Wednesday, December 16, 2015

3 Quick Book Reviews

I am pretty far behind on my book reviews so you're going to get several brief reviews of the last few months of books that I have read.

Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night by Shakespeare is one of those books that's been on my list for a long time. I really enjoy seeing & reading Shakespeare, and this is one of my favorites but sadly this is the first time I've actually read it. I was pleased that I enjoyed reading it just as much as I have enjoyed seeing it performed & adaptations of it. Twelfth Night is of course the comedy where Viola is confused for her twin brother Sebastian & he for her. I actually found some of the awkward comedy in this play to be funnier in written form because it doesn't rely on an actors ability and your own imagination can fill in the gaps. Conversely having seen it prior to reading it I was anticipating the identity reveals of Viola & Sebastian which made me wish that I had read this one first. I found that on the page those reveals lacked some of the "umf" given to them by the actors & directors working on the show. For me at least, knowing ahead of time threw off the pacing. Scenes dragged leading up to it and then the reveal itself wasn't as satisfying. I am confident I would not have felt that way if I did not already know what was coming.

Sword of Summer

The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan follows a similar formula to his other books where in teenage children find out that they are parented by various deities. This is book one of a new series that deals with the Norse Gods, and when I was younger the Norse Gods were always high on my list of favorites. Yes I was that weird kid that read mythology books, so Riordan has made the child inside me quite happy!
Reading his books as an adult I find it is very important to remember that the target audience is approximately 10 years old. That being said they are entertaining adventure books. Very easy to get lost in. This one lived up to my expectations & excitement about the Norse. All the usual suspects are there including fan favorites Thore & Loki ;). Magnus is a good hero, very likable & easy to root for. I found his imagery of Valhalla to be unexpected and very fun. There is also an unexpected connection to his Olympians books which I thought was fun and hope is foreshadowing of future stories. The plot was fairly predictable but as I said earlier I am not the target audience here. When I finished I was definitely looking forward to reading the next one.

How the Irish Saved Civilization

Anyone that follows my Goodreads account and not just my reviews here will know that I read about 1 nonfiction book a year. This was the one I started in January! Woot for finishing! It's dry, but it's designed to be informational like a text book rather than sensational like a novel. Regardless I found parts of it so funny that I laughed out loud.
I have been interested in Irish history for some time and the title of this book was the thing that caught my attention. The premise is that Ireland did not suffer the "Dark Ages" like the rest of Europe and was there for able to preserve writing, art & other cultural practices that were lost. I found his take on religion in Ireland as well as notable Irish figures (St. Patrick for one) to be very interested and broader than what one normally hears in a history/religion lecture. A very interesting read for those that are interested in the topic.

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