No, I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth. I’m still here! I’ve just been busy, what with homeschooling, NaNoWriMo (by the way, I’ve just passed 14,000 words!), and, of course, reading!!! There have been a few times in between my previous post and now when I meant to post on my blog, but I got busy reading a book and forgot to blog. So, here is what I’ve been reading and what I think about those books. This includes books I’ve just finished and books that I’m still reading, because I’m usually reading more than one book at once.
The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde
I read this book for British Literature this year. It was OK. The premise is that an artist paints a picture of Dorian as a young man. The portrait slowly ages, but Dorian does not. He remains the same, young-looking, which is what he wants. As he does mean or bad things, though, the portrait gets even more hideous. I’m not going to tell you how it ends! I liked how the book was kind of a horror book, but it wasn’t too creepy. There were even some subtle funny quotes. However, there are some portions of the book where characters just talk on and on and on about beauty and youth and stuff like that and that got a bit boring after a while. It did make me think, though. You may want to check out this previous blog post of mine.
The Hound of the Baskervilles, by Arthur Conan Doyle
This was the 3rd book I read for British Literature this year (the previous two were Romeo and Juliet and The Picture of Dorian Gray). I couldn’t really get into the previous two books. They were alright. They were interesting. With The Hound of the Baskervilles, though, I just kept reading and reading and reading. Within the first two chapters, I was hooked and I wanted to find out what happened and who or what the Hound really was. I really liked the characters of Holmes and Watson. I had never read any of the Sherlock Holmes novels before, just some of his (unabridged) short stories, and I wasn’t sure if this would be just another old book that was somewhat boring. Well, it wasn’t! Sherlock Holmes is asked to solve a case regarding the death of Sir Charles Baskerville, who died of fright supposedly caused by the sight of the Hound of the Baskervilles, who has haunted his ancestors for years. Again, I’m not going to tell you how it ends, just that you really should read it! Even if you think you don’t like old books or old mysteries, read it!
PIE, by Sarah Weeks
I found this book while just looking around at the library. It looked interesting, so I checked it out. I read it pretty quickly because it’s short. It is about a girl whose aunt (who was famous for making delicious pies) dies and leaves her pie recipes to her cat. However, the cat gets kidnapped and the girl has to figure out who did it. I thought, while the premise was interesting, the mystery wasn’t really a mystery. I thought it was kind of easy to figure out what was going to happen next. I liked reading the pie recipes at the beginning of each chapter. In my opinion, if you’re going to read just one book by Sarah Weeks, read So B. It (which I’ve read before). But if you’re just looking for something quick to read, this is good.
Crocodile Tears, by Anthony Horowitz
This is the 8th book in the Alex Rider series. I read a review of the series in The Ultimate Teen Book Guide and it sounded cool, so one day I checked out the first book, Stormbreaker, from the library. I really liked it and regretted not reading it sooner! The series is about a 14-year-old boy, Alex Rider, who is an agent for M16 in Britain. In each book, he discovers (and defeats) a different criminal. In Crocodile Tears, Alex discovers that a supposedly reformed criminal turned humanitarian is, in fact, malicious and wants to make a lot of money off of his schemes. My favorite Alex Rider book is still Stormbreaker, but this book was still really fun to read. This series is really good even if you aren’t really a fan of spy/adventure novels. Even though you know that some of the ‘good people’ are really going to be criminals trying to take over the world and even though you know that Alex will eventually manage to defeat them, the books are still suspenseful. Unfortunately, there is only one more book left in the series: Scorpia Rising (not to be confused with an earlier book in the series, Scorpia)! I learned that it is maybe not a good idea to read about the next book in the series you’re reading on Wikipedia, because then you will know who dies at the end of it and everything like that. Ooops. So, I’ve really enjoyed this series, and I’m looking forward to the last book, even though I kind of already know what happens. Definitely give this series a try!
The Kane Chronicles, Book 2: The Throne of Fire, by Rick Riordan
I’ve just started reading this, after waiting a long time for it to be in at the library! I’m only on the first chapter, but I really like it so far. I enjoyed the first book, The Red Pyramid, and I’m hoping this one will be just as good. Since my bookworm friend McKenzie is obsessed with the series (she has drawn Egyptian heiroglyphs all over the hardback cover of her copy – not on the paper cover, you see, but directly onto the binding), I’m sure they are good! I’ll write more about this book once I’ve finished it. For now, don’t tell me anything about what happens in the comments or I’ll send Carter Kane to get you!
Rating: How would I know? I haven’t finished reading it yet! I hope it’ll be a 5/5!
Founding Mothers, by Cokie Roberts
I’m reading this book as part of an High School Academic Bowl competition I’ll do in March. (We have a homeschool team.) This year’s topic for the competition is “Colonial and Revolutionary War America”. This book is about the famous women of the Colonial and Revolutionary War time periods, and how they impacted our history. I’m not done reading it just yet, but it is interesting. I think Abigail Adams, Eliza Pinckney, and Mercy Otis Warren are the most interesting women I’ve read about so far. Now I’m sad that I don’t have a time machine so that I can go back in time and meet them. (I confess I skipped the Martha Washington sections for now, but I will go back and read them later. I thought they were kind of boring.)
Rating: So far, I’d say it’s a 4/5.
Neville, by Norton Juster
Come on, you didn’t really think I’d skip picture books, did you? Of course I didn’t! I saw this book in the childrens’ section at the library, and because I like the name Neville, I checked it out. It’s a decent picture book, not my all-time favorite, but I liked the illustrations and the ending of the story is cute. Read it!
The Rabbit Problem, by Emily Gravett
This another book I saw at the library that looked cool. I loved the illustrations and I liked the idea behind the book: it shows just how quickly rabbits multiply over a year and how many rabbits you’ll end up with. It doesn’t have words, just pictures, but I thought it was very creative. The copy I checked out even had holes in the pages so you can hang the book from a wall like a calendar, which is cool, because the book is set up by each month and the number of rabbits you would have with each passing month. It even has a page with pop-ups!
Dracula, by Nicky Raven
I read this book for the first time probably a year ago, after I saw it in the ‘new books’ display in the Young Adult section of the library. It looked interesting, so I checked it out. (As you can see, I check out a lot of books because they look interesting!) I’m re-reading it (for the 3rd or 4th time, I think) because I’m reading the original Dracula (see below) next for British Literature and I thought this book might help me to understand what’s going on in the original story. In the foreward, the author does say that he’s changed the story a little bit, so I’m not expecting the original Dracula to be exactly the same as this one. This book is only about 100 pages, with plenty of text, but also lots of amazing illustrations (just look at the front cover!). I love the illustrations, as they really helped me imagine the events of the story. I highly recommend it, whether or not you’re going to read the original.
Dracula, by Bram Stoker
OK, OK, I haven’t read this book yet! I only checked it out from the library today! I’ve read the first 100 words or so, just to see what the writing is like. Anyway, I hope it’ll be good. I don’t really want to be disappointed about British Literature, since The Hound of the Baskervilles was so good. I chose it as my next novel because I’ve read that it’s very good. It was the first vampire novel and I have read that is supposedly the best. Well, it has to be better than Twilight!
Rating: It had better be at least 3/5!
I hope you liked reading about what I have been reading! You should check out these books and see for yourself if you like them!