Friday, June 3, 2011

May Books

Seven books in May.  This is starting to seem like a habit.  I devoured the rest of the Samaria series this month, plus picked up a few other quick reads.

  1. (5/8) Jovah's Angel (Sharon Shinn) - This is the second book in the Samaria series.  I was a bit surprised to start this book and find that it picks up 150 years after the previous book ends.  Though there are references to the characters in the first book, I wished that I could have gotten to know them better.  This book was different, and interesting.  Although I guessed the ending to this one in advance, the story was a bit more unusual and unpredictable.  The main character was more approachable, and it was easier to be in her head than in the previous book.  Looking forward to the rest of the series!
  2. (5/15) Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (Amy Chua) - After reading the mostly outraged reaction to this book on the blogosphere, I didn’t expect to find much worthwhile parenting advice here.  But I think that Chua has some good points to make about expectation and achievement.  She is obviously much more extreme than I would ever be, but I agree that success creates a “virtuous cycle” (as she calls it) which improves self-esteem and engenders future success.  I think it’s important for kids to work hard to master something, whether it’s an instrument, athletics, or something else that may not be “fun” until the child gains some competence at the activity.  This book spawned a lively debate in our house.  I wouldn’t say that I really loved/enjoyed the book, but I am happy that I read it.
  3. (5/17) This Is Where I Leave You (Jonathan Tropper) - Very funny story about relationships among siblings and partners.  I found myself somewhat unconvinced about the realism of some of the main character’s antics, but it is comedy after all.
  4. (5/20) The Alleluia Files (Sharon Shinn) - The next installment of the Samaria series.  Now that I know these books are only loosely linked (and only in terms of setting, not characters), I’m finding that I enjoy them more.  I also find that as these books veer more into science fiction rather than fantasy, they become more interesting to me.  Only two more to go!
  5. (5/22) Angelica (Sharon Shinn) - This one takes place in “ancient history” on Samaria compared with the other three, which each jumped forwards several generations.  I like how we can see the evolution of knowledge of the oracles over time and we also learn more about the Edori and the history of the planet.  
  6. (5/25) Something Blue (Emily Giffin) - This is a sequel to a book I read a few months ago.  It is interesting that it is told from the perspective of an entirely different character - one who is not at all sympathetic in the first book.  I actually liked this book more than the first one, maybe because it was fascinating to get a glimpse into the head of someone who is portrayed so negatively the first time around.  I didn’t entirely buy Darcy’s transformation, but it made for a good story!
  7. (5/29) Angel-Seeker (Sharon Shinn) - I liked this book the best of the series so far.  We get to revisit some of the characters we met in an earlier story.  This is the first of the Samaria books that is not focused on archangels and their lovers.  We still spend time with the angels, but there is more focus on the lives of ordinary people, the different cultures living on Samaria, and how individuals can instigate change in society.

1 comment:

LibraryHungry said...

I'm so glad you loved the Samaria books so much! As usual, you've raced ahead of me--I finished The Alleluia Files this month, too.

New recommendation for a series that I just started but am loving, and have heard rave reviews on: The Vorkosigan Saga, starting with Cordelia's Honor, though that's probably the least awesome of the books. I understand that starting with The Warrior's Apprentice is a little better, since the two books before it are about the main character's mother. Anyway, I love what I've read so far, and I really bet you would, too!