Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Books I Want To Read

Book Series':

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

I remember hearing The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe in fifth grade and immediately fell in love with it's magic. Not to mention, it made me curious about this wonderful dessert called Turkish Delight. It wasn't until years later that I found out it was actually a book from a seven part series. I bought the series a couple of years ago and have read 2 1/2 books from my collection. Part of me finds the series a bit tedious because the writing style is not my cup of tea. However, I am on a mission to finish the series one day.

Lord of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Long before Peter Jackson produced his wonderful cinematic version of Lord of The Rings, I remember walking past my older brothers' bedroom and always seeing his Lord Of The Rings book collection (including The Hobbit) sitting on his book shelf. I often picked them up attempting to read through them, but as a young child, I didn't understand the language. 

Deptford Mice Trilogy by Robin Jarvis

While visiting my local library last summer, I skimmed through the children's section one day and found a wonderful book called "The Alchemist's Cat" by Robin Jarvis. The story was dark, mysterious and quite the page turner. After doing some research, I discovered it was book 1 from the 3 part series called The Deptford Histories, which was actually a prequel series to the original, The Deptford Mice Trilogy. The author did a fantastic job of keeping the readers interested, which made me curious about the entire series. This is a story of dark magic, greed and betrayal which Jarvis delivered really well.

Redwall by Brian Jacques

I discovered The Redwall series around the same time that I read The Alchemist's Cat. I even picked up the first book one day, but never ended up reading it. Since then, I've wanted to go back and finish what I started. I was sad when I found out Brian Jacques passed away a few months ago.

The Seven Realms by Cinda Williams Chima

I recently fell in love with the Heir Chronicles, and was delighted to learn Cinda Williams Chima also wrote another fantasy series. I have yet to start this series but am looking forward to it, as I am a huge fan of Chima's writing style.I am currently reading through The Dragon Heir (and loving it!)

Stand Alones:

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas Père

Any kid who grew up in the 90s would remember a lovable dog named Wishbone who brought classic literature to life in a fun, cute and sometimes creepy way. I distinctly remember him acting out The Count of Monte Cristo in one episode. I actually completely forgot about this until the movie was released. It made me want to go back and read the original version.

The Book of Knights by Yves Meynard

My hometown has 99 libraries, and within those 99 libraries, there are only 6 copies of this book. That tells me it must be a true hidden gem. There is something I love about knights. I don't know if it's my passion for medieval culture, or the fact that I find knights to be noble and wish we still had them in this day and age. Whatever the reason, I can't begin to express the wonderful feeling I get when I read about someone getting knighted.

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

My monthly book club recently read one of Marquez's works, entitled Love in The Time of Cholera. Although I admit, the book was somewhat boring, I am still curious to read One Hundred Years of Solitude. My library has an annual festival every April called "Keep Toronto Reading" in which residents of the city can express their love for reading in every way you can think possible (through facebook, twitter, youtube vlogs, visiting various libraries for their KTR programs). One man in particular made a video about how much he loved One Hundred Years of Solitude and he spoke about it so passionately.

The Art of Racing In the Rain by Garth Stein

I don't even remember where I heard about this book. But if there's something I love as much as reading, it's reading books about animals. Reading the reviews, and even watching the book trailer made this story seem sweet and interested (to say the least) as it is narrated by the family dog. Recently having read The Book Thief, I can honestly say I have become a fan of the unconventional narrative in books.

So much to read, such little time!
Happy Reading!

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Book Review 1: The Wizard Heir

When I was about fifteen, I got introduced to the magical world of Harry Potter. After seven books, numerous character deaths, and a very memorable midnight release party for the Deathly Hallows, I finally said goodbye to my friend Harry in the summer of 2007. After mourning the end of Harry Potter, I didn't think I'd ever fall in love with another book character again. I spent months trying to find some good fantasy reads, and that is how I discovered The Wizard Heir. The book synopsis sounded dark and interesting so I decided to pick it up hoping for an enjoyable read. Much to my contentment, that's exactly what I got. And so began my love affair with Seph McCauley. The Wizard Heir is about a sixteen year old boy named Seph who keeps getting kicked out of prestigious private schools and is unable to control his magic within. He is unaware (or anaweir) of his origins and that's what keeps the readers second guessing from chapter to chapter. Cinda Williams Chima does a great job of hooking readers into the story and keeping you at the edge of your seat throughout the entirety of the book. It was a good old fashioned page turner, and FYI, I've had a lot of trouble finding those lately. One of the many reasons I kept reading was because I wanted to know if Seph ever finds his Weirbook or not. The only unfortunate thing was when I started reading The Wizard Heir, I thought it was Book 1 in the Heir Chronicles, but it's actually Book 2. (Book 1: The Warrior Heir, Book 2: The Wizard Heir and Book 3: The Dragon Heir. Keep in mind, The Warrior Heir and The Wizard Heir are companion novels. Therefore, can still be read as stand alones.) Although I found The Warrior Heir and The Wizard Heir equally enjoyable, I would have preferred to read them in chronological order, but that's just me. I would recommend this book series to anyone who loves fantasy, magic and is not afraid of a little bit of gore. I am pleased to learn that Chima will be adding two more books to this series, possibly titled The Sorcerer Heir and The Enchanter Heir. In the mean time, The Dragon Heir is sitting on my book shelf waiting to be read!

Happy Reading!  


Friday, 11 March 2011

Movies better than their Books.

How many times have you heard the saying, "the book is always better than the movie?" I myself have admittedly used this quote time and time again. However, I've also been known to contradict myself with a handful of exceptions to this rule. Although I prefer reading a book and using my own imagination to picture the characters, some movies have been far more enjoyable than their original book versions. So here it is, my list of movies I liked better than their books:

1. Bridge to Terabithia:  I am not by any means dismissing the power of this novel. Katherine Paterson won the Newbery Medal in 1978 for this piece of work, which tells us it was a great book. Perhaps the reason I liked the movie so much more was because I was completely drawn by Josh Hutcherson's believable acting skills. It was almost as if I felt everything Jesse Aarons was going through. Not to mention, the writing style in the book was far too primary and "old fashioned" for me, which is understandable since it's a children's book and it was written in the 70s. One little Easter egg I found fascinating about Bridge to Terabithia was that the story was inspired by real events from the life of Katherine Paterson's son, David L. Paterson. (Wait, there's more...) Nearly twenty years later, David went on to direct the movie version of the book. (See, sometimes it pays off to watch the Special Features on the DVD!)

2. Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief: New York Times Bestselling author Rick Riordon created the wonderful world of Percy Jackson. Amongst other things, Percy's world consists of Greek mythology, friendship, betrayal, and courage. Percy Jackson and the Olympians is a five part series which is light, funny and a very easy read. That for me was its downfall. Although I found the book(s) to be quite the page turners, I also was well aware that I was reading a book aimed for sixth graders (as far as I understand.) Being in my mid-twenties, I enjoyed the story but not so much the writing style. However, one thing I did LOVE about the series was that all of the demi-gods were dyslexic and had ADHD. Doing my research, it turns out Riordon's real life son is dyslexic, which inspired this quality in Percy Jackson. Despite the many mistakes they made in the movie (Such as the main characters being fifteen rather than twelve, Annabeth being a brunette rather than blonde, and the battle at the end), I found it very well done. Good acting on the actors part, great visual affects and not to mention I loved the movie battle much more than the book battle. Still, I am looking forward to finishing the last two books in the series to find out what happens to Percy, Grover and Annabeth.


3. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: I feel like I will be condemned for saying I found the Chronicles of Narnia books somewhat boring. C.S. Lewis' classic stories were wonderful and magical, however his descriptive writing was far too descriptive for my taste. The Disney version of the movie was done beautifully. It was one of those feel-good movies which I have watched (and enjoyed) numerous times. Not to mention, the CGI version of King Aslan was majestic and lovable all at the same time. I can't help but feel a little warm and fuzzy (no pun intended) every time I hear Aslan say, "Once a king or queen of Narnia, always a king or queen of Narnia." On the contrary, I have to hand it to C.S. Lewis for creating a magical world in which readers can escape to, decades before J.K. Rowling introduced us to the mythical world of Harry Potter.

4. Lord of the Rings Trilogy: So this one is a bit of a cheat, as the only one of J.R.R. Tolkien's books I've read is The Hobbit (and it's not exactly qualified as book one from the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, but rather a prequel.) But I will say this; I found the writing style of the Hobbit to be quite similar to C.S. Lewis' writing (which is not too surprising to me, as both Tolkien and Lewis were colleagues in a writing club called Inklings.) I loved these movies. The fact that Peter Jackson pretty much made a nine hour movie amazes me till this day. The acting, story line, action sequences: everything about the movies were incredible. There is a part of me that has the desire to have a Lord of the Rings marathon and watch all three movies in a row, but I know it will most likely give me a headache to stare at the TV for that long. Though I've never read Lord of the Rings, I do have the trilogy on my "books I want to read" list.

As you can see, my main complaint with books that have better movies is that I found the writing style either boring, or too simple for my taste. Mind you, these are all great books, but they are even better movies.