halse Anderson ***
  68. Like Water for Chocolate Laura Esquivel **
  69. The Worm Book Loren Nancarrow and Janet Hogan Taylor ****
  70. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone J K Rowling **

Of those i read Lord of the flies, which is pretty good, and Treasure Island, which i read as a teenager and liked it a lot, don't know if it holds.

It's quite a strange combination of choices, mostly because it's a combination of many other lists or suggestions given to me by a variety of people.
Out of all the books so far, I would recommend Fahrenheit 451. It's a good read, it's quick, and people have heard of it.

I've read several of these, but we seem to have different tastes. One star for House on Mango Street, and two for Things Fall Apart and Night? Were they just not what you expected, or do you really think that lowly of them?

Under the Banner of Heaven is an interesting case; I got tired of Krakauer's amateur "philosophizing" about the nature of religion and belief, but the story of the fundamentalists was pretty fascinating (and creepy).

Johnny Waco

I'm not sure if you mean I gave too many or too few stars to those particular choices; could you explain?

The rating on Night was a typo; I meant to give it three. Three and above are books I would buy.
Two means it was good, but not quite worth buying or even re-reading.
One means I didn't see the point in the book.

I felt the same about Banner of Heaven. It was like watching a train wreck. I couldn't not finish the book after I started it, but it was horrifying and more than a little overdone.

I meant that I love all three, and was surprised to see fairly low ratings for them. I'm glad that Night's rating was a typo; it is such a powerful book.

There is probably a much better book to be written about Mormon fundamentalists; too bad Krakauer probably scared anybody else off of the topic. If you're interested in some more of the background, there is a great biography of Joseph Smith called No Man Knows My History, by Fawn Brodie. Brodie was excommunicated from the Mormon Church for the book (which isn't an attack on Smith, but an excellently researched analysis of his less-than-savory life), and she went on to win a Pulitzer I believe for history (for a later book). Very readable.

Johnny Waco

It's actually pretty funny that I've actually read 4 of the books you've listed in the last 6 months or so. :)

I absolutely loved "Memoirs of a Geisha" as well. Thought it was a masterpiece. "Things Fall Apart" also was a bit in the middle, I thought. Though still a good book. Same goes for "Mrs. Dalloway", though I think it was better than Achebe's and would probably give it a better rating.

We really disagree on "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" thought. :) I loved that novel. It got me thinking. It is a pretty deep novel, though I went through it like it was a comic book or something.

Oh, just see you've read 1984 as well. Also read that recently (10 months ago or so). Also thought that was a great book. It's easy to read, thrilling, and it provides a really interesting view on society and where it's going.

1984 is one of my favourite books. I try to read it at least once a year.

I also have Clockwork Orange, Brave New World, and 1985 in my collection. If you liked 1984, give those a try, though the last one is out of print.

I saw "The Hours", and it inspired me to read Mrs Dalloway, which may be why i didn't appreciate the book as much. Movies always seem to spoil their books. I also find Virginia Woolf very hard to read.

This Present Darkness was a surprise. I didn't expect the angels and demons, and I think that their part in the story lessened the importance of the human characters.
Also, the ending left much to be desired. It ended too perfectly and predictably.

I've always wanted to be a pediatrician, and I believe that Midwives may have inspired me to consider becoming an ob-gyn. The story is beautiful, and it thoroughly explains the idea behind home births without belabouring the plotline.
Although I do believe a hospital is the only place to have a baby, I understand and now agree with Connie's POV.
Quite an eye-opener, but possibly only because of my interest in that career pathway.

The Island of Doctor Moreau had a great storyline. I found it both entertaining and thought provoking.
This was my introduction to Wells, and I really liked his writing style.

Billy Straight is classified as a mystery novel, but it was much more thrilling than any other mysteries I've come across.
I think that what really made it interesting was the changing between multiple perspecives, from the kid to various police officers, to the murderer, etc.

However, the "twists" were predictable and/or pointless, and the cop banter is more than overdone.

Plucking the Apple is one of those "it's-twelve-thirty-and-I-have-to-work-at-six-but-can't-put-this-down-because-it-finally-got-interesting-in-the-last-ten-pages".
You know. One of them.
The characters are practically cookie-cutters of each other, the plot drags until the very last bit, and the liberal sprinklings of eroticism were unnecessary.

Sometimes was cute, and reminded me a lot of House on Mango Street. Same style of a woman recollecting on her childhood.

This one was sadder, but unexplainably so. The sisters seemed jaded and cynical right from when they were young.
The conclusion was poor, which leads to my low rating because I feel a good ending can make a book. In this case, a weak ending did nothing for the story.

You hated Prozac Nation, i haven't read it but 2 friends raved to me about it.

I didn't really see any value in it, unless it allows other people in the same mindset to feel less alone.
I don't know anyone on antidepressants or any of the other medications she used, so I can't relate.
Any particular they seemed to love it so much? I mean, they are called bestsellers for a reason. I just can't find it in there.

I Know This Much was tremendously long, and dragged a bit, but overall was a good story. As I've mentioned before, a good ending can make or break a story. In this case, the ending was great!
A quote from the last page: "love grows from the rich loam of forgiveness; mongrels make good dogs; the evidence of God exists in the roundness of things."
I found the book to be very round itself, but still realistically.

Nanny Diaries was good. Sometimes funny, sometimes inspiring, sometimes sad. A quick read, perfect for summer.

However, why does it take two people to write such a book?

Martian Chronicles was a collection of interconnected short stories relating to the colonization of Mars. Part of the collection is a story I read recently in one of my courses, "There Will Come Soft Rains", which is a beautiful piece.

Most of the stories were brilliant, but I felt there were a few that didn't quite match with the others.

I find Ray Bradbury to write with extreme insight into our fallacies, without sounding preachy. I enjoy the touch of humor that goes into each of his works. In this collection it took the Americans four expeditions to land on the planet, while the rest of the world was in deep turmoil and on the verge of war.

Some pieces tie in with Fahrenheit 451, though I'm not sure of the order in which they were created.

White Oleander is beautiful. Her prose style flows so wonderfully, it was like reading poetry. I've been reading it for days, intermittently between working, but I could never quite get my mind out of the book, thinkning about the situations Astrid recalls from her childhood, or the cruelty of her foster care givers, or especially the mother-daughter relationship.
I'm not sure if I'm pleased or upset with the ending. Was Astrid just following her path as set out by mother?

Lucky was about what I expected. The story of her rape and beating, complete down to the most terrifying detail. It was startling the way the book jumped right into the rape, but after the shock factor wears off it's quite obvious the author is focusing on what happened after the rape; that it hasn't remained the focus of her life.

A few memorable quotes:
"But can you speak those sentences to the people you love? Tell them you were urinated on or that you kissed back because you did not want to die?" 61

same page
"You save yourself or you remain unsaved."

The Red Tent tells the story of Dinah (and her family) from a woman's point of view. Women were the rich and secret background to the more visual males. It kind of makes me, as a woman, feel part of a secret society.

I like the way this almost compliments the Bible (taken as an account of the past, not a religious text) as the female side of the story.

Lady Oracle was certainly not my favourite Atwood work, although I don't think it's the worst, either. I enjoyed the action; there was a lot more happening in this story than in any of the others, which made it seem more fast-paced. It was difficult to put down; I really had no idea what was going to happen, right to the last page.
Overall, an exciting read, but also complicated and confusing.

Welcome to the Monkeyhouse is a great collection of short stories. Some were sad, most were funny, and one or two were cute.
My favourite was Harrison Bergeron.

The Other Boleyn Girl started out as an interesting idea. It portrays a portion of history in a mostly truthful but still entertaining way.
However, the 500 some pages were unnecessary. The decriptions went on for much longer than I care to read, turning the book into more of a costume romance than an historical fiction.
I think next time I'll get my dose of history from the non-fiction section.

Strange... I wrote a review of the Outsiders yesterday, and now it's disappeared....

Let me try to recall what I wrote.
I really liked the story; it flowed well, and revolved around an underlying concept which is revealed near the end. Right up to the last page I felt it would be a perfect 5 stars, but then it turns a little too teenager-trying-to-change-the-world for my liking. Basically at the end of tragedy, the protagonist Ponyboy thinks to himself "How can I put meaning into such meaningless tragedy? Oh I know! I'll write about it, so that all the other kids like me can read and learn from my mistakes!" And he writes the first lines of the book. Wow. Cliche, much?

Oh, one more thing. It reminds me of a more modern version of Catcher in the Rye.

The Outsiders is one of my favourites, and the film is also on my list of favourite movies. Have you seen the movie? I often find a movie disappointing after reading the book, but The Outsiders is an exception to this. You are not the first to notice it's likeness to Catcher In The Rye, or Rebel Without A Cause.

BTW, impressive list, both in number and in content.

I've also read Nineteen EIghty-Four, Farhenheit 451, and Candide, but of those The Outsiders is my favourite.

Thank you. I wanted to read "the classics", which eventually turned into a bunch of books that people talk about a lot and enjoy. Reccommended by many, I suppose you could subtitle my list.
Out of the ones you listed, I enjoy 1984 the most. I haven't read the selections you mentioned that parallel The Outsiders, but I will add them in there somewhere. And I'll keep my eye out for the movie, thanks.

The movie is just marvellous.
First it has the unbelievable (very young) cast: Tom Cruise, Rob Lowe, Patrick Swayze, Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, Emilio Estevez, C. Thomas Howell, plus musician Tom Waits, novelist S. E. Hinton in a cameo role as a nurse in the hospital, and Sofia Coppola as 'the Little Girl' - herself later when older to Direct 'Lost In Translation' and The Virgin Suicides'.
Secondly of course it has the story from the novel.
It is directed by Francis Ford Copola (The Godfather, Apocalypse Now).
The cinematography is fantastic.
The Theme song by Stevie Wonder should certainly have got the Oscar for his song 'Stay Gold' which opens the movie and sets the atmosphere from the outset, and also closes the sad ending, it is just exceptional.

Snow Falling On Cedars was notable mostly in its use of pathetic fallacy. However unreadable Guterson made his characters, the weather would always explain what was going on beneath their composed exteriors. Interesting, but hardly worth all the attention it was given.

Also, a lot of the phrases were oddly turned, which drew attention from the actual meat of the story.

Coorain was funny and interesting, and so amazingly descriptive that I can see many of her familiar scenes without having seen any of Australia.
I disliked how her vocabulary expanded as she progressed along her growth. As she decribed being more educated and using more complex words, it gave a discordant feel. On one hand, I don't expect her as an 8 year old to speak like one who has a degree, but I also don't appreciate her attempt to prove her education level with words. It seems an overexploited method.
I was excited with her descriptions of progress through school. I could feel her excitment and recognize it in myself.

I'm not sure what to say about Hiroshima. It's a difficult book to read. It deals with vibrant, visual memories of people who were actually near ground zero. It's not a personal account, and it's not an interview, but some sort of weird cross in between.
I found a few faults: 1)there wasn't enough detail and information. I almost felt like one of the citizens who had no idea what was going on. I think a better explaination of the causes of things, for example why were there multiple small hemmorages in the skin? Vague referrals and half-explainations about gamma rays does little for the account. It's just a whole lot of jargon.
2) I was always led to believe that radiation sickness had a more lasting affect than a few months, or a year. The account explains the various stages of the sickness, and how one is expected to recover eventually.
3) The account was so unbiased it felt almost emotionless.
4) The conclusion seemed to have been arrived at, and a perfect ending was stated, and the writer went on to one final inconsequential point.

I think it is important to keep in mind that this was published in 1946, which leads me to believe all the facts are rubbish, and the story is only valuable for the poorly underplayed human facet of the disaster.
And now I have to go read a more up-to-date account of the bomb drop, so I can get some real information.

Rapture was almost impossible to put down. It wasn't really even that great of a story, but it was a well-written mediocre story. I thought there were too many characters, so they kept getting confused together. The more interesting ideas were not fully fleshed out, which left me wondering about them when I should have been paying attention to the main storyline.
I think I found this book mostly dissatisfying because it didn't have the level of wholeness and conectedness I find in very good stories.

I knew what Man in the High Castle was about before I picked it up. I knew it was a picture of a world where the Allies lost WW2. I expected it to be interesting and intelligent, based solely on my understanding of the main idea. It surpassed my expectations entirely. I've heard that James Joyce often slaved for hours to make each sentence perfect. I feel that Philip K Dick put the same amount of work into this story, no matter how long he planned and wrote. Even down to the diction, the smattering of German words (which make no sense to me) gives the book that total authenticity.
I love the unending, circular question about reality.
I love the minor plot of the book, which parallels this book, and ties in to the question of reality.
The more I think about each part of the book, the more I understand. I can hardly wait to re-read, and find the more subtle ideas.

I wasn't a huge fan of Ken Kesey's famous novel. I think because I'd heard about the story; heard how cruel and mean Nurse Ratched was, the real thing kind of let me down.
I almost feel like I missed some of the deeper implications, but I can't possibly imagine what those were. I'm not sure why this is considered such a classic and wonderful novel.

Rebecca was wonderful. It reminded me of a slightly newer Wuthering Heights. The moors became gardens and fields full of azaleas and rhodedendrons, with the sea as a backdrop. There was mystery and suspense and what used to pass for romance back then (you know, "hard kissing" and all that). I love the fact that The Girl never actually gets a name, other than Mrs de Winter. I couldn't put the book down after I got halfway through, despite the fact I have oodles of school books and papers to be reading.

I've just finished Rebecca and I agree with you totally. It's likeness to Wuthering Heights, which I read in July this year, also occurred to me, and like you I awarded it 5 out of 5.

History of Rome is the first in a sucession of books I will now be "enjoying" that relate to my courses this term.
To start I picked up three books on Rome, to give a background for my "Spectacle and Society in Ancient Rome" class.
I decided not to rate the book until I read the other two I have. The professor suggested we all read this book, so it may very well be this is the best overview of Rome we have (which I sincerely hope is wrong)
Although very informative, I almost found there was too much explaination and divergence. I just wanted the straight-up "this is what happened, the end" not all the extra motives and in-depth view of the aftermath and religion and such.
My second dive into Non-Fiction this year has proved just as fruitless as the first!

I've had A Scanner Darkly on my list for awhile, but since the movie is due to come out soon, I wanted to get it done with.

Nothing like what I expected. I was expecting something about a harsh police state, and I got what could have been a different version of the 70s or 80s. I suppose I'd call this an alternate history.

I loved the duality of Fred/Bob (and later Bruce), especially near the end when he really became fragmented.

Near the climax, I found myself wondering if all Fred/Bob's friends were narcs. The surrealness of the situation made that seem the next likely thing to happen.

Anyway, a very twisted and exciting read. I suggest reading it.

Crazy old Suetonius and his "historical" accounts of the lives of the first 12 Caesars. The book is mostly interesting to see what Suetonius thought of each emperor; if he liked them, he couldn't say enough good things. However, if he didn't like a particular emperor, he basically wrote down all the cruelest rumors possible.
Since I've read this for a course, I made some notes based on Suetonius' view of these men.

Julius Caesar was a conqueror in the best sense of the world. Neither cities nor women could stand against him. The people got tired of his constant ambition
Augustus Caesar was the pet of Rome. The golden boy (hence his cognomen). And they didn't even care his pet hobby was deflowering virgins, provided by his trusty wife.
Tiberius was a dirty old man. After gaining the empire, he moved to Capri and fell into debauchery for the remainder of his life.
Caligula the cruel taunted Rome like a kid with a stick. He killed most of his relatives, stole and exhorted money, tried to induce fights between the classes, married already married women, married noble men, and sometimes even dressed like a woman.
Claudius the half-wit only became emperor because the Julian family line was running out of choices. He loved the gladatorial games and beast hunts.
Nero the bloodthirsty was probably the most hated emperor. He was reputed to have set the great fire of Rome for his own amusement.
Galba the short-winded ruled for seven months. He was placed in the position of emperor by his army, who apparently changed their collective mind.
Otho the warlord had Galba murdered, so he could ascend as emperor. Another guy supported by his army.
Vitellius was marked for the empire when he was still young, having lived on Capri with Tiberius, then later gaining the favour of Nero, Caligula, Claudius, and Galba. Army changed its mind again.
Vespasian the rebuilder did some work in restoring Rome after the extended civil wars.
Titus was his father's son, serving as colleague and partner throughout Vespasian's reign. Loved by the people, though (or perhaps because) he only ruled for two years.
Domitianwas a gladiator at heart, putting on numerous spectales to the amusement of the population. Too bad he approached judicial matters with the same mindset; he was murdered for perhaps being too murderous.

I think Suetonius enjoyed Tiberius the most, because the list of his debaucheries was extensive.

The...Incident uses a unique style of diction, and includes diagrams to illustrate points. Although this is a fiction book, it's also a straightforward look at an autistic person's mind. It reads like an elementary school textbook... until it gets to the math problems. Christopher is a loveable character, who undertakes to do things a "normal" person would be wary of. His courage is disarming, because it reminds you he is still a person despite his differences. I think it's valuable because it could and should cause one to be more empathetic.

Pope Joan was no good. I loved the concept and the subject material, but Ms Cross decided to throw in a love interest, and it totally lost me. I thought the book focused too much on this love interest, so that although Joan was supposed to be this independant woman, her character needed the support of the cookie-cutter knight in shining armor (ok, maybe not cookie cutter... he had red hair instead of blonde... oooooh). The exchanges between them mostly took over the important, underlying ideals behind the story.

I realized what bothered me about this book.
At the end, for revenge one of her enemies leaves her out of his history of Popes. One of her friends discovers this, and puts her back in.
In my mind, the whole double revenge thing is something you'd typically find in the YA fiction section.

I think that We is a valuable piece for any collection, but I didn't find it as strong as my favourite utopian novels.
For one, I felt the author was trying to stick too much technical terminology into the story, so it was a little bogged down. On second thought, it added a sense of humor to the book, so it really is worthwhile.
It also felt slightly outdated. I imagine this is because it is one of the older pieces of utopian literature, and I have of course read them out of order, beginning with the more polished pieces.
I really liked the way everyone was referred to as a number. I also liked how the buildings reflected the mindset of the society, among other things.

Grapes of Wrath was a huge disappointment. I've read other Steinbeck works and thoroughly enjoyed them.
Although there was a smattering of beautiful and meaningful insights, as a whole I felt the story dragged. I basically lost interest after the 500th page, and I felt let down when finally finishing it tonight. It almost seemed to me that the book lacked a strong crisis/climax (whathaveyou).

Breakthrough had a great beginning and interesting plotline, pretty good right up to the end.
I found a few major drawbacks with the book:
a) the beginning focuses so much on the scientific aspect that its loss partway through the story makes it seem unbalanced. Either the science should have gradually taken a backseat, or it should have been given more representation throughout.
b) the role of the husband. How he just stand by and let his beloved work herself into an addiction? It seems incongruent with their relationship at the beginning.

Basically, I'm calling this book on its incongruencies.

I'm trudging through On the Origin now, and although I feel like it should be interesting to see where all this evolution stuff began, the ideas are just so commonplace now that I can hardly get through 2 pages at one sitting.
We'll see how things go, but I may have to abandon this one in favour of more recent stuff.

I took up Piaget for Beginners for a bit of expansion on my Developmental Psych chapter. I found the book to be both amusing and informative. I really think this and the rest of the books in the series are valuable for junior and high school aged children, and I commend the whole idea of the series. I wish it was more widely known and more widely available. Here's some More Beginners Series books

On the Origin of the Species is officially abandoned. Maybe some other time, when I have less on my mind, I might actually be able to get through a page or two without falling asleep. I find Darwin to explain so extensively that I forget just what he's trying to prove. He also refers to plants and animals as if we were all familiar with the indigenous species of the British Isles. I think that in order for this book to retain its validity, at the very least diagrams or better yet photographs should be inserted in explaination.

The copy of The Stranger I picked up from the library was written on thick, luxurious paper so that I knew right away it was going to be a good book.
I'm sure you think that's silly, so let me explain. Most of the books I pick up are from my university library. Most of them are old and yellow, on cheap paper with ugly hardcover bindings (or they'd never last). This copy was beautiful, and you just don't put a dumb story into that quality of book, and then sell it to a university.

Anyway, although short I found the story incredibly complex. I really wish I had read it in the original French, because it seems like a quintessentially French story to me, and reading it in the native language would provide whatever is lost in translation.
The only part that really puzzles me is the dog. What does the dog add to the story? Imagine the story without the dog: is it lacking an important element? I'm not so sure.

Allow me to recommend a book (you'll love it, it's printed on nice paper so you know it's not a dumb story): Am I a Snob? by Sean Latham.

Is that a joke? I don't think I'd ever pick up something like that.
I appreciate the reccomendation, but I'm sure I won't be taking you up on it.

I wasn't very impressed with Death of a Salesman. I read a few reviews of it afterwards, and I just don't think I'm getting the "deep intricacies" mentioned.
The ending made me sad. After all that they went through, they wound up back at the start with nothing to show for it, really.
Perhaps I read through it too quickly. Other than Shakespeare (whom I really enjoy) plays seem a little boring to me. I can see the overacting, the ridiculous, and it makes me cringe. I just don't think I understand this type of writing.

I really liked "The Crucible". The characters are well fleshed-out, and seem like real people. I like the idea that the playwright took a factual incident, and added a story to it. I think that's an interesting way of writing, and I think it works very well for this genre.
I'd really like to see this.

Although Last of the Mohicans was written in the typical 19th century style, full of lengthy descriptive passages and explainations, I still found the novel fast-paced and exciting. Action was liberally dispersed throughout the text in a way that made the visuals vivid and the boring bits not quite so difficult to slog through.
I especially liked how the scout constantly reminded everyone how he has "no cross". I'm still not sure what he meant, but it seems like comic relief to me. (likely not the purpose)
Another interesting aspect was the dainty sisters, who had tiny feet and alabaster skin, and were both as pure as their china-doll appearance. Their only hope of being interest was to die, poor things.

Go to Google, enter:

"no cross" mohicans cooper

and click on the first hit that comes up, which explains that the scout is proud of his pure-blooded breeding. There is no cross (cross breeding) in his blood.

The idea that occurred to me before I searched was that he might be rejecting Christianity.

That's what I was thinking, especially based on the context in which he used his favourite catch-phrase. Like... having no cross made it seem like he had nothing to lose, or that he was just flying by the seat of his pants.
Thanks for the clarification/discussion. Much appreciated.

Speak chronicles the life of a confused and hurt girl through her entire ninth grade year. Sounds like it could be boring, but it's really quite good. I mean it wasn't exactly a surprise to me that her big secret was rape, because let's face it, this isn't the only girl-dealing-with-rape piece out there. I like how although the book is solely first-person POV, mostly dealing with her thoughts, it is still possible to get an authentic sense of high school today. She could very easily have been a student at my school. I had the crazy cool and caring art teacher, with contacts in the big city and a desire to stay connected with his pupils.
I found the tree symbolism to be very basic and obvious, but at the same time it is congruent with the mental age of both the intended audience and the characters. This is a valuable addition to a Young Adult or Teen section.

Like Water for Chocolate didn't live up to all the hype. Several people suggested this story was an amazing one, soon to be a classic. Although the style was unique with all the recipes interdispersed with the story of Tita's life, and it was certainly a cute story, it didn't really do much for me.
I find it hard to relate to books dealing with love, I often find them contrived. I think that poetry rather than fiction best deals with the subject.
I also find the mysticism in this story hard to digest. I find it too fantastical that the blanket she was knitting could cover the whole ranch. I also became very confused in the final chapter; I think that the author tried to cram too much information in.

I'd have to say that The Worm Book is a very valuable resource for vermicomposters. Not only does it describe how to begin the worm bin, but it also details how to maintain the bin, and what sorts of problems to look out for. I like that the authors made the extra effort to describe each species of worm used in composting, and which areas and uses they are best suited to.
I think the biggest drawback to this resource is the last two chapters: Random poetry etc on worms, and the "Cooking With Earthworms". Yuck. They both seem like seatfillers to me.

The first Harry Potter was actually pretty interesting for a piece of children's literature. My sister wanted me to read them, and I've finally caved in. She thinks they're amazing, but I never really went for those massive series of books. I have a feeling I'll confuse them all together... and the movies don't help much either, because I've seen snippets of all the movies but none in entirety.
It really annoyed me that Gryffindor won in the end. Why should they always win? Why couldn't they lose, just in the first book, and do something a little unexpected!
The mirror of erised/desire was the most interesting part of the story.

After posting this, I read a review (found in the link provided) that totally explains why Harry Potter is such a phenomenon today.
Touching on many aspects of the novels, including how the writing tool "the hand of god" is manipulated to be both reasonable and adequate explaination.
I think one of the most important aspects of this little world, when compared with other similar types of collections (Narnia, JRR Tolkein) is that although the names are hard to pronnounce, the story flows beautifully and it's not difficult at all to read.
So.... instead of reiterating what this person says, I suggest going to read it yourself.
Review by Victoria Tarrini