Monday, April 30, 2012


So I went on an ebook download spree...

Some of these titles are part of series I follow [Discworld, the Rick Riordan's], one is a book up for discussion at my book club, a handful are recommendations by friends, and the rest are books I've read good reviews of.

The Keys to the Kingdom is another series I want to try because I liked Garth Nix's previous work, the Abhorsen / Old Kingdom trilogy, and a friend says this is good.

Aside from the above, I still have several books on my download queue. Not to mention the ones already on my computer. :P

I currently read ebooks through iBooks on my iPhone. Small screen, I know, but it serves. I want to buy an ebook reader, but because I am not technology savvy I'm afraid of investing in a Kindle or a Nook.

Like bibliophiles that have come before me, I am beset by the eternal dilemma - "So many books, so little time."

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

book review: "Lincoln's Dreams" by Connie Willis

Connie Willis

While doing research on Abraham Lincoln and his prophetic dreams, Jeff meets Annie, herself experiencing the Civil War in sleep, and tries to help her find meaning to her dreams.

I know next to nothing about the American Civil War, but it did not hinder me from enjoying Connie Willis' "Lincoln's Dreams". Annie's experience was gripping, and the story relevant.

We are conditioned to look up to our heroes on their pedestals, but we need to remember that they were human too. Even though they inspire us by their courage and with their triumphs, they also suffered loss and failure.

Jeff, turning down a job opportunity on studying the effects of the Vietnam War, says, "I haven't figured out the long-term effects of the Civil War yet." It seems that mankind has not even recovered from one war before he becomes involved in another. In the last century alone, we had World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq, with Afghanistan at the start of this century. Does no one understand that war does not solve anything? It is a waste of human lives and material resources. War does not resolve conflict, it only postpones it until the "losing" side musters strength to fight again. Which is a lesson mankind, sadly, seems slow to learn.


Monday, April 09, 2012

book review: "Lamb" by Christopher Moore

LAMB: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal
Christopher Moore

The first Moore novel I read, "Fool", turned out to be my worst read of 2011, but I decided to give his work another chance before giving up on it for good. I especially reserved "Lamb" to read for Lent, expecting to dislike it, for pointless mentions of sex and for blasphemy, but I'm glad I gave Moore a second chance [although "Lamb" did have numerous mentions of sex].

"Lamb" tells us the story of Jesus', or Joshua in Hebrew, "lost years" from the age of 1 to 33, as told by his best friend Levi who is called Biff. It may be improbable, but given the little that is known about that period of time, who is to say that it was impossible? To enjoy the tale, one needs to view it not as a result of serious religious contemplation, but rather as entertainment.

However, the story is not only about Joshua, but about Biff. Biff represents the ugly in all of us, our lust, our envy, but he is also that part of ourselves who try to be better despite our failings. And Joshua is always there at our side to accept us as we are.

Ultimately I think "Lamb" is a story about friendship, loyalty, and love. Who else but a friend would follow you wherever you went, to try and protect you from harm, to support you and cheer you up, who would share your suffering, who would place your well-being first and his second? Anyone who has a Biff in their life is lucky, and should be grateful for that blessing.