2007 Reviews

Jan 3, 2008

Current mood: electric

Here it is folks the 2007 Book list. I didn’t reach 52, which was my goal. In fact it was a stretch to reach 50, which keeps me up with the 2006 books. I had to read a lot of youth adult books to do it, but that’s okay because I have a lot of young adult book in my to read pile. We’ve been buying used YA books in order to build a nice library of all the classics, and choice modern reads. Well it turns out that there are a lot of good YA books out there, and they are cheap. I just counted and I have 76 YA books in the to read pile. While YA book may have speed up my reading taking a lit class slowed it down. Having regular reading assignments took a lot away from personal reading time. Another thing that slowed things up was my discovery of Manga. For a couple of months that swallowed a lot of my reading time.

And to begin 2008 with I promised the Big D that I would read Battlefield Earth. It’s a 1000+ page book in smallish type. He didn’t want to buy it because it’s by L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology. I told him that I thought that Scientology was Science Fiction too. So we bought the book, but then it just sat on the shelf while I was occupied with other books. He kept teasing me about it whenever I’d go to pick out a new book, so I promised him that it would be my first book of ’08. Which is another reason I don’t feel bad about all the YA book at the end of ’07.

Loved It

Liked It Alot

Liked It

It Was Oaky

Kinda Bad

Bad

It Stunk

1. The Gorgon’s Head 1/15/07 A supreamly simple retelling of the Greek Myth. I’m not sure who the book was written for because it seems to be too gorry and bizzare for a YA book, yet you really only need a 3rd grade reading level to read it. I know there are better book out there with the myth of Perseus in them.

2. Iceworld 1/19/07 Good sci-fi story, told from the viewpoint of an alien teacher forced into a scientist role. Earth is a terribly inhospitable world to them, and yet Earth is the only place in the galaxy that can supply a drug-ring with it’s addictive cargo. I highly recommend it to those who enjoy sci-fi.

3. Chinese Fairy Tales and African Folk Tales 1/21/07 Two seperate Dover Children’s books, but they were both so short I decided to lump them together. Very simply told stories, that may not be too accurate to the originals, but would make good bedtime reading for kids.

4. The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger 1/26/07 This is the first book in the Stephen King fantasy series. I’ve never read Stephen King before, and am not at all intrested in horror. But this series has been repeatedly compared to the Lord of the Rings so I thought I’d give it a try. Very intresting book, unique premisis, lots of mystery left to be unveiled in further books. I have to warn you before you rush out to buy it that it is graphic and and has sexual themes.

5. Favorite Greek Myths 2/3/07 Another Dover Children’s book, a little longer than the other two. Still it’s simple stories written for children. Just what you’d expect.

6. Redwall 2/16/07 You all know how I like little animal that dress and act sorta like people (Ralph S. Mouse for example.) Redwall is a little like Ralph S. Mouse meets Robin Hood. It’s a great story, and one of my nominations for book of the year.

7. Wuthering Heights 3/27/07 Another nomination for book of the year. This is a very compelling book that seems to come alive as you read it. It’s very few books that have that kind of magic, and in this book it’s a little spooky. You love yet hate the characters, you can empathize with them, yet you don’t want to like them. One of those books that I wonder how I could have missed it.

8. Beyond the Cross & the Switchblade 3/29/07 Had to get the heart strings in sometime. Another David Wilkerson book.

9. Dream Thief 4/25/07 My favorite book by my favorite author, Stephen R. Lawhead. I’ve read it 5 or 6 times now, and have to come back to it every few years. It’s a sci-fi story about God, friendship, and Hindu beliefs colliding over alien control of mankind. I love a sci-fi book that takes you somewhere unique.

10. The Tolkien Reader 5/7/07 Is a good book if you can make it through the 80 some page essay on fairy tales and fantasy. (Which is a good essay, but a little hard to hack at 80+ pages) The Big D picked it out for me to read because it had some stories in it that he tought I should read.

11. Beatrix Potter (4 Books) 5/8/07 Simple childrens stories with a moral to each one. Will make good bedtime reading.

12. The Clan of the Cave Bear 5/21/07 I really liked this book, and the way it gets you into the lives of prehistoric people. Kind of like the BBC Dinosaur specials. The details of daily life of clan people were great, and well researched. I liked this book so much I went out and bought the second. But I didn’t even finish the second because it was basically about how often they have sex. (Worthless trash…)

13. The Story of King Arthur 5/22/07 Another Dover Childrens Edition, we must have picked up a bunch of these someplace. It’s pretty much the same as the others.

14. Oriental Love Poems 5/24/07 I didn’t understand how some of these poems could be about love when I read this. Luckly for me several months later I took Asain Lit. The relationship between nature (cicadas, swans, ect.) and meaning grew a whole lot clearer. But this book in uniquely put together with origami, and images relating to the poems.

15. Imperial Stars 5/31/07 E.E. Doc Smith is a classic Sci-fi writter, which is why we bought this book. It contains what tries to be a sci-fi spy story, but just end up being a run of the mill plot with lots of costume changes. A book for the fashion’esta who want to get into sci-fi.

16. Fudge-a-mania 6/1/07 Ahh a return to Fudge, the loveable troublesome brother of Peter Hatcher. Not as funny as the first one, but still worth reading and laughing over.

17. A Series of Unfortunate Events 2 6/5/07 We got books 2-8 for almost nothing, so don’t be too shocked over this choice if you read my review of the first one last year. These books are quick reads, but also quickly forgettable. Smart children who always end up with the short end of the stick, and an evil uncle who gets away at the end, sums up this book, and my guess is most of the rest of the series.

18. Star Trek 6 6/18/07 James Blish is the best Star Trek author as far as I’m concerned. He really stays true to the plots, characters, and moods of the episodes he adaptes. We’ve read all but two of the 12 books of adaptations that he did.

19. Jurassic Park 6/28/07 Jurassic Park is probaly one of my top 10 movie series (we own the boxed set), and so I knew I would like the book. I didn’t know that the book would have so much extra material in it. In Sphere the movie and book are closely related. In Jurassic Park there are elements of all 3 movies, and more. I really did enjoy it, and it was edge-of-your-seat reading.

20. Worf’s First Adventure 7/1/07 Crossing YA with Star Trek we actually got this book as a practical joke for one of our friends, but the Big D and I decided to read it first. It’s the story of Worf and his human “brother” arriving at Star Fleet acamedy. You wouldn’t read it for the plot, in fact the only reason you’d really read it was that you were a Trekkie and/or just plain curious.

21. The Book of Three 7/5/07 The first book in the Prydain series by Lloyd Alexander, you might know it better by the Black Cauldron Disney movie. I’ve read the first three books (there are 5 total), and will read the forth as soon as I can pick it up. Great books, great YA fantasy. The movie seems to be made up of parts of both of the first two books. (BTW: I’m a die hard Gurgi fan. “Munchings and Crunchings!”)

22. Titan A.E. 7/7/07 The book adapatation of the movie. Good story keeps the pace moving, and stays true to the movie.

23. Pack Up Your Gloomies 7/25/07 I had heard about this author, and so pick up a book by her at a used book sale (that’s how it usually happens with us), but this book didn’t really apply to. It was about moving beyond traumatic experiences, about getting on with life after your children make life changing decsions, and about living as a Christian with gay children.  I finished it away, and it will have a good home with us until we know someone who truely needs it.

24. Escape from the Island of Aquarius 7/28/07 One of the YA books by Frank Peretti in a series that I am trying to complete, The Cooper Kids Adventures. Good stories that mix adventure and faith.

25. The Legend of Annie Murphy 7/30/07 Probaly the weakest of the Cooper Kids books that I’ve read. It’s about temporal disturbances, and time travel. The other books all seem possible in some way, this book was too out there.

26. TNG 15 Fortune’s Light 8/16/07 Have to have my yearly visit with the cast of The Next Generation.

27. The Lathe of Heaven 8/20/07 One of my nominations for book of the year. Ursula K. Le Guin shows why she is a sci-fi god in this book. I will quote from the book cover for this one, “A rare and powerful synthesis of poetry and science, reason and emotion.- The New York Time.” It truely was, the book is incredible.

28. The Witchmasters Key 8/21/07 A Hardy Boys book that deals with breaking up an Occultic ring of crooks. Very intresting territory, and I wonder what the original was like. (Remember Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew were all update in the 60’s, so the original 20’s and 30’s book are quite different.)

29. Doctor No 9/4/07 Alright I will admit it I’m a James Bond fan, esp. a Sean Connery Bond fan. But the Bond of the films and the Bond of the books is a different man. He is much more Spy, and much less Action Hero in the book. And often it seems like he is just lucky instead of “The Best Spy in the World.”

30. The Tombs of Anak 9/5/07 Another Cooper Kid Adventure. This one is a good look at legends of indigenous people that tie into Biblical truth.

31. Stranglers Moon 9/14/07 The second in the sci-fi spy series by E.E. Doc Smith. (The Big D has asked me to mention that these books where written as a collibration between Smith and another writer.) Still filled with lots of costume descriptions, but much more spy stuff to be done. Could have made a good 60’s TV show.

32. The Forgotten Door 9/17/07 A book I remember reading and being fascinated by in the 5th grade. I remember it being kinda spooky and suspenseful, and have been keeping my eyes open for it for a long time. Of course it wasn’t as spooky and suspenseful when I read it now as an adult. Over time I had forgotten pretty much all of the storyline, so it was a joy to rediscover this book.

33. The Drawing of The Three 9/23/07 This book was nearly a Loved It ranked book. The first “book” of the book was awesome, and some of the best fiction I have ever read. I could hardly put it down, and was “dying” because the Big D hadn’t read the book so I couldn’t talk about it with him. But the second “book” was not to my taste (e.g. a little too sexually graphic. Why do they have to spoil good fiction like that anyway? Does it really sell that many more books?) The third book was as good as the first, and really sucked you it. Plus it had some laugh out loud scenes it in. I highly recommend it on a whole, but remember my warning about book two.

34. The Secret of Skull Mt. 9/27/07 A Hardy Boys book. Not much else to say about it; action, adventure, danger, hero’s pretty much what one reads the Hardy Boys book for.

35. A Stranger is Watching 10/4/07 My first Mary Higgins Clark book. My Aunt gave us a bunch of them, and so I decided that I had to at least read one. It was suspenseful, and I can see why some women stay up all night reading these kind of books. I don’t think that they are my cup of tea. The storyline may have been good, but there is not much else there in a literary sense. Kind of one of those quick read trash novels.

36. The Queens Necklace 10/24/07 A fantasy novel about Humans who have overthrown their Goblin oppressors. Apparently the Goblins are better at magic/science than the humans, and humans had been low class/slaves to them for thousands of years. That is until humans learn that glass, salt, and fire are instantly deadly to Goblins. They think that they killed all of the type of Goblin that made up the ruling class, and have switched the tables on the lower forms of Goblins. A Thousand years later the Goblins are the slaves and the Humans the rulers, but there is a plot afoot to return the Goblins to power. Interesting, but felt unpolished which is why is doesn’t get a higher rating.

37. Deathwatch 11/1/07 A really sadistic story of survival. If it weren’t for a smart doctor at the end I would have hated this book. Desert survival stories are one thing, a sadistic big game hunter and a desert guide who becomes the object of sadism are totally different. This book is probably most appealing to young men.

38. Kids Say the Darnest Things 11/5/07 So many laugh out loud stories in this book that the Big D and I read together. Cosby is all together funny, and Cosby and kids are almost too funny to handle.

39. Mystery of the Flying Express 12/6/07 Another Hardy Boys book. I don’t know if it was different in the 60’s but these boys get kidnapped all the time. Does it not count as a kidnapping if you escape? Because all the characters in this book don’t think it’s a big deal to get kidnapped three or four times in a two week period. Their parents hardly bat an eye at any kidnapping that doesn’t last more than 24 hrs.

40. Danger on Vampire Trail 12/8/07 This time the Hardy Boys and their friends are on a cross county camping trip to catch some crooks. Not so many kidnappings this time, except for the mass kidnapping and what was almost a mass execution at the end.

41. Star Trek 7 12/31/07 Another James Blish adaptation. It is funny how in every story there is some knockout beauty that Kirk has to deal with.

42. Dragonflight 12/16/07 I haven’t read an Anne McCaffrey book since high school. I can’t even remember what book it was, or really anything about it. This book was a really solid fantasy story, with promise for the following books. It’s nice when a book ties up all it’s loose ends, and lets you rest with the feeling that there is more depth to explore in the future. Rant: The biggest mistake a lot of fantasy books make is to give you a “wink-wink-nudge-nudge” at the end. Either it’s obviously part of a larger story (The Lord of the Rings), or there is enough material and character strength to make us interested in another book (Black Trillium). Don’t give us hints that there might be more to come. That’s just in bad taste, and shows that you don’t have confidence in your work. Dragonflight was a good read, and I’d recommend to anyone who likes dragon fantasy.

43. The Black Cauldron 12/18/07 The second book in the Prydain series. These books should be ranked up there with the Narnia Books for YA must reads. How on earth did I not know about these until I was an adult?

44. The Castle of Llyr 12/21/07 The third book in the Prydian series. These books are clean, and teach good lessons. Read them, READ THEM!!!!

45. The Secret Garden 12/23/07 The Dover thrift edition of this story. Makes it simple enough to be read in one sitting, and takes away almost all the bad feelings and stuff you get reading the regular version. Reading this you would think that there were hardly any struggles or opposition present in the story, ha.

46. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever 12/23/07 I remember that my Grandma had this book and would read it to us every year. So not only is it a good, sweet, and funny story, but it’s wrapped up in good memories of my Grandma Thora.

47. The Grasshopper Trap 12/24/07 The Big D and I read this one together too. It’s a Patrick McManus book. Funny to anyone who has experience or interest or family history in the outdoors. Someday though I want a Crazy Eddie anthology.

48. The Wizard and the Warlord 12/24/07 The was written by the same author who wrote the book that last year I snarled at the Big D for trying to make me put it down. While this book wasn’t snarling good, I still enjoyed it. One thing that makes it interesting is that it delves into Scandinavian mythos with using the gods or Valhalla, so you learn a little about the lessor known elements of Scandinavian lore.

49. Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom 12/31/07 I’ve only watched the movie once, and can say I only remember about 10 mins of it. The book was very interesting, probably better than the movie (can you say that about a book adaptation?) In really gets into what Short Round (Indie’s Asian kid side-kick) is thinking, and in that way makes the story seem to come from his point of view.

50. Sarah Plain & Tall 12/31/07 A YA classic in the vein of Laura Ingles Wilder, but much shorter. Really I read this in about an hour, give or take. Not really my kind of book, but maybe my kids will like it.

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