Jan 30

Ready Player One

Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline is an entertaining fast paced sci-fi novel.

Conceptually the book is not original.

Set in a near future of energy crisis, climate change, etc…

Immersive online internet like technology.

Orphaned teenager hero with exceptional skills.

 The book makes up for it with good writing and an original twist. The book’s plot focuses on eighties culture and nostalgia. Knowledge of eighties music, movies, video games and books is the key to success in the online game.  While it may help to be the right demographic I think that the book is fun enough to entertain pretty well everyone with even a little knowledge of eighties pop culture.

Guess it goes to show that plot isn’t everything. It is possible to create a really entertaining story around a pretty generic plot. Highly recommended, especially for those of us who absorbed a lot of eighties pop culture.


Aug 04

Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer

The Artemis Fowl Series is a series of books about a boy named Artemis Fowl and his bodyguard Butler. Daniel would recommend the book for fans of the Fablehaven and/or Percy Jackson series of books. The series has a lot of magic and high-tech gadgets. It is a story about humans and fairies.

The first book is about the clash between humans and fairies. The rest of the series has lots of adventures with Artimis Fowl and the fairies. Daniel says the books are appropriate for kids around eight and up.

Aug 04

Book Review To Do List

Having been negligent in updating this blog I thought a to do list may help focus us to produce some content. Here is a list of books I have read that should be reviewed.

  1. The Redeemer
  2. Bossypants
  3. Two Generals
  4. Mr. Funnypants
  5. How to Live Safely in A Science Fictional Universe

As well, Daniel and I are caught up with the Artemis Fowl series and will write a joint review.

So, new reviews to come soon!

Mar 01

Sweet Tooth by Jeff Lemire

Sweet Tooth Vol. 1: Out of the Woods and Sweet Tooth Vol. 2: In Captivity by Jeff Lemire are the first two volumes of a ongoing graphic novel. The books take place in an apocalyptic world where most of the population has been wiped out and children are being born as animal/human hybrids.

While apocalyptic graphic novels are not uncommon (I have read and enjoyed Y The Last Man and some of the The Walking Dead), Sweet Tooth is different. The main character is a very sheltered, very innocent seven year old boy. Perhaps because I could not help thinking about my own seven year old boy I found the story very affecting.

Jeff Lemire has a visual style that meshes really well with the story being told. He uses both page layout and changes to the art style very effectively.

While the story has many elements we’ve seen before (gruff mercenary type who may care more than he lets on, evil scientist believing the end justifies the means) the main character is original.

I recommend the first two volumes and I am looking forward to reading the third when it is available. Be warned though, this may be a difficult read for people who will be upset by a story about a seven year old in distress.


Jan 31

Alcatraz Book Series by Brandon Sanderson

Tim: We have now read all four of the Alcatraz Smedry books currently available. We started with Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians, the first book in the series.

These are a series of books about a 13 year old boy who discovers he has magical powers and gets taken away from an uncaring family to join a people like him. While this may sound familiar, Brandon Sanderson’s approach is as much a send-up of the genre as it is an excellent example. These are books the whole family will love.

Daniel: I would recommend this book people who like humour and adventure. The main characters are: Alcatraz, a young boy who has a talent for breaking things. Bastille, a knight who is good at fighting and she likes it too. Leavenworth, Alcatraz’s grandpa who has a talent for being late.

Tim: There are not too many books that I get to read with Daniel that I enjoy (almost) as much as he does. We both laughed out loud when reading the Alcatraz series.

Daniel: this is a very good book but don’t read this before bedtime because (as my dad says it) it whips me into a frenzy.

Tim: It’s true. We can’t read it without lots of bouncing around and yelling.

In summary. Great books good for ages seven and up.

Jan 21

up to my eyeballs in print: my best of 2010

I read a lot of books last year. Seventy-one books, to be precise. And some of them were really big.
These are my favourites. These ten are the ones I think you should read, too.
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel – winner of last year’s Man Booker award. I found it slow going at first and then was completely swept up in the life of Thomas Cromwell and the intrigues of life in the court of King Henry the VIII. It’s made me want to read a lot more about Henry and the folks who advised and served him.
An Abundance Of Katherines by John Green- my twelve year old rediscovered reading when he found John Green and he begged me to read this book. I reluctantly agreed, not having read much young adult ficiton (or YA, as the kids call it) and then went on to devour this novel and almost everything else this author has written.
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan – the authors alternate the chapters in this book. The title refers to two high school students (one straight, one gay) named Will Grayson. The real star of the book, however, is a gay football player named Tiny who writes and directs a musical of his life story. I loved everything about this book.
by Patchen Barss – This work of non-fiction puts forward the theory that, from the beginning of humanity, pornography has driven technological change. The argument is very persuasively made but it was the author’s writing that really captured me. I am not particularly interested in technology and not really interested in porn but I could not put this book down. I kept going back to re-read turns of phrase and often found myself laughing out loud. Several folks got this one for Christmas and I’m not done giving it away.
Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen – This book has been out for a while but I read it with my book club this year. It was kind of a boring meeting because no one had anything critical to say about this beautiful story, told very well. I now want to read everything else the author has written.
Villa Triste by Lucretia Grindle – With a name like that, how could she not become a writer? This book is part murder mystery, part historical novel. I fell in love with the characters in this book and could not stop thinking about them when I had to put the  book down. Set in Italy during the second world war, the book tells the story of several women involved in the Resistance movement, whether by choice or out of necessity.
The Princess of Burundi: A Mystery by Kjell Eriksson – Steig Larsson was not the only Swedish writer. This book had been on my shelf for a few years and I’m not sure why I waited to read it. Darkly funny with a smart mystery and flawed, likeable characters this book held my interest from the very first page. Be warned, the book has little to do with Burundi and quite a bit to do with tropical fish.
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger – Last summer, I finally found out what the fuss was about. I read this book on holiday, reading during quiet moments and listening to the audiobook when I was out for walks with my dog. It really is a beautiful love story that, in my opinion, never descends to the realm of the schmaltzy. And it stayed with me, which is impressive, given how quicly I read it.
The Devil’s Company: A Novel by David Liss – Another brilliant, well-researched historical mystery from David Liss. I love the roguish Benjamin Weaver and the intelligent humour of all these novels. You could go back and start with A Conspiracy of Paper,the first Weaver novel but it really doesn’t matter.
This year my goal is to read seventy-two novels (I don’t watch a lot of television) and, since reading around here is a family affair, toying with the idea of a family book blog.

What do you say?

Cross posted from http://notjustaboutcancer.blogspot.com/2011/01/up-to-my-eyeballs-in-print.html

Jan 12

Top Books | Ottawa Public Library | BiblioCommons

I’ve started a list on the Ottawa Public Library site to keep track of books I have read recently and really enjoyed.

Top Books | Ottawa Public Library | BiblioCommons.

Jan 12

THE LOST HERO by: Rick Riordan. Reviewed by Daniel

I loved Lost Hero These are the three main characters: Jason, Piper and Leo.

When Jason woke up on the school bus, he had amnesia.

Piper’s dad has gone missing. She has a really big secret she doesn’t want to share. It’s about her dad.

Leo has a way with tools. Ever since he got to Camp Half Blood and he saw all the kids with all the machinery, he forgot about leaving.

There is a missing camper.

I recommend this book to people who like adventure stories.

I like this story because it’s an adventure story with lots of Greek myths and monsters and it’s part of the Percy Jackson series.