Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Title: Peter and the Secret of Rundoon by Ridley Pearson and Dave Barry
How it was obtained: It was a Christmas present for Susan (I don't remember if I bought it or if someone else bought it).
Time spent on the "to read" shelf: 2 1/2 years.
Days spent reading it: 4 days.
Why I read it: I already read (and liked) the other two books in this series, so I wanted to read this one (obviously)!
Brief review: Since this is the third book in a series, I do not want to give too much away in regards to the series. But I do want to give a little review. Peter and the Secret of Rundoon continues the popular Peter and the Starcatchers series that re-envisions the Peter Pan story.
I went into this book a little nervous about the quality. Susan and some others I know read this book and were not as impressed as they were with the first two books in the series. So I thought I would not like it as much either. However that was not the case. I actually liked it quite a bit. Right there with the second book, not quite as good as the first book.
Barry and Ridley continue to create a magical world that is fun to explore. I liked the change of scenery that this book offered (a desert instead of an island or city). This book also explains more about the origins of the Starcatchers and the Others. It even explains a little more about what the mysterious and powerful starstuff is.
In my opinion this book was definitely worth reading if you enjoyed the first two. If you didn't enjoy them, you won't enjoy this one. The only real criticism I have about this book is that, as far as plot and storytelling go, there is nothing really new here. Sure there are some new elements (new bad guy, bigger picture). But clearly Barry and Ridley have a formula going. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. And I'm fine with that. This series is fun and lighthearted and is a good read for relaxing.
"You trust [Hook]?" said Peter.
"I trust him to do what's in his interest," said Leonard. "Right now it's in his interest to take us where we want to goso that we don't toss him over the side, which I have assured him we will hapily do at the first sign of treachery."
Peter smiled and was rewarded with a personalized glare from Hook.
Stars: 4 out of 5.
Final Word: (Secret!)
Monday, June 15, 2009
Title: The Way of the Wild Heart by John Eldridge
How it was obtained: A gift from some of my youth group kids.
Time spent on the "to read" shelf: 2 years.
Days spent reading it: 5 days.
Why I read it: I received this book from one of my youth group kids. So I figured I would be thankful and actually read the present that they gave to me! And I was interested in reading the book when I started it.
Brief review: In this book John Eldridge talks about the different stages of a man's life. (Sorry ladies, no guidance for you). He talks about how we develop from the beloved son to the cowboy to the warrior to the lover to the king to the sage. I was not quite sure what I would think of this book, but for the most part I appreciated it.
The audience of the book is parents (and I'm not one yet) and specifically for fathers. Eldridge wants to reclaim the idea of Biblical manhood because as a society we have lost or distorted it so badly. I agree that there are areas that we can definitely work on as a society, but at the same time I do not have the same experience as Eldridge and many others in America who never had a father growing up. (Thanks for being there dad).
Eldridge does a great job of talking about these different stages of life and he then goes on to talk about how we can raise our boys to go through these phases of life as intended (by God).
This book was worth reading, but not transformational for me. Maybe, when I am a little further along in my own journey and raising my own boys, this book will mean a little more to me. But right now it was just an alright book. However, I would encourage other men to read it, especially fathers. I think it has a lot to say to men today.
Favorite Quote: Now, for you younger men, don't worry much about this stage (the sage), for it will come in due time. When you are young, commit yourself to take as few shortcuts as possible. Learn your lessons. Take note of all that God is teaching you. Submit to the journey. Be a student of Scriptures. Hang out with the wise, living or dead, for that is how we, too, become wise.
Stars: 4 out of 5.
Final Word: Manly.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Title: Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
How it was obtained: I traded in a ton of used books at a used book store before we left Columbia. This is one of the books I got in exchange for super cheap.
Time spent on the "to read" shelf: 3 years.
Days spent reading it: 3 weeks.
Why I read it: I love science fiction. I like the idea of colonizing Mars. This book won the Nebula award in 1993 (very prestigious SF awards). So I imagined I would like it.
Brief review: Red Mars is a novel about colonizing and terraforming Mars. It deals with all the facets of colonizing another planet: scientific, political, personal, nature, business, and government, amongst others. It also theorizes on the consequences of that transformation.
I picked up Red Mars not really knowing what to expect. I was blown away by Kim Robinson's (a man, by the way) grasp of the technical elements of space travel and colonization. I would not say that the technical side gets too heavy except occasionally. Robinson's sheer knowledge of the technical side of space colonization is dumbfounding. He certainly did his homework before writing this novel. I would not be surprised if he actually traveled to Mars! It was so realistic at points.
My only complaint about this novel was that it was actually very slow reading. It took me almost twice as long to read a page than it normal does. Which meant this novel took some real time to finish. And I could only take it in smaller chunks (50 pages or so at a time).
The characters in the novel are fantastic. They are all a little messed up. You spend a lot of time with a few of the first 100 (the first 100 to travel to Mars). They all have their different take on what colonizing Mars should mean for them and the nations they represent (or the planet they represent as they settle Mars). The political elements of this book were very fascinating. The business elements of this book (talking about transnational businesses, etc) was confusing to me, but I understand nothing about big companies. Somebody out there probably appreciates what I could not even fathom.
Overall I thought this book was great, but probably not for anyone who is not really interested in sci-fi or colonization. The technical side of it alone will slow the reading to a crawl, but the ideas are entirely worth the time. I thought I might not be interested enough to read the other two in the trilogy, but after finishing Red Mars I am ready to start Green Mars (once I get through this list of course!).
Favorite quote: "Frank Chalmers made his way through them , feeling their stares, moving without thought toward them, feeling their stares, moving without thought toward the platform at the top of town; and as he walked he said to himself, Now we'll see what I can do with this planet." (Its not a great quote out of context, but in the midst of the chapter, it was amazing).
Stars: 4 out of 5.
Final Word: Transforming.