Archives for the month of: October, 2010

I hope you all have already had the chance to listen to this interview with Kee Malesky. I love it that NPR loves their librarians. Not only do they do interviews, but thank them at the end of shows. AWESOME!

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The God of the Hive (Mary Russell, #10)The God of the Hive by Laurie R. King
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I liked this book better than the previous book, The Language of Bees. The “two books as one story” concept, however, did not work for me, simply, I think, because they were not released at the same time. Once I got my hands on this book, some time since I read the previous book had passed. I had forgotten some of the story and much of the detail from The Language of Bees. This book seemed obtuse, and unnecessarily complicated to me. I really enjoyed The Beekeeper’s Apprentice and, especially, Locked Rooms, but am worried that Laurie R. King is using some gimmicks to sell books. Alternatively, perhaps she is mimicking Sir Arthur Conan Doyle‘s style rather than developing her style further.

I was very glad to see Mycroft show up in Chapter 60. What a relief! The story began to make more sense and I could see the resolution coming once he was back in the saddle.

I did enjoy the character of Robert Goodman. I am glad his body wasn’t found, because that means he may show up again. I didn’t understand the Peter James West character. He was spooky and dangerous, that was clear, but to what end?

I really hope Ms. King gets back to the style of The Beekeeper’s Apprentice.

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The PearlThe Pearl by John Steinbeck

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of the interesting parts of this book is the length. It is a really short book, but the story moves at a different pace than books to which we are accustomed today. I am more than 3/4s of the way through the book and I have the sense that the actions happening now would be in the first or second chapter of a modern book.

I always think of reading classics as something I should do because it is good for my mind rather than being entertaining and relaxing. This book is really beautifully written and, while tense and sad, is not a slog at all.

This book talks about consequences, discrimination, the sadness of life, the futility of non-conformity and how some people will go to any length to get what they want.

One interesting thing about this book is the inclusion of the ‘songs’ – the Song of the Family, the Song of the Pearl, etc. It occurred to me that we all must have songs of these types going on in our head, especially in that space where suddenly we pull back from being in our body and observe the world around us with our minds, like an impartial observer.

There were a couple of passages that really moved me as well. One was about the relationship between men and women. The passage is preceded by Kino striking Juana. “There was no anger in her for Kino. He had said, ‘I am a man,’ and that meant certain things to Juana. It meant that he was half insane and half god. It meant that Kino would drive his strength against a mountain and plunge his strength against the sea. Juana, in her woman’s soul, knew that the mountain would stand while the man broke himself; that the sea would surge while the man drowned in it. And yet it was this thing that made him a man, half insane and half god, and Juana had need of a man; she could not live without a man. Although she might be puzzled by these differences between man and woman, she knew them and accepted them and needed them. Of course, she would follow him, there was no question of that.”

This passage shows an understanding of people that is gorgeous and sophisticated. Also, John Steinbeck‘s writing captures feelings and understanding in a taut few paragraphs of writing.

Another passage that was very sensible and beautiful started “All of the time Juana had been trying to rescue something of the old peace, of the time before the pearl. But now it was gone, and there was no retrieving it. And knowing this she abandoned the past instantly. There was nothing to do, but to save themselves.” Juana is a practical woman in a lot of ways. Her strength lies in giving wise counsel and knowing when to say nothing. She is a wise and elegant character.

Steinbeck’s descriptions are wonderful. He uses adjectives skillfully and artfully.

I think I probably read this book in school at some point, but I really don’t remember reading it. I attended a school that loved to not assign the classics, so it is possible that I didn’t read it. I am glad I found it again.

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