Sunday, November 04, 2007


Night by Elie Wiesel

Friday, August 10, 2007

I have avoided this book for quite some time thinking it would be dark and depressing . After all, it is the author's account of the time he spent in the Nazi death camps at the age of 15. And it is dark, depressing, excrutiatingly sad, macabre, sobering, and incredibly, beautifully written. Elie's words as translated by his wife, Marion, convey vividly the dashed hopes and the realized fears of the inmates of these camps. At just 120 pages, this book manages to instill in the reader the horror of what happened to 7 million innocent people and the need to never let it happen again succinctly and eloquently. Even though it doesn't elaborate as gruesomely as other accounts I have read about the concentration camps, the emotional toll on the prisoners is almost as compelling as the deaths, hunger, sickness and torture. I found the most awful aspect is the author's repudiation of the God he had worshipped so strongly before his incarceration. Truly awful is that I could understand why. I found it a redeeming feature to include his Nobel acceptance speech in which he seems to have rekindled his relationship with God. This is a story that the world mustn't forget. I marked so many wonderful passages but here are a few that illustrate that power of Wiesel's writing.
"Did I write it so as not to go mad or, on the contrary, to go mad in order to understand the nature of madness, the immense, terrifying madness that had erupted in history and in the conscience of mankind?" Preface to new translation
"For the survivor who chooses to testify, it is clear: his duty is to bear witness for the dead and the living. He has no right to deprive future generations of a past that belongs to our collective memory. To forget would be not only dangerous but offensive; to forget would be akin to killing them a second time." Preface
"The absent no longer entered our thoughts. One spoke of them--who knows what happened to them?--but their fate was not on our minds. We were incapable of thinking. Our senses were numbed, everything was fading into a fog. We no longer clung to anything. The instincts of self-preservation, of self-defense, or pride, had all deserted us. In one terrifying moment of lucidity, I thought of us as damned souls wandering through the void, souls condemned to wander through space until the end of time, seeking redemption, seeking oblivion, without any hope of finding either." "Night"
"This is what I say to the young Jewish boy wondering what I have done with his years. It is in his name that I speak to you and that I express to you my deepest gratitude as one who has emerged from the Kingdom of Night. We know that every moment is a moment of grace, every hour an offering; not to share them would mean to betray them." Nobel prize acceptance speech
Rating: 4.5
Posted by Framed at 9:17 PM

Candace Salima (LDS Nora Roberts) said...
My father was a child in Amsterdam, Holland during WWII, on the run from the SS in Germany during the latter part of the war, and in a Dutch Concentration Camp after WWII where he, his sister (who were half Dutch and half German) and their mother (a German married to a Dutch citizen) treated with the same despicable and inhumanity the Germans treated the Jews. Before his death, my father traveled the United States speaking of life when freedom is lost, in fighting for what you believe in and uppermost in his mind, was the incredible privileges we have as Americans.So thank you for blogging about this book. You reminded of the father I recently lost and how much I miss him. He was a great, great man.
8/11/2007 7:38 AM
Framed said...
Candace, thanks so much for sharing your insights. Your father sounds like he was a wonderful man.
8/11/2007 1:23 PM
Candace Salima (LDS Nora Roberts) said...
He was amazing, Framed. I miss him a lot. And you're welcoming, I will always tell about him. He lived an amazing life always reaching for the next great adventure.
8/11/2007 7:07 PM
Nymeth said...
This sounds like one of those books that really should be read. I will have to gather the courage to do it someday. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it.


The Gods of Newport by John Jakes

Friday, August 10, 2007

In my younger days, I read Jakes' series of "The Kent Family Chronicles" and "North and South." They were what I would call lurid historical romances and very good for that genre. "Gods" fits right along with those other books. This is a story of Sam Driver, a robber baron, and his daughter, Jenny, who set out to break into Newport high society. The ruthlessness of Sam's ambitions are interspersed with details of the ostentation and excesses of Newport during the 1890's. Jakes included some great stories about the out-of-control spending of the truly rich. Having visited Newport and gone on a tour of one of the mansions, I can easily believe how these people set themselves above normal morality and common sense. But it was fun to read of some of the more outlandish things that took place in that era. The book details Sam's rise to riches, his unsuitable marriage, and how reaching the pinnacle of high society enables him to marry Jenny off to nobility. The glitch is that Jenny has fallen in love with a poor Irish boy in Newport and that romance supplies the conflict for the book along with Sam's feud with long-time Newporter, Bill Brady. Maybe, this wasn't the right book to read after "A Thousand Splendid Suns" because I just didn't care for it over all. I thought the plot was unbelievable and Sam's motives too conflicting. The character of Jenny rarely made sense. At one time she is a sensible, self-possessed young woman, then she's falling in love with a boy she just met, finally she marries the Count who is obviously wicked. The flat characters and plot line didn't make up for the fun glimpse into the Gilded Era.
Rating: 2
Posted by Framed at 7:37 AM

Booklogged said...
When I first started reading your review, I was excited to get my hands on this book. It sounded like a good premise and a fun read since we had visited Newport. In the end you convinced me not to bother. Maybe we can find a really good book about the Gods of Newport someday. That I would like to read.



Tuesday, August 07, 2007

I spent the last two days listening to the audio version of this book while cleaning house and crocheting. And I've learned a few things about myself and audio books. I do my best listening while I'm driving or crocheting, maybe when I get around to walking with my iPod, other activities tend to distract me and I have to turn the player up really loud so I can hear it all over the house. This particular book fills 11 discs, and the first five really dragged for me. I found the actress's reading to be a little monotone and the book has a very slow start, setting the stage and delving deeply into the two main characters, Miriam and Laila. But I gradually found myself pulled into the compelling and tragic lives of these two very different women who are thrown together by circumstances and then find each other to be a true sister and friend. The book covers the last thirty years of history in Afghanistan, from the Russian invasion to the overthrow of the Taliban after 9/11, and how each woman's life changes along with the changes in regimes. It is an interesting look into a different culture and way of life. Hosseini is to be commended by how well he is able look into a woman's mind and reveal her inner thoughts and feelings, most of which I could identify and sympathize with. Another problem with listening to the book was that I was unable to mark some quotes although there were some beautiful lines. I'm glad that I have "The Kite Runner" in printed form. Something tells me I will enjoy that format even more.
Rating: 4
Posted by Framed at 5:58 PM

Candace Salima (LDS Nora Roberts) said...
I'm so glad you reviewed this book. I've been trying to decide whether to buy it or not. I really don't like book that take chapters and chapters to get into. So I'm not going spend my book money on this. You rock!
8/08/2007 2:34 PM
Framed said...
Candace, eveyone else has raved about this book so I suspect I would have got into it easier if I had read it and not been so easily distracted. Still there are libraries. . .
8/08/2007 8:04 PM
Carrie K said...
It's the raving that sets my expectations up for a fall, but OTOH, I did really like The Kite Runner even if I wanted to whackthe protagonist n the back of the head half the book. And still wanted to know what happened.That's part of my problem with audiobooks. In the car, perfect. Anywhere else, even knitting, I tend to get really distracted.
8/08/2007 9:34 PM
Booklogged said...
What a coincidence. Both of us posting this book on the same day and both listening to it instead of reading it. I wish I didn't have stacks of books waiting to be read because I would like to go back and actually "read" this one.I was concerned that it wouldn't live up to the first book, but I think it was pretty close. I definitely loved the Kite Runner. It will be interesting to hear what you think having read Splendid Suns first.
8/09/2007 11:59 AM
SuziQoregon said...
I'm picky about what I'll listen to vs. read. I do most of my listening while commuting and dfiving around town in 10-20 minute segments. I almost exclusively listen to light mysteries. Anything too intense or heavy won't work as an audiobook for me (just my preference).
8/09/2007 3:31 PM
sally906 said...
As much as I loved this book and gave it an A rating. it just dipped out on the 'WoW' factor when compared to 'The Kite Runner' i am jealous that you will get the joy of reading it for the first time :)
8/10/2007 11:43 PM
Bellezza said...
I will never forget Kite Runner. It sticks with me in much the same way as Atonement did. You are brave to listen to the audio; I always miss more auditorally than I do when I read the text myself, but it's nice to have your hands free (for crochet).
8/12/2007 5:11 PM
Melody said...
A great blog and so many interesting reading challenges! I'll be adding your link onto my blogroll. :) Please visit mine if you've the chance.BTW, I've this book in my pile, and I've The Kite Runner too. Have read great reviews about them, so I can't wait to read The Kite Runner during one of the reading challenges. ;)
8/13/2007 6:30 PM
Framed said...
I'm glad to hear that most of you like "the Kite runner" better. I really need to get to it soon. Bellezza, I just mooched "the Atonement." So I'll compare notes with you on that one.
8/14/2007 7:37 PM
Mindy Withrow said...
Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment at my review of this book. I read it (as opposed to audio) and still thought it got off to a slow start. Do hope you read Kite Runner soon -- it's superb!
8/16/2007 10:02 AM
Mercy's Maid said...
I also listened to this on audio book and I just wrote a review of it yesterday. This was my first time trying an audio book, and I think I would have enjoyed the book more if it had been an actual book. I felt like I didn't have time to let things sink in very well or something.Still an excellent book, though. The kind that you keep thinking about after you finish it.


More Than You Know by Beth Gutcheon

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Nearing the end of her life, Hannah Gray returns to Dundee, Maine to relive the summer of her seventeenth year:
"My children think I'm mad to come up here in winter, but this is the only place I could tell this story. They think the weather is too cold for me, and the light is so short this time of year. It's true this isn't a story I want to tell in darkness. It isn't a story I want to tell at all, but neither do I want to take it with me."
She begins her story: "Somebody said 'true love is like ghosts, which everyone talks about and few have seen.' I've seen both and I don't know how to tell you which is worse."
Between the telling of Hannah's story of love and suspense is the story of a family who lived in the area years earlier. This novel joins the two stories to create a truly memorable tale.
I had "More Than You Know" listed as a romance, but it is also a ghost story, and, fittingly, Gutcheon's writing is hauntingly beautiful. "In the stillness of the sunset, when the wind drops, a boat leaves a path like a scar across the water that remains long after its wake has flattened and the boat is out of sight. I always remembered that, in landlocked years, that scar across the water, a mere disarrangement of molecules, lovely and purposeless but an illustration that everything matters, everything that happens changes something else." I felt Hannah's pain at her step-mother's indifference, the wonder of her first love, and the terror she experiences as she encounters the specter with eyes like dry ice. Even the ending, like a good ghost story, gave me chills. Because the book starts with the end of Hannah's life, you know how things end, but the suspense builds as you delve into why and how it came about. Here are some other quotes that illustrate Gutcheon's wonderful style:
I'll visit Ralph's grave while I'm here. It will be a year ago he joined the Silent Majority, as Grandfather would have said, on January 12, his birthday. As if his life was a circle, and he closed it by dying on the day he was born. Ralph led a charmed life in that way, finishing what he started. He was a soul at peace, in life and in death. An old soul, and a restful one, with no wild strains to haunt him and no invisible burdens to carry. You can't mourn for a life like that. You can mourn for a life like Conary Crocker's." So we are first introduced to the Conary, the love of Hannah's life.
On Christmas Eve, right beside this fireplace, we read our letters to Santa Claus. Grandpa had a big fire going, very hot. He crumpled the letters and stuck them on the end of his pitchfork and held them in the fire. They blazed up, and were carried up the chimney with a whoosh. Then we ran outside to watch the sparks flying out from the chimney and off on the night wind to the North Pole, flickering orange against the cold white stars. It made you feel you could write a letter to anyone like that, living or dead, and mail it in the fire. Perhaps I believe it still." Wonderful imagery.
"Irony doesn't explain it. I'm not sure I believe in irony, I think it's just a conceit of ours to explain the way our notion of God's plan differs from the evidence." Very thought-provoking.
I bought this book from Barnes and Noble knowing nothing about it. What a serendipitous decision and probably one I wouldn't have made if I had known the fearful side of the story. I enjoyed the flavor of the Maine coast, the poignant love story, and even the ghost story. I look forward to reading more of Gutcheon's work.
Rating: 5
Posted by Framed at 8:39 PM

Joy said...
I love the title and the cover of this book! They made me quickly check to see what you rated it and was pleasantly surprised! :) This book deserves more looking into. Thanks.
8/05/2007 6:47 AM
SuziQoregon said...
This one sounds really interesting!
8/05/2007 10:34 AM
Lynne said...
I read this one a while ago. I can't remember too much about it (senior moment), but I know that I liked it. I like her books.
8/05/2007 3:10 PM
Cassie said...
That sounds really cool, I'll think I'll add that to my list. That is amazing imagery in those quotes.
8/06/2007 8:37 AM
Bookfool said...
I think I actually passed up a copy of this book when our bookstore went out of business. I'll have to look. It sounds wonderful! Thanks for the terrific review.
8/06/2007 11:42 AM
Carrie K said...
It does sound wonderful, I like her turn of phrase, and it doesn't sound like something I'd normally pick up.
8/06/2007 8:47 PM
Candace Salima (LDS Nora Roberts) said...
Thank you so much for putting excerpts from the book into your blog. I love the way this woman writes. Your review of it has encouraged me to go out and buy the book today. Thank you so much!
8/07/2007 8:56 AM
Booklogged said...
Framed, this is a lovely review, so well written. Love the quotes you chose to share. Your review is so enticing that I will be knocking on your door soon to see if I can borrow this book. Does Gutcheon have other books out or is she a new author?
8/09/2007 12:27 PM
Framed said...
Booklogged, she did write some other books. I think I will be on the lookout for those.


The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz

Friday, August 03, 2007

Lutz's debut novel follows the machinations of one of the most disfunctional familes I've read about. Mom and Dad Spellman own their own private investigations business, and their children join the work in their early teens. Actually, Rae, the youngest, starts surveillance at the age of six. Izzy is the middle wild child, trying to get attention from her perfect older brother, David, who later becomes a lawyer. She is also the narrator, telling the story in a straightforward manner while trying to justify some of her loonier actions. Her relationships with men are hopeless: one of her many lists contains all her ex-boyfriends, the duration of the relationship, and the parting line. While there is one small mystery which Izzy is assigned to investigate, it is merely a sidebar to the highjinks of the Spellman Agency and the disappearance of fourteen-year-old Rae Spellman. Because a car with a broken tail light is easier to tail, they carry hammers with them. Because the snoopy family tails each other, they all sport broken tail lights. Izzy's affair with the hot Guatemalan dentist is doomed because of her mother's prejudice, not against Hispanics as he assumes, but against dentists. She spends half the book lining Izzy up with lawyers. Interspersed with these antics are the chapters involving the police detective who is trying to help the Spellmans find Rae. While there are many funny moments, I found the whole clan became a little too silly and frantic. It was a fun, light read, but the book has been mooched and I'm not sure if I will read any future Spellman novels.
Rating: 3
Posted by Framed at 9:22 PM

Literary Feline said...
Thanks for the review, Framed! I haven't read anything by Lisa Lutz before. I was thinking maybe I had a book of hers in my TBR collection, but it's John Lutz's books I have. I haven't yet read anything by him either. :-)
8/04/2007 11:03 AM
Carrie K said...
I haven't read any of her books either. It sounds a bit ditzy.


March by Geraldine Brooks

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

I was so excited to read this book by Geraldine Brooks since I loved "A Year of Wonders." After finishing 'Invincible Louisa" by Cornelia Meigs about Louisa May Alcott, this book seemed the logical follow-up. Like Year, the story revolves one central character and how that character deals with the catastrophe that surrounds him. Year was about a woman living through the bubonic plague in England. March fills in the story of the father who is missing through most of "Little Women," and how he deals with the catastrophe that surrounded this country in the years leading up to and including the beginning of the Civil War. Mr. March is based largely on the life of Bronson Alcott, Louisa's father, whose journals Brooks studied closely. He tries to be a high-minded man of integrity, but is still quite imperfect. In the end, he can't reconcile himself to returning to his wife and family when he feels there are so many events that he needs to recompense for, but has no other choice. The book is a scathing indictment of the practice of slavery, and the descriptions of Southern practices are quite wrenching. But Brooks' greatest condemnation fall on war itself.
"I only let him do to me what men have ever done to women: march off to empty glory and hollow acclaim and leave us behind to pick up the pieces. The broken cities, the burned barns, the innocent injured beasts, the ruined bodies of the boys we bore and the men we lay with.The waste of it. I sit here, and I look at him, and it is as if a hundred women sit beside me: the revolutionary farm wife, the English peasant woman, the Spartan mother--"Come back with your shield or on it," she cried, because that was what she was expected to cry. And then she leaned across the broken body of her son and the words turned to dust in her throat. " Marmee March "I wonder where he lies. Wedged under a rock, with a thousand small mouths already sucking on his spongy flesh. Or floating still, on and down, on and down, to wider, calmer reaches of the river. I see them gathering: the drowned, the shot. Their hands float out to touch each other, fingertip to fingertip. In a day, two days, they will glide on, a funeral flotilla, past the unfinished white dome rising out of its scaffolds on a muddy hill in Washington. Will the citizens recognize them, the brave fallen, and uncover in a gesture of respect? Or will they turn away, disgusted by the bloated mass of human rot?" Mr. March Brooks shocks the reader with her graphic prose but the pictures she draws are unmistakable. The book completely puts you in mind of the Victorian era with the words she uses. She also creates two memorable characters in Marmee March, quite a different picture than we read about in "Little Women," and Grace Clement, a black slave who Mr. March first meets at the age of eighteen. Unfortunately, I couldn't quite like Mr. March himself. Although he wants to do good for his fellow men, he is so unbending in his ideologies that he pushes people away. Even though he is able to help a large group of contraband slaves learn to read, he is unable to do what needs to be done to protect them from a descent back into slavery. I found him very impracticable and a little weak. Even though the book is very powerful, I just couldn't reconcile myself to him. Rating: 3.75
Posted by Framed at 8:18 PM

3M said...
I felt much the same way you do. I also rated it almost the same--mine was 3.5.
8/02/2007 6:59 AM
Cassie said...
Maybe I won't read this one. I loved Year of Wonders too. I think I just need to read the original Little Women and leave it at that.
8/02/2007 8:23 AM
Carrie K said...
He does sounds a lot like Bronson Alcott then. I keep eying the book - I loved Year of Wonders too, but I can't quite bring myself to read it.
8/03/2007 5:32 PM
Tristi Pinkston said...
Hey Framed --I just gave you an award on my blog. Come get it!
8/03/2007 6:57 PM
Framed said...
Yikes, this post turned screwy. I wish I could get into HTML to edit my posts when this happens, but I can't. I'm pretty sure it's my computer because I can edit them on other computers. I've checked my settings but can't figure out what the deal is. Any ideas??
8/03/2007 8:56 PM
Literary Feline said...
I've never really had the interest in reading Little Women and so this one has never really sparked any interest for me. I do plan to read Year of Wonders eventually though. I've heard great things about that one.
8/04/2007 10:42 AM
Booklogged said...
I liked this book more than you did. I thought of Mr. March as very human, as well as ideological. Being from the north he was ignorant of many of the practices of the south, but I think he basically tried to do what he felt was right. I liked him and felt extreme sympathy for his plight. He definitely was not a man made for war. I look forward to reading A Year of Wonder because I enjoy Brooks' writing.

Saturday, November 03, 2007


Invincible Louisa by Cornelia Meigs

Monday, July 30, 2007

Cornelia Meigs wrote "Invincible Louisa" in 1933 and it really is a product of its times. I found the prose a little too childish for my tastes even though I usually really like children's books. The atmosphere is very sunny even though Louisa May Alcott lived in poverty for much of her life. Anyone who enjoyed "Little Women" would like reading of the family who served as Alcott's inspiration. The Alcott's were a close-knit, loving family who enjoyed life to the fullest even though they didn't live in the best of circumstances. Louisa' father, Bronson, experimented with education techniques, many of which are still in use today, and transcendentalism. For a couple of years, the family lived in a sort of commune which failed in the end. Louisa associated with such exalted literary figures as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. It's obvious from reading this biography how much Jo is modeled after her creator and her efforts in trying to care for her family through her writing. There were several things I learned by reading this book:
1. The Alcott's lived for two years in the Wayside, Hawthorne's future home, before buying the Orchard house, where they lived for many years. Louisa hated this house because they were in the process of renovating it before moving in when her sister, Elizabeth, died.
2. Louisa served as an army nurse for one month before contracting typhoid fever which forced her to return home and from which she never fully recovered.
3. Louisa died at the age of 56 just two days after her father. She outlived her mother and father, two sisters and sister, Anna's, husband.
4. When her youngest sister died a month after giving birth to Louisa's namesake, Lulu was sent to be raised by her aunt. Louisa also adopted Anna's youngest son so that he could inherit all the copyrights to her books.
Louisa May Alcott was a fascinating person and Meigs obviously admired her a great deal. Much of the content of the book was garnered from journals which added greatly to the details, but, since this is a small book, much had to have been left out. I would be interested in reading a more adult biography. Maybe David McCullough could tackle this.
Rating: 3.75
Posted by Framed at 6:42 PM

Cassie said...
How interesting. I really should give biographies more of try. It should be more interesting to me to know that this stuff actually happened.
7/31/2007 8:12 AM
Tristi Pinkston said...
I really enjoyed reading this book and learning more about Louisa -- but was heartbroken to find that Laurie wasn't a real person. Sniff.
7/31/2007 11:59 AM
Framed said...
I always hated that Amy got Laurie in the end so I guess, for me, it's good he's fictional.
7/31/2007 6:47 PM
heidijane said...
This is just to let you know that I've tagged you for the "Blogging Tips" meme. Please don't feel obliged, but I think its quite useful really...
8/01/2007 12:43 PM
Framed said...
Chris had already tagged me for this meme. I posted it on my other blog, "Life's a Picture." Click on the link in my sidebar that says me. I've read some tips on other blogs that were very helpful.


The LIncoln Lawyere by Michael Connelly

Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly combines the genres of mystery, thriller and courtroom drama. The narrator, Michael (Mickey) Haller portrays himself as a sleazy defense lawyer who will defend anyone and pull any trick to get them off as long as the money's good. True, he does a few pro bono cases but mostly to get his name in the papers in an effort to attract more clients. Those clients seem to be mostly the dregs of society. Then Mickey gets a big break when he is called to defend Louis Roulet, a franchise player (a client who promises a possible 6-figure payout). Roulet is charged with aggravated assault and attempted murder. About halfway through the book, the mystery is pretty much over, then the thriller begins. Now that Haller knows who is the really evil person involved, he has to figure out how to salvage his career while bringing the devil down. The protaganist is extremely clever and is able to frame Haller with a possible murder charge himself. On top of all this plays an outstanding courtroom drama where Haller shines with his courtroom tactics and strategy. There are several surprises along the way making this a fun read for the Summer Mystery Challenge. As in the book, Open and Shut" which I reviewed earlier, Haller develops a conscious during the course of the story. Both his ex-wives still love him so he can't be all bad. Rating: 4
I had to delete my first review on this book since my image of the book had changed to something unacceptable. How does that happen? I know Literary Feline had left a comment but it got deleted too. Sorry, Kitty, can you do another comment?
Posted by Framed at 8:37 AM

Carrie said...
This sounds like a really fun book! I'd like to read it. Thanks for reviewing it.
7/28/2007 9:39 AM
Literary Feline said...
Good morning, Framed. Great review! I read The Lincoln Lawyer last year and was quite taken with it. Haller was one of those characters that I almost didn't like, but I couldn't help myself. I am glad you enjoyed this one.
7/28/2007 9:50 AM
Joy said...
I liked this one, too. I gave it a 4.25/5, so we are very close. :)
7/28/2007 10:31 AM
Ben said...
Yeah, I saw the unacceptable image in my RSS reader. What happened is the person who is serving that image changed it when he saw that someone else (you) was linking directly to his image. By linking directly, you're using his bandwidth every time someone visits your page.To avoid this in the future, you need to serve the image directly from your blog. You'll need to download the image to your machine and then upload it using the blogger interface.
7/28/2007 11:01 AM
ben said...
Yeah, I saw the unacceptable image in my RSS reader. What happened is the person who is serving that image changed it when he saw that someone else (you) was linking directly to his image. By linking directly, you're using his bandwidth every time someone visits your page.To avoid this in the future, you need to serve the image directly from your blog. You'll need to download the image to your machine and then upload it using the blogger interface.
7/28/2007 11:01 AM
Amy said...
I just added 2 Michael Connelly books to my Book Awards Challenge list. He sounds like an excellent author, right up my alley.I have enjoyed my visit to your blog and linked to you so I can come back. Happy reading!
7/28/2007 1:17 PM
Alyson said...
Sounds interesting. I may have to add this one to my TBR list.
7/28/2007 3:00 PM
Anonymous said...
Look up "hotlinking" in google. It's not good blogging etiquette to link directly to an image hosted on someone else's blog.
7/28/2007 3:09 PM
Framed said...
Obviously I still have a lot to learn about blogging etiquette so I appreciate the heads up. It wasn't a great picture anyway, but the book was pretty good.
7/28/2007 4:23 PM
Bellezza said...
Framed, apparently anonymous knows nothing of your character and that you would never deliberately "steal" anything. My goodness, someone got a little chafed and irritable.I keep hearing good things about Connelly, but personally, I could take him or leave him. I'm glad you found such positive aspects of this book.


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J K Rowling

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I talked with a co-worker today who has never read any of the Harry Potter books. (gasp) She told me that Harry Potter must die in this book because that is the only way that there won't be any sequels. I just smiled mysteriously and moved on. That's right, I don't believe in spoilers and she may read it someday. So what can I say about this book without giving anything away. Oh, there's lots. Let's start with what I didn't care for: 1. Two years between reading Book 6 and this one is way too long. I've forgotten all. 2. The pictures in this book look a lot more like Daniel Radcliffe than they did in Book 1. Don't get me wrong, I like Daniel Radcliffe, but still. 3. The wonder, enchantment and charm that hooked me in the first books isn't nearly as intense. The last few of the series are darker and appeal more to older teens than younger. Let's face it, I'm still a kid at heart. 4. Ron's whining. I know it was appropriate behavior for a 17-year-old under the circumstances, but I've always found his whining annoying. He does step it up more in this book when he quits whining and that was impressive. 5. Why aren't the U.S. book covers as neat as the ones in the UK?
I find these to be very minor complaints, just barely worth mentioning. Please don't let them stop you from reading a great book. So what did I like? 1. Harry's a babe. What else can I say? 2. The Weasley twins are hilarious. 3. The answer to several things that had puzzled me throughout the series. It's nice that my guesses were right several times. 4. The suspense was pretty intense and Rowling built it up very well. She really does spin a fantastic yarn. Although, there was some predictability with the ending, there were still enough surprises to keep things interesting. While Rowling has a great marketing machine who really built up this book, I was not disappointed in the least. 5. This book really is a great finale to the series. All the details are wrapped up and you even get to learn more about wizardry and it's history. 6. Vold . . . whoops, He Who Can't Be Named is one of the great villains of all times.
A couple of quotes I liked:
"Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all, those who live without love."
"Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?"
My overall feeling is one of sadness that the story is over. I enjoyed anticipating the next installment. I've read the first book a couple of times and still felt wonder at the creativity of the story, so I hope when I visit Hogwarts again, that wonder will still come through. I fully intend to read the whole series again from start to finish. And, of course, there's always the movies. Rating: 4.75
Posted by Framed at 8:24 PM

Alyson said...
Boy, that second quote has the potential to start a multitude of theories for those who haven't read it yet.I wish everyone had read it so we could discuss it in more detail, but oh well.
7/25/2007 9:24 PM
Candace Salima (LDS Nora Roberts) said...
It is a fantastic book. I enjoyed it immensely. I am going to read them all, beginning to finish, as well.My favorite part is in the battle to end all battles, Ron and Hermione having a moment while Harry reminds them "we are in the middle of a war here. Can't this wait?" I still giggle every time I think about it.
7/26/2007 7:10 AM
Bellezza said...
This post has been removed by a blog administrator.
7/26/2007 7:34 AM
Dewey said...
This post has been removed by a blog administrator.
7/26/2007 2:20 PM
Framed said...
This post has been removed by the author.
7/26/2007 6:45 PM
Framed said...
Belleeza and Dewey, Thanks so much for your comments but I felt I needed to delete them as they did contain spoilers for those who haven't read the book yet. Hopefully, we can discuss the book without touching the all-important ending. I'd love to hear how you liked the ending if you can do without giving anything away. P. S. Dewey, I think your point is debatable on a very picky level.
7/26/2007 6:52 PM
Framed said...
Alyson, I see what you mean. Could be interesting. Candace, That was hilarious. I feel the book needed a few more light moments like this.
7/26/2007 6:54 PM
MyUtopia said...
I am one of those freak readers who hasn't read the series. But since everyone else in the free world has I have heard different story lines and plots from the various books through out the years.
7/27/2007 11:57 AM
Mercy's Maid said...
I enjoyed your review!I think my favorite "comic relief" moment was during the radio show when there was a disagreement on what one of the characters' code name should be. It made me giggle. :)
7/28/2007 9:33 AM
Literary Feline said...
I was reading your review and I turned to my husband and said, "There were pictures?" He, of course, replied that there were and that if I thought about it, I would be able to figure out where. I think I breezed through the chapters so fast I didn't even notice (a common habit of mine--I don't always know when I'm moving from one chapter to another). I did go back and look at the pictures though and have to agree, Harry does look an awful lot like Daniel Radcliffe.I agree with many of the points you made in your review. It was a good finale, even with its flaws. Someday I am sure I will go back and reread the books, but it won't be any time soon.
7/28/2007 11:22 AM


The Path Between the Seas by David McCullough

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumps, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory or defeat." --Theodore Roosevelt
This extremely well-researched book covers the history of one of man's greatest creations: The Panama Canal, specifically the years 1870 through 1914. I have not yet read a historian who presents an epic, historical story better than McCullough does here. The sheer volume of details could have been overwhelming but the author presents all the facts in a manner that was fascinating and attention-grabbing. Here's just a few of the things I learned during my reading: The canal was begun by the French, particularly Ferdinand de Lessup, who built the Suez Canal. It was originally planned as a sea-level canal, a' niveau and sans 'ecluses (without locks). The death toll, especially during the French years, from diseases like yellow fever and malaria was in the tens of thousands. When the American finally became involved in the early 1900's, the desired route was through Nicaraugua. The coup d'etat which created the Republic of Panama was supported by the United States Government, specifically T. R. Roosevelt: "Attorney General Knox, having been asked by Roosevelt to contruct a defense, is said to have remarked, "Oh, Mr. President, do not let so great an achievement suffer from any taint of legality." I felt sadness because of the bigotry and racism shown towards to the vast majority of workers who were blacks from near-by Caribbean islands, and found Roosevelt's callousness particularly disillusioning. The sheer immensity of the project: the cubic yards of dirt that had to be removed, the volumes of equipment and manpower, the planning and execution of feeding, housing and medically providing for the thousands of people who worked on the project--Americans, Barbadians, Jamacians, French, etc., the materials that went into building the locks, the gates and all the safety features were mind-boggling. The incredible engineering amd creative skills that were brought to the table and that developed over the years inspired admiration.
There have been changes in the Canal Zone since McCullough wrote this book in 1977. I believe it was finally turned over to Panama after a 1090-year lease. And even though it was completed in 1914 just at the beginning of World War I which overshadowed its completion, the Canal truly changed the face of transportation and shipping for the entire world. This book celebrates the triumph of man over nature and his great peseverance and ingenuity. John Stevens, who was the American chief engineer over the project for two years and really organized the work to begin in 1904, said something with which all the remarkable men who took part in the endeavor would have agreed--for all that had happened to the world since Panama.
"His faith in the human intellect and its creative capacities remained undaunted, Stevens wrote. The great works had still to come. 'I believe that we are but children picking up pebbles on the shore of the boundless ocean."
Rating: 4.75
Posted by Framed at 12:23 PM

Tristi Pinkston said...
Wow -- this one's going on my list. Thanks!
7/24/2007 1:45 PM
Lesley said...
Sounds like an amazing book about an amazing feat. On to my wishlist it goes!
7/24/2007 6:44 PM
SuziQoregon said...
Oh I want to read this one. I've read two of his books (John Adams and The Great Bridge) and thoroughly enjoyed both of them. I see he also has one about the Johnstown Flood.
7/24/2007 8:44 PM
Literary Feline said...
This does sound interesting, Framed! I have heard good things about David McCullough as a writer but have not yet read anything by him.
7/24/2007 9:38 PM
Joy said...
Wow! So glad this was a winner for you. :) I've only read his book 1776.And congratulations on finishing the Non-Fiction Five Challenge!!! I hope you enjoyed it.
7/25/2007 1:25 PM
Chris said...
Sounds really interesting. Btw, I've tagged you for a meme on my blog.
7/25/2007 6:56 PM

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