Archive | April 2012

World War Z

O man I’m behind again! I got tremendously sick last week. It’s only a cold, but it’s sure a whopper of one! I am still fighting this off but I can clearly tell I’m in the recovery stage of it. My boyfriend has this cold first and it took him 2 weeks to battle it off and he still has a cough from it. This is day 5 for me and I hope to be feeling 100x better tomorrow. 

So I finished this novel last week before I got ill, but completely forgot about reviewing it. I had since picked up another book at the library, and since I couldn’t concentrate to get school work done, I finished that one as well. So I have a few to get through reviewing now.

First off, World War Z:

I guess first off I should mention this is a zombie novel though. Most people know this, or would know it simply glancing at the book one would think— but I had MULTIPLE people say “Ooo World War, I love reading history books” and either pick it up and start flipping through, or things to that nature. I was amused!

After reading, my first thought is how on earth are they going to make this into a movie?! I can’t see it making a good movie with keeping to the integrity of the book. But I could be wrong. It’s written as vignettes in interview form. We are brought around the world as the survivors tell parts of their stories and these stories are pieced together so that a “complete” picture of the war can be seen. I thought Max Brooks did a wonderful job with this. I definitely wanted to read more about some stories and to find out what happened next for some. But it served its purpose. The end was kind of anti-climatic, but I guess there’s no other way to end that.

What was most striking to me, and perhaps another reason the end is how it needs to be, is that it felt so real. It did not read like I was reading a novel, but rather actually recapping the events. While I enjoy reading about zombies, I am not one that believes a zombie apocalypse is coming. And yet, in this book it all seemed so plausible. It’s not written as a comedy as many zombie novels are nowadays, it’s not even a horror really. It’s just “real”. I almost view it as one of those alternate history type novels, except it’s an alternate future. I don’t believe it could take place, though I’m not against the possibility of it happening— I just don’t believe zombification of people will result in exactly how we portray zombies in literatures and movies. Anyways, so I think that’s the appeal of the book to me. It’s not simply a horror novel, but something that is dead-serious (ok silly pun, I know). It’s well done and I do plan on seeing the film next year.

The Madonnas of Leningrad

Hello everyone! I just got finished with the Madonnas of Leningrad last night (it’s certainly about time— first time I had to renew a library book in a LONG time), so I thought I’d write my review while it’s still fresh in my mind. I’d give the book a 3.5 out of 5 stars.

The most pressing thing for me was the connection I had with the way this book tied into my memories of the Hermitage. I was in Russia a bit over a year ago now. I love Russia, and my month long trip was a dream come true. I spent a couple days in the Hermitage, and it was not nearly enough. I read this book not because of Russia, but because I am reading for the Mental Illness Advocacy Challenge, and this book was under the reads for Alzheimer’s. I wish I got more of the emotions and feelings about this women going through her disease, but what I got was lovely as well. I really love how the women can see the beauty in everything now—- dust floating in the air, the sun rays coming in. How many of us take the time to appreciate the beauty life has to offer? 

I think the author did a great job in portraying the main character slipping in and out of reality. I really enjoy (and I use this lightly because it’s heart breaking) how she did a particular scene where the character feels like she is reliving her past and present at the same moment. The book in general is beautifully written. Her descriptions and word choice brings about a whole host of emotions throughout the novel.

Despite this, the book feels disjointed and choppy, but this has to be taken with a grain of salt though because it is supposed to be! The women is going deeper and deeper into her disease and so one moment she is with everyone and the next reliving her past with the siege of Leningrad. 

I’d like to know more about things in the story and incidents that took place; there’s so much to the story that I’d like to continue. I feel like this could be my real life, begging my grandmother to tell me more stories and yet she simply does not or does not remember. I find it a huge shame, though understandable, that in this book the children know nothing of their parents’ life during the war. 

Overall I think the book is good. I would’ve liked more though. But I still recommend this book— especially if anyone has visited the Hermitage before. It’s amazing how a few words the author write brings up clear memories of things I’ve seen in the museum. I am not a huge art fan, so I looked, but didn’t study most of the paintings. I love the statues, walls & ceilings, the Egyptian art & sarcophagi, the armor (the stuffed horses!), and I even clearly remember the paintings of the dead game—- I think I was particularly morbid back then. Going through some old photographs I think I must have a photo of that urn that weighed so much they couldn’t bring it up. There’s 2 photos I have that pretty clearly fit the bill—- how on earth can they have moved these?!

I also really enjoyed the character Anya I believe it was, the babushka that helped Marina build her memory palace. She reminded me of this woman that was one of the “sitters” in the Hermitage in a room filled with statues. I loved the statues but I didn’t spend a whole lot of time studying them, just a few snaps a couple of looks at the sign and I kept walking with my friends. The lady was upset with us, from what I understood in my broken Russian she was quizzing us about when the pieces were made, who made them, etc. I would never have known had she not schooled us. In the book, the children Marina gave a tour to astounded me. There’s no way kids in the US would be so educated. I was proud of those little ones giving the answers— despite me not knowing them myself!

Anyways, I’m rambling now. I do hope others read the book to experience these things as well! On to the next book, I think I’ll take a break from my reading challenges having completed 2 books for each now. I think I will read a book I’ve been being pestered to read— World War Z. Onwards to the library!

Meet Sophia

Reading has to take a back seat right now. My boyfriend and I decided to expand our little family to include an adorable little puppy. We’ve named her Sophia, and she’s a Border Collie/Australian Cattle Dog mix. Yes, I know we have our hands full with this one. She’s a sweetheart though a bit rambunctious— we’re working on training and finding outlets for her endless energy. She turned 11-weeks yesterday, and we’ve had her for a week now. According to my “schedule” for reading the Madonnas of Leningrad, which to be fair seems to be a short & fast read, should be done by now. But I’ve only read about 30pgs so far!

Trying to raise a puppy, work a full time job, volunteer at the library, and finish up this semester in graduate school is quite tough. Needless to say I’m running off of coffee right now. 5 more weeks of the semester. The end is in sight! I really enjoy my reference & web development classes and even my tougher collection development class has been very interesting. I have some neat, yet work instensive, finals planned. I have a LibGuide to make, an Opening Day Collection, and a E-Portfolio website. I hope to add this blog into my website as I’d like to share my book reviews on there— if I can get back to reading more. Can’t wait for the summer!!

Here’s Sophia:

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