So...it's been a while since I've done a review and I have a lot to talk about. Onward

Title: The Last Olypian
Author: Rick Riordan
Summary: The final battle has arrived, and Percy Jackson and his friends must sacrifice much to defeat the Titan Lord Kronos, more than they had previously anticipated.

review +rating )

Title: Enchanted
Author: Orson Scott Card
Summary: Ivan was a normal Russian kid, until his parents decided to fake being Jewish so they could immigrate out of Soviet Russia. Right before they leave, Ivan comes across a woman on a pedistal in the woods, sleeping peacefully. Years later, when he returns, he manages to wake the sleeping beauty and start off on a completely different adventure.

review +rating )

Title: Hawksong
Author: Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Summary: Danica Shardae desperately wants to end the war between her people, the hawkes and other bird kind, and the serpents. But she finds herself sacrificing her heart to do so.

review +rating )

Title: Graceling
Author: Kristin Cashore
Summary: Katsa is a graceling, who has been graced with the ability to kill, and subsiquently was controlled by her uncle for most of her life. Recently though, Katsa has sought to do much good with her Grace, but when she rescues the prince of another kingdom, a strange mystery begins to unravel. Katsa with fellow graceling and recently acquired friend, Po, begins to unravel the mystery while gaining new perspective on her grace and her own freedom.

review +rating )

Title: Geektastic
Author: Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci
Summary: A complilation of short stories by your favorite geeky authors centering around one theme: Geeks are awesome, and it's great to be yourself.

review +rating )

Title: The Lost Hero
Author: Rick Riordan
Summary: Percy Jackson is not back in this latest sequel and his friends are only in it for a hot second. Instead this book focuses on Jason, son of Jupiter, Piper, daughter of Aphrodite, and Leo, son of Hepheastus, as they jet off to save Hera and stop the giants from rising.

review +rating )
But...see for yourself:

The links are being dumb...but I assume everyone will be all right using the amazon.com search engine. :)
Title: Simon Says
By: Elaine Marie Alphin
Summary: Charles, a young painter, aspires to learn the secrets to the life long game of Simon Says he has always played with himself around others. Do do this, he seeks out admission to Whitmore, the school that houses the famous, young author Graeme Brandt, who he believes has discovered the secrets of the game.
Simon Says )
But, see for yourself: Simon Says 
Title: Bloodhound
By: Tamora Pierce
Summary: Beka Cooper's adventure continues, but this time she's off alone with Goodwin in a strange city trying to stop colemongering (counterfeiting) before it spreads all over the kingdom. And she has a dog now.
Review 18 )

Title: Maskerade
By: Terry Pratchett
Summary: Something strange is going on in the Ankh-Morpork Opera House, and when Agatha Nitt gets involved, Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax follow to help out (and maybe to recruit her into being a witch).
Review 19 )
Title: How I Paid for College: a Novel of Sex, Theft, Friendship & Musical Theater
By: Marc Acito
Review 20 )

Title: Garden Spells
By: Sarah Addison Allen
Summary: The story of two sisters who try to make right with themselves, their identities and the world all around them.
Review 21 )
Title: The Battle of the Labyrinth
Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians
By: Rick Riordan
Summary: Percy and his friends must descend deep into the Labyrith to find Dedalus in hopes of keeping him on their side in the coming war.
Review 22 )But, see for yourself:
Bloodhound
Maskerade
How I Paid for College
Garden Spells
The Battle of the Labyrinth
 title: A Natural History: Dragons and Unicorns
By: Paul and Karin Johnsgard
Summary:....pretty much what it says on the tin,

SO I've been putting this off for a while, but seeing as I'm leaving here tomorrow or Tuesday, I figure now might be the best time to talk about dragons and unicorns. Except for the fact that the title pretty much says it all. The Johnsgards basically create a natural history of dragons and unicorns in the way one might see something about elephants. They go through the development and evolution of both species and cover the interactions with men. The book almost seemed believable, like if I went and looked hard enough, i could go and find a unicorn or a dragon. That would be the book's greatest strength I think in that they make their writing very believable interweaving myth and naturalism. Yeah, i think that's all I have to say. 
 
Overall: it was good. 
 
 
 SO: here's what happens when I do not write a review of a book after I directly finish it. You get a triple, possibly quadruple review, depending on if I want to finish the book I'm reading right now in the middle of this review just to add it on. This probably would have taken until the end of the year had my email not reminded me that some of these books are due soon. So, without further ado:

YES! Dare to read more (ellipsis) )
But see for yourself!:

The Child In Film by Karen Lury
Environmetalism in Popular Culture by Noel Sturgeon
The Countess von Rudolstadt by George Sand trans. by Gretchen van Slyke
The Late American Novel: Writers on the Future of Books edited by Jeff Matin & C. Max Magee
 Title: The Divine Comedy
By: Dante Alighieri
Translated by: Burton Raffel

So, here's the thing about The Divine Comedy: it's deep.

I'm not sure there's a much simplier way of putting it than that, but let me expand on this to tell you why I think that. It was written in the early period of the Renaissance, the back of the book telling me that Dante wrote this before his death in 1321. So not only am I reading something that's translated from Italian, I'm reading something that's translated from Renaissance Italian, which I think makes a difference. Not only that but it's poetry, and according to my communication reading, poetry takes longer to gain satisfaction from than prose.

I guess what all of this is leading up to is me admitting that I did not get much of this. I mean, I guess I followed the story well enough (I mean, it's a pretty famous story), and some of the moments were very tender and heartwarming (after they get out of hell, that is). That being said, there is a lot to this story, and I read all three parts as one, so it's a little difficult for me to understand it all, especially since I know that the story was actually very clearly portrayed (even though Dante stops to talk to pretty much everyone he meets along the way, making for a fairly substantial road trip).

I am deffinately not saying to not read the Divine Comedy. Read it, it really is good.But I think the key here is slow it down, and break it up. Reading them as three sepereate books I think really would have helped me in the end.

All that being said, here are some of my favorite lines from this version:

"Here is where you can't afford to be lazy,"
My Master said. "Lying in feather beds
Or under quilts, no one conquers fame...

He ran away, not saying another word.
And then a centaur appeared, raging mad,
Shouting: "Where is he? WHere's that unripe turd?"

The snake's hind paws, twisted together, distorted
Themselves and became the thing that men conceal,
And in turn the wrtch's penis became two feet.

But human curses cannot dig a grave
Too deep for Eternal Love to find and save us,
As long as hope can blosson with any green.

A little background for this next line: Dante is talking to a man named Statius, who wrote an incomplete Achilleid. Virgil has been acting as Dante's guide so far and is standing right next to him.

"To have been alive and walked on the eart when Virgil
Did--O, and if I could, I'd give up
Another astral year before my ascent!"

Over all: it's worth a read
But See for yourself: The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri 

About to start Reading: Ink-Stained Amazons and Cinematic Warriors: superwomen in Modern Mythology by Jennifer K. Stuller
 Title: Girl Power: young Women Speak Out!: personal Writings from Teenage Girls
Author/Editor: Hillary Carlip
Summary: "Sometimes the only thing that will listen to you is paper." A book collecting writings from and examining the positive and negative aspects of girls in different cliques and groups across the United States.
Girl Power )
But (please, please, please) see for yourself: Girl Power by Hillary Carlip

Now Reading: (HUGE GENRE SHIFT) The Divine Comedy by Dante Aleghiri trans. by Burton Rafeal.
Project WC: 53336
 Title: Trickster
Editor: Matt Dembicki
Summary: A compilation of sequential art stories about Native American Tricksters
Review Time! )
But See For Yourself: Trickster complied by Matt Dembicki

Now Reading: Girl Power Edited by Hillary Carlip
Project WC Still At: 39,082
 Title: The History of Women's Underwear
Authors: Muriel Barbier & Shazia Boucher
Summary: The history of women's underwear in western, european culture, discussing the types, formation, colors, ecomics, spread and modern day repercussions of developement. Mostly from a French perspective

I'm not sure if... )

But Overall it was: A Good Read
But See for yourself: The History of Women's Underwear by Muriel Barbier & Shazia Boucher
(Both the Male and Female Volumes, sorry)

Now Reading: Trickster edited by Matt Dembicki
Project WC still at: 36834
 Title: Gender Dilemmas in Children's Fiction
Author: Kerry Mallan
Summary: Kerry Mallan explores desire, romance, beauty, technology, sexual identity, and comedy in children's and young adult literature to better understand the way gender is portrayed in these varying subjects and genres.

Likes, Dislikes, and a Little Rant )

Over all though it: Exceeded Expectations.
But See for yourself: Gender Dilemmas in Children's Fiction by Kerry Mallan (who apparently charges a lot for her books...)

Now Reading: Kingdom Come by Mark Waid and Alex Ross
Project WC: 30708
EDIT: 3/11/11

So, I have an hour before class and decided to get off my butt and write this review. 

What I liked: The movie The Wizard of Oz depicts a bright and colorful world. The books is like that, only times ten. The way Baum describes the landscapes and what the all the people are wearing it's fantastic. Not to mention, this has always been described to me as a whimsical children's tale, and not only does it live up to that, it exceeds it. I also liked how Baum really made Dorothy work to get home. The trip to the Emerald City was much more fraught with peril and much harder for Dorothy to do. Also killing the Wicked Witch of the West was no easy matter as well. And even though Baum makes Dorothy work for it, she always keeps her chin up, which makes her rather admirable. 

What I didn't like: This, though well done, is a traveling book. It's not quite a bidungsroman, because Dorothy doesn't do much growing up, so it's just a traveling book. That works pretty well, but toward the latter half of the book it gets kind of tired and I think you can see that in Baum's writing. He makes and makes use of several Deus Ex Machina toward the end of the book leaving it feeling almost rushed. He also adds in a couple of strange (not quite for OZ), scenes that really add nothing to the journey or the characters. I get the feeling that some of these were just part of his vision, and even though it didn't help the story, he got away with it because it's the Land of OZ. 

Over all it: Exceeds Expectations (especially for a children's book). 
But See for yourself: The Wonderful Wizard of OZ by L. Frank Baum


Already Reading: Gender Dilemmas in Children's Fiction by Kerry Mallan
Project WC: Still 20416
Title: Push Comes to Shove
Author: Maud Lavin
Summary: A study of women's aggression in art,writing, films, and real life through varying genres and situations. 

Here's what I liked about this book: it did not pull punches about how women are portrayed in society and actually talked about some of the problems we have with each other, men and the world. It takes an honest look about how women's aggression is portrayed in art, writing, film and even in real life situation, and tries it's best not to class it as either good or bad, but look at the positive and negative aspects of whatever subjects it was looking at. It also looked at a wide range of subjects from sports films, to erotica, women's violence, aging, activism, at and women's boxing. 

Here's what I did not like: I think the introduction of this book sells something it doesn't have. The book tries, it honestly does, to talk about the aggression in the subjects and genres I described about, but it just didn't get there for me. I think my biggest problem with it was that it seemed like there was a lot of summarization about the works, and not enough analyzation about them, though that did fluctuate with each subject. Part of that might have been because Lavin tended to summarize an entire movie or set of works before she would really get into her meat about the aggression of it.

I think she was also trying to compensate for some works that were less well known, like the Murder Girls Pictures by Marlene McCarty, which admittedly, I did not knew existed before this book.  However, I kind of got the point after a paragraph or two of good summarization. But she just goes on and on about the different pictures summarizing the way that they look (some of which, she actually included in the book), instead of why they are aggressive, or how it could be looked at in a positive light, or as, she says, "a force to affect change." She says she wants to show us these things in her thesis introduction, and I feel like she never does. It annoyed me, greatly. 

At times, it also felt like some subjects were rushed, and even overlapped with the second subject in the chapter (as in the violence chapter, where the section about Kill Bill is highly overlapped with Murder Girls, and it felt like Murder Girls dragged on, especially with all of the picture description and summarization). I also feel like she was teasing us with this bone of women's boxing. She makes a point of mentioning that it's going to be discussed in the book, and the way I read it was that it was going to be at equal length with the other subjects mentioned. It gets a total of thirteen pages--less actually, because Lavin concludes her work in the same space. 

There was also a really annoying thing she did a lot in the same space of one chapter, often saying: What I want to know... Well, we already know what you want to know. You want to know which one of and how your topics can be presented in a positive light. It just got on my nerves the way she would use her words sometimes. 

Overall: A Bit of A Disappointment. 

But See for yourself: Push Comes to Shove: new Images of Aggressive Women by Maud Lavin

Now Reading: The Wonderful Wizard of OZ by L. Frank Baum
5/5/11 WC: 4202

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