Sunday List: Vacation Reading (and viewing)

As noted in my previous post, I’ve been on vacation. I’m home now, still finding bits of Cocoa Beach in my pockets, savouring a relaxing week, and basking in people telling me they like my hair (which I haven’t changed) instead of actually noticing that I’ve got new clothes and a (slight) tan.

Here is a list of Books I Read On My Vacation:

1. The Overseer by Jonathan Rabb. Not a keeper. It was ok, but it was long and in the end pretty predictable. I thought it might be good because it looked like it had an interesting premise with academic characters and such, but it ended up being a save-the-world spy thriller that was pretty ordinary.

2. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. Ok, I can see why people might have been shocked that I had not yet read this book. I quite liked this and will go back to it in the future. It is always a bit risky to have a young child as a key point-of-view (p.o.v.) character, but that was well done. The characters were interesting and the book took a spin in the end that was also interesting and not quite predictable. I do think the author’s Mormon background shone through in that end bit.

3. The Night Watch by Sarah Waters. This was an interesting book set during WW2 that I liked because it looked at the war from a completely different p.o.v. than I’ve read before. Waters tells the story backwards — but she tells you that is coming in the initial bit when one of the characters makes a statement about people’s pasts being more interesting than their futures. Thus you get the characters’ pasts, not their futures.

4. The Scar by China Miéville (not yet finished). This is a bit of a slow read, not because it isn’t interesting, but because Miéville sets up such a different world that I have to really pay attention to get the details. I heard about Miéville in a bit of an offbeat review of his oevre to date that I saw in the spring. I thought he looked interesting, so I’ve been keeping an eye out, and this is the first one I’ve found in a used book shop so far. This may just indicate that he’s so good people keep his books. He is also British, so his work may not be as widely known or available in North America as yet.

On vacation I also watched a lot of movies. I’d recommend 2 out of the seven, note that 3 were ok but had bits that might put one off, and 2 were disasters, not recommended at all.

Recommend:

1. Source Code – time travel with a twist. I quite liked this.

2. Unknown – Suspense with Liam Neeson. Well-told story. Intense car chases.

Recommend, but not highly or with a note:

1. The Company Men – a recession movie without much hope I thought. Some interesting ideas, but not great. All-star cast though.

2. Bridesmaids – didn’t live up to the high praise I’d heard. Parts were kind of funny. Mostly it was just about life happening. I was disappointed.

3. Crazy Heart – my major objection was the connection between the two main characters was unbelievable. Problem is that’s the main point of the movie, that relationship. It didn’t look real at all. Soundtrack was interesting though.

Run Away and Hide:

1. Trespass – don’t be fooled by the all-star cast. Run Away. This is a terrible movie that is all screaming and shooting. Not interesting.

2. Motives 2 – Run Away. Fast. There isn’t a plot hole so much as a complete disconnect. Made little sense.

Lots of lists for a Sunday afternoon!

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Sunday List: Vacation Reading (and viewing)

  1. Now that you’ve read Ender’s Game, you might want to read some of the rest of that series…though the Mormon theology is stronger in some.

  2. Alice

    Speaking of telling the story backwards, did you ever read Brown on Resolution? I guess technically it isn’t backwards, but it starts with an important event and then goes way back (to before the protagonist’s birth) and explains how he got where he was.

  3. Andrea SB

    If you think the Mormon theology is strong in those books, try the Alvin Journeymaker series. I really liked the concept, but there were a few books that I kept wondering when Alvin would literally walk on water or change water into wine.

    A better version (so far) is Patricia Wrede’s book The Thirteenth Child. It’s YA, but so well done and it doesn’t feel at all shallow.

    I also really liked the Night Watch and Ender’s Game. Speaker for the Dead is, at heart, a really good mystery and the others were pretty good. The new series is a bit odd to read because its odd to read the first, clearly set during the Cold War, and to read the next ones set in a more current setting.

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