Monthly Archives: July 2013

A Shadow in Summer by Daniel Abraham

shadow

Some are saying this book is a modern masterpiece and I would have been inclined to agree, would have. It started off amazing, compelling and unique. I raced through half the book and was both intrigued and a bit confused. It’s written beautifully despite some mistakes and packs a lot into each sentence. However at the halfway point it dragged on, and it’s already a very slow paced book. I managed to get to about 80 percent and then just could not go on, oh the boredom of it all. 

Not really worth the read but the video below gives a pretty good review of it. My rating, 2.5/10. 


Much Ado About Nothing by Shakespeare

Much_Ado_Quarto

I liked this one, not as much as A Midsummer Nights Dream, but still liked it; it didn’t have quite as humorous a quality. I thought the set up for Benedick and Beatrice was really good and enjoyed Beatrice’s adamant refusal of her love. Likewise Claudio and Hero were a great pair and the trickery played on them by John the Bastard was well played out, although I found it a little confusing when Dogberry was investigating the situation.

Also the $0.99c Kindle version I got was crappy and had html scripting in it, and it didn’t have much in the way of consistent formatting. That aside, it was a good short read. I give it a 7/10 and imagine the play would be a whole lot better.


The Orthodox Heretic by Peter Rollins

orthodox-heretic

 

This is another book I feel like I’ve been reading for months. It’s a collection of stories complied to make you think deeply about various aspects of life, love and faith etc. I read this after finishing Rollins’ book ‘How (Not) to Speak of God’ (which was amazing) and this, to be honest, felt like a bit of a chore. It just didn’t seem to have that same punch-in-your-gut effect, or maybe I just wasn’t in the theological and philosophical frame of mind I needed to be in. That being said however it is a good book to use for a group discussion; to read the story/parable and discuss the message or the moral of the story. I probably shouldn’t compare the two books but I have, and it’s a bit hard not to considering the weightiness of ‘How (not) to…’ which I would highly recommend.

So overall I give it a 5/10.


20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

Verne

Thank god it’s finally over! I feel like I’ve been reading this book for months. Not that I didn’t like it, because I did, well the first 2/3 were fantastic and then tedium set in and it ambled around towards the dismal end.

I loved Professor Aronnax and his endless barrage of questions and insights about the Nautilus and the untapped underwater world. Captain Nemo also was extremely likable for his wise, misanthropic, phlegmatic and confident personality. I was captivated by the Nautilus; a reading room with an ample supply of sea-cigars – Fantastic! The innovation of Verne’s insight and imagination was well thought out and we explored first-hand the wonders of the sea with the professor. However the descriptions of different species of fish and mammals did start to resemble The Origin Of Species in it’s tedious exhaustive detail. I was hooked for most of the book. But I determined to finish it, not something I usually do, but I persevered. I felt like it became repetitive and at the point they found the cavity under the volcano I was ready to move on.

Overall however I did enjoy it, it could have easily been punchier at half the length. My rating is 6.5/10.


A midsummer night’s dream by William Shakespeare

midsummer-nights-dream-cover

 

A wonderfully fun and laughable tale, beautiful and all of the characters have that ‘jump off the page’ quality. I loved it and it is now, without a doubt, one of my favourite stories.

The plot was brilliant. My two favourite scenes were, firstly, that of the woods; when Demetruis and Lysander are under the fairy love spell and Helena thought that they, with Hermia, were making sport of her. It was actually laugh out loud funny. And the other part that got me giggling was when Snout the tinker acts as a wall in the play at the wedding ceremony:

“In this same interlude it doth befall 

That I, one Snout by name, present a wall;  

And such a wall, as I would have you think, 

That had in it a crannied hole or chink, 

Through which the lovers, Pyramus and Thisby, 

Did whisper often very secretly. 

This loam, this rough-cast and this stone doth show 

That I am that same wall; the truth is so: 

And this the cranny is, right and sinister, 

Through which the fearful lovers are to whisper.”

The running commentary of ”The Mechanical’s’ play by the Duke, his fiance Hippolyta and the four lovers (primarily Lysander) was really great and you could visualize the banter.

What more can I say, a timeless classic. I would love to see the stage show. I give this a maximum rating of 10/10.


In the year 2889 by Jules/Michel Verne

Jules

A fun frolic into the future by Jules, or more likely his son, Michel Verne. This book is a glimpse (30 pages) into a day in the life of Fritz Napoleon Smith, editor of the Earth Chronicle, in the year 2889.

The story is very short and sharp and could easily have been fleshed out in many ways. However, it was amusing to see Verne’s imaginations of the future.

Elements were very skimmed over, such as the unsuccessful resuscitation of a hundred year old dead doctor, which frankly was a bit odd. My favorite bit of the book, just near the end, is when they use the ‘Piano Electro-Reckoner, where the most complex calculations can be made in a few seconds.’ Also a variation of modern day Skype was through ‘the transmission of images by means of sensitive mirrors connected by wires,’ – brilliant.

Oh yeah, and instead of reading the news online like we do now: “Instead of being printed, the Earth Chronicle is every morning spoken to subscribers… each subscriber owns a phonograph, and to this instrument he leaves the task of gathering the news whenever he happens not to be in a mood to listen directly himself. As for purchasers of single copies, they can at a very trifling cost learn all that is in the paper of the day at any of the innumerable phonographs set up nearly everywhere.”

So overall it was a quick and amusing read, more than likely not for everyone though. I give it a 4.5/10.


Quick bit of self promotion

Hey all. Just wanted to quickly say that I’ve started a new blog; one where I plan on doing more writing. I still plan to keep reading and reviewing books here just as much, but you can check out my new one here

Thanks

Jason