Monday, July 29, 2013

The Passage

The Passage (The Passage, #1)The Passage by Justin Cronin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ok. I can't believe I picked out another apocalyptic novel by choice. Or one having to do with vampires. But I did. And I loved it. Cronin does an excellent job of introducing you to characters and developing them deeply in a matter of pages. He also does an excellent job of developing a story full of mysticism, violence, and love that you actually believe. The only reason it is not 5 stars is that there are some chapters where the violence is really hard to read, but it helped to understand the desperation of the situation. I can't wait til the paperback version of sequel, the twelve, comes out on the July 30th. I'll be tucked away in the reading room, wondering how the handful of humans left will survive...

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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Unbroken

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and RedemptionUnbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was one of my favorite books of all time. It was incredible what he went through--His story is extraordinary, unbelievable, inspirational on so many levels. And Hillenbrand is a perfect biographer: she disappears behind her subject, letting the story tell itself. When she does peep in from time to time, her comments help the reader appreciate the dire situation he was in and his incredible resilience and optimism. Truly an inspirational story!

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Cleopatra: A Life

Cleopatra: A LifeCleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I didn't know anything really about Cleopatra, or that time period, before I read Cleopatra. She really did lead a fascinating life and I can see why books, plays, and movies have used her as their subject--Everything is almost jaw-dropping over the top--from the knee-high carpet of rose petals to the month long celebrations of their self-appointed claims of deity to Marc Anthony, dying, scaling a wall to die in his lover's arms. Schiff tries hard to defend Cleopatra from her detractors--sometimes a little too much so for it to be truly unbiased. And Schiff's wordy and esoteric narrative often gets in the way of what is by itself a fascinating subject.

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