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Posts Tagged ‘400-449 pages’

25. “The Magicians,” Lev Grossman

August 23, 2011 1 comment

Think “Chronicals of Narnia” with cynicism and self-hatred instead of Christianity.

Page count: 402
Page total: 7,618

9. “Riding Rockets: The Outrageous Tales of a Space Shuttle Astronaut,” Mike Mullane

February 17, 2011 Leave a comment

Very funny, with good insights into the astronaut program.

Page count: 400

Page total: 2,617

1. “Exposed,” Alex Kava

November 5, 2010 Leave a comment

FBI special agent Maggie O’Dell pursues a vengeful monster and his sadistic assistant who infect innocent people with the deadly Ebola virus. While investigating a bomb threat in suburban Elk Grove, Va., Maggie and her boss, Assistant Director Cunningham, become exposed to the virus. The pair wind up in the Slammer, an isolation ward within the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Fort Detrick, Md. On the outside, Maggie’s partner, R.J. Tully, investigates other cases of exposure to the virus, including an entire Chicago hospital. After Maggie’s release, a clue Tully uncovers from his past sends him racing to save Maggie from the evil mastermind responsible for the viral threats. (From the Publisher’s Weekly review)

This… was not a good book. It just was not. Kava uses a lot of very short (generally about three page) chapters, each of which focuses on a different character, about a dozen POVs in all. Each time, it is almost assumed that we know who each of these people are, be they Chicago nurses or a Floridian restaurant manager. Eventually their lives do come together, but I’d hardly say the effect is elegant. And with SO many story lines to keep track of, it’s really not effective. Even for a disposable crime novel (which was totally what I was going for– I actually searched the course catalog for “virus outbreaks– Fiction”), it was clunky. Eventually I will learn that this genre just doesn’t work for me. This is not that day.

Page count: 445
Page total: 445

40. “Caucasia,” Danzy Senna

June 28, 2010 Leave a comment

Two biracial sisters– one who looks white, one who looks black– are torn apart by the social unrest pervading 1970s Boston and their mother’s dangerous choices.

This book was wonderful. I found it in the young adult section, but I don’t think it is. I follows a girl between the ages of nine and fifteen and is extremely lucidly written, and those two combine to mean middle grades. The narrator writes with such understanding, though, that it feels like there must be space between the events and herself. The book as a whole feels wonderfully real and intimate. I felt my world expand when reading this book, which is a sensation I have got from very few books (“Stone Butch Blues” comes to mind).

Here I had a thoughtful summary, but WordPress lost it. Nothing more for now, aside from the earnest recommendation that you buy (not just read!) it.

Page count: 432
Page total: 10,149
LOC call number: YA fiction Senna 2009

58. “Shutter Island,” Dennis Lehane

August 31, 2009 Leave a comment

This was a pretty quick read. I liked it a lop better than the previous book I read by Lehane, “Mystic River.”

The story is set in the mid 1950s and is about two US Marshals, Teddy and Chuck, who are dispatched to an island that is home for the “criminally insane,” a bullshit phrase that implies that being crazy is criminal. Most patients are schizophrenic or have other serious mental illnesses and when one escapes, the Marshals are called to help to locate the patient. Along the way the discover some fucked up Nuremberg shit and have to try to figure out a way to get off the heavily-patrolled island. In the middle of a hurricane. It’s being made into a movie and looks pretty good. I secretly love Leonardo DiCaprio.

Lehane was, by the way, my undergrad commencement speaker. He was very good– both funny and poinant.

Page count: 400
Page total: 23,429

40. “Winter in the Heart,” David Poyer

June 17, 2009 Leave a comment

Last week I stayed with my aunt, who has fantastic built-in bookshelves in her spare bedroom. Sadly, she has books like this on them.

Anyway, an “old man” (that’s all we get– no age) who lives in a hole in the ground in the back woods in Pennsylvania develops a bad rash and lung infection. He passes out while being visited by a local boy, a teenager with polio, a limp, and terrible parents. The two discover, with the help of a local doctor, that Halvorsen’s affliction is the result of an illegal dumping project and join forces with an electrolysis technician who was recently fired because of her wealthy, callous, (married) boyfriend’s actions.

So. I don’t know what I was thinking– but the cover compared Poyer to Faulker, people! I’m not made of stone. Just gullible.

Since reading this book, however, I have become obsessed with making fire without matches or a lighter. I tend to get this urge in the summer, so my friend and I have made some attempts. By the end of the summer, I should be able to light shit on fire with my mind.

Page count: 402
Page total: 18,862

2. “Mystic River”, Dennis Lehane

November 11, 2008 Leave a comment

Sometimes I enjoy reading quick, trashy, useless best-selling novels. And then I am really disappointed when they are totally disposable. This is one of those times.

Page count: 448