Monday, February 16, 2009

The Fellowship of the Ring--J.R.R. Tolkein

Year Published: 1954
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 468
Rating: 3/5

I had a hard time getting into this book, and an even harder time finishing it. As much as I want to like Tolkein, I just don't. He's wordy, and, well, I'm sorry but boring. Don't get me wrong--the story is not boring at all. The world that he created isn't boring, and neither are the characters. But I find the writing so tedious! I'm not discounting the genius of Tolkein; I'm just sayin', sometimes genius is dull.

But all that nonwithstanding, I'm glad I read book one (all 460 pages of it) and I plan on reading the next two as well. Why? Well, for one thing I'm stubborn, and I hate being bested by a book. Also, the story is good! I wanna know what happens! And it is the last book on my 1% Well Read Challenge list. But besides all that, this book is the precursor to many of the fanstasy books I know and love today. I can see where much of the Dragonlance and Dungeons and Dragons lore comes from as I read Lord of the Rings. So there you have it--finish it I will!

Book a week #:
Challenge/s: TBR, 1% Well-Read, A-Z
Date Read: 2/15/09

Stargirl--Jerry Spinelli

Genre: Young Adult
Year Published: 2000
Pages: 188
Rating: 4/5

This is a light-hearted, thought-provoking, easy to read novel that examines how we both fear and extol those who we find different than us. When Stargirl comes to Leo's highschool, she is regarded as a weirdo. But soon her weirdness grows on the population...then ebbs again. But Stargirl seems unaffected by the others' opinions. She answers to a different calling--one that is selfless, compassionate and caring. Meeting her forces Leo to examine his own motives, and to confront his place in his community and society.

Stargirl is one of the most interesting characters I have encountered in my readings. She reminds me of the so-called "indigo children" the new-agers speak of.

Book a week #:
Challenge/s: Young Adult
Date Read: 2/8/09

The Forever King--Molly Cochran

Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 416
Year Published: 1993
Rating: 4/5

One of the many Arthurian-themed novels on my reading list, The Forever King is interesting in that it takes place in modern times. A ten year old gifted boy--named Arthur--finds a strange receptacle that has healing properties, and appears to be made of a material unknown to man. Immediately after, he finds out he has inherited the remains of a castle in England. Then he and his aunt are chased from their home by strange men. Meanwhile Hal, an ex-FBI agent-turned-alcoholic finds himself in England as well, through twists of fate that seem to be engineered by a strange old archaeologist named Taliesin. The story unfolds from there, complete with an evil villian, ghosts, and reincarnations.

I enjoyed this novel a lot. While it wasn't the greatest work of literature out there, the story was a new and refreshing twist on an old tale, and the historical context of the holy grail was fun to read about.
Book a week #:
Challenge/s: Young Adult (although it wasn't really a young adult novel!), Arthurian
Date Read: 1/30/09