"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read." Groucho Marx

Friday, December 30, 2011

Buzzed: The Straight Facts about the Most Used and Abused Drugs from Alcohol to Ecstasy by Cynthia Kuhn, Scott Swartzwelder, Wilkie Wilson, Jeremy Foster, Leigh Heather Wilson

I read this book as a supplementary study aid for a test I took to satisfy some of my elective credits at school. It can be a struggle at times but those times are surprisingly few and far between considering the subject matter. This book was written to address adolescent/young adult questions about drugs. Rather than preaching the 'just say no' mantra all the way through, the authors give very real explanations about what the substances are, what they do, why people want them, and what they do to the human body after short-term and long-term use. The presentation does not insult the intelligence of the reader, nor does it become too inundated in chemical/pharmaceutical minutia. The end-result is a well-rounded education about the most popular, used, and abused substances world-round, without the side order of fire and brimstone preaching. 

You will find an official description of this work at: 

You The Owner's Manual by Michael F. Roizen, Mehment C. Oz

I enjoyed this book much more than I anticipated. I read it as part of my preparations for a test I took to bypass some elective credits at school. (It worked; I passed!) There is a lot of information in this book that I should have known but didn't. The subject matter is presented in a way that keeps it interesting all the way through despite my fears that it would be a snore-fest. I'm glad I finally had a compelling reason to work through this and now I'm even happier that I have a copy on hand for reference. 

You will find an official description of this work at:     http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2182461.YOU

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Passage by Justin Cronin

Uhhh.....what? Those two monosyllabic words capture my entire reaction to this lengthy 700+ page tome. The plot line was very difficult for me to follow and so much of the story is left unresolved that I felt like I missed something. I kept double checking, turning it over, trying to make sure that I didn't somehow miss an entire section. The section that ended it. The section that tied up loose ends, closed up the plot, finally explained why I, the reader, had taken this journey to begin with. Disjointed, strange, too long on pages, too short on cohesive story telling. Ultimately unimpressive in all aspects except length.
A wicked fire starter. But not in the uber-cool rockstar kind of way. Like in an actual fire starter kind of way.... 

You will find an official description of the plot line at: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6690798-the-passage

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Harry Potter meets Lord of the Rings! I re-read this book since the fourth one was just released and I couldn't recall all the details of the previous installments. I'm glad I did! There were a lot of elements that I had forgotten and with knowledge of where things were headed I took more careful notice of details I didn't pick up on as acutely the first time around. The imagination of Christopher Paolini, especially when you consider how young he was when he wrote this, is truly impressive. I love the multi-faceted characters. There are things to love and things to not love about each of them, making them seem more real in spite of the fantasy-fiction story line. It will be very interesting to see what comes from Paolini as he grows, in both years and his writing career. This first book in the series is more clearly written for young people than the others. A little bit like the Harry Potter series, the story 'grows up' with the character and later installments lose some of the blatant YA feel. Great for the kids or for anyone with an appreciation for young adult literature. I recommend this one and the three that follow it.

You will find an official plot line description at: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/113436.Eragon.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Moloka'i by Alan Brennert

This is a very hard novel for me to rate. I appreciate the history. I knew absolutely nothing about leper colonies and the struggles faced by the afflicted. I'm grateful that Brennert gave victims of leprosy a voice that could reach so many. That said.... a great deal of this made for a very long and boring read. The plot of the novel jumps from one loss to another leaving the reader very little to look forward to. There isn't a noticeable climax; the story goes on and on-then it's over. I am glad that I know more about this chapter in history but I greeted the last page of this novel with a wide smile =0).

You will find an official plot line description at: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3273.Moloka_i