Archive for May, 2009

Life

Alright, now for my second post. This is just an update on life as the past 2-3 weeks have been really busy and as usual I haven’t updated as frequently as I should (not to mention I haven’t written in my personal journal in (like) forever!) 

First I was worried about graduating as I felt I had done miserably on my final exam in my IR of the Middle East class. Being one of my majors course, I could not get below a C in the class, otherwise it would not count. But by the grace of the powers that be (and/or very lenient grading) I did well and ended the semester with 3 solid B’s! This leads me up to May 17th, the day of graduation. An incredibly long day. The girls had come up the day before, and we stayed up until 2-3 in the morning, missing the fact that we needed to be up by 6. We were out of my room a little after 8 and the girls were able to get pretty good standing spots for the ceremony. Mom, Dad and Jason had the 3 sitting Lawn tickets. And GrandDad along with Mimi and Poppop set up at the satellite viewing site in Newcomb. It took us about an hour to all march onto the Lawn and sit down. While it didn’t pour, it was an off-and-on sprinkle/drizzle so the ground was muddy (and stinky!) The speeches were boring, as was expected. Justice J. Harvey Wilkinson III was our speaker – I was not impressed at all with his speech. Not only did he end up being a divisive figure for the student body due to his staunchly conservative rulings, he was only a former Law student, and the undergrad graduates were by far the largest group graduating, so we would have preferred someone who had actually been through the College. The rest of my family didn’t mind his speech too much, but they also didn’t have to sit next to, and in front of, drunk degree candidates. One girl kept kicking me….it was about to be WWIII. Immediately following the ceremony was my diploma ceremony with the Politics department, also pretty long, and I also got to sit next to a drunk….but they tried to make it quick, which was nice given that the Politics Department is apparently the biggest, we had around 400 students receiving their degrees that day. I now have a huge diploma, still rolled up and making its way around my room until I can purchase my diploma frame (waiting on the Alumni Association to give me a discount code for the online Bookstore). How does it feel to be graduated? No different than before. Slightly more terrifying given my lack of job. 

After graduation dinner at outback, me and the fam packed all of my stuff (and I have a lot) and me and my dad drove home that night. Great fun – not. Moving onto May 22 – the day of Erin and Andy’s wedding. Another long day as Kim, Erin and I only got 4 hours of sleep. Horrible idea. Kim had also taken a sleeping pill, and given that she did not sleep the appropriate amount, she puked on and off the rest of the day. Thanks to Erin’s good planning, the wedding went on without a hitch (almost hitch when Hair Cuttery informed her that she was not on their list of appointments). Erin was beautiful, hopefully you should see the picture I uploaded….After the wedding, we went to the Melting Pot for the reception. Great meal, provided with champagne and wine. Excellent. 

So that’s pretty much all that has been up with me. Time to actually start looking for jobs again

on the steps of the Rotunda

on the steps of the Rotunda

Book Update

Hello all, 2 posts tonight. The first shall be my reviews for the last two books I have read: The Secret of Lost Things by Sheridan Hay and The Snow Garden by Christopher Rice. 

The Secret of Lost Things description on Barnes&Noble.com: “Eighteen years old and completely alone, Rosemary arrives in New York from Tasmania with little other than her love of books and an eagerness to explore the city. Taking a job at a vast, chaotic emporium of used and rare books called the Arcade, she knows she has found a home. But when Rosemary reads a letter from someone seeking to “place” a lost manuscript by Herman Melville, the bookstore erupts with simmering ambitions and rivalries. Including actual correspondence by Melville, The Secret of Lost Things is at once a literary adventure and evocative portrait of a young woman making a life for herself in the city.”

The Secret of Lost Things I found a little hard to review to be perfectly honest. This may be because I finished it almost a week ago, but also as I was contemplating my review, I realized that my feelings were a little mixed on it as well. The language, though lovely, was advanced given the protagonist. The characters, while interesting, are never fully developed. The plot, though present, never really goes anywhere. (I am seeing that I should have spent a little longer on this review, as my preface here is completely opposite of the review I wrote). I did enjoy reading the book, and did not find it difficult to get through as other reviews I have read have mentioned. Hay attempted too much in one novel, though, and by doing so, was unable to accomplish and develop all that she set out to. I believe this was her first novel, so a great start, and hopefully she will continue to write as I think that she has great promise. 

My review: “I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Hay’s language is beautiful, though like others said, it is pretty advanced and a dictionary is definitely handy to have next to you. While I found her writing style lovely, I did find it incongruous for an 18-20 year old protagonist to speak in such a manner. Now that I think of it, my rating for this novel may simply be because of the language. It was interesting, and I couldn’t stop reading, but as others have mentioned the plot sort of ambled along without achieving or revealing any coherent point. I recommend the novel, but I think it is definitely one of those books that people will either like or dislike with little middle ground.” (See what  I mean…I really should write my reviews immediately once I finish). 

 

Now, The Snow Garden by Christopher Rice, son of Anne Rice. Synopsis on

In the darkening chill of winter, three Atherton University freshmen are being mysteriously drawn together by fate, and a compulsion they cannot comprehend. Though they come from vastly differing backgrounds, the college holds the promise of a better life for each of them — and an opportunity to break away from the anguish and desolation of their former lives.

But the past does not die so easily, and the intricate webs of deceit that they have spun to protect themselves are slowly twisted into shackles that chain them to their doom. Snowbound and trapped on the campus, the friends find themselves unwilling pawns in the machinations of a malevolent force that has taken hold of Atherton — and all their oldest fears, veiled passions, and secret nightmares are about to come to life in…The Snow Garden.

 

My review: This book was definitely a page-turner, completely hooked throughout. I did find it a bit confusing in parts since Rice through in so many twists. The ending was both unexpected and a little rushed in my opinion. Honestly the best way to describe the last hundred pages or so would be as a roller coaster – a lot happens really quickly and then it’s over and you’re left shaking your head wishing that there had been just a little more; such as, what happened to Mitchell, Dr. Eberman, and the undercover detective? Overall a good book, though.

 

(Not sure why my font changed and refused to change back….I wish copy and paste did what I wanted, haha). 

 

Alright, those are my latest reviews. I just started The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – a little lost in the first few pages, but I’m sure it will make more sense soon. 

2 Book Updates

Hey everyone, slacked a little in updating about my book progress. Since the last review I posted I have read and reviewed 2 more books, both I received for free through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers Program.

First was The Glassblower of Murano by Marina Fiorato. Here is Amazon’s description: “Venice, 1681. Glassblowing is the lifeblood of the Republic, and Venetian mirrors are more precious than gold. Jealously guarded by the murderous Council of Ten, the glassblowers of Murano are virtually imprisoned on their island in the lagoon. But the greatest of the artists, Corradino Manin, sells his methods and his soul to the Sun King, Louis XIV of France, to protect his secret daughter. In the present day his descendant, Leonora Manin, leaves an unhappy life in London to begin a new one as a glassblower in Venice. As she finds new life and love in her adoptive city, her fate becomes inextricably linked with that of her ancestor and the treacherous secrets of his life begin to come to light.”

And my review: “Recovering from a divorce, Leonora Manin flees England for Venice, land of her heritage, for a new start as the first female glassblower of Murano, following in the footsteps of her famous forebear Corradino Manin. There she seeks to rebuild her life and discover more about her ancestor. After an accusation that Corradino was really a traitor, Leonora’s world is turned upside down, losing all that she had gained in her rebuilding. The novel follows both Leonora in the present-day and Corradino during his last days. 
I found the novel to be excellent; a relaxing, well-flowing read that was definitely a page-turner. I thought the first chapter or two to be a little awkward, but I think that may have been a product of exam stress and exhaustion. Definitely recommend!”

Second, which I just finished today, well yesterday considering the time, was Gray Apocalypse by James Murdoch. Amazon description: “In this tale of human survival and personal redemption, an alien species is positioning an enormous asteroid to strike planet Earth, eradicate the human race, and replace mankind with millions of hybrid alien creations. A flawed but determined hero, Michael Kendon, steps out of the ranks of humanity to confront the alien Goliath. A renegade assassin and sole survivor of a crushed resistance movement, he seeks to locate a powerful weapon designed to deflect the asteroid. Using his extraordinary mental capabilities and natural psychic gifts, he manages to keep himself alive and bedevil the breeders and their human surrogates. The powerful fuel of his humanity ultimately enables him to prevail.”

My review: “This book was alright. It was cheesy and predictable – man seeking redemption by saving the world, in love with the beautiful daughter of the man he killed (who was a wealthy genius, creating the weapon that could potentially save the world), typical aliens (as evident from the book jacket) trying to take over the world, and evil pseudo-government underground organization in league with the aliens to destroy the planet. There were interesting elements, but Murdoch fails to go beyond the established and ultimately undercuts the novel by making things so easy for the protagonist. I mean I like happy endings and things working out, but really? he can heal with his hands, and control things with his mind? Really? The novel was an easy read, decent page-turner, but definitely not for hardcore literary enthusiasts.”

I started The Secret of Lost Things by Sheridan Hay after I finished Gray Apocalypse. I am enjoying it already, it should not take too long to finish 🙂 

Night all ❤