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Book Challenge 2005: February - Page 2

post #21 of 207
Slatewiper by Lewis Perdue.
From Amazon
Humanity's very existence is at stake in this latest hair-raiser by Perdue (Daughter of God), a no-holds-barred biogenetic thriller. Lara Blackwood, founder of GenIntron, a company devoted to gene manipulation as a method of fighting genetic diseases such as Tay-Sachs and sickle-cell anemia, is a tough hybrid of brilliant scientist, beauty and fighter. As the novel begins, GenIntron has been forced into economic difficulty and bought by the internationally powerful Japanese Daiwa Ichiban Corporation and its racist head, Tokutaro Kurata. In his first move, Kurata perverts Blackwood's work by creating a new genetic weapon, graphically named Slatewiper, with which he intends to rid Tokyo of its hated Korean immigrants. Thousands of dead Koreans fill the streets, and puzzled doctors postulate a new and unknown disease. Kurata dreams of reviving Japanese militarism, refusing to acknowledge defeat in WWII and denying the horrifying Japanese atrocities of that war and earlier Asian wars. He plans to sell the deadly gene to nations wishing to eliminate their own minorities, or for use against enemies, while plotting to promote Japanese superiority and racial purity. Aiding Kurata is Blackwood's nemesis, Sheila Gaillard, as beautiful and brilliant as Blackwood and altogether deadly, and Kurata's nephew and heir, American-taught Akira Sugawara, loyal but finally driven to rebellion by the horrors he witnesses. Perdue never strays far from form-garish violence, one-dimensional characters, mechanical climax-but in the light of current medical epidemics, this is a timely offering.
OK, one of my biggest faults as a reader is that even when a book totally sucks, I can't put it down. This book totally sucks. The racism that was part of the plot just came off as racism- you didn't get the feeling the author disapproved or anything. Characters sort of wander in aimlessly, get killed off, and are never heard from again. The main character has so many skills, it makes you want to throw up. She's a Noble Prize-winning bioengineer. Wait, she's an Olympic athlete. Oh my gosh, she can shoot. Whoa, now she's a ninja. Honestly, it was as if it were written by a gifted middle school student.
I bought this at the supermarket one day while waiting for my dh to meet me for lunch. It has taken me three months to slog my way through it (I can usually read a book like this in a day). Although it promised on the cover to be like a Michael Crichton novel, it lied.

Oh, and the ending sucked too.

post #22 of 207
Just finished reading The Red Tent. It has been talked about a lot in the other threads, so I won't post the blurb, but I will just say that I really enjoyed this read. I did find some of it a little disturbing (Dinah's coming of age ritual was a little too graphic for me), but all in all it was a page-turner for me and very well-written.

1) Daughter of God
2) The Lovely Bones
3) The Shattering
4) Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code
5) The Burning
6) Shadow Divers
7) Shadowmancer
8) Recipes For a Small Planet
9) The Red Tent
post #23 of 207
After several starts of really bad books, I finally found one worth finishing.

#18 - Echo by Francesca Lia Block - description of book in January thread

This was not at all what I expected in a YA book - I sure wouldn't want one of my girls to read this as a teenager - maybe college age . . . . there was some sexual stuff that I wouldn't think appropriate for a young girl.

Other than that - this was a very unusual book - beautiful, poetic writing, mystical style with some serious issues. Very good.
post #24 of 207
#8 Homeschooling for Excellence by David and Micki Colfax

Since I hardly see any homeschooling books in my local library, when I saw this one I grabbed it. I was pleased that it was recommending child-led learning.

From Amazon.com
Role models for a generation of homeschoolers, David and Micki Colfax are teachers turned ranchers who taught their four sons at home in the 1970s and '80s and schooled three of them into Harvard. Isolation on their northern California homestead forced them into the experience, but this resourceful family eventually discovered all kinds of advantages to home education. Like a modern-day Little House on the Prairie, the Colfax children learned about geometry while constructing outbuildings on their ranch, explored aspects of chemistry and biology as they improved their livestock and garden, and generally discovered the value of self-reliance as they went about life without TV or neighbors. Their world is described in clear, warm words that illustrate the fondness these parents and children possess for each other. Family photos grouped throughout the book show the boys working and learning together.

The Colfaxes don't purport to be experts; they don't prescribe a formula for their success. Rather, their experience is described as a trial-and-error effort, with some of their mistakes offered up as lessons for others. The value of critically examining textbooks in advance, for instance, is learned after one son falls behind in algebra using a schoolbook that touts "new math" principles. The Colfaxes' philosophy is that every child is gifted. Parents don't need to be certified teachers to teach them (although it does ward off doubters). But, despite the contention of some homeschoolers, the Colfaxes do caution that teaching at home requires much time and money--and they don't advise it for single parents or most working women. Any parent interested in connecting with his or her child, however, will find the Colfax take on life an enjoyable and enlightening read. The couple closes the book with an appendix of suggested references for building a family library and a delightful list of their children's favorite books.
post #25 of 207
That books sounds really cool - I'm going to see if my library has it.
post #26 of 207

#11 for LB

"To Wed a Scandalous Spy" by Celeste Bradley

from Amazon:
Lovely, high born Willa Trent was an orphan, raised by a local, somewhat odd family in the country, who want nothing but the best for their girl. So when she drags the unconscious man she accidentally hit with a slingshot home, they arrange a hasty marriage and pack the couple off with best wishes. Armed with a groggy husband and a new future, Willa's pie-eyed optimism has no limits...until she discovers the secret, dangerous world of Nathaniel Stonewell, Earl of Reardon, a.k.a. "Lord Treason."

Though Nathaniel is reviled by most of England for his devious plot against the Crown, he is, in reality, a member of an elite cadre of secret royal defenders on a daring undercover mission. He must keep his secrets at all cost, especially from Willa. And yet, he is enchanted...though he stubbornly refuses to surrender to his passion. Far better, he tells himself, to turn his back on love than risk everything for it. Luckily, his bride has other plans...
post #27 of 207
Phew! Finally got to read something fictional, fast and fun. Old School by Tobias Wolff (book #6 for me) is about a boys' boarding school. Enjoyable.

Publisher's comments:

The protagonist of Tobias Wolff's shrewdly — and at times devastatingly — observed first novel is a boy at an elite prep school in 1960. He is an outsider who has learned to mimic the negligent manner of his more privileged classmates. Like many of them, he wants more than anything on earth to become a writer. But to do that he must first learn to tell the truth about himself.

The agency of revelation is the school literary contest, whose winner will be awarded an audience with the most legendary writer of his time. As the fever of competition infects the boy and his classmates, fraying alliances, exposing weaknesses, Old School explores the ensuing deceptions and betrayals with an unblinking eye and a bottomless store of empathy. The result is further evidence that Wolff is an authentic American master.
post #28 of 207
#11 Lord of the Flies by William Golding

I won't put the synopsis, since I think it's pretty well known. With DS being into LOST with me though (on tv), someone suggested this for him to read and I wanted to reread it to make sure it's appropriate.
post #29 of 207
10) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon.

Here's the blurb from Amazon:
"Narrated by a fifteen-year-old autistic savant obsessed with Sherlock Holmes, this dazzling novel weaves together an old-fashioned mystery, a contemporary coming-of-age story, and a fascinating excursion into a mind incapable of processing emotions.

Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, Christopher is autistic. Everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning for him. At fifteen, Christopher’s carefully constructed world falls apart when he finds his neighbour’s dog Wellington impaled on a garden fork, and he is initially blamed for the killing.

Christopher decides that he will track down the real killer, and turns to his favourite fictional character, the impeccably logical Sherlock Holmes, for inspiration. But the investigation leads him down some unexpected paths and ultimately brings him face to face with the dissolution of his parents’ marriage. As Christopher tries to deal with the crisis within his own family, the narrative draws readers into the workings of Christopher’s mind.

And herein lies the key to the brilliance of Mark Haddon’s choice of narrator: The most wrenching of emotional moments are chronicled by a boy who cannot fathom emotions. The effect is dazzling, making for one of the freshest debut in years: a comedy, a tearjerker, a mystery story, a novel of exceptional literary merit that is great fun to read."

I really, really enjoyed this book. I got it out of the library last night, and it was a very quick read. Although I am by no stretch of the imagination an expert about autism, I believe this book COULD have been written by a person with autism- the routines that guide the narrator's life remind me very much of a gentleman I work with who is autistic, and it was interesting to get an "inside perspective," which although not written by somebody with autism, was written by somebody with experience working with people who are autistic. It was very compassionately written and I would highly recommend it.

1) Daughter of God
2) The Lovely Bones
3) The Shattering
4) Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code
5) The Burning
6) Shadow Divers
7) Shadowmancer
8) Recipes For a Small Planet
9) The Red Tent
10) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
post #30 of 207
Oooh, two of my recent favorites: Old School, and The Curious Incident...

Consider them highly recommended from me, too!
post #31 of 207
Oooh, I don't know anything about The Curious Incident. Wait, is this the new book by Mark Haddon? If so, I keep picking it up and putting it down. I splurged today and bought the Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett (Bel Canto.) Can hardly wait!
post #32 of 207
Originally Posted by loftmama
Oooh, I don't know anything about The Curious Incident. Wait, is this the new book by Mark Haddon? If so, I keep picking it up and putting it down.
Yup, it is by Mark Haddon.

I read about it on Amazon and decided to see if I could get it from my library, which I did, and it was great. Glad I read it.
post #33 of 207
#6 War Trash Ha Jin. I'm not really sure why I read this one. I liked Waiting but I'm just not into war as subject matter on the whole. I did learn quite a bit about life in a POW camp. At the end, I thought, hmmm....yes, that's how life goes. For some reason, I'm interested in the whole Chinese revolution, so this book did add to my knowledge of it. The book didn't really move me, though.
post #34 of 207
hi nosy. i was wondering about that book. i liked Waiting - if you like ha jin, you might like Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Sijie Dai - an all time favorite
post #35 of 207
11- Diet For a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappe'

Basic intro to vegetarian protein combining and sustainable protein. This goes along with Recipes For A Small Planet. The info is great, but I don't much care for the format of this book- I liked the format of Recipes... better- EACH recipe has a table after it showing which ingredients need to stay in the same proportion to get the protein combo needed- in Diet... you have to refer back to the beginning of each section, but the charts would be useful in making up your own dishes. Also, the info was presented in a VERY dry way- I know there was a lot of science to be taken in, but IMHO, it could have been presented in a little more appealing way.

Anyway, there is some good info and there are also some interesting recipes that I may try. I would like to read the 20th anniversary edition (now over ten years old itself) and see how much of this info still held true then, as I believe I recall reading some of this info has been found to be inaccurate.

1) Daughter of God
2) The Lovely Bones
3) The Shattering
4) Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code
5) The Burning
6) Shadow Divers
7) Shadowmancer
8) Recipes For a Small Planet
9) The Red Tent
10) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
11) Diet For A Small Planet
post #36 of 207
MaggiesMom - I've been so curious about this book. Glad to see your review.
post #37 of 207
#19 - e by Matt Beaumont

If you liked Bridget Jones Diary and Can You Keep a Secret, you will probably like this as it is the same style of hip english humor. The book is entirely in emails at an advertising agency and we get the whole backstabbing, politics, friendships, etc. of the office. Very fun.
post #38 of 207
#11- Bookends by Liz Curtis Higgs

Not bad, but not incredible either. A Christian romance book with a female professor who meets a land developer in the small Pennsylvania town where she grew up and they fall for each other while fighting and not getting along at the same time.

#12- When You Believe by Deborah Bedford

A *sensitive topic* book. Lydia is a high school guidance counselor and a student comes forward and accuses her fiance (a teacher at the school) of molesting her. This takes Lydia through an emotional journey (the same thing happened to her).
post #39 of 207
Thread Starter 
phathui if you like Christian romance have you read Janette Oke? I love her stuff, it is the first Christian stuff I read and I was hooked. I can recommend something if your interested!
post #40 of 207
#4 The Great Tree of Avalon, Child of the Dark Prophecy by T.A. Barron

a YA I believe and very enjoyable - good descriptions, a few surprises and left open for a second book if not a series...if you like Mists of Avalon, books about Merlin, fantasy creatures, etc. you'll like this book.
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