Sunday, March 30, 2008

15. The Courts of Chaos (142 pp.) by Roger Zelazny (Mar. 28).

Overall I loved this series and I highly recommend it. But I was a tad let down by this finale. I'm not sure I can articlulate it. It seemed like a lot of the action was glossed over while the narrator's personal experience and thoughts were front and center. I thought some of the action bits could have been ... more.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

14. The Hand of Oberon

by Roger Zelazny. (188 pp.)

If these books were being written right now, the publishing company would insist that he make these about 10 trillion pages longer. Most fantasy books are way too long. These are way too short. At the current page count, the first 5 books could be one giant tome.

This is book four in a series I started last year (book #32) and continued this year (books #4 and #6). If I understand the series correctly, there are 10 books in two groups of 5 so hopefully after I read #5 I won't have to drop everything to get my hands on the next 5.

The story is way too much to condense into a short review. See comment above about 10 trillion pages. Our hero Corwin continues to navigate his complicated family and nobody is exactly who he/she seems. Excellent series.

I started book 5 the minute I finished this one.

Friday, March 21, 2008

13. The Long Exile: A Tale of Inuit Betrayal and Survival in the High Arctic. (298 pp.) by Melanie McGrath. I had to force myself to keep reading this because it is probably one of the most heart-wrenching and depressing books I've ever held in my hands. In the 50's the Canadian government decided it was important to settle the High Arctic. God forbid Greenland or Norway might claim a windswept ice cube with few resources for its own use. The government told incredible lies to Inuit people happily settled elsewhere and put them in a situation where they couldn't really say, 'No' and then relocated them to the ice cube where they lived in complete misery if they didn't die first. There is a tiny bit of justice in 1994 when the Canadian government admitted that maybe it wasn't the most well thought-out plan they could have come up with.

It's well written and worth reading. It starts with Robert Flaherty who made Nanook of the North. Remember Nanook? Did you know the actor who played Nanook starved to death? I know, there isn't a lot of good news in this book. Flaherty jumped under the caribou robes with a local and fathered a child that he never saw or had contact with. That child was one of the poor bastards relocated to the ice cube.

His daughter (filmmaker's Granddaughter), my new personal hero, Martha Flaherty has made it her life's work finding some justice for the Inuit.

I found tons of amazing photos of some of the places in the book on Flickr. The landscape is incredible:

High Arctic Set

Another High Arctic Set


Inukjuak (the Inuit's home before relocation.)

Resolute Bay

Friday, March 7, 2008

12. Throne of Jade

Temeraire Book 2: Throne of Jade (398 pp.) by Naomi Novik. Wow, I've really slowed down on my reading. My eyes have been bothering me a little bit so I've been monitoring my reading time, plus I read a fictiony magazine and had some cookbooks home from the library.

About the same time I started this book, I noticed a guy on my bus was reading it, too. This is second in a series (see book #1) about the Napoleonic Wars only with dragons. Temeraire is a rare breed who came from China and in this book they go to back on a complicated mission of politics and diplomacy. I'm sure it sounds dopey but these are very fun to read, perfect for the bus and Temeraire and his human companion, Captain Will Laurence are some of my favorite characters in recent reading. I recommend these books and they are rated PG and perfect to share with your favorite young readers.