December 15, 2014

Recent Reads

174. Barefoot Gen, Volume Two: The Day After
Book blurb: Barefoot Gen's autobiographical story - author Keiji Nakazawa was only seven years old when the atomic bomb hit his hometown of Hiroshima - tells of ordinary people dealing with extraordinary situations, both in the last days of World War II and after the nuclear attack. Volume 1 told the story of the days before the dropping of the bomb; this entry describes the devastation and chaos following the blast.

This is book two of a ten part series targeted at a teen audience, and picks up right where the first one left off. The entire volume recounts the day after the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. As I said in my review of book one, I'm not a fan of these old-timey manga style comics, but in reading this book the art provided some much needed relief for my mind. This is not an easy story to read. The author captures the death toll, destruction, madness, physical and psychological damage, and grief of the survivors in an unflinching manner. For you dystopia fans, I'd recommend skipping the fiction and read about the effects of this real dystopia that happened in the not too distant past. War is hell, but I guess we have yet to learn that lesson. 

I plan to read this entire series, but need some space and time before I can even bring myself to read the next installment. Rating: 5 stars.

175. Seven Wonders
I was in the mood for a thriller, and had recently heard the author talk about this book at the Boston Book Festival, so picked it up. The premise sounded good: archaeological thriller with murder, secrets, history and the seven wonders (ancient and modern). And oh yes, Amazons, those women warriors of mythology. Sounds great right? Unfortunately not. The writing is so dang bad, that after 60 pages, I've decided to return it to the library stacks. Still looking for a fast paced thriller .... Rating: 1 star.

176. The Princess Bride
Book blurb: What's it about? Fencing. Fighting. True Love. Strong Hate. Harsh Revenge. A Few Giants. Lots of Bad Men. Lots of Good Men. Five or Six Beautiful Women. Beasties Monstrous and Gentle. Some Swell Escapes and Captures. Death, Lies, Truth, Miracles, and a Little Sex.

I saw the movie many, many years ago and recall enjoying it, so thought I'd give the book a try. The first half is fantastic - so tongue in cheek that I found myself smiling every couple of paragraphs. Me smiling while reading a book? That has not happened in ages, and is precisely why I picked this one up. I needed some fun reading. Unfortunately, the second half did not hold up as well. Yes, there were still some fun tidbits, but I found myself getting bored with the story. And what happens at Level 5? Was that really necessary to this narrative? And do not get me started on Buttercup! Still, a different twist on a fairy tale that has some original and fun writing. Rating: 3 stars.

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