Thursday, May 28, 2009


Title: Nation
Author: Terry Pratchett

What it's about: A giant wave in the south Pacific devastates the island home of Mau and wrecks the ship Daphne's traveling on. The two young people have to survive and make sense of the tragedy, while coping with the arrival of more and more refugees and rebuilding the Nation.

What I thought: The above summary is a rather simple one, but as anyone familiar with Terry Pratchett's books knows, he can make the simplest of premises into a complex, funny, and touching tale. He's done it time and again in the Discworld and now he takes his magic a little closer to home, writing about the culture clash of the island nation with European culture. As always, he makes accurate philosophical observations that make you think without seeming preachy. The book has a touch of magic and mystery to it, and there's plenty of good suspenseful moments. Really, Nation is just another excellent example of the genius of Terry Pratchett.

Overall: Discworld fan or not, this is definitely a book worth picking up.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Hurray for books!

So I'm done with my anime kick and back to reading. However, what I've been reading were previously reviewed Discworld books: Feet of Clay, Going Postal, and Making Money. I went to the library this evening, though, and picked out a couple of books, at least three of which I'm sure I haven't reviewed yet. (I don't remember about Conrad's Fate.) I also spotted an article in my local newspaper about zombies in teen lit, and I just ordered the three zombie books it reviewed. Also on order from the library still is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and I'm now hold 17 out of I don't even know. So, keep an eye out for reviews of Stravaganza: City of Masks, The Dragonfly Pool, and Nation, and even more to come after those!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Julia Child

Title: Julia Child
Author: Laura Shapiro

What it's about: This is a biography of Julia Child, the French Chef. It details her development into a woman who loved food and cooking, hitting both her good and bad points. Even if you're not a big fan of cooking, Julia Child had a very interesting life that's worth reading about.

What I thought: This book does well in part because the author uses a lot of Julia's quotes from primary sources like her letters. These quotes really help the reader get a feel for Julia's personality and what made her so beloved. The book is fairly short and an easy read, but it has plenty of depth in it. There are many loving descriptions of both Julia and food, and the fondness for the subjects is what makes this such an enjoyable book.

Overall: Entertaining non-fiction.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Explanation for lack of updates

Sorry for the lack of posting, folks. It's a combination of me rereading old books that I've already reviewed (including Starclimber and High King's Tomb) and, this is the bigger reason, I've been watching so much anime you wouldn't believe. Since school let out I've watched Toradora!, all three seasons of Zero no Tsukaima, and I'm on the second season of Shakugan no Shana. Why, yes, I'm on a tsundere kick. Heh. Perhaps I'll post reviews for those series here. Sure, it's a book blog, but anime can tell stories, too. I gotta say, Toradora! had some pretty good storytelling in it, at any rate. Well, nope, this ain't dead. When I read some new stuff, I'll post about it. I don't know how much longer I can go without books, anyway.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Zombie Survival Guide

Title: The Zombie Survival Guide
Author: Max Brooks

What it's about: In these troublesome days of swine flu and a Democrat in the White House, it is easy to overlook the very real threat posed by the undead. But despite how we think a zombie uprising could never happen, Max Brooks' chilling book proves just how wrong we are - deadly wrong, that is. Drawing on historical evidence of zombie uprisings, Brooks dictates the best survival strategies for coping with these inhuman abominations. He tells about the best strategies for surviving a siege, for escaping, and for taking matters into your own hands and hunting down the menaces yourself. Everything from zombie physiology to the best weapons to how to recognize the early warning signs of a zombie infestation is covered in this comprehensive tome. Don't be caught unawares! Order your copy today and you just might survive.

What I thought: Even though this book is fiction (at least, I hope) it makes the idea of a zombie apocalypse seem chillingly real. Brooks narrates everything in a serious tone - there's nothing tongue-in-cheek here. This book is very detailed, truly covering everything that needs to be said about surviving a zombie uprising. It's entertaining because a lot of thought went into this book, and it will provoke you to thought in turn. I know it had me analyzing the campus, trying to figure out which buildings would be most secure if zombies started attacking. Heh.

Overall: A fascinating book that'll provide both chills and food for thought.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

Title: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
Author: Nagaru Tanigawa

What it's about: Average high school first-year Kyon is jolted from his average life when he becomes involved with the escapades of Haruhi Suzumiya, an eccentric girl who has no interest in the ordinary. Yearning for excitement, Haruhi creates a club called the SOS Brigade, whose mission is "to find aliens, time travelers, and espers and to have fun with them!" She forcibly recruits Kyon and three other members to form her brigade. However, these other members have their own agendas for joining, and they reveal to Kyon the secret about Haruhi. Now it's up to him and the others to keep Haruhi happy, lest she destroy the universe as we know it.

What I thought: All right, so why am I reviewing this again when I reviewed it last May? Because this version is the official English translation, not a fan version. Personally, I was very pleased with the quality. The language is very natural, with all of Kyon's snark and witty remarks kept intact. The artwork is preserved, and even the little sound effects and captions are translated. One thing untranslated is the honorifics. No -chan or -san or anything like that. However, this translation at least doesn't go the awful route the dub did and substitute "Miss" for "-san". Ugh. Really, this is just a minor quibble, and I can see why these weren't kept. Well, in any case, this is a good translation of a great story, and I encourage any fan of humorous sci-fi and high school stories to check this out.

Overall: Highly recommended.