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Reading Roundup

Written by Kirsten on June 10th, 2009

Another week, another list of books completed! A question for my readers (and anyone coming by for the first time, too – welcome, by the way!): Do you prefer reading a list of reviews in a chunk like this, or separate entries as the books are completed? For those of you who are into network and community building, do you find that individual reviews increase your traffic and comments? I personally am not crazy about review after review after review in a blog I’m reading, but maybe I’m unusual in that. Any feedback would be welcome!

Without further ado, here come the books…

The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins

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I would feel like a hypocrite rating this any lower, since I essentially devoured it in a single sitting. It’s a good book – a compelling book. Not poorly written, but simple. Not badly plotted, but predictable. I tried very hard not to compare my feelings while reading it to my experience reading Battle Royale, but I have to admit that the similarities are strong enough to force comparison, and weak enough to leave The Hunger Games off the list of all-time best novels while Battle Royale is still clearly parked in my top 5, if not top 3. I think a younger generation of readers, perhaps those not ready for the complexities of Takami’s work, will be perfectly suited for Collins, as they might not see through the setups as easily as someone who has read, seen, and lived through more.

The Giver, Lois Lowry

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This was recommended by DevourerofBooks, in response to last week’s Booking Through Thursday entry,  “15 sticky books in 15 minutes or less.”
I happened to hit the library that same night, and picked this book up and began reading it immediately. I was pleasantly surprised at the ease of the shift from the familiar (to me) Lowry world of Anastasia to this utopia where rules have been determined for every aspect of life to eliminate conflict and suffering. The cost, however, is that without those, the people who live in the Community cannot experience love or joy, either.
I can’t think of anyone who shouldn’t read this book; its simple prose and intriguing story have the pages flying by from the first, and I was intensely sad to reach the end. I may or may not look into the rest of the series; I don’t want to be disappointed, and I’ve heard that they’re not as good as the first. Anyone want to chime in?

Anastasia’s Chosen Career, Lois Lowry

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This was my favorite of the Anastasia books when I was a kid; since I was picking up The Giver anyway, I grabbed this one at the same time. I remembered it fairly well, but this was a great example of how reading a book some 20 years later will give you an entirely different feeling. More than ever, I found myself identifying strongly with Anastasia – she truly is my alter ego in so many ways!

Dealing with Dragons, Patricia C. Wrede

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A cute fairy tale with a feminist bent; first in a series that I’ll probably check out from the library, but unless the later books are more involved, they’ll likely be a one-time read. Enjoyable characters, straightforward plot, and consistent style.

The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and six more, Roald Dahl

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I love Roald Dahl, and this was a fun set of shorts, plus a mini-bio about how he got into writing and a reprint of his first ever piece of writing sold to the Saturday Evening Post.

The Portrait of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde

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I’ve wanted to read this for some time; it’s the first Wilde I’ve read besides The Importance of Being Earnest (which is possibly my favorite play of all time). Being a novel as opposed to a play, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. I definitely saw some of the Wilde philosophy I loved about Earnest, but this tended more towards lengthy monologues and, eventually, a darkness that surprised me.
Overall, I loved it. While it did tend towards a bit more lengthy non-dialogue character development than I generally enjoy, Wilde’s writing is engaging and for the most part, I didn’t feel compelled to skim like I normally do when there is no direct character interaction for pages. The ending was surprising and terribly, delightfully predictable at the same time, and its delivery was perfect.

As you may have guessed from my last post, I’m suffering a bit of book apathy right now. I’m in the middle (or, truth be told, nearer the beginning) of the following: Take your Shirt Off and Cry by Nancy Balbirer (ARC from the LibraryThing ER program), The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, Brandon Sanderson’s The Well of Ascension, Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn, and Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet (which I intended to read last week, but my e-book was incorrectly named so I ended up reading the Wilde instead). Oh! and I almost forgot – also working on Magic Kingdom for Sale – SOLD! for the group read over at Hogwarts Express on LibraryThing. We’re only in week two, so it’s not too late to join us!

OK, your turn – whatcha got???

 

5 Comments so far ↓

  1. Shanra says:

    Do you prefer reading a list of reviews in a chunk like this, or separate entries as the books are completed? For those of you who are into network and community building, do you find that individual reviews increase your traffic and comments?

    I find it preferable to have entries separate for a variety of reasons, but would like to stress first of all that if you’re not comfortable posting reviews that way – don’t do it. In the end this is your blog and we viewers can take it or leave it.

    For me, individual entries allow me to include more information. If they don’t make discussing a more focused event, they’ll at least seem more welcoming. I can see right off the bat what book is being discussed and get an indication of whether I want to read on or skip it. It allows me to go more in-depth about a book.
    It makes it easier to link to other people’s book reviews. (Right now, to link your review of Dealing with Dragons, I’d be/feel obliged to list the other books in the post.) I do think that individual posts can increase traffic, but I’m not sure it actually will. I’ve no data on that.

    But again I stress that if you’re not happy blogging that way – don’t do it. It also pays to remember my review style is very different from yours. Mine are a lot longer and wouldn’t work in the lay-out here. Just experiment with different review structures and see what you enjoy mentioning and doing, then make that work. ^-^ (The only thing I’d make puppydog eyes for is including a list of books mentioned in the first or second paragraph, so I can see whether there’s a book review I’m interested in reading in there. But that’s probably just me. ^-~)

    The Echanted Forest Chronicles by Wrede don’t get much more involved than Dealing with Dragons, I’m afraid. To go back a little to the actual book reviews… You’ve pretty much summed up the whole series (potentially excepting the last book) in your review.

    And The Picture of Dorian Grey! I liked that so much when I read it! And now I can barely remember anything about it. *sad noise* I hate my faulty memory.

  2. Kirsten says:

    Shanra, I’ve decided to dub you my Reading Ray of Sunshine; your comments are so warm and thoughtful! I really appreciate the time you take to help me work out my new blogger business here.

    The point you make about linking to individual book reviews is a good one – I think it may tip the scale, particularly if I get into more ARCs and very new mainstream novels.

  3. My blog is solely reviews, with little to know personal interaction. It might be dry for some people, but it’s what works for me. I try to let my humor come out a bit, but I’ve always been much more interested in expository writing than being in anyway creative myself.

  4. Kirsten says:

    Bib, you know what’s funny? I never really noticed that about your blog, because I get all kinds of interaction with you here; it’s like the comments we exchange are the “between reviews posts” you don’t technically make :)

  5. Shanra says:

    *blush* I’m glad to hear my comments are helping you so. ^-^

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