Monday, April 26, 2010

38. 2/23/10 The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie (561 pages)

I've been meaning to read this one for a long time, but had never gotten around to it. Then, while reading the bookseller of Kabul, it became clear that the one thing everyone could agree on what that The Satanic Verses was evil and Rushdie should be killed. That really bothered me, so I needed to read the book on principle. I think that Mr. Rushdie's clever/manic style sometimes prevents me from identifying with or feeling close to his characters, but I really liked the framing of Gibreel and Salahuddin's stories in a surrealistically religious but not morally absolute framework. Basically, an angel, the devil and God are throughout the entire novel, but questions of faith are never claimed to be definitively answered. My kind of story. Is it harder to be an angel than the straight up devil? Or, I have no idea what I'm talking about. Either way, I found the novel thought provoking, and certainly believe that anyone should be allowed to read it.

37. 2/14/10 Percy Jackson and the Olympians Book 2: The Sea of Monsters ( 279 pages)

This is, possibly, my least favorite Percy Jackson novel (Hey, that's also like Harry Potter! Book 2 is my least favorite!). Although its excellent when Percy is discovering all of his badass sea powers, there are very few parts that I actually love. Pretty much just Hermes. That being said, there are cyclopes and pirate ships full of dead soldiers and hippocampi and all, so its not like there's nothing going on.

36. 2/11/10 Fire by Kristin Cashore (461 pages)

By the author of Graceling, this book is more a companion than a sequel, but its very similar in tone. The writing isn't superb, but the story is effortlessly feminist and entertaining. Fire is the last Human Monster- she's so beautiful she mesmerizes people, and she can control their thoughts. She makes some new friends, falls in love and learns to use her powers for good and not be afraid of them. What did I like so much? The casual sex. The evil father who was actually really good to her. The not-shying-away-from-killing; no one likes it, but they know they have to do it. I also loved the casual positive use of birth control, and the mention of abortion as just another choice. My one problem is that I felt like Fire sort of breezed by the idea of sterilizing herself. She probably made the right choice, but it didn't seem like that much discussion (even with herself) went into it. Talk about emotional issues. And I know its a fantasy novel, and I need to stop worrying about Aslan's Red Silk Tent and all that, but I would like to understand, chemically and physically, how she sterilizes herself with herbs, but still menstruates. I'm just saying.