Thursday, April 25, 2013

Pygmalion

I have been putting off reading this particular play for a very long time.  I hated the movie My Fair Lady with Audrey Hepburn and Doctor Doolittle in it (sorry... I can't recall his name at this particular moment).  I hated how Liza just caved in at the end, cowed herself and came back to the professor...ugh! 
I haven't read any other pieces by Bernard Shaw but I have always wanted to simply because I had read somewhere that as well as being a great humanitarian, he was also a vegetarian.  
Take it from me, don't judge this play by movie standards, get a copy from somewhere and enjoy it as it was meant to be enjoyed.  I think you will really like it.  I did.

Tarzan of the Apes

I can't believe that I waited until I was forty three before I finally read this book!  When I was a kid there was this tv show which I have very vague memories of...  Tarzan's call and some kind of strange control over the animals in the jungle... pretty stupid I think, but then, when you are making a television show you have to make up stuff to keep the kids interested right?
Thankfully, the book was way more interesting, and considering the cavalier attitude that Rice Burroughs had to writing, it was very well done.  While I haven't seen any movies of this book (which is quite puzzling to me considering that my favorite, Christopher Lambert, played the role in one of them), I have always had a vague idea of how the story went.  It was good to finally have the whole story as it was intended, and oh boy was I pleasantly surprised!  There is a romantic element to Rice Burroughs that I had not really expected (having only read A Princess of Mars so far).  This guy knew the good stuff and he has been exciting and enthralling people (like Ray Bradbury) for nearly a hundred years.  I mean at some point to go and read some more adventures of Tarzan, because romantic as it was, it wasn't the end of the story. 

Speaking From Among the Bones

Another rollicking jaunt in post-war England with my favorite girl sleuth Flavia.  There has always been a lot of speculation about the mysteries in these books, of which Speaking From Among the Bones is the fifth in the series (I understand that there is one more to go).  I have always wondered about the absent mother and if she is really dead.  There is this mystery about Harriet de Luce that is just built upon with each successive story (and which has come to a head in this last book!).  WE ARE LEFT WITH A CLIFFHANGER!  I won't say anymore.  I really look forward to the next one (though hurry, okay Mr. Bradley?).  Oh yeah, I look at my nose quite differently now...

Dead Reckoning

The other shoe still hasn't dropped.  There was an underlying tension or suspense throughout Dead Reckoning that something really awful hasn't happened yet.  Lots of bad stuff did happen of course, but since reading the last book Dead in the Family I have had this feeling that there is more incredibly awful stuff yet to come. 
I expect to be surpised!  I haven't yet predicted what might happen in any Sookie book and I have tried, with this re-read of the Southern Vampire Series not to make any predictions about how it might end (and the arsehat in Germany who published today the ending of this series by illegal means... you are a jerk! and I will not let you spoil it for me!)
We have a little of the Sookie that I love back.  She is still healing from her wounds, and she has done some amazing things (like she usually does).  She is one strong woman who has come back tougher and the most aggressive I have ever seen her.  There is this feeling of finishing up some stories, tidying up those loose ends, and it just has me more excited for the finish.  I am still rooting for Sam to be the one that Sookie will end up with but that's by no means a sure thing...yet. 
I am a little more comfortable about how the story ended, there were some things that have been bugging me but they have been resolved or averted maybe (vague much?).  The finish line is in my sights, just two more to go until this wonderful story ends!

Dead in the Family

Okay, this was a hard one to read the first time through.  It was off, in a way I still have not entirely understood, and it was different from any other Sookie Stackhouse book.  I admire Harris for her ability to do this and I think she is an amazing writer. 
Everything is different in the Sookieverse, after her survival of another supernatural war that happened at the end of Dead and Gone.  The atmosphere is so raw and just barely mended, everything that happened in the story was either awful or just plain ugly (though there were some very interesting bits too but I won't tell you about them...spoilers!).   They were overshadowed by this overall feeling that the other shoe hasn't dropped yet, so it was a hard book to read, and I missed Sookie as she usually is.  It was said in the last book  Dead and Gone that she would never be the same, and after reading this I agree... this is a different kind of world (or I just see it differently through Sookie's eyes).  There are just three more books to go now!

Going Down Memory Lane

I usually am a little dubious of stories that have been resurrected and I was pleasantly surprised with this one.  Originally a screen play written by Douglas Adams, Gareth Roberts has filled in the gaps and rounded out the story with some very endearing Adamsisms (just try to pronounce that!).  There is so much of Douglas in this book that it was almost painful to read (in a tear jerking wish you were here kind of way). I was tempted to get out my Hitchhiker and Dirk Gently books, re-read them all and then re-visit Shada just for fun.
It didn't over-shadow our protagonists however, the Doctor and Romana.
Shada was a delightful read, a wonderful rollicking adventure invoking sentimental feelings from when I read the Target books in my primary school library.    I loved the typical spin of an Adam's book that was applied to Shada, and if I ever met Gareth Roberts I would buy him a drink as thanks for honoring Douglas and for writing this story the way that he did.  I will be on the lookout for more by Roberts, and in the meantime, if you want to travel down memory lane too I would grab Shada as soon as possible (making sure that there is a good supply of tea in for the duration of the reading).

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Dragon Turn: The Boy Sherlock Holmes, His Fifth Case

                                  
I don't think this book was really meant to be read on it's own.  That's not a criticism!  I think that if I had read the previous four books I would have developed a relationship with the protagonist, but since this was the fifth book in the series I found it a little hard to relate to Peacock's Sherlock Holmes.  There was a lot of information threads in there, but they weren't complete enough for me to catch up to the story (not a criticism!  I get that it would be tough to recap four books in a short amount of time, and given that this is meant for young adults, it would have to be brief!). 
For someone who is not familiar with the original Sherlock Holmes or with mystery/detective stories in general, and who has read the series from the beginning, I think that they would really enjoy The Boy Sherlock Holmes.  It is a great taking off point into the genre. If I ever got the chance, I would, after the series is complete, spend a nice weekend reading the lot, and if I had a niece or nephew showing interest in the genre I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this collection.
And of course...I absolutely adored Scuttle!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Camouflage


I had my reservations about reading this one, as I had read that Haldeman was basically a military science fiction author and that has never been a truly strong interest of mine.  But I am glad that I gave this book a chance, because despite all of the military references, it was a good story.  The protagonist was a visiting alien who was trying to adapt to living on Earth.  It's experiences thoughout history where interesting, as well as it's emotional and ethical development.  What was viewed as horrific before, became understandable the more I saw this character develop, and the conclusion of this story was an extremely satisfying one that encourages me to have a closer look at what this author has written (he has won more than one Nebula).