Saturday, April 15

Book Heap

My house is a book heap. I'm not sure if I'm bragging or complaining. Maybe one of these days I'll take some pictures of what it looks like at our house when the books start to get out of hand. Books on the dinner table, books on the chairs, on the desk, and on the stairs. Books on the beds, book on the floors, books in the bathroom, books on the couch. It's a bit much sometimes. Our house very literally reminds me of a children's book we have titled "Books, Books, Everywhere". Actually, we have two copies, because of course we do. Anyway, recently I've read . . .

Frozen in Time by Mitchell Zuckoff
Last year I read "Lost in Shangri-La" wherein Zuckoff writes about a WWII plane that crashes in New Guinea and they have to go rescue them. In this book, a WWII plane crashes in Greenland, and they have to go rescue them. Actually, a plane crashes in Greenland so they send planes out searching for them and one of those planes crashes. So then they have to go rescue those guys, by, of course, sending out a plane to get them, which, of course, crashes. If you ever go back in time, don't try to fly over Greenland in the 1940s. Some of the people from crash #2 end up spending about half a year stranded on Greenland waiting to be rescued as attempt after attempt to go get them fails. The book also covers the present day attempts to go and located plane #3. The book was quite engaging, though I'm now ready for a break from books about rescuing people from plane crashes.

The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett
This is the first of the Disc World series. I didn't really enjoy this book much, it was just too silly. This is a fantasy series (41 books thus far!) with your standard medieval level technology, plus magic. But, in what must have started out as a late night "what would happen if . . . " sort of conversation, it's set on a world that is a flat disk. You can walk off the edge. The main characters are a failed magician, and the worlds first tourist, who has come from a far off land, and is both fabulously naive and wealthy. Adventures ensue. At times it's funny, but sometimes it feels overly silly, when indestructible walking luggage arrives on the scene, or when gods playing a game of dice make terrible monsters appear and disappear at random. I don't anticipate reading any more of the books.

Saturn Run by John Sandford and Ctein
First off, is that a name up there in the by line? Yes. The book is written by John Sandford, an author, and Ctein who is a photographer who happens to have degrees from Caltech in English and Physics. You know, as one does. Anyway, if you liked The Martian you should read this book. Or, at least, that's what the email from the library with book suggestions said. The premise behind the book is that some sort of alien object is spotted out around Saturn, and the US and Chinese are racing to get there and discover it first. There's lots of science and engineering in the book, and some action, though I was thankful that it didn't turn in to a "Mission Impossible: In Space" type of plot. It's worth reading, particularly if you've ever thought that most of your novels don't spend enough time discussing orbits and different types of space propulsion systems.

The Pig Did It by Joseph Caldwell
Shannon and I had some time to kill in the library, so we were laughing at the titles of terrible romance novels, when we walked by a book titled "The Pig Did It". Based on the title alone I decided to read the book. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either. The main character, an author himself, decides to go spend some time with his aunt in Ireland so can walk along the beaches under grey skies and properly mourn over a recent failure in romance. Of course, a pig gets in the way, and then there's a corpse, and well, he never gets to spend much time brooding like he wants to. But this makes the book sound more action packed than it is. It's a lot of description and introspection and was kinda boring.

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by JK Rowling
We're nearly done reading the series aloud as a family. Of course, over spring break Julia decided to re-read the first 4 books. Took her 2 days. We have a bit of a tradition where I find a way to slip Harry's death in to every chapter. Of course, the girls are expecting it now. We've recently started book 7. Lets just say this is a trick that I've been building up to for about half a year now . . . .

Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher
Let's see . . . fantasy novel . . . medieval technology . . . people with one of 4 or 5 kinds of magic powers . . . big empire facing revolution . . . young orphan boy growing up way out in the middle of no where who just happens to live right where all the action is starting to happen. Yeah, this hits all the standard features of the genre. But then, the young boy, who just happens to be the only person with absolutely NO magic powers turns out to . . . wait for it . . . still not have any magic powers. It's actually one of the more redeeming points of the book, because while an obvious way to be original, it actually is original. Anyway, its the first in a series that I will keep reading, because I find the characters interesting enough.

The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
A year or two ago I got all self righteous about the extreme proliferation of YA novels that people read. At times, it seems as though many adults I know only read books written for teenagers. One casualty of this bibliozealotry was The Rithmatist. But you know what? Sanderson is an excellent writer, so you should just read everything he writes regardless of what category they put it in at the library. Don't make the same mistake I did. Sadly, he seems to be trying to set a record for the greatest number of different series that can be in progress at once, and apparently he can only write a limited number of books per year. Oh well.

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