The Passage by Justin Cronin (3 Stars)
This one started off great, but then the book jumped one hundred years into the future and lost my interest. I finally finished this on audio but I don't think I'll be reading the next one in the series.
Posted by A Writer's Pen at 8/25/2010 10:52:00 PM
Posted by A Writer's Pen at 7/16/2010 08:52:00 PM
Posted by A Writer's Pen at 7/06/2010 10:45:00 PM
I was incredibly disappointed with The Good Son by Michael Gruber. The book description sounded like a fascinating, but the more I read the more unlikely the story was. Furthermore, I found absolutely none of the characters to be even plausible. Most especially, I felt that Sonia Laghari was so detached, so unmotherly, and so unreal that it became irritating to read about her.
Sonia was one of the two main characters, yet I found it impossible to get inside her head and understand how she can be so robotic in words and actions. Even Annette, another character in this book, remarks that she has never known anyone like her.
I read the first two-thirds of the book in hardback, and finished the final third by listening to the audio version. I'm glad to see that this book has appealed to so many people and is getting great reviews at Amazon and LibraryThing, but unfortunately, it was just not a good read for me.
The only part of the book that I really found interesting was when Theo, Sonia's son, joins the mujahadeen and later goes back to Afganistan. I also found the Pashtun tribal culture to be very interesting.
Posted by A Writer's Pen at 7/06/2010 10:13:00 PM
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress was recently recommended to me and I'm so glad I read it. It's full of charming characters in very uncharming circumstances. Set during Mao's cultural revolution, the narrator and his friend are deemed intellectuals due to their middle school education and their parents occupations. They are sent to a remote mountain village in China to be "re-educated" by the peasants. While living in house on stilts, their life is never portrayed as dull despite the times they were living in.
This book follows their quest for banned literature, storytelling, and their affections for the little Chinese seamstress. I started reading this book initially, and then managed to get the audio version, and reader B.D. Wong uses his voice in such a magical way that it only added to the storytelling.
Posted by A Writer's Pen at 7/06/2010 08:07:00 PM
A couple of months ago I read The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns. Normally I would have moved on to my next non-fiction Christian book but this one caused a change in me - a real change. This book made such an impression on me that I found it difficult to get engaged with any other book.
The only part of the book I found distasteful was Mr. Stearns repeatedly (especially in the beginning) talking about how successful he was prior to becoming CEO of World Vision. I think that part could have been edited down significantly. The rest of the book though brings tremendous insight into what we can be doing today to alleviate hunger, poverty, disease, and the biblical basis for such actions.
If you've been on the fence about getting more involved financially or through volunteering to better the lives of the less fortunate that share our planet, this is the best starting place I have found. If you don't know where to start, this book will guide you.
The end of the book contains excellent reference material including Q&A with Richard Stearns, What are you going to do about it? (A guide to taking action), recommended books & movies, a 5 part study guide, notes, scripture index, and a general index. Midway through the book there are also several candid pictures of people featured in his stories.
Posted by A Writer's Pen at 6/25/2010 08:21:00 PM
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold is a book that caught my attention back in 2002 when it was released. At the time, although I was interested I couldn't fathom reading this book. It just seemed too unfair what happened to Susie Salmon, the main character. Yet, this book carried a lot of interest for me. I wondered how the author could write a book about a girl who gets brutally raped and murdered on her way home from school and yet keep her in the book as the main character despite her death.
Posted by A Writer's Pen at 6/08/2010 12:52:00 AM
Posted by A Writer's Pen at 5/29/2010 02:46:00 AM
Taylor LeBaron is such an inspirational success story. He lost 150 lbs by creating a mental game he could play with himself called UFG (Ultimate Fitness Game). In the game he gave himself $1 per calorie per day and had to spend them wisely in order to win. For example, if he starts the day with $2000 then he can spend that on 2000 calories.
As a kid he faced difficulties fitting into desks, clothing, and even being teased by classmates.
The writing is completely candid and he shares his personal struggles and their solutions. Although the solutions may not work for all, I think there is a large population of kids who can benefit from this book.
The diet portion of the book advocates low fat, egg beaters, zero calorie soda, whole grains, and high protein, but there is a lot more to this book than diet. There is a plethora of personal motivation in addition to fitness information, family support, and setting goals. I think this book could very easily be used with other diets such as Atkins or Pritikin.
Posted by A Writer's Pen at 5/19/2010 02:37:00 AM
Posted by A Writer's Pen at 5/18/2010 02:49:00 AM
Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show by Frank Delaney by all appearances contained within it's pages the type of story I like best: history, adventure, and a touch of intrigue or politics. I am a patient reader, especially when a book looks so promising. I give such authors time to build the characters, set up the plot, and deliver a great story.
Posted by A Writer's Pen at 5/05/2010 11:52:00 PM
Posted by A Writer's Pen at 4/27/2010 03:12:00 AM
Posted by A Writer's Pen at 4/26/2010 01:29:00 AM
Posted by A Writer's Pen at 4/01/2010 05:45:00 AM
Posted by A Writer's Pen at 3/24/2010 10:56:00 PM
Posted by A Writer's Pen at 3/01/2010 09:00:00 PM
Posted by A Writer's Pen at 2/20/2010 10:39:00 AM
Buried Alive: The True Story of Kidnapping, Captivity, and a Dramatic Rescue by Roy Hallums is the authors true story of his captivity, torture, and ultimate rescie from a concrete pit in Iraq. He was being held on a $12 million dollar ransom, despite the United States' position of not paying ransoms. Finally, after 311 days he was rescued by the United States military.
Posted by A Writer's Pen at 1/24/2010 01:46:00 AM
Posted by A Writer's Pen at 1/15/2010 03:30:00 PM