Friday, July 22, 2011

# 38 A Dance With Dragons - GRR Martin

People who have not read the first four book need not (and probably will not) read this review. It is impossible to read this book without reading the first four books of this projected seven book series. Those who have read through all four book probably already have a good idea (and probably love) about how GRR writes and how the world of ASOIAF works.

ADWD starts off a little before the last book ends. Same as the other books, it follows several different storyline, some which converge, some which do not.

We follow the difficulties Dany, who having conquered Mereen, has in ruling it. In the North, Stannis has declared himself King and is residing hanging out at the wall with his Red Priestess. Jon Snow, is of course there, and we follow his triumphs and difficulties. There is also Tyrion who we follow in his adventures. Cat of the Canals aka Arya is present, Davos, Asha ad other familiar characters also make appearances. There are, however some new faces. Two mysterious princes, and the pitiful Reek. But that is as far as I will go plotwise. One of the best things about ASOIAF is the plot and it is best to go in completely unspoiled and really go along with the twists and turns.

I don't know if it is heightened expectations, but this installment for me, moved a little slower than the previous ones. Or maybe I am just too eager to know the final outcome of this whole thing, because, you know.. GRR, old, 7 books...haha. But it was also fun just going along with the adventure. I found that there was not a single POV that I was bored in, unlike in the other books (Iron Islands. ugh.). I find that this installment expands the universe even more and shows more fantastical elements. I like how the plot is going. I have accepted that the path towards the end is not a straight line but has many exciting detours and scenic routes. The writing is mostly the same GRR writing. People died, or did they? People had sex. People plotted and killed. People were being human in a fantasy world.

I may not be the most objective reviewer for this book though. I love love love this series. And I cannot wait for The Winds of Winter. Pretty please GRR!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

# 37 Charity Girls by Michael Lowenthal

actual review date: January 3, 2011

World War I. Frieda ran away from home because her bi-atch mom wants to marry her off to a man twice her age. She works at a high end department store and her salary is barely enough to feed her and keep a roof over her head, but she's happy. She's happy because she thinks she's free from her mother's judgment and control. She is living her own life and thinking for herself. Her friends are "charity girls", not quite prostitutes but girls who use their looks and womanly wiles to get material things.

Frieda isn't one of those girls though. She is a romantic who believes in true love, and that, turns to be her downfall. An encounter with a handsome soldier leads to her being imprisoned for immorality, having been infected with an STD. Along the way, she is subjected to a great many degradations but manages to keep herself upbeat and hopeful, and still fighting.

The book is actually based on true happening during WWI about many girls being imprisoned just for looking slutty or some other equally stupid reasons, in an over zealous fight agains immorality and venereal disease. The author paints a picture of that era very well and you can almost see it in you mind. The book is essentially a portrait of that period in time, of that peculiar bump in history.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

# 36 The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

The author defines the tipping point as "the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point." The book basically looks into the phenomenon of fads and how and why it happens. The author posits that a product, idea or message spread like a virus. First, a virus will go around the population all chill-like, until it reaches a critical mass, or a tipping point, and becomes a full blown epedemic.

Gladwell theorizes that there are three very important things that make a so called "social epedemic". Thing which I shall not be discussing right at this very moment because I am lazy (and really, it's in wiki).

Some of the thoughts are obvious really, common sense. We all know that it's because of some cool people wearing high waist jeans or something that makes it spread. But what I found most interesting about the book was not really his theory, which I don't think is really on point all the time, but the examples given on successful products. Its just interesting reading about how stuff became popular. So yeah, I don't think the science or the theories are really all that, but I like the way its written and there are some interesting stories. GOod was to pass a few hours.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

# 35 Fall On You Knees by Ann-Marie Macdonald

Fall on your knees elicits some pretty uncomfortable feelings. It can get you thinking that an incestuous pedophile who mistreats his wife maybe isn't so bad after all. And that a little girl who was abused and mistreated is a little shit.

At the start of the 20th century, James Piper moves to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia to build a life for himself. He elopes with and marries a child-woman (13 years old) from a wealth Lebanese family. They have children and life happens. Only this life isn't a happy one. James quickly becomes repulsed by his wife whom he barely knows, and poor Materia operates in a haze of confusion.

The book is a long family epic telling the story of three generations of the Piper family. THere are, of course, secrets. Dark ones. There is incest, prostitution, abuse, and death. It takes us from the coal mining town in Cape Breton to the jazz crazy streets of New York.

The book deals with some uncomfortable questions about love, sexual abuse, pedophilia and forgiveness. It is a dark book and it puts its characters through hell. While the book was a page turner, I did not enjoy it very much because I absolutely detested one of the characters, one of Piper's daughters. I mean, sure she became that way because of the shit she want through, but she was so fucking annoying and basically hurt people who never did anything to her. I mean, I know its supposed to be some deep psychological things and the effects of her battered psyche or whatever. But just NO.