08 January 2010

GTTBRPU200 Booklog #4: Books 12 - 16

Before the main post, can I just say a huge thank you to everyone who commented on my last post? You guys are amazing, and your outpouring of support means so much to me. Thank you, more than words can say.

The book-reading effort went great guns over the holidays: I completed more than ten books between leaving home on Christmas Eve and returning on January 3. Yay me! Here's the first installment of my holiday reading:

GTTBRPU200 #12: Nothing Interesting About Cross Street, by Beth Yahp (Ed.)

[No cover image available]

This is what you get when your creative writing teacher at school is way too enthusiastic o.O It's a compilation of short stories (ranging from short-short-short to the just short) by both well-known Australian authors and the class of students that one of them taught. The title is the complaint voiced by the students when asked to write about their lives, where they lived, what they did - anything, please, just write! *grin*

As would be expected, some of the stories are top notch, and some are... well, written by amateurs. Do the good stories make the read worth it? Probably. Unless you had something more interesting to read. O:)

GTTBRPU200 #13: The Art of War, by Sun Tzu (translated by John Minford)

This is one I picked up a while ago because, believe it or not, it was mentioned by Holly Lisle in one of her writing courses. No, I can't recall which one, but I was intrigued by the way she took what Sun Tzu had to say about warfare and deftly applied it to other conflicts in her life, both writing and non-writing. Naturally, I had to see for myself what it said.

It's a classic for a reason: this is one of those books that you read wherein the advice is so self-evident that you *facepalm* and wonder why no one thought of this before, only you're glad they didn't, because it means you aren't the only silly one on the planet :D In this beautiful translation the language is simple and poetic, concentrating not only on giving advice but also phrasing it handsomely. If you're willing to sit down and really think about what he has to say, this really is the only book you'll ever need on tactics - and the meat of the book, the actual bit that Sun Tzu wrote, is less than 100 pages.

I cheated a little on this one and didn't read the annotated version in the second half of the book, just the original translation. I'm looking forward to making the time to go through the annotated version in detail :)

GTTBRPU200 #14: Fear the Fantastic, by K.A. Applegate

This one's my favourite of this booklog, possibly because by the time I read this I was hanging out like an addict waiting for a fix for some classic contemporary fantasy adventure. Applegate also authored the Animorph series, which I quite enjoyed in highschool, and this has a similar flavour: lots of action, snarky first person MC, shiny, shiny world building, and a few clever plot ideas.

This book picks up midway through the series, and while I hadn't read any of the previous ones, it was easy enough to figure out what was going on. MC Chris and friends are stuck in Everworld, the world where the gods are real, and creatures from fairytales can be friends - or nightmares. Only, they're still in the real world too, trapped by a twist of fate that occurred in an earlier installment. Kinda cool, because when they fall asleep in Everworld they slip back into their Earth lives, and sometimes things can get interesting. The main objective in this book, the series of which essentially comprises one massive quest, is to cross the Hetwan country. This they do, with much trickery and excitement along the way.

Fun enough that I'll be keeping an eye out in second hand stores (since I assume it's out of print) for the next book, since I have the one after that in my possession also.

GTTBRPU200 #15: Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson

Given it's pretty much the original pirate story, we can forgive what would now be considered cliched and one-dimensional characters. The story is a fun romp for boys that I quite enjoyed, although to be honest most of the time I was thinking how well Jim Henderson and crew did with the Muppet interpretation *grin*

It's a classic, and rightly so. Lots of fun.

GTTBRPU200 #16: Julius Again, by VeraLee Wiggins

This is the kind of religious book that's cute when you're about 8 and have led a sheltered life. Okay, I'm Christian, but seriously, people, PUH-LEASE!! It IS possible to write NON-cutsie religious fiction! I promise you!! This, on the other hand, is the kind of book you give to people when they are small in order to brainwash them.

*breathes* Okay. SO. If we pretend that the book exists outside the cutsie-religiousness, it's actually a cool story, if somewhat saccharine. Boy has parrot who is always getting into mischief and therefore doesn't trust parrot much; throughout story he has to learn to trust his parrot to get him out of mischief, and much fun ensues. Boy gains a new father (part of the cutsie; the angst over this is tokenistic and too easily resolved, besides being blatantly unfounded given the man who's to be his father is a saint), and parrot finds a family on their new property. Boy angsts about the parrot not loving him any more, but comes to realise that the parrot still loves him even though he now has a parrot family too, and all is well and happy.

Happy. Happy happy happy. *rolls eyes* Oh. My.


And that's that! Next installment coming next Friday. At this point, it's looking like I'll reach my goal of getting the TBR pile under 200 by the end of January, even with the influx of books that I had to buy for school. Huzzah for that! I'm not sure what challenge I'll be on to after that; I'm thinking I'll need to assess my new work load first and figure out how much spare time I'll have. But I'm sure I'll think of something! In the meantime, have a great weekend, everyone :)

3 comments:

Yunaleska said...

Art of War is on my bookshelf somewhere because it sounded so interesting - will hunt it out this year :)

James Cornelius said...

Your TBR pile: Life's too short to read the Silmarillion.

Substitute it with Funnymen by Ted Heller. Much more rewarding ;)

Inkblot said...

Art of War is pretty good. Poetic.

James - ha, I so hear you. I've tried to read it three times before and just can't get into it. I love the first part, the Ainulindale, but the rest? Yeah. Not so much. Thanks for the recommendation! :)

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