Saturday, May 19, 2012

Have YOU Read These?

So you've seen those top 100 lists of books to read before you die right? Well I was interested how many of them I'd actually read so far, so I hunted around for a list and found a pretty cool list at if you want to check it out. I only put the top ten here, but you can view all 100 at the link above.  Also, this is only one list of about a million that is online. I was rather taken back that I'd only read 15 of the 100, and I'd only heard of 45 of them. How do you fair?

1.  1984 by George Orwell, England, (1903-1950)

2.  A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen, Norway (1828-1906)

3.  A Sentimental Education by Gustave Flaubert, France, (1821-1880)

4.  Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner, United States, (1897-1962)

5.  The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, United States, (1835-1910)

6.  The Aeneid by Virgil, Italy, (70-19 BC)

7.  Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, Russia, (1828-1910)

8.  Beloved by Toni Morrison, United States, (b. 1931)

9.  Berlin Alexanderplatz by Alfred Doblin, Germany, (1878-1957)

10. Blindness by Jose Saramago, Portugal, (1922-24)


By Cynthia Hand

In the beginning, there’s a boy standing in the trees…

Clara Gardner has recently learned that she’s part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn’t easy.
Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place—and out of place at the same time. Because there’s another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara’s less angelic side.
As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she’d have to make—between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

I keep thinking if I look long enough I will find an awesome angel book. Sadly, though I was excited about this one, it didn't live up to my expectations. It was a bit strange, though I liked it much better than Halo, and had some incongruencies with my own personal beliefs...I guess that could be my problem. Clara was fine as a character, but I was put off by the whole new school, meet the hot guy, fall for him plot (thank you Twilight) and that irritated me. But I was very pleased with the way the love-story played out until the very end...then I was irritated again. Don't get me wrong, you peoples who are liking the books that are popular right now with this similar high-school paranormal love plot line will really like this one. I just like it when I find something that make me feel happy when I'm done. (Doesn't mean happy ending necessarily) This didn't do it. The writing was good, the story interesting enough for me to read it fairly fast, and the angel stuff was credible and not overdone or underdone. I just didn't care for it was all. Happens sometimes. 
3 out of 5 (average for me)

The Phantom Tollbooth

By Norton Juster

For Milo, everything’s a bore. When a tollbooth mysteriously appears in his room, he drives through only because he’s got nothing better to do. But on the other side, things seem different. Milo visits the island of Conclusions (you get there by jumping), learns about time from a ticking watchdog named Tock, and even embarks on a quest to rescue Rhyme and Reason! Somewhere along the way, Milo realizes something astonishing. Life is far from dull. In fact, it’s exciting beyond his wildest dreams!

The wit in this book is simply priceless. It reminds me a lot of Ronald Dahl and I wish I would've read this as a kid. It's so cute and fun and has a great moral. Want fun with words? Take a ride with milo and go through the phantom tollbooth. You can jump to the island of Conclusions, visit the Castle in the Air, solve problems with the Mathemagician, or go on an adventure with the Humbug. Cute, cute, book. Can see why so many have loved it for years and why it got honors.

3 3/4 out of 5

Shakespeare's Sonnets

By William Shakespeare

So, this is the complete collection of Sonnets by Shakespeare, it's kinda hard to give a summary of them, but most deal with death, love, riches, and other topics. I think everybody is at least familiar with 116, you know the one, "...Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds," Well, that one is definately a favorite, but I found tons of awesome gems that I'd never heard before, so I thought I'd just share a few a get you in the mood to take the time to read this. I know poetry isn't for everyone...but it should be!  This is a quick and beautiful read.

"But wherefore do not you a mighteir way
Make war upon this bloody tyrant, Time?
And foritfy your self in your decay
With means more blessed than my barren rhyme?
Now stand you on the top of happy hours,
And many maiden gardens, yet unset,
With virtuous wish could bear you living flowers,
Much liker than your pianted counterfeit:
So should the lines of  life that life repair,
Which this, Time's pencil, or my pupil pen,
Neither in inward worth nor outward fair,
Can make you live you self in eyes of men.
To give away yourself, keeps yourself still,
And you must live, drawn by your own sweet skill."

Sonnet 17

The Squire's Tale

By Gerald Morris

Growing up an orphan in an isolated cottage in the woods, young Terence never expected much adventure. But upon the arrival of Fawain, his life takes a surprising turn. Gawain is destined to become one of the most famous knights of the Round Table. Terence becomes Gawain’s squire and leaves his secluded life for one of adventure in King Arthur’s court. In no time Terence is plunged into the exciting world of kings, knights, wars, magic spells, dwarfs, damsels in distress, and enchanters. As he adjusts to his new life, he proves to be not only an able squire but also a keen observer of the absurdities around him. His duties take him on a quest with Gawain and on a journey of his own, to solve the mystery of his parentage. Filled with rapier-sharp wit, jousting jocularity, and chuckleheaded knights, this is King Arthur’s court as never before experienced.

So this book was one of those I kept thinking, "I should read that sometime," and I finally got to it after a few years. At first I was dissapointed because I was wanting something written a little more maturely, but after I got used to the writing style I was pretty entertained. It was great fun to go through all the adventures of Terence and Gawain. I'm a sucker for fairy tales and myths, and Arthur's knights are awesome. This book is a lot of fun and gives a bit of mystery as to Terence's parents and his background. Gawain is a fun character and I had quite a few chuckles at their troubles. All in all it was a cute story with loads of potential. I'll grab the next in the series eventually and see if the writing and characters improve with time. This is a great introduction to Arthurian times for kids.

3 out of 5 (Average)