Friday, July 15, 2011
While I enjoyed it, to be honest it's more of the same from Riordan. He's not doing anything new here. He's found a formula and he's sticking to it.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Compton does an excellent job of summarizing the life of each woman, but since so many of the details overlap, reading the book from cover to cover is a bit of a challenge. There are only so many ways an author can say "And then the prophet was assassinated". In some ways, that was the hardest part of each chapter to read. As a believing member of the church, I felt as though I went through his death (and the wives' loss) vicariously over thirty times! I can't imagine losing my husband; for it to be in so public and violent a manner would magnify it one hundred fold.
I did learn some interesting facts, like the fact that almost every plural wife of Joseph was then sealed for time to one of the other apostles (often Brigham Young or Heber Kimball). I also thought it was interesting that some marriages were termed 'dynastic', meaning that they were intended to link families considered to be powerful in the early LDS church to Joseph in the eternities. I also learned the term 'practical polygamy' which I found quite interesting (essentially that polygamy was practiced to give women a support system; not for any romantic reason)
If you'd like to know more about polygamy as it was practiced in the earliest era of the church, this book is worth a read. Just be prepared to put it down and pick it up several times before you finish it.
Monday, August 9, 2010
The magical realism style of the book is DELICIOUS. Sure, it's an epic tragedy following a long line of familial insanity, but that doesn't stop the people from eating dirt, coming back from the dead, spreading a plague of contagious insomnia, or enjoying a nice thunderstorm of yellow flowers. It's all presented in such a natural light that you think, "Of course. Of course he grows aquatic plants in his false teeth. Now why wouldn't he?"
This guy is the epitome of unique. Give me a single sentence, ANY SENTENCE the man has ever written, and I will recognize it. Nobody writes like him. (Also, his sentences average about 1,438 words each, so pretty much it's either him or Faulkner)
REASONS WHY MOST OF YOU WILL HATE THIS BOOK:
Also, there are approximately 20 main characters and about 4 names that they all share. I realize that's probably realistic in Latino cultures of the era, but SERIOUSLY, by the time you get to the sixth character named Aureliano, you'll have to draw yourself a diagram. Not even the classic Russians suffer from as much name-confusion as this guy.
On an uber-disturbing note, Marquez has once again (as he did in Love in the Time of Cholera) written a grown man having sex with a young girl--this time at the ripe old age of 9... which is pretty much #1 on my list of "Things That Make You Go EWW!!!" He Pretty much makes Lolita look like Polyanna on the virtue chart! (Note to authors: You give ONE of your characters a unique, but disgusting characteristic and it's good writing. Give it to more than one, and we start thinking we're reading your psychological profile, ya creep!)
Bottom line - if you feel like pushing your brain to its max, read it. The man did when the Nobel after all, it's amazing. But get ready to work harder to understand something than you ever have before in your life. And may God be with you.
FAVORITE QUOTES: (coincidentally also the shortest ones in the book)
She had the rare virtue of never existing completely except at the opportune moment.
He soon acquired the forlorn look that one sees in vegetarians.
Children inherit their parents' madness.
He really had been through death, but he had returned because he could not bear the solitude.
The air was so damp that fish could have come in through the doors and swum out the windows.
He was unable to bear in his soul the crushing weight of so much past.
A person doesn't die when he should but when he can.
I am glad I found this book. "The Water Seeker" is a quaint story about a father & his son. They have the ability to find water with a stick from a tree. The father leaves his son in the care of relatives after his wife dies. He searches for work. The son has many experiences and heartache while his father is away which help him to learn a lot about life.
After a time, the father comes back. More adventure and heartache is in store. It's also a story about making a trek west to find a better life & how the boy eventually becomes a man because of the choices he has to make. The book has romance, sickness, triumphs, disappointment & adventure. My favorite theme about the book is that life isn't always the way we think it will turn out. But that each change that happens to us is a growing experience!
I really enjoyed the book and recommend it to anyone.
- Becky L.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
This is one of my favorite books that I can read again and again. It is the timeless story of putting too much stock in one's first impressions of someone and gradually being proven wrong. This classic comedy of manners appeals to those who love a good romance without any inappropriate content. It is also fascinating from a historical perspective as one learns about life in the English countryside at the turn of the 19th century.
Book Review for Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
This book examines instantaneous judgments we make daily, both personally and professionally. It explores the curiosity that, though years of experience, individuals can hone their instincts for those judgments, whether it be in judging the authenticity of ancient sculpture, understanding the odds in a new gambling game, articulating what would improve the taste of a new snack food, or reading the intent of an individual facing off with the police.
Sometimes those instincts are powerfully correct, but research (discussed in detail in the book) has shown that unless we spend the time to become aware and understand how and why we make such judgments, when we try to articulate the reasoning for our choices,
1) we describe reasons that would lead to different judgments than the ones we actually made, and
2) afterward our instinct becomes less accurate, following the "reasons" for choices that we articulated, rather than the (apparently more accurate) standards we had previously used.
Individuals truly interested in being without racial prejudice should read chapter 3, The Warren Harding Error. It describes the measurement of our subconscious negative preconceptions, sometimes against our own race or gender, and the extraordinary effect of positive cultural role models upon those judgments. I loved learning these lessons from this book, and I am trying to have it impact the way I parent my children and the cultural influences I intentionally expose them to.
Additionally, Mr. Gladwell uses the conclusion of the book to describe how we can circumvent our own instantaneous judgments when they hinder us from the best decisions.
If you have sufficient inclination, read the entire book; otherwise just read chapter 3 and the conclusion. They are well worth your time.