Posts Tagged ‘Reading’

thebooksmugglers.com

Summary (courtesy of Goodreads)

Welcome to Urban Monad 116. Reaching nearly two miles into the sky, the one thousand stories of this building are home to over eight hundred thousand people living in peace and harmony. In the year 2381 with a world population of over seventy-five billion souls, the massive Urbmon system is humanity’s salvation.

Life in Urbmon 116 is highly regulated, life is cherished, and the culture of procreation is seen as the highest pinnacle of god’s plan. Conflict is abhorred, and any who disturb the peace face harsh punishment—even being sent “down the chute” to be recycled as fertilizer.

Jason Quevedo, a historian, searches records of the twentieth century hoping to find the root of his discontent with the perfection of Urbmon life.

Siegmund Kluver, a young and ambitious administrator, strives to reach the top levels of the Urbmon’s government and discovers the civilization’s dark truths.

Michael Statler, a computer engineer, harbors a forbidden desire. He dreams of leaving the building—of walking in the open air and visiting the far-off sea. This is a dream he must keep secret. If anyone were to find out, he’d face the worst punishment imaginable.

The World Inside is a fascinating exploration of society and what makes us human, told by a master of speculative fiction.

Favorite Parts of the Book:

One thing I really liked about the book was how the author went about telling the story.  Each chapter focused on a major character telling his/her life in Urbmon 116.  It could have been a short story on its own, while maintaining the book’s continuity by the interweaving of characters throughout the chapters.  Silverberg took care in developing each of his characters, creating an instant connection with all of them, including the  hippie like musician Dillon Chrimes (who plays instruments I have never heard of).

The concept of the book was phenomenal!  That’s what drew me to the book in the first place.  I wanted to know how a bizzillion people could live in one building, with each floor named after a present day city, where everything down to bodily waste is recycled, and sleeping with every and anyone is not only okay, but encouraged!  Man’s sole purpose in this book to have plenty of babies, by any means necessary. Yeah, I really wanted to know how this works! (and if you want to know too, you’ll have to read it! :))

Favorite Characters:

One of my favorite characters was Michael Statler, the computer engineer who dreams of going outside.  In the book he called himself a “throwback”, which refers to humans that live like I do, free to live wherever I want rather than confined to a building.  So naturally I was able to relate to him the most.  Through his thoughts of swimming in the sea, frolicking in the sand, and having the sun tan his skin made me want to leave the confines of my two story Urbmon and take a vacay!  I’m not going to give away what happens to him in this chapter, but I will tell you that you do root for him the whole way and the ending was very surprising.

Speaking of surprise endings, my second favorite character, Siegmund Kluver, whose story doesn’t come into play until the last chapter.  Throughout the book, Siegmund is seen as the Urbmon’s golden child.  He’s young and his climb to the top of the career ladder (and the top of the building!) to be an Administrator was an ambitious one, and he is admired by all.  Throughout the whole book he is seen as the perfect Urbmon dweller, however when you finally get to his story, you see it’s quite the opposite.  Instead of a confident young man, you find a very insecure one, which was a nice, little surprise.  After all, perfect characters can be a little boring!  He finds that what he dream at the top wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be and he has a pretty hard time dealing with it.

Overall Review:

This is an awesome read and I highly recommend it!

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I’ve finally fallen back into reading for pleasure again and with all these new books I plan on reading and writing about, (such as this one I reviewed last week) I can’t forget about those books that made me fall in love with the sci-fi and fantasy genres in the first place!  When I was kid through high school, I read a lot!  I took a lot of english literature courses and had such awesome teachers who taught me how to truly appreciate the classics.  I learned from reading those books how plot structure worked and what it meant to have fully developed and relatable characters.  The stories are timeless and whenever I sit down to write, it’s always my goal to have my work be just that.

So here is an ode to my five favorite science fiction and fantasy books that always hold a special place in my heart!

*all summaries are courtesy of Goodreads.com!

 

amazon.com

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle:

Meg’s father mysteriously disappears after experimenting with the fifth dimension of time travel. Determined to rescue him, Meg and her friends must outwit the forces of evil on a heart-stopping journey through space and time. A commemorative edition with an Introduction by the author. A Newbery Medal winner.
 
I identified with Meg so much and I’ve read this book twice already.  I also have the other two book in the trilogy in an awesome box set.  Though the concept of time travel was a little hard to grasp the first time around, I appreciated the second time!  This book never gets old and I will probably pick the book back up and read it again!
 
 
 
 
 

amazon.com

Beowulf

 
Composed toward the end of the first millennium of our era, Beowulf is the elegiac narrative of the adventures of Beowulf, a Scandinavian hero who saves the Danes from the seemingly invincible monster Grendel and, later, from Grendel’s mother. He then returns to his own country and dies in old age in a vivid fight against a dragon. The poem is about encountering the monstrous, defeating it, and then having to live on in the exhausted aftermath. In the contours of this story, at once remote and uncannily familiar at the end of the twentieth century, Seamus Heaney finds a resonance that summons power to the poetry from deep beneath its surface.” “Drawn to what he has called the “four-squareness of the utterance” in Beowulf and its immense emotional credibility, Heaney gives these epic qualities new and convincing reality for the contemporary reader.
 
I read this book in high school in the Middle English version.  That alone was a challenge but once I got through it, I totally loved the story.  It is a classic epic story with Grendel as the menacing monster, his mother a wicked and conniving temptress, and a hero who seeks nothing but glory.  It doesn’t get more fantasy than that!
 
 

sfgate.com

1984 by George Orwell

 
Portrays a terrifying vision of life in the future when a totalitarian government, considered a “Negative Utopia,” watches over all citizens and directs all activities, becoming more powerful as time goes by.
 
The scariest version of reality TV with Big Brother always watching and people waging a war they know nothing about.  I did my first literary analysis on this book my senior year of high school devling into the underlying concepts, meanings, and uses of symbolism, I truly appreciated this work that I would have otherwise found rather daunting to read.  I may revisit this book again.  I mean its 2010 and the concepts this book explores aren’t that far away from real life!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
 
The epic battle between man and monster reaches its greatest pitch in the famous story of Frankenstein. In trying to create life, the young student Victor Frankenstein unleashes forces beyond his control, setting into motion a long and tragic chain of events that brings Victor himself to the very brink. How he tries to destroy his creation, as it destroys everything Victor loves, is a powerful story of love, friendship …and horror.

Forget the commercialized version of Frankenstein because this one was downright scary!  I can still remember the scenes of Victor gathering dead body parts!  This story sent chills up my spine, taking me on Victor’s journey to absolute madness!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Animal Farm by George Orwell
 
A farm is taken over by its overworked, mistreated animals. With flaming idealism and stirring slogans, they set out to create a paradise of progress, justice, and equality. Thus the stage is set for one of the most telling satiric fables ever penned–a razor-edged fairy tale for grown-ups that records the evolution from revolution against tyranny to a totalitarianism just as terrible.
 
Orwell makes this list again because behind this seemingly children’s story are underlying themes, ideas, and concepts that are utterly fantastic. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Your turn!  What are you favorite classic books?

Happy Happy Friday!

This week was a very productive one for me. I finished up a great book earlier this week (the one in the sidebar) and picked up some awesome ones!  I’m also in deep into my rewrites for my novel Damaris as well as getting the Visual Adjectives Blog off the ground!  Yes, it was a good week!

If you’re new to Follow Friday, this is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee’s View.  Make sure to check it out if you want to participate!

This week’s question:
Who are your favorite authors?
 
Some of my favorite authors include VC Andrews, John Saul, George Orwell, Madeline L’Engle, R. L Stine and Pittacus Lore.  I’m sure this list will continue to grow as I continue reading and discovering new authors!
 
What are some of your favorite authors?

Photo courtesy of: fantasticfiction.co.uk

Summary Courtesy of Goodreads:

Italy 1252. Inquisition. Accusation. Fear.  Torture. The guilty and the innocent dying for sins real  and imagined in the flames of the burning stake.  Neilsville, 1978. Peter Balsam has come to this  sleepy desert town to teach its youth, and finds a  mystery of mounting horror. Something is happening  to the young girls of St. Francis Xavier High  School — something evil. In bloodlet and terror a suicide contagion has swept the two… while a dark  order of its holy men enacts a secret medieval  ritual. Is hysteria manipulating these innocent children  into violent self-destruction? Or has supernatural  force, a thirteenth-century madness, returned  to… Punish The Sinners.

Favorite Parts of the Book:

The prologue was definitely one of my favorite parts of the book.  The pacing of the scene was like that of a really good horror movie, leaving you on the edge of your seat.  And then right when the “ax falls”, the first words out of your mouth are “Holy ****”.  I was definitely left a little scared, especially reading this part at night while home alone!

My second favorite part of the book was the ending.  The novel finished just as strong as the beginning, with such a feeling of disbelief. It was a finish I didn’t see coming and when I put it down it left me wanting to know more about what happens next, which could make a very good sequel!

Favorite Character:

I must say I had a love/hate relationship with Peter Balsam.  There were times I was rooting for him when he stood up to the “man” aka the Monsignor.  There were other times I wish I could go into the book and knock him upside his head for making stupid choices.  Either way, I felt connected to him and the author did a great job with his character development.

Now for the bad news:

My only complaint with the novel was the very middle.  It started to get sluggish with the storyline making it a little difficult to get through.  I understand that a story has to have it slowdowns but it should keep me interested all the same.  I wanted to get to the climax already and by the time I got to the last section of the book, the action picked up and slammed me with a great ending.  I think if it wasn’t for the middle of the book, I would’ve finished the novel a whole lot sooner.

Overall Review:

It’s a great thriller book with a storyline that isn’t for the squeamish.  I’m not talking about blood and guts, but rather very controversial topics like suicide and taboo sex that may leave the faint of heart just a little uncomfortable, especially when the whole book relies on the concept of the Catholic religion.  If you can handle that, then this is a good read for you!

Follow Friday #4

Posted: October 22, 2010 in Follow Friday
Tags: , ,

 

OMG – Friday couldn’t come fast enough!  This week has been such a madhouse between my day job and managing the social media for the up and coming self publishing company Visual Adjectives.  I’ve also been schooling myself on the writing biz by listening to some great podcasts (which I promise to post about next week so hold tight!)

If you’re new to Follow Friday, this is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee’s View.  Make sure to check it out if you want to participate!

This week’s question:
What are you currently reading? Basically, what book is that?
Well I just finished Punish the Sinners by John Saul this week (which was wicked awesome and I promise to review it!)  So now I’m reading the Lord Protector’s Daughter by L.E Modesitt.  I’ve haven’t read anything from this author before but I’m a few pages in and I’m already intrigued by the setting descriptions alone.  So I’m enjoying it so far!
Here’s some info about the book, courtesy of Goodreads!
The Lord-Protector's Daughter (Corean Chronicles)

Photo courtesy of: Amazon.com

The Lord-Protector’s Daughter is a standalone fantasy novel that takes place in Tempre, the capital city of Lanachrona on Corus, the world of Modesitt’s Corean Chronicles. Mykella, the eldest daughter of the Lord-Protector of Lanachrona, discovers that someone is diverting significant sums of money from her father’s treasury. One of the ancient soarers appears to Mykella, telling her that she must go to the antique stone Table in the cellars of the Palace and find her Talent in order to save her land and her world.
From there, matters become more perilous. There are attempts to remove Mykella and her sisters from Tempre by marrying them off to lords in neighboring lands, and fatal and near fatal accidents occur to members of her family and trusted retainers. While Mykella develops a solid idea of who stands behind it all, every attempted solution is used to discredit her. How can she save their father and land?

Have any of you guys read it? Am I in for a treat?

 

Follow Friday #3

Posted: October 15, 2010 in Follow Friday
Tags: ,

Happy Friday!!  I’m so glad it is because I have a few movies I want to see this weekend (Like the Prince of Persia) as well as some reading, organizing, and editing that is so hard to do during the week when you have a day job!

Follow Friday, which  is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee’s View.  Make sure to check it out if you want to participate!

This week’s question:

What is your reading suggestion this week?

Because I’m a writer and I’m getting  into books that surround the genre I write in, I think it’s refreshing to read a book that isn’t.  So my reading suggestion this week just happens to be the book I’m currently reading by John Saul called Punish the Sinners.  The prologue alone was pretty scary and if you’re into books that explore the scary side of religion, this a great pick for you!

I’m in great need of book suggestions, so what are your picks?

 

Photo courtesy of: http://www.ssflibrary.net

I know that the obvious answer to the question of whether an author should read in the genre that they’re righting one is Yes.  However, there’s a little more to it than that and because there is, I answer this question a little bit differently.

For me, I made the conscious decision that I wouldn’t read in my genre while I was writing the first draft of my novel.   I even went as far as not to really look at any movies within in my genre (as well as I could anyway!  I’m a movie buff!).  I did this because no matter how hard you try, you can’t help but be influenced in some kind of way from a book or movie.  I didn’t want my novel’s concept to be a conscious rip off of someone else.  It’s easy to read a scene in one book and say “Oh, I want a scene like that in mine.”  I wanted my story to grow on its own, find its own scenes and scenarios.  I wanted to get the core of my story down and be my own.  There are so many great stories and movies out there in the realms of Fantasy and  Sci Fi and I didn’t want my inspiration to become a reiteration of something else I read or saw somewhere. 

Now that I’m done with my first draft and I’m  satisfied with my core plot, I can now read books out there in the same circle that I want my book to be in.  (By the way, if you have any good recommendations on a books, please let me know!).  I can  just be inspired because I already know my story is solid and the direction of the series is crystal clear.  It’s easy now to appreciate a book for its story and what it offers – instead of constantly comparing it to mine!

What do you guys think?  If you were (or are) writing a book in a genre, would you still continue to read books similar to the one you’re writing?