Saturday, July 19, 2014

Our Kind of Traitor

Our Kind of TraitorOur Kind of Traitor by John le Carré
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, le Carre! I am delightfully devastated once again. Some may find le Carre's description of every eyebrow raise, every rubbing of hands, every cough and hiccup to be slightly overdoing it, but to me, it makes me feel like I am there, breathing the same air, tasting the cheese, sweating on the beach. I become invested in the characters like they are my family. I save le Carre for vacations because I become immersed so fully in his world, and at the same time, somehow see and feel my own reality more deeply. Sometimes the endings don't tie up so neatly, but that makes the endings just as real as the rest of the book.

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Supreme Justice

Supreme JusticeSupreme Justice by Max Allan Collins
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was surprised that Collins was not a first time author. I felt like the story was WAY too predictable. I caught the mole and his betrayal almost as soon as he had done it. The motive of killing justices to reform the court was identified early on and then the story went nowhere. There was a whole chapter of his daughter deliberating about sleeping with her boyfriend...for no apparent reason. The only reason I gave it 2 stars was because it was set in DC and I was in D C when I read it, so that is always fun. And the quotes ahead of each chapter were thought provoking. But if you are in oh, say, KY then maybe you should skip it.

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A Corner of White

A Corner of White (The Colors of Madeline, #1)A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a cute, quick read. In this YA novel about Madeline living in this dimension and Eliott living in another dimension in the land of Cello, who end up connecting via letters transferred thru a crack between their worlds. At first I found all the characters a little too eccentric. It was like Moriarty was trying to recreate a Neil Gaiman book, but without subtlety. Then I was afraid it was turning into a cheesy YA romance. But somewhere in the middle, the characters developed some depth, and I came to enjoy reading about these teens grappling with what truth is. Just like white light contains all colors, sometimes it is too bright to look at, and like objects that absorb certain wavelengths, and create color by rejecting other wavelengths, sometimes truth is too hard to see, and we see only what we want to. I loved the bits of trivia about color, Cambridge, Newton, and Byron. It is a Y A novel that has a bit more to it than it first appears.

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I, Claudius

I, Claudius (Claudius, #1)I, Claudius by Robert Graves
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a very well written "autobiography" of Claudius as he witnesses the rise and fall of the emperors of Rome before unexpectedly becoming one himself. I will admit I got bogged down a little in the just how wicked everyone seemed to be. There was killing to get gain, killing to get money, killing to create fear, killing for much was anyone alive? On that level, it was a bit depressing, but the fact that it was based on history was very interesting...if I were to teach ancient history, this is how I would do it. I loved the quote "“, that there are two different ways of writing history: one is to persuade men to virtue and the other is to compel men to truth.” And “And if by serving the cause of truth we admit our revered ancestors to have been cowards, liars, and traitors? What then?" I loved that discussion of history...wouldn't that be a great thing to discuss in a class? Do we really want our heros to be human? Lots of great history, ideas, and writing.

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